Marie Sklodowska Curie - preface



The task of preparing teaching-learning material for value-oriented education is enormous.

There is, first, the idea that value-oriented education should be exploratory rather than prescriptive, and that the teaching-learning material should provide to the learners a growing experience of exploration.      

      Secondly, it is rightly contended that the proper inspiration to turn to value-orientation is provided by biographies, autobiographical accounts, personal anecdotes, epistles, short poems, stories of humour, stories of human interest, brief passages filled with pregnant meanings, reflective short essays written in well-chiselled language, plays, powerful accounts of historical events, statements of personal experiences of values in actual situations of life, and similar other statements of scientific, philosophical, artistic and literary expression.

      Thirdly, we may take into account the contemporary fact that the entire world is moving rapidly towards the synthesis of the East and the West, and in that context, it seems obvious that our teaching-learning material should foster the gradual familiarisation of students with global themes of universal significance as also those that underline the importance of diversity in unity. This implies that the material should bring the students nearer to their cultural heritage, but also to the highest that is available



in the cultural experiences of the world at large.

      Fourthly, an attempt should be made to select from Indian and world history such examples that could illustrate the theme of the upward progress of humankind. The selected research material could be multi-sided, and it should be presented in such a way that teachers can make use of it in the manner and in the context that they need in specific situations that might obtain or that can be created in respect of the students.

     The research team at the Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research (SAIIER) has  attempted the creation  of the relevant teaching-learning material, and they have decided to present the some in the from of monographs. The total number of those monographs will be around eighty to eighty-five.   

      It appears that there are three major powers that uplift life to higher and higher normative levels, and the value of these powers, if well illustrated, could be effectively conveyed to the learners for their upliftment. These powers are those of illumination, heroism and harmony.

      It may be useful to explore the meanings of these terms - illumination, heroism and harmony - since the aim of these monographs is to provide material for a study of what is sought to be conveyed through these three terms. We offer here exploratory statements in regard to these three terms.

      Illumination is that ignition of inner light in which meaning and value of substance and life-movement are seized, understood, comprehended, held, and possessed, stimulating and inspiring guided action and application and creativity culminating in joy, delight, even ecstasy. The width, depth and height of the light and vision determine the degrees of illumination, and when they reach the splendour and glory of synthesis and harmony, illumination ripens into wisdom. Wisdom, too, has varying degrees that can uncover powers of knowledge and action, which reveal unsuspected secrets and unimagined skills of art and craft of creativity and effectiveness.

      Heroism is, essentially, inspired force and self-giving and sacrifice in the operations of will that is applied to the quest, realisation



and triumph of meaning and value against the resistance of limitations and obstacles by means of courage, battle and adventure. There are degrees and heights of heroism determined by the intensity, persistence and vastness of sacrifice. Heroism attains the highest states of greatness and refinement when it is guided by the highest wisdom and inspired by the sense of service to the ends of justice and harmony, as well as when tasks are executed with consummate skill.

      Harmony is a progressive state and action of synthesis and equilibrium generated by the creative force of joy and beauty and delight that combines and unites knowledge and peace and stability with will and action and growth and development. Without harmony, there is no perfection, even though there could be maximisation of one or more elements of our nature. When illumination and heroism join and engender relations of mutuality and unity, each is perfected by the other and creativity is endless.

      This monograph is devoted to Marie Sklodowska Curie whose destiny was closely connected to the immense progress in scientific research made at the beginning of the 20th century.

      Marie Curie, famous for her scientific genius, was a woman of action and courage as well as a researcher engaged in the application of her discoveries. Like all pioneers, she is known for her audacity and incredible determination. Her discovery of radioactivity was at the origin of a new science and in turn led to other revolutionary discoveries. Radioactivity was born of a spark of genius and Marie Curie's unshakable faith in science.

      Marie was not alone in this adventure: we cannot dissociate Pierre and Marie Curie. They were dedicated to scientific research as a high ideal for which they were prepared to give themselves entirely. Neither was interested in fame or material profit. Their common dream was science without borders at the service of humanity..

      After the death of Pierre, Marie continued this mission alone. In spite of the danger from the possible misuse of the discoveries of modern physics, she kept her faith intact. She never doubted



 that science would be useful for the good of humanity and she proved this with her commitment. In this way she was a being of harmony, constantly working for scientific progress.

      "I am among those who think that science has a great beauty. (...) Neither do I believe that the spirit of adventure runs any risk of disappearing from our world," she stated near the end of her life in 1933.      

       Indeed, Marie Curie can be seen as a discoverer and therefore an illuminator. She is also an example of a heroic adventurer, since she pursued her mission, despite all difficulties and calamities. As a servant of humanity, she was also a harmoniser and a benevolent soldier in the march of human progress.




"The Unknown is not Unknowable; it need not remain the unknown for us, unless we choose ignorance or persist in our first limitations. For all things that are not unknowable, all things in the universe, there correspond in that universe faculties which can take cognisance of them, and in man, the microcosm, these faculties are always existent and at a certain stage capable of development."

"...fundamentally, all possible knowledge is knowledge within the power of humanity."

      — Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine


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