Audacity of Tolerance
Is Human Race Edging Closer to Self-Destruct?
Pradeep B. Deshpande*
*Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering, University of Louisville, & President and CEO, Six Sigma & Advanced Controls, Inc., Louisville, KY 40222 USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
March 1 2015
Thank you, Pradeep, for sharing your article.
It is beautifully written—very intelligently expressed.
Warm wishes-John Hagelin
Dr. John Hagelin is a renowned quantum physicist and three-time presidential nominee
April 4 2015
Thanks for sending your article “The Audacity of Tolerance.” Although its ways of thinking are very different from mine (and from that of most scientists), it is interesting just because of that difference. We need many perspectives on the world’s problems-Ken Ford
Dr. Kenneth W. Ford is a renowned theoretical physicist and a member of the team that developed the H-Bomb.
On the eve of the Republic Day 2015, President Pranab Mukherjee of India counseled, religion cannot be made a cause of conflict.1 A couple of days later while still in India, President Barack Obama spent nearly half of his 40-minute speech focusing on the need to protect the right to practice religious beliefs.2 At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC in early February, President Obama touched on the issue again saying religious intolerance would have shocked Bapu.3 In the same speech he also talked about the acts of intolerance by Christians in the middle ages during the Inquisition and Crusades. Examples of racial and religious intolerance are not as uncommon even in today’s United States. A former European Commission Chief also expressed his view, religious Intolerance is a cause for concern.4 A comment from India’s Supreme Court wondering how long India will stay secular adds weight to the foregoing concerns5. The Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah raised a related concern, the caste system is hindering the goal of social justice.6 At the United Nations in September 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his speech referring to Vasudaiva Kutumbhakam, the World is the Family. He recently vowed to crackdown on religious intolerance7. The Indian print media carried more articles on these topics8-9. The latest to add his voice of serious concern is celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking. In a recent article he is quoted as saying, the human failing he would most like to correct is aggression, which could destroy us all. Human aggression could bring a nuclear war that would end civilization and perhaps the human race. Instead, humans should have more empathy, to bring us together in a peaceful, loving state10.
Does intolerance have a remedy? Can the impending catastrophe be avoided? Yes, it does and yes it can, but strange as it may sound, the path forward for progress has to begin with a quest to understand what is ultimately real. Ultimate Reality must be invariant, uniform, undifferentiated, the same everywhere, not vary from one perspective to another, and be the same for all observers. Prodded by her beloved dad in 1995, rebellious Jewish-American teenager Amanda Gefter embarked on a journey to understand the meaning of nothing and how nothing becomes something. That necessitated her to embark on a quest to unravel the mystery of what is ultimately real. A renowned quantum physicist offered the Gefter’s an important clue in 2002. At a physics colloquium organized to commemorate the 90th birthday of John Archibald Wheeler at Princeton, the Gefter’s asked Wheeler a question, If observers create reality, where do observers come from? Wheeler responded: Physics; The Universe is a self-excited circuit (I interpret Wheeler’s comment to mean, no one really knows the answer to Gefter’s question). Reflect on what the Rig Veda says (Nasadiya Sukta -10.130): Whence all creation had its origin whether he fashioned it or whether he did not, he, who surveys it all from highest heaven, he knows-or maybe even he does not know (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasadiya_Sukta). Elated at hearing this, Amanda made a note to herself, Wheeler thinks the universe came out of nothing. In the decade-odd journey leading up to her path-breaking book, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn11 Amanda dined with Nobel Laureates, interacted with dozens of renowned physicists, and exchanged emails with the likes of Stephen Hawking. In her book, Amanda offered a startling conclusion, nothing is ultimately real. The Ultimate Reality is the Nothingness of the Void.
