Critical Consciousness: A Study of Morality in Global, Historical Context

Critical Consciousness: A Study of Morality in Global, Historical Context

Critical Consciousness: A Study of Morality in Global, Historical Context

Critical Consciousness: A Study of Morality in Global, Historical Context

Synopsis

This volume describes a new level of understanding of human motivation, and individual and collective human spiritual potential at the turn of the 21st century. Critical consciousness (CC) is analyzed in terms of the harmonious integration of mind and heart, of cognitive, volitional, and affective capacities. Its lifespan evolution is described through three levels: Pre-CC, Transitional CC, and mature CC, and the dynamics of each level are explored through in-depth, cross-cultural case studies encompassing the continuum between ordinary people and moral leaders.

Excerpt

The task I face feels overwhelming, and at the same time lucid and simple, a perfect example of the split between mind and heart with which most of us struggle: the heart knows, and the mind has to figure out. Each has its task and its powers, and in synergy they are an undefeated team. Yet, it is so easy to become frightened, and then the mind begins to spin its wheels, taking us further and further away from the inner vision of the heart.

We do not grow up knowing our capacity for this beautiful harmony inside. We are not taught to recognize the wisdom, the love-knowledge of the heart, or its capacity to work in concord with the understanding of the mind. We grow up acquiring knowledge that often pulls us further away from the intuitive wisdom of the heart. Sometimes, the voice of the heart becomes so muted that we no longer recognize it and we learn to ignore it. For those of us who never stop hearing this voice, it is in constant tension with much of our learning and habits of mind and with the choices we make.

Spiritual traditions call the heart “the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God” (Baha'u'llah, [1931] 1983, p. 192). As the mind grows and develops its reasoning capacity, it constructs progressively more encompassing meaning out of these revealed mysteries. But the mind's capacity to reason and construct meaning can also be exercised in relative separation from the discernment of the heart. the harmonious working of mind and heart throughout the human lifespan is a precarious balance, which few people seem to achieve. the general condition of the world shows a pervasive split and imbalance between the two.

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