We place the report of permanent participant of our Forum, professor Kamran Mofid "The Spiritual Heritage of Education". We invite everyone to read it. The Spiritual Heritage of Education Submitted by: Prof. Kamran Mofid* “Living Our Spiritual Values: Spiritual Education and Universities Transforming the World” This proposal and the offer to organise a Panel for the Second World Forum of Spiritual Culture, Astana, 2013, is an attempt to highlight and to elaborate the power of spiritual education and universities in general and the business education and business schools in particular to transform our world.
Education is the foundation for a good and fulfilling life, setting the individual on a path of personal fulfilment, economic security and societal contribution. Today the world of knowledge and competence is in a constant state of flux. The same can be said for the universe of visions, aspirations, and dreams. For many centuries it had been considered that education in general and universities in particular were responsible for the moral and social development of students and for bringing together diverse groups for the common good. Is this still the case?
For me- committed as I am, to spiritual culture, spirituality, and spiritual educationthe key that unlocks the door to building of a better world is EDUCATION. But, not any education, and surely not the education mostly on offer currently; but a truly different form of education, an education grounded in values and delivered by those who know that it is a great honour and privilege to be a teacher as well as knowing that teaching above any thing else is a vocation.
Education is too important a field to be left to the adversarial politics of competing model-builders: all such models are limited, not wholesome, and thus, incapable to offer true solutions. A correct education system must be based on a metaphysics derived from a comprehensive and unifying vision rooted in philosophy, ethics and spirituality.
There is an underlying unity between all branches of education and all aspects of learning and this unity needs to be reflected in an integrated, holistic and multidisciplinary curriculum which does not draw artificial lines between different disciplines. Much of modern education is still based on a machine-age model of separate subject areas which encourages a fragmented view of learning. In the absence of a unifying spiritual perspective, inevitably little more than lip-service is paid to the need for cross-curricular links.
It should be noted that, in days of spiritual hunger, education needs to do more than grope in the dark. It needs to point students to the light of the world.
If there is a shared national purpose for education, should it be oriented only toward enhancing the narrow vision of a country's economic success? Should education be answerable only to a narrowly defined economic bottom line, or do we need to discover a more comprehensive, inclusive bottom line, given the catastrophic crises that we are witnessing all around us? Are the interests of the individuals and selective groups overwhelming the common good that the education system is meant to support? Should our cherished educational values be all up for sale to the highest bidder? Should private sector management become the model for our mainly publicly-funded education system? Should the language and terminology of for profit- only business model, such as “downsizing”, “outsourcing”, “restructuring”, ”marketisation”, “privatisation” and “deregulating”, amongst others, be allowed to become the values of education, when teaching and learning is nothing short of a vocation and sacrament?
This proposal will demonstrate that the marketplace is not just an economic sphere, ‘it is a region of the human spirit’. Many economic and business decisions impact on the environment, as it is now being more widely recognised, but they also raise important moral questions which call into question what it is to be a human being.
The proposal will argue that decision-makers (contrary to what is practised today) need also to concern themselves with the world of the heart and spirit.
Although self-interest is an important source of human motivation, driving the decisions we make in the marketplace every day, those decisions nevertheless have a moral, ethical and spiritual dimension, because each decision we make affects not only ourselves but others too.
I firmly believe that these values must also be at the heart of our education system, our universities and the business schools.
It is my sincere hope that with this proposal, we can begin an open dialogue with all concerned colleagues, friends, students and others, so that together we can consider a working solution. As the current global crises have clearly shown, the whole world is waking up to the value of co-creation and the harnessing of knowledge from diverse sources, disciplines, experience and expertise. It is time to be contemplative and take action for social justice, for which a sustainable, spiritual education for the common good is an essential part.
Should this proposal be accepted, Prof. Mofid will organise a panel on Spiritual Heritage of Education for the Second World Forum of Spiritual Culture. The invited local, regional and international experts, will then, focus primarily on a balanced assessment of the role and contributions of spirituality to education, universities and business schools.
Other thematic areas will also be addressed. They include (but not limited to): *What is Education?*What is Knowledge?*What is Wisdom?*What is a University?*What is the source of true happiness and wellbeing? *What is the good life? *What is the purpose of economic life? *What does it mean to be a human being living on a spaceship with finite resources? *How can the global financial system become more responsive and just? *What paths can be recommended to shift the current destructive global political-economic order from one of unrestrained
economic growth, profit maximisation and cost minimisation, targets and bonuses to one that embraces material wealth creation, yet also preserves and enhances social and ecological well-being and increases human happiness and contentment?*How should we deal with individual and institutionalized greed?*What are the requirements of a virtuous economy? *What role should universities play in building an integrity-based model of business education?*The Role of Universities and Education in Promoting Dialogue of Civilisations? *What should be the role of the youth? *How might the training of young executives be directed with the intention of supplying insights into the nature of globalisation from its economic, technological and spiritual perspectives, to build supporting relationships among the participants that will lead toward action for the common good within their chosen careers?