A New Social Paradigm Based on Spiritual Values by Dada Maheshvarananda

A NEW SOCIAL PARADIGM BASED ON SPIRITUAL VALUES Market economics pretends to be a value-free objective science, describing timeless truths independent of ideology and cultural norms. Analysts are unable to consistently predict with accuracy what will happen next in terms of currency rates, economic growth, unemployment, property values, etc. This is due in part to the extremely competitive global economy that free market economics has created where the quest for profits is accepted as its ultima
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  A NEW SOCIAL PARADIGM BASED ON SPIRITUAL VALUESMarket economics pretends to be a value-free objective science,describing timeless truths independent of ideology and cultural norms.Analysts are unable to consistently predict with accuracy what willhappen next in terms of currency rates, economic growth, unemployment,property values, etc. This is due in part to the extremely competitiveglobal economy that free market economics has created where the questfor profits is accepted as its ultimate value.Neoliberal economists preach the gospel that financial efficiency andsuccess can be achieved through free market trade in any country. Theyportray economics as an objective truth, a fundamental law like the lawof gravitation. They assert that denial of the right to maximize one'swealth, or any diminishing of property rights, would compromise theefficiency of the economy, and lessen the total output of which it iscapable.To understand how the Prout model can transform our society, we mustlook at one of its fundamental differences with capitalism: their different attitudes toward private property. Capitalism adopted theideas of the seventeenth century English philosopher John Locke whosaid that a human being had the right to use his or her labour to alter the gifts of Nature and other things and hence make them productive.Locke argued that by clearing an area of forest, cultivating the landand collecting the harvest, a person made it productive and hence had aright to own it and use it as he or she pleased. This unquestionedbelief in the supreme value of private property is fundamental tocapitalism.Such an individualistic attitude was embedded in the thinking of thosewho formed the United States. This attitude combined with a deeply-feltpassion for personal freedom, which was seen as one's right toaccumulate as much wealth as possible, and no government should havethe legal privilege to take a significant portion of it away throughtaxation.This view, which dominates the world today, is essentially egocentricand lacks a holistic ecology of mind approach, that is it lacks abridging between the three realms of existence (physical,mental/psychic and spiritual). It means that it is psychologydeficient in understanding human experiencing and social interaction.It is also quite opposite to many indigenous perspectives and values,such as the indigenous peoples of North and South America and of thetraditional societies of Africa, Asia and Australasia, who never thought like this. They did not believe that the land belonged to them;rather they believed they belonged to the land! Neverthelessusufructuary rights are necessary. These traditional cultures weremore cooperative by nature and usually treated most of the land as acommon resource. Most of them had disastrous encounters withland-grabbing and resource-stealing colonizers who possessed advancedweapons.Basic PrinciplesWhat is the proper approach. It can be put down into one principle,  which as stated by PR Sarkar is:The universe is the collective property of all. All people haveusufructuary rights but no one has the right to misuse this collectiveproperty. If a person acquires and accumulates excessive wealth, he or she directly curtails the happiness and convenience of others insociety. Such behaviour is flagrantly antisocial. Therefore, no oneshould be allowed to accumulate wealth without the permission of society. (Ananda Sutram 5:12, 1962)Sarkar goes on to elaborate in relation to worldly wealth andresources:The wealth and resources available in the crude, subtle and causalworlds should be developed for the welfare of all. All resources hiddenin the quinquelemental world -- solid, liquid, luminous, aerial andethereal -- should be fully utilized, and the endeavour to do this willensure the maximum development of the universe. People will have toearnestly explore land, sea and space to discover, extract and processthe raw materials needed for their requirements. There should berational distribution of the accumulated wealth of humanity. In other words, all people must be guaranteed the minimum requirements. Inaddition, the requirements of meritorious people, and in certain casesthose with special needs, will also have to be kept in mind. (AnandaSutram 5:13, 1962)In relation to the psychological bridging necessary betweenwealth/resources and collective aspirations, Sarkar states:Society must ensure the maximum development of the collective body,collective mind and collective spirit. One must not forget thatcollective welfare lies in individuals and individual welfare lies incollectivity. Without ensuring individual comforts through the proper provision of food, light, air, accommodation and medical treatment, thewelfare of the collective body can never be achieved. One will have topromote individual welfare motivated by the spirit of promotingcollective welfare. The development of the collective mind isimpossible without developing proper social awareness, encouraging thespirit of social service and awakening knowledge in every individual.So, inspired with the thought of the welfare of the collective mind,one has to promote the well-being of the individual mind. The absenceof spiritual morality and spirituality in individuals will break thebackbone of the collectivity. So for the sake of collective welfare onewill have to awaken spirituality in individuals. The mere presence of ahandful of strong and brave people, a small number of scholars or a fewspiritualists does not indicate the progress of the entire society. Thepotential for ongoing or infinite physical, mental and spiritualdevelopment is inherent in every human being. This potentiality has tobe harnessed and brought to fruition. (Ananda Sutram 5:14, 1962)Cosmic InheritanceP. R. Sarkar expanded upon the idea of belonging to the Cosmos andNature that was shared by people of traditional