By T. Natarajan
Government is as old as the society. Governance is as recent as 1900. One is a fact of power. The other is a theoretical concept that precedes in Mind before humanity reduces it to a fact of experience. For the mental man, the latter assumes evolutionary significance of extraordinary value. Man when he realises that significance, acquires a Himalayan power to take his destiny into his own hands and organise his collective life with an inconceivably greater power. The birth of coinage, which has resulted in enormous floods of money, is one example of that phenomenon. Man’s mental powers always bring such great powers under his complete control, unless he chooses to be a slave of his own creation.
Around 1900 when Governance became a considerable theme for the elite minds, knowledge was ripe to frame itself into a comprehensive theory of human existence. It was given to the world as the philosophy of creation. The Times Literary Supplement reviewing the thesis, found in it all the essential values it contained. More than one Nobel Laureate commended it to the world. Around 1970, we, in the Society, launched ourselves on a theoretical application of that philosophy to social evolution and found it comprehensive as well as precise. It was presented to many leading lights of the world. Harlan Cleveland wholeheartedly responded to it and invited us to present it to the World Academy, when he saw the results of the theory expressed in the activities of the International Commission on Peace & Food (ICPF). Governance was a theme close to his heart. There was a possibility at that time of Governance becoming a dominant theme among the elite of the world, leading to effective action of installing a world government. Instead, the theme of employment took possession of the energies of the Commission, so the theme of Governance receded into the background.
The work of the Commission on employment was fully accepted by the Government of India in 1992, though it could be implemented only a decade later. In the international economic life, it was a great forward step. It is a rich reward that a high level executive of the ILO could see the same significance in it. Recently the Secretary General of the Club of Rome declared that the global challenge of Employment is of even greater urgency than climate change. European Commission President José Manuel Barosso observed that the solution to unemployment rests with economics of a wider base. It is our view that a human-centred economics will wipe out unemployment and the financial crisis will vanish into thin air. A greater significance for human existence on earth lies in the theme of Governance becoming a concept of clarity. It will be a Seed-Idea that is self-effectuating.
The launching of ICPF was from an inner perception of the conscious and sub-conscious panic generated in the world’s population by the confrontation between the nuclear superpowers in the 1980s. Our Theory, being comprehensive, told us that such an all-consuming passionate urge of the population will instantaneously fulfill itself. Still, it required a token formal organisational effort. Hence the formation of the Commission. The political response of a dramatic reduction in the number of nuclear warheads came a week before the first sitting of the Commission at Trieste.
While we were exercised by the theme of Governance, our theoretical perception was that the initiative must come from outside. It did come in December 2009 from an elderly European statesman as a ‘crazy’ idea. Our hope that it was an evolutionary idea – Seed-Idea – was abundantly confirmed by subsequent developments in economics and employment. A member of the Club of Rome has had occasion to comment on Money in a fashion that it could lead to a solution for the financial crisis. Our Theory emphatically lays down that it takes a very long time for the right perspective to be born, but once it is there, the solution for a longstanding knotty problem is soon achieved. Thus we see the importance of the concept of Governance.
The distance between a possibility and an actuality is very great in the affairs of human existence. In such circumstances, the Theory takes the position that Man−sincere determined Man, based on sincerity, supported by some similar forces−can hasten the result. The method advocated by the Theory is to evolve a concept of Governance that carries the strength and density of mental clarity.
Facts, thoughts, ideas, self-effectuating ideas which we call Seed-Ideas are sensational, mental, practical representations of the philosophic idea of Real-Idea, an idea that can readily accomplish itself. Facts are observed by our various senses. Mind coordinates two or more facts to generate a thought. Thus, a thought is a mental essence of physical observation. It is achieved by the faculty of thinking. Mind has over a dozen such faculties. Still the mind is more than its faculties or the sum of its faculties, to speak in Aristotelian terms. Ideas are the quintessence of thoughts achieved by the entire Mind in its exercise of wholeness of existence – sub-conscious and conscious. Such ideas have two parts – knowledge and will. One comprehends and the other executes. By a higher process made possible by life experience and more so by inner mental experience, the knowledge and will begin to blend and fuse, each accepting the role of the other in a greater measure. In that measure, mind becomes more effective, moving towards self-effectivity. Should the entire thought fully fuse with the will, the simple idea matures into a powerful Seed-Idea capable of initiating action.
