Western Civilization and Gandhi

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Wisdom in Western Civilization?

Assignment:
“Gandhi was asked what he thought about Western Civilization.  He replied 'I think it would be a good idea.'  Please comment referencing the various themes that we discussed in class - possibly from the perspective of Sophia.”

Course: Wisdom and Civilization, Garrison, NY. September 26th – 30th, 2011 For Credit towards my Master’s Degree in Wisdom/Spirituality with Wisdom University. Post-Paper by: Marie Trout marie@waltertrout.com

Abstract

Western Civilization has been successful in some ways and not so in others. It has relied heavily on dogma and been characterized by linear patriarchal institutionalization, centralization and hierarchy. Western Civilization is based on a worldview of “Doctrinism”. Here an attitude of “us versus them,” “right versus wrong” and “good versus evil” have been dominant attributes. The Wisdom inherent in Sophia and Gaia might help inform and connect us with our innate wisdom instincts as we move onto a path of new discovery while the old structures fall around us. A combination of both lessons from Western Civilization, the wisdom of Sophia and Gaia along with the new discoveries within quantum science, transpersonal psychology, nature resonance, astronomy, spirituality and much more will be needed as humanity trek ever onwards on its evolutionary road.

Introduction

“It is not nationalism that is evil; it is the narrowness, selfishness, exclusiveness which is the bane of modern nations which is evil. Each wants to profit at the expense of, and rise on the ruin of, the other.” (1) This quote from Gandhi sums up fairly well, what I think he hinted at with his tongue in cheek answer to the question about Western Civilization. Narrowness (of mind), selfishness, and sense of being “better than” are all mental attitudes that shape the thoughts, feelings and actions of every man, woman and child who have them. If these thoughts are and have been prevalent in a civilization obviously you see the results manifest in the kinds of actions that are taken by same civilization. I have looked at the historical background for some of these mental attitudes and a few other ones that I believe have contributed to shape the state and trajectory of Western Civilization today! I have also attempted to take a look at what a new World Civilization might a look like if we take these attitudes of narrowness, selfishness and exclusiveness out of the dominant societal equation. If humankind were to raise its consciousness level to live beyond these attitudes, what special prospects might be here for us precisely at this moment in time? What opportunities might be here that were never available to us before? How much more efficient might we be at creating new structures if we look to how far we have come without applying feelings of guilt? How do we connect to a forward-looking attitude that offers us the chance, skill, and know-how to create the world anew at this time of partial or total collapse of the old? Nature Dominance and Destruction in Western Civilization (Selfishness)

I have chosen to define Western Civilization as commencing around the fall of the Roman Empire and the simultaneous rise of the influence of the Christian faith in the early centuries AD. Before Christianity became a weapon for political advancement of the power structures of society, pagan human self-understanding was rooted in nature-based animism. In the pre-Christian Greco-Roman era man believed that there were spirits in nature that needed to be consulted and appeased before man could chop down a tree or plow a field. (2) The new Christian faith endorsed a philosophy that encouraged the human race to be indubitably in command over nature. This...
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