|Dr. Robert Puff|
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"Paragonian ... denotes the essence of Advaita..."
The Paragonian Manifesto
This book is the manifesto for the Paragonian Society and the Sharing Economy, which, if we can all work harmoniously together with a common vision, will come into being as the global economy self-destructs between 2009 and 2014.
The major reason why no government or business corporation is yet prepared for this evolutionary inevitability is that Western civilization, which dominates the world through the global economy, is a culture living in a fantasy world, far removed from Reality. The situation we face in the world today is rather like the Dark Ages prior to the great scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries introduced through Nicolaus Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton.
Despite the great increase in creature comfort that has been provided by scientific discoveries since then, in some ways we are even further in the dark, less enlightened, than so-called primitive, indigenous societies. For no civilization in human history has been more separate from the Truth than the West is today. So nothing less than a collapse of the system that brings us our daily bread will be enough to bring us all back to our senses. Otherwise, we shall be driven to extinction before we have returned Home to Wholeness, the glorious culmination of evolution.
Of course, many people base their sense of security and identity in life on the global economy. So the imminent breakdown of capitalism might seem rather frightening, bringing up existential fears. But these fears arise from the delusions under which the West is living: from the sense of separation we feel from God, from Nature, and from each other.
As a consequence, the West is a culture in denial, the denial of death. Yet we cannot be fully alive if we are afraid of death, for life and death are just two sides of the same coin. The forthcoming end of civilization as we know it is not something to fear. On the contrary, it is the only chance the children born in this millennium have of growing old enough to have children of their own.
And this can only come about through the power of Love, which is our true Essence, realized when we are free of the fear of death. For God is Love: true, impersonal Love, which has no opposite. Through the power of Love and Life, we thus have the golden opportunity at this critical time in human history for a renaissance, the creation of a peaceful, vibrant society that gives everyone on this planet the chance to realize their fullest potential as human beings.
To denote such a loving, fearless society, which has long been the dream of humanity, the word paragonian derives from the Greek words para, beyond, and agon, contest or conflict, which is also the root of agony and antagonistic. Paragonian thus means beyond conflict and suffering, a healthy, liberated, and awakened way of being that we can realize when we are both unified with the Divine and integrated with the Cosmos; when we base our lives firmly and squarely on our immortal Ground of Being. Paragonian thus denotes the essence of Advaita (not-two) in a word with a Western etymology.
The word manifesto derives from the Latin manufestus,
literally struck with the hand, meaning clearly
apprehensible. So the purpose of this manifesto, which is
based on the principles of conceptual clarity, simplicity,
consistency, and integrity, is to make quite clear the central
issues facing the human race today, free of any assumptions,
beliefs, and conditioning that have been passed on to us by our
less than fully conscious forebears. This book is called a
manifesto because it is intended as a nondualistic, spiritual
response to The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl
Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848, shortly before the great
Being natural is the motto of the Paragonian Society. Being is in contrast to becoming and having, inspired by Erich Fromms To Have or To Be? The word natural derives from the Latin word nasci, to be born. Since everything in the relativistic world of form is born from our divine Source, to be natural is to live in union with the Divine, free from the beliefs and inhibitions that prevent us from realizing our true Essence.
This is the natural innocence of Adam and Eve, who were naked but not ashamed in the mythical Garden of Eden. So when we live naturally, we have the inner strength to be utterly naked and vulnerable, free of the armour-plating we use to protect ourselves from supposed danger. Even our language reflects the fact that we are all hiding from each other and ourselves, for the word person derives from the Latin persona, meaning actors mask. Being natural is also the innocence of childhood before Intelligence, our essential nature, is stifled by our parents, priests, and teachers. For, as the Sufi poet, Rumi, has said, Love is the sea where the intellect drowns.
I am fortunate in this respect, because ever since I was eight years of age, in 1950, I have known that if we human beings were ever to live in love and peace with each other, we would need to end the war that has been raging between science and religion for the past few hundred years. Now the words God and Universe both mean Wholeness in some sense. But there is nothing in the world of learning today that shows how these fundamental contextual concepts can be reconciled. And without an overall interpretative context for our lives, how can we ever know whether what we are being taught is true or not?
