philosophical counselling

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SOCIETY FOR PHILOSOPHICAL PRAXIS, COUNSELLING AND SPIRITUAL HEALING (Registration No. 477, 2000-2001) (A Non-profit and Non-religious Society to promote Free and Creative Thinking, Social Action and Spiritual Healing)

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Generally people of different age groups, both male and female, ask me such questions:What is life and what is the aim of life, what should we do orwhat should we pursue in life? and hostof other questions related to such issues.

These questions are based on the assumption that there is something out there and we should try to achieve it. But we forget to see or unable to recognize what is within us. Humanity is within us and we have to use this sourcein its full force.We do not need to seek any other thing which is not within us.Unfortunately we all waste our time and energy in achieving that which is not within us. The constant pursuit of something not within our reach is the cause of anxiety and tension in our lives.

Human life is a symbol of consciousness, strength and faith. Thereal life is that where we can reach our goal with ease by performing our duties to ourselves and tothe society in general. It is seen that majority of people blame their situations for any failure in their lives. They consider their situationsas sources of worries and anxiety. One should not be worried about the nature of his situations or resources, because man with his sincere efforts can change the given natural situations. We should respect whatever situations we are in. The maximum use of given situations or given conditions is the real respect of life.

The word "respect of life", does not mean attachment or fondness ( moha) for luxurious things . It simplymeans thatwe should respect all the situations given to us. The proper useof situation is always based on our KARMA(action). The thinking or brooding on situation gives rise to attachment towards situations. Thus, thinking ( or brooding ) on the situations is the cause of many defects.

Action( KARMA) is related to present and the leaning of thinking is towards past and future. (Thinking, if it is necessary, should be done on that thing which cannot be achieved by action). Distancing( vimukta) fromour own knowledge ( niz-jana) means distancing from our own life.This alienation from one's own nature is due to our lethargy(pramad) . Lethargy keeps us away from our own real knowledge. The awareness of thissecrete, results in embracing the situations given to the individual and by which hebecomes one with life.

Life is a form of means to Humanity. Humanity,as a seed, is infused or is within all human beings. The seed of humanity, which is within us, is to be developed in the light of ones' own wisdom ( vivek), because the light of wisdom is potent enough in abolishing our failings or defects.The gradual abolishing of defects of life leads to gradual development of life as a means to humanity. When all the defects are removed from lifecompletely, life becomes means to humanity. Such a means ( sadhan) is not mere a part of life but, of all the actions of life, from awakening to sleep ( sushupti) and from birth to death. This is real human life. When life becomes such, then the doer or actor (sadhak) and means become identical or one and the same.

In principle means (sadhan) is the nature of end (sadhya).Means (sadhan) cannot be separated from the end (sadhya). The sadhan is the existence of actor or doer. It follows from this that doer oractor, in essence, is identical with means. The felt difference of Sadhak from Sadhan is due to his attachment with the situations. But man by nature is free to remove this attachment and can realize the unity with the end. This is the meaning of becoming Human being.

Generally we believe that wisdom ( vivek) in identical with intelligence. But it is not so, because intelligence is natural and mechanical and on the other hand wisdom is beyond intelligence. In other words it is transcendental.To make my point let me give an example: electricityis energy and it expresses itself through electrical appliances such as bulbs, tube lights etc. But this fact is known only by a physicist. Ordinary man thinks that bulb , tube light etc. are the examples of electricity.

Wisdom is changeless and intelligence is changing or varying in nature.Intelligence is the function of nature ( prakriti) and wisdom is beyond nature or prakriti. All the so called sources of light such as lamp etc. are finally, based on sunlight or sum provides light to them. Similarly the knowledge of intelligence and sense organs are enlightened by the extra ordinary light of wisdom ( vivek). When the intelligence is enlightened by the pure light of wisdom then the pure intellect purifies the mind ( manas). The purity of mind brings purity in the activities of sense organs. Man's character is formed by the virtuous behavior generated by pure or unpolluted mind. The virtuous behaviour of individualmakes the society beautiful. Therefore, vivek is the only powerful source which not only makes individual's life beautiful it also makes the society, to which he belongs, beautiful.

Wisdom ( vivek)---intellect---pure intellect----pure mind( shudh manas)----pure behavior------character formation-------virtuous act-----beautiful society.

When an individual disrespects his own wisdom, which is inherent in him by nature, then he completely relies on the knowledge of senses and believes firmly that knowledge derived through senses is the only knowledge. Dependence on knowledge of senses causes attachment towards external things. This attachment leads to the tendency of craving and selfishness in an individual. The tendency of selfishness keeps away an individual from human concerns and infinite love towards other fellow beings. Individual develops passion towards his own body and different types of greeds. These greeds are the cause of dependence, insensibility and discontent.

As we have said earlier that humanity is our nature or it is inherent in us. With our nature we can do our welfare and also can build a beautiful society. This nature of ours' is a gift to us to make best use of sufferings and pleasures. It is not for luxurious use of worldly things. The best use of pleasure is compassion towards other living beings and on the other hand the best use of suffering is disinterest towards those situations which are causes of sufferings. Disinterest does not mean siting alone or feeling bankrupt. These are all external symptoms of disinterest.

