Saturday, April 10, 2010

Theatres of Wisdom

More material for the introduction to People without Borders

Three Theatres of Wisdom

By John Taylor; 2010 April 10, Jalal 02, 166 BE

Like all modern philosophy, Comenius's ideas can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle. Last time we looked over Plato's definition of wisdom as a state of harmony between the parts and the whole. Comenius was also influenced by Aristotle's belief that happiness and wisdom are functions of one another. As Aristotelian philosopher Mortimer Adler points out, Aristotle considered wisdom to be one of the five intellectual virtues. In the Politics, Aristotle says,

"Each one has just so much happiness as he has of virtue and wisdom, and of virtuous and wise action. ... the courage, justice, and wisdom of a state have the same form and nature as the qualities which give the individual who possesses them the name of just, wise or temperate." (quoted in Wisdom, Mortimer Adler, the Great Ideas, p. 940)

Comenius divides these three virtues, wisdom, temperance and justice, among the three "estates" of humanity. "The heart of Philosophy will be wisdom, of Religion, simplicity, and of Politics, vigilance." (Comenius, Panorthosia, Ch. 13, para 12, p. 205) These three major branches human endeavour, philosophy (including science and education), politics and religion, are three pillars world governance. A wise harmony among these three estates is sustained and maintained by what Comenius calls the "theatres of wisdom,"

"Since human nature has been blinded by its corruption ... it should be safeguarded from downfall by wise guidance, and all its senses kept open to everything ... all men should be wisely guided from the earliest age and constantly thereafter through the theatres of wisdom, and should all have endless opportunities of exercising their senses, their reason, and their faith." (Comenius, Panorthosia II, Ch. 9, para 11, pp. 146-147)

Imagine theatres enlisting literary and performance artists, the entertainment industry to produce dramas, passion plays and interactive games, displays and exercises designed to bolster wisdom through all our senses, reason, tradition and faith. Although this activity would no doubt be edifying for individuals, it will be planned and run by the wisest, who understand that here is the crux of social change. From it arise all progress in education, politics and religion.

As we shall see, this book, People without Borders, takes this idea of wisdom-as-harmony to the next logical step. A new theatre of the wise will model our understanding of law. The rule of law, in turn will make decision-making transparent, standards open, and software based on this will organize the lives of world citizens. This technology and education will negotiate the interactions of individuals with their households and other groups. People without Borders predicts that wisdom will even model the architecture of a cosmopolitan condition.


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