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Discourse Knowledge

Habits of Thought

Certain habits of thought also need to be fostered in connection with a culture of learning, often at odds with current society’s tendencies – three will be mentioned.  It is clear that society increasingly speaks with slogans.  To be able to analyze yet not reduce, to ponder and not dwell, to categorize but not compartmentalize are essential to form full and complex thoughts required of a learning mode.  To take science and religion as an example, there seems to be an endless quest to describe each of these vast systems using fewer and fewer words accompanied by clichéd pictures.  “Science flies you to the moon while religion flies you into a building” is one rather amusing one.  What is actually learned from this statement?

Society also breeds false dichotomies – many of which have already been mentioned: science vs religion, study vs action, individual vs collective, material vs spiritual, action vs reflection, mind vs heart, “us” vs “them”, etc.  They are all manifestations of fragmented thought, harmful to a culture of learning that seeks to understand the interconnectedness of all things.  Many stem from the general false dichotomy between being and doing.  These are two mutually informing aspects of one coherent human being;  an individual personally develops through service, and gains the impulse to serve through personal growth.

And thinking in terms of process, as oppose to society’s end-point oriented value system characterized by punctuated events, short-term vision, and instant gratification, is crucial in understanding that learning is a process that will proceed over time, will evolve in an organic fashion, will require sustained and long-term action and vision, and will never reach a definite conclusion.    Regardless of if current society has forgotten this fact, science and religion are both characterized  historical process, whether progressive unfoldment of revelation or progressive development of disease treatment.

Categories
- Equality of Women and Men Justice

Intersection of Justice and Equality

Relating the issue of equality of women and men to justice protects women from becoming oppressors themselves.  The challenge is not simply to provide women equal opportunity to participate in the present racially, economically, and politically oppressive social order.  In this case, women might not be oppressed categorically, but certainly all people would continue to be oppressed through society’s institutions.  Rather, the aim is to create new thoughts and structures which not only embody the truth of the equality of men and women, but embody justice in its totality, in all social systems, eliminating oppression in general.

There are many habits of thought that need to be overcome and replaced for this change to take place.  One in particular is categorizing, comparing, and labeling people.  Many relationships between individuals involve the tendency to place one person as better, and thus, dominant, and the other as worse, and thus dominated.  This obviously leads to an inappropriate exercise of power, leading to oppressive attitudes and behaviors. Justice, oneness, and equality are needed to purge out these habits.

The social structure most affected by the intersection of equality of sexes and the concept of justice is in the institution of the family.  The family – the basic unit of society – is civilization in miniature; and as humanity undergoes a maturing process, it, too, must profoundly change.  It is the social space in which individuals learn habits, qualities, attitudes, behaviors, and values.  Current conceptions of family that include a space of dictatorship dominated by one adult, a space of absolute loyalty to the exclusion of others, a space of liberalism centered on each person’s self-gratification, all are inadequate for humanity’s needs, and inconsistent with conceptions of oneness, justice, and equality of men and women.  The same principles that guide the advancement of civilization should likewise apply to the development of a family.

As justice and equality of sexes becomes the governing principles of family life will love flourish, will each individual develop their spiritual capacities, and will children learn habits of thought and behavior that will be carried on into the building of mature social structures.