Prout: Part 4 - Existence of Human Society





 Human Society

Human society provides the framework for the collective movement and growth of all individuals - the expansion and development of individual and collective potentialities. Society does not indicate merely an aggregate of individuals; rather, it implies a degree of collective consciousness and social cohesion. The factors necessary for the existence of human society are known as asti in Sanskrit. The existence and the strength of this human society rest upon the three factors of asti. 


These are social unity, security and peace.

Social Unity

The degree of social unity in a system is created by and depends upon the existence and strength of certain key factors:


  • Common ideals
  • An absence of social stratification (a classless society)
  • Collective social functions
  •  Absence of capital punishment


Common Ideals: Inspired by common ideals, people move together, overcoming all hardships and obstacles. Without the inspiration of a common ideal, their movement becomes thwarted and haphazard. Historical groupings - whether ancient clans, medieval empires or modern nation-states; have all been based upon shared ideals and sentiments to achieve social unity. While common ideals are positive, the various "isms" based on these ideals have often divided humanity into mutually belligerent groups. In modern days, for example, the nationalism of nation-states have repeatedly given rise to national chauvinism, racism and imperialism. Such value systems are fast becoming outdated. Two World Wars, the excesses of imperialism, and the exploitation of global capitalism, demonstrate the need to develop common global ideals and realize that this mother Earth is populated by a single human society. The narrow groupist sentiments of the past, including racism, nationalism, and class elitism, must be overcome to realize greater social unity.


Philosophically, the only ideal which is all-inclusive and synthetic is to merge one's identity with all of life. Only by offering each of our actions to the Divine Entity can we develop feelings of true universalism beyond narrow self-interest. This sentiment is required to inspire people to move toward greater unity.


Classless Society: Human beings have a natural bond of love and affection towards each other; strengthening this tender thread is the most precious treasure of society. The idea of the fundamental equality of all human beings is known in Sanskrit as sama samaja tattva: the principle of social equality. This principle of social equality should be the basis for human society. It is essential for the promotion of unity.

                                    

Even in an ideal social structure, there would be infinite differences of outlook, occupation and opinion insofar as diversity is the law of nature. But this apparent diversity, which accounts for the beauty and strength of human culture, should not be used as a pretext for creating a social structure undermining the fundamental rights, unity, and oneness of human beings. Stressing the apparent differences and dividing people by injecting or promoting irrational divisive sentiments is detrimental to the growth of society, weakening its unity and strength. Ideas of division based on gender, race, class, religion, etc., are the products of self-serving leaders who want to inject them into social psychology to divide and conquer. People have to be educated and mentally strengthened to overcome such sentiments.


Social Functions: It is in our everyday social functions, festivals, gatherings, etc., that the social fabric is woven and where people learn to appreciate each other. Social functions inspire the sense of community that is necessary to face our everyday difficulties collectively. They also give us a chance to express our higher forms of art and culture.



Absence of Capital Punishment: It is morally wrong for society to sanction murder by law as a punishment. It legitimizes killing and creates a psychic imbalance in people. From the social point of view, every executed member of the society will leave behind a husband or wife, sons and daughters, parents, friends, etc., who become alienated and disgruntled by this measurement. Their resentment and pain (with or without any wrongdoing on their part) undermine the unity of society. The situation worsens when racism or class dominance comes into play. Similarly, social ostracism (creating "outcasts" or permanently rejected individuals) is capital punishment on the psychological rather than physical level and causes adverse effects. As such, PROUT advocates that education and rehabilitation, rather than punishment, should provide the basis of a criminal justice system.


Security

For human beings and the development of their complete physical, psychic, and spiritual potential, economic and social security is required. However, this security primarily depends upon two factors: social justice and discipline.


Social Justice: Many of the insecurities of life can be removed by recognizing the need for social unity despite the world's apparent diversity. When this recognition is linked to a more significant effort to ensure everyone the opportunity to meet their necessities, according to rational and human considerations, we have the basis for PROUT's system of social justice. 



Proutists will make a solid effort to remove all exploitative and unjust practices from the social fabric. Thus, it will significantly strengthen the well being, creativity and productivity of the individual, making society much stronger as a whole. The basis of the economic system of PROUT is this idea of social justice. 


