A Pedagogy For Change

By Victoria Sicilia

One of the key questions at SNC Lab is: How do we develop modes of education to equip future generations to face challenges still unknown? We seek to foster pedagogical experimentation and innovation within humanities and social sciences. Using a piece by Amelia Jorgensen, I’m interested in discussing the ways in which pedagogical practice can be [re]constructed in order to encourage the growth of critical and adaptable student populations.

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What does it mean to be spiritual?

Galen Watts, Queen’s University, Ontario

Spirituality has become a kind of buzzword in today’s culture, especially for the millennial generation. Increasingly, North Americans identify as spiritual as opposed to religious.

What is behind the rising popularity of spirituality without religion? Some critics have suggested it is a byproduct of the self-obsessed culture of today, evidence of a narcissism epidemic. This criticism is similar to that launched at the millennial generation (born between 1980-2000) in general, what some scholars have called “Generation Me.

Although I don’t disagree with these characterizations, I believe there is more to the story. Since 2015 I have conducted in-depth research with Canadian millennials, interviewing 33 Canadian millennials who self-identify as spiritual but not religious — in order to better understand their beliefs and practices.

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Eight Billion Bodhisattvas

By Joshua Noiseux

Though our lives are beset by misery and suffering, and though we are constantly faced with delusion and ignorance, according to the Buddha we are incredibly lucky to be human. Indeed, being born human requires vastly more luck than winning the lottery. This is exceptionally hard to believe in 2017, but it is a perspective worth considering.

Tradition has it that the Buddha put it this way:

Monks, imagine a limitless ocean in which a turtle, blind in both eyes, swims incessantly in random directions. Only every 100 years does this turtle surface for air, always in a random location. Floating on the surface of this ocean is a golden ring which is carried away in all directions by tides, currents, and winds. Even in an incalculable space of time, how likely would it be for the turtle to rise in such a place as to put his head through the golden ring?

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Watching Contemplative Ecocinema as Engaged Mindfulness Practice

By Zack Walsh

Through this short blog, I would like to introduce you to a group of films that I watch as a part of my spiritual practice. I have been watching these films for over a decade, and find that they are some of the most powerful catalysts for spiritual cultivation, especially in the context of social and ecological transformation. As part of my day job, I regularly ask myself how society can move toward a socially just and sustainable mode of civilization— toward an Ecological Civilization.[i] The power of these films is that they develop certain observational and empathetic qualities that strengthen my personal and professional commitments while enhancing my capacity to respond to planetary suffering. Therefore, I use them as objects of spiritual guidance.

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Moral Double Standards and the Failure of Education

By Rohit Revi

How do we learn how to conduct ourselves in life? I begin with the assumption that it is primarily through schools and universities, and in the close proximity of classmates, colleagues, teachers and professors that our moral frameworks are formed. Educational institutions are places that shape our sense of an ideal human who we may strive to become for the rest of our lives. Our notions of virtue and virtuosity are formed in places and with people that we spend a large majority of our first 20-odd years.

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Democracy without Dignity: A Confucian Critique of President Trump

By James Miller

The events of the past week have marked the point of absolute contrast between the world’s two most important countries and their leaders. In China, President Xi Jinping has consolidated his power throughout the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), beginning with the bravura performance of a three and a half hour opening speech, during which he touched not a drop of water. By the end of the congress, he was confirmed in his position for another five years, his supporters were elected to key government positions, and his thinking established as part of the CPC’s ruling doctrine for decades to come.  Continue reading “Democracy without Dignity: A Confucian Critique of President Trump”