Monday, January 23, 2012
FORGET NOT THE ESSENTIALS OF PROGRESS IN CIVILIZATION !
Those who read and write blogs here can be considered as the intelligentsias who have the mind capacity and leisure to devote time to think about contemporary issues concerning the society at large. But unfortunately, they often are the odd men in the society and their thoughts usually do not match with the thoughts of the majority.
Such a situation makes them frustrated. The frustration makes them to retract their heads into their bodies like what a tortoise does when faced with threats.
Often their situation at home is like what Socrates had in his times. Their philosophies and logics are not even understandable to the dear ones at home even. This makes them silent spectators in the society. They realize the problems of the society. But the society is not prepared to take advantage of their wisdom!
The Indian intelligentsia silently admits that the problems of the country arise out of poor leadership and management. There is an Indian Nobel Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen whose economic knowledge and wisdom the world has recognized. But the majority Indians or their democratic leaders do not have the brains to think in line with him or even seek some advice from him that could make their lives better.
There is no dearth of wisdom and advice. What is lacking is the seekers of wisdom with the ability to handle and process knowledge and wisdom. The majority is yet to come to that levels where their biological hardware has the capacity to load and process the knowledge and wisdom that are available abundantly in this era of knowledge explosion.
There are reasons for such a limitation. This limitation is going to be there for generations until the human evolutionary mechanism progress further with gradual improvements in the biological hardware capacities of human brains.
Let me now reproduce here some interesting statements from my favorite book (the Urantia Book: to know more visit the Urantia India Website) of revealed knowledge concerning some of the factors that determine the progress of human civilization:
“Culture is never developed under conditions of poverty; leisure is essential to the progress of civilization. Individual character of moral and spiritual value may be acquired in the absence of material wealth, but a cultural civilization is only derived from those conditions of material prosperity which foster leisure combined with ambition.
Knowledge is power. Invention always precedes the acceleration of cultural development on a world-wide scale. Science and invention benefited most of all from the printing press, and the interaction of all these cultural and inventive activities has enormously accelerated the rate of cultural advancement.
Science teaches man to speak the new language of mathematics and trains his thoughts along lines of exacting precision. And science also stabilizes philosophy through the elimination of error, while it purifies religion by the destruction of superstition.
Man power is indispensable to the spread of civilization. All things equal, a numerous people will dominate the civilization of a smaller race. Hence failure to increase in numbers up to a certain point prevents the full realization of national destiny, but there comes a point in population increase where further growth is suicidal. Multiplication of numbers beyond the optimum of the normal man-land ratio means either a lowering of the standards of living or an immediate expansion of territorial boundaries by peaceful penetration or by military conquest, forcible occupation.
But the continent richest in natural deposits and the most advanced mechanical equipment will make little progress if the intelligence of its people is on the decline. Knowledge can be had by education, but wisdom, which is indispensable to true culture, can be secured only through experience and by men and women who are innately intelligent. Such a people are able to learn from experience; they may become truly wise.
Effectiveness of material resources mostly depends on the wisdom displayed in the utilization of natural resources, scientific knowledge, capital goods, and human potentials. The chief factor in early civilization was the force exerted by wise social masters; primitive man had civilization literally thrust upon him by his superior contemporaries. Well-organized and superior minorities have largely ruled this world.
Might does not make right, but might does make what is and what has been in history. Only recently has this world reached that point where society is willing to debate the ethics of might and right.
The spread of civilization must wait upon language. Live and growing languages insure the expansion of civilized thinking and planning. During the early ages important advances were made in language. Today, there is great need for further linguistic development to facilitate the expression of evolving thought.
Language differences have ever been the great barrier to the extension of peace. The conquest of dialects must precede the spread of a culture throughout a race, over a continent, or to a whole world. A universal language promotes peace, insures culture, and augments happiness. Even when the tongues of a world are reduced to a few, the mastery of these by the leading cultural peoples mightily influences the achievement of world-wide peace and prosperity.
While very little progress has been made on Earth toward developing an international language, much has been accomplished by the establishment of international commercial exchange. And all these international relations should be fostered, whether they involve language, trade, art, science, competitive play, or religion.
The progress of civilization is directly related to the development and possession of tools, machines, and channels of distribution. Improved tools, ingenious and efficient machines, determine the survival of contending groups in the arena of advancing civilization.
Science guided by wisdom, may become man’s great social liberator. A mechanical age can prove disastrous only to a nation whose intellectual level is too low to discover those wise methods and sound techniques for successfully adjusting to the transition difficulties arising from the sudden loss of employment by large numbers consequent upon the too rapid invention of new types of laborsaving machinery.
Social inheritance enables man to stand on the shoulders of all who have preceded him, and who have contributed to the sum of culture and knowledge. In this work of passing on the cultural torch to the next generation, the home will ever be the basic institution. The play and social life comes next, with the school last but equally indispensable in a complex and highly organized society.
