The Indian sage and seer Sri Aurobindo envisioned a future divine life on earth, which would in essence be the culmination and ultimate achievement for humanity. He calls for our collaboration in this endeavor by opening up to and drawing in the spiritual dimension into our lives in order to divinize it -- i.e. bring out its infinite potential.
Before that could happen, however, he suggested that several other developments had to take place, one of which is the movement toward human unity amongst the people of the earth. Already this process has begun, especially in the last 50 years with the emergence of the United Nations, the European Union, global economics, the Internet, and the cultural cross-pollination and integration we see in the major urban areas of the world, to name a few. It should be noted that much of this was presaged in the 1960s during the Hippy era when the youth of the world took to greater freedom and creative expression, while exploring a variety of cultures and forms of spirituality, including those of the East. What is occurring now is in one sense a ripening of that dramatic, through relatively short-lived pioneering effort amongst that generation’s youth.
Yet another way world unity is emerging is through the rapid expansion of the global environmental movement. Because of the misuse of the resources of the planet, the people of the world have been galvanized to change those dire conditions. On the surface, the degrading of the environment might appear to simply be the byproduct of an industrial society, or the dark side of prosperity, but more fundamentally, it is a reflection of the very way we humans think. Let me explain.
Though scientists, researchers, engineers, and others in the West and elsewhere are able to conceive of an infinite variety of material forms which comfort and benefit us, we are unable to control the negative side of this creative, developmental process. For example, we discovered and unlocked the power of the atom, yet we were unable to contain its byproduct of atomic weaponry. That wanton result has become the greatest evil ever devised by Man -- casting humanity’s very future in doubt. Likewise, we have developed infinite manufacturing capacity to meet the needs of an ever more prosperous and growing population, yet we cannot control the array of forms of pollution it has engendered. Similarly, we have developed powerful automobiles that glide along super highways, but cannot control the hundreds of thousands of deaths from car accidents every year. Thus, for every positive that science and technology devises, one or more very dangerous negative consequences are unleashed upon the world.
Which leads me back to the essential reason this occurs. It turns out that environmental degradation is the end result of our uni-dimensional view of life. It is the result of our mechanistic, empirical, material-only approach to the creative process, which excludes other dimensions -- including the psychological, the social, and the spiritual. Environmental degradation itself thus a product of having left Man out of the developmental equation. The scientist, engineer, or other professional is too preoccupied by the joy of discovery in matter; by what can be seen under the microscope; by what can be resolved into a neat equation to address the subject from its deepest and widest context. Operating from within a constricting, exclusive box of a materiality, the discoverers and implementers are insulated from the wider truths of life, which allow falsehood, and, yes, evil to be set lose on the world.
We could therefore say that this material, empirical, mechanistic approach to discovery is one of Ignorance, since it is separated from the true, wider, multi-faceted, all embracing Knowledge that is being addressed. Because the work professional sees only a small part of the whole picture, decisions made and actions taken are based on a material, mechanistic, empirical superstition, releasing negative outcomes that become the basis for social strife and danger in the world. In fact, one subtle principles of life is that when we embrace only a part of the Whole of any object of inquiry, all of the other parts tend to express negatively. Pollution, nuclear threat, and death on the highways are but several ways the unaddressed Whole, this missing multiplicity of understanding expresses when we look out on the world through these limited blinders. Even now, the unaddressed truths related to any number of subject matters are producing negative side effects in a host of fields that we are summarily unaware of.
Thus, though the world has now begun to perceive the dangers of the degradation of the environment, it has not understood the process by which it occurs. It is not simply a product of modern life, or of a developing economy, or even the foolish ignorance of a few men, but the way we put Matter before Man in the discovery process. It is the root cause of the dark consequences that threaten or otherwise degrade our daily lives.
And yet no matter what its origins – material or otherwise -- environmental degradation is a reality and fact of life. Moreover, that issue is galvanizing the peoples of the world into action. In that process, connections are occurring amongst individuals, associations, and organizations, which, in essence, occur as movements of cooperation, integration, and harmony. Such integrative and harmonic associations are but another way that human unity is taking shape.
We could even say that these harmonic developments are reflections of the Spirit itself – particularly the Divine aspect of the Oneness of life. When we protect the planet we share, and when we do so through deep cooperation and connection, we are experiencing several aspects of the Oneness of being in life. If this is so, then environmentalism may be looked upon as a kind of shared religion; or better yet, a first form of common spiritual experience shared by the peoples of the world.
Through our ever-increasing mentality, through wider circles of culture, through the integration of citizens and nations, human unity is beginning to take shape in the world. Environmentalism is a particularly powerful catalyst because it addresses a fresh new way of relating to our common experience, enabling people to participate and interrelate in ways that transcend one’s backgrounds and culture. The environment is not alone in this regard, as the Internet has a very similar nature. It is a most unexpected manifestation of the new: an organization that not only supports ever-greater knowledge and individuality, but ever-greater unity and harmony of purpose amongst the people.
These ever-new, unexpected forms of commonality of purpose are sure signs of an emerging World Unity. We can look around and see many such signs in the arts, politics, economics, the media, public discussion, and so forth. Most of all they subtly reside in the new perceptions of the individual, in the way he or she relates to others as well as humanity as a whole.
And yet this slow but steady emergence of World Unity presages an even greater eventuality for humanity: the emergence of a common spirit-oriented life on earth. It is a human existence where the Spirit is brought into every activity of our lives in order to bring out their infinite potential. It is a new world unimagined where we experience our ultimate psychological fulfillment, while perceiving the deepest truths of life, including the Spiritual underpinnings of all existence. That ecstatic vision and possibility is also now beginning to appear on the horizon: a sign of humanity’s ultimate destiny and purpose.
Also see: Environment Portal