the case with Dr. Angyal’s “Science and Human Values” class. While the scarring on my
finger caused by the glass tubing was immediately visible, the carvings on my foundational
views of knowledge and learning have only recently been evident as I have read for the
first time (again, I was focused on pizza and girls in 1982) or revisited the selections that
Angyal assigned us all those years ago.
What I learned was that any walls between the disciplines in general, and the
sciences and humanities in particular, are man-made, unnecessary, inconsistent with the
physiology of the brain, and destructive to true learning. The world, as Richard Tarnus
suggested,
is in some essential sense a construct. Human knowledge is radically interpretive.
There are no perspective-independent facts. Every act of perception and cognition
is contingent, mediated, situated, contextual, theory-soaked. Human language
cannot establish its ground in an independent reality. Meaning is rendered by the
mind and cannot be assumed to inhere in the object, in the world beyond the mind,
for that world can never be contacted without having already been saturated by the
mind’s own nature. That world cannot be justifiably postulated. Radical uncertainty
prevails, for in the end what one knows and experiences is to an indeterminate
extent a projection (Tarnus, 1991, pp. 418-419).
The exact beginning of the intellectual divide between the holistic intellectual
paradigms of the East and the segmented Western approach to knowledge lies still
undiscovered on “lost beaches whose sands have long since hardened into stone” (Eiseley,
1971, p. 56). Such primal categorization of thought has origins in nearly all fields of
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