Academic journal article Journal of Thought

Aurobindo's Thought and Holistic Global Education

Academic journal article Journal of Thought

Aurobindo's Thought and Holistic Global Education

Article excerpt

The integral knowledge admits the valid truth of all views of existence, valid in their own field, but seeks to get rid of their limitations and negations and to harmonize and reconcile these partial truths in a larger truth.... It is not by "thinking out" the entire reality, but by a change of consciousness that one can pass from the ignorance to the Knowledge-the Knowledge by which we can become what we know. (Dalal, 2001, p. 3)

--Sri Ghose Aurobindo (1872-1950)

The Age of Globalization

Contemporary global, political, social, and economic developments may forever transform the way we think about each other and influence the future social reality constructed. Latest acts of terrorism will certainly have an influential effect on humankind's collective psyche. The materialization of these emerging global issues are especially challenging for educators. As such, many assert that humankind now has a collective responsibility to facilitate the construction of a shared global culture through educational socialization. This is particularly true for those of us who are professionally committed to educating toward a future existence where peaceful cooperation and planetary citizenship become dominate values that are held in the same high regard as nationalism and individualism are today. Within this context it is critical that we reflectively contemplate what we teach and how we teach regarding these issues.

Some scholars view these developments of international change as the emergence of a new social phenomenon. This social phenomenon coming to life is termed globalization. Globalization is the idea that humankind is evolving into an interconnected political socioeconomic system. The majority of scholars study globalization from the perspectives of transnational political conflicts in the quest for a world governance, the effect of global social interconnections on economic justice, and the impact of scientific and technological innovations on global relations (Baylis & Smith, 2001; Beck, 1999; Berger & Huntington, 2002; Bhagwati, 2004; Bloom, 2000; Bruteau, 2001; Foer, 2004; Friedman, 2000, 2005; Held & McGraw, 2000; Held, McGraw & Perraton, 1999; Hubbard, 1998; Steger, 2001; Stiglitz, 2002).

Nevertheless for many educators globalization has become a significant concern at all levels of learning, which is why they many seek to move the focus beyond being purely an international political and socioeconomic problem, to one that is viewed philosophically as a global humanitarian dilemma as well. In view of this increased interest in global education, we examine the ideas of Sri Ghose Aurobindo and Scott Forbes to determine the value of their thoughts on this subject. Before we examine their views, however, a succinct review of some relevant literature by global education theorists is undertaken. Special attention is given to how certain educators understand the problem of globalization, conceive of means to educate for it, and articulate global educational agendas.

Globalization and Global Education: A Literature Review

While other global education experts could have been selected, Patrick Fitzsimmons, Dean Peterson, Delores Wunder, Harlan Mueller, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Val Rust, Bill Bigelow, Bob Peterson, Nicholas Burbles, Carlos Torres, Holger Daun, Nelly Stormquist, Karen Monkamn, and John Levin have been included to illustrate the diversity of thought in global education and the conceptual and philosophical challenges that exist. As we begin with Patrick Fitzsimmons, it is of interest that he contends that the political ideology of neo-liberalism is the social force behind the globalization movement, which he views as problematic because the neo-liberal agenda is a homogenizing process. Neo-liberalism advocates an international "politics of difference" under the guise of "global cooperation," which is a pretext that undermines genuine social solidarity and cohesion. …

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