Since we can only live in peace and harmony with each other by unifying the concepts of God and Universe, I have spent a lifetime asking awkward questions, like a child, questioning all the scientific, religious, and economic assumptions of the culture I was born into. I could therefore learn very little at school and university, because my intuition told me that what I was being taught would not lead me to Wholeness and the Truth, and hence to Love and Peace and Life and Freedom. As a result, I have retained the innocence of childhood throughout my life; nearly everything I have learnt about myself and the world I live in I have learnt since I was thirty-eight years of age.
To cut a very long story short, I now realize that the concepts of God and the Universe can be unified in Consciousness. For Consciousness is all there is, as the Advaita sage and former President of the Bank of India, Ramesh S. Balsekar, reiterates many times in Consciousness Speaks. This means that everything in the relativistic world of form is just an appearance in or abstraction from Consciousness. The hard problem of consciousness studies, first identified by David Chalmers in 1995 (How is it that consciousness arises from the brain?), is not a difficult problem to solve; it is impossible.
The essence of the revolution in human consciousness and human culture that such organizations as What Is Enlightenment? magazine are promoting today is thus to establish the scientific truth that the physical universe is an epiphenomenon of Consciousness, rather than the other way around. In the West, the tail is wagging the dog; the cart is before the horse. So the fundamental challenge of our times is to turn the West inside out, to put it back onto its feet, for today it is standing on its head. In this way, we can unify the rationality of the West with the mysticism of the East and thus get the benefit of both worlds.
To establish the scientific truth that Consciousness is the primary reality, indeed the only true Reality, we need to solve the ultimate problem in science: to create a coherent body of knowledge that describes all the forces in Nature (both physical and nonphysical) within a single, all-encompassing framework. This book provides an introduction to this Theory of Everything, the framework for which is a holographic, nonaxiomatic, self-reflective system of thought, which has evolved from the semantic modelling methods used by information systems architects in business.
In order to distinguish this comprehensive synthesis of all know-ledge from the partial theories of everything being developed by such people as Stephen W. Hawking and Ken Wilber, I call the Theory of Everything panosophy, from the Greek word pansophos, meaning all-wise. Panosophy is not a new word. The Oxford English Dictionary records that it was used as early as 1642, albeit with a slightly different spelling, to mean universal or cyclopædic knowledge; a scheme or cyclopædic work embracing the whole body of human knowledge.
Panosophy is thus the Ultimate Cosmic Vision revealed to
It is important to recognize that panosophy is not science, philosophy, or religion, in the sense that these words are understood today. Panosophy is the discipline of learning that unifies all the religions, philosophies, and sciences in all cultures in both East and West. So panosophy is science, philosophy, and theology; all three: there is no separation between them, no No Mans Land between science and theology, which delimited the domain for what Bertrand Russell called philosophy in History of Western Philosophy. Panosophy thus embraces theosophy, anthroposophy, and all the other osophies, ologies, and isms.
To think of panosophy as just another discipline of learning
is a fundamental category mistake, to use Gilbert Ryles
term. Ryle used the concept of
As none of us is omniscient, to bring all knowledge into universal order we need a framework, rather like Descartes system of coordinates for Euclidean space. The framework for this synthesis of all knowledge is called relational logic because it has arisen through the action of what Heraclitus, the mystical philosopher of change, called the Logos, the rational organizing principle of the Universe, and because it has evolved from the relational model of data introduced by Ted Codd of IBM in 1970, augmented by object-oriented modelling methods.
It is the purpose of this book to introduce panosophy and relational logic and to show how they can be used to rebuild the infrastructure of society on Love and Peace, Life and Freedom, Wholeness and the Truth, Consciousness and Intelligence, and Stillness and Emptiness, all these words being capitalized to denote union with the Divine, with the Absolute.
