Our Future: eternal or temporal
by J.C. Kapur on 04 Jan 2009 0 Comment

Dialogues of civilizations are for the sustenance of the eternal and perennial processes of evolution and continuity of the cultural streams. The harmonization of diverse cultures can only be realized through civilized means. Whenever natural and orderly flow of these multi-dimensional processes gets disrupted due to external factors; the inbuilt feedback mechanism which self-corrects, reorganizes and restores the continuity of the evolutionary processes, gets aborted. This also applies to all the socio-politico-techno-economic and ecological parameters within the planetary and human system.

This is the first time in human history that all these self-organizing processes are being interfered with at a global scale. Unless corrected and restored this not only poses a grave threat to human civilization, but also the totality of the inseparable interconnectedness of all natural phenomenon that are being fragmented. Consequently, multitudes of problems are proliferating in every sphere of human activity and through unilateral, thoughtless and violent remedies even these are adding to the problems.

The Upanishads say ‘The solutions to problems rest at levels higher than the problems themselves.’ The extensive external growth horizontally spreading requires an intensive or inner growth to balance it. To seek the truth we need a holistic approach, so as to reach out for the inner commonness at the core of human civilization; and the compelling centrality that is the essence of human interconnectedness; where the positive core of energies rests. This needs to be integrated and harmonized with perennial wisdom which goes beyond science and materiality.

The instruments that we have crafted as the wonders of our civilization are leading to social and economic disintegration, ecological disruption, breakdown of the ethical and moral order, and sacrifice of human transcendence. The cultural restraints built into diverse cultures are being mono-culturised by the fundamental forces of monotheism, unilateralism, and by displaying the illusive glories of hegemonism, and the ceaseless enlarging of these illusions.

The higher reaches of civilizations, through increasing consciousness, are pathways for the realization of the infinite cosmic reality for our finite planet. This needs the harmonization of the evolving continuity of diverse cultures with contemporary issues through civilisational dialogues within a framework of acceptable universal values. Adherence to eternal truths and values along with flexibility on the temporal and regional will help sustain new social arrangements towards an ideal human state.

A fundamental basis for a dialogue of civilizations can only be the ‘Human Future’; not the future of the ‘market place’. Also such a dialogue presupposes a plurality of cultures and a desire to seek more harmonious and sustainable possibilities within diverse material and metaphysical arrangements. And the absorption of new knowledge, not only external and material but also internal and spiritual.

The success of such an effort would need the awakening and transformation of the individual and global consciousness. Human psyche is moulded by culture. That is where we must start. The present levels of extensive growth with multidimensional crisis points has no possibilities for further conquest of nature, and expansion of the current paradigm by force of arms or by new economic means. Conquest, colonization and consumption or in other words the ‘market’ in its present form is no longer sustainable. We did not choose the ‘Armament Protected Consumerist Paradigm’. But the entire world is suffering its consequences and still living with its illusions; and the meaning and purpose of human existence are being subverted; in the name of progress.

The purpose of the dialogue is to safely transit from the present human state of encircling gloom, towards more stable just and sustainable human arrangements to attain the highest human potential and balance between horizontal extensive material growth and intensive inner growth. Without cultural transformation and raising the level of consciousness problem created by short term mechanistic thinking and exploitative mind sets; with multidimensional crisis points; stability of the human system cannot be assumed, nor large-scale confrontations avoided. Now the psycho-social compulsions for survival are overtaking the illusion of wealth and power worldwide. 

Thus, the new shape of human progress and future of human evolution will not be determined by the survival of the strongest, but the survival of the weakest. Therefore, to maintain the continuity and sustainability of the human system from this point of time, many great challenges will have to be faced wisely, fearlessly and resolutely.  For this, the decade of the 2010-2020 will be the most crucial.

1] International Security and Hegemonic Trends

Consequences of the use of terrorism or its threats with hegemonic intent as an instrument of social policy; for domination over other countries; and through the involvement of increasing numbers of people worldwide, is assuming grave proportions. There is also an unorganized sector of terrorism under the pretext of retaliation against tyranny, deprivation and genocide, or religious and racial hatred. Its victims are the innocent, the helpless, in their homes, places of work, worship, education and relaxation. Its perpetrators are emotionally disturbed and spiritually alienated individuals and nations. The increasing frequency, diversity and intensity of terrorist acts is becoming one of the greatest threats to the peace, security and stability of the human order and disruption of human psyche and sensitivities.

