On Monday George Floyd died after being brutally abused by a member of the Minneapolis Police. Even after George screamed that he could not breathe the policeman would not pull up his knee from the defenseless men’s neck. These violent actions are pretty much alive in many parts of the world. Masses of women in Latin America suffer from physical partner violence every day, every year. (PAHO 2014).This very second you are reading this, people in the world are suffering because of someone’s beliefs, thoughts, and actions. It is very difficult to really comprehend how much cruelty is happening in the world until something horrible happens to you or someone you truly love with all your heart. There is one foundational cause for all this madness, a dualistic worldview, believing that we are different and we are separated from each other.
Worldview is the set of beliefs that guides or determines our comprehensive outlook on the world (Oxford English Dictionary). Worldview is basically what we believe as true in the universe. Every single person on the planet has a worldview that drives his or her beliefs, values, and actions. The presence of violence all around the world suggests that some worldviews are creating beliefs that fuel horrific actions like killing a human being. It is critical that we address these issues because a dualistic worldview not only allows cruel acts to exist but also promotes negative mindsets of domination and oppression. (Oliver 2001)
In the article Creating an Ethic of Love in the Realm of Education Through Buddhism and Ubuntu, Robinson Morrison argues he has a solution to this dualistic worldview, Radical Love in Education. In his own words:
Radical love, in education and in life, mandates a revolutionary becoming; that is it mandates the totality of one’s subjectivity undergo a transformation of values toward righteous action, mutual care, and recognition that there is no Other.
In the article, he shows the contrast between Western society worldviews and older South African Ubuntu Philosophy and Eastern philosophy of Buddhism. An examination of the self (the subject) is made through the lenses of these philosophies. Different from western views Ubuntu and Buddhism notions of the self only exist in recognition from others. In Ubuntu ‘a person is a person through other people (Eze 2010). In Buddhism everything is interconnected between you-I, (there is no and) we are one same and actually, we are all the cosmos, including nature, trees, and moons. Imagine everybody thinking they are the Earth, we might take better care of it. Ubuntu and Buddishm’s philosophies offer one part of the solution Robinson claims. The second part of the solution is Radical Love. The article makes emphasizes that love can be learned and that certain elements are essential for the love to be powerful. There are four elements:
Love and Kindness with a deep understanding of the other situation. This requires high levels of empathy and awareness.
Compassion practiced through mindfulness. Compassion will give you the capacity to understand the suffering of others. ‘’Love in Action’’
Joy is the third element and is also practice through mindfulness. Joy is the peace and contentment deeply felt in relationships with others. (Hahn 1999)
The last element is Equanimity which is described as loving everyone equally.
Should Education shift its attention completely to these elements? Should Education pay more attention to the worldviews that foster duality inside the system?
According to Thich Nhat Hanh:
Love is understanding called by another name, it easy to view education—the act and practice of acquiring knowledge toward deeper understanding—as one of the primary means through which come to be, know, and do love in communion with others. Along with the home, the schoolhouse—as we imagine what it must become, but is not yet—must be a place where we learn how to love, to cultivate the mind of love, and practice care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication”
In the end, all we really need is Love so cultivate it with kindness, compassion, and equanimity from this very moment onwards, and if you are thinking about how to treat others remember there are no others.
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Pan American Health Organization
- Oliver, K. (2001). Witnessing: Beyond recognition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
- Robinson, M (2015) Radical Love: Creating an Ethic of Love in the Realm of Education Through Buddhism and Ubuntu
- Hanh, T. H. (1999). The heart of the Buddha’s teaching: Transforming suffering into peace, joy, and liberation. New York: Broadway Books.
- Hanh, T. H. (2015). How to love. Berkeley: Parallax
- Eze M.O. (2010) Ubuntu: Many Voices of a History. In: Intellectual History in Contemporary South Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, New York https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230109698_6