[gha] Re: Invitation to Global Peace Science Imagination - First Bird for GPS Book

  • From: AK Merchant <ak9merchant@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: gha@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 15:41:07 +0530

From: Dr. A. K. Merchant,National Trustee, Lotus Temple & Baha’i
Community of India; General Secretary, The Temple of
Understanding—India [NGO with consultative status at the United

To: Prof. Leo Semashko, Global Harmony Association

Dear Prof. Semashko,

As desired here is my article for your latest initiative in the
establishing an enduring and lasting peace on our planet.

With kind regards and best wishes for your laudable endeavours.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. A. K. Merchant


                                 Dr. A. K. Merchant*

There is a conviction deep in every human heart that life has meaning
beyond the struggle for survival.  But what exactly is the purpose of
our existence? To understand the purpose of our existence, we need to
first understand the true nature of a human being.  When we think
about the phrase “human nature”; what images come to mind?  Is it
something positive or negative?  Are we simply a collection of
instincts, appetites, urges and emotions, or are we something more?
Is there anything that distinguishes us from animals?

We share with the animal world many characteristics related to our
material existence.  However, we also have a spiritual nature, what
some would call in India, the atman (soul), and it is this spiritual
nature that determines our true purpose.  The purpose of life for the
individual is to develop spiritual qualities and perfections, and to
advance towards Divinity that too, collectively.  Such development
does not take place through idle worship.  Nor can it be achieved in a
life dedicated to the pursuit of worldly desires.  Fulfilling the
purpose of one’s life—which is to know and worship the Divine—requires
activity in the arena of the collective life of humanity; it calls for
selfless service to society.

The growing interdependence and the intensifying interaction among
diverse peoples pose fundamental challenges to old ways of thinking,
believing and acting. How we, as individuals and communities, respond
to these challenges will, to a large degree, determine whether our
communities become nurturing, cohesive and progressive, or
inhospitable, divided and unsustainable?

A recent survey of the world conditions appeals for “a complete
reconceptualization of the relationships that sustain society.  The
deepening environmental crisis, driven by a system that condones the
pillage of natural resources to satisfy an insatiable thirst for more,
suggests how entirely inadequate is the present conception of
humanity’s relationship with nature; the deterioration of the home
environment, with the accompanying rise in the systematic exploitation
of women and children worldwide, makes clear how pervasive are the
misbegotten notions that define relations within the family unit; the
persistence of despotism, on the one hand, and the increasing
disregard for authority, on the other, reveal how unsatisfactory to a
maturing humanity is the current relationship between the individual
and the institutions of society; the concentration of material wealth
in the hands of a minority of the world’s population gives an
indication of how fundamentally ill-conceived are relationships among
the many sectors of what is now an emerging global community.” The
unfettered cultivation of needs and wants has led to a system fully
dependent on excessive consumption for a privileged few, while
reinforcing exclusion, poverty and inequality, for the majority.  Each
successive global crisis—be it climate, energy, food, water, disease,
financial collapse—has revealed new dimensions of the exploitation and
oppression inherent in the current patterns of consumption and
production.  Stark are the contrasts between the consumption of
luxuries and the cost of provision of basic needs: basic education for
all would cost US$ 10 billion; yet $82 billion is spent annually on
cigarettes in the United States alone.  The eradication of world
hunger would cost $30 billion whilst some $92 billion are spent in the
United States for combating obesity; water and sanitation--$10
billion, i.e. as reported by the UN Department of Public Information,
“the estimated cost of closing the gap between current trends and what
is needed to meet the target ranged from $10 billion to $18 billion
per year.”  By comparison, the world’s military budget, unaffected by
recession, has risen to $1.70 trillion in 2012 of which approximately
45% is by the United States.

The purpose of the collective life of humankind is “to carry forward
and ever-advancing civilization.”  Civilization has two essential
components, material and spiritual.  Both of these have to advance
simultaneously if humanity is to achieve prosperity and true
happiness.  “No matter how far the material world advances, it cannot
establish the happiness of mankind… Only when material and spiritual
civilization are linked and coordinated will happiness be assured.”

