A New Kind of Social Science

Vladimir Dimitrov

University of Western Sydney














Chapter 8. (part)

 Spiritual and Ethical Dimensions of Self-organization

 In eating, sleeping, fearing and copulation men and beasts are alike;
man excelleth the beast by engaging in mindful explorations and
spiritual practices. So why should a man, if he be without
intelligence and spirituality, not be equal to the beast?

Excerpt from ancient Hindu Scriptures

Spirituality is a progressive awakening to the inner reality, which is other than our mind, emotions and body. It is an inner aspiration to know, to enter into contact and union with a greater reality beyond, which also pervades the universe and dwells in us, and, as a result of that aspiration, a turning, a conversion, a birth into a new being (Ghose, 1997).

Ethics is the science of morals: the branch of philosophy dealing with human character and conduct.

This chapter explores spiritual and ethical dimensions of the study of self-organization of human dynamics by bridging this study with the perennial wisdom of the Individual.

8.1 Unity in Dynamics 

The universe really is a motion and nothing else

Although the above sentence belongs to Plato, it is directly connected with the wisdom of Heraclitus (c540-480 BC) as expressed in his famous Panta Rei: everything is in flux. Contemporary physics entirely agrees with this Heraclitus; from the scale of quarks to the scale of stars everything seems to vibrate, move and flow.

Almost a century before Plato, Heraclitus said: "Upon those who step into the same river different and ever different waters flow down”: despite the changes (different waters), the unity (the river's flow) persists (Heraclitus, 2001). It is the motion, the changes, the dynamics, through which the unity of the universe manifests. The recognition of the existential unity in dynamics is an essential component of human spirituality and ethics of all times.

"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty" (Einstein, 1993).

By understanding that everything is united with everything else through a never-ceasing motion sustained by universal forces and energies, which keep the totality of existence - the wholeness of the all-embracing web of existential forms, phenomena and processes, - we are making our first step towards fulfilment of the task that Einstein speaks about in the above-quoted text. The motion is the vehicle, which the Universal needs in order to realize itself - its limitless self-organizing power - through the Individual.  

As far as the existential web has ever been, one can conclude that every manifested form has an infinite past based on infinity of relationships, which cannot exclude anything that existed, exists, or is liable to come into existence in future. This stream of thoughts has a strong spiritual connotation, as it reveals humans' interconnectedness with one another and with every other form, phenomenon, and process through motion: changes, evolution, transformation.

According to the oldest sacred text of the ancient Hindus, Rig Veda, (written in its present form between 1500 and 1000 BC), the existence 'started' with motion activated by “impregnators” and “powers”:

"The non-existent was not; the existence was not at that time. The atmosphere was not, nor the heavens which are beyond. What was concealed? Where? In whose protection? Was it water? An unfathomable abyss?... What was below, what was above? There were impregnators, there were powers: powers below, impulses above" (Diniger, 1982).

Powers and impulses ‘cooked’ the primordial soup on our planet and extracted out of it the first proteins and then the first cells and the first simplest organisms. After innumerable loops of the spiral of life - a spiral full of spontaneous emergences, bifurcations and transformations - the humans appeared. So we all were interconnected as potentialities in the common source of the flow of life on the planet, and we continue to be interconnected through this flow: we contribute to the changes of this flow, and its changes change us also.

Human beings’ interconnectedness does not mean sameness at individual level; every individual has unique ‘motion’, a unique path towards fulfilment of his or her urge to comprehend the Universal. The differences between the individuals, their uncommon singularities, feed the integrity of the web of their interrelationships and interactions. Each individual singularity reflects the urge of the Universal to realize a specific aspect of its infinite variety through the self-organizing dynamics of the Individual. Unfortunately, the Social obstructs the realization of this urge: along the whole history of the human society there have been always social forces trying persistently to kill the uniqueness of the Individual by imposing social orders based on oppression, exploitation and violence.

"If we fall only by a hair's breadth into the error of supposing that 'we' and 'they' are different things, not one, or supposing that all things are the same, not different, weariness and envy and shame and fear succeed one another in an endless train" (Zen).

You are welcomed to read the rest of the chapter in the book. Please, be so kind to tell us your e-mail, and we'll inform you immediately after the book is published. Thank you!




zules web design

zulenet © 1999-2003