Originally published in ‘The Free Daist’
The Bi-Monthy Journal of The Heart-Word and Blessing Work of The Divine World-Teacher and True Heart-Master, Avabhasa (Adi Da Samraj – The “Bright”)
In January and February 1992, Sri Da Avabhasa (Adi Da Samraj) began doing a significant amount of Work with books in the “Social Wisdom” section of The Basket of Tolerance. This section contains books on a range of subjects that express the wisdom of how people can live with one another. Thus, there are books on subjects such as world history, traditional democratic philosophy, humankind’s right relationship to nature and right use of technology, religious freedom and tolerance, non-violence, ethics, community living, the right use of money, and the traditional forms of renunciation.
During this period of time Sri Gurudev also very specifically addressed the culture of Free Daists about their practice of cooperation and community living.
First, there was a book Sri Gurudev had requested entitled ‘The End of History and the Last Man’, a critique of independent democracies, which are purposed to the satisfaction of individuals’ desires rather than to collective creativity and responsibility.
Soon thereafter, in early March, just at a time when a group of devotees worldwide had gathered at the Mountain Of Attention to “consider” how each devotee could better cooperate and take responsibility for supporting the mission of the Free Daist Communion, Sri Gurudev asked to see all of the books I could find on cooperative or intentional community living. One week later, after Reviewing many books on this topic, He finalized the following Essay in The Basket of Tolerance, which He had begun to Write at the time of His original Request:
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“(Community) a Call and Obligation that can purify and restore mankind, one by one, each and all”
ooperative, human-scale community is the political, social, and cultural root-source of civilization. Cooperative, human-scale community is also the primary political, social, and cultural condition that civilization tends to destroy. Therefore, the struggle to re-establish cooperative, human-scale community, and, in turn, to re-establish, within the larger political, social, and cultural order, the virtues characteristically associated with cooperative, humanscale community, is the constant necessity and the principal political, social, and cultural revolution whereby civilization can be purified of its negative effects, and whereby the integrity of civilization (and of civilized people) can be restored.
As civilizations enlarge and universalize themselves, the circumstance of civilized life is progressively removed from the truly human (and humanizing) context of cooperative, human-scale community. Therefore, as any civilization expands, the context of human living becomes progressively dissociated from the practices and virtues inherently associated with true (cooperative and human-scale) community, and becomes instead progressively individuated, alienated, altogether dehumanized, and, therefore, focused in egoic efforts (toward self-survival and self-aggrandizement).
“The present state of civilized movements is so expanded and so universalized that it is already both possible and correct to refer to a rather single, or global, civilization, or world-civilization”
The present state of civilized movements is so expanded and so universalized that it is already both possible and correct to refer to a rather single, or global, civilization, or world-civilization (which yet retains within itself even numerous sub-civilizations, some struggling merely to survive, and others struggling in a hope to become dominant over many or all, and, thereby, to replace the current dominant mode of world-civilization). And the present world-civilization is, primarily, or dominantly, a Western (or, especially, European and American) mode of civilization, which has enlarged and universalized itself to the degree that it has, basically, engulfed and dominated (or, otherwise, even destroyed) all other modes of civilization.
Even though the numerous remaining (or, otherwise, even newly emerging) sub-civilizations continue to struggle to survive, and even to become dominant (whether on a global or a national or a local scale), and even though that struggle will likely continue to produce changes in the characteristics of global civilization over time, the Western mode of civilization will likely, in the future, continue to remain fundamental, at the practical and truly global level, for it is precisely the Western mode of civilization that is, much more than any other, most directly and practically purposed to practical power, and, therefore, practical domination—over all of nature, over the physical world as a global totality, and over mankind as a global totality.
In any case, since civilization has itself become so enlarged and universalized that it can, in its present dominant mode, already be described as global (and is becoming more so with each passing day), it is inevitable that, as a necessary result of that largest possible expansion, the negative tendencies of civilization itself would also be presently (and tending more and more in the future to be) in clear evidence. And this evidence is certainly clear, globally, and in every sector, and especially in those sectors most dominated by the effects of the present dominant mode of civilization.
“mankind is, at the present time, dominated by a globally enlarged and globally universalized state of civilization, in which cooperative, human-scale community has, in most sectors, either been eliminated or become profoundly minimized. And, as a result, the principal characteristic of human living at the present, and would-be-future, time is not cooperative, human-scale community (and its characteristic virtues, extended to the larger civilized order) but competitive individualism (dramatized by nations, groups, and individuals).”
The negative evidence of the present global civilization is obvious at every physical and human level of the world—so much so that mankind has now clearly entered into a dark and darkening phase, with great potential for every kind of disaster, and yet, if truly humanizing Wisdom and real Divine Grace are accepted, with an equally great, and even greater, potential for a lightening, and more and more Divine, transformation. It is not necessary that I describe all the negative signs and mixed signs of the present civilization. Let each one enumerate the signs for himself or herself, and feel the human wound at heart. What I will indicate here is the summary result of these signs. Indeed, as I have already indicated, the principal progressive result of the enlarging and universalizing of any civilization is de-humanization, achieved by means of the progressive elimination of the principal and necessary context of life that humanizes mankind. Thus, mankind is, at the present time, dominated by a globally enlarged and globally universalized state of civilization, in which cooperative, human-scale community has, in most sectors, either been eliminated or become profoundly minimized. And, as a result, the principal characteristic of human living at the present, and would-be-future, time is not cooperative, human-scale community (and its characteristic virtues, extended to the larger civilized order) but competitive individualism (dramatized by nations, groups, and individuals).
