Unity can be thought of as the most important theme in our culture because we are an ever evolving species in a shrinking world. “I pray for world peace” is very common in our society, yet time and time we have been proven that the only instances we really have true unity is when we are faced with a common enemy. If there is a commonality in our society, even in this little microcosm that is Riverside, we instantly create leaders based on age, talent, social status, etc. Can we really achieve unity or are we just not ready for it yet?
Three texts should be taken into consideration this week. One is Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by the great Shunryu Suzuki. This little book is about the unity of the self.
The second text is by Freud’s contemporary and rival, Carl Jung on the collective unconscious. This small piece is an overview of Jung’s uncovering of this psychological phenomenon. A better text, if you’re into such things, is Jung’s Man and his Symbols.
The final selection is one that you might be familiar with. It is John Donne’s famous Mediation XVII from his long winded text Devotions upon Emergent Occasions. This is a piece that stresses the world around us and our connectivity to others. Granted this piece was done in 1623 or so, but the major concepts still hold true.
So, as this is the final inquiry discussion, I would like to ask these questions in concordance with your own connections.
- What is the definition of unity in our society? Is is achievable? Conceivable, even? First think about unity of the self and then reflect upon the collective unity of a nation then as a species. Do we have to have a ‘hive-mind’ in order to achieve such a phenomenon? Also, since a human’s life is temporary, why does unity have to be forever? Can we live for something bigger than ourselves?
(Ok, that was about 10 questions in one.)
2. Connect the theme of unity to something in modern day society, whether it be news, art, prose or poetry. Tell me and the class why it is relevant to the discussion.
3. Here’s your provincial prompt: Certain events change our impressions of
life. Can this involve uniting together or having a form of collective unity? Explore the prompt and the question.