Who am I? An exercise in self-exploration

Steven Rudolph

When it comes to learning, we live in incredible times; we can quench the thirst of our curiosity in seconds with a few taps on our cell phones. Sometimes it feels as though we can summon answers to our questions as quickly as questions come to our minds. Today’s generation will find it hard to imagine that many of us had to make long trips to the library just to find out even the smallest piece of trivia such as the average rainfall in Madrid.

But while technology has revolutionized our ability to learn by providing information on demand, many will tell you that it is this very technology that is to blame for the increase in social problems that exist among our youth. Parents and educators frequently opine that television, the Internet, mobiles, and Facebook are directly responsible for the increase in incidences of misconduct, drug use, violence, and even suicide.

However, one must wonder if it is the technology that is causing these problems or the way we are educating our children – by laying emphasis only on rote memorization and forcing them to attend endless tuition classes at the expense of teaching children to be human beings who are sensitive, responsible, and conscientious. While we think that our civilization is progressing due to material advancement, perhaps we have lost sight of the true meaning of what is truly important in education.

Ultimately, technology needs the wisdom to guide it.

It is for this reason that the great thinkers of ancient Greece made an inscription on the Temple of Delphi that read “gnothi seauton” (lit., know thyself). And it was for this reason too that the sages of India’s past placed so much emphasis on personal growth; they strongly believed that the true gauge of progress was to be measured by inner development, exemplified by the first and last pillars of the four human pursuits: dharma (discipline), aarth (economic livelihood), kama (enjoyment), and moksha (enlightenment).

The author is Director of Jiva Institute, Faridabad. He can be reached at steve@jiva.com.

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