Disinterest only means to develop disinterest in the objects of senses. It is a feeling in which individual thinks that sense objects are inferior then the enjoyer-I(bhokta).This increases the value of enjoyer. Object of enjoyment and the means of enjoyment both are dependent on the enjoyer.Enjoyer is not dependent on them. The interest of seeing an object illuminates both eyes and the form of object. Eyes have the capacity of seeing, but, eyes do not have the "interest" in seeing. The interest lies in him who is the master of eyes. Therefore, humanity makes us powerful in transcending both pleasure and sufferings.

Dear Sir,

Society for Philosophical Praxis, Counselling and Spiritual Healing, in collaboration with Institute of Informatics and Instrumentation, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, Department of Science and Technology, Government of Rajasthan and Eco-Ethics International Union — Jaipur Chapter is going to organise a two-day seminar on TECHNOLOGY AND ETHICS on 20th and 21st December 2003.

Since you are a working scientist and eminent scholar of your field, we therefore request you to participate in this seminar and present ethical issues involved with the developments in your field, with special reference to recent advances made.

You are requested to give your consent for either a paper presentation or participation as one of the members for panel discussion. If you choose to present a paper, you are requested to kindly provide the topic and an abstract of the same.

We look forward to your active participation in this seminar.

With regards,

Dr. K. L. Sharma
Society for Philosophical Praxis, Counselling and Spiritual Healing

Dr. A. L. Bhatia, Secretary
Professor and Head of Zoology Department
Convener, Institute of Informatics & Instrumentation & Chair, Eco-Ethics International Union — Jaipur Chapter


If it is a fact that a technology would create difficult moral decisions is reason enough to discourage the development of that technology, then does it not follow that the fact that a technology would enable us to avert difficult moral decisions is good reason to encourage its development? Although neither critics nor defenders of technology have raised this question, it seems an appropriate one to ask. And if the answer is yes, it suggests a new way in which technologies might be defended on moral grounds.

Take the example of genetic screening, which prevents moral dilemmas associated with aborting fetuses with serious genetic diseases, like Tay Sachs disease and Lesch-Nyhan syndrome. It does so by warning potential parents who are carriers of those diseases so that they may use contraception. Another dilemma-averting technology is general anesthesia. Surgery before the advent of anesthesia is vividly depicted in the following 19th-century account of the repairing of a dislocated hip: The development of general anesthesia saved physicians from having to decide whether the torture of surgery outweighed its benefits for their patients.

Other examples of moral-dilemma-averting biomedical technologies abound. Polio vaccination has eliminated the epidemics of polio that terrorized populations only a few decades ago. It enabled physicians to bypass agonizing decisions about putting polio victims in iron lungs from which they might never escape. And a whole class of technologies that prevent moral dilemmas are those that enable physicians to detect and treat serious illness in its early stages before people's lives are seriously imperiled. These technologies include biopsies and radiography to detect cancer while it is still operable or treatable.

The invention of the safety lamp in the early 1800's dramatically lowered the incidence of mine explosions and thus prevented painful decisions about when to terminate efforts to rescue trapped miners. The invention of the chronometer allowed ships to determine their longitude in the open ocean and thus prevented shipwrecks of the kind that lost bearings previously caused. It is likely that this prevented some "sinking lifeboat" dilemmas that would have occurred.

Surely we do need theoretical advances, but even more surely we need to make more progress in solving the real-world problems of our technological society. It should be mandatory to observe social responsibility in science, technology, and medicine.

What policy should we adopt toward future moral dilemmas? Should we strive to avert moral dilemmas, or minimize the number of them that we must resolve? Is there a moral justification for such a policy? And what if it is necessary to commit a morally wrong action in order to prevent future moral dilemmas? Can this ever happen? And if so, how can there be moral justification for doing what is morally wrong?

Technology as a double-edged phenomenon now poses a serious challenge to human reflection. Consequent problems of limits, restraints and control relating to this mighty force require wide-ranging awareness and critical dialogue to meet the challenge various questions arise:
    • What after all is to be understood by technological process or product in view of the vast range covering implements from kitchen knives to the Hubble telescope?
    • Is it entirely a recent phenomenon, if not, why does it demand our immediate attention?
    • What specific features have brought it into focus for human reflection?
    • As an intervening, modifying, and correcting process, what kind of inroads has it made in our modes of thinking?
    • As a growing complex phenomena (in medicine, information, transport, communication, architecture and in human relationships) what challenges does it present to human action and thought? Or in ways of adjustment?
    • Effecting our ways of thinking what changes are being brought about in our evaluative sensibility? Are they desirable?
    • In brief, what sort of possibilities and potentialities technology including robotics and nano forms is supposed to unfold in relation to human life and situation? Do we quietly submit to them?

There may be more issues which may come up for discussion. The point is we should have an occasion to go into the matter..

Dr. K. L. Sharma, Secretary

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