Towards a World Covenant

We, the Homo sapiens, are confronting crises that are global in scale and nature. The very global nature of the situation that includes gender discrimination, social and economic inequality, religious fundamentalism and environmental crises like climate change etc. call for a worldwide consensus among us regarding their causes and possible solutions.

This document is an attempt towards such a covenant. It is being put forward as a proposal to initiate genuine reflections and discussions, and is fully open to critical revaluations, including amendments.

This work – titled Towards a World Covenant – is chiefly inspired by the teachings and writings of Guru Narayana (1854-1928) and his successor disciple Guru Nataraja (1895-1973). Together, their hundred year long contemplation on Unity and Peace produced some of the finest visions and writings which integrated poetry, philosophy, science and religion harmoniously. They belong to the perennial wisdom stream of teachers/disciples who have kept alive a unitive understanding of life through their earnest love and care toward fellow beings.

 

Contents

Part I

Introduction

The Necessity of the Covenant

The Inherent Contradictions between Democracy, Capitalism and the Nation-State

Appropriation of the Sovereignty of the Human Being and the Self-Sufficiency of Communities

The Need for Revisiting the Idea of the Human Being

Part II

The Philosophy of Human Rights

The Epistemological and Axiological Contradictions in Modern Human Rights Thought

The Innate Axioms of Human Thought that We Need to Recognize

The Confirmation of the Absolute Value of the Human Being/the Universe, from Time Immemorial

Part III

The Natural Law that Discourages Humans from Violence and Encourages them to be Unitive

The Difference between Uniqueness and (Private) Individuality

The Difference between Love and Selfishness

The Difference between Creativity and Labour

Modern Popular Historiography and Its Negative Projection of Our Common Past

Part IV

Overcoming Capitalism and the Nation-State, Practically

The De-growth Movement

Curtailing the Powers of the Nation-State in a Progressive Manner; Since Finally, the State Can Serve No One But Itself.

Taking Back the Commons

Civil-disobedience

Technology

Monetary or Credit/Debit System

More about Non-Violence

Part V

The Possible Purposes of Otherness

The Paradox of the Absolute OR the Different Domains of Philosophy and Religion

A Word to Those Who Find this Memorandum Valid Enough

Part VI

Charter of Human Rights that are Absolute, Inalienable and Non-Negotiable

The Rights of Children

The Rights of the Planet Earth

The Rights of Non-Human Beings

Towards a World Covenant1

Part I

Introduction

The World Covenant is an agreement (a social contract in the words of J.J. Rousseau) between fellow human beings (Homo sapiens) based on scientific2 principles of human rights; that is to say, a Science of Democracy. It envisions a world without borders, ideological or actual. The Covenant doesn’t intent for any kind of homogenization of the human race, but instead attempts an integration of the same while acknowledging every possible kind of diversity. The Covenant may not have included all the relevant aspects it could have contained; nonetheless the directive principles are elaborated in such a manner that the reader shall be able to address the issues by her/himself.

The Necessity of the Covenant

Divisive approaches like gender discrimination, religious fundamentalism etc. are making our life unbearable, while crises like resource depletion and ecocide, rendered by the industrial mode of production, are threatening the very existence of the human race. The so called representatives of the people, whether they are elected leaders or self-appointed despots, are not making any substantial attempts to change course, if not aggravating the same. So that we, the members of humanity, are necessitated to reach an agreement among ourselves about the basic orientation and value considerations required of us to lead a peaceful and sustainable life on planet Earth. Such an agreement also has to envision the end of global market economy (capitalism) and the Nation-State system, which essentially induce and thrive on alienation and violence and are two of the prime causes for the crises mentioned.

The covenant is quite relevant even in the absence of such immanent global crisis. The tendency of communities to self-exaggerate and designate themselves as the “Chosen ones” (typical Jews or Brahmin priests for example) to rule over other communities also necessitates such an agreement.

The Inherent Contradictions between Democracy, Capitalism and the Nation-State

Principally speaking, Democracy means considering the (non)other as oneself. That is to say, it is the understanding and practice of non-duality or oneness among fellow human beings. The Bible saying, Do onto others as you would have them do onto you is clearly indicative of this approach. This vision also has to contain the notion of non-duality between Nature and human beings as well, if it is to be truly unitive.

From this perspective, Capitalism could be understood as the antithesis of Democracy. It is based on exclusive, private interests, of the individual who has little concern for one’s fellow beings or the common good. If cooperation is the basis of Democracy, competition is the watchword of Capitalism. Thus, Capitalism is inherently divisive and capable of perpetual violence. It also envisions unlimited material growth in a world with limited resources, which makes it impossible for it to be anything else but invasive, exploitative and oppressive.

The defining feature of the Nation-State is its boundary, and therein its sense of exclusivity and the making of otherness. It is very much dependent on the Market Economy for its survival as an institution. That is to say, modern nation-states with their huge militaries, bureaucracies and other supporting structures can be maintained only by the capitalist mode of production, and not by the surplus value generated from any other systems such as pastoralism or subsistence farming. Therefore, the modern Nation-State is fundamentally flawed and incapable of realizing its own avowed goals such as freedom, equality etc.. Similar is the fate of the mainstream media, which while remaining dependent on the market, proudly fashions itself as the 4th pillar of the Nation-State.

The necessity of Capitalism to grow unlimitedly, and the total identification of the Nation-State with this goal, is exemplified by the common demand of State leaders everywhere for increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of their countries. This, in turn, is leading the world into a state of militant capitalism in which both rulers of the State and Capitalists become one, and where surveillance and suppression of dissent become normative.

