Edusemiotics, the Divided Brain and Connectivism


I have recently been exploring Iain McGilchrist’s ground-breaking work on the divided brain (see The Master and his Emissary. The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World), with a view to learning more about the implications of this work for education.

This interest was sparked by hearing McGilchrist say, on a course I attended earlier this year (see Field & Field website), that there are no static and separate things, but instead there are relationships and patterns. I wrote about this at the time – see (https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/there-are-no-things-there-are-patterns/). Even though the word ‘education’ does not appear in the index of McGilchrist’s remarkable book, how can the idea of ‘there are no things’ not have implications for education?

At the end of August, I received a number of comments on my blog from Gary Goldberg, with many lines of thought and threads to follow. Central amongst these was the idea that edusemiotics is relevant to an exploration of the implications of McGilchrist’s work for education.

This is an area completely new to me and having started to explore it, I find there is an extensive body of scholarly work associated with it. It will take me a while to get to grips with this and I do not intend to try and cover it here. Instead, I will share my initial understanding of what is edusemiotics and how it might relate to McGilchrist’s work. I will also mention Stephen Downes’ work on connectivism, since this is a new learning theory which seems pertinent here.

Semiotics is the study of signs, such as in body language, rituals, linguistics, media and advertising. Edusemiotics is the study of signs + learning theory + education. It is a process which draws on the work of Ferdinand de Saussure (semiology) and Charles Sander Peirce (semiotics) to defy Cartesian substance dualism. Merleau-Ponty’s work on signs is also significant here, but I have yet to follow this up.

Edusemiotics takes a holistic approach to education, decrying fragmentation and subject/object dualism. It posits that since we use signs to interact with the world, then it follows that signs shape our experience, and human experience is an interpretive structure mediated by signs. Everything is in relation to everything else. ‘As signs connect and become transformed in ever-changing contexts, new signs are created as part of an ongoing open-ended process of interpretation, growth and development.’ (Semetsky & Stables, 2014, p.10).

The edusemiotics argument is that if knowledge is constructed through our ongoing interaction with signs and the world, then knowledge cannot be out there waiting to be found; education must be a process of continuous inquiry; it cannot be reduced to right or wrong answers. A priori learning objectives, measurement and assessment make no sense from this perspective.

An edusemiotics approach to education therefore focuses on significance and meaning rather than ‘true facts’ and content. It is a process and is about interactions and relations ‘between students and teachers, between people and their environments, between ourselves and others, and between elements of that which is to be learned, understood through various relational perspectives’ (Deely & Semetsky, 2017).

The presence of paradox is also a distinguishing feature of edusemiotics. Iain McGilchrist has a lot to say about paradox (see p. 137-140, The Master and his Emissary). For example on p.134 of his book he writes:

‘Our attention is responsive to the world, but the world is responsive to our attention. The situation presents a paradox for linear analysis. .. This paradox applies to the problem of how we get to know anything, but is particularly problematic for the special case whereby we are seeking to approach the very process whereby knowledge comes into being.’

Related to this is Charles Sander Peirce’s work on vagueness and intrinsic uncertainty, although McGilchrist does not reference Peirce in his book. (Again, I have only, as yet, touched on Peirce’s ideas).

The significance of paradox is related to the question of fixity. As McGilchrist says, if there are no things and everything is uncertain and changing, at what point can you say you know something; at what point can a few grains of sand be described as a heap of sand and which grain of sand makes the difference? I have written about this before (see https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/exploring-the-divided-brain-time-space-and-reality/). This of course relates to our understanding of the structure of reality in relation to time, but more importantly to our understanding that everything changes and everything flows; ‘all is in the process of change and eternal flux, rather than stasis and completion’ (p.270-271, The Master and his Emissary).

