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Rob Lockett's picture


Hi Anne, I notice that drama and 'the arts' are used regularly to convey ideas (stories) about reality. It is a very effective tool with which to impart what are otherwise incredibly difficult concepts to articulate.

As Midgley said we need 'scientific pluralism', so we also need 'philosophical pluralism'.

Dr. Zacharius reminds us that philosophy comes at 3 levels; theory (logic), Drama (existential), and casual conversation (opinions).

He says (and I agree wholeheartedly) that we must begin with the logical argument (level 1), give dramatic illustrations (level 2), so that we can talk about the ideas meaningfully (level 3).

We cannot use only one angle (or window) to promote a particular philosophy without failing to fully inform our audience and ourselves.

In the last century (in particular) it is clear that drama has been the driving power of ideas in the Western culture. I agree with may others that it has overstepped it's bounds. Many of us have lost the ability to analyze the theoretical foundations of ideas for instability. Now the houses of cards grow dangerously monolithic. As a result, meaningful change and challenge to our thinking and culture become virtually intolerable. We are swept away by the wind.

Let's not build our houses upon sand.

I found a PDF that explains what Dr. Zacharius is telling us in more detail about the three levels of philosophy. I personally became aquainted with his analysis by way of audio CD (the way I do most of my studying while delivering lumber products here in Northwest Ca).

The PDF is actually 10 pages of a book that is a rebuttal to atheistic beliefs. But it is relevant to our conversation about 'stories' (beliefs) in general.

The point?... Don't use drama to change the way your students think (and subsequently behave) without also giving them the power to reason through the logic and any logical problems within those ideas. If you do, they will only be equipped to express their feelings.

Here is the Web address for the PDF File:

Another great resource and explaination for this talk can also be obtained free of charge. It is called, 'Understanding the Spirit of the Age'. It is broken into 4 parts. Part 1 can be found here:

If you are truely interested at that point, you should find no difficulty in navigating to parts 2,3, and 4...

Part 2 gets into the crux of the 3 levels of philosophy. Just so you know, this particular message was given to a Christian audience. Dr. Zacharius has some challenges for the Christian churches as well (not just atheists) namely, that they have also disregarded the discipline of engaging the mind and do have not encouraged their students to think seriously.

No matter what we believe, I don't think that it is arguable to say that we 'must' examine ourselves and our ideas, to be sure that we understand what it is we believe, and why we believe it.

Let's not make 'feelings' the absolute (by using only drama). The absolute can only be that when our feelings, mind, and communication are able to cohere.


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