Wisdom of humanity

 It is said, East is east and West is west, and between them they shall never meet. To the western eye, East is unreasonable in thought and bizarre in deed. To the eastern eye, West is superfluous in thought and mundane in life. Indeed, mankind is replete with many kinds of striking diversities. Even at any one given single place, this diversity among people is amazing. But, despite all these colossal diversities, mankind is essentially similar. This similarity is her endowment with the faculty of mind with its love of truth. Our realization of fragile and unique position that we occupy in the known universe also creates in us the sense of unity of mankind among her much secondary diversities.

  So far as we know today, there is only one place under the heaven, our home – our Earth, where we human beings live our lives. We are one kind of intelligent beings crammed in a tiny and lonely place amidst the hugely vast expanse of universe’s desert that is stubbornly barren to any kind of life.

  This must generate not a sense of pride of place among us, but a sense of our vulnerability to the unknown and fear for our stable future. In turn the sense of vulnerability and fear should dawn on us our commonality of fate and destiny. But we choose to remain oblivious to our common fate and destiny. As if to make ourselves forget the onerous tasks pending ahead for mankind’s urgent attention, we humans indulge in hooliganism, raising false cries here and going gung-ho in pursuit of wrong judgments there. We throw the dust of self-indulgence at the wakefulness of mankind, pelt the stones of petty interests at her prudent warnings and raise the clouds of doubts to eclipse her urge for eternal truth.

  Mankind is one but has many people. Her ideals, steeped in diverse beliefs and thoughts, follow vastly different trajectories. Beliefs and thoughts always have certain foundation and force behind them. They represent a part of the whole truth and show a part of the beauty that human life is. Diversity of thoughts, however irreconcilable and contradictory they may be, is necessary to complete the whole truth of life. People living in different parts of the world, over the ages, have evolved two sets of convictions – two sets of wisdoms – that is, the western and the oriental – India being a good representative of the later -, and these two seem contradictory to  one another. All people living in West do not subscribe to the western wisdom and neither all people living in India subscribe to the oriental wisdom.

  The division into the oriental and the western wisdoms of the people is based on their collective consciousness. The collective consciousness of the western people is dominated by mind (that is, reason), which does not permit the spiritual element that remains mystic to mind to play any role. This mystic element is debarred an entry into the consideration zone because it is not only mystic to mind but it also contradicts the mental ruling and even points out its limitation. While, on the other hand, the eastern collective consciousness is dominated by spiritual influence over mind, and this influence some times goes to the extent of completely ignoring or even suppressing the mental element that is seen by intellect as the superstition and the blind faith of the ignorant.

Western Thought:

  What are the salient features – fundamental concepts – of these two sets of contradictory convictions, wisdoms? Let us first examine the western wisdom. It may be summed up thus.

  Mind is the sole light. Reason is the only test of right or wrong. Truth is the supreme object of search but it can only be revealed by reason. Mind searches around for truth of the existence and gives its judgment. With the development of science, we go on knowing more. Science is based on mind and reason. In its highest flight, mind gives light about itself. Mind tells that as we depend on body senses to get data of world around us and the human mind processes this data, what we get is the result of the mind’s processing, and this result may have some part of the subjective adulteration of mind. There is an unbridgeable gap between the world as it actually exists in itself and the world, as we know of it as the result of our processing. There is no way to bridge this gap through mental means.

  Mind and science, which is dependent on it, observe and analyze the world around us. As a result we get what exists is matter and by analysis we get the laws of Nature. These two things are the fundamental truths. Whatever contradicts these two things is false.    It is legitimate and morally justified knowing the world in this manner by mind and act on its conclusions. By using mind, we know that what exists is material. Material world is vast and to know its extent, nature and property it is necessary to explore the material world. To know the truth, we should explore outer space, interior of atom, look inside genes, and penetrate the Earth and oceans. Whatever knowledge we get out of this exploration, we should use in the cause of human beings’ comforts.

  Our body is made up of not only the mind but also the sense organs. Body requires its demands to be met. It is morally justified to meet the demands of body. We know by mind’s analysis that it is better alternative to co-exist by meeting demands of maximum numbers of people to the maximum extant than to meet all demands of a single person to the maximum and risk mutual conflict and destruction. So demands should be met within reasonable limits so as to avoid the conflict. If the conflict may be managed or averted, it is justified to meet the demands of a person or a group of persons to the maximum. To meet the body- demands of human beings, it is necessary to produce the means of satisfaction of these demands. It is morally justified to produce the means of comfort to the maximum.

  For economic development it is necessary, as economic science tells us, to create more demands of people even by artificial methods like advertisements and then to meet such inflated demands by offering them items of comforts (manufactured goods). This creates an interdependent chain of cause and effect of consumption, lower cost of production by producing more, use of technologies so as to reduce dependence of human work-force, elimination of weaker manufacturer by resorting to competition so as to reduce cost of production, and price etc. To create the climate of free demand, free supply, free production of the things needed, democracy is the most suitable political system.

  It is morally justified to consume more. It is morally justified to make people aware of their needs that were non-existent or lay dormant by advertisement and to maximize their consumption.

  It is reasonable and moral to spread this model around the world so that maximum human beings may get the benefit of this comfort-oriented model of way of life. It is reasonable that this model should be extended from local areas to national levels, from national to international level. All means should be used to ensure that this model defeats the alternative models, if found it contradicting in any part of the world. Therefore, it is reasonable and morally justified for the leaders of society to gear it towards consumerism.

