Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The unitive participatory approach to life and reality

Dr. Chitta R. Goswami Ph.D., Search for truth
What we see happening in American society is that both the major parties are under the stranglehold of big money. Big institutions( not excluding the churches), businesses and wealthy individuals bankroll the increasing expenses of election campaigns; principle followed is quid pro quo. The only difference between the two parties is that the Democratic Party does not forget the poor and the disadvantaged in formulating laws; the Republican Party works aggressively for the rich while not neglecting the poor altogether. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening rapidly. A situation may arise before long, if the lawmakers reduce themselves into henchmen of the rich, working men and women will revolt against the establishment.
A couple of factors may delay this prospect. One is: Federal administration is not thoroughly centralized; secondly, three other sets of government defuse the concentration of power and wealth. Three levels of government are: city, county, state. The number of people contesting for positions in the local governments is enormous. Why do so many people go after an elected position? The answer: is greater control over money, which invariably brings power. The other most important feature of democracy is Private enterpreneurship coupled with competition. Enterpreneurship generates new ideas leading to the production of wealth. Competition also brings out the latent faculties in men and women and at the same time checks monopoly and corruption. So far so good; the problem is in the motive force working behind. Entrepreneurs want success and making money. This is perfectly legitimate. But when going gets rough businesses take to devious methods to avoid failure or to stay on top.
The present cutthroat competition has been designated as a rat race. All kinds of irregular and illegal methods are being taken recourse to, not just for success but to make enormous amount of money. How far greed can go is illustrated by top officials of big companies earning tens of millions of dollars annually have yet been involved in terrible frauds to make more money and thus destroying companies like Enron, World Com. At the wake of the fall of Enron, scores of companies, including banks, Wall Street firms, Mutual Funds, brokerage firms, Accounting and Auditing Firms, have been caught cheating, robbing and thus doing incalculable damage to the whole economic fabric of this most advanced country. Discerning people seem to have lost faith in the institutions supposed to be the pillars of the capitalist system. Veterans in the field of finance opine that big businesses can hardly be brought under discipline; most of these will try to get around the newly imposed or proposed regulations. Arthur Levitt, who was the Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission during years of Clinton presidency, has dealt with all the segments of industry and finance in his book, ‘ Taking on the Street’.
Here we get an in depth view of an insider since he had been in Wall Street and other businesses for good many years. As Chairman of the Commission, Levitt tried to regulate the industries and introduce reforms of various kinds. He faced a good deal of opposition from leaders of industry as well as from certain members of the Congress. New insights gained in his struggle did not, however, discourage him; he ended his study with an optimistic note; he believed in the efficacy of self-regulation by the industries since sticking to the rules serves their interests better than anything else. Eliot Fitzer, the Attorney General of the state of New York, who is engaged very actively in exposing the fraudulent practices of numerous financial industries and prosecuting them vigorously is, on the other hand, unwilling to pin his faith on self-regulation. He would like to plug all the holes.
Competition drives people to look for new avenues of making money; new services, goods and amenities are devised. To push these, sales crews are recruited and exotic advertisements are produced. Endless competition in every sphere of life--economic, political, educational, arts, journalism, medicine, law --have created an atmosphere of veritable war. From elementary school children to top performers in every field seem to live a life of uncertainty and unease; there is no more guarantee anywhere.
  • What is the meaning of affluence and progress then?

Funny thing is this about four percent of the population is perpetually poor depending on welfare which, again, is shrinking in value and certainty. Even in cold winter thousands of people live on the street-- young and old, men, women and children.

  • Do these not suggest that something is fundamentally wrong somewhere?

It is argued that the segment of population depending on welfare is incompetent due either to lack of education or to proper motivation, should be kept out of the job market so that the capitalist spirit of competition does not get slackened. Also full employment has the potential for boosting the bargaining power of labor, which is not liked by the employer. A large number of people work for a minimum or a bit higher than minimum salary in innumerable occupations requiring less skill and education. These people try hard to avoid slipping into Welfare rolls. But their situation is getting precarious; even with two salaries a couple with two children cannot make two ends meet; their indebtedness is increasing rapidly. These people are getting restless since they see from a little distance what constitutes affluence. They also get to know how enormous is the Defense budget and how low is the salary of ordinary soldiers. Interestingly, most of these people do not vote during general election; they tend to be cynical.

We attribute wrongness to our mode of perception. Quantum theory shows us that at bottom knowledge has to be participatory resulting from an interaction of the subject and the object. String Theory tells us that reality at bottom is made of vibratory strings billion times smaller than the nucleus of an atom. Strings are infinitesimal bits of energy pervading the universe. Vedic wisdom points to something very similar.
According to Upanishads, Vedic books of wisdom, Brahman or supreme consciousness pervades the universe. This Consciousness-Force has different waves, one rolling on another, horizontally and vertically as well as in ascending and descending order. This is how a symphony is created by all that moves in the universe. The supracosmic Brahman, however, supports the cosmos emanating from itself. In any case, unity is the fundamental truth of Reality; unitized knowledge is true knowledge since all act of knowledge presupposes an element of identity between the knower and the known. The secret of Quantum Mechanics was unraveled to humanity not before seventy years ago. It has, however, shown that from the dawn of civilization, human beings have pursued knowledge, however imperfectly, The unitive way, through the participation of the subject with the object.
Primitive man has tried to understand his situation through a kind of participation with all that he saw around him. A natural phenomenon like the sun, the moon, cloud, rain, trees, animals everything he tried to endear as parts of his life and existence. The way he approached things with his heart and soul had no distinction between the living and the non-living. He created a mythology with his uninformed imagination and placed everything around him, not excluding himself, in an order of mutual support; presiding over this order were some deities the presence of which he felt in some way. Rules governing his life were a part of the order sanctioned by the deities. Primitive man’s brain was not much developed. Geographical area he inhabited with his family and kinsmen had many limitations. When another tribe with similar background came from somewhere and made friendly gestures, friendship and mutuality between the two tribes developed.
If, on the other hand, the visiting tribesmen expressed hostility, fighting ensued with the use of primitive weapons. In the process of such friendly and hostile encounters numerous tribes came together; the leader of the dominant tribe proclaimed himself king and tried to unify all the tribes under his command. By the time kingdoms were formed primitive societies became more sophisticated with better organization of life and fortification of their territories. The conception of the natural order upheld by deities became clearer. As rational faculty developed by then was still limited; reason did not take over the original approach to reality through heart and soul.
With further development of reason and the analytical mind these early societies came out of the primitive stage, and began to organize themselves for war and peace, writing, self expression through fine arts, philosophical and theological thinking as well as modes of worship. Early civilizations of Egypt, Sumeria, Mesopotamia, Greece, Iran, India, China fall by and large in this category. At this stage, creative activities in the areas of literature, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, theatrical and dance performances amply reflected the unitive participatory approach to life and reality. Even scientific inquiries were conducted with a good deal of reflection and introspection along with analysis. In trade and commerce barter predominated; modern-day commercial spirit was unknown. However, the preponderance of war, system of slavery, all these indicate that unitive consciousness was not all-pervasive. Nevertheless, it would be in order to illustrate more concretely how the unitive approach predominated.

I, Dr. Chitta R. Goswami Ph.D., a retired professor of religion & philosophy, am deeply concerned with human problems, particularly at this age of science, technology and globalism. In my view, religion is suffering from inadequacy to address current problems and issues. But if the code of religion, espescially, hindu philosophical insights could be brought together with modern science - latest findings of subatomic physics and string theory of creation, solutions could be found. Search for truth 9:58 AM

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