People try to explain and understand physis and lay down its founding principles in order to form the polis. Both tasks could be carried out only by free human beings, and this freedom is possible only with an education based on paideia principles. This is an integral education, one that allows for a broad development of traits so that each individual can develop an ethos toward excellence in the acquisition of personal values and qualities. Ethos should be developed as a morality that enables us to create laws and participate in the res publica, as this is the best way for us to become virtuous. 

The practice of virtues and the development of telos implies not only to observe the law but also to observe a common way of being that can be carried out in the polis. This should be fostered by education, for virtues and values are acquired by practicing them, which is why learning through example is crucial. Education should offer an exemplary ethos so that it can be worth emulating. Courage and boldness are needed, but so, too, is philosophy because we naturally seek knowledge, and, in this sense, contemplation is inherent to humanity. Knowledge and contemplation are biological conditions of self-realization. If we are deprived of them, the essence of our being is curtailed; in other words, cognitive pleasure is restricted. Because of the importance of philosophy, the polis should be formed in freedom; philosophical questioning is possible only among free human beings. 

Philosophy has a liberating role. It helps to develop, on the one hand, the spontaneous disposition to learn and, on the other hand, the mental and spiritual empowerment of the citizens of the world. Empowerment is a process by which we increase our strength and confidence in our own capacities and actions. This results in self-control and the development of new ideas and of a new global ideology to improve the welfare of the polis, which, in turn, contributes to the resolution of common existential issues and to the appropriate use of new technologies. One’s power of decision will reside in oneself, and the outputs of the economy of the new millennium will result from that empowerment. One of those outputs will be knowledge and information transference in physis, which will enable us to extend the borders of the present. 

Our objective is to create a paideia based on the enhancement of enthusiasm by questioning. This may lead to the appropriate use of technology and information, which in turn will change the topology of the polis and, consequently, transform the democratic attitude and guarantee creativity in the humanistic construction of the knowledge of the twenty-first century. Paideia ensures development, innovation, and empowerment because it has to do with the various ways in which a free citizen deals with common matters of the polis. This implies taking knowledge of physis to the agora — that is, to the res publica — to expand it. 

However, knowledge is not alone in this expansion. The concepts of truth, justice, and supreme good must also undergo globalization. In fact, the free citizen globalizes culture as an example, which indicates that efficient and legitimate progress could be attainable by everybody. Therefore, the notion of governance shows a new way of managing strategies of the polis in terms of educational innovation, taking into account that as a common good, nothing is more important than education. Thus, we can observe that the paideia governance, as an integral civic humanism, can improve our common environment and can draw out individual capacities to reach the status of free citizens who encourage the social dynamics of the polis. This process may surely arise from a participatory and cooperative ethics with an educational instruction that aims at conflict resolution by means of cooperative actions.

Introduction

Though education is necessary for civilizing humans, it is not sufficient. In threshold periods of instability and intense crisis, education breaks down and the bestial and mortal nature of the human being ruled by the second law of thermodynamics reappears far more strongly and clearly. 

In fact, what this thanatocratic law holds is that energy and life within human society and the physical world cannot but maximally decrease, bringing about the state of total exhaustion of energy and life, which defines the state of maximum disorder called death. 

It follows that insofar as humans are mortal beings, that is, beings ruled by the second law of thermodynamics, they must necessarily increase their thermodynamic, social economic, and political disorder up to their total collapse

No education can save humans from this inexorable tragedy unless the essence of education is to show that the second law of thermodynamics is not the real and true law of the physical world and that as an artificial and accidental law, it is refutable by the spiritual development of humanity. 

At this point education, as spiritual development through science, can help us to emancipate humanity from mortality and therefore from the second law of thermodynamics and its ultimate objective of maximum disorder.

— Ion Soteropoulos

Aristotle’s legacy continues with strength in the age of globalization. Humanity in this regard is at an unprecedented crossroad between culture and barbarism and the decision of which path to follow must be collective because we are all responsible for it. We have moved forward with great technological strides although with scarce lights. At this point, one can paraphrase the Stagirite in the notion that humans aspire as well as desire and what they desire is to know. Biologically speaking, we are called to knowledge. Faced with this change of era, the polis has the responsibility to forge a political system in the service of all citizens. A politician’s commitment must be to produce before anything else ideas and to enact a new social contract with innovative alliances. In these alliances come into play not only politicians but also intellectuals,  entrepreneurs, artisans, and teachers. Inclusion in this regard indicates a path to real progress: It challenges us to solve problems that arise from completely new cultural environments using dialogue as the best tool.

