Invitation to the discussion and participation in the research project:
“On self-learning center”
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.