Opening Ourselves to Different Ways of Knowing

One of the key themes that I have been trying to get across in A Life of Virtue blog is that ideas matter. How we perceive and look at the world has an impact on our thoughts, relationships and actions. Furthermore, ideas act as the foundation shaping our values, beliefs and aspirations.

Therefore, if we wish to hold agency and realize a sense of freedom in our lives, we must continually question and examine the societal norms and worldviews that we take for granted.

In this series I want to examine different worldviews, paradigms and ways of knowing. The ideologies of individualism, which have become so pervasive in modern society, have allowed us to achieve great technological progress.  Indeed, we have attained dominance over nature. We can now examine the properties of microscopic bacteria to the vastness of the universe.

However, despite our longings for absolute control, we still feel a deep sense of lack. Meaning and fulfilment become more illusive in our mechanized industrial societies.

Why is this the case?

Well, perhaps it is because we have acted in a way that treats the world around us as something to be manipulated, controlled or exploited. We consequently feel a sense of disconnection, alienated from others and the world around us.

However, this way of thinking hasn’t always the case. In fact, many other traditions and cultures see us humans in close interconnected relationships with nature . We are not isolated separate beings. We only can thrive if our communities thrive, and we can only live healthy lives if we actively take care of the natural world.

In this series on Different Ways of Knowing I want to asses the following topics in more detail:

  • The differences in the Western and Eastern thinking;
  • Ian McGilchrist’s model of finding balance between the left and right hemisphere of the brain; and
  • Indigenous wisdom and worldviews.

If we are able to examine unique perspectives, we can begin to rigorously evaluate our unquestioned assumptions and gain a glimpse into the unique possibilities and experiences that life can offer.

We can gain a degree of autonomy over our lives and live more deliberately.

We can then truly be free.

The Horizons of Meaning

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In June 2022 I took a course on Deep Philosophy (https://dphilo.org). Below is an excerpt of a text I wrote for the course. It focuses on where I find meaning in life, namely through art and creativity.


 Meaninglessness is a blank canvas. It alienates one to the world around them. The whole world looks grey. Stripped of color and dominated by routine, one mundane task after the other. One lives solely to fulfill the demands of the other, whether it is for their parents, employers or society.  Meaninglessness closes the door to the world of possibilities that life can offer. 

It is only through creativity where meaning begins to shine through the cracks. 

Meaning is the immersion in the infinite space of creativity. It enables one to view the whole world like an artist. Every moment that arises is raw materials for one’s creation. Both suffering and joy are equal opportunities to embrace and connect to the richness of life. 

It comes to a person spontaneously like a flash of insight.  One is compelled to create.

An idea that requires nurturing through actions which authentically connect to the inner depths of their being. It can be through working on a piece of art, writing a new poem or any activity which requires you to be an active participant in the world around you.  

Life is no longer governed by indifference, but a sense of aliveness that comes with being connected to one’s own creation.

Freedom emerges in the horizon.

As we follow our path, we are transformed into our authentic selves – who we truly are, and who we ought to be.


Source Image: Pexels Free Photos

A Love Letter to the Mad Ones

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The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road
An audio rendition of my article "The Horizons of Meaning"
I turn my heart towards the mad ones, 
those who reject the temptations of conformity and the allure of sameness. 
 
They venture into the wild and carve their own path. 
They walk into and embrace the darkness, without any direction home. 
They follow the burning light inside of them, their torch ablaze, 
illuminating the cave to new ways of being. 

'Zombies, zombies everywhere!' they whisper in my ear with caution.
Nothing terrifies them more than the 'cult of normal', they tell me.  
These humans, they say, are pre-programmed with a similar code, 
with identical thoughts, goals and aspirations. 
They are stamped, dated, and come off the assembly line in a timely manner. 
One after the other after the other.   
 
Mass production.
Cookie-cutter hearts, 
Cookie-cutter minds, 
Cookie-cutter souls. 

Let us not forget that the trailblazers throughout history, from Socrates, Jesus, the Buddha and Gandhi, were all initially dismissed by the conformists, the dogmatic masses. 
We laughed, scolded and persecuted them with our childish arrogance.  
It is only in retrospect in which we fully appreciate their greatness. 

Blessed are the weird ones!
Let us turn our hearts to those who have no shame in living out their authentic selves.

So I tell you, dear reader,  
throw away the script, 
corrupt the code, 
follow Truth, Beauty and Goodness wherever it may lead you.  

Embody courage, 
Live as a free-spirit, 
But more importantly, be human - all too human.  


Source Image: Pexels Free Photos