Friday, October 08, 2004

I, We, and It

Currently reading Ken Wilber's "The Marriage of Sense and Soul." The book's aim is to integrate science and religion into one worldview that makes proponents from each parties equally satisfied. While I'm not through with the book and cannot make any complete resolutions or reviews because of that, the concept of the "Great Nest of Being" is fascinating.

Wilber says that throughout all philosophies and worldviews (except in Modernity) there is a heirarchy that looks like a set of concentric circles - each senior enveloping and including its juniors. Something like this...



The content of the circles, then, is thus:

Matter to Life to Mind to Soul to Spirit
-or-
Physics to Biology to Psychology to Theology to Mysticism

So where Matter is A, Life is A+B, Mind A+B+C, Soul A+B+C+D, and Spirit A+B+C+D+E. Each level transcends and includes the previous level.

What does all this have to do with anything? In modernity (the past 300 years or so), the dominant worldview (particuarly of the West) has been STUCK on "the innermost circle." Of the "Big 3" (science, morals, and art), science has overtaken and overshadowed to the point where if it cannot be measured on a microscope it is not real (and therefore "matter" - or the innermost circle - is all that exists).

But then the question must be asked: Are not your thoughts "real"? Is compassion real? How about love, is it real?

See we've been using the wrong language to discuss spirituality. It cannot be talked about in scientific terms. We cannot rule out the idea of God just because God cannot be measured in a laboratory. There are very "real" things that "exist" OUTSIDE of that innermost circle and can be seen through different lenses:

Art provides the "I" lens. Morals provides the "We" lens. Science provides the "It" lens.

The world is not simply made up of meaningless and cold "Its." While "It" most certainly has its place, the "I" and the "We" provide the meaning, the depths, the outer rings of the circles.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am so stinking excited to see some new postings!!! Since I know you don't get enough of my opinions in your everyday life, so let me opin for a moment.. How in the world did I marry someone so darn smart.. Not in the Cathy Harden "my son is a genius" kind of way, but.. I am thoroughly impressed.. I didn't understand a word that you wrote today. Maybe it's because my conversations of late have consisted on one syllable words and the word poop comes up a lot too. Maybe it's because I am a college dropout.. Maybe it's because of all the weed I forgot to smoke in college.(really should get on that goal--25 and never tried drugs).I suck really.. Or maybe it's because I married someone who just happens to be infinitly smarter than me.. I'm voting it's the LACK of man made (or organic, if you are into the whole purity thing)chemicals raging through my body. And another thing.. I'm sure our daughter is going to be WAY WAY smarter than you so don't even think of getting all high fallutin on us or anything.. because she'll beat you up, intellectually speaking, in a few short years.. so there.. Amy

Mom and Dad Harden said...

I keep reading it and still don't get it..Amy