30 May 2009 |
Posted by Lama Surya Das | 2 Comments.
“It seems odd that we spend so much time in schools on such matters as simplifying radicals, learning about the War of 1812 and identifying the parts of speech and so little on the personal quest for meaning. ” –Noddings (1984)
I have been thinking and writing lately about what would constitute a truly Higher Education system — a wisdom-for-life leadership, learning, and empowerment process — which integrates ones upbringing, schooling, and life experience into a meaningful whole. Higher ed today seems to have become, for the most part, mere vocational training, although jobs in this economy are scarce and college graduates such as my goddaughter — Bowdoin College, 2009 — tell me they are pessimistic about going forth into this new world. I personally would rather learn more than earn more.
What philosophy class teaches us how to find ourselves? How to inquire and come to our own conclusions and eventual convictions regarding life’s Biggest Questions, such as how we shall live our lives, what is our true work, why we are here-where we come from — and where are we going (to quote Gauguin), who am I, how shall I love, what is Higher Power (however we may conceive of it), why bad things happen to good people, how to get my hands on the steering wheel of my life in order to attain happiness and fulfillment, inner peace and well being, the end of existential anxiety?
Where can we learn and integrate these things today, in order to benefit ourselves as well as for the betterment of the world and to pass it on to future generations?
I think our current economic and sociopolitical crisis provides us with a real chink in the armor of complacency which has obscured American originality and imagination in past decades, leaving us in a learning moment for the genuine light to shine through. Let’s each together be part of that shining.