In modern times, human beings are born citizens of one or the other Nation-State without any choice. This is not unlike the situation where children are initiated into one or the other religion in their earliest years without any informed consent. Similar is the case with representative democracy, which leaves people no choice but to swallow its own propaganda – that it is the best system possible – and to accept it as something akin to fate. In other words, this system gives no choice except those dictated by the ruling class, thus violating one of the fundamental principles of democracy–free will.

Appropriation of the Sovereignty of the Human Being and the Self-Sufficiency of Communities

Because it seeks perpetual growth, it’s necessary for Capitalism to appropriate all means of livelihood from the commons, such as land, and to reduce human beings to mere labour totally dependent on market forces, thus ensuring their subservience. The unprecedented growth of cities is a typical example of this process. To mention just one aspect, cities can be defined as spaces where people are entirely dependent on the market or the government, even for drinking water. Policies that are designed to force rural people to leave villages for urban centres are being practiced globally3. By the middle of 2009, the total world population residing in cities had exceeded the number of people living in rural areas for the first time in history4.

Another way the ruling class appropriates the self-sufficiency of communities is through centralized energy generation-distribution design. Fossil fuels, electricity from big dams and nuclear plants are all examples of this.

Far worse still, is the centralization of the economy itself, using the money or credit/debit system. The value of everything, including human beings, is understood only in terms of money – a commodity, manufactured and manipulated by an elite group of profiteers and gamblers that include central bankers5. The world of money and its economic dynamism has grown so complex, that it is incomprehensible even to trained economists, not to speak of lay people who are merely bonded participants in this system. Non-participation in the economy is almost an impossibility today, which, again violates the fundamental principle of choice inherent to democracy or justice.

The Need for Revisiting the Idea of the Human Being

Even while the global situation is unbearable for humanity in general (and is getting worse day by day), human rights movements all over the world are yet to become interwoven into a single movement arising from a general consensus regarding life. The (seeming) contradictions in conceiving the one and the many, the unique and the universal, of the relative identities of caste, class, religion etc., in short, the contradictions in conceiving the human being, are making this necessary integration a hollow dream. It resembles a Babel-like situation where inclusive and meaningful communication has become near-impossible. Therefore, we are compelled to reconsider the very idea of the human being, to re-discover the fundamental principle, that makes the term humanity sensible and a global outlook relevant.

Part II

The Philosophy of Human Rights

The Epistemological and Axiological Contradictions in Modern Human Rights Thought

Human rights discourses, wisdom traditions and political ideologies in general, postulate an inherent, inalienable value to human existence6. This is the central assumption and the basis for all other notions and discourses that follow. But the dominant knowledge paradigm of modernity, i.e. Modern Science, which emerged as the authentic source of truth, effectively sidelining both philosophical/wisdom traditions, as well as clannish religions marred by dualities like us and them, does not recognize the verity of any such innate value. In other words, the empirical methodology of modern science does not contain any notion of value at all; it doesn’t address the idea of ‘value in itself’. That is to say, it lacks an axiology (Science of Value). Consequently, modern science reduces all its subjects to mere objects; it makes the universe a junk of matter wherein living beings, including humans, are mere participants of a Darwinian evolution. When considered from such a perspective, the assumption of the innate value of the human being, the fundamental of human rights thought, becomes unscientific or unfounded.

In fact, people are forced to gamble with life, since the dominant knowledge paradigm doesn’t really provide them with any understanding of the value of life. The all-pervading discourse of development, that typically avoids any substantial questioning regarding the meaning, purpose or value of life, reflects the episteme of modern science or just an effect caused by a flawed knowledge system. The materialisation and commodification of both human beings and nature by the market economy could be seen as the applied aspect of this self-contradictory and materialistic approach to knowledge or the Being. But this does not mean that modern science is to be discarded; a proper philosophical revaluation and restatement of it, is what is urgently required.

The Innate Axioms of Human Thought That We Need to Recognize

There are some innate notions of value, or postulates we must accept before we begin to or can sustain any serious contemplation regarding the well-being both of a human being and of humanity as a whole. The first and foremost axioms among them, is that the human being has (innate) value7. After all, if it is not so, one needn’t be concerned of anything – things may continue as they are. Even Science and all its inquiries would become void, since its studies are finally meant to be meaningful to human life.

Another primary axiom of equal importance is the non-duality between the human being and the Universe, or the oneness of Truth. By Truth, we mean that which makes everything substantial. Truth is the Beingness of everything (which exists), or is the Being in all beings. Nothing can be outside of it; which is an impossibility in itself. Thinking of something that has no being/substance is what we call absurdity or nonsense; no one can think of nothing since at least the thinking exists there. If the oneness of Truth, or a First Principle that is true of everything is negated, then the assumption of commonality would be impossible. The term we would be incomprehensible, since there would only be individualistic, relative8 truths.

Once we accept these two axioms, they themselves lead us to the third one.

Since the human being is fundamentally a universal entity, when we consider it as a being that is innately valuable, as human rights notions generally do, we are in reality assuming innate value to the universe itself. Contrarily, if we are assuming this value only to the human being, and not to the Universe, it is bound to be nothing but a social construct or even a fantasy that must be relative to time and space. That is to say, one will have no innate value, but only that which is granted by, or acquired from society, whose whims and wills are often, if not always, in a state of flux, and therefore vulnerable to manipulation by the dominant powers that be.

Hence the axiom: If the Human Being is innately valuable, it also means that the Universe itself (as a whole) is innately valuable.

