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Before reading this entry, it might be helpful to read the other posts in the diaprax series first.

Diaprax is all about changing the way we think, not just as a one-off event but as a constant evolution in the way we view the world.

Part of diaprax is a larger public context revolves around subtle, covert ways of changing our thinking.  In his online book, The Dialectic and Praxis: Diaprax and the End of the Ages, author and analyst Dean Gotcher says that crises and the media spin play an essential role in this process:

First, there is the disaster—the cause for action, the catalyst on which to develop synthesis, the common social issue on which everyone can focus.  Then there are the helpless —  the cause for empathy, the catalyst to draw everyone into and through antithesis, the feelings of compassion for those who are unable to help themselves by those who were more fortunate.  And finally, there is the divided community in contact with itself—the cause for change, the catalyst from which to experience compromise, the need to be “rational” and put aside, at least temporarily, their differing “divisive” thesis, out of concern for the less fortunate.

Think of terrorism, natural disasters and everything going back at least to the oil crisis of the 1970s.  Each of these events produces a change either in business, globalisation or received wisdom in the popular sphere.

The following video examines the language of urgency and crisis that President Obama uses in two speeches, including the one he made in Berlin in 2008:

The media are complicit in helping us effect this change.  Gotcher observes (emphases mine):

It is not easy to get citizens to focus collectively on a particular issue without having a disaster or without directly telling them to.  Yet, accoridng to praxis, no one citizen in the community can tell the other citizens what social issue or potential disaster they must focus on or attend to.  Everyone, including yourself, must attend to and reason through a common social issue or dilemma because of the interest collectively generated from within the community or group.  This, according to diaprax, will require the aid of a facilitator (covert influence) and not an order or command given by some higher authority (overt influence).  The media [have] taken an active role in doing this today…

The three different ways of thinking when solving differences, according to diaprax, are traditional, transitional, and transformational, or thinking with facts, thinking with feelings, and thinking with reasoning skills.

In the traditional way of thinking, reality is based upon external evidence or facts with knowledge being the accumulation of these facts (quantity) as well as respect for and obedience toward them.  In the transitional way of thinking, feelings determine reality.  And in the transformational way of thinking, only what can be reasoned is real.  Simply put, traditional thinking sees reality out there somewhere as facts, established for all times and places; transitional thinking sees reality in the heart, where facts can be overlooked in the pursuit of pleasure and where problems can be solved by simply going somewhere else that feels better; and transformational thinking sees reality in the mind, where facts and feelings are subject to harmonious change through higher-order thinking skills.

He suggests that we think of it as thesis being fact, antithesis being feelings and synthesis as a global, humanistic approach to a situation, where facts become peripheral.  Think about the way the media have handled major world events over the past 10 years.  In discussing acts of terrorism, the tsunami and recent earthquakes, fact rarely enters into the discussion.  It is all emotive, seat-of-the-pants stuff — especially the vox-pop segments.  Watch this play out when disasters are discussed in the workplace.  Within 24 hours or so, almost everyone is on the same wavelength and has the same reaction.  Those who are not simply make an effort to avoid getting caught up in the conversation and risking public opprobrium.

The reason Christianity is so threatening to diaprax, writes Gotcher, is because:

It is not possible to serve God and diaprax at the same time.  The one who tries it ends up serving diaprax, not God.  This is why the Ten Commandments, prayer lead by an authority figure, and Bible reading were removed from the local schools across the nation.  God was declared “dangerous” by the highest court of our land because He stood in the way of global, New Age tolerance.  He had to be removed before “multicultural activities,” “self-esteem,” and “human-reasoning skills” could successfully be used to shape the minds of the next generation so they depend upon socio-psychologists as the high priest of the New Diaprax Age.

Unfortunately, in order to be man-pleasing, many churches are falling into line with diaprax.  Mainstream Protestant churches, the church growth movement and the emerging church are all current examples of discarding Scripture and God’s saving grace for this type of warped, man-centred way of thinking.

Gotcher includes a quote from Martin Luther to illustrate his point (emphasis in the original):

Miserable Christians, whose words and faith still depend on the interpretations of men and who expect clarification from them! This is frivolous and ungodly. The Scriptures are common to all, and are clear enough in respect to what is necessary for salvation and are also obscure enough for inquiring minds . . . let us reject the word of man.Luther’s Works, V.32,  p. 217

Yet, the ‘change agents’ — socio-psychologists — have been working over the decades through theory, books, university courses, workshops and the media to define:

“facts as hypothesis.”  Because to them all facts are changeable, they can conclude that “hypothesis equals fact.” Reasoning seeks for reconciliation between facts and feelings; trusting and obeying does not.

Gotcher writes that the ‘common cause’ — whatever it may be at the time — becomes a god replacing the one true God.  Eventually, society replaces God:

This is called dialectic materialism (traditional Marxism) or historical materialism (transformational Marxism).

He cites three main examples in American life: outcome-based education (OBE), school-to-work (STW) and total quality management (TQM).  I would qualify the last to mean in a church environment.

In any event, the result is that:

Socio-psychologists are removing our freedoms, our inalienable rights, so quickly and successfully it is often hard for me to believe we will ever be able to stop them.  Few have caught on to the fact that the paradigm shift (a change in the way people think) really means the replacing of our democratic-republic form of government with socialismAnd even if some have noticed the changes, it does not appear they care to understand the significance of that change or even care to get involved to stop it

Today they come to us as our own spouse, our friends, our teachers, and our minister.  Even our own children come home questioning the role of the traditional family in a “rapidly changing society.”

Most of our problems are really due to our lack of knowledge of truths or our rebellion against them.  Transformationalists, on the other hand, question all truths (relativity).  When crossing a bridge, which method used to build it would make you feel most secure: absolutes, 2 + 2 always equals 4 or relativity, 2 + 2 might equal 4, maybe it equals 5 …

That is why moral decay (fallout) is multiplying all around us.

In a church context, diaprax leads to continuous questioning and reinterpretation of Scripture.  We probably grew up with it.  ‘Well, St Paul wrote for his time, didn’t he?’ ‘The Bible is so old as to be irrelevant.’  ‘Jesus never judged anyone.’  Yet, anyone who knows his Scripture can tell you that all of those statements are patently false.

And this is the nub of the matter.  The transformational folks are hoping that few people today have actually read and studied the whole of the Bible.  The teachers in our various denominational schools and many pastors in our churches tell us about it but don’t actually teach Scripture.  ‘Don’t worry about reading the Bible — we’ll tell you what it says.’ Yes, their own faulty — if not heretical — interpretation.

In school, this extends to a variety of courses which our forebears took for granted and have since paled into insignificance.  Whether it be History, English Lit, or even Woodworking (‘Shop’ in the US) and Domestic Science (‘Home Ec’), we’re left without a leg to stand on.

We don’t know our past.  We can’t do for ourselves.  We have fewer reference points — religious and historic — on which to base our lives.

And that’s exactly how our elite betters want it.

Tomorrow: the seemingly benign characteristics of diaprax

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