The Order of the Circle. On John Amos Comenius’s ‘Pragmatics of Consensus’
The paper deals with the pragmatics of consensus in the work of John Amos Comenius. In the fi rst part, “The order of the circle”, three of Comenius’s visual works, from the early novel “The labyrinth of the World”, the schoolbook “Visible World in Pictures” and the theoretical work “The general triad”, are compared. The famous drawing of “The labyrinth of the World” shows a confusing town landscape in a closed circle and symbolizes the chaotic life of man after his fall and the Babylonian confusion of tongues. The didactic emblem for “Visible World in Pictures” shows the world in harmony with God’s will. The abstract scheme in “The general triad” visualizes the connections between things (res), thoughts (mens), language (lingua) and hand (manus). They form a stable and universal order in which thoughts, language and action are interconnected in a triadic relation. Especially the drawing of the labyrinth and the scheme in the theoretical work “The general triad” build a contrast between chaos and order. In the second part, “Pragmatics of consensus”, it is shown that in Comenius’s view the aim and the duty of the philosopher and teacher is to heal the unhealthy reality of communication. That should be done on the basis of normative rules of harmonic and effective communication. These rules are developed by Comenius in his famous “General Consultation on an Improvement of All Things Human”.