The Future of Human Potential – I

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Futurology is now emerging as a new and fledgling field of knowledge. Modern futurology tries to plot the future trends in the external life of man – in economics, society, politics, business, technology. We will be presenting here an alternative scenario with an emphasis on the future of the Human Potential, especially the potentials of the inner being of man, his psychological and spiritual potentials. For, we believe that it is in this inner realm that the future of human evolution lies.

In this series we will try to do what is called in modern futurology “scenario building”, sketching a line of future possibilities in the light of Sri Aurobindo and Mother’s vision of the future, with an emphasis on the brighter and more luminous possibilities. Many of the themes or terms discussed here have become familiar clichés of the ever-growing New Age literature. But the deeper spiritual significance of these themes of the future is not yet well-understood. We will try to clarify the deeper and broader significance of some of these New Age clichés like holism or globalism or global consciousness.

To an overly pragmatic mind most of these future verities may appear dreamy or utopian. But what else is human progress than a progressive realisation of our utopias? And as Sri Aurobindo says in his epic Savitri, “Earth’s winged chimeras are Truth’s steeds in Heaven.” The Truth’s steeds may sometimes use our winged chimeras to descend into earth carrying their heavenly possibilities.

                                                                      Globalism: Towards a Global Consciousness

Much has been said and written about “Globalisation” so we will not enter into the debate on the pros and cons of what is called “Globalisation”. This term or idea was coined by modern thinkers to denote a contemporary phenomenon created mainly by advances in technology in the fields of transportation, communication media, computers, Internet and others, and its economic, social and political consequences.

We are, undoubtedly, moving towards a “global” future. So, the idea of “globalism”, in different forms is likely to be a dominant theme in the thought and life of future humanity. In the past history of the race, collective consciousness of humanity had progressed from the family and the clan to the nation-unit; in the future it will be called upon to take the next step towards a supra-national aggregate and ultimately to a truly global humanity. But the question is what is the type and nature of globalism we are heading towards in the future? Will it be merely an outer economic or political unity held together by technology and the mutual interests of competing (or cooperating) ego or an inner unity felt concretely in the deepest core of our consciousness? In other words, will be it an outer unity created by a global organization or an inner unity felt in a global consciousness? To answer this question we have to understand the deeper evolutionary significance of the present urge and drive towards globalization.

Both modern physicists studying the depth of matter and the ancient Indian sages studying the depth of the human psyche and spirit have discovered that Unity is the fundamental law of life. Modern physics says all matter, including perhaps our material body, is nothing but configurations in the unified field of space-time-energy. Similarly, ancient Indian sages saw with their inner vision that all creation including the so called “inanimate” matter, is the expression of a unified field of consciousness-energy, chit-shakti or in other words, a global and transcendent Unity or Oneness of consciousness-energy is the essence of the individual and the universe. Even physical and biological matter is the expression of the energy of consciousness, but here, the consciousness is involved and lost in movement of the energy. The terrestrial evolution is the gradual emergence of the involved consciousness to higher and higher levels of self-expression – from the stone, plant, animal and man. But human mental consciousness, centred and conditioned around the ego is not the last summit of terrestrial evolution. Nature is moving towards the next step in evolution, which is to recover fully and consciously the original source of evolution, the global or unity-consciousness in the individual and the collective life of man and in the planet as a whole. So the evolutionary impetus of Nature in the future will be, predominantly, towards the realization of an inner unity of the human race in a global consciousness and not merely an outer unity through a global society, government, or organization.

This brings us to the question – if inner unity of global consciousness is the destiny of human and terrestrial evolution, what then is the significance of the present urge towards outer unity or globalization? It prepares the outer mind and life of humanity to receive and manifest the inner unity. When the Humanity as a whole awakens to the inner Unity, there will be the right environment, instruments and institutions to manifest and express the inner unity in the outer life.

We can see at present, the outer movement of globalization created by technology, transportation, communication, Internet, media, and global business, had awakened the collective consciousness of humanity to the “connectedness” and interdependence of human life. The political, economic and cultural barriers between nations and people are no longer as hard and opaque as they were in the past and are becoming thin, porous and transparent. Multinationalism is now a well-established idea and practice in business, science and technology. The ideas and values of Eastern cultures are seeping into the West and openly or subtly influencing the Western mind. Similarly the values of Western cultures, flooding through the media and multinational business, are influencing the work ethics and lifestyles of Eastern youth in both ways, positive and negative. Cultural identities are expanding beyond national boundaries to global dimensions. For example, a large section of the Indian diaspora spread all over the world forms a wealthy, highly educated, global cultural group very much attached to their Indian cultural and religious values.

All these developments and many others which are yet to come, will impress on the thought, sentiments and life of humanity a vivid sense of living in a “global village”. But this perception, sentiment, or the vital sense of globalism does not constitute a global consciousness.

For, all the new developments which are now called  “globalism”, and its inner and outer results, are still ego-centric, centred around and driven by the aims and interests of the individual and the collective ego. The ego’s range and the sense of identity might have enlarged into global proportions. This enlargement may bring about a certain amount of psychological modification in the consciousness of humanity. For example, when the ego’s range of identity expands beyond the family and the clan to the nation, it creates a new sentiment or feeling of patriotic nationalism. Similarly when the ego’s range of identity enlarges further to embrace a supra-national or global aggregate, it may create a new sentiment or feeling of global citizenship. In fact, many business executives, professionals, scientists and media-people who work in a multi-national or multi-cultural environment, or travel frequently all over the world, and thinkers, poets and artists who think on a vast scale in terms of humanity or the world, have this sense of a world-citizen in their thought, or vital sentiment. But all these enlargements in the outer life, thought and sentiment, though helpful as a preparatory education, are not global consciousness, precisely because they cannot liberate the human consciousness from the limitations and conditioning of the individual and collective ego. A global multinational organization may possess a strong and powerful collective ego, which can be very aggressive, exploitative and dominating. Similarly, someone who feels himself to be a “global citizen” in his thought and vital sentiment can be very selfish and ambitious in his behaviour, emotions or action.

What then is this global consciousness? It is a consciousness in which there is no ego, individual or collective, small or big, which means, there is no sense of “I” or “mine” distinct and separate from others and the rest of creation. And when there is no ego, it leads to a concrete inner realization of universal oneness, or unity-consciousness in which we feel others and all creation as part of our own universal Self and within our self. The world is no longer felt outside us but within our own universal self. We believe that this renunciation and transcendence of the ego will be the major theme of the future evolution of humanity. Transcendence of the Ego is one of the basic principles of the discipline in all spiritual teachings. But in the future, this principle of ego-transcendence will become a prominent theme not only in the moral and spiritual development of the individual, but also in the collective, secular life, in economics, society, politics.