SEARCH FOR A NEW HUMANISM FOR A HUMAN-CENTRIC FUTURE
Address to the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Public Forum Rhodes, Greece, 8-12 October 2009 JAGDISH CHANDRA KAPUR
Human-centric development is the realisation by all humans, of their highest potential material, mental, supramental and spiritual within ecological constraints. Through the millennia, the perennial wisdom was enshrined in the interconnectedness of all cosmic phenomena and consequently that of our planet (in an ubiquitous all-pervasive sea of energy) defined in different cultures differently. Similarly, contemporary new sciences posit an all-pervasive energy field called quantum vacuum or zero point energy that exists in empty places. And this has consequences for all animate and inanimate existence, providing an even more complex picture of nature.
There was thus an urgent need to understand the linkages and articulate the roots of the problems, enlarge the orbit of human and global consciousness to a point from where a new social architecture becomes visible, and reverses the paralysis, which is now setting into the human system. Both dogmatic adherence to the market, and religious fundamentalism are battling for the human future on earth and heaven and thus most people are victims.
Therefore, a transition to the human-centric process of development should be based on necessary consumption, or the satisfaction of the minimum basic needs for all rather than production at any cost irrespective of the concerns for justice, ecology and reason. As only an Integral Human being can search and realise the path of the inseparable cosmic reality, it alone can search for the meaning and purpose of life and realisation of the true human destiny.
The fundamental processes of nature are multi-dimensional and vastly complex. Science studies certain aspects of these complexities. Quantum science is establishing the unity and un-fragmental nature of the organic reality. While we have positioned ourselves in a material world, the universe is revealing itself as a spiritual reality. Unprecedented human intervention in the planetary environment has upset the delicate balance that sustains the biological survival of the planet.
The billions of years of continuity and cosmic interconnectivity become a crucible for the evolution of human consciousness. This therefore, is an internal problem with vast external ramifications. Cosmic reality is a holistic, dynamic, unified field of linkages where everything is interconnected. We are mindlessly disturbing and disrupting the interconnectedness beyond self-correcting, selfgenerating limits of natural processes. More and more of these disruptive processes are approaching irreversibility.
The First World War strengthened the revolutionary movements in Russia and China and the freedom struggle in India and many other developing countries. The Second World War brought a sea change in the shifting of political and economic power from Britain and some of the other European countries and the loss of their colonies. Similarly, during the early part of the century, the humanist movement began to take shape.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), is a union of more than one hundred humanist (Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Albert Einstein, E M Forster, Erich Fromm, Aldous Huxley, Yehudi Menuhin, Peter Ustinov, et al), rationalist, secular, ethical culture, and free thought organisations in more than 40 countries. The Happy Human is the official symbol of the IHEU as well as being regarded as a universally recognised symbol for those that call themselves ¡°Humanists¡±. In 2002, the IHEU General Assembly unanimously adopted the Amsterdam Declaration 2002, which represents the official defining statement of World Humanism (Wikipedia Encyclopaedia).
¡°Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free enquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic and it does not accept a supernatural view of reality¡±.
Humans are a duality of body and soul. By separating body and placing soul and total reliance on rationalism, humanism fragmented the vision and severed the spiritual contact, which encourages and creates Humanist Values. Its consequences are visible in all parameters of human advancement. It did not harmonise with psycho-social and psycho-spiritual conditions of the times. Its progress was further retarded by the addition of many prefixes, its definition limited to the prefix of Christian, Buddhist, Jewish Renaissance and Marxist and also by the proliferation of scores of Humanist organisations such as the American, British, and Judaic ones.
In 1965, Deendayal Upadhyaya, a leader of the Hindu party, the Jan Sangh, through a series of lectures and a publication spelled out his views on ¡°Integral Humanism¡± in his own words.
¡°Both the systems¡ªCapitalist as well as Communist¡ªhave failed to take account of the ¡®Integral Man¡¯, his true and complete personality and his aspiration. One considers him a mere selfish being lingering after money, having only one law, the law of fierce competition, in essence the law of the jungle whereas the other has viewed him as a feeble lifeless cog in the whole scheme of things regulated by rigid rules and incapable of any good unless directed. The centralisation of power, economic and political, implied in both, therefore results in the dehumanisation of man. ¡®Man¡¯ the highest creation of God has his own identity. We must re-establish him in his rightful position, bring him the realisation of his greatness, reckon his abilities and encourage him to exert for attaining divine heights of his latent personality. This is only possible through decentralised economy. We want neither Capitalism nor Socialism. We at the progress and happiness as ¡®Integral man¡¯, continued the derailing of man by man. Nations are also a duality. Their physical reality and soul¡± (Deendayal Upadhyaya ¨C compiled from his lectures).
Relating to the Cosmos¡ªthe boundless, infinite expanse of the universe¡ªplanet Earth is a speck on this metaphysical and spiritual idea.
¡°In contrast to normative humanism, cosmic humanism sees man as a part of the larger cosmic consciousness, with unlimited potential because of the inner divinity and capacity to reach out for the infinite on the material, mental, supramental and spiritual pathways of infinite consciousness and force. Or in other words, it is the determination to regard truth as useful and put it to work. To apply knowledge for the purpose of guiding the social change and individual and self-development, that is the goal of scientific humanism¡± (Wikipedia Encyclopaedia). In the words of the poet Rabindranath Tagore, ¡°The Traveller has to knock at every alien door to come to his own and one has to wander through all the outer world to reach the innermost shrine at the end¡±. (To merge with the Cosmic consciousness of the ultimate reality, the truth where all becomes one.) There is a plurality of diverse forces functioning in life and nature. Thus, a multiplicity of perception. Value integration of meaning can only take place at the highest levels of spiritual perfection. Such harmonisation cannot take place at the material or interests level, only at the spiritual level, where all becomes one.
Monotheism ends up in political extremism excluding all other traditions. Neo-pagan resurgence, revives the sacred plurality; there is one essence in multiplicity of forms. Infinite, perfect, immutable. No absolute in life. There is a continuous non-stoppable change. Nothing can be frozen: that included the faiths. There is no individual highest possible degree of perfection in science or metaphysics. Nothing but infinity is unalterable, can remain static, unchanged.
The fundamental difference between Western and Eastern thought¡ª¡°where the twain shall never meet¡±, is that the West condemns as blasphemous, humans aiming to be God. In Eastern thought, humans can achieve the images of God. A river can become the sea, but never make the sea a part and parcel of itself. According to Buddhist thought humans can proclaim, ¡°I am the dew drop, I am the Ocean¡±. At the twilight hour in the words of the poet Tagore, ¡°While the Sun is setting in the West, morning waits behind the patient dark of the East meek and silent¡±.
But the vision of the infinite should be clear, where space and time cease to rule. Our history will be that of social life, and attainment of the spiritual ideal. We cannot allow the culture of consumerism to impose its own divine images. ¡°Nations get organised for a mechanised purpose into an organised selfinterest of an entire people. But our view of society should be the spontaneous self-expression of man as a social being not eliminated to a phantom¡±.
We must re-establish the duality to bring the East and West in harmony, realize a multipolar world, or there will be no durable peace. And the search for a humancentric world will remain an illusion and the world full of conflicts and insecurities. We have to save the human future from the perpetual helplessness of emasculation. Reconcile and let man be the measure, and let nations assume moral responsibility.
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