- What? 2019 International Conference
- Organizer? Department of Philosophy, Mumbai University, Centre for Buddhist studies
- Theme “Global impact of Buddhism and Neo-Buddhism”.
- My Topic “The impact of Phenomenological and Existential awareness of our surroundings on our Moral Worldviews”
- Published Where? Scholars anthology Edition: November 2019, Sandesh Publication by Department of Philosophy, Mumbai University Press.
- If the topic triggers your thought, then you are most welcome to read my article and raise your point of view.
Here I am summarizing the points I covered in the article. I am also adding the images of papers published for your reference.
- The role of Moral Perspectives. Morality comes from facts and not from faith. The situation we face surpasses our beliefs. Right action towards unfavourable circumstances is the only way to justify reality. It doesn’t matter how far we define morality unless it brings ‘measurable goodness’. And therefore, many philosophers and thinkers have defined morality and behaviour in a way that could be perceived by all. Keeping in our mind that morality comes naturally and isn’t enforced, I would explore the concepts of morality further.
- Self-realization and epistemological awareness of moral values. When we understand self in a proper way, we start deviating from materialism. The Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence, Consciousness, Bliss) becomes the only achievable goal. Kirkegaard, an existentialist philosopher, would say ‘essence’ or ‘the quality of self’ as the means to our existence. When we know our qualities, our actions are thoughtful and intent.
But, sometimes there is a gap between subjective and objective quality of self. We often are confused in two contrary statements of ‘what should I do?’ and ‘what is prescribed?’. This gap could be eliminated by meditation and practice of self-awareness. In this way, there arises a transformation from materialism to intellectualism.
- Role of ‘personal values’ in Morality & Awareness
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson. Buddha also said, ‘You Experiment and examine the world, like Goldsmith do with Gold- by cutting, burning, rubbing etc. Don’t accept the word by enforcing but by your own understanding.’
When we talk about Phenomenology and Existence, we understand that
these terms are a result of our day-to-day experiments of life. The direct & indirect experiences of our life build up our belief systems. It doesn’t matter if a person is an expert in the subject of morality unless he acts so. The morality could be judged only by a thoughtful conscious act.
Our values come from the experiences we face in our life. The role of existence in morality is very personal. A person in a dangerous situation would not think of morality before escaping away. Therefore, Existence and morality don’t always correlate. Sometimes it also act contrarily. A person seeking existence may or may not seek prescribed morality. So it becomes very important to inculcate personal values by Experiments or self experiences.
It should also be kept in mind that the personal value shouldn’t be against the natural flow of society but should be used for the welfare of the world. On this, J Krishnamurti has rightly said “We are the world essentially, basically, fundamentally. The world is you, and you are the world. Realizing that fundamentally, deeply, not romantically, not intellectually but actually, then we see that our problem is a global problem. It is not my problem or your particular problem, it is a human problem.”
Now the Fundamental Question arises, from where does this personal values evolve? To this John F Kavanaugh, author of “who count as persons” has responded, ““Intrinsic personal value – the foundation of ethical value – starts when an individual life journey begins. It ends only with the cessation of our existence.” Personal values could be transferred from person to person. And with the cessation of existence, personal value is also lost.
- Role of Intentionality in Moral worldviews
Intentions depends on a person’s lived experiences of thought, perception, belief, memory, imagination, desires and attitude. According to Edmund Husserl Phenomenology, the state of mind produces certain psychological experiences. The negative state of mind like anxiety & stress produces negative emotions. Gautama Buddha tells this phase as a visible impact of ignorance. Professor Geshe Ngawang Samten, Vice-Chancellor, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies has also talked about the rejuvenation of Neurons by balancing the state of mind and practising mindfulness. (in his speech in International Conference on Global Impact of Buddhism and Neo-Buddhism.
Intentionality is never a self -embedded concepts but it is derived by an inherent cause within an individual discourse. You have an intention for a certain thing, when you desire, forced or obey something. So, Intentionality is about something and always because of some reason. It could also be derived from experience and willingness.
Buddha also says ‘to do good and be good and this will take you to freedom and whatever truth there is’. On deeper studies, it is analyzed that ‘do good’ is our nature of existence and ‘be good’ is the phenomenological aspects of self. So, the combination of these two aspects could really alter our moral, social, personal, ethical and other values.
- Searching Morality in sufferings
Materialism is happiness for a moment. For the long term, it’s not worthy. How could one eliminate sufferings in life to develop a moral viewpoint? Thinking from the social perspective, one should make a switch from materialism to intellectualism. Again, intellectualism is cultivated through self -awareness. This intellectual thinking also soothes the sufferings and give a new direction to life.
For understanding the Goals of existence, we should have a look into the Albert Camus essay The Myth of Sisyphus –“Even knowing his work is pointless and considered torture by the Gods, he embraces his life”
Buddha has even said to meditate on suffering. So looking back at once in-capabilities would make a person realistic for the course of his existence. Victor Frankl, existential writer also focuses on the meaning of suffering. Buddhist would say – “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
The existentialism guides an individual to create their path or understand self for overall development of personality and phenomenological aspects. It won’t be wrong to say that with existentialism comes refined phenomenal aspects, and with refined personality comes inbound morality.
When evaluating self-realization, self-consciousness, personal values, and intentionality, the course of action generated is to follow Heidegger authentic individuality.
To develop a genuine group of individuals, authentic individuality is necessary. Authentic people are unable to ignore social suffering. If we are part of society, suffering must matter to us. We ought to have empathy for others. This is the true morality reflected as a result of the impacts of existential and phenomenal effects.