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction carries the potential to damage life and genetic structure of all biological existence on this planet. To the frightening diversity and lethality of nuclear, depleted-Uranium, biological, psychological, tectonic, space and climatic-weapons, are now being added socio-economic weapons employing silent techniques to establish the economic and social vulnerabilities of nations and their planned destruction. These are already in use and advanced experimentation. During the last some decades most of these weapons have been employed against one country or the other.

In such an environment and with this mindset, it has not been recognized by some nations that the self-destructive potential of these weapons is as great as damage to other. The interconnectedness of all phenomena in nature gets reflected in a rebound on the user in one form or the other. Without total disarmament, including surreptitious proliferation, the diversity, numbers and lethality of weapons will continue to expand, thus exponentially enlarging the threat of paralysis or the destruction of human civilization.

The urge to dominate and to preempt through violence, the resources of planet earth, must be contained and curbed. The victory with superior weapons and wars as in the past will stimulate the armament race, with total destruction and victory for none.

From the later part of the twentieth century, along with the large-scale expansion and globalization of the ‘Armament Protected Consumerist Paradigm’, there has been a considerable enlargement of human extravagance and deprivation. Ethnic and religious tensions, violence, terrorism and regional wars with the looming breakdown of the global financial architecture are further aggregating a state of protective desperation and threat to human civilization.

With global-consciousness of the causes of the present human condition and the support of the world’s deprived people, victims of hunger, genocide and terrorism alone can assure and help to transform the state of the present crisis. There is an urgent need for a will to change and a coalition for peace of nations with courage to stand up to save human civilization.

There is also an urgency to raise global awareness against the consequences of the use of weapons of mass destruction. The collateral damage often far exceeds the targetted damage, as for instance, in the case of depleted Uranium weapons. The radiation poisoning can spread to far off places and effects are already visible in Iraq, Serbia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan and adjoining countries. Behind the nuclear fixation hides an entire range of more sinister weapons of mass devastation, genocide and suffering. The world is spending a trillion dollars a year (half by one country alone) on weapons of its own destruction.

The process of research, production, storage, distribution and installation continues unabated.  The awareness that all phenomena on our planet are interconnected, and these weapons carry within them self-destruction potential against the user - the danger of radiation transmission of diseases, extension of  earthquakes, effects of the use of the weather or space weapons, or the rebound of economic harm to other countries.

To escape the unintended cataclysmic potential and destruction of millennia-old aggregations of human civilization, there should be global awareness and revolt against all categories of weapons of mass destruction. The greatest challenge is to bring about not just total denuclearization, but to forbid, research, production and trade of all weapons which do not just inflict targetted and collateral damage, but also interfere with and destroy the self-correcting and regenerating capacities of the human and the planetary system. It should be regarded not just a crime against humanity but also for cataclysing the demise of planet earth.

There is a need for a coalition of peace supported by the awakened consciousness of humanity aggrieved by the multi-dimensional excesses of armament protected consumerist paradigm and colonial mindsets of exploitation and destruction. A total ban on all instruments of mass destruction, under an international multi-polar supervision and regulation, including those of victims of such aggression and those committed to economic justice, cultural and civilisational harmony. To give a determined expression to the cry of the terrorized human soul is one of the greatest challenges of twenty-first century. That historic moment of time is now.

2] Towards an integral humanism

Reductionism of the Newtonian Science and Cartesian separation, while accelerating the speed of science, technology and production processes, broke apart the basic metaphysical, and scientific linkages which are an inseparable part of an established order, and fragmented human society on ethnic, religious and racial lines; legitimized colonialism, monotheism, mono-powerism, mono-culturisation, rulers and ruled, rich and poor, capitalism and socialism, enemies and friends. This situation has been sustained through conflicts with an increasing lethality of weapons.

Over the last two centuries, through hundreds of smaller conflicts and two World Wars and displacement of millions of lives, the human structure has evolved to its present state with weapons of mass destruction, designer diseases, and terrorism. Above all, a vanishing human identity and human descent to an uncertain future.   

Through the millennia, the perennial wisdom was enshrined in the interconnectedness of all cosmic phenomenon and consequently that of our planet (in a ubiquitous all-pervasive sea of energy) defined differently in different cultures. Similarly, contemporary new sciences posit an all pervasive energy field called quantum vacuum or zero point energy, a random ambient fluctuating energy that exists in empty paces.

