July 08, 2013

Critical thinking, sensitivity, empathy and moral consciousness

With the increasing emphasis on the pragmatism of life and survival, it is but natural to ask if Philosophy as a discipline is stumbling. The irony, however, is that the very posing of that question is philosophical in nature. In fact, the moment one is engaging in the act of questioning, one is philosophizing already. So, for as long as human beings have the urge to question and the propensity to think and to know, Philosophy will be alive. 

But while, I argue that there exists a natural connect (even if only in its potential form) between any cogitating being and knowledge, Philosophy can also contribute actively in the shaping of our societies. 

We often blame the megastructures for systematic failures in political, social and economic life. Though these structures exert a substantial force on how human beings who constitute this structure act, I believe, that the reverse is also possible. This is to say, that educated (not literate) human beings can propel change and alter structures, and with the right orientation, good change and better structures. 

But what is going to be the nature of this education and how is it going to be imparted? These are difficult questions but one thing is for certain. More than the kind of formal education currently imparted in our schools, we need to find space for the education of the spirit. And Philosophy is the perfect playground for that -- to nurture critical thinking, sensitivity, empathy and moral consciousness.

The 21st century is witness to rapid changes that are constantly attracting and distracting us. What is the place of a philosopher, often imagined as a being of persistence, in this time of instantaneousness. We do not have to ridicule the demand for material gratification -- money, jobs, things etc. We only need to team it up with the kind of spiritual education that will ensure that the voice of conscience navigates us through these demands. 

Individuals possessed of such robust intellectual and moral values, facilitated by 'doing philosophy', may go on to apply these skills in various field, and the shaping of their beings will help the shaping of their life, their work, their society, their country and their world. Silika Mohapatra DNA

Personality: Bilingual writer Manoj Das believes in the sanctity of authentic expression and commitment to true inspiration Manjula Kolanu

The affirmative, life-embracing, evolutionary philosophy saw Das settle at Aurobindo Ashram.
Does his writing reflect his ideology? “I write a lot, so my social writings do reflect my world view, but my creative writing has always been more indirect – they are preoccupied with human beings and not philosophy or ideology.” ... Commenting on the current Indian writers in English, Das says, “They write a lot, their style and proficiency of language are impressive. Of course they are free to pick their themes; but I find them deficient in one aspect - they are not committed to the truth of their inspiration. Each and every creative act is inspired by something, but now writers are distracted from that inspiration by commerce. If they are faithful to their true inspiration, they would be substantially more creative.

It seems that the postmodernist theory that began infecting the academy some 40 years ago has sent sensible students running, screaming. English was hit particularly hard by this nonsense. Where they once emphasized writing, they now turn students into PoMo phrase generators who are of no use to anyone.
“They can assemble strings of jargon and generate clots of ventriloquistic syntax. They can meta-metastasize any thematic or ideological notion they happen upon. And they get good grades for doing just that,” Verlyn Klinkenborg says of the students he teaches to write at Ivy League schools. “But as for writing clearly, simply, with attention and openness to their own thoughts and emotions and the world around them — no.
“That kind of writing — clear, direct, humane — and the reading on which it is based are the very root of the humanities, a set of disciplines that is ultimately an attempt to examine and comprehend the cultural, social and historical activity of our species through the medium of language.”
[This work discovers, with surprising accuracy, a hidden spiral pattern of change in the universal dynamics, what confirms and fixes the great intuitions of Sri Aurobindo, Teilhard de Chardin, Jean Gebser, Ken Wilber…You can find it in: “byebyedarwin.blogspot.com”, in English and Spanish versions, with optional pdf.] Jose Diez Faixat.

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