Be all that you can be
No, I am not suggesting that you join the Marines!
“The religious believer assigns dignity to whatever his religion holds sacred—a set of moral laws, a way of life, or particular objects of worship. He grows angry when the dignity of what he holds sacred is violated.” Quote from “The End of History and the Last Man”.
To what does the non believer assign dignity? If the non believer does not assign dignity to rationality and self-actualization, upon what foundation does s/he stand? If the non believer does depend upon rationality and self-actualization for dignity how is it possible that so few know anything about such matters?
Abraham Maslow tells us that there are two processes necessary for self-actualization: self exploration and action. Self exploration is very important, the deeper the self exploration, the closer one comes to self-actualization. Self-actualization results from our desire to actualize our potential. As the Marines might say “Be all that you can be”.
I think that the area in which Western society fails most egregiously is in the matter of an intellectual life after schooling. We have a marvelous brain that goes into the attic after schooling is complete and is brought out only occasionally on the job or when we try to play bridge or chess.
It appears to me that the fundamental problem faced by most Western democracies is a lack of intellectual sophistication of the total population. Our colleges and universities have prepared young people to become good producers and consumers. The college graduate has a large specialized database that allows that individual to quickly enter the corporate world as a useful cog in the machine. The results display themselves in our thriving high standard of living, high technology corporate driven life styles.
Our schools and colleges are beginning to introduce our young people to the domain of knowledge called Critical Thinking. CT is taught because our educators have begun to recognize that teaching a young person what to think is not sufficient for the citizens of a democracy in an age of high technology. CT is an attempt to teach young people how to think. Like the adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish, a youngster who knows how to think is prepared for a lifetime rather than for a day.
What about today’s adult? Today’s adult was educated in a time when schools and colleges never gave universal instruction in the art and science of thinking—rationality.
If today’s adult wishes to learn CT s/he must learn it on their own nickel. I think a good read to begin with is this one