Deely & Semetsky (2017, p.209) have written that:

The holistic perspective taken by edusemiotics entails several distinctive characteristics including:

  • the relational ethics;
  • the role of experience as exceeding its ‘private’ dimension;
  • emphasis on interpretations surpassing factual ‘evidence’;
  • a conception of language understood broadly in terms of dynamic structures related to the regimes of signs exceeding linguistic representations; embodied cognition;
  • and the importance of self-formation as a lifelong process, thus having implications for education throughout the lifespan, inclusive of children and adults.

It is clear even from this brief introduction to edusemiotics, that whilst it does not explicitly inform McGilchrist’s The Master and his Emissary, it does share some similar thinking, principally in the idea that ‘knowledge is not acquired, as though it were a thing’. Interestingly these are the words that Stephen Downes uses to explain connectivism (see https://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=38653).

It also shares the right hemisphere’s ‘take’ on the nature of knowledge, that knowledge is an encounter with something ‘other’, not fixed or certain; it depends on ‘betweenness’ and the coming together of wholes. ‘Knowledge and perception and therefore experience, exist only in the relations ‘between’ things, i.e. in the knowledge of distinction and the experience of difference.’ (p. 94-97, The Master and his Emissary).

But from what I have read so far (admittedly little), edusemiotics neither goes as far as connectivism, which rejects cognitivist and constructivist theories of learning as being grounded in language and logic (see https://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?post=38653), nor as far as McGilchrist who emphasises language as being rooted in the body (p.118).

Downes writes:

In a representational system, you have a thing, a physical symbol, that stands in a one-to-one relationship with something: a bit of knowledge, an ‘understanding’, something that is learned, etc. In representational theories, we talk about the creation (‘making’ or ‘building’) and transferring of these bits of knowledge. This is understood as a process that parallels (or in unsophisticated theories, is) the creation and transferring of symbolic entities.

As Richard Parmentier writes: …  representation lies at the heart of the sign processes

But Downes also writes:

Connectivism is not a representational theory. It does not postulate the existence of physical symbols standing in a representational relationship to bits of knowledge or understandings. Indeed, it denies that there are bits of knowledge or understanding, much less that they can be created, represented or transferred.  

So edusemiotics, whilst sharing some of the pedagogical aspirations of connectivism, differs quite significantly in philosophy.

And McGilchrist writes of the left hemisphere as the hemisphere of representation, in which signs are substituted for experience (p.70). Whilst edusemiotics is discussed in terms of embodied cognition, I wonder about the tension between a discipline which studies signs, which are designed ‘to emphasise the ‘freedom’ of language as far as possible from the trammels of the body and of the physical world [they describe] (p.119 The Master and his Emissary), and a holistic, embodied approach to education.

It seems to me that edusemiotics shares some of the characteristics of connectivism and some of McGilchrist’s philosophical ideas, but the differences between edusemiotics and Downes’ and McGilchrist’s work are significant enough to ultimately affect philosophical and pedagogical approaches to education, making edusemiotics, connectivism and the implications of McGilchrist’s work for education incompatible.

References

Thanks to Gary Goldberg for prompting this post and to Matthias Melcher for discussion about the content.

Source of image: https://vanseodesign.com/web-design/semiotics-signifier-signified/

13 thoughts on “Edusemiotics, the Divided Brain and Connectivism

  1. David Cormier September 17, 2018 / 11:50 am

    Interesting. I have always seen a more ‘things in the world’ leaning to the way that Siemens used (i’ve not heard him use it recently) the word connectivism. Similar, maybe, to your usage of the word edusemiotics here. Thanks for the reminder about Pierce, I came across his work many years ago, and always meant to go back and dig in a little deeper.

