Thursday, April 26, 2012
For two days, the Institute dealt with the topic of how to define life. In their international academic meeting this year, scientists and sociologists from many nations looked at the issue with religious eyes: What is life, its value, the culture of life, and what should it be? They saw the harmful consequences of an outlook on life that ignored or denied its sacred dimension, and how that could result in a false understanding of human nature and of our natural environment; discovering solutions to this issue is considered an urgent matter.
The head of the Institute, in his inaugural talk, said that from the beginning the Institute has fought against the culture of death and has given a vision of what the culture of life should be. He wants to devise a systematized plan he hopes will spread to other parts of the world.
One participant said they had discussed vigorously the ethical beginnings and end of life but had been slow in examining the results of this in society. In order to be more effective in spreading the culture of life, he said, there needs to be a more comprehensive effort in making evident the moral context when discussing life issues.
Another participant mentioned the impact of materialism and consumerism on issues of life. How these attitudes marginalize humans, and lead us to destroy our environment. It is by being considerate of the other and controlling our desires, he said, that we will solve our problems and be happy in the process.
A participant from India pointed out that without concern for all species of life, our own lives are jeopardized. Another mentioned that globalization, without more sensitivity to the needs of others, can result in more disparity between those who have and those who don't, leading to more problems with the environment. A solution suggested was to have more dialogue between scientists and philosophers.
He also regretted that the movie culture of today fills our consciousness and dominates to such an extent that it makes forming correct moral judgements on the information received difficult. He emphasized the importance of utilizing our imagination in more creative ways to help solve the current impasse over how best to address these difficult issues.