Cooperative, Human-Scale Community
and the Integrity (Religious, and Altogether) of Civilization
an essay by
Adi Da Samraj
Cooperative, human-scale community (including, but not limited to, "family" relations) 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, human-scale 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 de-humanized, and (therefore) focused in egoic (and, in general, grossly and negatively, or lovelessly, competitive) 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 (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 North 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.
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 Divine (and more and more En-Light-ening) 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, non-competitiveness, true (or positive, rather than merely insipid) harmlessness, and positive (or ego-transcending, and other-serving, rather than merely self-negating) self-sacrifice—and, altogether (and most basically), those characteristics are 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 transcending of—the ego-self and even all limitations).
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, non-competitiveness, tolerance, positive harmlessness, 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, Most Perfectly Awakened To and In and As the Self-Evidently 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 Most Perfectly 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.
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 (whether such is viewed to be religious or, otherwise, secular in its nature and intention). A truly cooperative, truly human-scale, and truly humanizing community is necessarily and truly sacred (and even truly religious, and, at least potentially, Spiritually oriented, and, Ultimately, purposed toward the Most Perfect Realization of Real God, or Truth, or Reality Itself), rather than merely secular (or not truly sacred, religious, Spiritual, or purposed toward the Most Perfect Realization of Real God, or Truth, or Reality Itself). That is to say, a truly cooperative, truly human-scale, and truly humanizing community is necessarily based on the motive of ego-transcendence (rather than on the motive of ego-fulfillment)—and, therefore, it is not based on the search to satisfy the ego-"I" 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.
The human being is an apparently individual manifestation within a Totality that is an interdependent Unity. And the apparently individual human being, as well as all of the Totality-Unity in which he or she is appearing, is a merely apparent modification of That Which Is All-and-all-Transcending, One, and (Self-Evidently) Divine. Therefore, in his or her depth (and altogether), the human being, unless he or she becomes utterly self-contracted and (thereby) utterly ego-possessed, is inherently moved to transcend the ego-"I" (or all separateness and separativeness) in the Unity and, Ultimately, the One (or the Divine Source-Condition) In Which he or she, and all, is arising. And, because that is the case, the right and true human being is necessarily, in the right and true sense, religious (and politics, society, and culture, in order to be right and true, and in order to support and serve right and true human living, must, necessarily, also be, in the right and true sense, religious).
True religion is, at the level of its human interactive (political, social, and cultural) demonstration, necessarily a collective and communal (rather than a merely subjective, or internal, and private) exercise and process—and true religion must, therefore, be politically, socially, and culturally permitted to be so demonstrated. Therefore, one of the principal faults of the present "civilized" trend toward individualistic and materialistic democracy (or a political, social, and cultural "order" based upon competitive individualism, ego-glorification, anti-authority, anti-hierarchy, anti-unity, and anti-Wisdom) is that individualistic and materialistic democracy tends to individualize, secularize, and (at last) suppress religion itself—and, therefore, individualistic and materialistic democracy tends also to individualize, secularize, and (at last) suppress the necessarily collective and communal aspect of the exercise and process of religion. And, as a result of the "democratic" individualizing, secularizing, and (at last) suppressing of religion (and especially the collective, communal, and otherwise public exercise of religion), the enterprise of true community (truly cooperative, truly human-scale, and truly humanizing) is itself suppressed (or, in principle, excluded) in so-called "democratic" (or "egalitarian") societies.
True community is necessarily sacred, religious, and 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 Oneness and 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 egoic self and to forget egoic self in participatory Communion with the All-and-all-Embracing, All-and-all-Pervading, All-and-all-Transcending, and Self-Evidently Divine Truth and Reality. And it is only the devotional 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).
And love is the key to this necessary change. Love is ego-surrendering, ego-forgetting, and (always more and more) ego-transcending participation in the Indivisible Oneness and Wholeness and Singleness That Is Real God, and Real Truth, and Reality Itself. Therefore, love is also right living. And that love which is right living is not ego-based, independent, separative, competitive, and non-cooperative. Therefore, that love which is right living is the active (and co-operative) aspiration toward egoless (or non-separative) participation in Real God (or Truth, or Reality Itself), and in relational humanity, and in even all the all (and All) there is.
The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya Pty Ltd.,
as trustee for The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya,
claims perpetual copyright to all photographs and
the entire Written (and otherwise recorded)
Wisdom-Teaching of Avatar Adi Da Samraj and
the Way of the Heart, or Adidam.
© 2000 The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya Pty Ltd.,
as trustee for The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya.
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Used in DAbase by permission.
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