Prof. Leena Jose T.*
In the new world, we have to change our minds. Change our mindsets and get ready for paradigm shifts in this ‘epoch change’ – the change of epochs. For that, we have to change our old spectacles.
Part 1: Accompanying the Young Minds in Traversing the World of Ideologies
Part 2: Many a Paradigm Shift
Part 3: Equal Dignity: the Title Song of the New World
Part 4: We Want to Accompany Your Joys
We are to have a NEW look, a new gaze upon the world in which we live. We have to look at the mirror of the good news of the Reign of Merciful Love to see what we are. If God is merciful love, the earth is the home of that merciful love. In mercy, the divine and the human are in unity. Are we in that home or outside? If we are out, embrace the new generations. They will lead you to the new world of sharing: the new world of merciful love.
View, Understand, Change
(Recognize, Interpret, Choose)
Fifteen years back in ‘Outlook Effect’ Mentoring Program developed a methodolgy to help persons locate their life in the social environment around them. I use that Outlook Effect Method to help people change their outlook in accordance with the good news of merciful love embracing humanity. It is simple: View > Understand > Change the attitudes [Kaazhcha, Grahanam, Manobhava mattam].
Our view informs our understanding; our understanding informs our attitude. And we act upon our attitudes. For the action to be proper, good, timely and relevant, we have to view the reality properly and understand it properly. Then we will have the proper attitude.
Recognizing: The first step is “to look and to listen with openness to new things, courage to move outwards and resistance to the temptation of reducing what is new to what we already know. It invites us to open and not to close, to ask questions without suggesting pre-defined answers, to point to alternatives and to probe opportunities. It requires humility, closeness and empathy, in order to get in tune with the young people, and grasp what their joys and hopes are; their griefs and their anxieties”.
Interpreting: The second step leads us to review what we have recognized, using interpretation and evaluation criteria derived from a perspective.
Choosing: In Outlook Effect Method the third step is attitudinal change which is actually a total transformation. Here we need to cultivate the inner freedom that enables us to choose those that better allow us to reach our goals, and discard those that are less effective. It is an operational evaluation and a critical analysis.
Before the operational evaluation of the possibilities before us, we have to locate ourselves within the living God’s grand plan for humanity. i.e. the ever-evolving grand plan of merciful love and joy.
Starting from the person and family, we have to see ourselves as part of the neighborhood, the village, the district, the province/state, the nation, continental community, global community, humanity and cosmos. This is the enlargement of our social sense of being.
Reality of our self is not a divided one. We experience our religious self (the believing self) and social self simultaneously. Both ways, every person and family is part of the global community, humanity and cosmos. This is the world view of the new generation. In this view of life, the social dimension of belief/faith is accounted for.
Many of the adults do not know the language of the new generation or the ways in which the young ones view the world structured by the elder ones. We the elders, were using a language of dichotomies, dualisms and polarities.
About ourselves and others, about the religion and society, about the polity, economy and culture, we all are invited to have a TOTAL VIEW. We, women and men of the old world, are usually tempted to view only one or two aspects of reality and then make sectarian or partisan interpretations. We have our particular ideological biases – known or unknown; vested or not. We act upon partial views informed by partial interpretations. This caused all the fume and fury, all the antagonisms, all the hegemonies and all the violence of the old world. It bred hypocrisy. It left millions and millions of people hungry, naked, homeless, illiterate, sick and lonely.
Many religious persons are spiritual on ‘Holy Days’. On other days they are materialists, pragmatists, consumerists and hedonists. In retreat centres there are charismatics; in other contexts they are dogmatic. In religious classes the children are taught creation; in their schools and colleges they study evolution. Theology to be taught in seminaries and biology to be taught in Universities. The older generation filled the earth and the atmosphere with neat and tight compartments/specialties.
The new children are becoming drop-outs in that world of compartmentalization and over- specialization. They view life and its environment as an organic whole. They bypass the dichotomies, antagonisms and hegemonies of our old world. This is one of the characteristics of the new world. This is why the old propositions of a feudal type of hierarchy, autocracy and male chauvinism are creatively questioned by the new generation.
* Editor, www.viewspaper.in; Director, Outlook Retreat; Former Member, National Executive, CCI (the consultative body of CBCI); Former Vice-President, KCC (the consultative body of Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council); Member, Central Liturgical Committee, Syro-Malabar Major ArchiEpiscopal Church. Email: [email protected]