‘Self matters’ – beyond rationality: two comments by Reinhold Niebuhr and Carl Jung

“Individual selfhood is expressed in the self’s capacity for self-transcendence and not in its rational capacity for conceptual and analytic procedures.”

Reinhold Niebuhr – Theologian/Author of the “Serenity Prayer”


“The only right and legitimate way to such an experience is that it happens to you in reality and it can only happen to you when you walk on a path, which leads you to a higher understanding. You might be led to that goal by an act of grace or through a personal and honest contact with friends, or through a higher understanding of the mind beyond the confines of mere rationalism.”

Letter from Carl Jung to Bill Wilson – Jan. 30, 1961


How many words the world contains But all…

How many words the world contains! But all have
one meaning. When you smash the jugs,
the water is one.
Rumi quoted in Chittick (1989 p. 8)

We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect.
The judgement of the intellect is only part of the truth.
— Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)

A fact only becomes knowledge when it has meaning, when a student can see where it fits into the world in general.

(First line of description of the curriculum at the
Heschel-inspired Columbus Jewish Day School.)

Q 1) “What is it to be positively & full…

Q 1) “What is it to be positively & fully human?” = the most important of all questions. My answers are in 2 and 3 below.


Q 2) “What is it to function holistically?”

Ultimately my answer =

“To proceed in all particulars with a sense of the whole.”

But in steps along the path of development it is

“ consciously connecting ever-widening contexts, and
realizing encounters with the whole.”

Two quotations that are key to understanding.

Firstly Jung’s,
“The utterances of the heart— unlike those of the discriminating intellect— always relate to the whole.”

Secondly Heschel’s;
“Concepts are delicious snacks with which we try to alleviate our amazement.”


Q 3) How in one sentence does my PhD answer the question, “How should we educate to create a paradigm shift in education?”


The SunWALK model of spiritualizing (or humanizing) pedagogy sees human education as:

the storied development of meaning, which is
constructed, and de-constructed,
physically, mentally and spiritually, through
Wise & Willing Action, via
Loving and Knowing – developed in
Community, through the
‘Dialectical Spiritualization’ of
Caring, Creativity & Critically, processes, all undertaken in the light of the
‘Sun’ of chosen higher-order values and beliefs, using
best available, appropriate content.

NB Please see these 3 questions, and suggested answers, as the context for all postings and pages on these sites.