Knowledge Mobilization (KMb): Multiple Contributions & Multi-Production Of New Knowledge

Gandhi & Knowledge Sharing

I recently attended a lecture at the Centre for Social Innovation, sponsored by New Acropolis Toronto, and presented by guest speaker and philosopher, Parth Doshi. The lecture was  titled Gandhi…The power to change the world. The afternoon presentation was divided into two sections: the first, providing an overview of Gandhi’s life – emphasizing Gandhi’s concept of satyagraha – and the second, focusing on the early influence of theosophy on Gandhi’s spirituality.

Doshi is a very interesting, eloquent and articulate speaker, and he interspersed clips from the film Gandhi (played by Ben Kingsley) to provide a great visual complement to the lecture. Although I enjoyed the lecture very much, I couldn’t help but feel that the second section – with Doshi overly using the word spirituality – became more of a religious sermon rather than a philosophical lecture.

Don’t get me wrong. I can appreciate that when speaking about Gandhi one may need to make use of the word spirituality to describe the personal and powerful drives that contextually influenced him during his life – and that make Gandhi one of the great leaders and influencers of the 20th century and today. However, spirituality is now such a historically heavy-laden and currently alienating term for many that perhaps speaking more about the enduring and deep human virtues of love, compassion and peacewithout alluding to spirituality – might be better suited for a “philosophical” lecture.

Does religion/spirituality have any place in a philosophy lecture – especially in a world that continues to be divided by such ideals? We now live in a world today where spirituality and religion are far too often conflated and marginalizing.  Perhaps it’s my own bias against the alienating use of the term spirituality that’s showing.

Any of my KMbeing blog followers will know that my emphasis on the power of knowledge sharing to make the world a better place does includes the human virtues of love, compassion and peace – but I never want to alienate anyone by sending out unintentional messages of religion or spirituality.

As someone who has extensively studied philosophy, theology and comparative religions, I now recognize that knowledge sharing may include views of spirituality, but the human virtues of love, compassion and peace as part of knowledge sharing (or philosophy) need not include spirituality. We live in a world where many still believe in the power of spirituality, but I think we need to move beyond the divisiveness of using spiritual concepts to embrace the basic human values of love, compassion and peace – based on personal lived experiences – that also shape our knowledge sharing – which can exist regardless of spiritual beliefs. I believe we are now living in a time when we need to emphasize the power of basic human values like love, compassion and peace as part of basic human knowledg sharing rather than spirituality to make the world a better place.

Gandhi said, “Be the change you want the world to be.” I say, make the knowledge sharing decisions you want the world to be.

Gandhi also said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

The need to share knowledge encompasses every area of our lives. Since time is limited, we need to choose wisely the knowledge we’re going to share that will take up that time.  Since knowledge can be used for benefit or knowledge can be used for harm, we need to choose what we will use our knowledge for. Are you making the world a better place with the knowledge you share or are you contributing to the problems that constrain humanity?

I know some people who ignore the knowledge of others or don’t value their own knowledge.  They don’t practice knowledge sharing for social benefit at all – they never sit down and ask “is this type of knowledge sharing making the world a better or worse place?”  “Is this type of knowledge sharing alienating others or focusing on our common human values?” They tend to live without being aware of the needs of others, without being able to see when certain knowledge sharing is harmful or when it might be of value.

Life is short – we all know that.  We may get overwhelmed by what’s going on in our lives, but each experience – either negative or positive – can be turned into knowledge. When we learn to choose to share our knowledge for benefit, our personal knowledge becomes effective.  When all is said and done – life is about making knowledge decisions. The world of tomorrow depends upon the knowledge decisions that each of us make today.  And how do we learn to choose wisely the knowledge we’re going to share?  We observe the results of our knowledge decisions.  Do I reflect on my own knowledge? Do I value my own knowledge? Do I feel my knowledge sharing is making the world a better place?  Am I open to the knowledge sharing of others? Do my knowledge decisions bring peace or conflict? Are my knowledge decisions inclusive or marginalizing? It certainly is not my intention to alienate as well with this blog, and I hope this blog will only help to further enlighten.

Doshi spoke about how Gandhi used a cycle of study, action, experience and reflection to live his virtuous life.

I couldn’t help but think that knowledge should have been included in this cycle. As two of my earlier blogs point out (previous blog & previous blog) knowledge is not something stagnant, it’s a dynamic process – a cycle – that continues to flow and be re-evaluated to create new knowledge – especially for social benefit.

Once we learn to observe and reflect on the value of our own knowledge – for everyone has knowledge to share – then we can make knowledge decisions that will truly help all of us in life that is inclusive for all of humanity.

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