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Navigating the Mazeway: Fulfilling Our Best Possibilities
by Anthony J. Parrotto
In his youth, author Anthony J. Parrotto believed that those in charge of schools, the city, the nation, and other major institutions "always knew what they were doing and always had our best interests in mind." His later recognition that this was not necessarily the case disturbed him greatly. "I changed from an ordinary young person struggling to adapt to the world as it was into someone compelled to learn how the world worked, or ought to work, and how I might consciously model my life based on my own sensibilities, rather than leaving it to others to prescribe." This realization and goal were the earliest inklings of what would become Navigating the Mazeway: Fulfilling Our Best Possibilities As Individuals and As a Society.
Parrotto defines the mazeway as: "you, me, and everyone else, functioning within the social process of this planet, situated in the riddle of the universe – a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle." He believes there are many dead-ends in the mazeway that stop us from fulfilling our best possibilities as individuals and as a society. Without a coherent set of premises to illuminate our journey through the mazeway, we will continue the cycle of misadventures, destruction, and despair that has afflicted humankind from time immemorial.
The author challenges us to question our assumptions, extend our horizon, and fulfill our best possibilities as individuals and as a society. He outlines the process of Life Mapping, which enables us to gain an overall sense of who we are and how we may orchestrate an authentic, satisfying life. He also outlines the process of Social Mapping, which suggests how we can work together to build vibrant and sustainable institutions and communities that reflect a heightened awareness of ourselves and of the great issues of our time.
"I found Navigating the Mazeway to be deeply perceptive and informative in a wide range of academic fields.... In this undertaking the author has drawn upon an impressive range of intellectual, academic disciplines: historical, philosophical, psychological and sociological. Of particular importance for the book as a whole is the call to the reader to examine critically and to perceive fruitfully the nature, sources and range of one's knowledge.... This book has the potential to contribute to students' and scholars' fresh and deeper understanding in the natural and social sciences, in art, literature, history, medicine and law. It provides insights for personal and group identity, and for perceiving the aims and values in one's career."
-Howard Clark Kee, Ph.D.
Professor of Religion Emeritus of Graduate Studies and Religion at Boston University and is now Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including The Beginnings of Christianity: An Introduction to the New Testament and The Cambridge Companion to the Bible.
"What causes this book to stand out among the rest is that the author gently and creatively guides readers through the 'Mazeway' so that they actually discover their deepest and most authentic selves. With erudite scholarship, down-to-earth practicality, psychological sophistication, and the 'mind of God,' Mr. Parrotto guides seekers through his 'Mazeway' so that they may reach their potential as human beings.... Parrotto accomplishes in this ingenious book what our educational and social institutions have been unable to do. A visionary masterpiece that may be just what our civilization has been looking for."
-Judith S. Miller, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Human Development, Columbia University, Teachers College. She is the author of Direct Connection: Transformation of Consciousness.
"Navigating the Mazeway is a remarkable call for us to move beyond narrow, technical reason and to think more broadly about the directions in which we are collectively moving. The book is written in plain language accessible to all. Most important, Parrotto's templates for 'life mapping' and 'social mapping' provide valuable tools for us to reason together on the major issues of life. The book and the templates are an especially promising way to get students to integrate their educational experience."
-Douglas Porpora, Ph.D.
Chairperson: Department of Culture & Communications, College of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University, author of Landscapes of the Soul: The Loss of Mortal Meaning in American Life.
(2007, paperback, 188 pages)