The fundamental strategy of the new policies is education. The educational system at all levels needs imminent renewal and transformation from its theoretical and practical bases to a humanist viewpoint.

Physis, Polis, kai Paideia (Nature, City, and Education), a scientific-political-cultural project in the age of globalization, has as its purpose to address the phenomena of nature in order to lay the foundation for a new way of life. This project can be successful only within the framework of free and rational citizens, people whose education has guaranteed the full development of personality. With that education, they are able to contribute ethically to the enrichment of thought and language. In this way, culture (communication, knowledge, learning, and transfer) as paideia is the property of the polis because in it are generated customs and habits that transmit to subsequent generations the practice of ethical wisdom and the axiom of the spiritual development of humanity. 

Until recently, dialogue and integration took place in the agora, which was an open community accessible to free, articulate men and women. It was in the agora that knowledge was communicated and where it was possible to find the res publica. The site of the agora, however, has changed. In the age of globalization, it is now synonymous with the Internet, which is dominated by a world economy in which ideas are not groundbreaking but are instead commercial, tagged with a price. The Internet is where we have installed the shopping bag of knowledge, and we are obsessed with the ranking and gain of prestige at any cost. This new agora neglects the human factor and generates a level of suffering and speculation so high that it has provoked the escape of any innovators. 

Physis, Polis, kai Paideia calls for the construction of the new Millennium Agora: a meeting space for collaboration, the common good, and intellectual and political honesty. It arises from the responsibility to produce ideas that strengthen the future of the citizens of the polis. Education as paideia promotes creative competition, rewards innovation, and fosters humanist leaders.

The humanist leader is the one who transforms challenges into opportunities for those who work as a team by taking care of each of the members and maintaining the codes of conduct over time. In this way, the appropriate scope for the emergence of the conditions of novelty flourishes. We all benefit from this environment, in which damage cannot take hold because corrupt thought cannot take root where there is collaboration. Hence, the importance of an education project is that all members of society get to be good people — that is, to attain excellence and to acquire virtues and values. In other words, they find ways to behave that make it possible for them to achieve individual and collective happiness. 

Strengthening the link between ethics and education is the path to building an ethos of excellence as a characteristic of towns and villages with virtuous people. This would have an impact on the elaboration of fair laws requiring good, even-handed action in both private and public life. In the manifestations of the actions of the public life appears the telos of the human. That being said, from which a common ethos is built, a telos is a public participation. This is the ethos to which Aristotle refers. Construction of the common ethos requires that a citizen be a good, virtuous person beyond civics. Such is the great challenge of the democracies of the new millennium: to develop an ethically elevated polis and citizens who have managed to build a common ethos and a common telos,which is freedom and coherence between individual and public interests.

Development

In the age of globalization, science feels the need to retake philosophical aspects, and in this regard it uses questions that sprout from itself. These uncomfortable questions or hypotheses increase the chances of producing knowledge and empowering reasoning and thinking, both of which are both specific and essential to the human condition. These conditions can be developed only in an area of ​​freedom, in this same field of philosophy if possible. Philosophy teaches “learning to be human,” hence the importance of the philosopher as an educator in the polis — one who uses the sense of paideia: that is, an integral education that allows the development of the personality so that all can deploy their ethos toward excellence in the acquisition of virtues and values. We must build the ethos together to make it a commonone, so we can make laws and participate in the res publica. This is the best way to become virtuous humans.

The challenge is to teach philosophy so that the polis can achieve a balance between individual and collective well-being. This is the way out of the crisis, a crisis that seems to be economic but is instead a moral one. It is also a crisis of intelligibility, in that we have forgotten the importance of philosophy when it comes to innovation and finding both individual and global solutions. The moral crisis and intelligibility have their basis in the contempt and disregard that philosophy suffered for a long time, despite the fact that philosophers have access to transcendental questions. 

In the third millennium, philosophy invites us to take the reins of the world that is being forged. It invites us to renew the social contract and eliminate the Procrustean syndrome — that is, the inability to recognize as valid the ideas of others, especially if these ideas are distinguished by their brilliance. This inability leads to cutting off the head and feet of those who excel. Thus, new ideas do not see the light because the aim is to meet priorities and not attain quality.