Sincerity is the emotion of the deepest aspect of man. One may call it the emotion of the soul, if one is religious or philosophical. Sincerity is the emotional sensation of the whole embodied being. It never fails, knows no failure, cannot fail. An individual is more easily capable of arriving at his own sincerity than an organisation of many individuals. An organisation of such individuals, irrespective of the number, will have sincerity at the organisational level. Such an organisation accepting a Seed-Idea of Governance will be able to found a world government. Our great hope is when the idea evolves into a Seed-Idea, it is possible to evoke a response from men of sincerity for this goal. Of the many requirements of a Seed-Idea, I have been emphasising the value of its clarity. Clarity is the power of truth, a status that admits of no conflicts. Conflicts arise out of irrational bases. Harmony and consequent clarity result from rational premises. Such premises arise out of the historical progress of an idea. It gets fortified by the historical evolution of beliefs, organisations, technologies, social attitudes, localised ideals, bases of human personality, etc.
Government is a vital institution of power. Governance is a mental theoretical concept of evolving ideas. Our strategy is to create what we can, an Idea, and see whether the practical goal we have in mind can be accomplished from there. This article does not hope to be elaborate by entering into a detailed consideration of every facet of the concept. Its hope is to be indicative, not exhaustive. Since the idea of world government was effectively mooted after World War I and was precipitated as an organisation – the United Nations – after World War II, and the Mind of Humanity is far more mature now for this purpose, it is possible to accomplish this aim. For instance, the veto power which made the UN possible in 1945 in the then prevailing political tension has lost its rationale since the demise of the Cold War. Pressure of public opinion must be able to abolish the veto power of the Big Five and render the UN democratic. There is more than one world issue on which a UN initiative can achieve unanimity or a near absolute majority. Such organisational initiatives are of value. The thrust of Cadmus to fashion a comprehensive Seed-Idea will go a long way in that direction.
Great ideas have ruled the world. The greater ideas have sometimes initiated revolutions. Of them, the greatest idea was human freedom. In the earlier centuries, Europe was the world, at least to those who mattered in the world. In the severely structured society of Europe, the birth of freedom as a live concept of every man was unthinkable. But the progress of humanity needed freedom imperatively. The birth of America, the land of freedom in every sense, answered that aspiration. Man was utterly free in every sense of the word. His freedom was accompanied by an equal loneliness of existence. He could seek no help, as no one was around. He did accomplish abundantly in these conditions. His individual success was also economic success. It made possible his political emergence as an individual. Individuality is an especial possession of the Westerner. In Europe, it is mental individuality. In America the bias of individuality is towards material plenty. America realised the higher truth of civilisation that its essential bases are material prosperity and individual freedom. Today she is the evolutionary spearhead of global civilisation. For the same reason, fundamentalism is more pronounced there and international terrorism has made her the target of attack.
It was in 1862 that America took the extraordinary step of unifying her states, exhibiting a political acumen that was conspicuously absent in Europe. Only after the Second World War, Europe awoke to that reality and gave serious thought to the formation of the European Union. It is a historically significant fact that as the thought of unifying Europe gained momentum, as a parallel the USSR developed ideas of freedom of various descriptions. USSR dissolved when the EU became substantial. It is not always the founder of an idea or even a company who remains the leader throughout. Often a follower takes over. Democracy was born in England and it flourishes in the USA. Buddhism was born in India but does not survive there as it does in China and Japan. Science was born in Europe but it rules the world as technology nurtured in America. Because of a deeply developed cultural basis, Europe has the possibility of being the world political leader at least in thought. If that surmise is correct, initiative of thought about employment, economics, and governance coming from Europe carries credibility.
America has no positive leadership to offer the world in this regard. Her inability to solve the financial crisis, indifference to rising unemployment, and her attraction to monetary economics help her eminently to miss the political leadership she has been enjoying. As no longer an individual is going to be a leader, so also no nation is going to play that role. That role belongs to evolutionarily advanced ideas hereafter. Clarity of thought, especially when it becomes an idea where thought and will fuse, has a very great power of effectivity. The French language has grown in eminence, has been known to have intellectual precision. No wonder it spread all over Europe even into Russia. A mother in a Russian novel chastises her child for speaking in Russian and tells her to speak in French. Intellectual clarity carries within it the power to spread.
The philosophic theme of this article is that the whole cures any deficiency of the part. Politics is the whole of which economics is a part, and employment is a small part of the wider domain of economic life. Ushering in a global government generates the power of solving these minor problems. Government is the context that activates the politician. Politicians can cure the ills created by economists. A wider vision of economics solves the problems created by narrow inspiration.
