Where The Mind Is Without Fear

NB: The spirit of these lines conveys the purpose of my blog. Freedom of the mind and the striving toward truth and wisdom are the underpinning of human life. In a time when the ruthless pursuit of power and mindless rhetoric is in danger of destroying the integrity of social life, co-operation and even speech, we need to recall the wisdom of these lines. I have added some personal observations from an earlier post beneath Rabindranath’s prayer. Dilip

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Chitto jetha bhoyshunyo; a Bangla poem by Rabindranath Tagore, was first published in 1910. This is an English translation

Science, society and related matters

Truth will always remain elusive, but we cannot do without it

There are pre-scientific forms of knowledge, but there need not be an insuperable barrier between them

Religion is an attempt at reconciliation; but stumbles in its claims of final and complete knowledge

Everything speaks, even seas and winds and trees and glaciers – we simply need to learn how to listen

Conscience is the impulse to the Good – but we gave it away to some ideologically defined Great Cause

Reason is the impulse to the truth, but we gave it away to science and mathematics

Positivist arrogance disregards the fundamentally mysterious character of the Whole

With utmost humility I say humans will never grasp eternity; nor infinity

In the presence of Eternity, there cannot have been Creation, because the latter implies a beginning

No final answer nor perfect system (of thought or life) exists.

All answers are unstable; but the same questions recur in every generation

We cannot abandon the question of the good society; nor free ourselves from the responsibility for answering it by deferring to History or Progress or Fate or Tradition (paraphrased from Leo Strauss)

Humans will always remain unfinished animals, because of the damnable gift of the ever-wondering mind

The striving for completion must be complemented by metaphysical resignation, lest it inflate our search for sovereignty over nature

Nation-worship is dishonest atheism

We have handed over our natural creativity to economic categories such as ‘growth’ (ever-accumulating capital); and ideological categories such as The Nation

In consequence we have discarded our empathy and responsibility 

The Spectacle is the guardian of sleep (Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle)

We need to crawl out of the spectacle and recall our sense of beauty, goodness and wonder