Ours is an era of psychic expansion with immense potentialities and tremendous achievements. The 19th century and the early part of the 20th saw an economic bearing dominated by matter and material forces. Marx was the visionary prophet of this new religion while Darwin propagated his Origin of Species in which the biology of cells predominated. The 19th century was the century of matter and biology motivating materialistic tendencies. The 20th century was an era of world wars and capitalist globalism.
The materialist view of life was indeed a reaction against idealist thinking. From Kant to Schelling1, philosophers had tried to keep a generation “Absolute-intoxicated”. According to Kant the Absolute, noumenon, was conceivable but not knowable. The subtlest human intelligence could not go beyond phenomenon and reality could never be experienced. Noumenon was a myth and those philosophers were indeed able to keep a generation under the spell of this mysterious entity. A reaction became inevitable. The naturalist and realist ideas of Darwin, Marx and Spencer2 became easily acceptable during the reaction against the “mythical abstract”.
But a reaction can only be an antithesis and a passing phenomenon. So were the theories of those thinkers. Developed means of communication had brought European thought into contact with Indian concepts. In addition science had its own impact. Einstein conceived of a fourth dimension, the dimension of time, which was a mental concept; the mental measurement of motivity3 of action. To him the objective world was a “space-time continuum”. The old concepts of science thus went through revolutionary changes once again.
Subtle scientific achievements had enabled Eddington to establish that exact science was only knowledge of pointer-reading on instruments. The scientists of the time went on and we soon find Eddington and Jeans4 declaring emphatically that “the ultimate nature of the universe is mental,” and that “the direct knowledge we possess is the knowledge of mental states.” They further established that “Seen from the outside, as it were a living train, the universe is a collection of molecules in movement. Experienced from inside it is a collection of mental states. The first view gives us knowledge of structure. The second view gives us knowledge of nature or substance.”
The deep thinkers of science were advancing, inch-by-inch, towards the subtler aspects of the Cosmic phenomenon. Physicists and astrophysicists were approaching both the internal aspects of atom and electron, and of the mind and consciousness. “The succession of feelings which constitutes a person’s consciousness is the reality which produces in our minds the perception of the motions of that person’s brain,” Jeans stated. To him the universe was a thought in the mind of God. Eddington and Schrodinger5 thought that determinism should be definitely abandoned, since in the motions of single atoms and electrons there seems to be an element of free will. To these scientists, evolution of the Cosmic phenomenon appeared to be a Cosmic play and the human being can only play a conscious part in the divine game but not really affect it in a fundamental way.
There is a tremendous inspirational appeal in this, which this era continues to absorb for its forward march. In this process the emerging psychic being attained tremendous intellectual powers with which it has conquered still new forces of nature, reaching out into the universe, controlling bio-genetic processes, etc. However, intellect exerts power but power is blind. It needs wisdom to provide it with a proper direction. Cosmic orientation, or spiritual guidance, is that guiding wisdom indicated by the subtler thinkers of science.
The Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) is a happy blending of that spiritual wisdom with physical attainments, or “subjective approach with objective adjustment.” The five fundamental principles of PROUT, detailed in the next chapter, teach us to build a social order devoid of all types of exploitation. They formulate the progressive development of metaphysical, supra-mundane and spiritual potentialities of the individual as well as of collective bodies. In this way human society may proceed touch the silver lining between the metaphysical and the spiritual.
Until now the achievements of science and technology, agriculture and industry may have brought affluence, and even great wealth, to some. But in affluence we suffer. Instead of going in the direction of a proper human order we are fighting on the geo-political level just like ancient humans living in primitive clans used to fight and harbor prejudice against other clans. Weapons of war have changed but the motive remains the same. To build an exploitation-free economic-political order and motivate that order to realize its ideals, a radical social philosophy of new spiritual humanism is required.
PROUT is that social philosophy bestowed with sublime propelling trends.
1 Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schelling, seminal German philosophers, Kant a rationalist, Schelling an idealist.
2 Herbert Spencer, 19th century British evolutionary philosopher.
3 Motivity is the power of initiating or producing motion.
4 Sir Arthur S. Eddington and Sir James H. Jeans, British astroscientists of the early 20th century whose methodological debate made theoretical astrophysics viable. Source: ”So Simple a Thing as a Star: The Eddington-Jeans Debate over Astrophysical Phenomenology”, Matthew Stanley, The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 40, No. 1 (Mar., 2007), pp. 53-82.
5 Erwin Schrödinger, Austrian theoretical physicist, contributor to quantum mechanics.
© Proutist Universal 2011