Spirituality and Virtue as Corollaries to Peace

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Consciousness-Conscience: right/wrong

Mind: like/dislike, want/don’t want

Intelligence-Intellect-Knowledge-Ignorance-Emotions: instruments

Thought-Speech-Senses: communication channels.

In regards to the way things are and how they could/should/ought to be, we are cutting ourselves short by concentrating almost exclusively on our intellect, knowledge and intelligence.

I am fascinated with the insights the evolution of science provides, particularly astronomy, cosmology, quantum physics and medicine. Medical research and technology opened the doors to the insides of our brains, considered by ourselves superior and in many ways as complex, dynamic, fascinating as the universe itself. And scientists keep sending those ‘intelligent’ messages to outer space in hopes that other ‘intelligent’ beings will pick them up and beam back their replies to them thus completing the human life-changing experience of a close encounter of whatever kind. They assume that beings ‘out there’ possess minds and intellects like our own.

For the sake of argument: What if extraterrestrial beings—in the event that they do exist–are not interested in intelligence/knowledge but in other qualities from prospective contactees? Like true civilization, true ethics, higher moral codes, evolution of consciousness/conscience, spiritual as opposed to material advancement, absence of aggressiveness, and/or other non-tangible factors not covered by today’s human sciences?

A handful of philosophers have addressed such intangibles quite elegantly. But in our pragmatic, empiricist, materialistic, savage, belligerent, utilitarian, realist, scientific, technological, technocratic 21st century world it became a no-no. Serious people, who do serious thinking and serious undertakings don’t dwell on these – or any other – immaterial aspects. An ‘advanced’ country must be the one with the greatest military power, economic supremacy, and ability to dominate others by any means necessary. Non-different from beasts, insects, birds in the wild. The name of the game is competition; solidarity being the underdog without a future.  It is the survival of the fittest, according to Darwin’s theory (not fact) of material evolution.

There is a character defect that must be hidden, or better yet suppressed, if one wants to succeed in modern life: to be perceived as virtuous, meaning, naïve, simpleton, simple minded, low IQ, low class/life, uneducated, stupid, a jerk. Humbleness is for a certain class of people who can afford it (saints for instance); one should not even look humble not to be stepped over socially. We are socialized, conditioned, educated, governed to believe in such cultural/structural biases from birth to coffin. It is what reasonable people expect from other equally reasonable people. Not evolved. Reasonable.

Scientists theorize and hypothesize about multi dimensional spaces, string theory, brane theory and multiverses that are glimpsed at or imagined in equations and in models born within the boundaries of their collective knowledge and intelligence, which demand respect in our earthly context. But upon closer scrutiny believing those mathematical hypotheses is not very different from believing hypotheses based on spirituality and consciousness. The common dominator being belief.

What if extraterrestrials are not interested in intelligent and knowledgeable savages who, organized in groups, are at the top of their capacity and willingness to exploit, kill, maim, torture, cause pain and suffering to each other and other animals – without remorse — on a planet where they are parasites/predators? Whose historians focus first and foremost on conquests, wars, battles, invasions, genocides, carnages, bloodshed, slavery, famine, crimes? Exalting military tacticians and strategists, whose business is exclusively to hurt, kill and destroy, as heroes? Where the concept of virtue has been hijacked and distorted by both the religious and the military establishments?

What if they are not impressed with the scientific/technological exploits/inventions born from our superior intelligence but being used primarily for armed conflicts, vendettas and cruelty; to social, cultural and economic control, and the threat of Armageddon if the powerful don’t get their way? With nations of peoples lacking any resemblance to the definition of a poetic, idealized, civilized, sapiens, superior ‘human being?’ What if they are interested in a spiritual rather than in this material evolution (a misnomer)? Would that be the reason that political and military authorities have never been sought or summoned by alleged ET visitors to our planet? Steven Spielberg was perhaps closer to reality with the plot of his Box Office record 1982 movie, ET.