This has consequences both for animate and inanimate existence, providing an even more complex picture of nature. This oneness and interconnectedness of all phenomena obligates a holistic approach to our planetary vision. To displace the forces which are diminishing humans through frequent fragmentation of the human heritage cultivated over millennia, and its confinement into a monetary straitjacket, for the glorification of a means of exchange, and thus to stem the tide of the breakdown of human civilization.

All human advancement is catalysed by evolving human consciousness, it relates to the sciences for the evolution of the material and psycho-social consciousness, which in turn is deeply influenced by the sights, sounds, experience and  evolving symbols and values of new economic forces, ‘Armament Protected Consumerism’, ‘Bretton-wood model of financial architecture’, controlled discourse and supporting media. The selective targetting of youth for their psychic commitment to the new idioms of culture and values, thus distorting the true meaning and purpose of life all the way into the human future, body, mind and soul.

There is an urgent need to understand the linkages, and articulate the roots of the problem, enlarge the orbit of human and global consciousness to a point from where a new social architecture becomes visible. And to contain the paralysis which is now rapidly setting into the human system. Both dogmatic adherence to the market and religious fundamentalism are battling for the human future on earth and in heaven, and it is the large mass of humans that are the victims.

Cultures and civilizations are a process of continuity and creativity and are never absolutes. All their parameters must continuously evolve and harmonise to create a stable state. And the communication networks are catalyzing these in the social sphere. But while the quantum sciences are projecting a new vision of interconnectivity, the material developmental processes are still being governed by the Newtonian-Cartesian fragmentation and separation.

Therefore to transit to human-centric processes of development. These should be based on ‘consumption’ or the satisfaction of the minimum basic needs for all, rather than ‘production at any cost,’ irrespective of concerns for ethics, justice, ecology and reason. Attempts were made during the early part of twentieth century to start a movement of humanism as a ‘life stance,’ including some great names of physical, biological and social science, but the movement did not  take-off at the psycho- social level.

To define the new parameter of human-centric development it would be necessary to place the New Humanism between ecological concerns and spiritual realization, an Integral Humanism, where ecology will provide the physical and resources constraints, while spiritual growth and consciousness will curb the expansion of unsustainable consumerist growth. Religions will provide the pathways to spiritual realization.

A holistic vision of the interconnectedness of new science beyond Newton and even Einstein has to be integrated with the Oneness of the Universe and the cosmic reality. ‘Integral Humanism’ will provide a new vision to contain fragmentation of the inseparable unity of the cosmic and planetary, physical and metaphysical processes, and help humankind onto the pathways of a holistic vision for the realization of the highest human potential- material, mental, supramental and spiritual.

This would call for the outright rejection of the Newtonian-Cartesian fragmentary view of the inseparable cosmic reality. Also to place an integrated human-being on to the path for the search of the meaning and purpose of life. And realization of the true human destiny.

3] Satisfaction of the minimum basic needs of all

For the satisfaction of the minimum basic needs of all, it would be necessary to make these more manageable. And this will only be possible within a cultural frame and economic and ecological sustainability. This would require new levels of awareness with new values, perceptions and priorities. All life systems have to vary from region to region. During the transition from the present consumerist paradigm, it has to protectively relate with it in a concrete form. It has to awaken planetary consciousness towards a new order, because the present system is becoming increasingly sensitive to change with resulting violence, political conflicts, terrorism, wars, economic vulnerability, financial volatility and cultural conflicts - an uncontrolled pursuit of wealth and power on one side, and widening dimensions of an explosive reaction to an unbearable acute poverty on the other.

‘Land, air and water are the gifts of God and no one has the right to own these’, said a saint. Most of these gifts have been cornered by consumerist interests. This has led to the wasteful use of land and water, deforestation and environmental pollution, endangering the entire human life support system. It was the wealth of the soil which created civilizations. And now its misuse is destroying it.

All traditional communities produced their own food, within their own needs and for exchange to meet supplementary needs to feed others. It was all within ecological constraints and a socio-cultural framework. But external interventions altered natural processes to secure the market place through genetically modified foods and profit-based production. Refusal to recognize the holistic nature of the cosmic and planetary processes is laying waste the bounty of nature.

So the starting points of human welfare, nature and culture have both been disrupted. The satisfaction of the basic human needs will obligate preservation of natural processes through diverse cultural frames.

