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Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar propounded the Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT) in 1959 as an alternative to capitalism and communism. His ideas on this subject are enunciated in Proutist Economics, Prout in a Nutshell, Neo-Humanism in a Nutshell, Human Society, Part One, Human Society, Part Two, and A Few Problems Solved.
The experience of contemporary history has exposed the fallacies of cherished social, political and economic ideas, classical as well as revolutionary. The world is full of opportunities – material, mental and spiritual – and so to build a better and freer society is a practical possibility. Yet we are observing a process of social decadence, moral degeneration and the collapse of values which is corroding the springs of human action and corrupting the ideals of a civilized life. Failure and disappointment are bound to follow from attempts to solve the problems of our time with the ideas of previous centuries. These ideas emphasized material progress and scientific development. However, the mental makeup and moral standard of the civilized community have not matched the level of material progress. In other words, the development of civilization – refined cultural progress – has proven far slower than material scientific development.
Communism, which promised material well-being and security in an atheistic and socially regimented life has collapsed, creating disillusionment about revolutionary ideals. The great promise of the industrial nations has also remained unfulfilled despite enormous accumulation of wealth, because of the underlying psychology of individualistic hedonism. This radical hedonism postulates that happiness can be achieved by the fulfilment of any material or sensual desire whatsoever, and that in order to fulfil these desires, egotism, greed and selfishness have to be encouraged. The achievement of sensory pleasure has been sold as the achievement of harmony and peace. Radical hedonism, it should be known, is the philosophy of rich people.
The ideals of intellectual liberalism and intellectual refinement have also failed us. The cherished belief that the spread of reason would abolish our irrational outbursts toward each other has all but disappeared. Antagonism between ethnic, racial, and religious groups has become the fundamental reality of the nation-state. When human security becomes threatened, social, ethical and religious energies get expressed through unprecedented oppression, violence and enmity. The disconcerting experiences of the contemporary world compel thoughtful people to reconsider the fundamental philosophical principles from which different political theories – of the Right and the Left, conservative and liberal, reactionary and revolutionary – are alike deduced.
The capture of power, irrespective of the diversity of the means that are advocated, is the common postulate of all political theories. Today, the so-called free world heralds the victory of liberal democracy and its corollary the capitalist economic system. Through modern liberalism the individual has become 'economic man', lured by the glittering projections of a consumer psychology. In the context of capitalist society, people exist mainly as units in the work force, with our thoughts, feelings and tastes manipulated by the government and industry and the mass communications they control.
Simultaneously, gaining momentum among the poor and disenfranchised is a tendency to relapse into medieval obscurantism in search of an illusory safety in the backwaters of dogmatic faith. With the collapse of the Soviet Empire, movements for self-reliance are being sentimentalized with slogans from religious fundamentalism, slogans presented to the innocent person as an antithesis to pseudo-culture, economic domination and Western values.
This represents a new flare-up in the age-old struggle between religion and science – between faith and reason, and between mystic agnosticism and empirical knowledge. Probably the last gasp of a life and death struggle, it has lasted long, and has always placed civilized humanity in the breach. The material scientific mode of thought, having driven religion from pillar to post over a period of several centuries, is meeting the final assault of a hitherto vanquished adversary. Denying humans the possibility of ever knowing reality through experience, religions preach a neo-mysticism and a teleological view of life, which is the expression of humanity's loss of faith in itself. This is in contradiction to spiritual enlightenment, which leads the human mind to experience the real essence of freedom and the organic wholeness of the Universe.
Science, attempting to free the mind from the shackles of dogma, emphasized that truth is contained only in that which can be recognized clearly and distinctively through physics and physical laws. Knowledge is defined as the result of the intellectual analysis of our sense experience. In this way, however, science created a new barrier beyond which the mind could not elevate itself to greater thresholds of consciousness. Hence, science could not prevent the emergence of a materialistic dogma that devalues human potential, encourages the mechanization of life, and curtails freedom of thought.
The quest for freedom is much more ancient than either religion or physical science and can be referred back to our earliest struggle for existence. This quest accounts for the human triumph over nature in the course of efforts to satisfy biological needs. It provides the basis for the constant search for knowledge, and it enables us to progressively free ourselves from the tyranny of natural phenomena and social environments. If we are to be guided by this deep human longing, the philosophy of the future should judge the merit of any social organization or political institution by the actual measure of freedom it affords the individual in the physical, mental and spiritual spheres.
A Comprehensive Guide to the Study of PROUT
By The Proutist Writers Group, New York Sector
© Proutist Universal, Inc. 1998
This edition published by Proutist Universal Global Office, March 2010
P.U. Global Office
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