Developing the Powers of the Human Mind
In order to live a successful life, one might argue, it is important to develop the powers of the human mind. After all, it is the mind that can imagine new possibilities, discern a means of realizing them and then focus on attaining these objectives.
It is the power of the human mind that allows students to excel in their studies. It is the power of the human mind that allows scientists, artists and thinkers to make new discoveries, extend the boundaries of pure science and devise new and wondrous technologies.
(It is also important to note that the human mind should choose praiseworthy objectives – perhaps this is a topic for another time) For example, Einstein was known to say that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” He credited his success to his ability to imagine his way to solutions of difficult problems. In many cases, Einstein’s gedanken experiments involved phenomena that would have otherwise been too expensive or dangerous to carry out.
In 1948, Shoghi Effendi, who was trained at Oxford University, wrote the following: “People today indeed do tend to be very superficial in their thinking, and it would seem as if the educational systems in use are sorely lacking in ability to produce a mature mind in a person who has reached supposedly adult life!
All the outside influences that surround the individual seem to have an intensely distracting effect, and it is a hard job to get the average person to do any deep thinking or even a little meditation on the problems facing him and the world at large.”
This quote demands reflection on the part of anyone who has witnessed the explosion of technological development since 1948 and all of the additional distractions that have arisen in the world since then! Today’s world far eclipses the world of 1948 in terms of its sophistication and complexity. We live in a world that is almost overwhelmed with distractions and, in the midst of all of this, we are striving to provide a suitable education for our young students.
Any serious student, then, should carefully consider the environment in which we all live and take determined steps to manage distractions and create room for deeper thought and reflection. Such a student might ask what are the key elements in his (or her) life that tend to reduce or increase his focus and energy?
Perhaps in analysing his daily and weekly schedule, he may identify times at which he is most productive and find ways to be more focused in these hours. He might also consider his leisure time and find ways to ensure that it restores his vitality and mitigates his stress levels.
Such measures would no doubt enable a student to improve his performance by enhancing the powers of his mind. This has been a topic of enquiry for centuries and there are numerous resources available for those who wish to develop the powers of their minds.
During this academic year at LIA, let us work together to finds ways to manage the distractions that fill our lives, supporting each other in our efforts to create the best possible environment in which to excel academically.
Students of London International Academy are invited to prepare a ‘TED Talk’ (see www.ted.org) that addresses this topic or another important and relevant topic and present it at our first public speaking festival to be held in January, 2015.
Other students around the world are invited to create their own ‘TED Talk’ and post it online, submitting the link by January 15, 2015. Online submissions will be considered and the most noteworthy entries will be featured in our public speaking event and on our website.
William Neal – Vice Principal