About

armchair

noun

thing one sits in for relaxing and thoughtful activity;

collective

adj., noun

of, or relating to a group of individuals;

In many things, humans are no more insightful than the other animals. For all our attempts to predict the weather, it's not the weather report that warns us of the approaching thunderstorm, it's the silence of the birds.

People are not special in the way we fall down. We are special only in the way we get up again. Unlike the birds, we can turn to one another say "well, that was a hell of a storm".

Humans, of all the animals, have the greatest capacity for nurture. Our capacity to thrive is due to our ability to adapt, and our ability to adapt is merely a reflection of our ability to meaningfully share ideas among each other. If one quality could be said to characterise the human condition, it would be this.

But, our ability to share ideas is failing.

Henri Poincare once wrote that "[s]cience is built with facts, as a house is built with stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a pile of stones is a houseā€¦". Not very long ago, creating a synthesis of scientific knowledge would be a time-consuming effort, but an achieveable one and one that could be shared.

Today, the scholastic enterprise is a bit funny. The pursuit of truth, but only for those who can read the articles. Terminology that isolates us from expression. Facts for the sake of facts, without understanding. A thousand proliferating disciplines, showering us with knowledge split into a million isolated fragments until "we know more and more about less and less". This kind of knowledge is a barrier to learning.

How can we hope to share ideas when knowledge is buried in the fragments?

For that, we must create an architecture of thought: a system of knowledge that can guide us in the pursuit of understanding. But knowledge is nothing except in relation to the way we use it. Our architecture of thought must be embedded in the context of our desires and coordinated in the light of experience. In short, we must become wise.

And the best way to learn is to teach our future selves.

So let's do that. Let's turn scholarship into wisdom.


the good life... is a direction, not a destination... the direction we choose when there is complete psychological freedom.

Carl Rogers, On becoming a person.

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