Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sterile secular view of life is losing “certainty” making way for a sane and salutary stance

[Enculturation versus Enskillment - Tim Ingold - Social Anthropology, University of Manchester: Orthodox models of cultural learning rest on the premiss that culture exists as a context-free body of information, available for transmission outside the contexts of its practical application. I argue that this premiss is untenable, suggesting instead that what each generation contributes to the next are not rules or schemata for the production of appropriate behaviour, but the specific conditions of development under which successors, growing up in a social environment, acquire their own embodied skills and dispositions. Thus learning is a matter of enskillment rather than enculturation. This conclusion, however, has radical implications for the way we think about the relations between biological and cultural variation. Instead of supposing that the human being comes into the world innately pre-equipped with mechanisms for the acquisition of cultural information, we need to recognise that the differences we call cultural are themselves biological, established in the human organism through a process of development. This recognition, however, calls for a restructuring not only of the psychological theory of learning but also of the biological theory of genetic inheritance.]

[professional groups, with their own norms and identities, are absolutely central to the functioning of any modern society... these groups are the principal source of a functional and institutionalised morality in modern societies... Societies cannot be held together only by coercion (state) or money (markets). Something more is required. In a broader sense, it requires internalisation of norms and values that set limits on what can be bought and sold. It’s not the market by Pratap Bhanu Mehta Indian Express > Edits & Columns > Oct 20, 2008 at 3:42 PM]

It is not without significance that the suspicion infused into the divinity of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo by Peter Heehs through his book The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is being hotly contested at the same time when a colossal crisis is threatening to quake the global financial stability. In both the instances it is the sterile secular view of life that is losing “certainty” making way for a sane and salutary stance.

If the 20th century grappled with the “uncertainty” in physics as well as language, the 21st, it seems, will tackle the same in economics and politics. And in all these areas the sage advice of Sri Aurobindo would be of immense help. Sri Aurobindo as a guide of the human race will stand tall transcending all chasms: east and west, north and south, left and right, red and green.

Failure of calibration at various levels has been the bane in the past, and hence, education, ethics, and integrity are to be the cornerstones of a secure future society. Not merely enskillment, raising students with the ability to be “judge of skills” would be the legitimate task for the schools. For all this, willingness to drink from the source is essential. That fountainhead is hidden deep within every human being, and learning should lead one there instead of prohibiting as at present.

It is a temperamental revolution. The path has been charted out by The Mother and Sri Aurobindo 100 years back. We must follow it, we must tell others to follow it, and we must persuade others to follow it. We have to cajole others to follow it. And if need arises, we must force others to follow it, for, we are sure that in that only lies our welfare as well as theirs. [TNM] 7:17 PM 3:42 PM

1 comment:

  1. [Epigenetics is the science that studies the mechanisms that transcribe the genetic code for each individual, each phenotype. Transcription proceeds along internal, programmed chemical mechanisms but depends also on environmental factors, such as milieu, habit, experience, and education. Which means that the symbolic—a term that in this context I prefer to culture—is already at work at the heart of biology. That the entanglement of the organic and of meaning could itself be one of life’s structures, that the symbolic conceals itself from ontology by taking on life—] by Catherine Malabou