|Religion 21st Century|
Philosophy of Liberation
All idealists with a commitment to realize universal civil and free societies will need to pause and consider that progress in this direction is not possible without dramatic change in the way humans think and behave. In the beginning of this book, I stated the proposition: If there is progress toward a sustainable and agreeable life for expanding populations of humans, then religions have to become what they are not -- expressions of unity and cooperation.
Real progress in human affairs requires a new approach to education that is universal, persuasive and complete. The knowledge and ideas in this book are basic ingredients for the new education. How can this be achieved? Not by philosophers employed by universities or even book writers that gain an audience. What is required the sustained investment of wealth in new education in the sprit of enlightened cooperation and sustainable technologies. The wealth to support a new approach will come from enlightened individuals, corporations, governments and philanthropic organizations.
I want to make a clear distinction between religion and philosophy. Walter Kaufman described liberation philosophy that serves as a description of the best from the past efforts of philosophers and a prescription for 21st century advances in liberating thought:
“Philosophy, like poetry, deals with ancient themes: poetry with experiences, philosophy with problems known for centuries. Both must add a new precision born of passion. The intensity of great philosophy and poetry is abnormal and subversive: it is the enemy of habit, custom, and all stereotypes. The motto is always that what is well known is not known at all well… The poet's passion cracks convention: the chains of custom drop; the world of our everyday experience is exposed as superficial appearance; the person we had seemed to be and our daily contacts and routines appear as shadows on a screen, without depth; while the poet's myth reveals reality...
"News reports, and even scenes we have seen with our own eyes, are distorted images in muddy waters of reality. We live upon the surface; we are like ants engaged in frantic aimlessness pursuits until the artist comes, restoring vision, freeing us from living death. Philosophy, as Plato and Aristotle said, begins in wonder. This wonder means a dim awareness of the useless talent, some sense that ant-likeness is a betrayal. But what are the alternatives? Vary the metaphor.
"Men are so many larvae, crawling, wriggling, eating - living in two dimensions. Many die while in this state. Some are transformed and take flight before they settle down to live as ants. Few become butterflies and revel in their new-found talent, a delight to all. Philosophy means liberation from the two dimensions of routine, soaring above the well known, seeing it in new perspectives, arousing wonder and the wish to fly. Philosophy subverts man's satisfaction with himself, exposes custom as a questionable dream, and offers not so much solutions as a different life. A great deal of philosophy, including truly subtle and ingenious works, was not intended as an edifice for men to live in, safe from sun and wind, but as a challenge: don't sleep on! there are so many vantage points; they change in flight: what matters is to leave off crawling in the dust.”