What is Human Vocation? Pacifica's International Lecture Series

Posted by Guest on Feb 16, 2016 10:45:18 AM

Video Transcript: 

Dr. Alejandro: Bernardo, I'd like to ask you: what is human vocation? And what is the origin of the term and of the concept behind it?

Dr. Bernado : Well, we all know the word 'vocation' but we usually use it in the common sense of when a girl or boy is finishing his studies and he doesn't know if he or she wants to be an engineer, a doctor, or whatever, and well, we normally say "well, it's because he doesn't have the information". And I think it's half of the truth. I think the real question is that he or she doesn't know what is the real call. Because that's the word; the meaning of 'vocation'.
I mean, the thing is that we all need a global idea of vocation, which means, which is our call? I mean, which is our project of life? So human vocation, even if it's related also with our professional vocation, our professional calling, that's the word vocation in Latin, it has to do with which is my project of life. And sometimes when you are mature, we think, "Well, but I know exactly what I want." It hasn't to do exactly with what one wants. It has to do with a sense of life, something deeper. And vocation has to do with the calling of the inner self. The vocation is the voice of the inner man, no? Of the inner self. And I think that has to do with the wisdom of East and West, with universal of wisdom. Because in every wisdom of the world, in a way, of course with other technology, the work of the vocation, which is the bearing, the orientation of your life. The thing is that how can we discover this vocation? That's another issue, no?
But just with the concept of human vocation, and we call it human because it has to do with not only because it has to do with man and woman, has to do with a human being, but because it's essential to human being. And it's related with the old idea of know yourself. Know yourself, take care of yourself. And that's, I think, which we are lacking of that. In our times, we don't care of ourselves. We care of our ego, of our external things. But we don't know that even ourselves, or our inner being, lies inside, and that's the voice which we must hear. It's the old idea of the diamond in Greek. This profound spirit which is governing, which has to do with the real bearing of our life.
So that's the idea in one word. I think it's a universal, even if different cultures may formulate this idea in different ways, and there are different ways of developing this concept, but human vocation is in this way unique to each being, but at same time it would be, if you accept this hypothesis, a universal concept.

Dr. Alejandro: And in your own personal life, how did you develop this concept of human vocation?

Dr. Bernado : Well, when I was very young, when I was a child, I found that the elders in general, they were not satisfied with their lives. I mean, their lives were in a way, (and our lives, in a way, they still are), they didn't even realize that they lived like in fragments, no? That maybe, well, sometimes they liked their professions, but, I mean, they were separated. There were no real profound project of life. And they didn't even ask about the meaning of life.
So, that's why I started philosophy, psychology, oriental studies, et cetera. And all these studies had to do with my search. I said, well, in a way I think that we must look, we must understand our own self and try to develop it. But I found unfortunately that at the university, even if I studied a lot and I appreciated what I had studied, in general philosophy is understood more as an abstract discipline. Psychology, no, well, not the psychology perhaps, but it's not perhaps the psychology more developed or more influential in the world, et cetera.
So in a way I found that it was important to work, to develop a theory, perhaps recover what it was already known in ancient times, to try to bring it to present times. It was also then that many other great thinkers, and by Yung and et cetera, of course, and also to practice it. And then to see if I can share it with other people.
That's I think the profound idea of what education means. Education the Latin word may mean to drag somebody, but the real sense is to help like Socrates did, no, in his system to help the other found what is inside. The truth which is inside. Sharing this knowledge helps the other to found his own way. It's not telling the other what he has to do, it's sharing knowledge from the past in a contemporary way so that the other can, well, try to, in a way, work in his own vocation.

Dr. Alejandro: Very well. So, how can it be developed, human vocation? Is there like a practice, a course, a way?

