Ideological conversion versus metanoia

Susan just read the latest rewrite of  the introduction of my book, and made a remarkable observation about ideologies. Her response was to this passage: Unfortunately, the progress I made understanding texts with obscure meanings was gained at the expense of the understandability of my own thoughts, which were becoming obscure and poetic. I found … Continue reading Ideological conversion versus metanoia

Fishbane on metanoia

Michael Fishbane describes metanoia beautifully and precisely: …But then it may happen that the thoughtless ordinariness of daily life is jolted and gives way to a more elemental specificity. Suddenly something occurs that claims us with an overwhelming intensity, and floods our sensibilities without any accompanying thoughts of its human meaning. Rather, the sense of … Continue reading Fishbane on metanoia

Multipersonal perplexity

A. Long ago, (perhaps informed by experiences sitting in meditation?) even before I began intensive philosophical study, I adopted a psychology of “subpersonalities“. I’ve talked about it dozens of ways, but the language orbits a single conviction: our personal subjects are microcosmic societies, composed of semi-independent intuitive units. One of the main reasons I came … Continue reading Multipersonal perplexity

Nietzsche vs liberal theology

Thinking about religion in an appreciatively or tolerant way from a standpoint that sees itself as having overcome the need for religious belief is the furthest thing from understanding religion. This religion-appreciating standpoint — which sees intense awe or the excitement of discovery as a genuine substitute for religious feeling and the gestalt shifts resulting … Continue reading Nietzsche vs liberal theology

Conceptive vocabulary

I am designing a vocabulary for discussing how understanding works, with special emphasis on the relationship between existing understandings, failures of understanding, (also known as perplexities), and extremely novel understandings (also known as epiphanies). All my subjects of interest — design, philosophy and religion — are urgently concerned with epiphanies. But each is concerned with … Continue reading Conceptive vocabulary

The Click

Myriad ways to experience the world are possible, and these ways of seeing the world correspond with particular orderings of intuitive activity. * Can you perceive this dancer to be spinning clockwise and then to be spinning counter-clockwise? Can you feel what kind of effort you are making? There may be inner-chatter associated with your … Continue reading The Click

Methodic wisdom

Susan and I have been debating what wisdom is. We each felt the other’s view was incomplete. I thought her conception was overlapping too much with prudence; she thought mine reduced wisdom with mere open-mindedness. (Actually, she was right.) As we turned the question and viewed it from multiple angles, it became clear, as is … Continue reading Methodic wisdom

Fake etymologies

In Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, Rorty repeatedly busts Heidegger for inventing fake etymologies. The accusation extends beyond the incorrectness of the claims — the very impulse to excavate more primordial and immediate meanings is impugned. This is fascinating to me because I wholeheartedly share Heidegger’s love of etymologies, and Heidegger is a nasty enough son-of-a-bitch … Continue reading Fake etymologies

Susan’s hope, my hope

Susan keeps asking if there might be an upside to the wokeness convulsion our society is undergoing. She hopes it might inspire people to have conversations they might not have otherwise had and to develop real empathy. I’m pretty sure this hope is an expectation widely shared among progressives. I think the entire project is … Continue reading Susan’s hope, my hope

Recognizing possibilities of transcendence

There are positive metaphysics which make assertions about reality beyond what can be experienced, and there are negative metaphysics which deny the possibility of making such assertions. A person who has worked at thinking through problems that started out unthinkable — who had to begin with confronting unthinkability and overcoming it by finding new modes … Continue reading Recognizing possibilities of transcendence

Esoteric summary

The heart of morality is the call to transcendence: we are meant to exist as ourselves toward reality that is not us (alterity). These are the proper terms of transcendence: self transcending toward alterity within a shared ground of infinite reality. This is very different from that common conception of transcendence that opposes a mundane … Continue reading Esoteric summary

Re-thinking / re-feeling politics

Something to consider from Bruno Latour: “Politicians are the scapegoats, the sacrificial lambs. We deride, despise, and hate them. We compete to denounce their venality and incompetence, their blinkered vision, their schemes and compromises, their failures, their pragmatism or lack of realism, their demagogy. Only in politics are trials of strength thought to define the … Continue reading Re-thinking / re-feeling politics

Gut feelings and interpretations

Two counter-intuitive interpretations of gut feelings guide my ethical actions: The heat of hubris. I always try to catch and interrogate this feeling wherever it happens, especially when it is accompanied by iron-clad justification and and sublimates into majestic righteousness. If it feels like hubris, I assume it is hubris, and if that hubris can … Continue reading Gut feelings and interpretations

Arrogant thoughts on magic

Arthur C. Clarke formulated Three Laws of prediction: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into … Continue reading Arrogant thoughts on magic

Faithlessnesses and faiths

I’ve speculated that the extremes of exoterism (fundamentalism) and esoterism (mysticism) have little do do with the faiths they are thought to exemplify. They are faiths of their own — the former a faith in a divinity who dwells beyond (who demands particular observances), the latter a faith in a divinity who dwells within (who … Continue reading Faithlessnesses and faiths