Discipline: A well balanced and agreeable code of conduct is essential in individual and collective life because it lessens conflicts due to self-interest. All societies have social codes, such as standards for courteous behaviour as well as regulations and laws. This help creates an environment and attitude conducive to mutual respect and interaction. They give scope for freedom of expression up to the point at which one's behaviour does not interfere with the fundamental rights of others. 


Lack of discipline in individual and social life brings about social deterioration, as unrestrained self-interest, greed, and immorality erode unity — the rich and powerful puff up their lifestyles by preying on the weak. Poverty spreads in similar proportion to the concentration of wealth into the hands of a few. The Earth's resources are limited, but selfish desires and greed are unlimited. Without a solid standard code of discipline; - based upon universal values, society degenerates into a pack of wolves. Social Darwinism legitimizes the exploitation of the weak and the poor by the rich and the powerful.


An overly repressive or permissive code of conduct that does not consider human psychology inevitably has disastrous results. Discipline must be in tune with the nature and subtle aspirations of human beings. The mechanical discipline of the military or discipline based on the repression of human nature will never serve the whole. The repressive manners and beliefs of the Victorian age resulted in modern days' hedonism. In the former Soviet Union, only the omnipresence of the secret police assured socially acceptable behaviour - making individual life a repressive nightmare and ultimately leading to the destruction of that social system from within.


Discipline in social life must develop from a code of conduct that is in tune with the physico-psycho-spiritual nature of human beings and be adjusted to the needs of different age groups and cultures. Children will have to be educated with love, for self-discipline. Only by such means can freedom in the social and individual sphere be realized. For the utilization of the higher faculties of the mind, self-discipline is especially of great importance.

Peace

War is a great blight on human history. Human society thrives in peace and is destroyed by war. War throws human beings back into the animalistic fight for survival and brings out all base instincts, creating untold sufferings.


Sentient peace: Peace is of two kinds. Sentient peace indicates the predominance of the forces of unity, justice, and the light of rationality. On the other hand, static peace indicates that oppression, suppression, and the forces of ignorance and exploitation are dominant. To establish sentient peace in human society, the well-wishers of humanity can not shy away from the struggle. Only by struggling against the forces of ignorance and exploitation can lasting sentient peace be established.

Spiritual practices and freedom from dogma: Two factors are essential for establishing lasting sentient peace: scientific, spiritual practices and the fight to remove all dogmas. Through spiritual practices (proper diet, asanas, morality, selfless service, meditation and devotion), selfishness and physical longings are converted into higher mental and spiritual propensities. As a result, we can minimize the clash on the material level for limited goods. Sentiments are broadened as people accelerate the unfolding of their innate potential.


By fighting against irrational superstitions and dogmas, human beings establish themselves in rationality. Various dogmas have been the root cause in the past for much bloodshed. Take, for example, the clash between two different schools of Christianity that plunged most of central Europe into thirty years of utter destruction, or the dogma of racial superiority which gave the European settlers in America the scope to enslave Africans and eradicate Native Americans. And all this took place under a constitution professing the liberty and equality of all men. Rationality encourages ideological discussion and conflict but abhors the cruelties of war and destruction. For sentient peace to be established, broad-mindedness must be nurtured, and universalism must inspire the hearts of all. The following factors are necessary to achieve sentient peace.


common philosophy of life: We must strive to develop and adopt a common philosophy of life. It does not mean the adoption of a set of dogmas or limiting of ideological differences. Rather it implies the acceptance of universal values built upon a strong foundation of rationality.


common constitution: We must develop a common constitution for all people and nations, especially a bill of human rights. This constitution should take the best of all experiences from different constitutions and blend them into one, to be ratified by all national governments. It will help protect the rights of minorities and will be the first step toward establishing a world governing body with legislative powers.


common penal code: We must create a common penal code for all nations based primarily upon accepted human rights rather than local notions of vice and virtue.


Guarantee for the minimum requirements of life: There must be a guarantee of the production, supply and necessary purchasing capacity for the minimum requirements of life. It will assure everyone's security on the existential level and free up the tremendous psychic energy presently bound up in fear, insecurity, and the struggle for the bare necessities. We can harness this mental energy for the welfare and development of individuals in all spheres of life and thus achieve a quantum leap in the quality of social life.

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(Edited extract from New York Writers Group publication)


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