    Also… just ordered the McGilchrist book. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. ggoldbergmd September 17, 2018 / 1:39 pm

    CS Peirce is definitely worth the effort. Whitehead referred to him as the ‘American Aristotle’ in a letter to Charles Hartshorne. What we are lacking in modernity is ‘practical wisdom’–common sense!–what Aristotle referred to as “Phronesis.” And that is exactly what Peirce was addressing with his ‘Pragmatic Maxim’ and what he subsequently referred to as his ‘pragmaticism’ in order to distinguish his conceptualization of the term from how it had subsequently evolved and, in Peirce’s view, corrupted.
    Peirce’s Triadic Semiotics is the basis for a new postmodern ‘Grand Vision’ that has been fleshed out by the late great American philosopher, John Deely. You can check out Deely’s writings about this including his magnificent Magnum Opis, ‘The Four Ages of Understanding.’

    More to come… Must get to work!

    Thank you for this amazing post, Jenny. There is much to ‘unpack’ here!!

  3. ggoldbergmd September 17, 2018 / 3:02 pm

    So much to convey, so little time!
    Jenny, I am deeply validated by your thoughtfulness here in acknowledging my input. But it is your blog that is creating this opportunity, so thank you!

    A couple of other references to consider in edusemiotics:

    The book by Andrew Stables and Inna Semetsky:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=stables%20semetsky%20edusemiotics

    And related papers by my cherished email correspondent, Cary Campbell, on faculty at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia:

    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Cary_Campbell2/amp

    Cary’s work on edusemiotics in music education and in the encouragement of creative expression of the learner (in Cary’s particular case the context is jazz musical performance) is, I think, a wonderful demonstration of the distinctive dynamic of edusemiotically inspired pedagogy.

    OK. Will get back with more as time allows.
    But here is a proposition to consider:

    Semiotics as a scientific foundation for a new ‘temporal naturalism’… A scientific enterprise in which time is real and operates as a true continuum for the unfolding of a dynamics of organismic embodied enaction.

    And Jenny’s entry really highlights what a semiotic foundation for the educational enterprise opens up:

    Relationality and, with it, openness to ethical considerations. And the development of ‘practical wisdom’–Aristotle’s ‘phronesis’. Figuring out how to do the right thing at the right time in the right place for the right reason(s).

    This is exactly was Peirce is after, as well, with his ‘pragmaticism.’
    And his ‘Concrete Idealism’ or, as you may have it, ‘Practical Realism.’

    And his ‘esthetic’ ‘Summum Bonum’ which is what he called ‘the growth of concrete reasonableness.’

    What the world really needs a little more of, do you think?

  4. jennymackness September 17, 2018 / 4:46 pm

    Hi Dave, I don’t think I have understood your point about George and connectivism. Could you say more? Whilst writing this post and particularly when considering the significance of emphasising interactions and relations over content and ‘things’, I did think about George’s references to knowledge flow :

    >”In a knowledge economy, the flow of information is the equivalent of the oil pipe in an industrial economy. Creating, preserving, and utilizing information flow should be a key organizational activity. Knowledge flow can be likened to a river that meanders through the ecology of an organization.” http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm “The pipe is more important than the content within the pipe.” from his book Knowing Knowledge (George Siemens, Lulu.com, 2006)

    As you will know, Stephen has also written about this in his book Connectivism and Connective Knowledge:

    > “Flow is what happens when your content and your data becomes unmanageable. Flow is what
    happens when all you can do is watch it as it goes by – it is too massive to store, it is too
    detailed to comprehend. Flow is when we cease to think of things like contents and
    communications and even people and environments as things and start thinking of them as (for
    lack of a better word) media – like the water in a river, like the electricity in our pipes, like the air
    in the sky.” (Stephen Downes, 2012, https://www.downes.ca/files/books/Connective_Knowledge-19May2012.pdf )

    But I don’t think either is quite the same as what McGilchrist means when he writes about ‘betweenness’. On p.94/95 of his book he writes “In one sense knowledge is essentially an ‘encounter’ with something or someone, therefore with something ‘other’….”

    and “… knowledge depends on ‘betweenness’ (an encounter).’

    And further on p. 97 he writes “…knowledge and perception, and therefore experience, exist only in the relations ‘between’ things.”

