Field

A space of coordination and action as in a field of inquiry or the field of play for a game.  In Open Stewardship, the field is the shared space that the stewards intend to make available for a common inquiry and work.  We distinguish different fields for the same reason we speak of different fields of science or mathematics, or genres in the arts, because each field will have distinct language and ways of working and sharing that work.

The analogy to fields of play is also useful to consider.  We have particular fields with particular variations in detail, and the pattern that make it appropriate for the game to be played.  A game of chess or checkers is played on an 8x8 matrix of positions and includes a set of pieces, and a game of football is played on a flat rectangular grass field, and both have two players or teams moving from each end toward a goal on the opposize end.

The field of football includes many significant variations with very different rules and even skills required to excell.  Particular variations are stewarded by particular organizations which may or may not be open, but the overall field is open by virtue of individual and collective freedoms to associate and choose which variation they are playing in any instance.

Though the stewards of one or more fields may attempt to declare an ultimate or final status for their field, any such move is opposed to Open Stewardship as it seeks to create a universal by declaration.  We may observe as Paul Tillich does that some terms refer to something ultimate; words like faith and God, and I would add universe or universal to that list.  The field of science can only distinguish the known universe, something that changes with our knowledge of it.  Our faith may tell us that the Universe is one and that the one god of our faith is also Universal and Absolute Truth, but in open stewardship we acknowledge that each field has its unique ways of knowing.  The method of science is a way of knowing that excludes the methods of religion.  It does this to establish fields of knowledge that are objective;  not dependant on individual subjectivity.  For theologeons like Tillich, personal ways of knowing, faith and belief, are just as important and often more important.

As stewards of the ultimate field, it is our responsibility to retain clarity about these distinct ways of knowing.  Some practitioners of science go too far and exclude the phenomenology of conciousness as hopelessly subjective and impoverish their fields by excuding many discoverable objective facts.  Similarly, some believers can deny the facticities of the world and rationalize magical world-views that can only be sustained in isolation from a larger social context.  The ultimate and universal must remain open to be true; defending this openness is our calling as universal stewards.

 

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