Towards a Humane Civilization

 A Report by Jagdish Kapur (1920–2010), President, Kapur Surya Foundation, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of the WPF "Dialogue of Civilizations", delivered at the International Likhachov Scientific Conference, St. Petersburg, 2009

The twenty-first century world inherited a civilization built on blood, tears, and hunger. At its portal stood two gate-keepers – Destiny and Death. Destiny for those who controlled the levers of power and wealth and domination and death for others. If this century has to escape the consequences of differential destinies, there has to be an understanding of the cosmic reality of the interconnectedness of all phenomena. And that the creation of two separate paths and modes of existence for the benefit of a few, under threats of weapons of mass bankruptcy and acts of terrorism for others will boomerang by many orders of magnitude. The consequential aggregating economic crisis, the rapid increases in unemployment, increasing threats of terrorism and threats of larger conflicts will have much greater political consequences.

Civilizations advance through the centuries by a process of continuity, creativity and harmonization. The fundamental truths and the laws of nature cannot be altered and that the destiny of nations and peoples can only be realized through the multifaceted aggregation of the highest human potential. Therefore the human dignity and the beauty of nature and its self-regenerating capacity must be restored.  Borderline between the self and cosmos must be abolished and cosmic connection be re-established.

There are no unalterable certainties in science. Time to time there are great revelations in science, and metaphysics which present new images of the cosmic reality. With the expansion of our vision and levels of our realization, new revelations often begin to alter the old and create new idioms and visions of reality.

Such advances and expansion is only possible, if the human realization is not    constrained by the dogmas of frozen time and unchangeable and permanent forever valid revelations. Every age brings about its own religious transformation in terms of their validity- eternal or historical.

Nothing can be interpreted by any one set of rules. Each new revelation has to be explained in terms of its certainties or uncertainties and time. Even environment has much to contribute to the development of human attitude and behaviour, through psychic pressures. There are increasing number of barriers in the expanding urban civilizations. People living in enclosed spaces get more and more conditioned by divide and rule, mental conditioning of separation and suspicion of what is beyond.

Indian civilization took birth in the vast expanses of biodiversity, with minimum struggle for existence. With constant interaction with nature, reflection on its bounty, multiplicity change and secrecy creating pathways for enlarging consciousness, and horizons not dominions, and frontiers. They realized the truth of interconnectedness of all phenomenon and harmony between the larger human spirit and that everything had a spiritual meaning. The material civilization has created around us blinding dust-storms, walls of fear and hatred, shutting out the horizons, spirit comprehension and pathways to the future. And our unity with all pervasive infinite cosmic reality. All the aesthetic sensitivities, scientific, religious and philosophical feelings extend the scope of our consciousness to higher levels of realization.

Our minds are imprisoned by a constant struggle for survival. Through a process of cultivated moronization our lives are made overly dependent on means of survival. Our psyche becomes the power which constantly enlarges the circle of human servility, and snaps its deeper connection with humans and nature.

The fullest realization of the soul is greater than the material acquisitions, physical and intellectual accomplishments. But the ‘Soul’s onward course’ is never checked by death or dissolution’ in this search for the infinite. Most of the institutions that we are surrounded with are instruments and pathways to the human decimation. These need to be restructured so that revelations can get a new spiritual context for a humanism that will liberate humans from all obstacles for the realization of highest human potential. And this within the cosmic reality, “ungraspable to the senses, unknowable, but realizable directly without mediation”. This ‘reality is not a single timeless entity, its consists of multiple realities that exist and occur for a moment and change to others in the next moment.  In this concept of dynamic state of flux, the cosmic streams of events is eternal with any individual entity or event’. This has similarity with that of quantum physics that there is no absolute truth in theories which are limited and approximate.

Infinite is the ultimate human realization and is also the realization of the ultimate truth. The exaggerations and falsification of truth by the media breaks the harmony of our life makes us the victims of the false claims of contending interests. Harmonization thus cannot take place at the material or interest level but only at the spiritual level where all becomes one.

Bio-diversity is one of the supreme laws of nature. There are millions of flora and fauna around us, so also a wide diversity of animal and bird life. Every human as an individual has a psychic frame, all his own. Theo-diversity cannot be separated from the supreme law of nature. There can be no revelation, no dogmas, no scientific discovery, no thought process, which can escape the compulsions of change, to sustain the harmony within the cosmic system. Even in divine forces, there is a plurality like the one in life and nature, and the multiplicity of perceptions at highest levels of spiritual perfection. In the words of poet Rabindranath Tagore, “Humans have begun to understand the great paradox that what is limited is shedding its finitude every moment. In fact, imperfection is not a negation of perfection, finitude is not contradicting infinity. These are completeness, manifested in parts. Infinity revealed within bounds. The progressive ascertainment of truth is an important thing in the science and not its innumerable mistakes.”

Over specialization in evocations means losing hold of truth, scientific or metaphysical. We can see the present truth by relating to the wholeness of events, interests and intentions of all players. But the ultimate truth can be seen only when we set our mind towards the infinite and by not losing awareness of the moral nature. Realization of the infinite is not through our material acquisitions, and continued aggregation of belongings. In reality it is the final escape from the incessant and needless pursuit and aggregation of articles of consumption and self-decoration.

Nothing impermanent can have significance in the realization of the infinite, our possession can only have significance, if they can relate to the process of realization and can become the rings of ladder to the infinite. But human soul goes beyond our possession. Thus renunciation is the deepest reality of the human soul. We are much greater than the things that we possess because, acquisition belong to our finite self.

The fundamental difference between the Western and the Eastern thought - ‘where the twain shall never meet’, is that West condemns as blasphemy of humans aiming to be God. In the Eastern thought the humans can achieve the images of God. Rivers can become the sea, but never make the sea a part and parcel of itself’. In the Buddhist thought humans can proclaims ‘I am the dew drop, I am the Ocean.’
In terms of the larger reality and human imperfections in attaining the final sea of tranquility, there should be potential pathways for the realization of an ‘Integral Humanism’, guided by ecological constraints and pathways for the realization of the highest human potential- material, mental, supramental and spiritual. Different religious traditions can provide their own context for creating these pathways. This process will have inbuilt constraints to keep the various parameters in balance towards an orderly human civilization. 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 spiritual ideal.  We cannot allow the culture of consumerism assume its own divine images. ‘Nations get organized for a mechanized purpose into an organized self-interest 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 have to save the human future from a perpetual helplessness of emasculation. Reconcile and let man be the measure, and let nations assume moral responsibility.