By way of Sanatana Dharma, Human Duty or Humanism
I have written extensively on the failure of modern civilisation
this is clearly seen by paying attention and watching any newscast so I need say
The reason why civilisation is failing is evidenced within our social behaviour and many of our movies contain rather eloquent examples.
In so many movies we have a principal character or set of characters desiring to be happy and they equate happiness with possessions and financial wealth. Yet almost always in these stories, the only outcome of antisocial behaviour is an increase in pain and suffering, often placated by some happy moments for some winners at the end of the story.
We can see that the desire for happiness is a primary motivator of most of our behaviour. The
religious believe that when everyone believes as they do, the world will be a happy place. The poor person who believes he or she has significantly more money will be happier could well be right, unfortunately the structure of our civilisation is such that the wealth of the few is dependent on the poverty of the many with the middle classes having sufficient wealth to carry the most impoverished through charity and purchase the creations of the capitalists that may or may not add to their sense of well-being.
"Humans are wired for cooperation and empathy; these are among the highest
values in societies that predate the Agricultural Revolution and in cultures
today who still remember their roots in such ancient societies.
The advent of agriculture 7,000 years ago, however, produced seasonal bursts of
food from harvests, often followed by long, hungry winters. This gave some
people - the psychopaths - the ability to (as Daniel Quinn wrote so eloquently
in his book Ishmael) - lock up the food. It was the original sin of greed, the
forbidden fruit of the garden, something that's considered a crime or a mental
illness in Older Cultures."
The Hartman Report.
Well-being here is key, not just for the ruling class but for everyone. The basic requirements for general happiness and well-being are firstly the requirements for life (as in sufficient food, shelter along with a sense of place in the world). Secondly, a stability of place in the world, a degree of political certainty (peace) that future generations will find those same basic requirements. Thirdly, people need a sense of knowing who they are resulting from self-awareness and an education that provides the grounds for continuity, not an education that blindly indoctrinates.
Most of the trappings of modern civilisation, the availability of foreign foods, the freedom to travel, our comfortable cars and other stuff are accessories and not requirements. Yet because there is value in travel, we must retain the means not only of travel, but all our modern communication because this is a tool for change.
Of course when one begins talking about change on a civilisational scale, people become reactive and close off the possibility. We are such creatures of habit yet our habits have been slowly changed over thousands of years. We quickly adapt to being a proud owner of a new car or other useful item, yet we kick up our heels and complain when local government decides to put a new motorway close by where you live.
We adapt ourselves to continual inflation which occasionally necessitates protesting and demanding better remuneration, but we care little about what happens in realms outside our direct experience. Within our civilisation, most seem not to care that their mode of thinking, beliefs and perception are being controlled and manipulated. We have subliminal advertising for all manner of things and of course the media is complicit although this is not a protest against them though they are part of the problem with the potential to be part of the solution.
Some steps towards a better world
Step one is recognising that civilisation is not only sick, but it is verging on extinction and something must be done if we are going to be successful as a species. The success of an individual or a group of individuals is completely meaningless unless those successes can be passed down through future generations. If we went extinct that would represent the most cataclysmic failure possible.
While we enjoy small successes in our day-to-day lives, the only real success is the continuity of our species into an unforeseen future. We know this is possible, we have the tools and the technology, we know the planet is going to be habitable for at least another 3 billion years unless of course the Vogon decide to demolish it as part of their work to create an interstellar expressway through our cosmic neighbourhood. Another asteroid as wiped out the dinosaurs is more possible yet we have a duty to ourselves and to each other to plan for not only the day ahead, but a good day.
Step two is taking stock of our situation. As outlined, our current circumstances are rather dire. Some may live out their lives peacefully but it looks increasingly like many more millions are going to experience a most unpleasant end to their lives. The situation is this, the global majority of people have been brainwashed to act in the service of invisible masters who in their unrestrained desires are steering the world towards destruction.
Back in the French Revolution, the people saw this happening so they chopped off the heads of the Masters but all that happened was a new group of Masters took their place and nothing really changed. Chopping heads, creating civil and international conflict is no solution, it makes the problems worse because it causes a retraction of consciousness within the minds of both the aggressors and the victims.
Step three requires that we dare to be different, work for and embrace social changes. Some of these changes may be to level of income, nature of work and lifestyle. But here I am not discussing regressive steps, what is called for is a re-evaluation of what we have learned and been taught, then we need to develop the determination to root out the truth of all matters.
Step four is all about practical changes that we are already involved in such as dealing with our mountains of toxic waste and other destructive impacts on our environment. One practical step is becoming vegetarian, and it's well documented that this is a healthier option to eating meat. We are likely to suffer less illness, live longer and because we would need less land to produce food, more trees can be planted to reduce greenhouse gases. This here as long and many things are being discussed.