From an economic perspective, the basic reason why neither Marxs materialism, in particular, nor the Wests materialism, in general, is appropriate for our times is the invention of the stored-program computer in the middle of the last century. While the computer might be made from sand and bits of metal, it is essentially a tool of thought. The computer extends our mental abilities, in contrast to the many tools we have developed over the millennia to extend our rather limited physical abilities, such as the flint axe, the wheel, the steam engine, the telephone, and the aeroplane. So no science based on physics can possibly help us understand what it truly means to be a human being in contrast to our machines. This has been acknowledged by Stephen W. Hawking, who said in his multimillion best-seller, A Brief History of Time, perhaps with tongue in cheek, we have, as yet, had little success in predicting human behaviour from mathematical equations!
Even though Marx was concerned with the development of the whole person, what panosophy reveals is that neither capitalism nor communism is appropriate for the Information Age we are now in. In particular, neither ideology reflects a nondualistic, spiritual society living in love, peace, and harmony with itself and its environment. Neither is adapting to the accelerating rate of evolutionary change that we are experiencing today. And no species that does not adapt to its changing environment can expect to survive for very long. So we need a radically new way of managing our business affairs, which we can call the Sharing Economy, the means of conducting business in the Paragonian Society.
Panosophy shows that it is not true that technological development can drive economic growth indefinitely, the basic assumption of capitalism. All evolutionary growth processes follow an S-shape, as has been observed by scientists from DArcy Wentworth Thompson, through C. H. Waddington and Stephen Jay Gould, to Peter Russell. Growth begins slowly, then accelerates exponentially, eventually coming to a limit, at which point growth slows down and reverses. In particular, in contrast to human potential, we cannot continue developing both hardware and software indefinitely. They have a limit, which will be reached within the next ten years. Reaching this limit, together with the growing oil crisis, will be quite enough to bring the global economy crashing around our ears.
But how are we to make the transition from the viciously competitive global economy to the cooperative Sharing Economy? Well, to develop a manifesto and strategy appropriate for our rapidly changing times, we must obviously challenge Marxs view of social change. As a communist, Marx was a dualistic materialist at war with capitalism, a dualistic, materialistic economic ideology. Influenced by Hegels dialectical materialism, Marx believed that social change comes about through conflict, specifically, in his case, through class warfare between the proletariat and the ruling capitalistic authorities. He thought that this theory of social change was the basis for the laws of motion of society, just as Newton had published the laws of motion of physical bodies in 1687 with the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.
But Marx was writing before Darwins theory of evolution, before the revolution in psychological understanding begun by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, before the invention of the stored-program computer, before David Bohms reconciliation of relativity and quantum theories in his path-breaking theory of the implicate order, and before a large number of people in the West turned to the East for spiritual fulfilment. So Marxs claim was ill-founded. But this does not mean that it is not possible to develop the laws of motion of society, as Karl Popper asserted in The Poverty of Historicism.
To develop the laws of motion of society, we can first turn to Newton, who showed with his famous equation F=ma, which many of us learned at school, that if a body in motion is to accelerate, a force must be applied to it. So are there any forces that are causing the pace of evolutionary change to accelerate exponentially? Indeed, there are. But they are nonphysical, ultimately emanating from our divine Source, from what Christians call God the Creator.
So if we are to manage our business affairs with full consciousness and intelligence of what we are doing, it is of the utmost importance that we develop a radically new science that can unify these nonphysical energies, whether they be mental, psychic, subtle, spiritual, or whatever, with the four forces recognized by the physicists: gravitational, electromagnetic, and weak and strong nucleic forces. Otherwise we shall just continue running our business lives blindfold, rather like driving our cars down the highway with our eyes closed at ever-increasing speeds, a situation that can only lead to disaster.
By creating this synthesis of all the energies at work in the Universe, evolution is becoming fully conscious of itself, as Julian Huxley and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin observed. Panosophy includes a comprehensive science of evolutionary change, able to explain where we human beings have come from and where we are all heading in such a frantic rush. It thus describes the laws of motion of society that Marx mistakenly thought he had found. And this understanding will bring about a revolution in consciousness that will lead to a cultural revolution even more radical than Marx or any of his successors envisaged.
To understand what is happening to the human race today, we need to recognize that each of us is the product of some fourteen billion years of evolution. If all the atoms, molecules, cells, plants, animals, species, and cultures had not evolved over all these years, none of us would be where we are today, living in the way we do. So we do not have the free will to control our destiny or even our lives, either as individuals or as a species. In the oft-repeated words of Ramesh S. Balsekar and many other spiritual teachers, there is no doership, no separate entity, including the Divine, that can be said to be doing anything. So we can see that the Universe is designed, but there is no designer thereof.
