What aspirations would you have if you were ruler of the world?
Professor Subi Rangan’s first question in his lecture on Societal Progress provoked passionate conversation. We debated our global potential, and challenged our current perception. For example, according to most students, the current world order would only receive a C grade…. So we discussed what world order aspirations would have to be achieved to reach an A grade.
What do we prioritise? Eliminating prejudice? Guaranteeing trust in politics? Empowerment through education? Greater understanding of mental health? Collective climate change action? Sustainable living?
Students discussed the reality of their aspirations, as well as their various opinions on what would be best, where and why. Are these aspirations, choices or decisions? Where is the moral responsibility? Are we the generation to make this happen? As you can imagine, the discussion would have been endless, if not for Professor Rangan’s second question…
What principles do we rely on, in order to take action with our aspirations?
In true Rangan fashion, his ‘hunter-gatherer of information’ like style engaged a multitude of examples from a variety of issues forcing students to think critically. We discussed that we as human beings are driven by a desire for order and peace. In addition, we rely on the government as our biggest form of authority to implement this. Secondly, we advocate ethical intelligence and action and the role of NGO’s to enthuse charity, morality and fairness. Thirdly, human behaviour is largely stimulated by competition and the need for progress. In this sense firms influence the principle of ‘betterment’ and prosperity. Overall, when discussing aspiration, we should consider how the world is and how the world ought to be.
Personally I found one of the most striking points made today was the power of ideas and imagination. However, it was the decision or rather choice that we can make that makes us either a Slave of Success (S.O.S.) or a Bundle of Resilient Energy (B.O.R.E.).
The lessons and challenges of today resonate with the Serenity Prayer. In order to successfully understand your unique role in the team of bettering the progress of society, it is essential to realise your potential and acknowledge your own limits. In that sense we have the energy, and wisdom to achieve.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
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