  In this pursuit, it is morally justified to resort to technology to reduce dependence on human labor. Advertisement may be resorted to create needs of people that lie dormant.

  There is no wrong in elimination of the weak by the strong to make goods of comfort cheap. Since this is an ideal model of society, there is no wrong in the use of force, economic or otherwise, against those who do not subscribe or conform to these ideals to make sure that this social model survives at the international level.

  Therefore, the use of this force in the cause of this way of life is justified. There is no moral wrong in pursuing a national and global system wherein entire world’s natural resources may be used in sustainable manner to meet the inflated and unsatiatable desires of human beings. It is an economic development of man.

  Economic well being of humans is the crucial index of the standard of their living. If in the process monopoly of natural resources in the hands of a few persons is created, and war among nations is fought in defense of this social order, there is nothing wrong in it so long as the troublesome things are planned and managed by mind.

  This is the substance of the western thought.

Eastern Wisdom:

  The Eastern wisdom – and we say India is a good representative of East – may be summed up thus.

  Beyond biological needs of life, the psychological anatomy of human being is of a very complex nature. Mind is there; it provides light of reason in the dark animal existence but mind alone is not there. Neither mind is the highest light. Reason should be used to the fullest extent as mind provides light and guidance to animal instincts and unguided desires of men. This light of reason must guide human beings till the light higher than mind is not received by them.

  Biological structure of man, with its organs and their senses, has its own separate workings and demands, like food, air etc. But biological nature is not the frontiers of human existence. Beyond body senses, there are desires and human cravings, and impulses. They have real existence and constantly urge man, in plane and subtle manners, to satiate them and their likings. Not only desires are there, mind also is there. Mind has its own separate world and its logical aspirations, and it demands their fulfillment. It is the world of thoughts, ideas, reason, logic and symmetrical harmony.

  But senses, desires and mental thoughts combine together and create cacophony calling upon human being to pay attention to their respective demands. This cacophony is what we know as an individual’s ‘personality’. Depending on the shifting conglomeration of senses, desires and thoughts, this individual’s cacophonous personality remains in constant flux of change.

  If this cacophony is quieted and these urgings are subdued, then a guiding light descends upon human being that is higher than the blind darting urge of sensual pleasure, or the twilight of treacherous dark desires, or even the rational light of mind.

  This higher light reveals the real nature of things. It lets human being know the absolute truth of all that exists by way of providing him a very personal experience of the essence of things by an identification with them rather than creating a mere hazy idea by mental analysis. This knowledge dawns on him like the morning light wherein his mind’s limitations are exposed.

  Once this light’s dawning is there in an individual’s experience, it becomes morally justified for him and for those who bring faith on him to accord to this light a place higher than mind. It also becomes justified to test all human decisions, however momentous they may be in importance, in the light of this power.

  This higher light, power, truth etc. reveals itself to human being in a manner that is absolutely real and concrete, knowable only by identification (therefore, known to the person only who has received it), beyond mental comprehension, eternal in existence, beyond language’s description, and therefore, mysterious to human mind. This light reveals to the persons who receive this light that there are myriad gradations of consciousness beyond our material world. It reveals that these gradations of consciousness are as real as this earthly life existence. And it reveals that it is possible to explore their extent, nature and purpose in the universal scheme of things, and to utilize this knowledge to advance the cause of the purpose of human-stay in this material world.

  In the light of this power, it becomes apparent that this world is transient, under constant transformation, illusory relative to the truth revealed by this power and created for a specific purpose in accordance with superb plan beyond mind. For those who have experienced this light and those who bring faith on the truth of such experience, it becomes morally justified to use the temporary stay of human being in this world to the maximum benefit in consonance with the supreme purpose and plan. In the light of that power it becomes clear that there is an element in human being that is eternal, that never dies, that take birth after birth till the purpose of coming in this world is achieved as per that superb plan.

  Therefore, it becomes morally justified for an individual to pursue the agenda of human life in this mortal world as dictated by this light. Equally, it becomes morally wrong to dedicate human life to cater to the demands of senses, desires and reason as these demands insist for their supremacy over the superior purpose that this light may reveal and create hindrance in the path of its agenda. It becomes proper thing for an individual, as revealed by that light, to control his desires, sensual indulgence and mental questioning that tries to put this light into doubt and lead human being astray from the sole agenda of this light. All means and methods (shown by religious teachers, yogis, Sufis, saints, mystics) that help to control, quiet and finally uproot sensual animal instincts, desires and doubts of mind are justified as they serve the cause of this eternal light.

  At the individual level, it is justified to control one’s lower impulses. At the social level, logically, it is justified to curb the spread of desires and gearing of society to meet those desires. It cannot be the ideal of society to meet demands of these desires by resorting to means of demand and supply, cheap and excess production, competition, monopoly, advertisement, replacing men with machines to make goods cheap, using technology to render unemployment rather than creating leisure-hours for employed persons etc. Machines, ideally, should be used to curtail working hours of the people engaged in industrial production of goods by weaning them off from the hands of those who use them to earn their private profits to the social detriment. It is justified not only to avoid the exploitation of natural resources to the maximum possible extent but also to leave them unused surplus so that on the one hand man may elevate himself to a higher level than a mere consuming animal and on the other these surplus natural resources may be available to the succeeding future generations of living beings, including mankind.

  This is the substance of Eastern –and Indian – wisdom.

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