Nevertheless, the more we understand about the evolutionary processes that govern our learning, and hence our behaviour, the more we can live in love, peace, and harmony with each other and our environment. That essentially is what is happening to the human race today, although you would not know it from reading the newspapers or watching television. Even though the people working in the media long for Wholeness and the Truth as much as anyone else, they seem to delight in telling us about the wars raging around the world, whether the weapons are guns, money, or concepts, largely ignoring and even ridiculing the efforts of those attempting to live in Love and Peace, free from conflict and suffering.
This means that if the human race is to survive the collapse of the global economy, this can only happen through what might look like a miracle viewed from todays world. But from the perspective of panosophy, it is not a miracle at all. What is due to happen is that a gigantic earthquake is going to erupt in the depths of the ocean of Consciousness, which will emerge on the surface as a tsunami, a great wave that will sweep away all delusions before it. This is the only way to avoid extinction before the human race as a whole has reached its highest potential as a species.
The transition to the Paragonian Society and the Sharing Economy will thus be as much revolutionary as evolutionary in character. Humanity is set to pass through a discontinuity in evolution; to take a great leap in consciousness, a vision that Peter Russell, in particular, has been promoting for many years. This is essential if we are to reach what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called the Omega point of evolution at the end of time, when all the diverse strands of evolution converge in one great megasynthesis.
So what is it like to live at the Omega point of evolution, and how do we get there? To answer the second question first, we cannot get there from here, from where most of us live our lives today. This is because the ultimate destiny of evolution is not anything in the world of form: it is Wholeness, ineffable, nondual Wholeness, the union of all opposites. It is therefore not the purpose of our lives to have successful careers, to become leaders of our countries, religions, universities, or businesses, to become famous film stars or singers, or to win Olympic gold medals, for instance, or even to bring up a family. The purpose of life is to unify all opposites. This is the ultimate yoga, for the Sanskrit word yoga, which is cognate with the English words yoke and join, means union.
Living at the Omega point of evolution is exquisitely beautiful, for we see and feel a world of the utmost simplicity and elegance, encapsulated in the sentence Wholeness is the union of all opposites. We have reached Home and realize that at no instant in our lives have we ever left Home, a realization expressed in these words of John the Divine: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. We thus know the ineffable Truth with absolute certainty, when all doubts and fears disappear.
Furthermore, we do not belong anywhere, to any particular planet, species, religion, race, nation, business enterprise, or sex. Rather, we belong everywhere. This is because our own individual consciousness has become so deep and broad that it is coterminous with Consciousness itself. But this does not mean that learning stops, for Consciousness has no limits or borders within it. It simply means that we realize that there is actually nothing to learn, for the Universe is, in essence, empty: what the Buddhists call shunyata. So what we do learn is Wholeness begetting Wholeness of ever greater depth.
This is what the architect Christopher Alexander calls the quality without a name in The Timeless Way of Building, a wonderfully wise book that, together with A Pattern Language, is having a profound effect on information systems development in business today. For when wholes beget wholes, our creative processes mimic Nature, like the growth of our own bodies. It is in this way that we can build the Sharing Economy when the cut-throat global economy self-destructs around the turn of this decade.
The moral imperative of our times is therefore to live in union with all opposites, including the most fundamental opposites of all, nonduality and duality. Failure to do this is a violation of the basic design principle of the Universe and inevitably leads to conflict and suffering. So the cultural transformation that we are engaged in today cannot come about by fighting, as Marx believed, and many others still do.
For instance, the war between al-Qaeda and the Christian capitalists, the street battles between the globalization protesters and the police, and the acrimonious arguments between political parties are all expressions of dualism, and cannot possibly lead to the nondualistic Paragonian Society. All these conflicts indicate that the participants are not yet grounded in the Truth, for Truth fears no questions, an aphorism I saw printed on a mans T-shirt on the train from Stockholm to Gothenburg in the spring of 2004.
