Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gerona's Radical Change

These past three weeks have been devoted to Radical Humanism! Like Interpretivism, according to Burrell and Morgan (1979), radical humanism also flows out of German idealism and consequently both are considered subjectivist in orientation and share the notion that the “individual creates the world in which he lives” (p. 279). The large distinction between the two paradigms is the notion of understanding versus critique: the Interpretivist observes and seeks to understand while the radical humanist seeks to critique and change.

There are two main lines which critique may follow:
a) subjective idealist = the external world is created through the stream of ideas. (p. 278)
This is the projection of individual consciousness on the external world which does exist.

b) objective idealist = reality exists in spirit…absolute knowledge suggests that consciousness is spirit and the object of consciousness is itself.

Marx comes from the objective idealist tradition originally but took the ideas of Hegel in a different direction; towards the individual. Here is my story of ‘radical’ awakening in terms of not listening to the status-quo…

Now I have to admit that I have (now had) a deep seated bias against Marx. I grew up in the 1970s and early 1980s when the Cold War was raging and we were being told nuclear war could happen at any time. The doomsday clock (remember that?) was ticking down towards midnight. Then along came Gorbachov and in 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. So much for Marxism! Having never read Marx I just had been taught or learned to associate Communism with him and thus I basically summarily dismissed him as a theorist. Craib who was writing in the early 1990s mentions that one should not confuse the fall of Communism with the temptation to dismiss Marxist thought. Then I actually started being open to learning about what Marx actually wrote/expounded and gained a totally different appreciation for him as a theorist and seminal influencer of our thought systems today. This has been an important lesson for me to not be so closed-minded about something that I only know about through the statements of societies/organizations/individuals with agendas.

Next we are going into Radical Structuralism...I think Interpretivism really was the paradigm for me. Maybe there is something I can do with Hermeneutics and Garrison's Community of Inquiry model? Hummm...lot's to think about in the coming weeks.