    McGilchrist obviously has a lot more to say about it than this.

    I hope you enjoy his book. You probably know that there is an introductory video – https://youtu.be/dFs9WO2B8uI

    – and this pdf is also an accessible introduction to his very long book, in case you haven’t come across it. https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/pdf/Iain%20McGilchrist%20Can%20the%20divided%20brain%20tell%20us%20anything%20about%20the%20ultimate%20nature%20of%20reality.pdf

    In fact an increasing number of videos and reviews of his book can now be found online, which is helpful.

  5. jennymackness September 17, 2018 / 5:02 pm

    HI Gary,

    Thanks so much for giving up your time to send me so many thoughts and references to consider. I do intend to look more closely at Peirce’s work, and Deely’s.

    I also want to look more closely at what Iain McGilchrist has said about time and how this relates to ‘There are no things’.

    And I need a lot more time to dig deeper into all the references you have sent me. If I can find something sensible to say, I will come back 🙂 Thank you.

  6. ggoldbergmd September 18, 2018 / 3:42 am

    There is a fundamentql issue related to time which connects very deeply to semiotics as the direct study of the interpretive process–i.e. how the organism draws meaning from its experience. The issue is that the left hemispheric mode disrupts the temporal continuum. It’s fallback is to take things apart. It’s way is that of Nominalism, which effectively separates subject and object, thing from its context. Which is a necessary element in experience. We need to make distinctions. But making distinctions should NOT be the way that we expect time and reality to be. That is a key point for Peirce whose underlying issue is that of continuity which opens into reality–what he labelled ‘Synechism’–which is the reality of the deep interconnectedness of the world–that, in truth, there are no things. It is the underlying relational nature of reality that is the baileywick of the right hemisphere and it is the right ‘synthetic’ hemisphere that holds things together and also is in touch with the temporal continuum–an ‘analogic’ connection to temporality as distinct from the ‘digital’ connection to temporality that is the left hemisphere’s mode of ‘sampling’ static moments that are extracted out of the temporal continuum making us believe that time and the experience of time is by way of a sequence of isolated static snapshots in thought. Freeze-frames that allow us to examine and analyze mechanism. Which, as it turns out, is an incredibly powerful way of understanding how things work. But living beings are not mechanisms, organisms are not machines built up out of component parts the way we would construct an automobile.
    What Peirce offers is a ‘Semiotic Realism’ that restores relationality and, with it, subjectivity–that which makes an individual a ‘person’, infinitely unique who, using the terms of Emmanuel Levinas, cannot be ‘totalized’–ie. is NOT a machine and cannot be analyzed and understood completely as we would think we could accomplish in working out the workings of a piece of equipment. That is where things have gone horribly wrong in modernity. We’ve lost our ability to recognize the ‘person’ in the Other because of how far we have gone into the left-hemispheric mode of analyzing the world in a vain attempt to totalize everything.
    And this is the problem at the heart of the brokenness of modernity–the separation between subject and object, between observer and observed, between our species and the rest of the natural world.
    Which is why, as you clearly point out, Jenny, what edusemiotics does is to restore ethics and ethical instruction to the educational enterprise.
    Levinas indicated that his overall philosophical project was the ‘deformalization of time.’ To bring us back to what Lee Smolin has called a ‘temporal naturalism’, a scientific understanding that recognizes the reality and the continuity of time. Back to the recognition of the temporal continuum in which relationality reigns supreme and in which process takes precedence over substance.

    I am currently reading an old book of essays by Max H Fisch about CS Peirce called ‘Peirce, Semeiotic and Pragmatism’. The tenth essay is called “Peirce’s Progress from Nominalism toward Realism” and it has shed a tremendous amount of light on all of this for me. personally.

