Kosmos: David Fleming, Lean Logic, on Encounter as a Philosophy

Cultural Intelligence

David Fleming, on ‘Encounter’

Extract from the late David Fleming’s Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It chosen for Kosmos by the book’s editor Shaun Chamberlin

ENCOUNTER: The act of recognising something—a person, a practice, a system—on its own terms. The particular character and wholeness of the other is acknowledged. Encounter knows the limits to its understanding; acknowledging that the other has its wildness, its privacy, its own reasons, its defences against invasive explanation.

Encounter means being aware that you are in the presence of something which has business and an agenda of its own, and which cannot be tamed by your understanding. To see nature as a whole, as its own self, you need to approach it with the manners of the stranger—as noted by the great ecologist, Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862),

To conceive of it with a total apprehension I must for the thousandth time approach it as something totally strange.

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Phi Beta Iota: for example, Iran and the Middle East.