Greatness: Point-by-Point

There appears to be some significant level of misunderstanding what I am proposing to be the case, and what I am suggesting as a profitable course of action. So let me recap. Most of these are not new ideas (within these conversations), but I’m going to try to bullet-point a bunch of them, in a good order, to actually clarify what I’m saying.

1) There are base truths. People are real things, and there are forces and energies around us (including other people) which present themselves to us through our senses.

2) Real Truths are chaotic, inexplicable things. When we experience something through our senses, we interpret it in a way that is meaningful to our brains. To do this, we build a logical structure that can rationally contain the original experience.

3) Over time, each new experience must be interpreted into our rational understanding of the world in a way consistent with others. We begin to build more and more complex logical structures in order to accomodate these various conflicting stimuli.

4) One of our strongest systems for building rational structures is Language, which we use as a foundation for most of our other techniques. We name experiences, and then are able to group similar experiences using similar names. Mathematics is as much a language as English or Swahili, and serves as a very clear example of this.

5) By sharing language between two people, we can establish common points between our rational systems, and nail down our common experiences until we share the same interpretation of the base experience. (I could write pages and pages of articles on this point alone.)

6) When we teach another person our language, we teach them how to interpret base experiences. Thus the apparent similarity between individuals’ constructed worlds is actually crafted by the process of learning to communicate — once we have a chance to compare worlds at all, we’ve already made them similar.

7) “Constructionism” refers to the process of building a rational network to accomodate the unique human experiences. “Social Constructionism” is the process of sharing our constructed systems with others, and developing realities capable of overlapping.

8) Science is a Constructed System, in that it analyzes real experience and tries to explain its relationship to other real experiences (and predict future experiences based on that).

9) Religion is a Constructed System, in that it responds to the real relationship between Man and God and seeks to address the differences between them, providing a rational (if not logical or naturalistic) structure of behavior and belief to accomodate those relationships.

10) Philosophy is a Constructed System, in that it analyzes the most challenging and inexplicable of human experiences, and attempts to consolidate them into a comprehensible explanation.

11) Social Constructionism is a Constructed System, in that it recognizes the dissociation between reality and base experience, and seeks to rationally explain the source and method of a rational reality given irrational experience.

12) Okay, I’m done with that now.

13) Constructionism is the mechanism by which Man INTERPRETS his reality but, in the process, he imposes his will on it. Consider Schrodinger for this. Or Schroedinger. Or Schro:dinger. Howsoever it is spelt. By observing, we change things. Or, rather, we incorporate into our own, personal reality, a reflection of those real things which we observe, and this reflection is shaped by our understanding thereof. Thus, though there may be real things without, unchanged by our perception…the instance of those things within our personal universe is changed by our personality.

14) All rational creatures are, as part of being rational, capable of constructing for themselves these logical fantasies which are Constructed Systems. Rational beings are able to interpret their experiences and, in the process, build for themselves operational replicas of the world of Real Truth, with a kind of mental scaffolding they are able to use to navigate it. This scaffolding, rather than the environment containing it, is then taken to be the true reality, because it is logical and consistent.

15) It is the nature of rational beings to try to exercise these powers of Constructionism. It is difficult for rational beings to accept Real Truth as it presents itself to them, they want something more comfortable. Thus the drive to Construct reality.

16) I am not a Constructionist in that I’m advocating that people Construct more. I’m a Constructionist in that I believe (or…recognize) that this is the way the world is, and I’m trying to clarify that for everyone else. Yes, Science works, but that’s no reason to BELIEVE in Science. It works because we’ve made it work. I’m not suggesting that we Construct instead of practicing Science — I’m saying that Scientists are Constructing reality whenever they try to describe it. I’m not trying to stop them, I’m just trying to change your perspective a little bit.

17) Recognizing the difference between Constructionism and Naturalism allows us to meaningfully, intelligently believe in something greater than reality while still successfully functioning within reality. Naturalism only allows the latter. (Existentialism, on the other hand, only allows the former. Dirty hippies!)

18) The act of Construction is a rebellion against God. Some of you think I was calling for people to do more Constructing. I was not. The act of Construction is rebellion against God. It’s also something very much a part of temporal life. There are ways to escape it, but those ways are not easy and they’re not natural.

19) God created temporal Life for Man as an opportunity to act out our rebellious Constructionism (which, as I said, is an inherent tendency of rational beings) within an environment of only temporary consequences. We will all Construct our experiences, throughout our life, and this is rebellion against God, but it’s allowed…temporarily.

20) Heh. Temporarily. That’s a good one….

That’s my summary. At its barest, I think you could use “Construction” as a synonym for “Worldview” and get away with it. Construction is our interpretation of our experience. However, at its true Post-modern best, Construction recognizes that this Worldview is imaginary (that’s the point of the term — it’s something we built, not something foundational), and thus subject to deconstruction and reconstruction and just general fiddling with. And, if we can do that, we have no reason to be bound to our initial understanding of reality. We can build one more to our liking or, even better, build one closer to the reality that God wants us to experience.

Got that? We can change our world. That’s the point of Constructionism. And, with faith, we can change it into something more like what God wants. That’s maybe not THE ultimate purpose of Man, but it would be pretty good preparation for accepting Paradise when it’s offered, and make a whole lot of people’s lives better while they’re living them. Which isn’t a terrible ambition, y’know?