To overcome this crisis, we need examples of a virtuous life. When we build a common ethos, we can extract the best from each person. The construction of the common ethos must be provided by an imitable education, as virtues and values are learned by example. Education must provide an ethos that can be imitated. 

Although there are great technological advances and impressive scientific results, humanity still does not understand the importance of education. To educate, you must have value as well as philosophy, which rethinks reality and shows the natural aspiration of human beings regarding wisdom. Both are biological conditions of personal fulfillment, which powers the most fundamental aspect of our being — that is, the cognitive delight that occurs when we wrestle with uncomfortable questions. 

These questions can be asked and contemplated only in a free society, which is why the polis should facilitate philosophy and education as paideia — in this way, it fertilizes clarity of thought. In this sense, philosophy is the cornerstone of the emergence of humanism. This makes sense if we learn to interact, to cultivate culture, and to slow the process of intellectual deterioration.

Another very important point that paideia together with philosophy develops in the polis is the attitude of proactivity in its citizens: the way in which they take control of their behavior, which leads to taking initiative in the development of individual and collective creative actions to obtain efficiency and effectiveness in the ability to respond to common issues. This becomes the responsible management of culture. 

Learning to interact is to coexist, to nurture aspirations, to develop common hopes for the benefit of all. It is more than empathy, it is more than understanding others; it is to be the other and to feel what the other feels. The construction of this field in which we can develop collective thought is the beginning of the commitment that leads us to the cultivation of the culture as paideia. Paideia redirects us toward the cultivation of sensitivity in politicians, businesspeople, trade unionists, teachers, and the media. The cultivation of education and culture as paideia brings a new criterion in politics and in the production of knowledge. 

Without a doubt, it is a process of transformation that has no precedent in the history of mankind. This is the way to generate diplomatic skills that will bring understanding to global misunderstandings and new dynamics that transform the political and sociocultural environments that would make us leave the state of comfort: that is, the pretense of being able to solve current problems using outdated methods.

Faced with this new dynamic transformation, legislators have a great responsibility to direct power to the good of all citizens. This enormous challenge involves producing original public political ideas, creating new alliances, and ensuring the representation of all people so that new rights and obligations can emerge in the polis and generate more opportunities and a renewed productive dialogue, from which competition will be synonymous with triumph and telos will be synonymous with shared success and collective progress. This telos reveals a common way to be, one that enriches politics and institutions as well as resignifying life. 

In the third millennium, the great debate in the polis centers on education, andit must be born from the desire to create an agora that can cope with global problems. If you recall, the agora is a space in which pedagogical innovation becomes a dialogue linked to the development of virtues and positive actions. Thus, the educative importance of philosophy in the polis is that it encourages learning about mental and spiritual empowerment. Empowerment is a process by which human beings increase their strength and their confidence in their own abilities and actions, which translates into self-control, new ideas, and a new ideology to improve the welfare of the polis. This, in turn, contributes to the resolution of common existential problems and the appropriate use of new technologies. 

Another function of the agora is to facilitate the transfer or mobility of knowledge and information — that is, the expansion of borders, which leads to a greater intelligibility of physis and finalization of the commodification of knowledge. There is also the revolution of social networks to have cultural purposes, and at this point, the work of philosophy is necessary to stop rampant consumerism and to deflate the agents provocateurs of the current crisis. 

If the revolution is cultural, citizens of the polis will be able to build a political union based on inclusion and empowerment, one that legalizes social security away from the liberal model that destroys citizen cohesion because it acts to the detriment of the common good, increases violence and inequality, and breaks down trust in politicians and their leadership. Politicians are required to fulfill promises, work for the public, and protect the common space because it builds democratic coexistence and dialogue. It is the dialogue that must be safeguarded because it leads to coexistence, integration, and culture (communication, knowledge, learning, transfer) as paideia. This is the way to find the res publica and transmit moral wisdom as a spiritual principle of the development of humanity. 

The philosopher of the polis is responsible for providing the instruments for the nurture of dialogue and the spiritual. It is through dialogue that we can reach new social contracts that enable us to face global issues, and it is through the spiritual that true global progress can be made. To put it another way, an ethical dialogue based on the spiritual that gives meaning to life manages the values and resituates reflection on faith in the technique. The philosopher must be particularly attentive because in periods of acute crisis, education turns driving human passions into uncontrolled violence, destroying reason, freedom, and life. In periods of great instability and social upheaval, the only way to save us is through an education in whose center the spiritual is located, and only the spiritual is considered the authentic capital for the advancement of humanity. 

