I refuel thinking


Reading Time: 5 minutes

You have been enriched by him in so many ways, particularly in power of speech and depth of knowledge.

1Co 1:5

Art has been non-perspectival for most of history. Usually, objects were placed in an artificial setting of no importance, and whatever was painted was flat on one plain.

It was in high medieval times that artists started to develop perspective. It mostly started by including landscape and space. Later, with the culmination in Leonardo da Vinci’s work, three dimensional paintings were developed.

This has become absolutely natural to us.

We have even gone further and developed aperspectival art. The a- here does not mean non- in the conventional sense, but multiple perspectives with no favorite one.

Think of some of the paintings of Picasso, for example, that conflate the front, rear, and side views of a person into one, giving time a very special concrete spatial meaning. What we can only see usually moving through time is conflated into one image, and all views are paradoxically as true at the same time as they are contradicting each other to a point.

We have done similar things in our worldview and thinking, as Jean Gebser pointed out in his work “Ursprung und Gegenwart”.

In traditional thinking, we have one absolute truth, and there are no other perspectives. Not even the landscape, or as we might call it, situation is taking into account. There is no situational truth as it contradicts the notion of absolute truth.

In modern thinking, we have multiple truths, but one is favourable.

In post-modern thinking, all viewpoints are of equal value and validity–usually none, when you think it through, as all viewpoints are seen a purely and merely subjective. This deprives viewpoints of their educational value as they cannot be hierarchically ranked as for example better fit for the situation, and thus learning and growth is impossible.

Integral starts to see that there are many perspectives, and each is more or less useful in certain aspects and situations. It does not value one over the other, but applies them at different times and in different situations, sometimes combining them to a bouquet of solutions. Natural hierarchies are applied alongside temporal situational hierarchies.

Combine this with the Hebraic view of wisdom as a stream of consciousness from which we drink to gain understanding, which we then tend to turn into one-dimensional, perspectival facts of cerebral and intellectual knowledge, or even worse, non-dimensional absolute truths.

An aperspectival worldview is calling you to hold loosely what you know, and at the same time look at things from a variety of angles. It demands a new way of applying judgement to things.

We as human beings need to judge. We need to categorize things to survive and grow. How could we distinguish food from poison or friend from foe otherwise? How could we even sit down, not recognizing a stool or chair? Certainly, most of that does not imply consciousness, as animals show us. But it does need discrimination.

And this kind of discrimination carries on into very conscious moments, like meeting somebody in a dark alley: do we trust our categorization, even if it seems racist in nature? At times, this does save lives, and at other times, it is just plain wrong.

We have come to call this prejudice. A very interesting choice of words. We judge before (pre-) thinking about it. Well, not really, as when the alarm is sounded by the amygdalae, our prefrontal cortex categorizes and decides based on our worldview and interpretation of the situation.

It is not the instinctual response to the amygdalae that is driving our behavior in case of prejudice, but our prejudice worldview. This turns prejudice behavior into something we can be made responsible for.

There might be people that respond in what one could see as prejudice, but based on PTSD from bad experiences. That certainly is a response of the amygdalae, not of the prefrontal cortex (as much as I understand–and like Donald Trump, I am not a doctor).

Prejudice is judgement before thinking because it is holding fast to a worldview with very coarse, non-perspectival categories.

Absolute truth, fixed once learned, is non-perspectival in nature. It takes a sip of wisdom and turns it into truth for all times. From then on, everything is fit into that flat worldview or rejected. It takes much force of catastrophic nature or the nagging force of constant disappointment for the worldview to be challenged, and if so, it usually is for the worse. Natural instinct is to bunker down.

It is the left hemisphere of the brain that understands how things work (according to its worldview). It has the working model of the world, it has language to express it, and it controls the right hand, usually the dominant tool to manipulate the physical world.

The right hemisphere always knows that the world is much more complicated and complex than we know. Everything is embedded in a greater truth, a greater principle, a greater reality.

And with a greater truth and greater reality I do not mean a spiritual world that consists of at least three heavens and earth with God, Satan, angels, demons, and hell. That is a left hemisphere depiction and fixated model.

A greater reality is something we are on a constant search for. It has to be explored, faced, conquered. It is the dragon in the unknown that guards the treasure. It contains all those other viewpoints and perspectives a situation could be viewed from also.

Sadly enough, the right brain does not have language. Language depends on a partially shared worldview to be expressive and understandable. Language is a feature of the left hemisphere. Intuition and dreams are features of the right hemisphere.

I would love to call an aperspectival approach one of postjudice, in analogy of the word prejudice.

Postjudice would first explore all or at least all accessible possible perspectives before judging a situation and reacting. Accessible to the right hemisphere that is.

I do not call for the nihilistic multi-perspectival approach that does not allow for judgement because it deems all perspectives as subjective and therefore of equal value. This approach strangles action because all possible actions are potentially offending somebody.

I do not call for the best approach, looking at the problem situationally. This perspectival approach only sees a less low resolution image than the non-perspectival approach as it takes into account the environmental and spatial momental characteristics. It applies situational instead of absolute truth. It still does not challenge the left hemisphere’s understanding of the world, and just takes into consideration more detail.

I call for the active challenging of the worldview one has, changing and replacing it where found lacking.

I call for the active use of tools to add more perspectives to our worldview like subject-object dynamism.

Subject-object dynamism is what we call walking in somebody’s shoes or seeing the world through the eyes of another.

Actively and honestly try to understand why somebody would chose another solution than you. What motivates a conservative, a liberal? What values drive a traditionalist, a modernist, a post-modernist?

Enlarge your tent. Hold your interpretations loosely. Be not only prepared to change your mind, but actively challenge it.

And let go of the belief that there is one true way only. There is absolute truth, but truth is not accordance to facts, rules or principles. Truth is about not holding back. It is about the source. It is about a stream of consciousness.

So, if you know multiple interpretations of the creation story or Revelations, there is not one right one and the others are wrong. All of them are useful, they just speak to different parts of you in different times.

Yes, some interpretations are plain wrong, just as all models are wrong. Even then, they might be useful.

Interestingly enough, some interpretations can be proven wrong because they are non-factual, like the interpretation of creation as a laboratory notebook describing a scientific six-day process or the Bible telling us that Jesus will come back in 1988. (Which had proven useful in a very cynical way for at least the wallets of some authors.)

For some, they were and some still are useful in their growth.

Again, I do not call for nihilism, believing nothing. I am calling for a constant search, a constant exploration, a constant bath in the stream of consciousness called wisdom.

You seem to be interested!The Unfiltered Thoughts of a Pastor in Exile

The unfiltered thoughts of a pastor in exile give the reader a toolbox that allows them to take a fresh look at the Bible and the church.

The tools considered in this book include Spiral Dynamics, the Theory of Positive Disintegration, community building, dealing with doubt, and various personality tests and traits.