Civilization always originates as an expression of the ideals of cooperative, human-scale community. Therefore, whatever the present-time particular, distinguishing characteristics of any civilization may be, the principal characteristics that stand at the root of any civilization (and, therefore, of the present civilization) are those of cooperative, human-scale community itself. And those characteristics are, basically, the political, social, and cultural motives and practices of cooperation, interrelatedness, interdependence, and positive self-sacrifice—and the political, social, and cultural motives and practices of even all the virtues of self-transcendence (including tolerance, compassion, love, service, self-discipline, and one-pointed devotion to That Sacred Reality and Authority Which inherently transcends, and even requires the transcendence of, the ego-self and even all limitations).
“civilization, in its present global achievement, is profoundly dissociated from its roots in the relational (or non-separative) virtues and practices inherent in cooperative, human-scale community”
In the present, globally expanded state of civilization, the principal sign of civilization itself is that it has, in the largest number of its sectors, effectively destroyed (or at least profoundly minimized) the root-motives, root-practices, and root-virtues of human life in its humanizing (or cooperative, human-scale community) mode—and, indeed, the principal sign of present-time civilization is, in general, that of the absence of cooperative, human-scale (and truly humanizing) community itself. The motive and practice of competitive individualism is itself the very motive and practice (or method) of egoity itself (or the separate and separative effort of existence). Therefore, civilization, in its present global achievement, is profoundly dissociated from its roots in the relational (or non-separative) virtues and practices inherent in cooperative, human-scale community, and it has, thus, “progressed” from its foundation in the cooperative, human-scale community politic, society, and culture (of cooperation, tolerance, self-transcendence, and sacred endeavor) to an “advanced” state wherein individual life (and, also, lesser collective life) is devoted to ego-based and ego-serving competitiveness within a thoroughly secularized and materialistic milieu of ends and means.
An ego-based civilization, like any ego-based individual, is suffering, seeking, and indulging in every kind of separate and separative effort toward mere survival and conditional satisfaction. Therefore, just as any individual who has become sunk in the patterns and results of egoity must become reformed (or released from the patterns and results of egoity, and, ultimately, Awakened to and in and as the necessarily Divine Truth That Is Reality Itself)—just so, any civilization that has become sunk in the patterns and results of egoity must become likewise reformed (and, ultimately, likewise Awakened). And the struggle by individuals and groups to practically re-establish human-scale, cooperative, and truly sacred community living is the necessary and principal revolution (or inherently benign and counter-egoic political, social, and cultural effort) whereby all human beings (even those under the most ordinary and limited circumstances) can, at the practical (political, social, and cultural) human level, purify themselves (and, more and more, even civilization itself) from the negative effects (including, ultimately, the loss of individual and collective integrity) that come (and have now come) with the expansion and universalization of civilization.
“there is a general tendency for community experimenters to try to create community on the basis of the same egoic principles that otherwise characterize the present civilization itself.”
Of course, some have, in the present context of civilization, already tried to revolutionize their “civilized” lives by engaging efforts toward human-scale community. Those efforts or experiments have met with varying degrees of practical and human success to date. However, far more is required to achieve cooperative, human-scale, and truly humanizing community than present and past experimenters generally suppose or have supposed. For example, in the present ego-bound context of global civilization, there is a general tendency for community experimenters to try to create community on the basis of the same egoic principles that otherwise characterize the present civilization itself. Thus, present-time community experimenters generally try to create community on the (supposedly egalitarian) basis of the motives of competitive individualism (or egoity itself), even though they also want to establish cooperative principles and cooperative structures. As a result, experimental community efforts often are degraded and defeated by competitiveness, the tendency to pander to egoic preferences and egoic dramatizations (often in the name of egalitarian idealism), and a characteristic fear of (or a rather adolescent rebellion against) authority, hierarchy, and the hierarchical culture of respect (which are necessary to any truly human and cooperative community order).
“There is a profound difference between true (and necessarily sacred) community and mere practical (political, social, and cultural) communalism “
There is a profound difference between true (and necessarily sacred) community and mere practical (political, social, and cultural) communalism (whether such is viewed to be secular or religious or even sacred in its nature and intention). A cooperative, human-scale, and truly humanizing community is necessarily and truly sacred, rather than merely secular (or otherwise not truly sacred). That is to say, such a community is necessarily based on the motive of self-transcendence (rather than on the motive of self-fulfillment), and, therefore, it is not based on the search to satisfy the ego-T and the egoic motives of any of its members, but it is based on the devotion of each and all of its members to That Which inherently transcends each and all.
True community is necessarily one-pointed. That is to say, it is not focused in service to (and fulfillment of) egos (or whatever is many and separate), but in service to (and Realization of) That Singleness Which inherently transcends egoity and every limitation. The Real does not rotate around each and all, but each and all are Called and Obliged to surrender self and to forget self in participatory Communion with the all-transcending, all-pervading, all-embracing, and necessarily Divine Reality. And it is only the response to this Call and Obligation that can purify and restore mankind, one by one, each and all, by means of the benign and truly humanizing political, social, and cultural revolution that is the establishment of truly sacred and truly cooperative human scale communities (and, by extension, the transformation of even the entire global civilization itself into a cooperative, rather than a merely competitive, world-order).