The philosopher Charles Taylor was awarded the 2007 Templeton Prize of $1.5 million on Wednesday. I like it when good things happen to good people. I also like how Taylor questioned the very notion of the prize “for progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities.” An intellectual might indeed wonder whether there are spiritual truths “out there” waiting to be discovered, but of course this is the raison d’etre that Sir John Templeton set up the prize. See the New York Times article in which Peter Steinfels writes, “Professor Taylor immediately noted that the idea of ‘discovery’ in spiritual matters was ‘an analogy to scientific discovery in chemistry, physics and so on.’ In answering a question later, he went further, worrying aloud that ‘the notion of discovery here by analogy with natural science a little bit falsifies the picture.'” No doubt.
If you want to get a sense of what’s happening on the ground the world over, visit Global Voices online. It’s a metablog based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at the Harvard Law School. The content comes in from volunteer editors, themselves bloggers, from all over the world. Each editor “listens in” on the blogosphere in his or her part of the world and then sends in regular roundups of what bloggers are saying. Check out the regional roundups or just click on a country. This is a great way to hear how people are making sense of events the world over.
For example, read about how dismal the situation still is for women in Afghanistan or how the right to own property is doing better than the right to vote in China or the situation of street children in South Asia. The roundups also provide links directly to the blogs.