    And there are many many books on the ‘philosophy of time’ and the ‘neuroscience of time’. The real question is what ‘time’ are we talking about? Is it the physical ‘public’ formal time of the physicist? or the Bergsonian ‘duree’ that is time as subjectively experienced, the ontological time that is the finite timeframe of the existence of an individual which Heidegger draws out in his classic phenomenological exploration of the relation between ontology and temporality, ‘Being and Time.’ Which might also be recognized as fundamentally relational. In quantum mechanics, time and energy are a complementary covariate, which is another interesting potential tangent. But the key issue about time is how it serves as the ultimate ‘Third’ (in his ‘new set of categories’ of experiential phenomena) in Peirce’s evolutionary metaphysics. The temporal continuum is the ‘mediator’ in system dynamics. And, as such, it also is critical in the intersubjective encounter between oneself and the Other. Yael Lin explores this issue in her book, ‘The Intersubjectivity of Time.’ Other related books on this topic are Eric Severson’s ‘Levinas’s Philosophy of Time’ and Cynthia Coe’s book that I am digging into now called ‘Levinas and the Trauma of Responsibility’ which is subtitled ‘The Ethical Significance of Time’…

    https://www.dupress.duq.edu/products/philosophy49-paper

    https://www.dupress.duq.edu/products/philosophy50-paper

    http://www.iupress.indiana.edu/product_info.php?products_id=809020

    SO much more to say about this. Including the general idea of ‘semioethics’ which is the concept of a semiotically informed ethics about which the late John Deely, Susan Petrilli, Paul Cobley and several others have written.

    I see (bio)semiotics, semioethics and this way of getting out of our left hemispheres and back into the reality of our lives through a re-balancing of the interaction between left and right hemsipheric ‘modes’ as the emergence of what Jean Gebser termed ‘Integral Consciousness’–but that is a whole separate topic! For another time.

    Paul Cobley’s book in the Springer Biosemiotics series titled ‘Cultural Implications of Biosemiotics’ (which looks like a pretty amazing book!) has a chapter in it titled: ‘Ethics Cannot be Voluntary’ that promises to be extremely interesting given the premise of the title of the chapter…

    https://books.google.com/books/about/Cultural_Implications_of_Biosemiotics.html?id=e2TUDAAAQBAJ

    That is going to have to go onto my reading list but probably won’t manage to get to it for a while.

    OK. Time to retire for the evening…. Much to ponder here…

  7. ggoldbergmd September 18, 2018 / 5:24 pm

    One other quick comment in response to Jenny’s concern about edusemiotics. The requirement here is to hopefully avoid an ‘either/or’ approach. The intention is to move toward a ‘both/or’ integral recognition that ‘representation’ is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. We have come a long way in what Deely calls the ‘Age of Ideas.’ But we are now reaching a ‘fin de siecle.’ It is time to recognize the need to embrace a different approach in the emerging ‘Age of Signs.’ We have ridden the ‘bottom-up’ mechanistic approach of Nominalism about as far as it will take us without losing our way as a direct result of its detrimental ‘side effects.’ It is time for some ‘re-balancing’ but we certainly do not wish to regress and throw out all the progress that has occurred in the last 300+ years. There is a need to ‘re-attune’ the balance between the ‘bottom-up’ and the ‘top-down’ approaches as a necessary corrective.
    We cannot do without either our left or our right hemispheres! The issue is context (which is the right mode for this particular situation?) and priority (which is the ‘Master’ and which is the ‘Emissary’?). Semiotics subsumes both modes because both the left and the right hemispheres are in the business of interpreting experience. They just go about it differently. Looking at the situation in terms of ‘attentional modes’ there are times when focal attention that discriminates between what is food and what is grit is going to be very important for a bird pecking at the fine gravel bits that have digestible seeds distributed through it. It cannot survive without that capability for that task. But if it is not capable of monitoring globally for a predator sneaking up or the arrival of a potential mate AT THE SAME TIME that it is focused down in digging about the dirt, then it will be too busy seeking seeds for sustenance to either not become another creature’s lunch, or to lose out on engaging in a reproductive opportunity, both of which are complementary autopoietic necessities.
    What I would say is that it is not ‘representation’ that lies at the heart of semiotics, but rather ‘interpretation’ and the process of extracting meaning and value. The critical element in the triadic semiotic relation is the ‘interpretant’. It is not a dyadic ‘representation’ involving only a sign and its object, which is the way that de Saussure developed his ‘semiology’ with reference to a linguistic context and the function of language.
    The inclusion of all three elements AND the relations that link them together (sign to object, sign to interpretant and object to interpretant) is critical and cannot be broken down further in terms of a functional construct.
    Which also relates directly to the structure of the vertebrate cerebrum which is the context out of which McGilchrist develops his approach to all of this. There is the right hemisphere and its ‘way’, there is the left hemisphere and its ‘way’, AND there is the corpus callosum, the relatively large bundle of fibers that coordinates the temporal interaction between the two hemispheres–this last element is really critical as a mediating element in the ongoing dynamics. What is of some concern is that the relative size of the corpus callosum is shrinking as the vertebrate line has evolved–a point which McGilchrist makes clearly although it is not quite clear what the implications of this may be.

