Hi Joe,


  Funky coincidence. BTW, for those reading along, this is exactly why I expanded the vision from the Tree of Knowledge System, which was trying to get a metaphysical/metatheoretical frame of scientific understanding that would enable me to do psychotherapy into the Garden, which is the vision that synthesizes pure and practical reason into a whole vision that is centered on Wisdom rather than Knowledge.


This slide captures what I mean here:


The UTUA Tree has the Tree of Knowledge as its first branch, and the unified theory as its left side. However, it also has CALM as its 8th branch, a frame for well-being, adaptation and development to inform practical reasoning toward valued states of being.

Note that the much of the strength of the Eastern Philosophical systems is that they kept their eye on the practical reason domain (i.e., wise living). Thus, my desire to link up with the Eastern worldview (which is not easy, given my limited knowledge and enculturation history). But with is Wisdom focus, the Garden attempts this, such as depicted here, connecting it to the Eight Fold Path in Buddhism.

(Here is a cool podcast on the eight fold way). Also, Here is a similar point being made by the metamodernist, Daniel Gortz in a two minute clip.


Again and again, the question is how do we move toward wise flourishing rather than quantitative growth and control? Will we “wake up” in time to chance course?




From: tree of knowledge system discussion <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Joseph Michalski
Sent: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 8:33 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Fundamental Problem


Hi folks. Interestingly and remarkably, I have just finished reading Maxwell's Our Fundamental Problem. No, Gregg and I did not trade notes about the book & he likely doesn't know I read it! But, there's a key issue that Maxwell addresses too in arguing that we have done a great job of developing "knowledge-inquiry" but a wholly inadequate job of developing "wisdom-inquiry." What that means is that most people in the academy - definitely myself included - have institutionalized the pursuit of knowledge to explain the fundamental processes operating across the different dimensions of reality. We have developed our scientific approaches to an extraordinary degree and advanced our knowledge of the different domains immeasurably, even though there are still many scientific questions & areas of inquiry that remain open and likely will remain open for the foreseeable future. 


In short, we have done a great job of learning about the universe, as well as the various entities across different dimensions within the universe. As a side note, I'm of the opinion that our knowledge of these different dimensions various inversely with their position on the ToK, i.e., we know more about Matter than Life, Life than Mind, and Mind than Culture. But that's tied as well to the bigger problem that Maxwell's book aims to address:  "the problem of learning to become civilized" (p. 204). Maxwell concludes that while we have solved the problem of "learning" about the universe via the creation of modern science, we have not made much progress in terms of the problem of "learning " how to be civilized. And thus we find ourselves in 2020 armed with tremendous knowledge and power to act on scales never before imagined - which have helped lead to many benefits in the creation of the modern world - and yet relatively ill-equipped to approach our basic and emerging problems with "wisdom." I should add that that's partly my interpretation and extension of Maxwell's argument. In other words, I'm saying that the basic problems have been with us since time immemorial, such as how we treat & interact with others who are not members of our "tribe." We have tremendous scientific knowledge about racism, implicit bias, cognitive biases, ethnocentrism, etc. And certainly there's some wisdom out there to be found among some enlightened folks. And then we have science & technology that have benefited humanity while concurrently creating a range of global problems from modern warfare to species extinctions to climate change. We understand these issues quite well, but, once more, we have not invested nearly as much energy in the direction of developing our collective wisdom to act on these matters. 


So, in a nutshell, that's what I see the ToK doing, as well as various other organizations and progressive thinkers across various media. But there's a MAJOR problem holding us back -- and I, for one, am part of that problem:  the extant institutional power structures. In academia, just as in business and government and religion, we are organized hierarchically to pursue our prime directives (e.g., "knowledge," "wealth," "power", and "status[the sacred]") with the basic orientation that we should always equate "more" with "success." That is, if I'm an academician, I should produce more knowledge. If I'm in business, my aim is to produce more profits. Etc. And, in so doing, we secure our own privileged positions and ensure we're "successful" and at or near the top of our respective pyramids. And there are often many "goods" that come out of these pursuits. But we are often woefully or perhaps even at times deliberately unaware of what the economists refer to as the "negative externalities" of our sometimes single-minded pursuits. We "know" we're doing good things in our sphere because our c.v.'s are longer, our bank accounts are richer, and our control over people & organizations are greater. But what so many people on this list - and I'm truly a novice in this type of thinking - and elsewhere (e.g., Rebel Wisdom) are arguing is that we have paid, continue to pay, and will pay in the future a tremendous price if we do not shift our thinking and invest more in the development of our individual and collective "wisdom" and, to return to Maxwell, "of learning to become civilized." Does this make sense? I hope so. As mentioned, I've only really just learned all of this in the past year myself, having been the dutiful academician and hard-working "knowledge producer." I'd like to spend my remaining time on the planet putting the knowledge into practice (yes, just delivering furniture seems to be one of my most human and 'humane' endeavors these days), learning more about wisdom - from all founts - and then "acting with wisdom." Or, in Gregg's phrase, to "be that which enhances dignity and well-being with integrity." Or, in my own terms, I'd like to try not to be an a-hole no matter what the situation or the people with whom I encounter! Cheers, -Joe


Dr. Joseph H. Michalski

Professor, Department of Sociology

King’s University College at Western University

266 Epworth Avenue, DL-201

London, Ontario, Canada  N6A 2M3

Tel: (519) 433-3491

Email: [log in to unmask]


ei + 1 = 0


From: tree of knowledge system discussion <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Henriques, Gregg - henriqgx <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, June 3, 2020 7:28 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Fundamental Problem


Hi TOK List,

  Attached is a Preface to a book that attempts a new approach to philosophy. It shares some key features of the Unified Framework. One of the key features is that it locates one of the central, fundamental problems that we face in the 21st Century is a clear system of understanding that reconciles what Ken Wilber calls the “materialist flatland” view of science with human experience and meaning making. I have highlighted the relevant sections that capture this fact.

  To connect this issue to the paper Joe and I just published, one big change is that we need to stop thinking about science in terms of its reductive physical foundations and thinking about it in terms of mapping and modeling behavior across the levels and dimensions of complexity as framed by the ToK/PTB (see here).




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