It is actually a matter of paradigm-shift Thu, 12/07/2007 - 16:41 — Vladimir Yatsento
CHATURVARNYA: The ideal of the Integral Education is based on the concept of chaturvarnya, which implies that every individual is to develop within himself all the qualities and faculties of four varnas. He is to be as vast and sincere as true brahmin in his aspiration towards Knowledge, as strong and courageous as kshatriya in his power and leadership, as generous and productive as vaishya in his dealing with life matters and wealth, as laborious and helpful as shudra in his service and help to others. All the varnas have to be realized within him, which is a demand of time of our subjective age...
To develop and “perfect his other elements of divine manhood” is the highest educational view on man and his life helping him and leading him to realization of his highest potential: the supermanhood. Thus the supermanhood is not possible within the mind-frame of a typal, “varnic” society. Man has to be integrally developed to be able to accept his higher destiny...
Part 2: Auroville is a place of unending Education
If it is true that individual is to become an “integral man”, in the words of Sri Aurobindo, by developing all his faculties of consciousness, then there must be also a new society suitable for such an integral individual to live in, the society where he may freely exercise his integrality, the society of unending education. For education itself and a need for growth has no end.
What the typal, “varnic”, model of society could provide is no more sufficient. It is not enough for individual to have his place in the society to contribute by his work, skills or knowledge, being rigidly fixed to that particular mode of action and lifestyle, compensating “the need of perfection of his other elements of a divine manhood” by money. The needs of human spirit are growing greater then the profession can provide, and the individual feels suppressed and unhappy with his choices in the society. We can clearly see this new trend in the world, that no one is happy anymore to be only a musician, or a doctor, or a worker etc. but would like to have several different activities going on simultaneously, covering his needs of inner growth of consciousness. This particular tendency marks the beginning of subjective age: the need for complex activities in life. In this sense the “varnic” society is facing major difficulties of reorganizing itself to suite the demands of individual growth.
The work-space was traditionally a place of a ‘hard labor’ and a ‘sacrifice’ of ones “other needs” of a more integral development to the ideal of survival and earning ones livelihood, compensating this un-development by enjoying life at the supermarkets or watching TV. It is the highest what the old typal society can provide. Therefore it is not easy for it to change and to adjust to a new trend of an inner growth of individuals.
The concept of work as a hard labor for the sake of survival (the Biblical curse of Adam and Eve) is to change into a new concept of work as blessing for the sake of higher good, individual growth of consciousness and the social welfare.
Of course such society is to be based on another principle altogether, which may be translated in terms of learning society, knowledge society, the society of unending education, where the priority is on the growth of consciousness through work, life and activities. Such society will treat all individuals differently because all of them are multi-dimensional representatives of the growth of collective consciousness, for if the needs of growth are ignored then the whole community will suffer the loss of its complexity.
The immense speed of economic development in the developed countries forced already many businessmen to reconsider the old paradigm of “varnic society” in search for a new. The workers reorganize their work to be flexible in their timings, skills and attitude etc. You can hardly meet anyone in the West now who will be doing only one kind of work. The complexity and the speed of life demand the most efficient use of time and skills, and those who are not flexible enough drop out of business.
So how to create a society in which everybody could grow and develop freely and integrally?
The structure of such a model can be envisaged as a township for 50 000 people, where everyone lives and works for his own self-development, by learning new skills and knowledge, and the fruits of his action belong to the community as a whole. Community in return provides all it has for his individual growth, health and welfare.
Now how practically it can be done?
If we could imagine that the factories and the workshops of all productive and service units, such as Pottery, Carpentry, Metal workshop, Masonry, Farm, Orchard, Bakery, Cheese Factory, Cloth and Modeling, Painting, Sculpturing, Singing and Drama, etc. would have a place with all equipment necessary for learning those skills and knowledge with a master, an expert available, who could guide them in their learning, we would gain two things:
- the individual need to grow would be provided; everyone would have an access to learning new skills or knowledge,
- the products, the fruits of this work and learning would become a part of the wealth of the community
The productive units themselves may benefit from such arrangement, for the creativity of non-professionals may help them to be more innovative in their own scope of production. It is a well-known fact in the practice of the most advanced productive units.
Now, suppose someone wants to learn how to build a house. There is a learning team of builders which meets regularly and explores different ways of building by being engaged in the building itself, there are different workshops running where one can try things and learn how they work. In this process a new person can learn the skills of mason, plumber, carpenter, etc., as well as of designer, architect, planner, contractor etc. So the very emphasis is shifted from the heavy and unwanted labor on the site to the process of free learning and creativity.
How can it be possible in the society where everyone has to earn his livelihood?
It is very costly for any typal society to allow such experimentations, for it is built on different principle of partial participation. What the typal society cannot understand yet is that the input into the development of its human resources will become the most valuable asset in the years to come. If we try to image a society where all individuals are integrally developed and not burdened by thinking about their own properties, where everyone is free and happy to be engaged in different activities, creating riches for the collective, being a part of it!
But the time has come to move in this direction. The faster we understand and start working in this direction the sooner we will get to the most rewarding results. It is actually a matter of paradigm-shift.
Auroville was created for this purpose: to become a society of unending education, where all activities are to be done mainly for educational reasons: to convert the Biblical curse of labor, which presents the Work as a heavy burden and a means of survival to the Work which is a tool of self-development and joyful self-expression. And this is the major task of Auroville. The Mother called it Karma Yoga, Work for the sake of sacred Union with the Divine.