  8. ggoldbergmd September 18, 2018 / 5:26 pm

    CORRECTION to previous comment:
    One other quick comment in response to Jenny’s concern about edusemiotics. The requirement here is to hopefully avoid an ‘either/or’ approach. The intention is to move toward a ‘both/AND’ integral recognition that ‘representation’ is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing.

  9. jennymackness September 18, 2018 / 7:40 pm

    Gary – I really appreciate your comment on time and how it connects to semiotics and I really like your first paragraph in which you articulate your understanding of this, which makes perfect sense to me and relates closely to what Iain McGilchrist said to us on the course I attended in 2016 – https://jennymackness.wordpress.com/2016/08/29/exploring-the-divided-brain-time-space-and-reality/

    I now need to spend some time relating all this to Peirce, Levinas and others you have mentioned. I have collected all the references you have suggested into a ‘reading list’, which is growing almost daily! It will take me a while to cover it all, but thank you so much. It is all fascinating.

    And I am still thinking about your response to my concern about edusemiotics, but thank you for so clearly articulating your thoughts. Of course McGilchrist says that both the right and left hemisphere are involved in everything all the time (with the exception of one of two things, which just at this moment i can’t remember off the top of my head), but I’m not sure that this equates to both/and, although of course I understand that we need the left hemisphere as much as the right hemisphere, which McGilchrist never fails to stress.

    But he also stresses that the LH and RH each have a different ‘take’ on the world, so that’s where I’m puzzling over the both/and in relation to representation and interpretation.

    I’m not sure if this will make sense. I will think more about it (I am a slow, slow worker/thinker!) and get back to you. Thank you again.

  10. ggoldbergmd September 23, 2018 / 1:11 pm

    Yes, Jenny, it makes perfect sense to me!

    No doubt these are challenging ideas but I am convinced that they are central to the deep nature of human existence, and potentially important to recognize the implications thereof.

    And, of course, how we learn and develop as intentional ethical agents. Seeking both freedom to act creatively, but with recognition that we ‘own’ the consequences of our actions, and that we are, correspondingly, ‘responsible’ agents. Which is something that the analytical mode of the left hemispheric worldview does not quite ‘get.’ When all we care about are ‘just the facts’, there is a disconnection from meaning and values. When we think that we can operate without a ‘guiding metaphysics’ as positivistic ‘scientism’ maintains, then we quickly go down the proverbial rabbit-hole of what Charles Eisenstein (CE) calls ‘The Way of Separation’ (I have been reading his new book called ‘Climate–A New Story’ over the last few days–it is amazing how these ideas are relevant to so many different areas of contemporary existential concern! )…

    https://charleseisenstein.net/books/climate-a-new-story/

    As CE maintains, we have come to the end of an age (does that sound familiar?). And it is time for us to seek a ‘new story’ that is what I would call the ‘Way of Relationality’ that recognizes the deep relational connection between everything. CE calls it the ‘Way of Inter-being’ following the terminology of Vietnamese Buddhist monk and author, Thích Nhất Hạnh. John Deely would call it the dawning of the ‘Semiotic Age.’

