Thanks to my friend Frantz Rimpel who gave me this book as a gift three years ago, I woke up this morning re-reading “Choose Life, A dialogue” between historian Arnold Toynbee and Buddhist lay organization leader Daisaku Ikeda. This book, published in 1972, is a record of Toynbee & Ikeda’s views on critical issues confronting humanity.
The book is divided into 3 main Topics: 1.- Personal and Social Life (the basic human being, the environment, the intellect, health and welfare), 2.- Political and International Life (political system, one world, arms and war), 3.- Philosophical and Religious Life (The nature of things, religion, good and evil).
I read this book a couple of years ago. And this morning I rediscover the depth of its content. It’s always a pleasure to revisit and reread my books. I can go over my underlining and notes in the margin to agree once again with the author, and even disagree with myself.
This is what happened in my skipping though the third chapter entitled : The intellect. It includes their thoughts and viewpoints on education, learning which are in my area of studies being part of a self-directed leadership education program called Life Leadership..
Education helps the man to “see clearly what he ought to be and how he ought to live”, said Ikeda. And Toynbee to add that “education is a continuing search for an understanding of the meaning and the purpose of life and for discovering the right way to live.
“School education is insufficient to the full development and cultivation of individual abilities” Toynbee & Ikeda said, adding that the kind of education system needed today is one that concentrates on developing the whole human being.
Intellectuals and the masses
“Learning today changes so rapidly that often what one learns in school becomes outdated and perhaps useless later on”, they said, arguing that people are more interdependent today and we need to get more involved in community activities to learn from varied life experiences.
There should be no demarcation line between intellectuals and the masses. “Human beings are human beings before they are members of either the intellectual group or the masses”. But they also agree that “people need time and money in order to obtain the kind of education required for serious intellectual pursuits”.
To become an intellectual, three things are required: 1.- Intellectual ability, 2.-The will to work hard at learning, and 3.- money.
There should be “moral obligations” between an intellectual and his community. The intellectual owes it to society to perform a useful social service and society owes it to the intellectual to remunerate him sufficiently.
This is what best selling author and founder of the Life Leadership Orrin Woodward called a compensated community. Life Leadership brings leadership education, life skills development to the masses . This lifetime educational system is targeting to reach in the upcoming year one million people globally reading, listening to audios, streaming videos, associating in open meetings, seminars, building and bonding in community learning groups. This is definitely the way toward bridging the gap bettween the intellectuals, content creators, innovators and the masses.
Toynbee & Ikeda stated in their dialogue that “lifelong part-time education is the surest way of raising the intellectual and moral level of the masses”.
Both intellectuals and the masses should come together, take our common humanity to set as a goal to promote FREEDOM from fear, JUSTICE for all, access to WEALTH for those who are ready to do the work.We must bring our uniqueness as human being, not as a class, group, tribe, in a concerted effort to improve humanity.