Reimagining balance

Reimagining balance

Joel Kaye writes:

Between approximately 1250 and 1375, a manifestly new sense of what balance is, and can be, emerged. When projected onto the workings of the world, this new sense transformed the ways the workings of both nature and society could be seen, comprehended and explained. The result was a momentous break with the intellectual past, opening up striking new vistas of imaginative and speculative possibility.

The group of medieval scholars whose speculations most clearly reflected this new modelling of balance occupied the very pinnacle of their intellectual culture – brilliant innovators whose ideas stand out today for their boldness and their forward-looking elements. Indeed, the innovations these scholars pioneered, and the new sense and model of balance that made this innovation possible, provided both a first view of, and a fundamental foundation for, the emergence of modern science.

I speak of ‘models of balance’ because even though the complex sense of balance remained un-worded in the pre-modern period, it was far from unstructured. These models were (and still are) composed of a cluster of interlocking assumptions, perceptions and intuitions, characterised by a high degree of interior reflectivity and internal cohesion. Within any given intellectual culture, and at any given period in history, they possess a degree of internal order and organisation sufficient to allow them to be experienced as unified wholes, which adds greatly to their potential to influence the thinking mind. Though a product of history, they are felt to be ‘natural’, which further facilitates their absorption and acceptance. [Continue reading…]

Comments are closed.