This leads us to fourth axiom: The value of the Universe/the human being is absolute. Since the Universe, the Being, has nothing outside of it, it can be relative to nothing; it cannot have any decrease or increase in its value either in space or time. (We are implicitly acknowledging the same principle of the irreducible constant value of the human being when we take a position against capital punishment irrespective of the culprit’s actions)

Contrarily, when Modern Science considers Truth/Value as something to be found out actually in linear time and space, and not as Self-evident and Absolute, it falls into the master error committed by various religions, which presumes the human being as something of lesser value that could gain its full value only later, may be after a Judgement Day. Scientists and priests alike, find a convergence at this point.

This approach has far reaching implications. When modern scientists think they are going to figure out the truth for the first time in history, their assumption at once makes the lives of human beings who have lived before that golden moment essentially trivial. And when they (scientists), believe that such a realization is indeed a linear, actual, future event, then that out-rightly negates a lay person the here-and-now possibility of understanding Truth, and makes it instead an affair of some ratified scientists.

The Confirmation of the Absolute Value of the Human Being/the Universe, from Time Immemorial

While we can understand the innate and absolute value of the human being logically, how can we know or realize the same? This question directs us to the fifth axiom: Since only (human) beings have the value-awareness that converts facts into (value) experience, the essential value of Existence can only be understood by a (human) being her/himself. That is to say, the realization of value is, by its nature, a subjective process.

The maxim Man Know Thyself was displayed in front of the ancient Greek wisdom temple of Delphi. Likewise, the maxims of the Upanishads such as I am the Absolute (Aham Brahmasmi), or This Self is the Absolute, (Ayam Atma Brahma), and You are That (Tattvam Asi), as well as Jesus’s saying: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, unequivocally confirms all the verities or axioms we have elaborated thus far, including the last one to be deduced: The one who knows the Truth is the Truth itself, since absolute realization cannot contain any vestige of duality between the knower and the known.

To sum up the axioms:

  1. The Human Being is inherently or innately valuable. Or his or her innate value is undeniable.

  2. There is not, nor can there be, any real duality between the Universe and the Human Being.

  3. Therefore, when we accept the Human Being as innately valuable, it also means that the Universe itself (as a whole) is innately valuable.

  4. The value of the Universe/the Human Being is absolute.

  5. This essential value can be grasped only by the human self.

  6. The one who knows the Self/Truth is the Truth itself.

When his disciples asked Jesus about the most important laws of life, his reply was: Love (understand) your Lord God (the Cause) with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. This answer reveals some structural aspects of integrative human thought that is evident across cultures and communities.

It could be described as follows and it would also summarize what we have discussed thus far:

The human being is the constant in all our philosophical, social and political reflections and transactions, whether they happen in community, between two people or within a person. When the value of that constant is certain, all transactions would become integrated in and throughout. But if it is not certain – if it has only relative meanings – then all the dealings would be subsequently dubious. That is to say, in order to effectively integrate all our dealings, we have to set aright the value of the Human Being first. This is what all the wisdom traditions once did and continue to do.

Since the human being is essentially a universal entity, such traditions try to determine the value of the universe first, so that the value of the human being would be understood simultaneously. Modern Science also follows the same logic or methodology; it is trying to understand the universe so that the value or the status of the human being in the universe could be understood.9 When that (the value of the human) becomes certain, conversely the other (the fellow Being(ness)) also would be understood. There would emerge a constant basis for all of one’s transactions with another.

For positing the fundamental laws of life, Jesus was following the same methodology in theological terms.

Part III

(This part under different titles, addresses various aspects in a random manner)

The Natural Law that Discourages Humans from Violence and Encourages them to be Unitive

If we could envision a Buddha, the knower of oneness, the Sovereign, who is free from fear or want,10 as a worthy goal for human aspirations, the individual who is alienated from both Nature and fellow humans by one’s exclusive interests and led by one’s endless wants, could be considered as the polar opposite of the same. Here it must be said that, when we postulate a Buddha as a model for human aspiration, it doesn’t mean that all of us have to become a Buddha or to reach a certain state in order to be worthy. Its purpose is referential. Whether one is a Buddha or not doesn’t matter much. The only thing that matters is whether one understands and practices non-duality according to one’s ability.

When someone does violence to one’s fellow beings, one is in fact negating the Oneness, thus deviating from the vastness, abundance and lucidness of Unitive Understanding11. One reduces oneself to a mere shadow-like existence. In other words, when one does violence to another, one is actually doing violence to oneself. Since there is no other in reality; one is punishing oneself by alienating the innate wholesome experience of life from oneself.

The Human Being must be able to grow out of one’s instinctive, exclusive, interests to the Oneness of the Being, through self-reflection. And this must be the essential purpose of any educative process worth its name. If such a Unitive Understanding could become a global culture, there won’t be any need for systems like the Nation-State that rule chiefly by imposing the fear of punishment. While such an understanding may help to avoid intentional violence, we also have to keep in mind that incidental violence may still persist with us. However, it would always be manageable for the affected group/community without any third party involvement.

The Difference Between Uniqueness and (Private) Individuality

The market economy intentionally confuses the difference between uniqueness and (private) individuality, for its own survival. The uniqueness of a human being is a fact as much as its universality, and there exists no contradiction between the two when properly understood.

The universal entity called the Human Being is one thing, and the individual named a Fatima or a John, who identifies oneself with her or his parents, gender, region, religion etc., is another affair; something that is incidental or contextual or functional. The individual has only a relative identity, i.e. the individual cannot be understood or defined without another individual or without any reference to one’s actual context. When a person one-sidedly identifies with one’s individuality by ignoring one’s universality, one is in fact stuck within a delusional, mirror-like image. Similar is the case with the notion of private happiness. Seen against the context of human beings’ shared identity, the thumb rule for any human transaction is that there is either gain or loss for both parties involved in a situation. But the (private) individual (and the Capitalist system as a whole) believes that there can be gain for one person and loss for another in any situation, hence it is fundamentally flawed.

