The Contributions of the Gülen Movement
Edited By Ori Z. Soltes and Margaret A. Johnson
Introduction: Education, Preventing Violence, World Peace, and the Gülen Movement Ori Z. Soltes & Margaret A. Johnson 1
• I N T R O D U C T I O N • Education, Preventing Violence, World Peace, and the Gülen Movement Ori Z. Soltes & Margaret A. Johnson uman beings are a dynamic and complicated combination of reason and emotion. Over the course of the millennia, these two aspects of what we are have both interwoven and contended with each other. Violence as one particularly strong expression of negative emotion has competed both with positive emotions and with rational thinking, which serve as mechanisms that can temper violence. Toward the beginning of formalized Western religious and philosophical thought, the question of how we might most effectively temper violence has been discussed. Plato’s Republic and the Academy that sought to embody the ideas expressed in that work had as part of their goal to do this: to shape a society governed by leaders whose clear-headed powers of reason, honed by a lengthy and well-rounded educational process, would champion the most positive side of human possibility and reduce its ugliest aspects to a minimum. Education—training leaders for their role and other citizens for theirs in the ideal, peaceful state—would be the primary instrument in reducing violence and other negative emotion-based human features. From Plato’s day to our own there have been any number of individuals who have stood out as pursuers of this same goal, and many have articulated a similar method: we can raise our children from the beginning and educate them as we continue to educate ourselves toward...
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