Dr. Bernado : Well, I think that it's impossible to think in recipes because you cannot tell somebody, "Well, you know your vocation is this, well, you must do this and that", no? Like a pre-established and fixed program. It will be artificial and contrary to the idea of human vocation which is in a way unique even if it's universal. It's unique to each person. It's singular.
So I think what we can share is some resources which are universal, which you can fond in any tradition. Of course, there are multiple variations, but I think there are four type of resources. One is the theory or the texts. By texts I mean, texts has to do with textiles in a way, no? Like a thread, no? The thread in not only words but also images and music from the past, which were like the maps that you can find when you read the Bhagavadgita, for example, the Tao Te Ching or hermetic texts or the Bible or Plato, et cetera, they're different texts which were the maps which help other people but which also reflect the way or the human vocation of different persons in different times.
The idea is that reading accordingly in a symbolic key these texts will help you develop your own vocation. They're inspiring. They're like mirrors of your inner self. If you take them literally, you are lost. That's fundamental, isn't it? If you take it symbolically, I mean, it will awaken or help awaken your inner voice. That's the idea. That's one of the resources.
The second resource is the practical, the [foreign language 08:36], the exercises, the meditation, observation, well some work you can work with the body, of course dreams, dreams have so many things, imagination, I mean ... All those psychic – just to synthesize in one word - those practices which work with your psyche and which try to connect the ego with the self, let's say, or with the soul. And of course these practices normally very important the silence, hearing, no? Trying to look inside or trying to hear inside because one of the hypotheses of human vocation, of the concept, is that what happens inside has to do with what happens outside.
So the calling is in outside and inside at the same time, no? Outside has a correspondence in the inside, and the other way around. So that's the second resource.
And the third is the other. I call it the community of dialogue and silence, no? It's the big community but also the small community, intimate relationship with a friend, with a group of friends ... We are capable of trying to connect with a dialogue heart to heart, no? And not only intellectually and trying to make silence and trying to recreate what happens to the other in myself, no? What they often times call it mimesis or percipitive relationship. Well, you can understand much more. The other has a message for you, no? And of course the other way around.
This is a society of friends, no? It's a very old and very profound idea. But we don't have time, I mean, in modern times, we're always in a hurry, no, so we don't get the time to talk or make silence, to be together. To know that something is inspiring in the other for you and the other way around. That's the third resource.
And the fourth is the old and very controversial idea of the master, no? Because [inaudible 11:07], and he was right in a way, was very worried because if you follow the master you don't follow yourself, and in a way it's true, but the true idea of the master is not to follow the master blindly, but it's to found the master in yourself. You can find it in the Wood/St. Augustine works, for example, De magistro, you find it everywhere. In India, of course, no? The idea of the master the guru is not the outside guru, [foreign language 11:32], the gurudeva, no? It's the one you can found in your inside.
So those are the resources, but of course, the important thing is that every mean can be used correctly or uncorrectly, right, no? That's the famous Taoist proverb, which says the right man with the wrong mean works in the right way while the wrong man with the right mean works in the wrong way. Meaning the important thing to be sincerely. 'Right' doesn't mean to be perfect, because we all have our shadows and strange things inside to work with, which are also, by the way, they're a calling, because something negative is also called something to work. So the right man is the person who is committed to this inside and outside search. And I think there's a lot to do with this.

Dr. Alejandro: Definitely. And one last question. You created this foundation Human Vocation and one central activity there is the formative course in human vocation. Could you explain what is it you do in this course?

Dr. Bernado : In this course we try to share the theories of the past. Well of course you know there are so many texts and so many images and so much music and things to share [inaudible 13:19] we can. We share also some practices. We try to sometimes to make some community relationships. All this resources are used in our formation, but always taking into account that it must be a free process for the one who comes to our foundation. I mean, we don't give or render any doctrine. We don't feel we have the light of the truth. We only share hand-in-hand with the others, with the pupils, with students, but also with professors, as far as we can, all the knowledge we can, just to inspire the vocation of other people.
And we are delighted to share this with other institutions, like Pacifica and other persons who are in the world trying, working on this. Because we must think that in a way of course the world has many problems and there's a lot of disharmony in the world, and if we don't try to share as far as we can this kind of knowledge, all over the world, I mean, no? We must be partners in this sense. This sense of partnership.
So that's why we call this program the Rose of the Winds, no? The Rose of the Winds is a project which has to do with the connection of the North and the South, the East and the West, all the cultures and religions and persons have something to tell us, no? There are different modes and ways of developing vocation, and that has to do with the idea of pacification, our world is struggling. There are a lot of negative things. But I think the world will not change if we don't try to change ourselves.
I mean, the first thing we do, Yung said it many times, is we try to change the other. We are incapable of changing our inside. But that's the challenge: to share knowledge which will pacify, which will develop our potentialities. That is the education we all need, but it's impossible for our foundation, for our university ... We must try to make some networking in the good sense of the word, trying to share what we know in this direction, this idea.
That's the Rose of the Winds, you know? This compass which unites the winds like the spirit which comes from any side of the world. And we hope many persons and many institutions will join us in this idea of trying to pacify and work in this global human vocation. An idea we can find in [inaudible 16:30], this Jesuit who called, I think the disjointed forces in the world in the planet, they are also a call. The call of global human vocation. But that this global, extraordinary human vocation must begin inside. And each one must try to be, in a good sense, an example, no? Like Gandhi said, be yourself the change you want to see in the world. Thank you very much.

Topics: Education