The Difference between Love and Selfishness

Imagine a situation where a mother gives her child chemically farmed food, even though she has options other than these. Can we say that she really loves her child? The answer could be both yes and no. Her intention is not to cause harm in any way, but in practice she is feeding her child poison. Similar is the case of parents who strive to educate their children to be either labourers or entrepreneurs in a market economy. In both cases, what they lack is the wisdom or vision of the basic orientation a human being must have for leading a healthy, contented life. That is to say, our love must meet the wisdom of life for it to be worthy of that name. Without such an integrated understanding, even the best of intentions can be petty, if not disastrous.

Let’s take another instance: a manufacturer of pesticides, who is fully aware of its adverse consequences, allows his family to eat only organic food. Does that mean he loves his family? The man wants his wife and children to have organic food, but only because they belong to him. That is to say, they don’t have any intrinsic value, but have value just because they are related to him, to his private self or world. He values them because of his natural necessity for intimacy; the relationship is essentially utilitarian. He is a typical example of the (private) love of the individual, which is glorified and propagated in our times in every manner possible. Most of the mainstream advertisements are illustrations of this trend.

The Difference between Creativity and Labour

The human being naturally needs activity to survive – for a healthy body, to find food, for the expression of creativity, and so on. But when it is not freely chosen, that same necessary activity turns into labor, something coercive, instead of being a form of creativity. In a community that is self-sufficient in natural resources or/and has mutually intimate-interdependent members, it is possible for work and creativity to become one and the same. The modern notion of labor arises only when people are alienated from resources and when communities are fragmented. The contemporary development agenda justifies itself through the claim of more and more employment generation, when in fact, it is only normalizing something abnormal, while hiding the actual factors which have created the situation.

Modern Popular Historiography and Its Negative Projection of Our Common Past

Modern historiography originated in Europe and has been made popular through its use in the curricula of schools and colleges worldwide. It generally and unilaterally projects the history of humanity as a series of perpetual struggles and acts of violence for survival or for domination. In the process, it ends up normalizing and justifying the modern capitalist rat race, by making it appear inevitable, and therefore something to be tolerated and even encouraged. The harsher climate and geographical conditions in the West when compared to many other parts of the world, may have contributed to this reductive outlook.

A typical example that could be cited here is the general assumption in Western history that spirituality emerged out of fear of natural elements such as thunder and fire, as if it could not have risen out of any other feeling, like a sense of Beauty and Awe! Likewise, the fundamental postulate of modern economics is the assumption of scarcity and institutionalized spirituality (religion), which begins with the notion of original sin, which also projects a sense of deficiency. The habit of understanding life as a struggle was further accentuated by the mechanical notion of Darwinian evolution, in which the struggle for existence and survival of the fittest are the central references.

Such a negative and fear-based orientation in our understanding of the past naturally extends to our comprehension of the present and the future, and is being continually reinforced through the propaganda of Capitalism in order to serve its own purposes. This conglomeration of reductive projections makes the collective past of human communities look divisive, and nothing to be inspired by. It results in a people cut-off from their roots, induced with hopelessness about human life in general.

The history of humanity has to be understood dialectically, since a Buddha and a Capitalist, the wisdom and triviality, both belong to us. The daily life of Homo sapiens contains immense sacrifices made out of love and care, such as the passionate nurturing of children by elders. A close study of indigenous, pre-modern communities and their traditions would also enable us to develop a more balanced perspective of our shared history.

Part IV

Overcoming Capitalism and the Nation-State, Practically

Henry David Thoreau starts his essay Resistance to Civil Government by stating:

That government is best which governs not at all, and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.

In his Life without Principle, Thoreau also delineates precisely the place of practical survival functions in human life: Those things which now most engage the attention of men, as politics and the daily routine, are, it is true, vital functions of human society, but should be unconsciously performed, like the corresponding functions of the physical body. He further discusses the priorities we must choose: The chief want, in every state that I have been into, was a high and earnest purpose in its inhabitants. This alone draws out “the great resources” of Nature… When we want culture more than potatoes and illumination more than sugar plums, then the great resources of the world are taxed and drawn out, and the result, or staple production is, not slaves, nor operators, but men, – those rare fruits called heroes, saints, poets, philosophers and redeemers.

The De-growth Movement

Unlimited growth is the prime necessity of capital and Capitalism. One reason for this is that when human beings understands oneself as just an individual body, which is naturally susceptible to all kinds of illnesses, accidents and even death, fear and insecurity would become like a natural state of mind for one. Then that alienated and hence insecure individual could feel secure only in proportion to the material wealth one commands. Another reason for it is the alienated mind’s desperate attempt to escape its own grave emptiness and restlessness through material pursuits, when the fact is that such a fulfillment could happen only through a Unitive Understanding. Infrastructural necessities, (for e.g. a factory that is designed to produce a fixed number of products within a time limit to be profitable) and an interest-based credit system12 also make constant growth necessary.

There are billions of people and millions of collectives that reject the capitalist notion of development outright. If a sufficient number of people can unite and network globally for a movement towards the common goal of de-growth, the system of Capitalism, which is already on life support, would collapse with little delay13.The beauty of the approach is that all such persons and groups could do this without disregarding any of their particular projects; a reorientation with reference to the common goal is all what is required. For example, a group attempting to encourage organic farming could make sure that the transactions between farmers and consumers take place directly, and without the market economy coming between them. To take another example, roads, bridges etc., are the routes through which capital enters an area physically, and by which looted resources are transferred. Therefore, the development of such infrastructure is to be watched and limited where ever possible. Already existing roads will have to be re-oriented to make them inappropriate for current industrial-commercial transportation.

