Personal Awakenings, Social Struggles, and Dreams of Transformation
LAS 138 - Personal Awakenings, Social Struggles, and Dreams of Transformation3 hours Some of our most intense learning experiences can feel like awakenings from mistaken understandings of our world. We experience some of these awakenings – like learning that we have the power to reason our way through misunderstandings with loved ones or morally complicated social situations – as empowering turning points in our lives. Not all of these awakenings are pleasant. Learning that others are suffering and denied opportunities due to systematic injustice can leave us feeling ill at ease and less at home in the world. But awakenings, whether gratifying or upsetting, call us to ask ourselves many questions. How do we hold onto new insights, feelings of purpose, and desires to relate differently to others once we have these moments of awakening? What personal, social, and political forces encourage us to live less mindfully and justly? Must we change our lives? In this seminar, we will explore these questions and examine how writers, philosophers, religious thinkers, leaders of social movements, and other people of conscience have answered these questions. But we will not assume that mindfulness is something we leave to the experts. Through in class exercises (including five minute memoirs, group discussion, and civil debate) and reflective essays, participants in this seminar will pursue the work of mindfulness independently and with each other.