Constructing a peace of mind

  • Philosophy seeks to fathom the innermost core of human existence and can help to maintain peace at all levels
- Angur Baba Joshi

Nov 14, 2017-

Both the UNESCO and the UN deserve congratulations for having declared every third Thursday of November as the World Philosophy Day, thus giving philosophy it’s due even in the era of modern science. Philosophy and science are the two broad branches of knowledge, with many sub-branches in both. Science seeks to fathom the physical aspects of the universe. Philosophy, on the other hand, seeks to fathom the innermost core of human existence.

Beyond scientific comprehension

Mankind has four levels of existence—physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual. The body, as a physical structure, falls within the realm of science and can thus be studied and analysed.  This external physical body is controlled and guided by the mind within. The mind is a thought process which functions voluntarily or otherwise, except while in a state of deep sleep. The mind and body are both controlled by our intellect. It is the intellect which decides what is right and what is wrong and directs the mind and body accordingly. And all these three are enlivened by our consciousness, which is our spiritual existence. It is well known that without consciousness, the other three levels of existence cannot come into action. The body comes within the sphere of science and the mind, intellect and consciousness come within the sphere of philosophy or spiritual knowledge.

Science has given us tremendous technical and scientific objective knowledge as well as physical convenience and comfort for our body. However, the ultimate goal of human life is not only to achieve physical comfort and convenience but to do away with misery and to achieve peace and happiness within. This is the ultimate goal of all human beings across the world at all levels. But it is philosophy which explains the very core of human life and transcends science. Philosophy uses yoga and meditation to achieve the ultimate goal of peace and happiness.

World Philosophy Day was first introduced by the UNESCO in 2002 mainly to foster philosophical analysis, research and studies on major contemporary issues so that we can respond more effectively to the challenges that humanity is facing today, to raise public awareness of the importance of philosophy and its initial use in the process of entry into modernity, and to underscore the importance of the universalization of philosophy teaching. World Philosophy Day is expected to promote philosophical debate that respects human dignity and diversity. This day encourages people all over the world to share their philosophical heritage.

Existential enrichment

The Charter of UNESCO says: “Wars begin in the minds of men and it is where the defences of peace have to be constructed.”  How very true! Philosophy does just that. It is in this context that philosophy comes to help us. It explains to us what the ultimate goal of human life is, the eternal and universal directive principles of human conduct approved by all the living religions of the world, and the process to achieving peace and happiness at all levels of human existence.

Purification of the human mind is the first step of philosophy to move forward in life. Purification of the mind means to generate only positive thoughts. After all what is peace and happiness or misery and tension? They are nothing but the experience of different feelings within. Positive thoughts generate positive feelings and we experience peace and happiness, and negative thoughts generate negative feelings and we lose peace of mind and experience restlessness, misery, tension and unhappiness. If we can channel our thoughts towards positivity, we experience a peace of mind and can achieve happiness.

Philosophy has a direct bearing on maintaining peace at all levels. Let the World Philosophy Day be a permanent reminder for all people, showing the international community the importance of peace at all levels—from individuals to families, and from nations to the world.

It is therefore important that students are taught philosophy at a young age so they can realise peace and happiness as the ultimate goal of human life and the importance of positive thought processes to achieve this goal.

Joshi is a social activist and educator

Published: 14-11-2017 08:21

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