Christian American theoretical physicist James P. Kowall, PhD, (Brown University), turned medical doctor, MD (Miami University) board certified in Neurology, Internal Medicine, and Sleep-disorder Medicine) left private practice in suburban Eugene, Oregon some years ago to devote time to search for the ultimate reality. Inspired by the work of the Late Nisarga Datta, the author of “I Am That” and the work of Shankara, Jim offered an equally mind-blowing conclusion: The nature of the ultimate reality cannot be anything else but undifferentiated consciousness (Brahmanic consciousness).12
We, the 6 ½ billion inhabitants of Earth have three levels of consciousness: wakeful-state, sleep-state, and dream-state. Then there is a fourth state of consciousness, Atmanic consciousness, (Differentiated consciousness) which is our true self. In Mahayana Buddhism there is something called The Indra’s Net. This invisible net is deemed to connect everything in the universe to everything else. Western scientists have conducted experiments in recent decades showing that everything in the universe is in fact connected to everything else even though not physically linked13. It is so connected with a field of energy that has enormous intelligence in that it responds to the power of human emotion. Therefore, we may connect to this field using emotion as the language of communication. The Nobel-Prize winning discovery of DNA by Watson and Crick permits us to show this linkage since their work now makes it possible to study how something within ourselves, emotions, affects our own selves by locating our living DNA at a remote location. The weakening of this connection leads to all sorts of problems from health & wellness, to sub-par performance in all walks of life, to interpersonal relationship, to poor leadership, and to acts of intolerance & violence. In the just-released book, The Nature of Ultimate Reality…14 we present the wherewithal of how to restore the link and reap a myriad of benefits.
For now, this is the best science comprehends the mystery of the universe and the mystery of life. The three individuals referenced here are from three different faiths and nowhere in the scientific analysis has the name of God been invoked, let alone religion, although it is perfectly acceptable if you wish to do so. Proselytizing might be a case of the blind leading the blind. If any of the proselytizing religions claim the capacity to discern truth from falsehood, it can be easily tested. The last chapter in our book on the Nature of Ultimate Reality is titled Science and Spirituality: A Perfect Standoff. As coauthor Jim Kowall puts it, the mathematics remains the same, interpretation is different.
At the fundamental level, if the mystery of the universe and the mystery of life is all about consciousness, emotions, energy, vibrations, and frequency, then, why is it that there is so much intolerance in the world on whatever basis, be it race, religion, caste, or something else? We have a bit more work to do to get to the bottom of this. Each of us human beings has three components of the mindset: S, R, and T that defines who we are. These components in turn are related to two emotions: positive emotions and negative emotions. Positive emotions strongly correlate with the S component and negative emotions correlate with the R and T components. The definitions are at the end of the article. Empathy and love in Stephen Hawking’s plea are positive emotions. Our actions in life, whether an act of kindness or an act of hatred, are directly related to the proportion of these three components. So, the next time you encounter an act of intolerance on any basis, contemplate on the three components, not on race, religion, or caste. If you are religious-minded, you will see that the messenger you are the fondest of has made reducing the R and T components and raising the S component the single most important mission of their lives. When contemplating on Ghar Wapsi, think of why someone left, get to the root cause, and fix them. The problem will take care of itself.
The oft-quoted remark No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it may not be exactly what Albert Einstein said but going by what the New York Times quoted him as saying (May 25, 1946. P. 13), a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels, he probably would have subscribed to it. At another point, Einstein is reported to have said, A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, his feelings, as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a select few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty15.
For reasons that are not entirely amenable to logical scrutiny, the three components of the mindset undergo transformation over time and that induces the rise and decline of societies. The Adhyatmic among us will say that transformation of the mindset occurs because of our Karmas, past and present, but a six sigma professional would be equally correct to attribute it to common cause variability (unknown or uncontrollable causes)16. As the average S component of a society increases, the society rises reaching a peak when the T component begins to increase and the society declines. Nothing in these laws precludes an individual in any society at whatever stage of rise and decline from rising to the fullest extent possible for a human being and experientially realize his true self. The unavoidable transformation of the mindset of societies lends support to the apprehension of Prof. Hawking regarding nuclear weapons. As we mentioned in the book on the Nature of Ultimate Reality14, What might the societies in possession of weapons of mass destruction do when they decline and their R and T become dominant?
In the newspaper columns cited, two types of emotions are self-evident: Dissolution, despair, a feeling of helplessness, and a sense that saying the right things might somehow improve behavior. There are good reasons for all of these emotions of course; however, rational approaches such as counseling can only do a limited amount of good. We have to change ourselves inside and out. But how do we do that? The very culture which finds itself embroiled in so much difficulty on account of religious and caste intolerance has had the wherewithal of how to accomplish this since ancient times and it is now corroborated by western scientific experiments. To change ourselves inside out requires two approaches: One, a conscious approach to track the S, R, T components to insure that S stays up and R and T stay down and second, a process whose side effect is a rise in the S component and it is meditation. You might ask a perfectly reasonable question: How can the good guys doing all this influence the bad guys? The answer is two-fold: (1) the rising level of internal excellence of the good guys, and that is much of the world, means that fewer bad guys are created. An extreme example of this is, killing of a terrorist is unavoidable but urinating on the corpse is devoid of positive emotions. (2) The rising level of internal excellence as reflected by collective consciousness has a positive effect on the entire society. A good case study that illustrates this point is one conducted by renowned quantum physicist and three-time presidential nominee John Hagelin. Hagelin and his associates conducted an investigation in the eighties showing that some 4,000 meditators were able to bring down the crime rate in the entire Washington, DC area substantially17.
