Metanoia, or Rethinking the World
I’ve been slowly reading into Peter Pogany’s Rethinking the World on the recommendation of davidm58. It’s somewhat slow reading for me because of my limited vocabulary for “econospeak”. I’ll have much more to say about it in the future, as Pogany follows an implicit fourfold model in his thinking that has surprising parallels with Rosenstock-Huessy’s “Cross of Reality” and, by implication, with the nature of contemporary politics in terms of liberalism, socialism, conservatism, and environmentalism.
Metanoia, or “new mind”, is the term for such “rethinking”. Metanoia, or “to think anew” or literally “after mind”, is of course to be contrasted with “paranoia”, to be literally “beside oneself” or “out of one’s mind”. Metanoia, being the corrective or cure for paranoia, is what we mean by “transcendence” or “self-overcoming”.
As noted in other posts, the test of any new consciousness structure lies in beginning to perceive connections or relations between things that hitherto were not perceived as being related or connected. This may happen gradually or it may happen suddenly. We call it “insight”. In effect, it amounts to that old saying “all that is old is made new again” for no other reason, really, than the “doors of perception” were opened and “the scales fell from my eyes”, even perhaps in the form of a “shattering truth”, or even as having had to “pass through the crucible”.
Pogany, like Gebser, like Rosenstock-Huessy, is also what I would call an “apocalyptic thinker”, who sees no exit or out from the accumulating dilemmas and self-contradictions of Late Modernity except in a general catastrophe or crisis. Metanoia is “survivor mind” in other words, the mind that has passed through the crucible and survived the crisis in order to “think anew”. Survival is transcendence.
Metanoia in our times is “the integral consciousness” and its new holistic and quadrilateral logic. In political terms (or “socioeconomic” terms as Pogany calls it), it is now to perceive that the full “truth” as such is not, and cannot, be contained within any one particular “perspective”, but lies in the dynamic interrelationship, interface, or “interstices” between the partisan perspectives, creeds, or ideologies that we call “liberalism”, “conservatism”, “socialism” and “environmentalism”. This is also true of the world’s religions.
So, the switch from a static “point of view” consciousness and logic to dynamic “interdependency” logic represents a major shift in the structure of consciousness. At the very limits of intelligibility and coherence, where one partisan perspective ceases to make sense, another picks up the slack, as it were, and complements it. The truth of the individual and his “pursuit of rational self-interest” runs into social anarchy and the culture of narcissism if it is not amended by the others. And the same is true of conservatism, socialism, or environmentalism. The truth is not in them, but in the dynamic relationship between them, considered as a whole. Pogany’s thermodynamic model of socioeconomic reality bears some notable resemblances to Rosenstock-Huessy’s short book on economics called The Multiformity of Man.
To say that the full truth lies in “the interstices”, is somewhat akin to speaking of “the crack between the worlds” in Castaneda or, if you prefer, to begin to perceive the fuller “context” in which the “text” is embedded, or in Nietzsche’s terms, to have the capacity to “switch foreground and background perspectives”.
The disintegrate state of our current hyper-partisan politics is quite dismal. It resembles nothing less than the warring “four Zoas” of William Blake’s dissolute and disintegrate “Albion”, who is the archetype of the full human form when restored to its full integrity, and who is the “quintessence”. And when the truth of the fourfold human form is perceived in its integrity, the current state of politics as being “war by other means” and that also connected to the growing chaos of the socioeconomic spheres (Pogany) looks like the triumph only of complete insanity at our “end of history”.
Those things we call “mind, body, soul, and spirit” are references to that fourfold multiformity. They aren’t things in themselves. They are aspects of one energy called “consciousness” in process of its articulation, and which we call “self-realisation” or self-actualisation. The external warfare of politics and socioeconomics is simply a reflection of the warfare between the various aspects of the human form for dominance of the psychic whole. There is no “peace within”.
After I read further into Pogany’s socioeconomics and “new thinking”, I will try to show how this complements the work of Gebser and Rosenstock-Huessy, as well.