And, as J. Krishnamurti pointed out in The Awakening of Intelligence, it does not need two to have a conflict: it needs only one. So when we know the Truth, what Krishnamurti aptly called a pathless land in 1929 when dissolving the organization that wanted to make him a world teacher, there is no longer any need to attack or defend anything. It is the Truth that sets us free, free from conflict and suffering, as Jesus of Nazareth taught. We can therefore only realize our fullest potential as individuals and as a species through the action of Life, through nondual Love, Consciousness, and Intelligence.
We can liken this evolutionary process to a pot of water being put on to boil. As the heat increases, the molecules of water become more and more agitated. Eventually one molecule escapes from the pot as steam, to be followed by more and more molecules, until at the end the pot boils dry. Now it is quite impossible at the micro level to predict in which sequence the molecules of water will turn into steam. But at the macro level, we can predict with some certainty that all the water in the pot will eventually evaporate.
So it is with evolution. As individuals, we are like the molecules in the pot of water. When looking at society as a whole, it is not possible to say which individuals will begin to embody the principles of the emerging civilization before the others. This is a quite arbitrary, random phenomenon. However, what we can predict with reasonable certainty is that eventually most individuals in society will make this cultural transformation. For evolution as a whole is not random; it has a final purpose: to lead us all, as a species, back to the mystical sense of Wholeness where evolution began.
I know this because I am a molecule that has already escaped from the pot of boiling water, even though I have to return to the pot sometimes to supplement my pension. Between April 1980, when I was employed marketing management information systems for IBM in the UK, and October 1983, this being that I am passed through a discontinuity in evolution; I took a quantum leap in consciousness. A gigantic, apocalyptic explosion took place in my psyche as all the diverse streams of fourteen billion years of evolution converged within me. By conducting an experiment in learning from the very beginning, completely free of all previous teachings and traditions, I had returned Home to Wholeness.
It was, at once, the most exciting and scary period of my life, which is well denoted by the word awesome, which can mean both fearful and wonderful. In this respect, my experience was similar to that of Arjuna, who said, on being shown the Ultimate Cosmic Vision, I rejoice in seeing you as you have never been seen before, yet I am filled with fear by this vision of you as the abode of the universe. In a similar manner, nothing that I had learnt at school, at university, or in business could explain my experiences. It has taken over twenty years of spiritual, philosophical, and scientific inquiry of the utmost depth and breadth to fully understand my life experiences in the interpretative context of Wholeness.
Nevertheless, at this early stage of my awakening, liberation, and healing, I was sufficiently aware that I was a progenitor of an eschatological epoch that would come into being when the global economy collapsed as my children reached their late thirties, about the age I was when I first had this vision in 1979. To give this nondualistic, peaceful culture a name, I coined the word paragonian on 29th October 1984, following several weeks spent searching Greek and Latin dictionaries in Wimbledon library in London.
Since then, Life has taught me to integrate all knowledge in all cultures and disciplines at all times, past, present, and future, into a coherent whole. As a consequence, my experiences now make complete sense. My being embraces a coherent body of knowledge that corresponds to all my experiences from the mystical to the mundane, which is how I define science.
When we study evolution as a whole, from beginning to end, we can see that humanity is currently at the threshold of the most momentous turning point in human history. As the visionaries have prophesied, we are entering an eschatological, mystical epoch of superconsciousness and superintelligence, based solidly on the immortal Ground of Being.
This talk of apocalyptic end times, of an epoch of quite exquisite beauty, might bring up thoughts of some saviour emerging in the world at what the Christians call a time of tribulation. Indeed, there was an extensive article on this subject by Carter Phipps in the Spring/Summer 2003 issue of What is Enlightenment? magazine.
As Carter tells us, the Jews expect the Messiah, the Christians the second coming of Christ, together with the anti-Christ, the Muslims the Mahdi, the Hindus the Kalki Avatar, and the Buddhists Maitreya. But no such being is going to appear, for two reasons. First, in the Paragonian Society, all these religions, which with the notable exception of Buddhism have been the cause of all the holy wars throughout human history, will have disappeared. For when we are all grounded in ineffable, nondual Wholeness, there will no longer be any need for holy wars, wars about the Whole. And as the Advaita sage and former medical practitioner Vijai Shankar has said, the truly religious person is one with no religion.
