Doing what it says

Can you act on scripture without understanding it? This would be like claiming to understand scripture without reading it. Reading it without understanding will not furnish guidance, and how can you know that your understanding is right? (Perhaps you feel you know because you simply can’t imagine any other understandings.)

A reading or ‘recital’ of scripture is a performance; an actual interpretation of it is a more extended kind of performance. And the more compressed and seedlike the scripture, the more the performer has to improvise in the realization of its interpretant. However much faith we invest in the text, the true guide in the end is trial and error, experiment – as in science.

Crease points out that experiments have the character of ‘performances.’ What enters into a performance is more than the script or score. It includes a whole background of intuitive practices. All sorts of trials and errors, hunches and wildly derived ideas enter into the design of experiments. In a laboratory many improvised moves occur. One may employ procedures that lack theory for years, as well as theory that lacks procedures.

— Gendlin (1997)

Dewey (1929) argued that an intelligent ethical (guidance) system treats every course of action as an experiment, i.e. considers every principle modifiable by experience.

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