There are tribes in the Amazon still uncontacted even though they are known to be there for decades. We have photos of them. But they show such degree of aggressiveness/ignorance that Brazilian authorities see no point in trying a direct contact lest these native Brazilians get unnecessarily killed -or kill- in the process. They shoot arrows [their technology] at airplanes, which represent their very own UFOs. Ring any bells? We have nuclear weapons ready for the UFOs that keep flying over us without plausible explanations. How dare they? They must be evil.

I have reason to believe that this is where our intelligent, intellectual superiorities are missing the point. We are meant by nature, the universe, life itself (let’s leave the gods out of this) to be superior beings, elevated in virtue, goodness, righteousness, integrity, ethics, honesty, morality, uprightness, evolved consciousness, and not merely to get richer, smarter, sexier, more cunning, and more knowledgeable to dominate everything and everybody we contemplate-if possible by force. This is the real danger, the aspect that could prompt these smarter, more aggressive (meaning less civilized) people in power to explode the planet through a nuclear war, thus creating a second asteroid belt.

Yet, I refuse to see that in our future; as much as I disagree with Nobelist author William Goldman in his acclaimed novel, Lord of the Flies, portraying English school boys stranded in a deserted island after a plane crash, who descend into savagery and even cannibalism, dividing themselves into ‘tribes,’ in a few months span. Rather, life’s movement is forward, up–if certainly with setbacks. As every Yin encapsulates its Yang–and vice versa—on an eternal, infinite cosmic recycling motion, and energy is never destroyed, only transformed, so is spiritual evolution. There is never a loss.

When I met Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics, at the University of Hawaii in the ‘80s he told me smiling, “When we, physicists, get to the top of the mountain we will be greeted by mystics and spiritualists, ‘what took you so long?’” Today’s physicists, astronomers, cosmologists, mathematicians are getting closer to the top with their pursuit of the elusive ‘God particle,’ aka Higgs boson — but with their biases against spirituality intact. Stephen Hawking, allegedly one of the most intelligent persons on the planet, goes to great lengths to proselytize his belief that the universe “does not need a god;” the subtext being that it is a god in and of itself. Albert Einstein, however, was the exception that proves the rule; as was Carl Jung. And Gandhi, of course, the antithesis of a politician.

The process of living peacefully depends on degrees of spiritual (not religious) advancement as a corollary to changes in sociological paradigms and societal externalities. Peace and Conflict Studies, among other civilizing factors for human beings, thus represent the flip side, the how-to, the map to the top of the mountain. Peace is an inside as well as an outside job, a process for individuals and also for social bodies and collectivities to trail permanently — the planet being the ultimate ‘individual.’

I agree with Prof. Johan Galtung’s assertion that the intellectual and emotional flow together mentally, and with Mahatma Gandhi that peace is not divorced from spirituality. It all starts and grows within the individual and then manifests into society. Or not.


BIO: Antonio Carlos Silva Rosa is the editor of the pioneering Peace Journalism website, TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS, an assistant to Prof. Johan Galtung, and Int’l Board Secretary of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment. He has a Ph.D. completed coursework in Political Science-Peace Studies, a Masters in Political Science-International Relations, and a B.A. in Communication from the University of Hawai’i. He is originally from Brazil and presently lives in Porto, Portugal. He was educated in the USA where he lived for 20 years; in Europe/India since 1994.

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  1. Antonio, I’ve always wondered the same — why do we assume everything is according to how we are or how we think things should be? This was always especially so when the subject of interplanetary beings came up. For example the thought that there couldn’t be intelligent life on planet xyz because there’s no oxygen or water there — while this is true for life on our planet, why assume the entire universe is set up EXACTLY as our planet is. Who said all beings are made of the exact same matter — after all, even on our tiny planet the diversity of all living organisms is so completely vast… If I was a being on another planet, I’d probably not want to step foot on Earth either, nor respond to coded messages telling others a few insignificant basics about our species…

    I love the message of your article. A more spiritual, intuitive, conscious, and considerate way of life would probably help bring more peace to everyone and everything on all fronts.

