What if we could celebrate “THE WAY OF THE UNIVERSAL POLYMATH” who honors and explores all the vital intellectual disciplines and cultural domains of the liberal arts — including philosophy, religion, history, myth, linguistics, literature, arts, sciences, psychology and sociology, among others?
What if we could encounter THE BEST THAT HAS BEEN EXPRESSED AND WRITTEN by many of history’s most influential and creative minds across the ages in various cultures?
What if we temporarily and provisionally STEP OUTSIDE our own historically situated, culturally conditioned, psychologically influenced, socially shaped and linguistically constructed “HERMENEUTICAL CIRCLES” and “COMMUNITIES OF DISCOURSE” to engage those who are different in self-critical and humane global dialogue?
What if we could TRAVEL ACROSS OUR WORLDVIEWS to encounter others for a true meeting of minds?
What if we could INTEGRATE THE INTELLECTUAL AND CULTURAL LEGACIES of the PRIMORDIALISTS, TRADITIONALISTS, ROMANTICS, MODERNISTS, and POST-MODERNISTS INTO A TRANS-MODERN PERSPECTIVE, and at the same time recognize the limitations of each sensibility and perspective?
What if we could find complementary value and worth in HISTORICAL TRADITIONS, TRANSCENDENTAL IDEALS, SCIENTIFIC EMPIRICISM, and CULTURAL DIVERSITY?
What if we had an approach to human knowledge and life experience that could INTEGRATE MULTIPLE EPISTEMOLOGICAL METHODS, ONTOLOGICAL LEVELS and EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES? (See “A Theory of Everything,” by Ken Wilber)
What if we could integrate the FOUR EPISTEMOLOGICAL METHODS of Subjective introspection, empirical observation, cultural creativity and social systems thinking?
What if we granted epistemological value not only to mathematical calculation and empirical sciences but also to the “PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE” and “TACIT DIMENSION” associated with transcendental ideals, reflexive self-awareness, inter-subjective relationships, narrativity, aesthetics, ethics, theoretical reflection and noetic experience?
What if we acknowledged that the SCIENTIFIC ENTERPRISE is not an entirely impersonal endeavor that splits facts from values and science from humanity? What if we recognized that it is influenced by the PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT OF THE KNOWER in all acts of understanding, and is guided by WORLDVIEW ASSUMPTIONS and EXISTENTIAL COMMITMENTS in the search for increasing contact with reality.
What if human beings are MORE THAN “MACHINES” AND “COMPUTERS” WITH BIG BRAINS? What if we are highly complex, adaptive, self-organizing, non-linear, organic “LIVING SYSTEMS” with an astonishing capacity for SELF-REALIZATION and SELF-TRANSCENDENCE?
What if the scientific “REIFYING” and “LITERALIZING” of metaphors and analogies like “machine” and “computer” cause communication problems similar to religious fundamentalists who reify and literalize metaphors and analogies about the nature of the ineffable nature of “supreme reality” — a mystery that some people call “God”?
What if some people have a hard time differentiating between LITERAL AND METAPHORICAL LANGUAGE, or think that if a statement is not literally true then it not meaningful or true at all? What if some people “lie” through writing literary fiction in order to “speak the truth but tell it slant?”
What if our self-actualizing and self-transcending capacity allows us to INTEGRATE THE MULTIPLE ONTOLOGICAL LEVELS that include matter, body, mind, soul and spirit?
What if we could comprehend the “SPIRAL DYNAMICS” of “CONSCIOUS CULTURAL EVOLUTION” as including the multiple “memes” of Survival Sense, Kins Spirits, Power Gods, Truth Force, Strategic Enterprise, Human Bond, Systemic Process and Global View? (See “Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change,” by Don Beck and Christopher Cowen)
What if THE EXPANDING COSMOS according to quantum mechanics and the new physics is not “stranger than we think” but STRANGER THAN WE CAN THINK?
What if THE FURTHER REACHES OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS has levels, dimensions, heights and depths that we are only beginning to explore and understand?
What if the relationship between the MIND and the BRAIN is more complex than either absolute idealism or reductive materialism will allow?
What if the HUMAN MIND functions not in an “absolute vacuum” but in a “QUANTUM VACUUM” that is entangled with and connected to other minds, and to a UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS that pervades the cosmos?
What if the “bottom-up” DETERMINISTIC INFLUENCES of the BODY-BRAIN and the “top-down” AUTONOMOUS INFLUENCES of the TRANSCENDENT MIND mutually influence each other?
What if our PROSPECTS FOR A SANE, JUST, FREE AND SUSTAINABLE GLOBAL FUTURE require the cultivation and development of “Human Being 2.0?” What would such a human being look like? What should be the optimal interface between HUMAN BEINGS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY? What is the relationship between HUMAN BEINGS and ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE?
What if we could RE-IMAGINE and RE-INVENT ALL OUR MAJOR SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS for the 21st Century and beyond? What revolutionary changes and reforms are critically needed in EDUCATION, BUSINESS, FINANCE, POLITICS, LAW, MEDICINE, HEALTH CARE, MASS-MEDIA, JOURNALISM, ENTERTAINMENT, ETHICS AND RELIGION?
These are some of the kinds of provocative questions we need to be asking as we create a global future with immense and previously unimagined possibilities.