Friday, May 18, 2018

NATIVE MAYOR OF VANCOUVER MORE THAN SYMBOLIC

By Promod Puri

It is about time Vancouver should be ruled by an Indigenous Canadian.

The announcement by 45-year-old Squamish Nation Hereditary Chief Ian Campbell to seek the Vancouver mayoral job is a progressive initiative of Indigenous leadership in the City’s affairs.

The political evolution also reaffirms the multicultural character of Vancouver which has roots in its Native heritage.

The electorate decision to have a First Nation Canadian to head the city council in the upcoming civic election is not only historical and symbolic, but it helps in creating better and more humane understanding of social issues from the Indigenous and grassroots perspectives especially to the needs of the poor, homeless and destitute citizens.

The growth and value of Vancouver need not be judged by the rising value of its real estate or as a popular tourist attraction. But how well it handles the social issues confronting its citizens. The City is plagued by mental and drug overdose epidemic, acute shortage of affordable housing, and the bureaucratic nightmares often being faced by Vancouverites when dealing with the City Hall.

With improved services and balance growth, both economically and socially, Vancouver expects efficient handling of its business.

And at the same time, the Vision Vancouver candidate amidst his Indigenous backdrop can offer a new and colorful image of the City with the flair and spirit of the First Nation cultural heritage.

(Promod Puri is a retired journalist, writer, and author. He was the editor of now-defunct Winnipeg-based Native and Metis newspaper, The New Nation. Website: promodpuri.com)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Political Evolution Through Science, And Religion


By Promod Puri
Evolution of any political ideology, and that should be imperative, involves almost all the natural and social sciences, philosophies, metaphysics, as well as the wisdom manifested in spiritual orders.

It is in this integrated approach that the political spectrum of Marxism and Leninism, conservatism, and liberalism; capitalism and socialism, or any of their simulated entities can be more acceptable to the contemporary society than their present consent.

Till now all these political stripes are meaningless notably for that section of the humanity which is still toiling in poverty, hunger, and disease; discriminated, exploited, and victimized in the politically patronized class and caste-ridden order.

The promises of these political isms, which have more of academic showcasing than their pragmatism, have not produced a peaceful and hunger-free world, while the environments are seriously damaged as well.

Autocrats, dictators, and tyrants; narcissists, illiterates, and idiots have elected and re-elected themselves under the democratic, socialist, and communist regimes. The vulnerability of the political systems has been exposed. The reason being there is no mix or an insignificant mix of scientific rationales, philosophical foresight, and spiritual sanity in their foundations.

Evolution in political ideologies is a hypothesis where the political science can expand its studies to determine as well as encourage the involvement of basic and laboratory-based sciences, philosophical, critical, and intellectual disciplines, and religious fundamentals in the political systems.

Inspired by the fact that sciences and institutional faculties offer systematic and observable physical evidence and logical argumentation, the premise can build more feasible and pertinent political pathways leading to better management of the civil society.

Political science besides being in its observatory and analyzing tasks of dealing with governing systems, political thoughts, and studying political activities, must seek a plurality of social and scientific disciplines which offer creditable connect with human behavior and environmental concerns.

Moreover, political science can be an active participant in the development and implementation of political ideology. It can review whether a political gospel needs some updating or renounced altogether.

The laws of physics, the formulas, and equations in chemistry and mathematics, or the biological and physiological phenomenon may or may not directly generate political thought, but their mechanisms guide its plausible acceptance.

However, human psychology is one science which has a direct impact in inducing political thinking, its acceptance or rejection, and its implementation. Without going into detailed explanations, it is the study of emotional and behavioral sentiments of individuals, and of the community of people related to natural, or human-made situations.

Psychology gives an assessed value of a political ideology.

The psychology of human nature or behavior impacts the practicality of any political order and its idealism of achieving economic development, social and religious equality of people.

Besides psychology, political science can also review the disdained relationship between politics and religion as the two do not sit well in the progressive political impression.

The fact is that the laws of the land with their universal application have been constituted from religious teachings to institute political ideologies.

Modern political pundits and their students or observers have not gone beyond religious customs and beliefs. They have seldom explored the intelligence and enlightenment generated over the centuries in discernable interpretations which touch every aspect of human endeavors including politics.

Philosopher T. S. Eliot “believed that democratic societies rejected the influence of an established church at their peril, for in doing so they cut themselves off from the kind of ethical wisdom that can come only from participation in a tradition. Thus, he argued, such a society would degenerate into tyranny and social and cultural fragmentation”.
(source: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Chapter: Religion and Politics).

As we are seeking a coordinated proposition to creating better workable political models in the changing times, the reality is that fitness and pragmatism of existing political doctrines are not of much help or have failed badly in their utopian vision.

The viability and development of a political ideology must go through intelligent observation in line with human psychology, nourished and assessed by social and natural sciences, and enriched by the philosophies and universal truths revealed in most world religions.

A related article by Promod Puri: Religion Has Guiding Role In Politics.

(Promod Puri is a Canada-based writer, journalist, and author of “Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, And Traditions”).
Websites: promodpuri.com, progressivehindudialogue.com, and Simple Thinking – Simple Living.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

UTOPIA INVITES TROUBLES


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Redesigning A New Political & Economic Systems


Redesigning of our political and economic systems based on changing social needs as well as our ethical and environmental commitments will be more viable, responsive and revered than the outdated and impractical Socialist idealism, and greedy Capitalism. 

The contemporary world society seeks that the idiosyncrasy of the present sociopolitical Left and the Right cultures should be replaced by a new political and economic ideology. 

