Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Evolutionary transition to a "new species" that Sri Aurobindo and The Mother so tirelessly worked on

Re: Maheshwari and Mahasaraswati in University Education
by RY Deshpande on Mon 15 Oct 2007 02:24 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
In the context of Maheswari and Mahasaraswati aspects in the university education, reference may be made to the article The Athenian and the Visigoths posted today at RYD
Re: Maheshwari & Mahasaraswati... [Athenians, Visigoths & College Dropouts]
by ronjon on Mon 15 Oct 2007 12:20 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Hi RY, Thanks for posting the Athenians/Visigoths article by Neil Postman. I recall his book about the Visigoth wasteland of modern TV replacing more Athenian-like reading for many Americans. When I looked him up in Wikipedia, I was amused to see they described him as "an old-fashioned humanist," which is similar to the impression I had when I read his article. I realize that his arguments are perhaps even more relevant today than when he wrote Amusing Ourselves to Death in 1985 -- e.g. this sobering statistic: "21 million Americans can't read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can't read their diplomas."
And yet, and yet... I'm realizing that my current concerns aren't so much bemoaning the many horrors of modernity, but rather in tracking and to some degree participating in new cultural tendencies that are perhaps indicators of the kind of evolutionary transition to a "new species" that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother so tirelessly worked on. I'm convinced that a truly new kind of cultural transformation is the only hope for our globalizing world beset by powerful technologies whose destructive potential is increasingly out of balance with our capability to use them wisely.
So, allow me to reference another article posted on SCIY nearly two years ago that presents another perspective on American (higher) education. Interestingly, it's an actual college graduation speech, the invited Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs (the co-Founder and Chairman/CEO of Apple, Inc.) in June 2005 to the graduating class at Stanford University, one of the two (along with Harvard) most elite liberal arts colleges in the U.S. Steve titled his address "You've got to find what you love ...". I think it's interesting to juxtapose it with Neil Postman's article, and I'm wondering how you would rank his perspective with respect to our current dialogue re "Maheshwari and Mahasaraswati in University Education"? Here are Steve's concluding words:
...When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you."
(The "Whole Earth Catalogue" had an important formative influence on me as well, so I naturally relate to Steve's comment.) "Heartfully", ~ ronjon

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