Living As Learning & Cross-Cultural Understanding

Larry Hickman at podium

A new piece at the Southern Illinois University website profiles Center friend Larry Hickman and his work promoting cross-cultural understanding. The story devotes considerable attention to our newest Dialogue Path Press title, Living As Learning: John Dewey in the 21st Century, which Dr. Hickman recently co-authored with Jim Garrison and Daisaku Ikeda. In particular, the piece looks at ways that Dewey's philosophy connects with that of Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, whose Buddhist, value-creating philosophy (formed in the early decades of the 20th century), provides a foundation for Mr. Ikeda's contemporary efforts toward global peace. This passage explains why Dewey and Makiguchi urge us to move "beyond tolerance."

At a time when the world is witness to horrific instances of human cruelty, the present volume contends that merely teaching tolerance is not enough. The three discussants point to Dewey’s and Makiguchi’s insistence that we must aim higher—toward understanding, if new values are to be created for a rapidly changing world. Forbearance may have had its historical moment as the best urging of democratic societies, but Hickman and collaborators place their faith in comprehensive education for global citizens. Such an education would certainly include history, philosophy, geography, sciences, languages and some international experience as a better way to meet the pressing demands of the twenty-first century—in short, a liberal arts education, over the more narrow, careerist preparation currently in vogue.

And in this passage, article writer L.A. Brown summarizes some of the connections Dr. Hickman makes between Dewey and the Buddhism:

Hickman believes that Dewey’s openness to individual differences, to cultural differences, made him beloved to a people who appreciated his advice about “starting where you are.” The idea is that a profound understanding of the world can be arrived at by beginning in attentiveness to one’s immediate context, and creating value there. Dewey’s belief in the possibility of human transformation is similar to the teaching of the Lotus Sutra, central to Mahayana Buddhism, the promise of the lotus rising to flower in purity from even muddy waters. The last words in the volume are Hickman’s: “The test of the ideas and ideals that we have discussed will be their ability to be of service in times such as these.”

Read the full article here.

Learn about Living As Learning here.



[Posted by M. Bogen: 3-3-15]

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