Speeches by leaders serve the useful purpose of bringing an important issue to the attention of the public. However, in this instance the involvement of us all in a mass awakening is required if the catastrophe is to be avoided. It took 288 pages of our book on the Nature of Ultimate Reality to explain the scientific framework for world transformation but the practices required to bring about change from inside and out barely take an hour of diligent effort every day. A recent New York Times article showed how a large US corporation achieved exemplary business performance and health and wellness benefits through their internal excellence program18. Ancient wisdom revels it, scientific experiments corroborate it, and evidence supports it. We had better get on with the effort with a sense of urgency.
This article is written with the blessings of my Guru, Gurumahan Paranjothiar (www.universalpeacefoundation.org). The author is grateful to Jim Kowall for his review and comments and to Tony Belak, Ombudsman, University of Louisville for his editorial help.
Figure 1. Two Equivalent Representations of Internal Excellence
- S: Truthfulness, honesty, steadfastness, equanimity;
- R: Attachment, bravery, ego, ambition, greed, desire to live;
- T: Lying, cheating, causing injury in words or deeds, sleep.
- Positive Emotions: Unconditional love, kindness, empathy, compassion
- Negative Emotions: Anger, hatred, hostility, despair, guilt, jealousy
- Press Trust of India, Religion cannot be made cause of conflict: President, The Times of India, 25 January 2015.
- ET Political Bureau, Obama Wraps up Visit with Advice on Tolerance, The Economic Times, 28 January 2015.
- Obama, Barack, Religious Intolerance would have Shocked Bapu, The New Indian Express, 6 February 2015.
- Roy, Shubhajit, Religious Intolerance Matter of Concern, says Former European Commission Chief, Indian Express, 9 February 2915.
- Anand, Utkarsh, Not Sure How Long India Will Stay Secular: Supreme Court, The Indian Express, 10 February 2015.
- Patil, Vijaykumar, Caste System Hindering the Goal of Social Justice: Siddaramaiah, The Hindu, 26 January 2015.
- Fairclough, Gordon and Bhattacharya, Suryatapa, India’s Modi Vows Crackdown on Religious Intolerance, Wall Street Journal, 18 February 2015
- Roy, Shubhajit, After the Parade, a Little Prod – India Split on religious Line Cannot Succeed: Obama, The Indian Express, 28 January, 2015.
- Kulkarni, Sudheendra, Barack’s Message: Indians must do some soul-searching. And Modi must act, Op Ed, The Indian Express, 9 February 2015.
- Griffin, Andrew, We must Colonize other planets to save mankind, Times of India, 21 February 2015. P. 17.
- Gefter, Amanda, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, Bantam Press, 2014.
- Kowall, James P., The Physicist’s Dilemma: Ultimate Reality – The Non-Physical Nature of Consciousness, Journal of Consciousness & Research, 5. 4. 2014 pp. 392 – 396.
- Braden, Gregg, The Divine Matrix, Hay House Publishers, 2007.
- Deshpande, Pradeep B. and Kowall, James P., The Nature of Ultimate Reality and How it can Transform our World: Evidence from Modern Physics; Wisdom of YODA, Six Sigma and Advanced Controls, Inc., January 2015 (Available from amazon.com and amazon.in as a Kindle e book edition).
- Easwaran, Eknath, The Dhammapada, Nilgiri Press, 2003. Page 14
- Deshpande, Pradeep B., Six Sigma for Karma Capitalism, Six Sigma and Advanced Controls, Inc., 2013.
- Hagelin, John S., et al., Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Preventing Violent Crime in Washington, DC: Results of the National Demonstration Project, June-July 1993, Social Indicators Research, 47, 2, 153-201, 1999.
- Gelles, David, At Aetna, a CEO’s Management by Matra, The International New York Times, 27 February 2015.