    So, in the digital nominalistic mode of the left hemisphere, the world is understood in terms of a ‘timeless naturalism’ in which time is basically illusory. As a result, the nature of the logic this entails is purely binary and intolerant of paradox. It is a perspective in which two major rules of binary propositional logic hold sway: 1. the Law of Non-Contradiction (LNC), and, 2. the Law of the Excluded Middle (LEM). There is no possibility of Mediation, of true complementarity. It is a ‘black-and-white’ world of absolute Separation in which ‘vagueness’ is considered absolutely intolerable. It is like the world of ‘Flatland’ described in EA Abbott’s book…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland

    Peirce called this situation ‘Secondness’–a world stripped and devoid of the mediational power of ‘Thirdness’ and thus characterized by what he called the ‘Clash’ of ‘brute force.’ It is a world in which the Cartesian ‘Way of Ideas’ holds sway–the realm of dualism. Each individual has direct access to Truth–but only the human being has claim to this power of ‘consciousness’ and the blessing of a soul. In the Cartesian worldview, all other species are mere soulless machines. This is the philosophical foundation for the ‘Way of Separation’ that drives a wedge between entities and between the human species and the rest of Nature. I like to call it the ‘Thunder of Sunder.’ It has brought us as a species to the precipice, to the edge of the abyss.

    So, as CE maintains, and I believe he is absolutely right on the mark, we need a ‘new story’… one that acknowledges the interconnectedness of all existence and the fact is that we live on a singular blue planet (a ‘pale blue dot’) in a singular universe, and that we are all in this life-raft together…. as Carl Sagan maintains…

    When will we ever learn?

    “The earth is a very small stage, in a vast cosmic arena…”

    “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark…”

    “In all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves…”

    “to me, it underscores our RESPONSIBILITY to deal more kindly with each other, and to preserve and cherish the Pale Blue Dot…”

  11. jennymackness September 27, 2018 / 12:51 pm

    Thank you again Gary for this lovely comment and for providing further links for me to follow.

    ‘….we need a new story…’ makes sense to me, but I’m not sure whether it will ever be possible to reach a consensus on what that new story should be. Academia, where you would hope a new story would emerge from, is notoriously slow to change, but McGilchrist has discussed how civilisations come and go. We just have to hope that this one won’t collapse before we can find a ‘new story’.

    And I thought you might be interested to hear that on a visit to a nearby second-hand bookshop last weekend – http://westwoodbooks.co.uk/ – I did purchase an old book (published in 1940) bearing the title – The Philosophy of Peirce. I now just have to find time to read it 🙂

  12. ggoldbergmd September 29, 2018 / 11:51 am

    Agree that there are many different names for the ‘new story’ that necessarily will come forward. Ken Wilber calls it the emergence of ‘Integral Consciousness’, John Deely called it the ‘Way of Signs’ or the ‘Semiotic Age’, Charles Eisenstein, following Thích Nhất Hạnh, calls it the ‘Way of Inter-being’ (as opposed to the ‘Way of Separation’). However, the basic message, the fundamental requirement is basically the same. In my humble opinion. My own personal perspective is that ‘It’s about time.’ That is, it emerges from a philosophical consideration of temporality and the reality of time viewed in Bergsonian terms as the subjective ‘lapse of time’ that Bergson called ‘la durée’.

    See: https://philosophynow.org/issues/48/Henri_Bergson_and_the_Perception_of_Time

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duration_(philosophy)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s