Basic needs

a) Food, Air and Water – it would need the deceleration of high energy and technology-intensive agriculture, with wasteful use of water. The promotion of animal proteins, which increases both energy and water use, must be decelerated. The lack of holistic, ecological, energy, water, chemical-based policies in food production is responsible for environmental degradation, draught, water shortages and food famine. To this is now being added the production of bio-fuels from food products.

b) Shelter.  Diversity of habitats goes with environment, factors of weather, heat, cold, rain and wind. Traditional architecture followed natural needs. Urbanisation of populations and life-style compulsions have shifted trends to high energy, high technology, and environmentally incompatible constructions. This has hastened the process of earth-warming and left hundreds of millions of people unsheltered.

c) Health is a nature related activity. For all diseases in nature there is a remedy in nature, and these were understood by traditional societies. Lifestyle and profit-related transformation of the health system has narrowed health care to the upper crust of the population and made it a part of the consumerist growth system.

Designer diseases like AIDS and those emerging from biological warfare laboratories have added another dimension to human suffering and the profits of multinational pharmaceutical companies. When diseases are created for mass killing and genocide, there is no cure. If at all, there is drug-based survival with maintenance drugs known to the inventors of the disease.

There is a growing awareness for the need to shift to holistic and nature-based remedies. Some rapid progress is being made in countries like India.

d) Education: For what? To create a consumer or machine or computer operator? The real purpose of education is to realize the highest human potential, physical, mental, supramental and spiritual. So as to guide humans on the paths of sanity, restraint and elevated consciousness to protect the planetary system and seek the larger cosmic consciousness.

The present education is a facilitator of the production, services and consumption processes.  An entire generation of young people is being caged into a money-syndrome, laying waste and transforming the entire human potential into profit.

e) Employment: The choice and preparation for employment now rests with the shifting needs of the financial system. Decentralized employment in agriculture and other land-based low-energy technology tools provided nature-related potential for employment. Also social concerns and aesthetic and cultural expression.

The creation of vast income differentials, high-cost lifestyles within planned, waste and inflationary systems has accelerated the pace of urbanization, mega-energy-intensive, pollution-creating and crime-generating environment.

The market with all its monetary symbols and values has taken over the centre-stage of economies. Whosoever wants to operate has to accept the total packet of implied conditionalities of the ‘Armament Protected Consumerist Paradigm,’ including the arms, selective high-cost employment and inbuilt unemployment at the mercy of the system.  Thus the unilateral system has transformed the entire human life into a market place.

4] Ecological reconstruction

The fundamental processes of nature are multi-dimensional and vastly complex. Science studies aspects of these complexities. Quantum science is establishing the unity, unfragmentary nature of the organic conception of reality. While we have positioned ourselves in a material world, the universe is becoming visible as a spiritual reality. Unprecedented human intervention in the planetary environment has upset the delicate balances which sustain the biological survival of the planet.

These billions of years’ continuity, cosmic interconnectivity, became a crucible for the evolution of consciousness. Reckless exploitation of non-renewable resources of energy, forests, waterways, has brought our planet to the verge of ecological disaster. For the expansion and preservation of the short-term power and material gain, the human survival on planet earth is being sacrificed. What are we concerned with is not the future of the ‘market,’ but that of the human civilization. This is therefore an internal problem, with vast external ramifications. Cosmic reality is a holistic, dynamic, unified field of linkages where everything is interconnected. We are mindlessly disrupting and fragmenting this inter-connectivity.

Traditional societies worshipped the powers of nature and tried to stay in harmony with them, while so-called modernization and secularization processes are not only uprooting their faith, but destroying their sacred places and an entire system of life sustainability and harmony.

The operating paradigm has preempted their gifts of God - of land, air and water, with which their lives had a seamless inter-connection. And they have become victims of the profit syndrome, with minimum protection. As the system expands, it is destroying environmental sustainability and population stability. These are now attempted through genocidal techniques - disruption of the environment, consequently the food chain breakdown, and the asymmetry of weather, floods, droughts and cyclones. All this caused by the subversion of the self-correcting mechanism, both within the human and natural system.

The restoration and sustenance of the planetary ecological system is a very complex task.  On one side it involves the orderliness of the cosmic forces which are beyond human control, and on the other, the increasing and globalizing human commitment to environmentally unsustainable processes beyond the self-correcting and self-generating limits of natural process. More and more of these processes are approaching irreversibility. This would effect the entire planet and pose a threat to the earth’s life support system.

This is the most far reaching of the complex challenges of the twenty-first century that cannot be faced without a global consciousness, about the consequence of failure and the need for global cooperation for its realization.

Address to the 6th Annual Meeting of the World Public Forum ‘Dialogue of Civilisations,’ at Rhodes, October 9-13, 2008

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