An important aspect of this de-growth approach other than those mentioned above is that, compared to the immense capabilities of the existing system, it can be adopted with minimal effort from each individual or group, thus collectively realizing the goal in a completely decentralized, non-violent manner.

Curtailing the Powers of the Nation-State in a Progressive Manner; Since Finally, the State Can Serve No One but Itself

Communities are fully capable of managing their daily life requirements without any external involvement other than of similar communities14. When each community is in a position to integrate its notions with a Unitive Philosophy, or a Science of Life, or a Global Covenant that asserts our unity and mutuality, without disregarding our unique natures and characteristics, this agreement itself would suffice to lead our inter-community life.

Taking Back the Commons

The Nation-State, unlike preceding systems of governance, accepts only private property or State property. History shows us that it emerged as a system by usurping the commons – that is, all the common lands including forests, arable land etc., and water resources, including the sea – from local communities1516. Restoring the commons to local communities would be one of the most important steps towards a just world.

Limiting the extent of private land available, according to the geographical peculiarities of countries, would definitely initiate some far reaching processes. For one, the adverse influence of the propertied class on the ruling system would be reduced proportionally. Common people would be free from bonded labour to the propertied class, since they will have resources, including land, for their sustenance. The re-establishment of common lands, re-distribution of owned properties and the collective activities of an interdependent people would definitely cause the re-emergence of the commons or the public sphere, hitherto destroyed systematically by exclusive (capitalistic) interests.

Even those properties that are privately owned now must be limited to certain proportions in size, and the private owners themselves could convert their properties as common spaces where like-minded people can live their vision. It is most likely that the maintenance of (huge) private properties would become unviable and therefore discouraged for lack of sufficient labor.

Civil-disobedience

Human beings have to explore ways of becoming more and more independent from the alienated, centralized, sovereignty-denying administrative systems of all forms. That is, we must expand the scope of the right to be let alone and the right to disobey (see the Charter of Human Rights in the last part of the document). The exercise of these rights has a long history from age-old traditions of indigenous, pastoral, and gypsy communities, and of ancient mendicant practices, to the hippies of the sixties, and more.

If the (passive) will of the people is the supposed basis of the authority of modern governments and capital, it is precisely that which we need to withdraw systematically, and in a consistent manner. However, that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t vote or contest elections, but the purpose of these activities should be that of implementing the revaluation and reorientation needed. The rulers and bureaucrats of different governments who are interested in such projects also could facilitate the process by dis-identifying with the self-preservation instincts of archaic institutions, and by interrupting the infiltration of capitalist interests. Soldiers or militants have to withhold themselves from initiating conflicts or wars and must disobey authorities who display crude intentions.

Wisdom can and does affect change anywhere. We have to collectively accept the obvious fact that there are no winners in the present system; there are only victims, defeated by others or by themselves.

Technology

Centralizing or monopolizing technologies/fuels is the life-line of the present system. Therefore, the technologies/fuels we choose for sustenance need to be local, i.e. their production/manufacturing and maintenance should not be dependent on any third party. It also has to be simple enough for anyone to understand and to become skilled in their use. Earlier in our shared history, farmers were totally independent of the industrial world with their own seeds and cattle for ploughing and manure. Then they were grafted to the system through hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, tractors etc., thus lost their self-sufficiency. If this matter belongs to the physical domain, the virtual worlds of IT and related fields also need mention. Proprietary hardware and software are not just monopolizing and capitalizing on the present system, but also tearing away our privacy. Their function as surveillance tools for corporations and governments can only be countered by the use of free and open-source software and hardware.

Monetary or Credit/Debit System

To gain freedom from the world of money and from the ever growing stress that GDP-based growth necessitates, we could start by localizing money by making money trust-based, without involving any central authorities or third parties, and building a gift economy (or non-economy) as its goal. For example: In a household, siblings exchange things without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards since their intimate trust makes such expectations or formalities unneeded.

Similar is the case within close-knit communities as well. In inter-community situations, groups exchange their surplus products without any need of a third party money element. Exchanges would be different from one community to another due to their preferences of different modes of production/gathering; each producing things in complementary and compensatory ways – their mutuality growing with reference to one another. These and other similar non-monetary practices would definitely weaken both the upward flow of surplus value in a capitalist system, as well as the infrastructural capabilities of the Nation-State and our dependence on them.

More About Non-Violence

There are ideologies and movements that accept violent means for noble ends. But the approach carries some fundamental errors: when we conceive freedom as something to be achieved in the future, in a linear time and space context, by doing violence to fellow beings now, this means our vision of freedom is ignorant of the here-and-now Absolute Value of the (Human) Being; it is limited by the societal or functional reference. This is not unlike massacres carried out by religious fanatics in the name of a (future) freedom called heaven. An ideology that conceives of freedom in a societal sense only cannot be very different from the existing (Capitalist) System. The individual and the society are interdependent concepts and are reductive if they do not have an absolute-universal reference. When considered from such a perspective, the difference between capitalism and socialism is just that the former places the individual on a pedestal, while for the latter it is society.

Such ideologies are destined to give prominence to the self-preservation instincts of the rootless individual/society they create, over those of a Sovereign human being, wherein, the human being would be reduced to a mere number among the masses and S/he shall become one who lives by bread alone.

As things stand, the Nation-State, in its necessity to take everything from the community, is using each and every instance of violent reaction by people to justify its suppression of dissent, its ever increasing surveillance and militancy. Adherence to the principles of non-violence in and through our radical transformative processes becomes valid in this context also. Ultimately, only by being non-violent can a human being rightfully claim one’s Sovereignty. In a Unitive way of life there is no such a thing as the duality between ends and means.