cultures. Putting it ina personal sense - and that the cosmos and universe is a 'living'entity - he said, The Supreme Consciousness is my father and the  Supreme Creative Principle is my mother, the Universe is my native landand all of us are citizens of this cosmos . (Problems of the Day,1968) We should consider humanity as one human family, and the universeas our common patrimony. It is a gift from the forces of Consciousnessand Creation, which are in reality two inseparable aspects of the sameDivine Being.Prout is based on this spiritual perspective. The Creator is notseparate from the creation, but permeates and resonates in everyparticle of it. Nothing is mere physicality in the end. Einsteinsomewhat concluded that everything is energy - so even your humanstructure is nothing but a condensed form of energy or vibrations(crude frequencies). Even so-called inanimate objects are vital withlatent consciousness. Every living being has existential value, inaddition to utility value. Humans do not have the right todestructively exploit plants, animals, or the Earth, without regard for their well-being. The Creator - which can also be seen as our universalconnection to all - invites us to use these things, but not to abusethem.Because of this spiritual outlook, Prout does not recognize privateproperty as an absolute moral value. Sarkar wrote, Thepotentialities of the world do not belong to any particular person,nation or state . (Problems of the Day, 1968) Also, the notion of property is one of law. In law, one does not strictly 'own' anything.Rather, one receives a title or estate so as to be legally entitled tosome thing (whether at common law or by statute law). As native titlescholars in Australia would know, for land, there can be various titlesor interests such as the relative title of the sovereign state, thenative title of its indigenous inhabitants and the freehold title or leasehold title of registered owners (or even mere licences to occupy).These may overlap. Collectively, like brothers and sisters in a humanfamily, we have a duty and a responsibility to utilize and fairlydistribute the world's resources for the welfare of all. The approachto be taken is determining the usufructuary rights amidst collectiveproperty. These for households may amount to a legally registeredtitle and the preference here is that of the developing communitytitles or similar (which can have the characteristic of freehold or leasehold but are surrounded also with community responsibilities).Generally, for other resource allocations some form of co-operativeshareholding ownerships should be developed.How would Prout consider the vast properties of land in Brazil, for example? The Bradesco Bank Group owns 900,000 hectares of land, theAntunes-Caemi financial group owns 2,250,000 hectares, and theforeign-owned Manasa/Cifec group owns over 4 million hectares, that is,40,000 square kilometres! Most of this property is cleared to createpasture for the beef industry, which requires very few employees. Atthe same time, millions of unemployed farm labourers have no land tocultivate in order to meet their basic needs.Sarkar wrote: Uncultivated [farm]land is a liability for the humanrace . In Prout's system of agriculture there is no place for intermediaries. Those who invest their capital by engaging others inproductive labour to earn a profit are capitalists. Capitalists, likeparasites, thrive on the blood of industrial and agricultural  labourers. (Economic Democracy, 1986) The Prout solution would be tostart agricultural cooperatives to better utilize land and provide jobsto the unemployed.Another conclusion that can be drawn from the spiritual concept of Cosmic inheritance is that the life and well-being of humans issociety's first priority, and it must always take precedence over allother financial responsibilities. Hence a Proutist economy begins byproviding the minimum necessities of life to all people in everyregion, and then gradually elevates their standard of living. This isthe moral starting point.Human Sentiments and Neo-humanismA sentiment is the emotional tendency to identify with whatever welike, whatever gives us pleasure. Neo-humanism a term coined bySarkar in his book of the same title, is the process of expandingone's sentiment or allegiance from self-interest to an empathy andidentification with an ever-larger portion of humanity. It is therequired ecology of mind needed so desperately today.Most people feel allegiance to their family and a close circle of friends. In many parts of the world, membership in a clan, a tribe, acommunity, or even an inner-city gang is very important, too. Amajority also feel that they are members or citizens of a particular region or nation, believing that they are more important than other nations. Sarkar calls this patriotism or nationalism by the namegeo-sentiment. Favouring one's own nation at the expense of other countries is expressed in the slogan My country, right or wrong! and in anti-foreigner feelings. This sentiment provided an emotionalreinforcement for colonialism and imperialism.Identifying more with one's race, religion, class or sex to theexclusion of other communities is known as socio-sentiment. Bothgeo-sentiment and socio-sentiment have led to countless tragicconflicts and wars that are, in the words of Sarkar, the blackestspot on human history . Politicians who lead through sentiment may bevery powerful, but they can lead their entire community or nation todestruction by not considering the good or bad consequences of their actions. The norm is for them not to adopt a holistic approach becauseof the lack of their own universal or spiritual outlook.Enlightened education that develops the rational, questioning mind isthe antidote to these limiting sentiments; education causes one toexpand one's identity to include all humanity. Such humanists feelpain when they hear of the suffering of any group of people on theplanet. They commit themselves to social justice, service and ecology.Humanism srcinated in Europe during the Renaissance as a reactionagainst the dogmas and domination of the powerful clergy of theCatholic Church, who demanded blind faith and total obedience.Consequently, many Western humanists rejected the idea of atranscendent God outside of or beyond human experience. Instead theyrelied on logic, scientific enquiry and reason.The rejection of God forced humanists to search more deeply and
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