” No “ism” except universalism can be tolerated in the educational system.”
“Any narrow ism may be transformed into universalism and accepted by all only when all physical barriers, psychic hindrances and spiritual impediments have been removed from the periphery of that ism.”
– PR Sarkar
Overcoming narrow-mindedness is a goal in many courses and study in NHE Schools. It comes into play most prominently in social studies, but also has a role in many other subjects, including reading, writing, the arts, and science.
We each develop certain affections based on where we grow up, and the groups we identify with. These can be termed geo-sentiments and socio-sentiments. These limiting points of view ultimately clash into the narrow sentiments of others, leading to much of the conflict in human history.
The most narrow sentiments, such as those fanned by hate groups, are the easiest to identify. Their potential for destructive power is obvious. Broader but still limiting sentiments, like the belief that only men should rule and vote, may take longer to identify and combat. Their destructive power may be less clear at first, but still potent since the broader the sentiment is, the more members it is likely to have. Even the most expansive sentiments may carry the seeds of disaster if not elevated to the status of universalism. An example of this would be our ongoing global ecological crises as an outgrowth of a failure to include the animal and plant kingdoms under the banner of human progress.
The practical methods for inspiring large-mindedness are many. The first few may be accomplished through literature, music, art, oral reports, social events in school, and class visitations:
- a deeper understanding of one’s own cultural heritage
- an exposure to various cultures in a respectful manner
- an exposure to various religions in a respectful manner
The next few can be accomplished more specifically in social studies and history. They include:
- learning local, regional, national and global geography
- proper study– bringing in differing points of view, analyzing the sources of information, understanding the author’s historical perspective
- developing rationality– verifying facts, contemplating pros and cons, using logic when arriving at conclusions
- awakened conscience– identifying divisive strategies, weighing facts in the light of what contributes to the greater good, taking action based on your new awareness, putting learning into practical and benevolent use
Overall the curriculum in NHE schools is broader in its scope-touching East and West, reaching North to South. Ultimately we have seen that children educated thus, tend to have a greater appreciation for what they have inherited, an open-minded respect for others, and the rational judgment to see what improvements can be made in our world. We would like to see all children grow in confidence and joy, imbued with the feeling that the struggles of all creatures great and small are their own. This is indeed Universalism.