Education and Bioethics (Mystical Bioethics Network
- Raghwesh Ranjan, Ph.D.
Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 10 (2000), 186-187.
QrNo:C-7/27, UCIL Colony,
Jaduguda Mines, Singhbhum(East)
BIHAR - 832 102, INDIA
The existing world scenario is not healthy. It demands immediate attention. A keen attention can only be paid if we are educated, not just literate. It has been long since we realized our historical mistakes but considering the lapse of time our efforts are not satisfactory. We must remember, actions speak louder than words. People are complicated, ambiguous beings. There behaviour is not only governed by rational aims and standards, but also by various hidden passions, desires, precepts, prejudices and complex mental states that cause contradictory emotions and moods, fear and joy, enthusiasm and pessimism, belief and disbelief, despair and serenity.
I sternly believe that only a proper education system can bring about bioethical maturity. Every education aims at fitting the growing individual for his special role and positions in society so as to elicit the best out of him.
Man's instincts are much less sharply defined and specialized for his adjustment and accordingly he depends much more on his institutional framework & his education. Man also inherits an imaginative world of values the product of morality and religion, literature & fine arts.
A progressive and prosperous society is an educated society. An educated barons is matured enough to balance the benefits & risks, decide what is good and bad and understands the moral, social & national responsibilities. Education teaches respect for nature and environment, society & social values. Education brings humbleness and remorseless actions. Education imparts a meaning to life.
Humans are an autonomous moral and spiritual subject with intellectual curiosities and longings. Thought & consciousness are higher level of the mind & mental activity. They are inherent only in men. Animals possess only the rudiments, the simplest elements or rather capacities from which human thought & consciousness arose over a long period of development. By virtue of progressive evolution, man is capable of creating things that do not exist in nature, of proving mathematical theorems, of devoting himself to art of building machines and even of flying into outer space far beyond the limits of Earth. None of that is in the power of animals at the same time it is all done through the activity of the brain. The brain is the highest, most complicated & organized form of animate matter.
A powerful means of the development of consciousness is language. A thought (an idea) is always expressed in language and conversely language is the form of expression of thought. By virtue of that language makes it possible to express the most varied thoughts, describe peoples feelings and experiences, formulate mathematical theorems and build scientific and technological knowledge.
The philosophy is also the harvest of human thought. The consciousness, which becomes too strong to fight against materialism gains spiritualism and the language of such conscious brain, is philosophy. Philosophy lends an attitude, which is society friendly, nature friendly hence humane. In his book Bioethics for the people, By the people. Macer quoted change in lifestyle as an important factor for sustainable living. I fully agree with him. But even most important factor bioethical maturity can be attained only by change in lifestyle and this can be achieved by educating the masses. We can make a flowchart for easy understanding.
Flowchart: Attainment of Sustainable Living by Bioethical Maturity and Lifestyle Change
National Universal Environmental
Progress Harmony & Peace Repair
Bioethically Mature Human (Brain)
Change in lifestyle
Immature and Materialistic Human (Brain)
Education and Change in lifestyle
Lifestyle change is a buzz phrase now in ethical circle. How to attain is a big problem. Every country has diversified culture and hence society. We can only start on a principle "work locally, think globally". But apart from this concept is the concept of moral education, environmental education and social education with normal running institutional education.
Every country has education system of its own. I don't know how may countries emphasize on ethical education with institutional education. As far as India is concerned the education system is not strong enough to propel social, moral and environmental consciousness. Likewise, every country lags in some front and hence much debated life style change couldn't be achieved.
Lifestyle change can be achieved only when the thoughts are mature enough to break all geographical boundaries and think universally. Developing countries will have problems which are grave than developed ones. The developed nations are expected to understand the problems of developing countries and respect them. The apartheid on the basis if economic status of a country is an intolerable offence if we wish to change the lifestyle to attain Bioethical maturity to make Earth a habitable planet once again.
Education and Ecological Consciousness
Education brings concern for nature. Ecological consciousness is a new phenomenon. We can say that it is outcome of the realisation of our historical mistakes, committed either knowingly or unknowingly. But it has been late blooming and we are yet to put efforts to combat disturbance of ecological balance, environmental pollution, the danger of exhaustion of natural resources and threats to human existence on the blue planet.
A very important factor in ecological consciousness is an understanding that nature is not only a system of economic resources and not only a condition of humanity's survival, but also a powerful factor in the humanising of society. Environmental education must be made compulsory at all levels of education, irrespective of discipline of study.
It is high time now and we (people from ethical circle) must emphasize on the significance of moral education. We can aim at global approach towards framing of education system so that the developed education techniques can reach the underdeveloped and developing nations. It is also important from inter-cultural transmission of knowledge point of view. As Sri Aurobindo says:
"Thou hast come down into a struggling
To aid a blind & suffering mortal race,
To open to light the eyes that could not see,
To bring down bliss into the heart of grief;
To make thy life a bridge twixt earth & heaven;
If thou wouldn't save the toiling universe,
The vast universal suffering feel as thine;
Thou must bear the sorrow that thou claim'st to heal;
The day bringer must walk in darkest night;
He who would save the world must share its pain.
It he knows not grief, how shall he find grief's cure?
If far he walks above mortality's head,
How shall the mortal reach that too high path ?_h
Raikov, A.,The Principles of philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow.
Macer, DRJ, Bioethics for the people by the people, Eubios Ethics Institute, Japan.
Sri Aurobindo, Savitri, Book VII, Canto VI, p-174
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