Building individual capabilities and institutional capacities,
therefore, is the biggest task facing all who are in decision making
positions, leaders of communities (whether religious or secular), the
heads of governments, heads of states et al. Indeed, the opportunities
in the 21st century make possible to lay the foundations for an
ethical system based on the concept of unity, as revolutionary in its
implications as the Christian notion of love was to Greek ethical
systems. Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vedanti (Truth is One, the Wise
describe it in different ways) is India’s civilizational principle of
Divine unity. The pursuit of unity—creating it, strengthening it, and
broadening its scope—will require a personal transformation on the
part of everyone involved, and the world itself will have to examine
in the context of present-day advances of our civilization, the full
implications of the concept of “vasudhaiva kutumbakkam” (the world is
a family) and begin to look for ways for bringing it about.

Thus, we can see that we have a twofold purpose in our lives: knowing
and realizing the Divine, and walking the path of collective service
for the advancement of civilization, as we know it. To this end,
knowledge, volition and action play a central role in fulfilling both
these purposes.  Knowledge is the foundation of civilization; the will
to act and the deeds we perform moves us forward. The principle of the
oneness of humankind implies, then, an organic change in the very
structure of present-day society.

Since knowledge is so fundamental to both personal growth and the
advancement of civilization, every human being should have access to
knowledge and have opportunities to play a contributory role in its
generation, diffusion and application for the betterment of society.
Knowledge that helps to discover the workings of nature is accumulated
in science.  At the same time, insights into the spiritual nature of
reality have been organized in the system of knowledge, we may term as
dharma or religion.  To grow intellectually and spiritually and to be
able to contribute to the transformation of society, each individual
has to acquire both scientific and spiritual knowledge.  This seems to
me to be only way for present-day humanity to move forward to the next
stage in human evolution.  Thus, for such an enterprise to succeed
profound changes in the minds of people and in the structures of
society, primarily the nature of the educational process will need to
be re-thought.  As a starting point, the programme of capacity
building must be based on a clear vision of the kind of society that
we wish to live in; and the kind of individuals that will bring this
about.  It needs to help learners reflect on the purpose of life and
help them to step out of their cultural realities to develop
alternative visions and approaches to the problems at hand and to
understand the manifold consequences of their behaviours and to adjust
these accordingly.

Aggressive forms of behavior must give way to more gentle ideals.  The
need for a binding agreement among nation-states demarcating the
international frontiers in a just and fair manner, and proportionate
reduction of national armaments so that weapons of war throughout the
world may be converted into instruments of reconstruction and release
enormous resources, currently being diverted for destructive purposes,
for education, health, environmental restoration and conservation and
sustainable development.  The benefits worldwide would be
incalculable, while the consequences of failing to appropriately
respond to the challenges of an ever-contracting world will surely
prove disastrous and in the long run even suicidal.  The cultural
shifts resulting from such actions would lead to a greater capacity to
carry out collective action, to see oneself as an agent of change in
the society, as a humble learner, as an active participant in the
generation, diffusion and application of knowledge.

“Every truth,” said the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer,
“passes through three stages before it is recognized.  In the first
stage it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, and in the third
stage it is regarded as self-evident.”  Therefore, it behooves those
spiritually-minded and socially-conscious inhabitants of India, be
they politicians, leaders, scientists, intellectuals, or students and
other ardent and sincere workers who are passionately striving for the
fulfillment of the ideals of their respective belief systems to work
for the betterment of the world and contribute substantially to the
advent of that universal and divine family sung throughout the ages by
seers and sages and poets and foretold by the prophets and messengers
of the past.  Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith, proclaimed:
“The well-being of humankind, its peace and security are unattainable
unless and until its unity is firmly established;” “the earth is but
one country, and humankind its citizens.”


