A Perennial Source of Higher Systems

The brief excerpt below is relevant to a) the appreciation of the new science of Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics, and b) the choices of every society as to what its culture is to be.  In particular it is relevant to the achievement of liberation and ongoing freedom in currently totalitarian societies.  (Also click here   and here)

(CWL 3, 266/291-92) … we have noted the aesthetic liberation of human experience from the confinement of the biological pattern and the further practical liberation of human living that is brought about inasmuch as man grasps possible schemes of recurrence and fulfills by his own action the conditions for their realization. Now we must proceed to the root of these liberations.  They rest on two facts.  On the one hand, inquiry and insight are not so much a higher system as a perennial source of higher systems, so that human living has as its basic task in reflecting on systems and judging them, deliberating on their implementation and choosing between possibilities.  On the other hand, there can be in man a perennial source of higher systems because the materials of such systematization are not built in his constitution.  For an animal to begin a new mode of living, there would be needed not only a new sensibility, but also a new organism. An animal species is a solution to the problem of living, so that a new solution would be a new species; for an animal to begin to live in quite a new fashion, there would be required not only a modification of its sensibility but also a modification of the organism that the sensibility systematizes.  But in man a new department of mathematics, a new viewpoint in science, a new civilization, a new philosophy, has its basis, not in a new sensibility but simply in a new manner of attending to data and of forming combinations of combinations of data.  Seeing and hearing, tasting and smelling, imagining and feeling, are events with a corresponding neural basis; but inquiring and understanding have their basis, not in a neural structure, but in a structure of psychic contents.  Sensation supposes sense organs; but understanding is not another type of sensation with another sense organ; it operates with respect to the content of sensation and imagination; it represents a still further degree of freedom. … Intelligence is the source of a sequence of systems that unify and relate otherwise coincidental aggregates of sensible contents.  Just as the famous experiments on sea urchins reveal the immanent direction of the aggregation of aggregates of aggregates, so the constructive and repressive censorship exercised preconsciously by intelligence reveals a still higher immanent direction that controls the sensible and imaginative contents that are to emerge into consciousness. ¶  Man, then, is at once explanatory genus and explanatory species.  He is explanatory genus, for he represents a higher system beyond sensibility.  But that genus is coincident with species, for it is not just a higher system but a source of higher systems.  In man there occurs the transition from the intelligible to the intelligent. (CWL 3, 266/291-92)

1 thought on “A Perennial Source of Higher Systems

  1. Peter Cassar Torreggiani

    Does the four point hypothesis in Lonergan’s de Trino Uno point to our participation in transcendence in renewing the face of the earth in the Holy Spirit, even being helped by Lonergan’s economics and our faith through catholic social teaching?

    Are sacraments immaterial like credit future derivatives emanating from the banking central function in the baseball diamond?

    Is this a good subject for a HIGHER VIEWPOINT cosmopolis inspired international experiment in national economic development?


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