Relationalism vs. Relationism
Relationalism is the final blossoming of Rationalism. Many moons ago Lydia Proshinger, a correspondent from Belgium, pointed out to me that Relationalism is obtained from the insertion of EL into the “word” Rationalism. To my unending shock, EL is the ancient expression for Divinity.
Relationalism is a method of analysis still in its infancy, and its already vast literature betrays a weakness that skews the analysis in favor of abstract “relations.” Focusing its attention on relations, this type of analysis neglects all that is supposed to be held together by the relations. Sandwiches are intensely relational entities. If one focuses on relations alone, one neglects the meat as well as the slices of bread, namely the things that “sandwiches” are supposed to hold together and of which they are composed. Thus, Relationalism as practiced so far is a misnomer. The proper representation of this type of analysis is Relationism. As distinguished from Relationalism, Relationism is an extreme form of Individualism; it is solipsism, really. Aesthetics, in A Relational Aesthetics (1994) by Harold W. McSwain, Jr, is defined as “aesthetic experiencing”: Gone is the art, gone is the artist; what remains is the lonely spectator, “me” the Universal Me, reduced to a “relation” for that matter, an abstract entity that is “experiencing” …aesthetics.
Solipsism is a “problem” born out of Cartesian Rationalism. It is a very important problem, the focus of Goethe’s Faust. Professor Stephen Thornton assured me that solipsism is indirectly related to the ancient problem of narcissism. Really, not the whole “self,” but only an image of the self. One may be a solipsist, truly a “lone wolf” and other more esoteric expressions of individual “mental states,” without being a narcissist, and vice-versa. Clearly, some of those who like to call themselves solipsists can hate themselves. Narcissists are in love with themselves.
Relationalism is a method of analysis and a field of analysis. Relationalism leads us to a much richer field of analysis than currently explored by Relationism. This blog is a small proof of the validity of this statement. Relationalism is an open field. All are welcome.