*The author is a National Trustee, Lotus Temple & Baha’i Community of
India; General Secretary, The Temple of Understanding—India [NGO with
consultative status at the United Nations]; Chairperson, Sarvodaya
International Trust—Delhi Chapter; Member, India International Centre;
Visiting Faculty, Centre for Cultural Resources & Training, Government
of India.   Emails:  akmerchant@xxxxxxxxxxx & ak9merchant@xxxxxxxxx

On Fri, Sep 27, 2013 at 8:24 PM, Leo Semashko <leo.semashko@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Dear Glen,
> Thank you very much for your excellent and great article in the Global Peace
> Science book!
> Your article is the first bird for this book. Of course, later, we will
> discuss it in the details, may be in the October end or in November.
> With love, best harmony wishes,
> Leo
> Dr Leo Semashko:
> State  Councillor  of  St.  Petersburg,
> Philosopher, Sociologist and Peacemaker from Harmony;
> Director:  Tetrasociology Public Institute, Russia;
> Founding President, Global Harmony Association (GHA);
> Director, GHA Website "Peace from Harmony": www.peacefromharmony.org
> Global Peace Science from Harmony:
> www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=582;
> World Interfaith Harmony Project on the ABC of Harmony Base:
> www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=541;
> GHA Program Book, The ABC of Harmony for World Peace:
> www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=478;
> GHA Peace Video: http://youtu.be/hbxY5lREOeA;
> My Web page: www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=253;
> Address: 7/4-42 Ho-Shi-Min Street, St. Petersburg 194356, Russia
> Phone: 7 (812) 597-65-71; Skype: leo.semahko
> Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/leo.semashko?ref=tn_tnmn
> ----- Original Message -----
>   From: Martin, Glen T, gmartin@xxxxxxxxxxx
>   To: leo.semashko@xxxxxxxxx
>   Sent: 26 сентября 2013 г., 22:11:07
>   Subject: [gha] Re: Invitation to Global Peace Science Imagination
> Dear Leo,
> Please find my 3 page article submission for the book on Global Peace
> Science.
> Yours in peace and friendship,
> Glen Martin
> Dr. Glen T. Martin
> President, World Constitution and Parliament Assoc. (www.wcpa.biz,
> www.worldparliament-gov.org)
> President, Institute on World Problems (www.worldproblems.net)
> Professor of Philosophy, Radford University (www.radford.edu/gmartin)
> From: gha-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:gha-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
> Of Leo Semashko
> Sent: Monday, September 23, 2013 11:50 AM
> To: williamsbj@xxxxxx; c.von-furstenberg@xxxxxxxxxx; p.alvarez@xxxxxxxxxx
> Cc: gha@xxxxxxxxxxxxx; ghausa@xxxxxxxxxxxxx;
> peace-from-harmony@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [gha] Invitation to Global Peace Science Imagination
> For scientists, poets, painters and composers; for religious, political,
> women's, youth and other community leaders; for Heads of States and
> Governments; for employees of the UN, UNESCO, UNICEF and other international
> organizations; for Nobel Peace Laureates; for all who are known to be
> peace-loving with a firm commitment to peace.
> The Global Harmony Association (GHA: www.peacefromharmony.org) is happy to
> invite you to participate in unique on its world significance book: "Global
> Peace Science: The First Common Good for the 21st Century and every Human"
> (www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=585). We would be thrilled to
> include your art work or article up to 3 pages (at your request it may be
> more) to answer this subject: "What I imagine as the most effective pursuit
> of global peace science on the basis of GHA sources and my own vision in the
> 21st century?” Your art work or article will be featured in one of the book
> chapters or a new chapter, proposed by you.
> The deadline for articles is November 30, 2013; for the art works is April
> 30, 2014.
> This can be modified at your request.
> Your article or work would be sent, by e-mail in attached file WORLD.doc, to
> the GHA President, the book Editor in Chief Dr. Leo Semashko
> (leo.semashko@xxxxxxxxx) or another GHA leader at the address here: Contact
> Us
> (www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=574).
> GHA will highly appreciate and publish your response to this invitation with
> any suggestions and comments.
> This invitation may be distributed freely.

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