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Monday, June 1, 2015

Mission Revisited

On my run today, I revisited my mission--that which gives me meaning.

My mission is to get myself and others--all of us--to think
  • positively but more important critically
  • tactfully but more important strategically
  • focused but more important contextually (i.e. aware of social milieu, values, consequences)
  • rationally but more important passionately
  • objectively but more important collaboratively
  • boldly but more important wisely
  • faithfully but more important creatively
I believe that our deficiency in thinking whether due to willfulness or illness is the source of most, if not all, physical and moral evils in the world because all human acts are linked to our thinking. Thinking is the antidote--thinking critically, strategically, holistically, contextually, passionately, collaboratively, wisely, and creatively.

This means we must do all we can to know what thinking is neurologically and phenomenologically; and we must understand the obstacles to thinking that come from our organism and our environment (our genotype and our memotype).

I am most concerned about our lack of thinking in our politics that is obscured by our cultural artifacts: inherited ideas, rituals, beliefs, models, i.e. memes. And I am most concerned about the subordination of social justice to personal gratification.

Evolutionary psychologists and biologists tell us that genes compete for survival through the organism and that memes compete for survival through culture. Genes and memes are selfish and are just using us to survive. For human advancement we need to decide which genes and memes should survive and thrive and which ones we need to let go of. That takes thinking.

As a Jesuit devoted to education both in schools and in communities, I was told that the purpose of a Jesuit education is, not merely to acquire knowledge, but using the knowledge of past and present to learn to think for the future. I am still committed to that mission.