The working environment has great relevance for the proper functioning of the polis because what really matters is human capital in the process of accomplishment of goals. Thus, a positive working climate has an impact on each citizen by increasing individual and collective performance. It strengthens commitment and motivates the development of talents and resilience. Although finances and technology are necessary, human capital is much more important because only in the optimum working environment are realized interpersonal relationships based on values and in recognition of good actions. 

To achieve this, the organizational culture and leadership must be considered. The first must prioritize a political management based on values; the second must be marked by traits that relate to knowing how to listen, communicate, and inspire. This will generate high-quality relationships so that each person can contribute the best of herself. In this way, responsible decision making is encouraged with calmness and reflection. All this leads to a sense of empowerment and enjoyment.

Likewise, the economy itself is modified by the empowerment of the people. Paideia is a provider of development, innovation, and empowerment because it relates to the many ways in which free citizens manage the common affairs of the polis. Management, in turn, brings knowledge of physis to the agora, the res publica, and the expansion of it. Not only should the knowledge of physis expand but so too should the knowledge of good, truth, and justice. In short, the free citizen expands the culture in the agora as a sign that effective and legitimate progress is possible for all citizens of the world.

In this sense, the notion of governance indicates a new way of managing the culture and pedagogical strategies of the polis as questions of educational innovation, considering that there is no common issue greater than education. In this way, we observe that the governance of paideia as an integral civic humanism promotes the environment of free citizens as promoters of the social dynamics of the polis, a dynamic woven through a participatory and solidarity-based ethical conduct centering on conflict resolution through collaborative actions. Governance raises the need to rethink the processes of interaction among society, education, and knowledge: hence, the importance of the role of trainers in the production and transfer of knowledge. 

Transference is the mobilization of knowledge, in this sense philosophy, with an open mind. It empowers the identity of each human being, which guarantees genuine transformation through collective attitudes because what is born inside and expands from inside bears the stamp of authenticity. 

The transfer or mobilization of values empowers human virtue. This strengthens the link with the polis and brings about the development of empathy and tolerance, which affect good judgment and solidarity to achieve an individual’s projects but also to collaborate so that others reach their goals. In this way, together we can put an end to dehumanized behavior whose result derives from a cruel competition to transfer the pattern that governs it: greed and arrogance. This pattern dragged us to the top of insensibility. 

The challenge is to understand nature in all its manifestations: the nature of objects, the nature of the cosmos, the nature of thought, the nature of intelligence, the nature of learning, the nature of the spiritual. Awakening and knowing the spiritual qualities we carry within and reaffirming the importance of their contribution, we can make from our strength and trust the great task of philosophy because it gives freedom and self-awareness as well as develops qualities that guarantee inner harmony and social peace. 

We need to make a fundamental change in how we approach and understand life, and the formation of the future humanity begins in our time. It begins in the present and must incubate in each citizen the notion of person as an integrated whole emphasizing biological cooperation as the raison d’être to achieve happiness and understand the meaning of life. In the polis, each citizen finds his or her vital purpose — that is, the spirit of cooperation in the public works — and this mission of life is carried forward with enjoyment and serenity because there is no greater satisfaction than in service to the community. Even saving becomes the norm because nothing is saved for oneself but instead to help others. 

In the polis, interests are held in common with a strong sense of belonging, and this provides security and a calm attitude in the actions and exchange of information on the best strategies to build the new knowledge and in this way maintain spiritual, emotional, and financial stability. In the polis, all citizens work with passion because their passion is the common activity: This activity is what each citizen loves to do; it is what gives value, meaning, and quality to each life. In this new polis, citizens are friends. Friendship is the best medicine for worry because it imparts a sense of relaxation to each person. 

In addition to the common passion, in each person there is a unique talent that interaction with the community helps to discover. Lines of energy arise among the citizens, which liberate sensitivity, spirituality, and compassion. 

Paideia must imitate physis because physis chooses the best and shows us how life works better if we collaborate, as that is the way to achieve completeness. The architecture of physis offers us an efficient and sustainable model oflife. For that reason, the polis must imitate it in its organization and management; physis is an example of security, productivity, and cooperation within all species. The governance of the polis must mimic the architecture of the physis — that is, it must establish a dynamic plan that ensures harmony among citizens; mutual respect is the best way of life because it invests in the spiritual growth of every citizen.

