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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Course correction for the Future (concluded)


The Future
How do we look to the future and make it safe for our children and grandchildren?
We need a new Dharma for this age of “Information Disorder”. Elements of this new Dharma should include Positive Values such as Compassion, Open-mindedness, Commitment to collaboration and cooperation, Forgiveness, Humility, respect for the dignity of the individual, justice, Truth-telling, sharing  of wealth and knowledge and Caring for the welfare of others, the society, other lives and the entire planet.
Each one of us will have to learn to separate useful information from useless and harmful information, learn to think on our own, find our own bliss and pass it on. There is no One Way. But we need to be humble since our way may not be correct and often unsuitable for someone else.
Our knowing and learning in the past few centuries  have been analytical and empirical. In science, we use sensory system to observe and measure. We use the collected data to analyze and synthesize using reason and logic. We then interpret and explain. This approach to nature's phenomena has enriched humanity. We need to build on science.  
In science we broke the whole into parts to study.We know lots of details. Now we have to put the parts together in the context of the "whole". We must connect to the “whole”, spiritually.
We have loads of information, too much sometimes. We must learn to transform that into wisdom. Wisdom is defined by its humility, ability to see the bigger picture, thoughtful and beneficial actions and above all to knowing the limits of one’s own knowledge.
Emotions and subjective knowledge have been de-emphasized  for obvious reasons. Emotions can mislead reason. But we cannot ignore them totally. We have to be objective. But the subjective factor in knowledge is equally important provided we acknowledge that our  knowledge may be wrong and the subjective knowledge of others is bound to be different. We need to be humble, open-minded and compassionate.
We cannot forget or ignore the fact that the subject is part of the thought itself. In spiritual matters  “the seeker is the sought”.
We need to supplement analytical knowing and thinking with Contemplative knowing and thinking. This allows one to be objective and at the same time help look at the object deeply with curiosity and without judgement. This allows letting go of habitual patterns of thinking, bias and dogmas and open the mind to new insights. It allows us to look at the part and the whole and recognize connections not known otherwise.
Contemplative knowing can lead to insights, intuition and inspiration. 
Every one of us will have to get out of the isolated island we live in and connect with others and with the world in compassion and with compassion.
We need new mythology and new symbols. The old ones have lost their relevance and not their importance. We need new world mythology. That is possible if we visualize the picture of the earth our space-scientists have given us.  One unit. Blue planet hanging in mid-air. It shows no borders. Only one border, between water and earth.
Joseph Campbell wanted us to use the ancient buildings and temples and cathedrals to talk to us about their spiritual information. We need cultural heritage tours of such sites to look at the substance behind the symbols.
We need to use Spirituality and Science similar to the way we use different lenses of the camera. We need spirituality for the mystery and science to understand reality.
We need to emphasize that morality is even more important than legality. That is to say that an action considered to be within the prevailing system of law may still be immoral. 
We need new symbols. May I suggest a few to choose from?  Earth seen from space; Exploding supernova; Wheeler’s Universal Eye.
We need new rites of passage (called Samskara in Sanskrit). It is particularly important for children entering adolescence. This should be more than a graduation party, or giving them a car key or cell phone.  But something to tell the child as suggested by Joseph Campbell: “you are ready to enter adult life; Go find your hero; go find your inner bliss. I am here to help you.”
We need a new motto such as those suggested by Joseph Campbell: “kill the inner dragon” and “Find your own bliss” and “Let others find their bliss” and “Love, everyone, unconditionally; Share; Forgive; Be Humble; Seek: Be Brave.”
We need common universal celebrations – for example, Thanksgiving Day and Mother’s (Nature’s) Day.
We must share  these thoughts and more with future generations so they grow up with respect for their tradition and at the same time respect for other traditions; so that they live in harmony with nature and with others in a peaceful world.

5 comments:

Krishnan said...

The last few days, thoughts float in my mind to the effect that all the parts do not add up to the "Whole". This could be due to inadvertent or deliberate shortcomings in one part or more. Scientifically, this can be resolved in physical terms. Spiritually, it is a balancing act of correcting the defect of that one part or more. Your elaborate explanation attempts to resolve this dilemma. The most important fact is that at all times, one must be true to his inherent nature, and have the grace to accept and await other opinions and practices.

Balu said...

Thanks for the remarks. Please let me clarify what I mean by “understanding the whole from the parts”. This is from Systems Biology. When several parts make up a system, the property or the function of the whole is more than the sum of the functions of the part and cannot be predicted accurately. Jim Henson, the creator of the Muppets said it best: “When you peel an onion, you have whole lot of peels; but no onion.”
Extrapolating this concept to the relationship between parts of the universe and the universe, science has helped understand the physical dimensions and properties of the parts. But understanding the parts is not the same as understanding the “whole”. Understanding the whole has to come from “deep looking” without biases and prejudices, from intuition which is fallible and personal experience which is suspect. That is why the word “humility” comes in.
Finally, we cannot grasp the "whole" by correcting defects in the parts alone, even if we know what the defect is.

Krishnan said...

Thanks for these additional elaboration. I presume that you understand the whole not by mere logic but it must also be a visual experience. Thanks.

Balu said...

Not visual experience. But, an "inner" intuitive experience of the "whole" as suggested by the vedic rishis; going beyond dualities, beyond "parts and whole" concept and beyond all concepts.

Krishnan said...

I get it. This does happen sometimes and a full understanding ensues. Thanks.