LOKESH CHANDRA (India)
Prof. Lokesh Chandra is a distinguished scholar of Buddhism and Asian Culture. He has served as a member of the Rajya Sabha, and Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research. In 2006, he was awarded Padma Bhushan. Prof. Lokesh Chandra has to his credit more than 300 scholarly works which are widely acknowledged, globally, among intellectuals and thinkers.
Harmony through Theo-Diversity
Our century demands new structures of thought, faith, and nature harmonizing in the beauty of life, in the immensity (virat) of the cosmos that envelops us in its embrace of Divinity (not God), and in the open natural spaces of the unknown. No shadows of dogma, no imprisonment in the deadening certainty of Revelation, no cutting down the venerable oak-trees of centuries for bushes, no suicidal verdicts donning lineaments of religion, no drowning the flow of time, no omnipotence of God that strangulates the flux of time, choice and punya.
Monocentrism to Fundamentalism
The concept of globalism is a child of contemporary softening up of the triumphalist terms of the 19th and early 20th century when thinkers like Max Weber spoke of the uniqueness and universal importance of the special ‘Western’ culture and civilization. They saw their direction of development, as of universal importance and validity, and as a chain of factors that led to cultural events in the West. The plurality of cultures was an idealized presentation of the non-European ways and institutions as a critical counter-image, as backward stage of Western development. Plurality was neither owned nor honoured, but merely provided a clarity to the formulation of European culture as the only ‘regular and scientific’ progress. All foreign cultures were backward as they lacked the socio-historical roots of a dynamic force to bring forth science and technology. Achievements, destructions and crises were the three-fold dynamics of change. Crises were not regressions, but catalytic forces. The traditional non-Western social structures and values have been derogated and brought down so that non-Western thinkers are compelled to channel their ideas in the Western mould. The contamination of air and water, coupled with the exhaustion of natural resources, is bringing about climatic and other violent changes. The lack of any perceptible human purpose and the threatening ecological crisis introduces a fleeting era of Western self-doubt. Yet the West cannot accept a diminution of its values, which are the driving forces of both its faith and civilization. She may borrow some useful elements from other faiths or cultures, but there is no intercommunicating future in the ‘mind’ of the West.
Dialogue for Trivialization
Life sphere has two tiers: the inner core and the outer shell. Faith and culture are the inner core: the ideals or standards on which value judgments, aesthetic feelings, and other aspects of the ethos are expressed. Civilization is the second tier of the life sphere, the outer shell of institutions, social apparatuses, scientific knowledge and technologies to maintain the life sphere. Civilization, the outer shell, is built on culture, the inner core. While civilizations can be global, faiths and cultures are pluralistic. Technological innovation, instantaneous transfer of information, political and economic systems transform into a shared civilization. With the universality of civilization, differences between faiths and cultures take an ever-increasing importance. The apparatuses of civilization are used in accordance with the ethos and values of a culture. Diversity of faiths and cultures and sharing of common civilizational apparatuses are imperative.
Globalism brings in its vanguard Memory-Erasing and Mind-Emptying (MEME) viruses. They are disrupting independent nations into ‘self-hating’ people. They grow on them as invisible aids to turn into tumours. The host nations turn into objects, in the belief that they share the anonymous collectivity of Western civilization, and one day may become ‘honorary white nations’. In the era of colonization, people disallowed such objectifications that colonizers created for them. If one remains an object, one cannot become a subject.
Prof. Wilhelm Halbfass of the University of California says: ‘The meeting and ‘dialogue’ of the cultures and religions of this world coincides with their trivialization’.
Transcendence and Existence
Existentialism is essentially in contrast to transcendence. Humans are in contrast to God, not in opposition. The freedom of human effort a