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Era of Neohumanism: A Balm for a Divided World

Convergence of knowledge and evidence from many fields of human endeavor attest to the fact we have crossed the threshold into a new era of peace and cooperation.  In spite of economic, ecological and social upheaval, psycho-social and spiritual forces are moving us towards greater cooperation and unity.  Neohumanism plays a central role as a hub for the synthesis of rationality and devotional sentiment that supports social equality for all animate and inanimate beings.   Shrii P.R. Sarkar has defined Neohumanism as, “when the underlying spirit of humanism is extended to everything, animate and inanimate, in this universe – I have designated this as “Neohumanism. This Neohumanism will elevate humanism to universalism, the practice of love for all created beings of this universe.”

Regarding devotional sentiment Sarkar says, “human beings reach the culmination of devotion by subjective approach through objective adjustment.”  This statement reflects a harmony created between our inner subjective world and the external objective world in developing the devotional sentiment of love and identification with other humans, animals, plants and the inanimate world.

The expansion of our identity created by devotional sentiment protects us against the imbalance of our inner and outer world produced by ”geo-sentiment”, the identification with a particular place or nation or “socio-sentiment”, the identification with a particular group.  These two sentiments have caused many conflicts and great harm to many people.  A third “human- sentiment” embraced by “humanism” has humans exercising a utilitarian approach towards other creatures when in fact all beings have a right to live.

In order to address the social injustices done to people and the planet by these narrow sentiments, Neohumanism offers a rationalistic mentality called “awakened conscience.”  This approach involves careful study by individuals or groups of people to determine the pros and cons for each action to be taken that affects others.  The studied information’s truthfulness must be weighed since there are many conspiracy theories and false statements circulated to manipulate public opinion.  Awakened conscience is exercised after careful deliberation and a decision is made that serves the general welfare.

An awakened conscience that serves the general welfare follows a universal ethics which is based on time, place and person that avoids the dogma of “always do this; never do that.”   An example of universal ethic related to “harmfulness” would be whether to supply a country with arms to defend against a tyrannical invader.  This would require determining who the aggressor is; their motivation for the aggression and who might be endangered besides the country being invaded.  The awakened conscience would be based on how the supplying of arms could serve the general welfare of maintaining overall world peace even though it involves supporting one side of a conflict.   Another example of universal ethics is protecting the “truth” with AI.  This requires careful deliberation of the cost and benefits of the use of AI and the monitoring of easily manipulated AI information by those who misrepresent the “truth”.  Oversight groups of people in different disciplines using an awakened conscience will be needed to make benevolent, maximum use of AI and protect us from AI’s potential harmful effects .   

Neohumanism’s universal ethics draws on the rationalistic collective mind of a group of people devoted to social equality that serves the welfare of all. This universal collective mind is expressed in social activism and showing up at the polls to cast a vote that liberates the better side of our human nature.   I am reminded of Margaret Mead’s quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”


About The Author

As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Sid Jordan taught psychotherapy and directed mental health, alcohol and drug services while in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. from 1969-1993. He began his practices of yoga and meditation in 1971 pursuing the integration of yoga and psychology in his teaching and clinical practices. In 1997 he trained as a yoga and meditation teacher in India applying the tantric yoga teachings of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti the preceptor of Ananda Marga.

Currently, he is CEO and Director of the Neohumanist College of Asheville. At the Prama Wellness Center, he offers yoga therapy and stress management to individuals and groups. He continues to offer his 40 years of experience and teaching of yoga psychology, philosophy, and practices to audiences worldwide.

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