Secondly, we are all the products of some fourteen billion years of evolution. So our personal lives are inextricably entwined with everyone elses through what Rupert Sheldrake calls morphic resonance. We dont have the autonomy that we think we have. Nevertheless, we are all responsible, as individuals, for the evolution of our species, for handing on to our children a world that is fit for them to live in. As Andrew Cohen, the founder and editor-in-chief of What is Enlightenment? magazine, has said in Freedom Has No History, to succeed, we must be prepared to do battle with the powerful conditioning, conscious and unconscious, of the whole race. That means that we have to come out of the shadows and be seen. Like Atlas, we have to be willing to hold the whole world on our own shoulders. Its an awesome task.
This means that democracy, as we know it today, will disappear in the Paragonian Society. For ego-centred democracies are tyrannous, as Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill pointed out some 150 years ago in Democracy in America and On Liberty, respectively. Furthermore, when we vote in elections for politicians to represent our fragmented and selfish views of the world, we give away our power. Then no one is responsible for the state of the world, neither the politicians nor the electors, as Barry Long points out in Only Fear Dies.
To what extent we, as individuals, can already take responsibility for the evolution of the whole human race depends on two major factors:
1. How free are we of the religious, scientific, economic, and personal conditioning that prevents us from seeing our lives just as they are, that inhibits us from reaching our fullest potential as individuals and hence as a species?
2. How far have we come in overcoming the fragmentation of the world of learning, both East and West, and consequently learnt to integrate all knowledge in all cultures and disciplines at all times into a coherent whole?
The first of these two factors is a prerequisite for the second. For we can only see what is happening to humanity at the present time when we remove the blindfolds from our eyes. The old has to die before the new can be born. To return Home to Wholenessthe union of all oppositesit is necessary to start afresh at the very beginning. In Hindu terms, Shiva the destroyer must act before Brahma the creator can manifest a comprehensive world-view solidly grounded in the Truth, thus accommodating our mystical experiences.
In order for this book to appeal to as wide a readership as possible, it contains a minimum of technical detail, without endnotes, references, or index. For those wishing to study panosophy, which provides the gnostic, ontological, and epistemological foundations for the Paragonian Society and the Sharing Economy, an 800-page work of scholarship is in preparation. This is called Ineffable, Nondual Wholeness: The Union of All Opposites. A draft description of relational logic, the framework for panosophy, is available for download from http://www.paragonian.org/wholeness.html.
During the twenty-four years that these books have been evolving, answering questions I first raised fifty-four years ago, I have lived predominantly in two worlds: the world of information systems development in business, and the world of enlightened beings teaching the truth of life on Earth. So the union of reason and mysticism described in this book naturally reflects this personal background.
However, the essence of this book is Love and Consciousness, which we all share, regardless of the specialist roles that we play in society. So I trust that if you are an academic, medical practitioner, politician, accountant, priest, therapist, or whatever, you will find something in this book that you can relate to.
This is a very concentrated book, sometimes summarizing in just a few paragraphs what might need several chapters or even books to describe in full. Maybe, on occasion, I have oversimplified. But I am an explorer and adventurer in the world of learning, and it is this approach to learning that I am attempting to convey. So while I welcome feedback on any misconceptions and errors of fact that might have crept into my writings, I would encourage you to explore for yourself any of the points that particularly interest you, remembering that the overall message of this book is ineffable, nondual Wholeness, in which the particular words pale into insignificance.
As this book describes what is essentially an Eastern world-view using Western scientific language, you should note that I sometimes use words whose meanings are somewhat different from dictionary definitions. English, like the other European languages, reflects a dualistic, materialistic, and mechanistic world-view that is far removed from Reality. So I have needed to create a few new words and change the meanings of a number of words in order to describe a world-view that is based on the Truth. To avoid too much confusion here, my general approach is to reveal the root meaning of words: what David Bohm called the archæology of language. It is interesting to note that these original meanings of words are often much closer to the Truth than modern meanings, indicating that the ancients were closer to Nature than we are today.
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