Hello everybody !!!
Since many years, I am interested in the dialogue between different traditions of knowledge. Last week (16/06/2010) I was very fortunate to be able to go to Bangalore and to make an interview of Darshan Shankar who founded the Foundation for the Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT) in India sixteen years ago.
Here is a very inspiring and thought provoking extract of this interview. Darshan talks about the conditions for genuine dialogue and mutual enrichment between "modern scientific approaches" that are based on a more reductionist and structural approach and "traditional systems of knowledge" that are anchored in more holistic and "field" approaches.
He points out the epistemological and human difficulties of this dialogue. On an epistemological level, if the parts are obviously in relationship to the whole (and traditional systems of knowledge do even claim that the whole can be seen in each part), the whole is different from the sum of its parts. It is not easy to construct equivalences between epistemologies rooted in these two different perspectives. On a human level, dialogues between "modern" and "traditional" scientists used to be (and continue to a large extent to be) difficult because of the involved powerrelationships. Modern science sees itself as the truth holder against whose standards other systems of knowledge must be tested. This has led to very reductionist approaches that were unacceptable to "traditional scientists". A challenge of our times is probably to engage in these dialogues and to complete our pictures of the interrelationships between the whole and the parts.
This search for knowledge also brings up the question of mind. If, for modern science, "mind" does not exist as such but can be equated to biological processes, traditional sciences do not share this view. From their perspective, it is as absurd to equate the mind with the brain and its processes, as it would be to say that a driver and a car are one and the same because from a distance they appear to be moving together. From a traditional science's perspective, mind and body are different and can be separated, at death, or during lifetime according to the experience of many Yogis.
Mind is also understood as a multilayered reality. From a traditional science perspective, the rational mind is only one of minds many layers and dimensions. It is considered the grossest form of mind in relationship to the quest for knowledge. And it is actually rather seen as a precious tool to organize and to communicate knowledge rather than a tool to unveil knowledge. Thus, great emphasis was put in the traditional sciences on preparing the mind to be able to know.
Thank you very much to Darshan Shankar for sharing his thoughtprovoking insights and for making them alive in his work with FRLHT !!!
Hopefully, I should be uploading more related material soon.
A lots of good dialogical inspirations to all of you !!!