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posted
Hi,

Is anyone familiar with the work of priest, social psychologist, Diarmuid O'Murchu? His book, "Our World In Transition", discusses two basic world views (static/dynamic) and how they contribute to polarisation. I'm wondering if anyone else has ideas about polarisation and the factors contributing to it.....or about other books discussing similar issues by O'Murchu.

Thanks.

qt
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi... thought everyone disappeared. Anyhow, never heard of the guy - sorry but am interested. have no time to start another book right now though so why don't you give us a condensation. I'd like to hear more.
Wanda
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi uraqt!

I second what Wanda said--this sounds really interesting and I'd love to learn more, but right now I've just got too much on my plate. Could you please tell us more?

Peace and Love,
Bonnie
 
Posts: 12 | Location: Vermont | Registered: 12 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Bonnie and Wanda,

I'm glad you're out there. It's been so quiet lately. I was wondering what happened.

Thanks for the interest in this topic. I'm in the
process of reading the book but I'll do my best to summarize parts of it.

O'Murchu talks about the two basic paradigms present in the world today. One is mechanistic, based on the work of Newton and uses a machine as its basic metaphor. The other paradigm is wholistic and uses 'the whole' (holon) as its starting point.

The mechanistic model is the one we've been operating on for years in the West. The wholistic model is the one currently being birthed.

He expands on this notion by getting into the characteristics of these two world views. The mechanistic view focuses on static views. It's basic virtue is stability, the 'don't rock the boat' kind of thinking. It sees change as superficial and too much change as disorienting to people. It also views creation as complete. This is the way God made things. Done.

The wholistic view tends to view movement as the nature of life....progress is evolutionary.... too much of the same thing inhibits growth, creativity and imagination. God continually co-creates, in conjunction with human beings. Creation is not a done deal!

He applies these ideas to institutional structures
of both Church and State.

He goes on to categorize the differences between the two systems as closed vs. open.
In a closed system, structures are defensive with top-down leadership. These systems tend to focus on cherishing tradition and jealously guard their own turf. They consider all outside themselves to be alien or inferior and suppress those who disagree. They feel threatened by new and different ideas and thrive on self-perpetuating myths.....Sound familiar?

While open systems explore a variety of leaderships structures as circumstances demand.
They focus on the future and seek new ways of interaction. They welcomes dialogue with the wider world and see it as benevolent and potentially enriching. They also welcomes other views and opinions and look to other agencies for complementary support.

The differences in these systematic ways of thinking can result in statements like...."Outside the Church there's no salvation" vs. "The Church is the believing community which celebrates God's gift of salvation to all people." (p. 42)

So, it's important for people to be aware of the existence of these paradigms and how they affect our daily lives. I think understanding them can lead to a better understanding of polarization in our society and the Church.

(Most of the things listed above are paraphrased from pages 25, 30-31, and 41-42 in "Our World in Transition" by Diarmuid O'Murchu.)

What do you think?

qt
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the brief sketch. Since I am Episcopalian and we tend to come at things from three different directions - our three legged stool( Scripture, reason and tradition) - I will do the same. The Bible records an ongoing evolutionary journey of a people and God. It is a story of growth and renewal in many ways. Christ himself came "to make all things new." The Bible does not portray Christianity as static. Then there is the leg of tradition. We are in many ways a very traditional church and change occurs slowly but change does occur. From the revision of our prayer book to the ordination of women, the church has changed over time and although slow is again not static. Changes come only after great reflection and discussion and all of that but changes do come. Then there is the stool of reason. Looking out my window, I see the seasons change. I think of the birth and death of what is and also read of the birth and death of entire species. I see people come and go from my life and I see institutions born and die. Life itself does not appear to me to be static - ordered perhaps, but not static.
We have been surrounded by so much death lately, it is hard at times to see the life that come from death. Have you ever thought of a life without change - totally static? How horrid! How infinitely boring! To live, we must grow and change. Life without change is not life, but death. When we quit growing, changing we die.

I think perhaps the struggle between the static world view and the dynamic world view is perhaps the pace of change, not so much the fact of change itself. The static says wait a minute - slow down and the dynamic says come on hurry up. Maybe we need both to keep each other in check so to speak. Who knows? What does everyone else think?

