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In Search of The Integral Learning Paradigm

Author: Vladimir

Last Activity: January 13, 2012

Invitation to the  discussion and participation in the research project:

“On self-learning center”

Preliminary  remarks:

There is a growing interest in  the modern world in a new possibility of human consciousness to be integrated  around a higher center of consciousness, and in the field of the Humanities for  all branches of knowledge to be integrated around One Knowledge. There is a  need in a new educational environment, where all major faculties of human  consciousness could be studied and exercised in the most comprehensive and  intelligible way.  What we are looking  for is new ways of learning which may result in a concrete change of consciousness.

The technological progress is a  priority today in every field of human endeavor including education. It is, no  doubt, very important for the growth of human welfare in general. But the fast  technological progress which is not backed up or not balanced with the growth  of human consciousness in its psychological, philosophical, linguistic, social  and artistic development may cause a fundamental disbalance, leading to a destruction  of all that the technological progress was meant to stand for in the first  place. So there must be also a ‘high-tech’ development in the field of the  Humanities, as it were, if we are to sustain a harmonious growth on earth.

With the successful and rapid growth  of technological progress unfortunately other approaches, which are different  from scientific, have been looked at as ‘a taboo’ and got banished from the  curricula of many hard-core ‘scientific’ institutions, which still persist in  the one-sided technological development, ignoring and sometimes even belittling  the psychological and spiritual needs in the development of human beings, treating  them as purely biological phenomena. There are quite a few reasons for such a  treatment, which can be found in the past history of the fight with the  religious dogma, and also within the resent economic trends based on the industrial  mind-set, building up the so called market-oriented society rather than the  human-oriented one. Religions on the other hand, and especially Abrahamic, offer  nothing much in terms of the technological progress or its material  manifestation.  They deal with the issues  related only to the afterlife existence, ‘blackmailing’ human beings with their  dogmas, offering them the everlasting existence beyond this world, and in many  cases making good money already in this world by selling tickets for the life  after death.  None of these two  approaches can truly solve the paradox of human existence. We need a new  paradigm of Integral Knowledge which is neither purely religious nor  exceptionally materialistic.

In our research we must  overview many ancient and modern systems of knowledge in different traditions  in the West and in the East. But at the end we shall focus mainly on the Vedic  and Vedantic paradigms of learning trying to understand in depth their  epistemological background and see how far they can help us in deconstructing  the knowledge we have already acquired in the fields of the Humanities in order  to approach it in a more integral way. The systems of knowledge that developed  in the pre-rational structures are of utmost importance for our research, for  they (1) shed some light on the beginnings of the rational structure, (2) build  up a historical depth of our consciousness, and (3) introduce the solutions  which lie beyond the methods of rational structure; for it is a synthesis or  ‘diaphaneity’, in Gebserean terms, of all of them that may give us a glimpse of  an emerging Integral structure.

Vedic tradition designed many  different epistemological frameworks, viewing reality from many different  perspectives and in many ways. But three of them are fundamental: adhibhūta, adhidaiva and adhyātma.  Adhibhūta deals with our material  existence as such, adhidaiva with non-material  workings in us of our faculties of consciousness (seeing, hearing, etc.) and adhyātma views all from the highest  point of view of Consciousness (the all-pervading presence of the Self).

To comprehend the relations between these epistemological  frameworks we must look deeper into their origins and the fundamentals of  Vedantic Philosophy and Psychology.                                             

Some important  points of our research:

1)       The studies of the faculties of human  consciousness.

At first we shall define the  essential cognitive faculties of  consciousness as they are seen in the ancient Vedanta. Seeing, thinking, hearing, speaking, feeling  and touch were considered to be the main functions of consciousness. These are  the definitions of the pre-rational structure (before 800 BC), which makes it  very valuable for our research, for they differ from the definition of senses  in the mental structure of consciousness in Sankhya and Yoga (200 BC). To  understand the shift of epistemological paradigm in terms of the faculties of  consciousness is crucial for our research, for it will help us to widen and  deepen our perspectives and will allow us to stay rational in our methodology. So  we shall be able to use the perspectives of the pre-rational: magic and mythical  structures, being rational in our research.

2)       The studies of the Humanities.

These fundamental faculties of  consciousness in their essential function seem to have a correspondence with  the main subjects of the Humanities, for the latter have developed as a result  of their application. So in the context of the Vedantic paradigm the basic  subjects of the Humanities can be briefly defined in this way:

Psychology deals with our subjective processes of  thinking and self-evaluation;

Philosophy deals with our mental ability to overview and to  conceptualize;

Linguistics deals with our faculty of Speech, as an  ability to communicate and express ourselves;

Sociology and History deal with relationship as such: how  the individual and collective relate to one another, on the scale of space  (Sociology, Ethnography etc.) or time (History);

Art deals with the refinement of our feelings and  emotions.

Science of Nature deals with Matter as such, our physical  existence in the objective way.

Such an approach to learning, where all major  cognitive faculties of consciousness are integrated into one movement of  individualised consciousness is a desideratum for modern education. Having identified  the nature of different approaches with their cognitive faculties of consciousness,  the scholars themselves may become a field of research, as it were; and the  division on the subjective and objective approaches to knowledge would seize to  exist and have only a classifying value, where the subjects of the Humanities  would simply become a means for self-education, necessary to develop Philosophical,  Psychological, Social (Historical), Artistic, Linguistic and Scientific approaches  to reality, tuning to One Consciousness beyond them. Such an approach may  prepare a wider ground for a truer perception of our life, and lead us  eventually to an integral perception of our faculties, opening them up to their  higher capacities. So, the aim of this research is the discovery of the  Integral Paradigm of Knowledge, and all possible ‘technological’ solutions for  its achievement.

As a result of this research  we intend to create a program for self-education, which can be used also online,  where students will be able to find all the means and methodologies necessary to  educate themselves. The program  shall be built in such a way that it will help them to find all the essential  elements for self-education. Moreover it should be organized into a structure  which would reflect the hierarchical and developmental relations between the  disciplines and different topics, helping students to understand the complexity  of integral education. Thus through the structure itself students should be  able to find the elements they need for their integral education and  concentrate on filling in lacunas. Such a research cannot be completed by one  person and requires a group of dedicated scholars who will be willing to deconstruct  and to bring out the essential elements of their subjects in a new light of the  Integral Paradigm of Knowledge. It is a tremendous and noble work of which this  research can be a humble beginning.

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commented by KRISHNA G MISRA on Jan 13, 2012

Regarding 'education', I have remained suspicious all my life and like read more
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commented by Vladimir on Aug 25, 2011

The real difficulty in the subjective studies of the faculties lies in the fact that consciousness is acting through all the faculties
...read more

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replied by KRISHNA G MISRA on Jan 13, 2012 (in reply to Vladimir's comment)

 
commented by Otto Ulrich on Jul 9, 2011

"The aim of this research is the discovery of the  Integral Paradigm of Knowledge, and all possible
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