Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 5 (6 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   22 comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

Understanding and Debating the Theocratic Views of the U.S. Catholic Bishops

By       Message Thomas Farrell     Permalink
      (Page 2 of 4 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H3 11/18/12

Author 38575
Become a Fan
  (20 fans)

But in the 1970s Ong appropriated systems terminology and worked with the contrast of closed-systems thinking versus open-systems thinking. Cyclic thought is patently closed-systems thinking, because when you've come full circle you've closed the circle. In addition, he works with the contrast of a backward-looking orientation versus a forward-looking orientation. In the most basic sense of the word conservative, conservatives tend toward the backward-looking orientation because they want to conserve what they value in the old ways of thinking and acting. Even though Ong himself never spells out predictions about the future in detail, as certain self-styled futurists do, he was at times described as a futurist because of his positive attitude of hope about the future.


(Arguably, the Christian myth about the supposed Second Coming of the supposed Christ would tend to foster an attitude of hope about the future, provided that you imagined yourself to be on the victorious side. But there are certain Christians who manage not to sound hopeful, especially at times when they are electioneering about political campaigns and issues. At times, the Christian electioneering manage to make it sound like the election results will trigger the supposed Second Coming -- and the Christians electioneering are going to be on the victorious side, but woe betide the other side in the election. Nevertheless, this Christian myth may have been one source of Ong's hope about the future. Another source of his hope about the future was his generally positive and even optimistic attitude toward life.)


Arguably, most famously, Ong works with the contrast of oral-aural versus visual sensory dominance. Later in his life, he expanded this contrast to work with the contrast of world-as-event sense of life versus world-as-view sense of life.


However, Ong also works with a more subtle contrast, except that in this case he has articulated only one of the polar opposites that could be used if he were to work with a contrast of A versus B, which is one of his favorite way of thinking. But he himself has not explicitly articulated the polar opposite of time. Even though he often discusses time and often discusses space and spatialization and even quantification of thought, he does not work explicitly with the contrast of time versus space. But he definitely discusses each of them separately.


However, in his dedication of the collection of his essays titled INTERFACES OF THE WORD: STUDIES IN THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND CULTURE (Cornell University Press, 1977), Ong reports that William K. Wimsatt, Jr., in English at Yale University once said to him, "I am a space man, you are a time man." To be sure, in this perceptive twofold characterization Wimsatt shows that he understands Ong's thought. But Ong himself does not explicitly work with the contrast of time versus space.


Nevertheless, this contrast grows out of what he says about visuality and the interiorization of literacy and literate thought, because he understand the interiorization of literacy and literate thought as giving rise to a concomitant sense of space as static. As a result, we can unpack Wimsatt's twofold contrast by aligning each term ("space man" versus "time man") with Ong's contrast of the world-as-view sense of life versus the world-as-event sense of life, mentioned above.


But this alignment of different points in Ong's admittedly tricky thought paradoxically enough brings us back to ancient orality and cyclic thought, as detailed by Eliade. As noted, cyclic thought represents closed-systems thinking, as distinct from open-systems thinking. Ancient orality did not foster historical-mindedness. But ancient orality embodied the world-as-event sense of life, in which the events were often enough interpreted in mythic terms.


By contrast, the world-as-view sense of life as Ong understands it gravitates toward the static, as distinct from gravitating toward the world-as-event sense of life. However, even though Ong implicitly works with the contrast of a static sense of life versus an event sense of life, I would suggest that the more suitable term to use would be flow: static versus flow.


Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It
Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Was the Indian Jesuit Anthony de Mello Murdered in the U.S. 25 Years Ago? (BOOK REVIEW)

Who Was Walter Ong, and Why Is His Thought Important Today?

More Americans Should Live Heroic Lives of Virtue (Review Essay)

Martha Nussbaum on Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Book Review)

Hillary Clinton Urges Us to Stand Up to Extremists in the U.S.

Matthew Fox's Critique of the Roman Catholic Church