The Paradox of Wu-Wei | Edge.org

Posted: May 7, 2014 in consilience, culture, evolution

//A successful consilience, bringing an ideal mindset described in ancient literature into the light of contemporary humanities and cognitive sciences. //

EDWARD SLINGERLAND is Professor of Asian Studies and Canada Research Chair in Chinese Thought and Embodied Cognition at the University of British Columbia and the author of Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity.

“The way we’re doing it at UBC is problem-based consilience. We bring together people who all care about the same issue, you know, “what’s the role of religion in human cooperation?” Coming from different disciplines and they want to answer more or less the same questions. They just have different tools. And if you give people a shared problem, it’s a much more productive interaction.”

The other way in which engaging with science helps on this particular issue is, I’ve been trying to pioneer these new approaches to studying texts. So instead of just picking passages that happen to support your position, we did a study where we actually pulled out every single passage. The nice thing is that the early China stuff is all online and searchable. It’s all in electronic form. We pulled out every single passage that had the word “xin” in it, which if anything means “mind,” it’s this word. It literally refers to the heart, sometimes translated as heart-mind. We pulled out every passage that had this word in it, and then we had teams of coders who were applying our hypothesis go and code how “xin” was being characterized in the passage.We developed this website where they’d click on radio buttons.”

via The Paradox of Wu-Wei | Edge.org.

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