Epistemological Modes and the Dialectical Process

“An enlightened person seeks convergence in their thinking, not compartmentalization. They’re always looking toward the next synthesis.” So this seems to be the argument people are making against recognizing that science, politics, and art are separate modes — or attitudes — on a topic. Is this a thesis-antithesis situation? Can we make a synthesis?

Yes. The apparent contradiction is not real. Dialectic and dilatory are not the same thing. Making a synthesis and never defining the thesis are not the same thing. You cannot make a coherent thesis until you identify the mode in which you are operating. How do we square your idea of God with mine? We can’t do it by dominating the other person. We can’t do it through logic unless sharing the discoveries of logic opens us up to shared emotional experience. We experience God in the aesthetic mode. If we are there and open to each other’s humanity, we can pursue understanding and convergence.

If we are in the political mode, the mode of policy-making and persuasion once we’ve made up our own minds, then we cannot attempt a synthesis with someone still in the mode of questioning and discovery, unless we back out of the political mode.

If we are in the political mode, we cannot form a synthesis with the aesthetic mode. “The Nazi flag is pretty!” “How monstrous, it’s a symbol of genocidal hate!” These statements must be resolved with awareness of their respective modes.

About robertpkruger

Writer, editor, and software developer. Former president of ElectricStory.com.
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