Ideas Worth Living
The idea that maximum consumption will create happiness has been challenged before. Economist E. F. Schumacher states in his book Small is Beautiful:
“Economy as the content of life is a deadly illness, because infinite growth does not fit into a finite world. That economy should not be the content of life, has been told to mankind by all its great teachers; that it cannot be, is evident today. If one wants to describe the deadly illness in more detail, one can say that it is similar to addiction, like alcoholism or drug addiction. It does not matter too much whether this addiction appears in more egotistical, or more altruistic form, whether it seeks its satisfaction only in a crude materialistic way or also in an artistically, culturally or scientifically refined way. Poison is poison, even if wrapped in a silver paper. ... If the spiritual value of inner man is neglected, then selfishness, like capitalism, fits the orientation better than a system of love for one's fellow beings.”Sarkar asserted that economic development is only a means for survival and the fulfilment of physical needs. The economy must maintain balance with Nature and other aspects of social and cultural development. The spirit of all-round collective welfare, not limitless profit, should guide future economic development.
Considering the above, Sarkar's guidelines and goals for economic development are as follows:
• The minimum requirements of all should be guaranteed.
• Economic power should be decentralized and economic democracy should be introduced.
• Production should be designed for meaningful consumption, not profit.
• The gap between rich and poor nations should be narrowed.
• Production should serve the real needs of people and not the demands of the economic system.
• Harmonious relations of cooperation with Nature should be established.
• The psychology of competition must be replaced by a psychology of cooperation.
• It should be accepted that economic fulfilment cannot satisfy the infinite desire for happiness.
• Supramundane and spiritual potentialities should be explored and utilized to balance the mundane, finite character of the economy.
• Psycho-economy, which aims at neutralizing dehumanization by the economic system and effecting the progressive expansion of the individual and collective minds, should develop as a branch of the economy.
This Study Guide is intended to provide an introduction to Sarkar’s philosophy of spiritual humanism, which he called NeoHumanism, and the political-economic theory of PROUT which addresses the practical application of this value system. This introductory material has been presented in the form of a Study Guide because our objective is to do more than share ideas. We want to create organizational cadre who will work to lay the groundwork for a new era in human society.
We encourage the formation of Study Circles to “study” the requirements of a benevolent society. It cannot be created by merely mouthing philosophy. It requires that we first transform ourselves. This is accomplished through spiritual practices and by studying and working together for the greater good we put meaning into our lives.
The Proutist Writers Group of New York Sector
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
DK 1810 Frederiksberg C