The polis should be a model of democracy and justice, for it should train citizens to learn to engage in dialogue, participate, deliberate, and understand the situation of the other as well as aim for the growth of humans committed to their environment in pursuit of the spiritual welfare of humanity.

Conclusion

In this era of globalization, Physis, Polis, kai Paideia generates a debate of great dimensions that opens interesting proposals with new ideas. Perhaps we highlight the problems more than the answers. I have tried to show the need to recover the concepts of nature, city, and education. I have taken as a starting point the laws of natural phenomena and how their deep agreement can lay the foundation for a new way of life for free and thoughtful citizens with the full development of personality. This can be ethically conducive to language and culture, because there is a radiance of light in each word and each of them inspires alliances that ensure integrity, fairness, and habits that should be transferred to future generations as the most cherished treasures of ethical wisdom and spiritual progress. 

The citizens of the new millennium must build a democratic, plural, heterogeneous, equitable agora for the res publica to fulfill its role as a collaborative meeting aimed at the common good and the mobility of knowledge. We will all benefit from this innovative and participatory environment because corrupt thought cannot take root in an ethos that safeguards virtue, freedom, and spirit. We will then develop laws that reinforce that ethos by facilitating models of imitable behaviors. 

The common ethos is fundamental to developing paideia as well as to transmitting all that we want to preserve, modifying what needs to be improved, and discarding what we should eliminate. Likewise, it is basic to extracting the best that we have inside and the best thing we have is our ability to philosophize. Hence, the philosophical questions concern us all and are considered an educator of humanity because it builds identity from the internal space of each individual and the common external space. It empowers citizens to manage common issues as their own, so that they can become entrepreneurs, cultural innovators, and builders of a genuine democracy as well. 

The polis can be directed by humanist leaders who teach with the example of the importance of developing contemplation and dialogue to enjoy technological progress from a powerful social contract. Paraphrasing the physicist Neil Turok, the sense of belonging to a common cause leads us to compassion and love for nature. This in turn leads us to understanding and union. In other words, to vibrate in the same frequency means to unite to develop ideas and make projects for the benefit of all, as well as to beat in harmony, to overcome conflicts, and to understand the unique vibrations and frequency of love and benevolence — the bricks of human existence.

Though education is necessary for civilizing humans, it is not sufficient. In threshold periods of instability and intense crisis, education breaks down and the bestial and mortal nature of the human being ruled by the second law of thermodynamics reappears far more strongly and clearly.

In fact, what this thanatocratic law holds is that energy and life within human society and the physical world cannot but maximally decrease, bringing about the state of total exhaustion of energy and life, which defines the state of maximum disorder called death.

It follows that insofar as humans are mortal beings, that is, beings ruled by the second law of thermodynamics, they must necessarily increase their thermodynamic, social economic, and political disorder up to their total collapse

No education can save humans from this inexorable tragedy unless the essence of education is to show that the second law of thermodynamics is not the real and true law of the physical world and that as an artificial and accidental law, it is refutable by the spiritual development of humanity.

At this point education, as spiritual development through science, can help us to emancipate humanity from mortality and therefore from the second law of thermodynamics and its ultimate objective of maximum disorder.

See also the article of Ion Soteropoulos →

© 2018 Viviana Yaccuzzi Polisena

THE AUTHOR

Viviana Polisena

Viviana Polisena

Polisena is working on the troublesome questions of how to
i) shift issues and problems from quantum theory to the scope of philosophy,
ii) fulfill requirements for the birth of a new synthetic rationality that brings science and philosophy closer, and
iii) update the intelligibility of the natural order by expanding concepts and transcending categories in an effort to achieve the vortex of innovation.
As she puts it, her axiom of progress is Hypotheses Fingo (inverting the Newtonian axiom), because the power of interrogation leads to the deployment of metaphysical questioning, with hypotheses that address Greek problems to be reexamined from a contemporary view that generates new inspirations and reeducates perception and language. The goal is to unveil the influence, effort, and leadership of philosophy regarding the conception and development of new theories that give rise to twenty-first-century science.

Professor – Master in Philosphy, Philosophy and Language School, Pontificia

Universidad Católica Argentina – UCA − Argentina
vivi.polisena@gmail.com

DONATION

If you share the vision of the Apeiron Centre and wish to get involved in this singular cultural adventure, you can collaborate on research papers, artwork and/or offer a gift.

Why Contribute?