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Australian Antarctic scientists : consciousness and behaviour

Widolf, HE 2007 , 'Australian Antarctic scientists : consciousness and behaviour', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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A growing number of contemporary authors are acknowledging that the quality of consciousness of global human society is less-than-ideal. Qualities affiliated with materialism, such as selfishness and greed, are recognised as root causes of the widespread exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources. The nurturing of qualities such as high ethical standards, adherence to scriptural knowledge and concern about spiritual matters, is recognised as being increasingly forsaken for the development of qualities such as interest in economic advancement and concern about personal sense enjoyment. Deterioration of the Earth’s natural environment has been acknowledged as a consequence of such poorer qualities of human consciousness. As environmental scientists play a key role in determining the direction of environmental management, an investigation was carried out into their quality of consciousness.
The study sample was the Australian Antarctic scientific community, whose research findings contribute towards both national and international environmental policy and management. Research methodology included the ancient Vedic triguna and the Buddhist Theravada Abhidharma, two systems of psychological evaluation that determine qualitative standards of consciousness in relation to behaviour. The triguna is comprised of three qualitative levels of consciousness: sattva guna, the mode of goodness (including characteristics such as greater and real knowledge and showing compassion towards others); rajas guna, the mode of passion (e.g. adherence to mundane knowledge and sense enjoyment); and tamas guna, the mode of ignorance (e.g. inertia and destructiveness). Abhidharma factors include Positive Mental Events (e.g. decorum/consideration for others), Negative Mental Events (e.g. lack of a sense of propriety/inconsideration for others) and Negative Emotions (e.g. attachment). Paramitas (perfections) representing ideal behavioural factors (e.g. morality and loving-kindness) were also included in collecting and processing data.
Data collection items included an inventory/questionnaire based on the triguna, an interview series based on scientists’ perspectives on their own professional lives, an examination of Australian Antarctic science literature, and an additional questionnaire addressing ideal guna characteristics in relation to environmental science goals. Results revealed that Australian Antarctic scientists predominate within rajas guna and are predominated by Negative Mental Events. Symptoms of predominance within rajas guna include distortion of the intellect due to too much activity; anxiety; and misery. A predominance of Abhidharma Negative Mental Events means a decline in wholesome behaviours and an increase in unwholesome behaviours. Anticipated ramifications of such predominance on behalf of Australian Antarctic scientists, for Antarctic and global natural environments, include their increasing deterioration as they are managed under sub-standard policies.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Widolf, HE
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 2007 the author

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