An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Philosophical Baby – kids give closest adult can come to immortality

Many Saints and Spiritual Masters have argued that we lack the ability to be aware of our world. That our perceptions inhererntly limit the Truth.

Now, in her book “The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life”, Alison Gopnik, argues that the children are rational beings who learn just as scientific exploration happens – using experimentation and recognition of statistical patterns.

There is an inherent difference in the mechanism of awareness between the adults and the kids.

Children appear to have a far more vivid awareness of the world around them than adults do, Gopnik, reports, because an adult’s “spotlight awareness” that enables concentration on specific features of an environment involves losing the “lantern awareness” that brings the whole environment to the forefront of attention. This childhood form of awareness is likened by Gopnik to how adults feel when they visit a foreign country; they focus less on particulars and experience everything more globally because so much is unfamiliar. But whereas children have a more intense lantern awareness, they also have less inner consciousness of the kind that helps manufacture a distinctive sense of self, that autobiographical centre of memory and planning which is the “me” in all experience. That explains why they have less command of their behavior, and less sense of the future.

Children even have a higher sense of fairness and have a clear knowledge of how others feel in different situations. The forming of morality and fairness in kids has a lot to do with the relationship they have with thier parents:

These insights into notions of selfhood and morality add weight to Gopnik’s conclusion that the relationship between children and parents is one of the chief producers of value in our experience. This extends, says Gopnik, even to saying that because in a quite literal sense “children are our future,” they give us the closest thing we will ever get to immortality.

Reference Links:

The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life

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