Tag Archives: The Universal Human

Contemplating and Cultivating the Universal Human

Contemplating and Cultivating the Unversal Human

It was Pascal who remarked that much of the unhappiness in the world results from the fact that most men do not know what to do with their solitude. It is especially in times of inner solitude and contemplation that we are able to care for the soul, open the heart, expand the mind and awaken the spirit. C.S. Lewis remarked that the world is starved for silence, solitude, meditation and therefore true friendship. Pascal and Lewis had come upon their same insight from personal experience.

German Romantic Ideal of “Bildung” roughly corresponds to the cultivation of the whole person in relation to all the vital domains of general knowledge and life experience, resulting in an intelligent, sensitive, passionate, creative, richly diverse and complexly integrated way of life. Over the years I’ve filled my journals with various “mental maps” that attempt to sketch out various aspects of human knowledge and life experience that invite but critical reflection and reflexive contemplation. The attached “mental map” in blue letters at the top of this page is a pdf file that outlines eleven dimensions of knowledge and experience that invite mindful and soulful living. They are: All Personal Dimension, All Life Systems, All Life-Time Passages, All Historical Ages, All Great Civilizations, All Psychological Temperaments, All Social Institutions, All Liberal Arts, All Sociological Matrixes, All Worldview Perspectives and All Cultural Value Memes. I’ve found that these eleven “rubrics” give me “starter ideas” to reflect upon during my times of solitude and contemplation, personal exploration and journal-writing. They also serve as topical catalysts for conversational salons and educational seminars. Perhaps you will find them helpful as a kind of “cosmogony” for critical reflection and contemplative renewal.


Cultivating the Potentialities of the Universal Human Within An Integral Pluralist Vision of Reality

Cultivating the Potentialities of the Universal Human

To see this post in its proper relations please open the attached word document PDF file highlighted in green letters above. This is the mental map I described in the previous blog. I attempted to “copy and paste” the document into word press but the lines didn’t want to cooperate. In any case, there are a variety of ways in which modern people have attempted to envision the meaning and relation, metaphysical reality and epistemological authority of Spirit and Nature, as well as the Right Side and Left Sides of human experience, that is, the internal and external aspects of human perception and awareness. Mergers and Splitters, Artists and Scientists as “pure types” simply see the world through different lenses. Each is convinced of the primal and ultimate authority of its own lens. There are a variety of “spiritual” or metaphysical visions of the encompassing reality, just as there are a variety of “secular” and naturalistic visions of the encompassing reality. An integral pluralist approach is to at least be aware of the variety of ways that different human beings in different ages and cultures have perceived and interpreted their experience of themselves and the world in which they have lived.

“Spirit” (Above)

Synoptic Visions Within the Primal, Ancient & Medieval World

Spirit, Nature, Human Being (Aboriginal Vision)

Passive Yin, Active Yang, Integral Tao (Taoist Vision)

Being, Consciousness, Bliss (Hindu Vision)

Non-Attachment, Mindfulness, Compassion (Buddhist Vision)

Justice, Mercy, Peace (Shalom) (Jewish Vision)

Light, Life, Love; Faith, Hope, Love (Christian Vision)

Beauty, Goodness, Truth (Classical Hellenic Vision)

Solitude, Simplicity, Serenity (Medieval Monastic Vision)

Arts, Humanities, Sciences (Renaissance Humanist Vision)

Synoptic Visions within the Modern, Post-Modern & Contemporary World

Reason, Law, Mechanism (Enlightenment Vision)

Freedom, Creativity, Organicism (Romantic Vision)

Private, Public, Social Sectors (Democratic Vision)

Passion, Inwardness, Subjectivity (Existential Vision)

Subjective, Objective, Relational (Pragmatic Vision)

Unity, Diversity, Unification (Integral Pluralist Vision)

Intentions:Interior Individual


Identity & Intimacy


Inward Orientation:

Right Brain Hemisphere



First-Person Experience

Feeling & Perceiving




Internal Collective


Symbols & Traditions


Intuition (Visions & Dreams)

Conscience (Virtues &Ethics)

Volition (Purposes & Plans)

Reason (Logic & Analyses)

Above: Mind & Spirit


Below: Body & Soul

Imagination (Arts & Aesthetics)

Emotions (Moods & Relations)

Sensations (Pleasures & Desires)

Body (Health & Wellness)



External Individual


Differentiation & Distance


Outward Orientation:

Left-Brain Hemisphere



Third-Person Analysis

Thinking & Judging




External Collective


Systems & Institutions


“Nature” (Below)

Mystery, Cosmos, Galaxies, Solar Systems, Planets, Earth, Existence,

Life*, Complexity, Consciousness, Community, Civilization, Culture

Vegetative, Animal and Human Forms of Life and Consciousness

Other Forms of Life and Consciousness throughout the Galaxies