17th Century Soul, 21st Century Mind

If you want to hear about brain science at its birth and today, check out the public radio show Tech Nation, this week. In the first half of the show, I’ll be talking about Soul Made Flesh. In the second half, Steven Johnson will be talking about his excellent new book, Mind Wide Open. You can find out where and when you can listen to the show at the program’s web site, or listen to it on their site archive.

(A note to subscribers: sorry for the mysterious email address that appeared on your notification. I have yet to fully master the mysteries of Movable Type.)

0 thoughts on “17th Century Soul, 21st Century Mind

  1. Re 17th c. thought: In the 60s my mother wrote her master’s thesis on John Preston, a Puritan minister who preached from 1611-1628 with some following–she compares his thought with that of Hocking and Jung. I thought you might be interested. I am in the process of privately publishing it so that I can pass it on to my nine children, as I think it is quite brilliant. Enjoy!–Mary Freeman


    “Thus John Preston believed that knowledge of the Truth cannot be attained by experience alone, or by reason alone, by an observation of Nature or by deductions made from Scripture, in short, by the method of Realism alone (although the method of Realism is also necessary). Another witness is needed, the witness of the spirit, or as Jung says, the evidence needs a spiritual completion. This evidence comes to us through instinct and the process by which it comes to us is explained by Preston by the use of the same illustration as that of Hocking of the infinite instructiveness of the object; that of the artist who takes the spirit or idea of the object which he is trying to represent in his mind and recreates it in the final work. Hocking calls this “instinct” intuition, the presentiment of a priori truth, an ally of Reason, and a real aid to conscious judgment. To Preston, this evidence of the truth comes from the spirit of Christ; to Hocking it comes from our subconscious, from our observing self, and from ourself not as thought of but as thought with; to Jung it comes to us, by way of the numinous experience (religious or artistic), from the collective experience of the human race, and is presented to us by symbols which through the ages we have become predisposed to make. To all three it is a source of great power to the individual man. Jung says that Archetypes (or the predisposition to the formation of the symbols which represent the eternal truths) are sources of such great power to the individual that they can change a man’s whole way of life. Hocking says that this way to evidence of the Truth (he calls it the method of true empiricism) is the road to ideal mastery. John Preston said that it brings about regeneration, “much great power and vertue, such as influence from Christ, may change us and reforme us, and make us not only willing to live a holy life … but enable us to
    doe these things also as the Apostle speakes I am able to doe al things through Christ that strengthens me.”

  2. This is a poem I wrote along the same themes:

    begot her

    Religion regaled in the laws of science,
    Unsealed and unwrapped of divinity,
    Is Gaia with a changed affinity:
    Out of her is borne a new alliance.
    More than her intellectual lover,
    We are her heartstrings and her nerves of steel,
    The beauty in her hand, the eyes that feel.
    Bright shades of her conception still hover
    Like angels about her fetal being
    An sich, ineffable, lovely, rising,
    From bondage freed, dimensions resizing
    To form the future toward which she’s fleeing.
    We are her children, her sons and daughters;
    We are her parents too, who begot her.

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