Insects are born fully educated and equipped for life—indeed, a very narrow and purely instinctive existence. The human baby is born without an education; therefore man possesses the power, by controlling the educational training of the younger generation, greatly to modify the evolutionary course of civilization.
The greatest twentieth-century influences contributing to the furtherance of civilization and the advancement of culture are the marked increase in world travel and the unparalleled improvements in methods of communication. But the improvement in education has not kept pace with the expanding social structure; neither has the modern appreciation of ethics developed in correspondence with growth along more purely intellectual and scientific lines. And modern civilization is at a standstill in spiritual development and the safeguarding of the home institution.
The ideals of one generation carve out the channels of destiny for immediate posterity. The quality of the social torchbearers will determine whether civilization goes forward or backward. The homes, worship places and schools of one generation predetermine the character trend of the succeeding generation. The moral and spiritual momentum of a race or a nation largely determines the cultural velocity of that civilization.
Ideals elevate the source of the social stream. And no stream will rise any higher than its source no matter what technique of pressure or directional control may be employed. The driving power of even the most material aspects of a cultural civilization is resident in the least material of society’s achievements.
Intelligence may control the mechanism of civilization, wisdom may direct it, but spiritual idealism is the energy which really uplifts and advances human culture from one level of attainment to another.
Social, artistic, technical, and industrial specialists will continue to multiply and increase in skill and dexterity. And this diversification of ability and dissimilarity of employment will eventually weaken and disintegrate human society if effective means of co-ordination and co-operation are not developed. But the intelligence which is capable of such inventiveness and such specialization should be wholly competent to devise adequate methods of control and adjustment for all problems resulting from the rapid growth of invention and the accelerated pace of cultural expansion.
It is not enough to train men for work; in a complex society there must also be provided efficient methods of place finding. Before training citizens in the highly specialized techniques of earning a living, they should be trained in one or more methods of commonplace labor, trades or callings which could be utilized when they were transiently unemployed in their specialized work. No civilization can survive the long-time harboring of large classes of unemployed. In time, even the best of citizens will become distorted and demoralized by accepting support from the public treasury. Even private charity becomes exceedingly harmful when long extended to able-bodied citizens.
One of the great hindrances to the progress of human society is the conflict between the interests and welfare of the larger, more socialized human groups and of the smaller, contrary-minded asocial associations of mankind, not to mention antisocially-minded single individuals.
No national civilization long endures unless its educational methods and religious ideals inspire a high type of intelligent patriotism and national devotion. Without this sort of intelligent patriotism and cultural solidarity, all nations tend to disintegrate as a result of provincial jealousies and local self-interests.
The maintenance of world-wide civilization is dependent on human beings learning how to live together in peace and fraternity. Without effective co-ordination, industrial civilization is jeopardized by the dangers of ultra-specialization, monotony, narrowness, and the tendency to breed distrust and jealousy.
In civilization much, very much, depends on an enthusiastic and effective load-pulling spirit. Ten men are of little more value than one in lifting a great load unless they lift together—all at the same moment. And such teamwork—social co-operation—is dependent on leadership. The cultural civilizations of the past and the present have been based upon the intelligent co-operation of the citizenry with wise and progressive leaders; and until man evolves to higher levels, civilization will continue to be dependent on wise and vigorous leadership.
Society is not a divine institution; it is a phenomenon of progressive evolution; and advancing civilization is always delayed when its leaders are slow in making those changes in the social organization which are essential to keeping pace with the scientific developments of the age. For all that, things must not be despised just because they are old, neither should an idea be unconditionally embraced just because it is novel and new.
Man should be unafraid to experiment with the mechanisms of society. But always should these adventures in cultural adjustment be controlled by those who are fully conversant with the history of social evolution; and always should these innovators be counseled by the wisdom of those who have had practical experience in the domains of contemplated social or economic experiment. No great social or economic change should be attempted suddenly. Time is essential to all types of human adjustment—physical, social, or economic. Only moral and spiritual adjustments can be made on the spur of the moment, and even these require the passing of time for the full outworking of their material and social repercussions. The ideals of the race are the chief support and assurance during the critical times when civilization is in transit from one level to another.
The great danger to any civilization—at any one moment—is the threat of breakdown during the time of transition from the established methods of the past to those new and better, but untried, procedures of the future.
Leadership is vital to progress. Wisdom, insight, and foresight are indispensable to the endurance of nations. Civilization is never really jeopardized until able leadership begins to vanish. And the quantity of such wise leadership has never exceeded one per cent of the population.”
Yes, the time has not yet come to discard the one percent! If this one percent fails to take the mantles of leadership, there is a danger of civilization plunging to darkness once again!
[Reproduced from the siliconindia blogs of the author]