“Staying the Course” is a form of course correction delineated by William Hubbard in his book “Complicity and Conviction” (MIT Press, 1980), a correct navigational instruction under specific conditions, and one that for many may set a “rightful course” into Renaissance.
Hubbard delineated six alternative methodologies that are most useful to consider when analyzing “course correction”, useful as one considers Recapitulation and Reformation. They have been recast, edited and paraphrased as follows:
- “CHANGE COURSE“: The New follows Old as far as necessary to establish comparability, then swerves. It is a corrective, not a departure, from a former path misguided from the point of swerving. The New path fulfills the Old ideas along more correct, contemporary lines. This action may require retracing “the Old path” back to the now-past point where swerving needs to occur – part of the Recapitulation process.
- “COMPLETE“: The Old is incomplete, not following core ideas to a logical end. The New completes the Old, and develops the implication of its ideals. With more extensive contemporary development, the New is more rigorous about implications the Old did not comprehend or avoided. Implications of the New may be different from ones not solidified by the Old.
- “FOCUS“: The Old is unfocused, ambiguous and generic, with ideas so general that legitimate concerns we can now see are not engaged. The New is incisive, definitive, with widely applicable principles that address critical concerns with new directness and precision.
- “SELF-LIMIT“: The Old contains elements superfluous to the central point. The New deliberately limits development of ideas to excise the superfluous, allowing remaining essentials to come through with greater clarity.
- “REFILL“: The New considers the total import of the Old, but empties out its “core” and refills with reinterpreted import, as if “What the Old really meant was…”. The way the Old elaborated ideas is found to be pointless and the ideas irrelevant.
- “BECOME THE ESSENCE“: The New is not just a refrain implicit in the Old, but actually IS the essence! The Old is a precursor of the New, retrospectively revealing implications of essential ideas that the New makes manifest, moving from conceptual hope to reality.
Again, this is a paraphrase of Hubbard’s work, originally intended (and still good) for application to design, particularly architectural design. Please read his work for an “unsullied” viewpoint in that regard!
More on “Course Correction” later!