Against existentialism and humanism

At last a philosopher who is able to look clearly at the prison of the modern individual liberty philosophy. Clive Hamilton despairs that there is no public dialogue evaluating the lack of the touted outcomes of Satre’s philosophy and what followed WWII. However the state of affairs that Clive Hamilton analyses in his address was amply predicted by Baha’u’llah in the 19th Century. “All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization. The Almighty beareth Me witness: To act like the beasts of the field is unworthy of man. Those virtues that befit his dignity are forbearance, mercy, compassion and loving-kindness towards all the peoples and kindreds of the earth.”     (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 215)  “If the learned and worldly-wise men of this age were to allow mankind to inhale the fragrance of fellowship and love, every understanding heart would apprehend the meaning of true liberty, and discover the secret of undisturbed peace and absolute composure.”     (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 260) “Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames none can quench. Thus warneth you He Who is the Reckoner, the All-Knowing. Know ye that the embodiment of liberty and its symbol is the animal.  That which beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him against the harm of the mischief-maker. Liberty causeth man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infringe on the dignity of his station. It debaseth him to the level of extreme depravity and wickedness.”    (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 335)


2 thoughts on “Against existentialism and humanism

  1. “All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.”

    I wonder, historically, how many advancements in civilization were driven primarily by those vices stemming from liberty or unrestrained ignorance, or whatever? like Hadrian, for example. Most of his great building projects where to satisfy vanity. Or great industries driven by greed.

  2. Interesting point.
    In Clive Hamilton’s address he shows how ‘liberty’ is exploited by marketeers, so people overall are not becoming more creative or building greater sense of achievement, but are becoming ‘slaves’ to a consumer world.
    In Hadrian’s day the people were literal slaves and so those ancient leaders could build fantastic edifices.
    Each era, as freedom became more known among the masses the ability of leaders to build in the same way has become diminished.
    Today, many Western people have a financial power equal to some of those old rulers. The creation of wealth has been outstanding over the last 100 years.
    But now we are at the last frontier – to fight the tyrant within so we can attain true freedom.
    Of course it is the core lesson of all spiritual leaders, that from spiritual discipline, true liberty, true happiness, is achieved.
    And the individual doesn’t loose their creativity and wealth building capacity under those conditions. Rather as we gain discipline over lesser attributes ie those things we have in common with all animals, we build our abilities in the higher faculties – building complex and peaceful societies, and solving difficult and complex problems. When spiritual leaders talk of sacrifice, this is what they mean – to give up the lesser for the greater. It feels like sacrifice because it is painful and hard effort to resist the urge of the lesser nature. But once we can do it a bit easier, we realise there is no sacrifice. Thus we are transformed – truly changed.
    And this is not an individualised thing. The sacrifice is attendant on our desire to build better relationships with others. It also motivates our parenting. So the next generation benefits from our lesson and can build on that. Generation after generation the whole society can change. Well that is the Baha’i vision, an ever advancing civilisation.

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