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Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University, argues that problems such as violence and bigotry can be solved only by considering both their secular and spiritual dimensions.
He suggests that depending wholly on secularized viewpoints leads to fragmented reasoning and prevents crucial insights that might help a global community that is increasingly exposed to clashes of culture, morality, nationality, and religion. Taylor has long objected to what many social scientists take for granted, namely that the rational movement that began in the Enlightenment renders such notions as morality and spirituality as simply quaint anachronisms in the age of reason. That narrow, reductive sociological approach, he says, wrongly denies the full account of how and why humans strive for meaning.
Human beings, whether they admit it or not, live in a space of questions, very deep questions. What is the meaning of life, what is a higher mode of life, a lower mode of life, what is really worthwhile, what is the basis of the dignity that I’m trying to define for myself, the hunger to be really on the side of the good and the right, in popular terms to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, and I can mention many others. These are deep hungers or searches or questions that people are asking all the time. And the basic thesis that I have been offering on this could sound very crazy and wrong to some people, but I really think it’s the truth. Everybody exists in this space of questions whether they recognize it or not. They may not think they’ve been posing or solving the question of the meaning of life, but, being a human being, that has to get to you at some level and you have to be living an answer to that, whether you recognize that or not.
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