The convergent mindset

The great river of Being. The metaphor of all things in the universe being connected, ordered and networked within and without the human person ran from the ancient period right through the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Then it died.

What we inherited is a framework which seems integrative, the scientific framework, the view from above, the plurality of discrete beings finding a home in some plane of existence. Except that the result is a kind of anxiety that at best we struggle with, and at worst we sweep under the carpet in denial and trivialisation, only to discover later that it doesn’t go away.

We buy the sign, but not the referent. We want to feel connected, but the ground of being is cracked and precarious. We leap from one stepping stone to another, feeling sort of unease that we take to be predicament of our condition. In many ways it is. But that’s not the whole picture.

The human capacity for self-deception is endless. So is the power of self-mythologising. We seek convergence but what we find are the vanishing lines of simulation. Without having figured out what human intelligence is, we rush to put our hopes in the artificial, which is self-made and self-serving, but not necessarily self-transcendent.

The fear of the scientific worldview is the trap of anthropocentrism. But there is no escape from the view from the centre. The cosmos may not be organised around the human person, but it is the human person that organises the cosmos. It takes eyes to see, except when there is nothing to see, which is to say nothing at all. Like I’ve done here.

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