-Promod Puri
https://promodpuri.com/…/redesigning-a-new-political-econo…/

Monday, April 2, 2018

BETWEEN THE POLITICS OF LEFT AND RIGHT THERE IS ALTERNATIVE



From Mohammad to Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. to Nelson Mandela and Dr. Ambedkar all had religious commitments grounded in humanism, love, compassion, and kindness to wage their political and social campaigns against slavery, apartheid, discrimination, inequality, and un-touchability based on color, class, and caste.
Gandhi’s crusade against evils in the society and his political discourse were derived from the Hindu scriptures of Upanishads advocating the concepts of non-violence, truthfulness, self-discipline, compassion, and virtuousness.
Obama, who believes in the power of faith, has sought a “serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy”.
He argues, “more fundamentally the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms”. In a public address, he said: “secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square”. (“Obama’s 2006 Speech on Faith and Politics”, The New York Times, June 28,2006 edition).
“Before entering the public square”, what Obama is demanding instead is the infusion of true religion, without its symbolism, in the political environment to establish moral guidelines in its ideologies.
In a world, which is politically divided into two castes of Leftists and Rightists with sub-castes of Extreme Left and Extreme Right, ideological fanaticism runs high along with elements of power, ego, and greed, which are opportunistically embraced by all political establishments. In this “dirty game”, socialist idealism becomes just sloganeering.
The idiosyncrasy of the present sociopolitical left and the right mental constitution is that the leftists have a revulsion for religion. And the rightists are religious fanatics. The former ridicules and rejects religion and the latter is narcissustic illiterate about it.
And this is where the science of politics must step in to explore the true spirit of religion based on its universal teachings to find permanent residency in political leadership.
Deepak Chopra says: “Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love, and compassion, also intuition, creativity, insight, and focused attention”.
Paved with these divine and acknowledged values religion offers an ever-guiding relationship with politics in the service of humanity and its environment.
(Promod Puri resides in Vancouver, Canada. He is a journalist and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs, and Traditions).

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Besides Humans Everything Has Consciousness Too


By Promod Puri
What is the difference between you, me and a spoon, a table, a stone, or any object or a thing? Both are physical matters. But we have consciousness others don’t. Or maybe they have it which we don’t sense. Anyway, that is what distinguishes you and me, and the “non-consciousness” objects.
How is this distinction through consciousness created which directs the nature of physical matter to make it a mindful entity?
There are two theories.
However, before we approach these concepts let us define or get a practical understanding of consciousness.
According to Wikipedia consciousness is an “inward awareness of an external object, state, or fact,” and these could include perceptions, thoughts, and feelings. The key words are “inward awareness” suggesting it is already present. The dictionary explanation says, “full activity of the mind and senses.” In that activity, the knowledge gained through external or inherent factors stimulate the development of a conscious mind. Consciousness is both a biological and psychological phenomenon which correlate with each other.
Now back to the theories:
The first one is called dualism where consciousness is an import from an unknown source which plugs into the physical matter to make it conscious. That suggests consciousness is separate and independent from the physical matter. But together they make a dual entity.
In dualism, the independent nature of consciousness is unseen. And its source is unknown unless the divinity factor is contemplated giving soul to the object such as humans or animals. The moment the object is unplugged consciousness disappears or might be expired.
In the second theory, consciousness is already a built-in occurrence in the constituents of a matter. That means every single particle, even the tiniest one, has an inherent awareness caused by consciousness. But the residing of consciousness in them is a very basic or simple structure. The latter is so elementary that it can’t be imagined as consciousness.
It is only when these particles come together thru some complex process, which may include neurochemistry, that together they constitute the realized consciousness such as human instinct.
Consciousness is thus created out of dormant or “non-conscious” materials present in physical matter. The materials are the small fragments of an object or its composing molecules along with their atomic and sub-atomic particles. This theory is called materialism; meaning created out of materials.
However, believing all things have conscious quality, the term materialism has been replaced and is widely known and accepted as panpsychism. It is derived from two Greek words “pan” meaning “all,” and psyche means soul or mind. Nonetheless, to meet human conclusion panpsychism involves the construction of consciousness to the level when it can be humanly realized.
At what stage the aggregation of “conscious” materials, from a human perspective, is ready to be called or felt like a conscious object? As humans are limited in their perception, consciousness can develop and complete its process to form its own system which under human observation is not noticed. In that respect, consciousness may already be dwelling in a spoon, a table, a stone, etc.
Or the particles may never combine to create the conscious system. Still, these are plugged forever in their own individual conscious orders. If that is acceptable, then the panpsychism does merge with the dualistic concept as there exists duality of consciousness and matter.
The dualism theory is secured because it has the support of the widely believed existence of some divine utility responsible for supplying the power of consciousness. On the other hand, panpsychism offers some rational assumption based on metaphysics in its understanding.
In panpsychism, the particles are already “divined” as part of the whole with the concept that the entire universe is one whole conscious body. And the whole is represented by individual physical parts like mountains, rocks, trees, humans, animals and other seen or unseen matters down to the atomic and subatomic levels.
The universe in its continuum is a conscious body of conscious parts, no matter how tiny or big they are. When the whole is conscious, its parts are conscious too, just like a human body. When it is alive, every organ of it is live as well. There are minds in the universal mind.
The ideological value of panpsychism lies with the conception everything existing in the universe has consciousness. It can be inherent or created internally or by an external source. And all the constituents of the universe are fundamentally connected with each other as being contained in one big whole.
The connectivity concept gets ardent support from the Upanishadic wisdom in Hinduism. The unique mantra of Om purnam adah talks about the totality of the universe and the togetherness of its composing constituents. The trees, the mountains, the people, the birds, the stars, howsoever far away they may appear, but they are all associated.
In this connectivity, the two theories of consciousness do meet in their divine orders.
(Promod Puri is a journalist, writer of human interest, politics and religious topics, and author of Hinduism Beyond Rituals, Customs And Traditions).