IV Certificate Course, “Developing Critical Thinking through General Semantics” (in collaboration with the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, Saurashtra University, Rajkot), 5-9 November 2014
In the IVth Certificate Course, a majority of the participants were students, research scholars and teachers from the University and other educational institutions in Rajkot. This time, many out-station participants also attended. Besides Prof. Prafulla Kar and Dr. Bini B.S. from the Centre, Prof. Kamal Mehta, Dr. Ravi Zala, and Dr. Sanjay Mukherjee from the collaborating department (a nodal centre offering interdisciplinary courses in GS in their post-graduate program) delivered lectures. Dr. Mehta in the keynote address explained the concepts of general semantics associated with critical thinking citing examples from Indian mythology and several philosophical texts. His idea was to elucidate how one can ‘do’ general semantics creatively. Professor Kar concentrated on the nuances of language use and the human perception. He emphasized the need for creativity, innovation and newness in language, thought and action which shape the aesthetics of our everyday lives. Dr. Zala sought parallels between the teachings of Vivekananda and General Semantics and encouraged the students to share their views of consciousness and mental alertness. In his lecture based on “Thalamo-Cortical Integration,” Dr. Sanjay Mukherjee reflected on the inseparability of the science and aesthetics of human thought and creativity. Dr. Bini B.S. explained the basic texts and tenets of General Semitics in three lectures and explained how creative-critical thinking is interconnected with time-binding. In a panel discussion wherein the participants interacted with the faculty, the central topic of discussion was the nuances of critical approach to life and art. The Dean of the faculty attended some of the sessions and often participated in the discussions. All participants made short presentations based on pre-assigned topics. The course material was made available to them a month before the program. It was evident that the participants had understood the concepts of GS. They could also come up with interesting examples, analogies and comparative analyses in their presentations. The movie, A Beautiful Mind, was screened as part of the Course, during which the department had invited two psychotherapists and an economist. A very lively and informative discussion followed, making the Course open to an interdisciplinary dialogue. The alumni and the students of the department put together a vibrant cultural program on the 8th of November which featured sitar recital, kathak performance, folk music and tales of Saurashtra, poetry reading, classical music and bhajans.
Bini B.S., Balvant Parekh Centre
Discussion during the Course
Panel Discussion with Faculty
Students making a Presentation