Step five is about dealing with our administrative structure. Governments and local governments do not always have the peoples best interests at heart, therefore people need to become not only better educated but more engaged in the political processes affecting their region and country. This is not a call to change a government, it is a call to ask members of governments to fulfil their duty to the people and not some corporate entity that dictates how they do business.
The real key to moving forwards is education
For many of course this would mean re-education. In their formative years, children would learn that we don't know very much. When we indicate which way is up, that is an inference by convention not truth. When children today ask their parents why are we here, most parents cannot give an honest answer. Perhaps they could say "dear child, we do not fully understand why we're here or even where here is. However everyone likes to be happy so the best reason for being here is so that we can all be happy together."
Such an answer would cause a child to respect a parents honesty and fuel his or her imagination about how to best serve human happiness. This is the root of humanism which is nourished by the idea that all life is sacred, even the 300 billion or so animals we humans kill for food every year want to be happy in their own way.
This idea is not new and it has sustained the world's oldest continuous civilisation. The word used is
Dharma, a scientific approach to living. And learning we must remember that we have different levels of knowledge the least reliable of which are inference and gossip. The more reliable source of knowledge is testimony and such that it can be evaluated. The third and most reliable source of knowledge is direct experience because in experiencing one knows and transcends belief.
Dharma is based on simple ideas and observations about our own nature. For instance, if you praise someone for a job well done, they feel good and you also feel good. Another way of saying this is that one's spirits are uplifted. Praise and gratitude are powerful tools for human well-being.
The first key phrase in any educational process is that we don't know. Please note that belief is not any form of knowing. As best we have an approximation of our biological origins through evolutionary theory yet we cannot define our universe or even the simplest atom. We can name things but we do not know things. What we can know is ourselves and from knowing ourselves we can know each other.
While there is conjecture that a black hole is at the centre of our galaxy, we do not know. A universe is an unimaginably big place but we don't know what it is. Believing we have the answers is delusional and teaching children to believe is child cruelty. When a child begins to believe, it ceases to enquire further.
There is a more ancient truth in regards to our own nature we can teach that is verifiable through experience and reason. This is that we exist as body mind and spirit. Our physical bodies are borrowed from the earth. The plant draws up nutrients from the soil with which to grow and have substance. We consume the substance of the plant to make cells and body parts then when we die, our body is recycled back to the soil.
Our spirit or soul on the other hand is considered to be immortal yet this is not something we can measure in any test-tube or laboratory. It is something we can only know within ourselves therefore if we're going to set our children up for a happy and healthy life, they should be given all opportunity to access this part of their nature with direction and support from those who have walked this path.
Religions are primarily set up to prevent such enquiry yet within civilisations that follow Dharma, exploration into the nature of one's own inner self or soul nature is encouraged. It has been found that people who explore themselves inwardly are generally happier, more balanced and less concerned about materialism. They are also scientifically smarter.
This idea of Dharma is alive within
Sanatana Dharma that some people somewhat erroneously refer to as
Hinduism believing it to be a religion. Dharmic faiths are scientific and have given rise to all the knowledge that modern science and technology is based. Not only that, dharmic faiths occur spontaneously as it is thought that this interest is instinctive and inherent within our nature.
What would such a new world look like?
We must all create our own vision to a certain degree and then bring them together in service of humanity. My view is that we would continue to live in family units, be the for the most part monogamous, send our kids to school, work at what we enjoyed working at, have ample free time for sports and social activities, but more importantly have time and support for some form of spiritual practice.
We would probably walk more, drive less and be much less concerned about finances. Lifestyle would perhaps be more communal without the great divisions between rich and poor although the rich would be expected to exercise more social responsibility along with a much improved environmental consciousness.
Instead of celebrating Easter and Christmas, we may be more inclined to celebrate celestial moments and observe how they relate to the seasons and elemental forces within the earth. Work may evolve more around guilds, sons may well follow in the footsteps of their fathers.
In terms of social structure, the elders and the wise may devote their time to the direction of humanity and solutions to manage antagonistic forces such as asteroids or even the direction in which best to explore in space. There should be little change to our exploratory endeavours within the universe. In olden times the wise were referred to as the Brahmins who steered the direction of civilisation.
A dharmic civilisation would also need protection so there would be standing armies that would likely serve as police and emergency services directed by the elected government and then there would be all the various workers guilds, the most important of which would be the farmers.
How do you want to live? Could you handle being an autonomous human being responsible for your own life in a world where your human rights are upheld? Would you like to have your DNA influencing someone in 10,000 years time or in 100 million years time?
This is certainly possible but the longer we leave it, the more difficult it becomes.
Learn more about Dharma
A Better World
Nature of Suffering
Cause of Suffering
Dharma or Adharma
Price of progress
A Sanskrit Glossary