Knowledge

Just listened to Plato’s Republic podcast on BBC,  In out TimePlato’s Republic MP3

Got me thinking about the story of the cave. Ordinary people are fooled. Only certain elite trained people can see the world properly. They are enlightened. At one point they mention that knowledge (according to Plato) is not “bits” but that at a certain point there is a whole shift to a new mental state. It reminds me of spiritual enlightenment. They use the word ‘enlightenment’ in the podcast.

I think a qualitative shift in knowledge is possible. But it is not in the state of mind, that makes the shift. Something has been discovered, it is based on evidence.  It can be  taught, e.g. The world is round – species evolve. That is not a new state of mind, anyone can learn these things. There is “common wisdom” (maybe as old as this stuff in Plato) that ordinary learning won’t do the trick, that we need to go through some spiritual process of cleansing, saving or sitting and that there are special teachers. Plato certainly raises the right question – what is knowledge and what is belief, but his answers are not convincing, and maybe pernicious.

“We need a new state of consciousness before the world can change.” I hear that a lot. This spiritual answers seem wrong, yet Marx also talked of class consciousness. Certainly we need thorough study and knowledge. But the paradigm shifts don’t happen to “us” they happen as science, and social science discovers more about the way the things and people work. Then people need to be taught that stuff.

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Listened to another rather wonderful podcast Kim Hill interview with Ken LoachKen Loach – Life and films MP3 One moment I liked was where he says that class struggle in capitalism is not a belief of some kind. Once you have learned about it, like evolution, it is how it is.

Ken Loach:

 

Milestone Mentors

People who impacted on me. Roughly in the order they did so. How I came to think the way I do, the intellectual & cultural biography. The juicier life story with real people is another, more personal story. The post about this post.


Bertrand Russell

I had a few pop idols when I was a teenager.  Mostly my mentors were people living around me. Then something new happened in a moment while reading Bertrand Russell that changed how I saw things.  I think the book was called “On Morals”, but that does not seem to exist. Maybe it was Marriage and Morals but I can’t find the line I recall. “Morals is the science of how to live one’s life.” That does not Google, but that is what I recall. And as a teenager how to live my life was a burning question – that there was a science for that was very appealing. Further reading did not help much in a practical way (I will add Zorba The Greek to the list), but I began to read philosophy, and loved it.

I think of Russell as of marker in the sand for humanist, atheist, positivist rationality. ““I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive.” I liked that. It summed up the atheism I was bought up with. (Now I think it is all a bit more mysterious. Maybe the universe forks and folds?)

And for a readers digest version of philosophy there is nothing to beat A History of Western Philosophy

And he was part of Ban the Bomb. And The Committee of 100


 


Johnny Ray

Talking of pop stars – this one was the first one I noticed.  I was about 12.


Buddy Holly

Great stuff, but really, my main heroes were not popstars.



Vincent van Gogh

We had a book of his paintings at home, I saw a movie and read a biography. Later I saw exhibitions. Loved it all. I am attracted to outsiders.


here

CMW


Peter Pinney

here

The link to an album presented in Adobe Flash no longer works

Why he’s on the list.

Led to travel, New Zealand mountains.


Zorba the Greek


Colin Wilson

His book The Outsider led to my big shift at about same time as Peter Pinney

The book is a series of essays about what he calls outsiders, but presented from Wilsons existentialist position. Again how to live life! I identified with the central theme that outsiders are those who see too much. The main thing I got from the book is that I follwed through on every writer he mentioned. Now I knew who to look for in the library.

Colin Wilson is a bit of an embarrassment. He has an elitist perspective. Outsiders are artists and gifted, but not “supermen” above the doomed masses. He has an idea that the outsider has failed on some journey to enlightenment. I don’t like that type of spiritual approach to life, and did not even as CW put it forward.

On this blog 2012



Ivan Illich


Ludwig Wittgenstein


Marshall McLuhan


Stewart Brand



Karl Marx


Moreno


Osho



James Hillman


Thomas Moore


Marriage dead or alive


Marshall Rosenberg


Harville Hendrix



Hedy Schleifer


Bill Doherty

Heroes

I quoted blogger Tim Boucher back in 2010 in this blog.

The link in that post to Tims page is only available on the Wayback Machine.

I dug it up today as I was thinking of mentors and heroes. I look back and see how admired them, I fell in love with some and idolised some. I still do! They are all different, they teach different things some are enemies of the other. I’m thinking of them as people I have learned from. Mentors might be the right word.

I still like what I wrote:

“I like to think I am not into having heroes but most of these from tb are my heroes. I’d add a few: J.L. Moreno, James Hillman, Jim Rough, Karl Marx, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Kurt Vonnegut, Peter Pinney… of course they are all a bit flawed, but that is where the light gets in… I’ll add Leonard Cohen, and there are a lot of non-famous real people who have had a bigger impact!”

And Tim replied:

“it’s not that your heroes need to be perfect, so much as it helps to have ideal images after which to model oneself. its a lot easier to build a car if you know what a car looks like, how it feels, how it operates!”

