Praxis: Imaginative Rigor for a
Praxis: the domain of action and practice. For the pragmatic mind, praxis is about endpoints and results…After all, we are here to get a job done, aren’t we? Linearity, practicality, efficiency, success; these are all virtues of pragmatic practitioners, and the institutions that define them. This societal conversation is played out most profoundly within our internalized mental musings, as varying voices compete and nag for our attention…"Finish school. Get a good job. Make the money, Rise up the chain. Be comfortable, you deserve it"… or perhaps if we listen closely, we here a quiet voice whispering, "Is this all there is to Life?" This of course shouldn’t be a surprise. As Pascal reminds us, “The heart has reasons that reason cannot know”. In a study of Complexity Medicine, it’s is the reasons of the heart we are most concerned with, for they are born of the aesthetic domain. In this way, the purpose of our practice becomes the very practice itself. Praxis, through its actions, engages a world of interactional possibility. This engagement leads to the emergent forms of Poiesis which, in turn, births a continued revival and renewal of action in a never ending circle of virtuosity; the parts define and refine the emerging whole, while the whole simultaneously informs and creates the boundary conditions that conform and inform the parts. Lastly, through our acts of contemplation, we find stabilities in the manifest processes, and, from such, bring forth the world of our meaning; that is to say our Theoria. This, then, cycles back, informing and changing our evolving Praxis, and the cycle starts once more.
In this aesthetic spirit, our study of Praxis in Complexity Medicine becomes an open and thematic one, rather than a circumscribed, prescriptive, and directive one. Equally, the aesthetic 'goal' or 'purpose' is always one of engaging relational interaction and fostering relational diversity. It is never determined in an a priori fashion, but is continually reshaped and revised, as the product and results of our actions show themselves, and are reflected on and evaluated. The aesthetic domain seeks by not seeking. It engages a purposeful purposelessness. Striving towards this second-order cybernetic ideal, the various residential practices offered through the institute are thematic, but, nevertheless, remain open to allow for full participant engagement in the self-organizing potential inherent to the creative process.
"Prayer indeed is good, but while calling on the gods a man should himself lend a hand."
Complexity Medicine: Embodying the Ideals
of a Holistic Medical Phenomenology
"Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.”