Educate to Globalize the Human Identity

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” ~~Maya Angelou

"We are all in it together", “put your self-interest to one side, and seek the good of the greatest number of people”, “neither selfishness nor self-sacrifice”, “love your neighbor as your self” etc. are great precepts to create a balance between self interest and that of others. These admonitions are lovely and great. But in spite of their grandeur and long history, they have had limited impact. If they had reached deep into human consciousness to make a noticeable difference, we wouldn’t be having this discussion today. When push comes to shove in the face of our narrow self interest, we forget them. Why?

In my humble opinion, humanity has failed to communicate them effectively. They were in the domain of religion to propagate, and that vehicle has proved ineffective for various reasons too complex to explore in detail in this post.

The class of precepts that includes the above is too valuable for the cause of humanity and we must make renewed efforts to propagate it. It is too valuable to be entrusted to the institution of religion alone when we have extensive modern public education systems in the world reaching huge masses of humanity and for extended time periods in the formative years. Such an opportunity has never been available to any institution whatsoever.

Historically, spirituality has been associated with the institution of religion. Perhaps because of the meaningfulness of spirituality to humanity, religion has been in a singular position to define human identity. Spirituality explores great questions of human origin, existence, condition, life, connections, relationships, dependence on each other and the source. This subject is so very meaningful to us all and the academy for various reasons has chosen to underplay it. It is now imperative that we correct that situation.

Reza Shah-Kazemi in a landmark publication entitled Paths to Transcendence (2006) discusses the thought of Meister Eckhart on spirituality in these terms, “Everything pertaining to the spiritual realm is inclusive and unitive by nature, whilst matter is by nature exclusive and implies separative particularity; the more spiritual a thing is, the more inclusive and thus universal it is, and the more material a thing is, the more it excludes other things by the very rigidity of its specific contours.”

Spirituality is characterized by unity, inclusiveness and universality – the qualities that make for inclusive global identities as compared to exclusive limited identities that have been the gift of religion to humanity. Religion unfortunately for humanity has assumed form characteristic of the material realm and given up on unity and inclusiveness of the spiritual.

That in a nutshell is the situation facing us today. The remedy seems to lie in taking steps to promote global human identity to a position overarching all other limited (and therefore limiting) identities whether religious, national, regional, racial, gender or others. The proper vehicle to achieve this goal appears to be the educational system.

It is imperative that we reform the educational system at all academic levels to include core spirituality. We then will be in a better position to see our neighbor as our self which is a prerequisite to loving our neighbor as our self. We need not only to blur the line dividing “us” from “them” but totally efface it. Then only we will all be in it together; until then we remain “us” and the others “them” and the twain shall never meet.

(“I and my Father are one”, Joh 10:30; “There is one body, and one Spirit”, Eph 4:4; “[For] there is one God; and there is none other but he”, Mar 12:32; “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”, Joh 14:20; “Everywhere you turn, there is Allah’s face”, Holy Qur’an 2:115; “That thou art”, Upanishad; "Behold but One in all things; it is the second that leads you astray", Kabir; “I am you and you are me”, Jalaluddin Rumi; “Neighbor and associate and companion - everything is HE”, Maulana ’Abdurrahman Jami)


crislawrence's picture

You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you.

I definitely agree to you sir based on your post, I clearly understand that humanity today are in struggle.They are lack of communication to understand each side.Hoping that this problem will be addressed.

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hansyoga's picture

A timely blog, Mr Talwar ; thanks. This is my first comment here. Can we also submit blogs of our own ?

A religion, though centered around the teachings of God-realized prophets and therefore dealing with the ultimate verities of life, is after all an institution by humans and is made up of practices and rituals which over some time may become rather dogmatic. No prophet ever wanted to start a religion in the form we see it today, it is the followers who did it. This is true of every religion.

Spirituality is the science behind all religions and is the common essential core, it is the unity behind apparent diversity. It deals not with rituals and practices but actual conduct - with how we behave - in public and in private.

Religions have failed to unite humanity - not because of basic fault of any religion per se (for all religions are essentially rooted in Truth which is One and therefore must be respected) but due to dogmatization - more or less - by the over-enthusiastic followers who quarrel among themselves ; that's how we find not only inter-religion strife, but also intra-religion discord.

As to education, it must similarly be separated from literacy and book learning. Even the educated may need re-education in spiritual values. Some of the world's most spiritual souls - saints and sages included - never had a formal education, while ignorance may prevail among the intellectually advanced people, even some highly religious ones, in any faith or community.

Having said this, I don't think the world is going back, although the progress does have certain challenges. The humanity is at confusing cross-roads now and it is only by doing honest introspection and practicing the spiritual values common to all faiths - love, compassion, service, empathy, forgiveness, etc. - individually as souls and collectively as communities / faiths, that we can march ahead. Technology which gives great speeds, further complicates the challenges, for we also need a sense of direction !

My Master, Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, author of 'Autobiography of a Yogi' who took spiritual practices beyond the divisive dogma, did pioneering work in uniting the world as children of One God. The truth is, one who does not find the Divine Presence in everyone and everything equally, cannot find That Presence anywhere - in any place of worship, and the way to doing it is first experiencing that Presence right within, in the sanctuary of one's own heart and soul, in deep meditation.

Peace, love and goodwill unto all beings of the entire universe ! Aum, Hum, Amen and Ameen _/\_
Blending Science & Management with Spirituality.

ShivTalwar's picture

It was a pleasure to read your first comment. Your thoughts are refreshingly open. Keep expressing them. I invite you to post your own blog on this site.

To post your blog, please log in and go to My Account. My Account is on the top right hand side in the blue banner. In My Account, you will see a link saying "View recent blog entries" towards the end of your account data . Click on it to post your first blog entry.

I will keenly be looking forward to your posts.

Nice article and I am interested to read this article. I have owned a site of kochi airport taxi and I meet persons of all kind during travel between many places. At times, the age of globalization is interpreted as a reproach in respesect to the past of human race, such a radical censure that everything which was previously believed or done is made irrelevant, thus resulting in an irrelevance of the historical narratives as well as other forms of memory transmition. Parallelly, it is also accepted as an ineradicale given background of human condition of our days the fact that a twist of practices and knowledge, more or less aimed at financial efficiency, has taken the upper hand in the articulated and complex cultural identity of our race, to such an extent that it imposes strong constraints to future development of the human knowledge. The image of oneself that every individual tries to affirm in respect to others is inspired on the largest autonomy and personal freedom; identity cultures that modern societies, based on the rights of independence and mutual respect, recognize and contribute to formulate a modern idea of adult age.