Part V

The Possible Purposes of Otherness

There could be some obvious questions and doubts that might arise from reading the document. Why should exclusivity – which seems to be the fundamental cause of the crises – be there at all in human nature?

Consider the following reasons:

1. The body of a living being is naturally necessitated to identify itself as a separate entity in relation to other bodies if it is to survive in the world. What if a human body does not consider the dangerous possibilities or probabilities in dealing with a snake or a scorpion? But Nature, while keeping that instinct for exclusivity a default condition, has also installed in us the ability to self-reflect as compensation; so that we could grow out of the (necessary) realms of dualistic and relative instincts towards a Unitive Understanding. The instinct is relevant as long as the body continues to exist, but when it meets the non-dual wisdom and becomes convinced of the greater freedom and possibilities of human existence,instinct could become neutralised and reoriented to the non-dual approach. That is to say, the non-dual approach could become the instinct.

2. Imagine a situation wherein we lead merely instinctive lives without the faculty of self-reflection, therefore without any possibilities of aberration, just as animals do. Note that the situation is not a choice, but a given. Would we then be capable of understanding the value or depth of life? It is doubtful or improbable; such a life would mean an unconscious affair, where one merely lives out one’s fate.

Nataraja Guru, once described life as the Self’s rediscovery of itself. To illustrate this, he gave the example of a child playing hide and seek with a grown-up. The joy of the game lies in the seeming absence of the elder, even when the child is sure of the elder’s presence.

The Paradox of the Absolute OR the Different Domains of Philosophy and Religion

Even if Unitive Philosophy could convince one about the oneness of Being rationally, it is still incapable of explaining the actual and unique differences of individuals and situations, like for example, why some people are healthier than others. It could explain the difference only as something incidental or accidental. It may also be possible for it to speak of the principle of compensation: a blind man gets compensated with an acute awareness of sounds, or a bedridden person may get compensated with a deeper understanding of different layers of life. But still, what of a child who gets killed in an accident? How could there be any compensation for such a person at all?!

Such actual differences in the lives of individuals that seemingly contain disproportionate tragedies and fortunes, evident in the horizontal-comparative domain of the many, might incline us to suppose some kind of exclusive evolutionary process for individuals. Historically too, we often can’t help thinking that such situations were the result of good/bad actions by the individuals which may be even predating their present life time, since otherwise some events would be unexplainable. Obviously, the same logical frame was also assumed for after life processes too, to explain the fate of good/bad people relative to the rewards/punishments they deserve. The notions of heaven and hell or ideas such as caste held by various religions, are examples of such attempts to explain the unique situations of individuals. We could even say that this is the main paradoxical loophole through which the religious absurdities enter into our lives. Therefore, it calls for a proper, scientific explanation.

When we suppose unique evolutionary processes for individuals, the perspective implicitly holds, as we have already seen, the notions of cause and effect or action and reward. But it is obvious that individual or even the human race in general, cannot and doesn’t have an existence/reality in-and-of themselves; they are the effects of a fundamental Cause that precedes and substantiates them. This Cause is understood as the Universe itself, in terms of Physics and as God/dess in theological terms.

But if we go deeper into such preliminary conceptions, it’s obvious that there is, and could be no effect independent of the Cause – which is to say – the Universe. The supposition that the effects have (exclusive) reality in themselves as different from the Cause, is nothing but a product of ignorance. In other words, the Cause alone could be real or existent. Even the notion of the Cause, we could say, is a supposition that arises from the side of the Effects; nothing but the Real alone is the Existent. When we understand the absoluteness of that Self-existent (Cause), the (seeming) effects necessarily get revaluated to become something poetic, dramatic and wonderful (like a rainbow), in short, the Mystical. Here, the cause and the effect cancel out each other into a Unitive Understanding. From that vision, the notions of individuality and its unique evolution, whether conceived as belonging to the here or hereafter, finally have only a relative, incidental status17. The contemplative process involves first a negation (of the effect), followed by an assertion (of the cause), then again a reassertion (of the effect in terms of the Cause).

Philosophy meets theology here without any contradiction. But when the cause (God) and effect (Human Being) are conceived dualistically, all sorts of absurdities emerge18.There are many dimensions to this confusion pertinent to the duality between God/dess and human being. For example, American presidents usually end their public speeches by saying, May God bless America; a typical example of mixing up God with one’s own clannishness. Ideas like the chosen people and the chosen land are also similar. In fact, God/dess knows no other; neither does it talk in terms of us versus them, nor would it ask anyone to kill one’s fellow beings be it human or animal. If there is a God/ddess, S/he must be everyone and everything.

When effects are understood pluralistically, by conceiving it as something really exclusive unto itself, the integration of the same would become impossible19. The situation must be of incertitude, confusion and consequent emptiness/suffering. Thus we are necessitated, as if by natural design, to absorb the horizontal, linear, perspective into the vertical, unitive, understanding in order to realize the innate Value or Meaning. Since the mixing-up of the horizontal and the vertical is a common error, the ability to discriminate between what is lasting and non-lasting (i.e. vertical and horizontal), is considered as the first and foremost quality for a student/seeker of truth .