I am heartened by a further prospect that comes into view by this conception. Man’s perception of good or evil is determined by the level of development he is in. There was a time when thunder was considered evil and dreaded. Since then electricity has been studied and harnessed to serve man with minimum harm and maximum benefit. Electricity is followed by electronics. There is no evil in society except that which appears as a result of man’s inability to handle the forces he unleashes. In this context, nuclear energy assumes significance. As man grows to be fully master of himself, the effectivity of evil lessens or is even transformed into good. Nuclear energy is the most powerful energy man has so far come by but, as it is, it is not as fully under his control as other forces, such as electricity. It is right that man only unleashes those forces that can serve him. To unleash a greater force, he must wait until he acquires the capacity to control it fully. Every force that was a hindrance at some time in the past became a help later. This can be understood as man’s mastery of these forces. It can be better understood as man’s self-mastery, a capacity to be unegoistic, unselfish. Nuclear energy stands the chance of serving humanity vastly in future when we have made the necessary psychological progress. Until then we must have the wisdom and patience to wait.
Nature has a way of presenting the greatest good as the greatest evil. Human progress can be measured in terms of knowledge, mastery over Nature, technology, organisation, authority, power, wealth, convenience or comfort. It can also be comprehended by his choice of good against evil, self-discipline to be utterly human− an innate propensity to be only good to others and reject opportunities to harm another life. Such an attitude removes the basis of suffering caused by unemployment. It is a moral or ethical attitude, which arises first as a functional attitude in society. If not now, in the immediate future, it is possible for man to acquire the capacity for self-denial. When this progress results in a technological advance that makes nuclear energy completely safe, we usher ourselves into a great future.
Every war clears the obstacles to progress. It is an idea known from the days of Heraclitus, seen to be true in 1950, confirmed in the declaration of the UNDP that the world progressed more after 1950 than during the previous five centuries. At the time of discovery of the atom bomb, there was such confidence between the super powers that leading scientists advocated US-Russian collaboration on the project. Peace was more in the atmosphere at the founding of the UN than tension and suspicion. It was a great opportunity to found a world government that was missed. A similar greater opportunity arose at the demise of the Cold War. Again it was a misfortune that the world failed to move towards human unity and a global effort to govern. Nature does not miss similarly. Those energies have gone to create the Internet which is systematically demolishing secrecy, individual ego, selfishness, etc.
Those were positive opportunities. Financial crisis, nuclear arms, climate deterioration, unemployment and terrorism are negative opportunities for sincere men to act. International NGOs have grown in number and importance. That constitutes the psychological basis for the organisation of global governance.
Three years ago our Society was represented at a conference on nuclear disarmament organised by an international NGO in Ottawa and chaired by a leading Canadian politician who worked for twenty years for the abolition of nuclear weapons. The conference delegates were so discouraged by the apparent failure and hopelessness of all efforts to eliminate these weapons that in frustration the chairman expressed willingness to wind up the organization. Our member who met him expressed the very opposite opinion of optimism. It was a period when no presidential candidate in the USA would speak of nuclear weapons. Shortly thereafter, the atmosphere changed. A chain of events was set in motion that culminated in an article in the New York Times by four former US Secretaries of State and Defense sounding a different note. All the democratic candidates for president in the 2008 elections came out in favor of nuclear disarmament. The Indian Prime Minister officially reconfirmed his country’s commitment to the same goal, contrary to the expectations of senior members of the nuclear movement. President Obama made a similar pronouncement at the UN. Now that frustrated Canadian politician has become a nominated candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. What leading politicians can do, it is my opinion, men of sincerity too can do.
The key lies with the politician, rather in politics. The move to abolish unemployment is not an economic issue, it is an issue of political significance. It strives to impart political content to democracy by ensuring political equality. Political equality has no reality without the basis of economic equality. Guaranteed employment is only the minimum; it is not full economic equality. Going further down, it is social equality of women, castes, and classes that make economic equality real. Equality before law has no substance if personal liberty is not adequately protected by the speedy redressal of grievances voiced by the affected citizens. It is the sacredness of liberty honoured that makes equality real and substantial.
To permit greed, selfishness, inequality, and egoistic attitudes in society by allowing the unregulated market to rule the roost is to be as blind as the French aristocracy in 1789. Political equality initiated by democracy, equality in economic opportunities ensured by regulated market, ready and unhesitating abolition of nuclear programmes of all descriptions are the need of the Hour. Blind men will be swept aside by the revolution of rising expectations brewing under the surface.