Prout: Part 1- Introduction

Prabhat Ranjan sarkar propounded the Progressive Utilisation Theory (Prout) in 1959 as an alternative to capitalism and communism. His ideas on this subject are enunciated in "Proutist Economics", "Prout in a Nutshell", "Neo-Humanism in a Nutshell", "Human Society, Part One", "Human Society, Part Two", and "A Few Problems Solved".


Failure of Used Futures:

The experience of contemporary history has exposed the fallacies of cherished social, political and economic ideas, classical and revolutionary. The world is full of opportunities - material, mental and spiritual - and building a better and freer society is a practical possibility. Yet, we are observing a process of social decadence, moral degeneration and the collapse of values which is corroding the springs of human action and corrupting the ideals of civilised life. Failure and disappointment are bound to follow from attempts to solve the problems of our time with the ideas of previous centuries or used futures.

Science Overwhelms Culture:

The ideas of used futures, emphasised material progress and scientific development. However, the civilised community's mental makeup and moral standard have not matched the level of material progress. In other words, the development of civilisation - refined cultural progress - has proven far slower than scientific development.

Radical Hedonism:

The great promise of the industrial nations has also remained unfulfilled despite the enormous accumulation of wealth because of the underlying psychology of individualistic hedonism. Communism, which promised material well-being and security in an atheistic and socially regimented life, has collapsed, creating disillusionment about revolutionary ideals. This radical hedonism postulates that one can achieve happiness by fulfilling any material or sensual desire whatsoever. To fulfil these desires, egotism, greed, and selfishness have to be encouraged. The achievement of sensory pleasure has been sold as the achievement of harmony and peace. Radical hedonism, it should be known, is the philosophy of wealthy people.

Intellectual Liberalism:

The ideals of intellectual liberalism and intellectual refinement have also failed us. The cherished belief that the spread of reason would abolish our irrational outbursts toward each other has all but disappeared. Antagonism between ethnic, racial, and religious groups has become the fundamental reality of the nation-state. When human security becomes threatened, social, ethical and religious energies get expressed through unprecedented oppression, violence and hostility. The disturbing experiences of the contemporary world compel thoughtful people to reconsider the fundamental philosophical principles from which different political theories - of the Right and the Left, conservative and liberal, reactionary and revolutionary - are alike deduced.

Humans as Markets:

The capture of power, irrespective of the diversity of the advocated means, is the common postulate of all political theories. Today, the so-called free world heralds the victory of liberal democracy and its corollary, the capitalist economic system. Through modern liberalism, the individual has become an 'economic man', -- lured by the glittering projections of consumer psychology. In a capitalist society, people exist mainly as units in the workforce, with our thoughts, feelings and tastes manipulated by the government and industry and the mass communications they control.


Simultaneously, gaining momentum among the poor and disenfranchised tends to relapse into medieval obscurantism in search of illusory safety in the backwaters of dogmatic faith. Post Soviet Union's collapse in 1990, the movements for self-reliance have relapsed into religious bigotry and cultural tribalism. These are presented to the innocent people as an antithesis to pseudo-culture, economic domination and Western values.

It represents a new flare-up in the age-old struggle between religion and science - between faith and reason and between mystic agnosticism and empirical knowledge. Probably the last gasp of a life and death struggle, it has lasted long and has always placed civilised humanity in the breach.

Conflicted Religion and Science:

Having driven religion from pillar to post for several centuries, the scientific mode of thought meets hitherto vanquished religion now laced with spurious nationalism for the final assault. Religions preach neo-mysticism and a teleological view of life, which expresses humanity's loss of faith in itself, denying humans the possibility of ever knowing reality through experience. It contradicts spiritual enlightenment, which leads the human mind to experience the real essence of freedom and the organic wholeness of creation.

Knowledge is defined as the result of the intellectual analysis of our sense experience. In this way, however, science created a new barrier beyond which the mind could not elevate itself to higher levels of consciousness.


Science, attempting to free the mind from the shackles of dogma, emphasised that truth is contained only in that which one can recognise clearly and distinctively. Knowledge is defined as the result of the intellectual analysis of our sense experience. In this way, however, science created a new barrier beyond which the mind could not elevate itself to higher levels of consciousness. Thus, science could not prevent the emergence of a materialistic dogma that devalues human potential. Materialistic dogma-trapped polity, encourages the mechanisation of life and curtails freedom of thought.

...the future philosophy should judge the merit of any social organisation or political institution by the true measure of freedom it affords the individual in the physical, mental and spiritual spheres.


The quest for freedom is much more ancient than either religion or science and can be referred back to our earliest struggle for existence. This quest accounts for the human triumph over nature in the course of efforts to satisfy biological needs. It provides the basis for the constant search for knowledge, and it enables us to progressively free ourselves from the tyranny of natural phenomena and social environments. Suppose we are to be guided by this deep human longing. In that case, the future philosophy should judge the merit of any social organisation or political institution by the true measure of freedom it affords the individual in the physical, mental and spiritual spheres.

Spiritual Humanism:

Sarkar's philosophy is founded on the assumption that matter is not separate from consciousness but rather a metamorphosed form. Similarly, consciousness is not the result of mental activity but rather, thought is also a form of consciousness. Thus, consciousness underlies psycho-physical reality and inspires a rational view of life, moral integrity, and spiritual wisdom.

One should not equate spirituality and morality with religious dogma and faith in God. All religions are frank dualist systems that separate humans from their creator and the creation. The rationalist rebels against theology - Descartes, Leibnitz, and Kant - also failed to escape the vicious circle of dualism. Religion impressed upon people the need to submit before the imaginary will of God or a theological, ethical code sanctioned by the scriptures and defined by religious institutions. Morality in this sense, however, is the absence of freedom.

“Love is the bridge between YOU and everything.”  ~ Rumi

Spiritual liberation is when the individual mind realises the sense of unity and harmony with the entire universe. The awakening of this consciousness is the goal of freedom, not the expression of unbridled passion and any demand whatsoever of the limited ego. Therefore, society's responsibility is to create opportunities for every member to pursue their spiritual goal without hindrance. In this regard, Sarkar wrote, "I want that every person should be guaranteed the minimum physical requirements of life. Every person should get scope for full exploitation of psychic potentiality. Every person should get equal opportunity to attain absolute truth, and endowed with all the glories and achievements of the world, every person should march towards the Absolute." The 'Absolute', in a spiritual sense, is the state of total liberation.

Spiritual Morality:

Human values find their root in spirituality. Spirituality is not mystic speculation of life after death but is realised with the manifest universe. Monistic philosophy, which postulates the self to be in union with the rest of the universe and responsible for its well-being, is the essence of spiritual humanism. Sarkar wrote "What does the State stand for, what is the use of these regulations, and what is the march of civilisation for, if human beings don't get a chance to build a good physical well-being, to invigorate their intelligence with knowledge, and to broaden their hearts with love and compassion? Instead of leading humanity to the goal of life, if the State stands in the way, then it cannot command loyalty, because humanity is superior to the State."

Renaissance Universal:

A philosophy based on spiritual and moral values, on the other hand, can explain human existence - including desire, emotion, instincts, intuition, will and reason - as an integrated framework and do so in a way that is accessible to human comprehension. 

Such a philosophy is required to build the new social organism and political institutions that can foster the balanced, harmonious relationship between all races and cultural groups, and the entire humankind with all animate and inanimate objective reality. 

(end of part-1)


(Edited extract from New York Writers Group publication)

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