Lincoln Idealist and Pragmatist - Preface


in this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of abraham lincoln is enshrined forever.




The task of preparing teaching-learning material for val­ue-oriented education is enormous.

There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration.

Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, autobio­graphical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humour, stories of human interest, brief passages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression.

Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual familiarisa­tion of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available in the cultural experiences of the world at large.



Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research ma­terial could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a way that teachers can make use of it in the manner and in the context that they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students.

The research team at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SATTER) has attempted the creation of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the same in the form of monographs. The total number of these monographs will be around eighty to eighty-five.

It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumi­nation, heroism and harmony.

It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms — illu­mination, heroism and harmony — since the aim of these mono­graphs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms.

Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, under­stood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and in­spiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying de­grees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness.

Heroism is, essentially, inspired force and self-giving and sac­rifice in the operations of will that is applied to the quest, reali­sation and triumph of meaning and value against the resistance



of limitations and obstacles by means of courage, battle and ad­venture. There are degrees and heights of heroism determined by the intensity, persistence and vastness of sacrifice. Heroism attains the highest states of greatness and refinement when it is guided by the highest wisdom and inspired by the sense of ser­vice to the ends of justice and harmony, as well as when tasks are executed with consummate skill.

Harmony is a progressive state and action of synthesis and equilibrium generated by the creative force of joy and beauty and delight that combines and unites knowledge and peace and sta­bility with will and action and growth and development. Without harmony, there is no perfection, even though there could be max­imisation of one or more elements of our nature. When illumina­tion and heroism join and engender relations of mutuality and unity, each is perfected by the other and creativity is endless.

In Lincoln, we see a man of ideals, aspiring for unity and liberty of the family of man, as he called it. His life illustrates the tapasya he undertook, — a tapasya that defined his purpose and empowered him not only with the skills necessary in the outer instruments but also with an inner strength for the ful­fillment of those ideals. Like a well-conducted orchestra it took him progressively to the top, just at the time when the nation stood on the brink of a schism. Attacked by those who wanted to tear the nation apart and accused by the rest for inefficiency, he stood heroically in the face of the storm, following the voice of his soul as the civil war plundered the country. He embodied not only the spirit of heroism but also of harmony; he was a receptacle of an active inner power that could rein in and utilize the strengths and wisdom of his rivaling cabinet ministers and influence them to work in harmony despite their differences. Finally, his dependence on the Divine Will was his succour that comforted him when all else was raging around him and which led him through successfully to overpower the menace of divi­sion and oppression.

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