Robert Henman
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In the mid 60's the psychologist Abraham Maslow stated that less than 1% of adults grow. After 25 years of teaching and counseling adults I have become convinced that few of us survive childhood in contemporary global culture. This website is dedicated to the initiation of collaboration within the context of Bernard Lonergan's Functional Specialization (Method in Theology, Herder & Herder, NY, 1972) in an effort to gradually shift Maslow's statistic. Through dialogue and the sharing of insights dedicated to the emergence of cultural change a contribution can be made to the long term project of discovering "How to Grow and Educate a Child". Articles will be posted on this site pertaining to a more potentially authentic approach to the growing of people.

"...the intellectual crisis of adolescence is the period in which adolescents reject the set of precepts... at a time when they were not able to think for themselves. They go through a period of disorientation due to that rejection, and to the need in that period in which they commence to reconstruct for themselves the precepts, the evaluations, the ideals that they really accept, that are theirs. They become themselves. Education has to prepare them to go through this period in which they become their own masters." (Topics in Education CWL 10, 1993, Bernard Lonergan, p. 101)

There is a general global ignorance of what it is to be a person and that lack of understanding leaves the child as a victim of such a lack. "So, boards of education and departments of education can continue tranquilly their business as usual; the relevant committees for change are dominated by neglected and truncated subjectivity which" ...(Philip McShane Eldorede 8, p. 12 http://www.philipmcshane.ca/eldorede.html)... "leaves one feeling that there is no need to study the subject." (Bernard Lonergan, The Subject, Marquette University Press, 1968, P.8) This lack is not intentional. It is the state of human development and history in terms of understanding what it means to be a human subject. Psychology lacks the ground of a systematic method to investigate the interior workings of the human subject. It is presently stifled by a naive realism that leaves the social scientist cut off from the data of humanity. "The neglected subject does not know himself. The truncated subject not only does not know himself but also is unaware of his ignorance and so, in one way or another, concludes that what he does not know does not exist." (B. Lonergan, The Subject, Marquette Univ. Press, 1968, p. 8.)

This global and historical reality keeps education struggling with the data of naive realism (the seen child is the real child) developing ever new theories of pedagogy leaving children as the victims of their oversights. The disorientation of growing in this cultural malaise keeps the therapist in business and the researchers in grants. To put all of this into a positive context is to understand our times as an axial period in history. What is this axial period of disorientation? It begins with the collapse of compact (tribal) consciousness over the past 3000 years. As Greek and European fragmented consciousness reached out across this planet their disorientation bled into the compact consciousness of the numerous nations of people that awaited them. "Because African communities suffer from underdevelopment, the contemporary type-African is a proto-human whose psycho-social evolution has been arrested at a preliminary stage. Because NATO communities are denatured by overdevelopment, the contemporary type-European is an ex-human who, by overshooting his mark, has regressed into sub-humanity. Having squandered his civilized inheritance, he has lost both motive and aptitude for conducting Africans on to the higher ground he has himself deserted."(Leonard Barnes, Africa in Eclipse, London, 1971, p. 19.) This experience has pervaded the last 3000 years of movement and interrelations on this planet.

Philip McShane regularly suggests, risking the alienation of silent disagreement, that this axial period of fragmentation is far from over. (Lonergan's Challenge to the University and the Economy, Philip McShane, Univ. Press of America, 1980, Ch. 6: "An Improbable Christian Vision and the Economic Rhythms of the Second Million Years". See also Philip McShane, A Brief History Of Tongue, Axial press, 1998, pp 37 - 45.) Viewing our disoriented time as axial, has the potential to shift our perspective towards one of understanding our development as a long term project with the possibility of providing the patience and adequate grounding to work it out. We have done a fair job at learning how to grow plants and animals (although one could say we are quite apt at destroying them also) but we lack the knowledge of how to grow people and are even less adequate at repairing them when they go awry.

"What I want to communicate in this talk about art is the notion that art is relevant to concrete living, that it is an exploration of the potentialities of concrete living. That exploration is extremely important in our age, when philosophers for at least two centuries, through doctrines on politics, economics, education, and through ever further doctrines, have been trying to remake man, and have done not a little to make human life unlivable. The great task that is demanded if we are to make it livable again is the re-creation of the liberty of the subject, the recognition of the freedom of consciousness."(Topics in Education; B. Lonergan, CWL 10, 1993, p. 232.)

This website is dedicated to assisting in shortening this axial period of fragmentation, to making life more livable, through efforts at a turn to the subject within the context of Functional Specialization, a method dedicated to the division of labor grounded in the intentionality analysis of human subjectivity. The focus is not on comparative studies in psychology, education or parenting. Insightful discoveries within the context of functional collaboration which will contribute to the implementation of functional specialization - Lonergan's solution to history and the Axial Period. Finally, we can only be what we are and reach intelligently from within the context of that potentiality. "We mustn't expect people's lives-concrete living-to be coherent. It's a tendency towards coherence."(B. Lonergan; Philosophy of God, and Theology, Westminster Press, 1973, p. 36)

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