On the Infinite Within
The following quote have been excerpted from the book Beyond Fear and Rage edited by Ervin Laszlo. (N.B. bold highlighting added for emphasis by me.)
Director of Research
Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research
“The self-Interested Worldview versus the holistic Worldview.
Self-interested behavior hallmarks the last few centuries. It stems from a worldview that alienates humans from each other, from nature and the cosmos. It considers the body as a machine in which organs and cells function as unconnected parts that can be replaced without affecting anything else in the body. It views the soul as a religious concept and sees the span of one’s life as a finite and closed circuit. Selfish aims created consumerism; selfish tendencies consider us to be above nature, and one’s own belief system is seen as superior to the system of others. We want to control everything and all things. We see nature as a wastebasket the same as our own body —we dump things into it indiscriminately. Large corporations produce the goods we consume; we humans are the real problem. Why are we so surprised at where we have arrived? Earth is rebelling, producing climate change; nations experience mounting crime rates as well as gender and racial inequality and increased social disobedience, ill-health is rampant, animals are hunted for trophies . . . Life driven by the self-interested worldview is self-defeating and it endangers humankind the same as the planet.
For many centuries, Eastern philosophies advocated and actually lived by a holistic worldview, the view that sees all sentient and even non-sentient beings as part of a “whole” that is intrinsically and subtly interconnected, where each thing integrally affects every other. According to Eastern tenets, humans are an intrinsic part of the cosmos, and the human body is a microcosm not only governed by the same laws as the cosmos, but also animated by the same forces of growth and development. Human activities, both social and individual, model themselves on that which takes place on the macro-scale, and development in the cosmos is a model for development in the human world. The harmony of the cosmos is reflected and is maintained by harmony in the state, in the family, as well as in the body and mind of individuals. Damaging any of these harmonies disorders the whole. There is no dualism: in Eastern wisdom matter and spirit are whole and not separate, as in Western thought.
Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism are advocates of the discovery of oneself and of the experience of the infinite within our self. “There are as many infinities as there are dimensions, as many forms of liberation as there are temperaments. But all bear the same stamp. Those who suffer from bondage and confinement will experience liberation as infinite expansion. Those who suffer from darkness will experience it as light unbounded. Those who groan under the weight of death and transitoriness will feel it as eternity. Those who are restless will enjoy it as peace and infinite harmony.”3
Mindful practices, yoga, meditation, tai chi, chi kung, and the study of wisdom traditions are among the many approaches that lead towards self-discovery. It is important to recognize that it is not material goods or financial status that make us happy and define who we are. “We do not need to buy or own anything in order to be happy. At any moment, we can access this sense of joy. The same interdependence that makes our consumerism so devastating for the environment can also make the natural environment a source of endless joy and wonder to us, without taking away anything more than a lungful of air. It just depends on how we choose to live our connectedness.”4
Meaningful livelihood can be achieved by living consciously, based on wholesome intentions and altruistic impulses. All human action needs to benefit equally nature, society, and one’s own self. To inquire into our inner world is as important as inquiring into the workings of the world around us. To truly know ourselves we have to bring our hearts and minds together while trusting our inherent wisdom. The Sufi mystic Jalaluddin Rumi said that the “entire universe is inside you.” And the changes you make in you, in your universe, affect other universes. It is up to you to decide what you change, and how and when you change it. You can discover the beauty, the talent, and the magic of the universe that is YOU!
3 Govinda, Lama Anagarika, Foundation of Tibetan Mysticism (Rider&Company, U.K., 1983)
4 The Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, The Heart is Noble, Changing the World from the Inside Out, Shambhala Editions, 2013.”
The Messages conveyed in this Manifesto are by leading exponents of the new paradigm that comes to light at the cutting edge of contemporary science and lived spirituality. They are explorations and examples of the thinking we need to understand the nature of the problems and their possible solutions—and then finding the solution by ourselves. This kind of thinking could replace irrational fear and blind rage with deeper understanding and informed behavior. It could orient our aspirations, our values, and thus our steps. In these extraordinary times this is the kind of thinking we need—in our most urgent and best interest.
Ervin Laszlo, is Director of the Laszlo Institute of New Paradigm Research (Italy), Founder and President of The Club of Budapest, Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, Member of the Hungarian Academy of Science and the International Academy of Philosophy of Science, Senator of the International Medici Academy, and Editor of the international periodical World Futures: The Journal of New Paradigm Research. He is the recipient of the Goi Peace Prize (2002), the International Mandir of Peace Prize (2005), the Conacreis Holistic Culture Prize (2009), the Ethics Prize of Milano (2014). Laszlo is Honorary Professor of the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology and Honorary Citizen of the City of Buenos Aires and holds Honorary PhD’s from the United States, Canada, Finland, and Hungary. Laszlo is the author or co-author of fifty-four books translated into twenty-four languages and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 and 2005.