Good topic! Thanks for bringing it up.
 
Posts: 278 | Location: Pennslyvania | Registered: 12 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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uraqt and all, we have a thread on the Christianity Today forum that mentions this man's writings and has a bit of reflection on the implications of quantum physics for theology.

FWIW, some theologians like Jim Arraj have taken strong issue with some (not all, of course) points made by O'Murchu and the quantum physicists. It's one thing to observe and report on the behavior of quantum processes, but quite another to formulate theologies on the basis of this.

Also, there is absolutely nothing about Newton's physics that has been disproven. All the laws and principles he articulated are still valid--only they're now situated in a larger context. Einstein and the later quantum physicists didn't disprove Newtonian physics, they expanded on it. If one were to extract a theological principle from this, it would be that the universe is both lawful and open to change--simultaneously! But any changes that would emerge would also be subject to the lawfulness which the universe requires in order for creation to have some degree of stability (which is a far better term than "static").

Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A little OCD behavior, here. I'm moving this to the Spirituality Today forum, which is where it seems to go better.

Ahh, that feels good now. Let's continue the discussion there.

Razzer Phil
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wanda,

Thanks for the explanation of the Episcopalian three stool approach.

Just wanted to add a bit of an introduction to O'Murchu..... He is a priest and social psychologist who is also member of the Sacred Heart Missionary Congregation. He was born and educated in Ireland. He's lectured throughout the world and works as a counselor in a project for homeless people and refugees in London.

A brief interview with him can be found at http://www.geocities.com/Athen...00/003interview.html

Phil:
FWIW, some theologians like Jim Arraj have taken strong issue with some (not all, of course) points made by O'Murchu and the quantum physicists. It's one thing to observe and report on the behavior of quantum processes, but quite another to formulate theologies on the basis of this.

I haven't read Arraj's opinions so I can't really comment on them. The understanding I get from
O'Murchu is that he is interpreting the universe by looking at the underlying philosophy of quantum physics....which is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts....and, then, looking to a reinterpretation of theology in light of this understanding. In the article I mentioned above, he points out that "formal religion is only 4,000 or 5,000 years old" while spirituality is much older. He makes a definite distinction between religion and spirituality.

Also, there is absolutely nothing about Newton's physics that has been disproven. All the laws and principles he articulated are still valid--only they're now situated in a larger context. Einstein and the later quantum physicists didn't disprove Newtonian physics, they expanded on it. If one were to extract a theological principle from this, it would be that the universe is both lawful and open to change--simultaneously! But any changes that would emerge would also be subject to the lawfulness which the universe requires in order for creation to have some degree of stability (which is a far better term than "static").

I think this is what he is trying to do with theology-situate it in a larger context. I didn't get the idea that he was trying to disprove Newton at all. Much good has been done with a Newtonian viewpoint. One example is our technological revolution.

A very interesting distinction is contained on the chart on pages 88 and 89 in his book (mentioned in above post). He talks about two distinct thought patterns....linear and lateral.

Linear thought patterns select one pathway to the exclusion of others, are sequential, have to be correct with every step, categorize, classifies, and labels, and are finite processes with a definite start and finish, etc.

On the other hand, lateral thinking involves explorations of as many alternative approaches as possible, quantum---jumping to the conclusion in one or many jumps and retracing the pathway to see how we reached the conclusion, labelling as signposts to encourage movement, realization that the negative may be a breakthrough path and even conflict and chance can be creative, and noting that the process is more important than the solution, open-ended...

The idea I am getting about all this is that he is not discounting the value of where we have been at all. It is and was quite valuable and necessary in our growth and development. However, he is expanding on it with ideas about where we are going.

I also see a lot of male/female complementaries in some of his work.

I think he is making obvious distinctions to illustrate his points. So much of this overlaps....the presence of some linear in lateral thinking and vice versa, etc.....and, then, particular situations come into play, too.

Just thought I'd expand on this a bit, in case anyone is interested.

Thanks.

qt
 
Posts: 203 | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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