The New Johari Window #7: Complexity and the Postmodern Condition

The New Johari Window #7: Complexity and the Postmodern Condition

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experienced of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion. A knowledge of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. – Albert Einstein, Living Philosophies

Einstein seems to be suggesting that any mystery in the world is worth exploring because of its beauty, its compelling nature and the wisdom it contains. Many years ago, one of Einstein’s colleagues, Michael Polanyi, the remarkable Nobel Prize-winning scientist and philosopher, was asked in a seminar how he knew something was “true.”  This question was appropriate in this setting, for Polanyi was in the midst of debunking many so-called “scientific” assumptions about “objectivity” and “truth.” Polanyi paused for a moment after receiving the question. He then indicated that he knew something was “true” when it surprised him, when it didn’t fit neatly into any of his preconceived categories. Another person attending the seminar then commented that Polanyi seemed to be describing the experience of confronting God (“Jahweh”). Polanyi was apparently taken aback by this observation and connection. He found it to be quite profound and gasped with recognition. He noted that for many years he had left his own Jewish heritage behind him. Yet, here it is, coming forth once again to influence his fundamental assumptions about the nature of “truth.”


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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