Dealing with Despair: Existentialism and Education

For a greater part of my later years in high school and my initial years of college I suffered from a bout of existential despair. There were protracted periods of time when questioning my world view and my way of life resulted in an overwhelming sense of futility and insignificance. I was so overwhelmed as an angst ridden teen that I made desperate attempts at suspending introspection. Addictive gaming. Binge watching shows and movies. A couple of months of aggressive smoking. A couple of months of aggressive drinking. Obsessing over a girl. The usual suspects of teenage waywardness.

YouthKiAwaaz Link: If You’re Dealing With An Existential Crisis This Post is Definitely For You

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Income Inequality in the United States

ECON PROJET IMAGE 2Income inequality in the United States is at historic heights (Pew Research, 2013). Unless the underlying structural drivers of income inequality are addressed, an increasingly restive populace could fundamentally undermine the efficacy of the institutions that promote peace, prosperity and progress in American society. For instance, (1) increasing disillusionment with the political establishment could compromise the delicate balance of power between despotism and anarchy through the rise of authoritarian or populist forces (Hamilton, 1781), (2) associating the pursuit of knowledge as an exploitative attribute of the economic elite could result in a skepticism for education that stymies the nation’s economic potential (Lyngar, 2015), (3) directing the frustration compounded by inequality towards hard-working and productive immigrants could result in the compromise of humanitarian values and the nation’s human capital (Dustmann, 2004).  In short, the growing resentment with the economic and political elite as a consequence of increasing income inequality could result in the adoption of measures that exacerbate various negative social and economic trends. There is thereby a pressing need to understand and address the structural drivers of income inequality. Unfortunately, rather than proactively address the key structural drivers of income inequality, policy makers tend to reactively appease the public subject to the negative effects of income inequality. This paper specifically analyzes one such significant case of appeasement in the recent past where policy makers increased access to housing as a response to voters on the wrong side of the rising income inequality trend (Rajan, 2010).

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A Note on the “Fierce Urgency of Now”

 

"We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood -- it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, "Too late."" (MLK Junior)

“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.”” (MLK Junior)

Humanity is at a crucial juncture in history where crises of immense scale demand urgent action.

It’s easy to overlook the urgency of the times, as the transformative capacity of scientific progress has created an illusion of sociocultural progress. While scientific darkness is in constant recession, the light of justice, sustainability and prosperity, is locked in constant conflict with the darkness of injustice, destruction, and destitution, for control of the world’s social systems.

The organic institutions of the world’s social systems determine the nature of societal outcomes. The failure of these institutions has caused a cultural crisis that is the underlying cause of the world’s staggering challenges.

Jiddu Krishnamurthi, observed that, “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” The sickness that plagues today’s society is the culture of blind passivity and civic disengagement that is promoted by broken social institutions that influence people’s educational experiences.

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STTI Social Entrepreneurship Update (26th Sept, 2014)

bezos quoteHello everyone!

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, famously noted that if a team cannot be fed by two pizzas then the team is just way too big (Bezos’ Two-Pizza Team Rule).

The team leads of the STTI Soc. Entr. Committee have appreciated the wisdom behind this observation as we found that both productivity and a collaborative environment were compromised in our first two meetings this semester due to the size of our initial team. Low productivity naturally serves as a huge impediment to our objective of collaboratively developing working business models for firms in India.

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