I’ll make a list, with some quotes and links. Maybe in rough chronological order of then coming into my life. I’ve begun the list!

Later Tuesday, 16 April 2019 — still working on that list — I’ve published the perpetual draft.

Wisdom is not Consciousness

Skills, knowledge, spontaneity, intelligence, creativity and wisdom are not consciousness.

 

Easily and often confused. Consciousness raising, so effective in the 70s brought with it the idea that learning and education developed consciousness.  Maybe the miss-use of the word began with Marx?  Class consciousness, does he even use that word?  If he did he did not mean that it could be developed by reading books or classes alone.  Learning comes through experience. Why is using the word consciousness now in the 2010’s a problem?

Hmmm, bear with me…  I’m exploring something.

People do not have higher or lower levels of consciousness. People have skills and abilities including the ability to warm up to spontaneity and creativity. People learn things in practice.  Experience and relationships build ethical wisdom. Discrimination can be taught. Spontaneity can be trained.

To learn, people need relationships, access to teachers and books and crazy people ( typo) I meant craft people.  Being around people who can sing, converse, act, make things, helps people learn. Generous people who share what they know are real teachers.

Action, involvement, engagement, immersion and courage to act and to make mistakes is how people enrich themselves and others. Out of action we get knowledge and ideas. Action first reflection second. Collaboration and interaction before contemplation.  All of this makes us wiser.

Wisdom is not consciousness, it is attained through practice and living. Consciousness is a mysterious quality of knowing we are alive and exist. We just know it, but it is a mystery.

Becoming more able, relational, effective and wise is less mysterious, it takes access to good teachers.  Courage to act. Willingness to seek advice. Ask questions. Discrimination. Love

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This is a simple ideal I’m trying to express. Dewey, Marx, Moreno all promoted action learning. Experiential learning.   Now more than ever the dominant culture works to keep us passive, ignorant, isolated.  Consciousness, higher, lower, altered, psychological, even radical, by any name is individual, private, personal.

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One of the reasons I’m exploring this line of thinking is that there are plenty of movements that promote the idea that if 10% (or whatever) of people reached some sort of higher state of consciousness then the world would be fixed.

It is more dialectical than that.

We are in process and as the world changes, we change.  Action by action.  Not only thought by thought.

Wisdom

Snapped that off my Kindle – it is a chapter title half way into Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral – by Mary Doria Russell –  Amazon

I thought, wow that is well worded. Google:

“So on they fought like a swirl of living fire –
You could not say if the sun and moon still stood secure,
So dense the battle-haze that engulfed the brave
Who stood their ground to defend Patroclus’ body.”

Book 17, Illiad

Their filthy heart

“The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws.  That’s just the way it is.  This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last.  You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’ sake.  Love is something different.  Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart.  Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate.  Love is hard.  Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.”

 

This is an internet thing, everyone quotes it.  Attributed to The Great Kamryn whoever she is.  Famous it seems for this one quote.  Or is there more to it?  Maybe in some library of physical docs?

Anyway, I like it.

Invisible threads

http://inthemessy.com/tag/advent/

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

The space between is invisible – we can only talk about it in metaphor e.g. “broken heart”, “bound together”, “muddy path” and here as “sympathetic fibers”. Not only do we use metaphor, we can use images and symbold – rings, hearts. And in psychodrama we have the simple act of concretisation: place people or objects at a distance to show where they are in your life. Distance becomes visible and conveys meaning.

The quote above from https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3500800.Henry_Melvill (not the Moby Dick man) seems to be saying that our actions can live after us and multiply. Then come back as karma. And then impact everyone. Be careful what you say and do it can reverberate into the future.

I think of this as Moreno’s sociometric matrix. Sympathetic is a nice word there with its roots in symphony – all the parts of the network working together.

The network of course is a physical metaphor for something unseen, the space.

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Background

http://melvilliana.blogspot.co.nz/2011/09/finest-thing-herman-melville-never-said.html

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Lenin used the concept often

https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/7thconf/24c.htm

All humanity is thrown into a tangled bloody heap from which no nation can extricate itself on its own. Though there are more and less advanced countries, this war has bound them all together by so many threads that escape from this tangle for any single country acting on its own is inconceivable.

Community-Based Research: Creating Evidence-Based Practice for Health and Social Change

This is an interesting and valuable paper and link to kindred spirits. Something to integrate into my long paper on methodology.

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/00001388.htm

Community-Based Research: Creating Evidence-Based Practice for Health and Social Change

Marcia Hills, R.N., Ph.D.

Jennifer Mullett, Ph.D.

Community Health Promotion Coalition
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC, Canada

Paper presented at the Qualitative Evidence-based Practice Conference, Coventry University, May 15-17 2000.

Evidence-based practice usually refers to gathering quantitative data upon which to base decisions about what constitutes effective or efficient practice or what is sometimes referred to as “best practices”. The authors argue that, when gathering evidence about practice concerning people in communities which is often the case in the health sector, different evidence is needed and, consequently, different methodologies and methods for collecting that evidence must be used. In this context, the notion of basing practice on evidence raises the question “what do we accept as evidence upon which to base our practices that involve people in communities?”