A Word to Those who Find this Memorandum Valid Enough

As concluding remarks we cannot help but quoting Guru Nataraja20, since he articulates exactly what is required of us to make our ideals actual:

The sponsors of the world government21 have ever to keep before their minds that only through sacrifice and renunciation can such a noble idea be assured into being. Human unity is an idea which is valid in theory at present. For people to adhere to the idea earnestly, they have to be sure that those who stand for it are not themselves lovers of power or grabbers of goods with unholy greed. Such a detachment should not be merely superficial, taking only the outward form of abstinence or even austerity. Happiness in the contemplation of the Self in its Absolute sense alone brings that blissful self-sufficiency which belongs to one who is able to be an exemplar of wisdom. This content state of happiness is induced by knowledge of the Science of the Absolute (or the Science of the Self)22. A human being attains to his full stature as man when he is happy with himself, and thus in himself represents this high human value. Such an ideal is within the reach of every human being without distinction of race, religion, nationality, sex, or even station in life. The humblest can walk in the way of the Absolute. Even a bad23 man who has taken the decision to regulate his life with reference to this final absolute norm of human life, becomes by that mere decision, equal in spiritual status to the greatest of wise men.

Thus having referred finally to the fountain source of wisdom from which one has to drink if one is to become a world citizen in the fullest sense of the term, we hereby commend this memorandum with all its imperfection to the attention of those generous spirits who are favourably disposed to examine it with sympathy and earnest understanding. Let those who are not of this category at least spare the sponsors of the memorandum from their disadoption of its contents. Such is the prayer with which this document goes out to lovers of wisdom and of humanity.

Neither this nor that, nor the content of the existence am I,

But existence, subsistence, joy immortal; thus attaining clarity

Emboldened, discarding attachment to being and non-being,

One should gently, merge in SAT-AUM24

.

Charter of Human Rights that are Absolute, Inalienable and Non-Negotiable

The human body, the universal concrete, is the central reference in the following elaboration of human rights.

1. If a Human Being practices non-violence with reference to fellow (human) beings, one is absolutely free to enjoy one’s sovereignty as one likes. That is to say, the human being is born free, so that no entity – whether it is another person, group, State or any other societal administrative structure – can alienate or interfere in her/his freedom unless she or he intentionally and constantly indulges in violence towards fellow (human) beings.

(a). The right to self-determination over one’s time and space. i.e., the right to move and stay anywhere on the planet as one wishes and the right to spend one’s lifetime – each and every second of it – as one wishes; or the right to be Here and Now.

(b) The above mentioned rights could be considered as the principle basis of the right to privacy or the right to be let alone25.

(c). The right to determine one’s own sexual orientation. This is especially important regarding women, since patriarchal control of female love and sexuality is a necessary pre-condition for maintaining all kinds of divisions in humanity such as caste, religion, private property etc26. The right necessarily includes all the rights related to those of LGBT27 orientations.

(d). The right to clothe oneself as one likes or to wear nothing at all.

2. The right to dignity or the right against humiliation/violence and silencing.

3. The right to equality (includes equal rights to the means of sustenance and growth) and the right against discrimination based on gender, caste, race, religion etc.

4. The right to freedom of thought, opinion, expression, practice and to share and publicize one’s views and beliefs.

5. The right to peaceful assembly and association

7. The right to healthy food, water, land and air (i.e. the right to a healthy environment).

All these rights are equally important.

The Rights of Children

(In addition to the relevant rights mentioned above)

1. The right to breast milk

2. The right to be born into and to grow up in a community comprising caring members, other than in nuclear families alone that may contain a maximum of 5-6 persons.

3. The right to play.

4. The right to be in close proximity and intimacy with Nature. Nature could be rightly considered as the first and foremost mentor of the child.

5. The right against all sorts of discrimination and abuse, especially gender based ones.

6. The right to be free from the constraints both of the dominant (Capitalist) education process which fosters an alienated individuality and from clannish religious teachings impaired by dualities such as us and them.

The Rights of the planet Earth28

The planet29 Earth could be defined as the dynamic living system formed by the indivisible community of all life systems and living beings that are interrelated, interdependent, and complementary. These rights include, but are not limited to the right:

To life: The right to the maintenance of the integrity of inter-related life systems and natural processes which sustain them, as well as the capacities and conditions for their renewal.

To the diversity of life: The right to the preservation of the uniqueness, differentiation and variety of the beings that comprise Planet Earth, without being genetically altered, nor artificially modified in their structure in such a manner that threatens their existence, functioning and future potential.

To water and to air : The right to the preservation of the quality and composition of water and air to sustain life systems, and its protection with regards to contamination, for the continuous renewal of life on Planet Earth and all its components.

To equilibrium: The right to maintenance or restoration of the inter-relation, interdependence, ability to complement and functionality of the components of planet Earth, in a balanced manner for the continuation of its cycles and the continuous renewal of its vital processes.

To restoration: The right to the effective and opportune restoration of life systems affected by direct or indirect human activities.

To live free of contamination: The right to the preservation of planet Earth and any of its components with regards to toxic and radio-active waste generated by human activities.

The Rights of Non-Human Beings30

By the rights of non-human beings we mean that all non-human beings are entitled to the possession of their own lives and that their most basic interests – such as the capacity to thrive, and the need to avoid suffering – should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings.

Animals, birds and all else live in complete harmony with their fellow beings that don’t cause them pain; they prey on others only for their necessary physical sustenance. A crow sitting on a cow in search of ticks is an example for the mutual trust they are capable of. Between them there exists a complementary, compensatory and reciprocal bi-polarity. We, the animals called Homo sapiens, can obviously have the same possibilities of mutuality and even more with every fellow being in nature, especially since we are not natural prey for any others. But we, out of our alienated and reductive perspectives and consequent utilitarianism, harm our fellow beings, not out of necessity but for the most absurd reasons imaginable. Modern meat farms are places where animals and birds are treated as nothing but commodities; the pain and horror they suffer is a direct indication of the level of insensitivity and mindlessness we have reached. Similar is the situation of the animals, birds, fishes etc. kept in zoos and aquariums. If we can keep their natural ability to trust intact by being non-violent, the situation would definitely resemble the Garden of Eden.

