Comprehensivist Wednesdays

The Necessities and Impossibilities of Comprehensivism

If comprehensivism is the process of making sense of it all and of each other, is it even possible? Even if it is impossible, is it necessary that we pursue as many comprehensive comprehensions as we can muster? How can we reconcile the necessities and impossibilities of comprehensivism?

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August 2020 Update on Comprehensivist Wednesdays

Comprehensivist Wednesdays held its first event on 15 July 2020. This series of weekly events is designed for comprehensivists who are also known as transdisciplinarians, Renaissance humanists, homo universalis, and polymaths. Buckminster Fuller expanded on these traditions with the idea of comprehensivity: the state or quality of pursuing comprehensive comprehensions comprehensively. Fuller described the approach as “macro-comprehensive and micro-incisive”.

The series is being organized by emcee Shrikant Rangnekar of 52 Living Ideas in collaboration with CJ Fearnley of Collaborating for Comprehensivism and the Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society.

Recent Past Events including video links and essays

Event Pages include full event descriptions, any additional resources recommended to further explore the subject, and any comments from participants.

There is a YouTube playlist with all videos from the “Comprehensivist Wednesdays” series (click here).

Forthcoming events in August

In order to RSVP to attend these events, you must join either the 52 Living Ideas meetup or the Greater Philadelphia Thinking Society meetup. Joining either group will require joining which is a free on-line service with strong privacy controls. Once you are a member, you can RSVP to join the event from the link to its Event Page.

Mailing List

To receive a weekly update about forthcoming events, please submit a request to join the “Collaborating for Comprehensivism” announcements-only mailing list.

Addendum: Other Comprehensivist Wednesday's Series News Releases

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Humanity’s Great Traditions of Inquiry and Action

In order to undertake the project of becoming a comprehensivist—to come to understand our worlds more and more broadly and deeply—we need to provision a toolkit for the task. What are all the possible approaches that we might mobilize in our quest to make sense of it all and of each other?

“The Design Way” by Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman argues that design, not any of the arts or sciences, was humanity’s first “tradition of inquiry and action“. The “Great Books” and “Great Ideas” collections of Mortimer J. Adler and others, inspired us to prefix the word “great” in front of the phrase from “The Design Way”. We now reformulate our initial question as What are the Great Traditions of Inquiry and Action that humanity has accumulated through the ages? Will this suffice to delimit the range of possible approaches which a comprehensivist might assay?

First, let’s pause to ask: Is it necessary and/or sufficient to encompass all humanity’s traditions with the metaphysics of inquiry and action? I am not at all sure, but since we need some organizing principle, as with all proposed and allegedly “obvious” first principles, we might just accept “inquiry and action” as a good enough working hypothesis of the nature of all humanity’s traditions without too much thought and boldly adopt it.

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“Comprehensivist Wednesdays” begins 15 July 2020 @9-11PM EDT

Starting this Wednesday 15 July 2020 at 9PM EDT (New York / Philadelphia time), there will be regular weekly events engaging in comprehensivist explorations. The series entitled “Comprehensivist Wednesdays” is being organized by Shrikant Rangnekar in collaboration with CJ Fearnley.

To attend the free on-line events, RSVP to each event you want to attend after joining the 52 Living Ideas meetup (, a community for the joint exploration of the world, ourselves and ideas.

The first session Why Be a Comprehensivist? — a Panel Discussion with seven comprehensivists including the two organizers of the series Shrikant Rangnekar and CJ Fearnley will be on 15 July 2020 at 9PM EDT.

The second session “Form Follows Function” with Sherri Tracinski will be on 22 July 2020 at 9PM EDT.

The third session “Humanity’s Great Traditions of Inquiry and Action” with CJ Fearnley will be on 29 July 2020 at 9PM EDT.

For information about additional sessions, please consult the 52 Living Ideas calendar and look for forthcoming events on Wednesdays.

Addendum: Other Comprehensivist Wednesday's Series News Releases

Posted by CJ Fearnley in News, 2 comments