    • Dear Jenny, thanks for verbalizing my thoughts. 3/4 of the universe is composed of the so called ‘dark matter’ which apparently is there but does not interact with light. And they keep using only light to try and figure it out. And what about the dark energy also? They are looking for humanoids where there aren’t any. Their foolishness, the most intelligent people on the planet (I am thinking Stephen Hawking).

      If you look at the wealth of varieties of insects for instance and how strange, weird, different they are, you can, or could, imagine and visualize new, diverse life forms elsewhere. Perhaps more evolved in every sense not only mathematically and technologically. But our scientists don’t think in those lines, they are empiricists, meaning, relying exclusively, absolutely only in their senses, material senses that is, because they discard the intangibles: consciousness, intuition, inspiration, thought, memory, imagination.

      We are few, Jenny, but we ARE. And that is what counts. If/when the time comes we will be prepared to face the mystery. Even the process of changing bodies, they call death, remains fascinating. Death is an illusion of the senses. Just another one.

      Greetings to all who gave their two cents here; deeply appreciated the interaction. Take care.

  2. “…upon closer scrutiny believing those mathematical hypotheses is not very different from believing hypotheses based on spirituality and consciousness.”

    That’s so true. I find I meet more science fanatics than religious ones, people completely indoctrinated in their belief about the world and the nature of divinity. Ironically, exploring consciousness through meditation, etc… can actually provide firsthand experience of the truths it sets about to explain.

  3. Dear friends, many thanks for your kind and valuable support to my views and reflections. Robert, you pointed out some other pertinent factors as well.

    Take care.

  4. Antonio Carlos Silva Rosa has hit upon a key word of why our world is seemingly heading towards total war. That word is CONSCIENCE.

    Globalization, computerization, the acceptance of pure capitalistic philosophy as dogma, the use of economic smoke and mirrors, the widening and ever-more obvious gap between the top wealth of the minority and expanding exploitation of the majority, corporate and wealth control of the political process and the media, and the exponentially increasing busyness of anxiety-ridden societies, among other factors, have all contributed to a disappearance of CONSCIENCE.

    Conscience is what separates us from the protohuman. Simply, it is the human ability to differentiate between right and wrong. One can easily find examples of it in our great literature, music, art; in the Humanities, which everyone knows are quickly being abandoned as fields of study and work.

    When our ability, on an individual, community, national, and global basis to reflect on our own actions is taken from us or is thrown away, then wrong is right and right is wrong. Everything begins to slide in all directions and nothing can be measured anymore. (from L. Cohen) The evolution of the Human Spirit reaches its terminus. The story reaches its whimpering end for the hollow men. (from T.S. Eliot)

    Here in Japan and Korea, and probably in many other cultures, the word conscience translates as “good heart”. Unless we find ways to recover our good hearts, to listen to that special and mysterious voice inside that tells us what we should or should not do, there really is no reason for human life to go on, for we will already be lost as an evolving species.

    Congratulations, Antonio, on a fine article that should make everyone stop, listen and reflect upon. The inner is the outer.

    “Beneath our Masks, One finds Peace.” (www.peacemask.org)

    • I agree Robert, Antonio hit on a key point: That our consciousness is what needs to be cultivated in life, so that its inner voice, the conscience, will guides us. I also feel that if we don’t do this then we are not really “advancing” in a true sense, no matter how much technology we develop, and in fact we become more and more dangerous by possessing such destructive technology without wisdom and empathy to guide us.

      I think human civilisation could be so different if cultivating consciousness was part of our social curriculum and values. And if we neglect consciousness and only develop the intellect, then its like we just strive to become highly clever and cunning animals fighting and competing for dominance and supremacy in a world without spirituality and virtue. I think Antonio put it very eloquently in regards to peace: “It all starts and grows within the individual and then manifests into society. Or not.”

  5. Excellent article! So many points in it that most people don’t usually consider..

  6. Great article well written and some excellent points. Thanks for sharing