Animals and birds are not burdened with memory as much as we human beings are. If we would change our life-alienating ways, we could be in their graceful company within no time. The question is whether we would choose to have a bird sitting on our shoulder or to kill it for the pleasure of taste, and not out of hunger. In other words, we must be able to discriminate between what is Necessary and what is Contingent.

.

For Further reading:

For those who are keen to understand more about the Unitive Philosophy or the Science of the Self, the following four titles might be of immense help.

Nataraja Guru on Geo-politics:

For those who are still unconvinced of the absurdity called Nation-State:

  • Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power, Penguin India.

  • Arundathi Roy, Algebra of Infinite Justice, Penguin India

To understand the deceiving intentions of corporate charity- philanthropy and other funded activities:

There is an interview of the present writer that could be read along with this draft: http://www.ecologise.in/2015/11/05/towards-a-unitive-life-an-interview-with-shyam-balakrishnan/

Drafted by Shyam Balakrishnan on behalf of One-World University on 20-5-2016

oneworlduniversity@onenetbeyond.org

Acknowledgement

Sajai Jose

Pooja Karina Thomas

M. Suchithra

Licensed under the Creative Commons

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/

1.A proposal initiated by the collective One-World University and used in a directive sense only

2.By Science we mean the systematic study of the principles of life or the universe, i.e. philosophy, in an objectively verifiable manner. In contemporary world Science seems to mean just the Modern Science, while in pre-modern traditions Science was always inseparable from Philosophy. In the West, Science (the empirical study of the Real) got divorced from Philosophy when the (Catholic) Church replaced philosophy with its theology. For the next thousand years, Science functioned under the vision provided by theology. Though Science found its own footing by late 15th century, discarding theology for empiricism, it is yet to be reunited with Philosophy.

3See the interview with the Finance Minister of India (2004-2009), published in Tehelka, Vol. 5, Issue 21, 2008. When asked about his vision about the future of India, the minister replied that he envisions an India where 85% of the total population lives in cities.

4http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/urbanization/urban-rural.shtml

5Those who are interested to know the absurdities and manipulations involved in the production of money, may find documentaries such as Money As Debt informative.

6The preamble of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations begins by saying: “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

7By value, we mean something worthy of concern and care. Or in a broader sense, the value is that which is affective; its affectivity is its value. It doesn’t necessarily need to be conceived in terms of good/bad.

8Constrained by time and space

9The method is called deductive reasoning, in which one proceeds from the universal to the unique. Inductive reasoning is its counterpart in which one begins from the unique and reaches out to the universe, as the (French) philosopher Henry Bergson does in his brilliant work Creative Evolution.

10In whom all beings are known to have become the Self, what delusion is there, or what sorrow to him who beholds this unity? – Isavasya Upanishad, Verse 7.

11By unitive understanding we mean not just a conceptual comprehension, but an integrated understanding that also includes the existential and the value aspects.

12Islamic Banking, which claims to abandon interests, in fact imposes similar liabilities in other names.

13Almost 60% of the Gross World Production comes from household consumption. Ref: CIA World Facts – https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html

14. The ideal number of people in a particular (indigenous) community is generally determined by the required number of people for actual survival in a particular geographical-climatic situation. Another possible norm that could be referred to, to determine the number of members in a community is that a given community should be only so big so that each and every community member is able to establish an intimate one-to-one relationship with every other member of the group.

15 See Enclosure Movement in Europe

16This Fissured Land – An Ecological History of India authored by Madhav Gadgil and Ramachandra Guha would be helpful to understand the Indian subcontinent’s experience of the appropriation by the State

17Neither is there death nor birth nor life duration here, Nor men nor gods nor others of that order; all is name and form! Verse 78, One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction, Guru Narayana, Translation and commentary by Guru Nataraja, Pub: Narayana Gurukula, Varkala, Kerala.

18When Self-knowledge shrinks, then prevails nescience fearful, Ghost like, taking name and form, In most terrible fashion looms here. – Verse 7. Darsanamala (Garland of Visions), Narayana Guru, Translation and commentary by Nataraja Guru, D.K. Print World, New Delhi.

19He who see this as pluralistic, from death to death he goes. (Katha Upanishad)

20Guru Nataraja, Memorandum on World Government, Experiencing One-World, Guru Nataraja, D.K. Print World, New Delhi

21 I.e. Self-government

22 Added by the present writer (see the Further Reading section)

23 According to Guru, as he expressed elsewhere, the only badness or sin human beings are capable of is the dualistic or unilateral vision of life.

24Aum represents the Absolute as explained in the Mandukya Upanishad. Sat supplies the ontological basis for the Absolute as Value. (From the commentary of Guru Nataraja) Guru Narayana, One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction, Translation and commentary by Guru Nataraja, Pub: Narayana Gurukula, Varkala, Kerala.

25This must also be the basis of the right to have both open source technologies and knowledge, including those related to Information Technology.

26The mutual understanding and union between two human beings (of any sexual or gender orientation) is an absolute source of certitude regarding the beauty and the substance of life. All sorts of alienation begins or results in the contradiction between these non-dual counterparts. Any law or custom that disrupt the love between Homo sapiens must be understood as anti-human.

27Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender

28The portion is from the law passed by the Bolivia’s Legislative Assembly in December 2010, taken from Wikipedia on 22-3-2016 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_the_Rights_of_Mother_Earth

29In the Wikipedia page the term was Mother Earth which the present writer changed to Planet Earth

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