What I called the Incessant Stream, John Ralston Saul calls the Swirling Uncertainty. Both aptly name the real situation of Human life as well as the true nature of the environment in which we get to experience our powers of consideration. wuhoo!(?) We love considering when we get to consider the flavors of our favorite beverages and such. When we have to lean our selves into the swirling uncertainty though, we reconsider how much of a gift this considering thing is!
The swirling uncertainty is no small thing. I would point out, that at the time of Christ, the Pharisees dealt with it by reducing living to a myriad of codes to follow; for this Jesus confronted them: (notice his confrontations don't center on morality, but on something more like maturity, as the Pharisee's strategy in effect, stunted their considering muscles) .
Though he doesn't say it this explicitly, Saul in our day, looks at our Human situation and notes it as one where we have to consider our way into Swirling Uncertainty. We can try to stop the Swirling, (the Incessant Flow) or, we can develop our ability to consider. Since the Enlightenment project has had as one of its goals, the stopping of the swirling without success, maybe we should switch strategies and become more competent. Towards this, he writes his fantastic book, "On Equilibrium"; a title which will make sense in a bit. (Equilibrium here is used the way economists use it, not the way the rest of science uses it. In economics, equilibrium describes things existing in equalized dynamic movement, where as in science, equilibrium means that change has stopped. Two very different conditions, and as Saul has little respect for a lot of economist thinking, I think he's making use of this to be ironic.)
Some quick biographical back ground. Saul, grew up in a Canadian military family where his dad was an officer, went to McGill University and then Cambridge for his PhD where he studied French History or something like that. But more, he's run a multi-national oil company, and his wife was a Governor in Canada a while ago. He looks to be in his sixties now and through his lifetime, he's had some rather interesting perches from which to do his own considering. Of course, just google John Ralston Saul (note, there is a John Saul who is another novelist.) If you want a more professional bio.
I'll end here with one of Saul's beginning premises. Since the Enlightenment, Reason has been king. But reason is only one of our "tools" with which we can use in our considering. What about Imagination? Is this just a subset of Reason, or is Imagination something that exists with as much autonomy as Reason? Are there other "tools" as well? tools that are also autonomous but have existed under the dictatorship of Reason over the last four centuries? What could be the implications here? Saul raises some interesting ones, and we'll delve more formally into them in the next post.