A mea­sure of Hu­man Val­ues

Daily Messenger - - National -

Since­man is made of the two con­stituents of spirit and body, we re­quire an ed­u­ca­tional prin­ci­ple that may har­monise his bod­ily urges with the spirit. This prin­ci­ple can ei­ther be one based on re­li­gion or one that is a prod­uct of the hu­man mind. When we com­pare the two, we clearly ob­serve the pri­mary and authen­tic char­ac­ter of the ed­u­ca­tional prin­ci­ple based on re­li­gion. That is be­cause the re­li­gious mo­tive is in­nate in man's na­ture and is ev­i­dent in him be­fore he be­comes the vic­tim of var­i­ous kinds of blind­ness. If there be no ex­ter­nal fac­tor to ob­struct the course of his in­nate re­li­gious in­cli­na­tion, early in life its ra­di­ance il­lu­mi­nates man's heart and con­science. As a re­sult, he makes him­self con­form to this in­ner urge, and with the in­creas­ing aware­ness of this hid­den power he be­comes ever more com­pli­ant to its dic­tates.

On the other hand, the philoso­phers, with their di­ver­gent per­cep­tions of facts can­not at­tain a una­nim­ity of opin­ion re­gard­ing ed­u­ca­tion and man's spir­i­tual re­fine­ment. And even if sup­pos­edly such a una­nim­ity were at­tain­able, that can­not, as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple, serve as a means of ed­u­cat­ing the masses who are in­ca­pable of un­der­stand­ing philo­soph­i­cal dis­courses. That is be­cause the force of moral re­straint should emerge from the depths of the hu­man spirit in or­der to meet the de­mand of man's in­nate urges; oth­er­wise the pre­scrip­tions of eth­i­cal phi­los­o­phy, be­ing a man-made prod­uct, are in­ca­pable of pen­e­trat­ing to the hid­den re­al­ity that lies at the core of man's be­ing and are thus in­ad­e­quate for ed­u­cat­ing in­di­vid­u­als and lead­ing them to a life of fe­lic­ity. Even for in­di­vid­u­als who ac­cept to abide by them, these man-made rules would be a tire­some bur­den to be car­ried about. Hence, on this ba­sis, we must ad­mit the su­pe­ri­or­ity of the re­li­gious prin­ci­ple-which is rooted in the depths of man's in­ner be­ing and con­science and is an eter­nal re­al­ity that lies at the cen­tre of his in­nate na­ture-over all other meth­ods that have been suggested in the field of ed­u­ca­tion, and adopt it in or­der that hu­man en­deav­our may at­tain its de­sired goals.

It was through the ad­mis­sion of the pre-em­i­nence of this prin­ci­ple that man found a con­vinced faith in his gen­uine du­ties be­fore hu­man­ity fell into the cap­tiv­ity of ma­te­ri­al­ism. As a con­se­quence he be­came in­tensely com­mit­ted to it, and all the sub­limest of hu­man souls in the course of his­tory have dis­cov­ered the de­light re­sult­ing from com­pli­ance to its com­mands and obeyed it with ded­i­ca­tion.

Briefly, this is the same path as has been shown by the prophets and re­vealed scrip­tures, which al­lows hu­man na­ture to flow in its true chan­nel and sat­is­fies all the as­pects of man's be­ing. Its ob­jec­tive is no other than to guide hu­man na­ture to its goal of eter­nal fe­lic­ity. Hence, if this pri­mary prin­ci­ple be made the ba­sis of ed­u­ca­tion, all in­di­vid­u­als would be able to ad­vance on the path of de­vel­op­ment and per­fec­tion in its light and re­main se­cure from ev­ery kind of de­vi­a­tion.

Aglance at the peo­ple who lead amech­a­nis­tic exis- tence-a phe­nom­e­non of this per­verse era-re­veals the fact that de­spite the re­mark­able ad­vance­ments made by man in the field of sci­ence and the many break­throughs made in the knowl­edge of phys­i­cal na­ture and in un­rav­el­ling its mys­ter­ies, he has, un­for­tu­nately, un­der­gone a ret­ro­grade and deca­dent course in re­gard to the knowl­edge of him­self. Not only this, he has failed to res­cue his world-which is his only nurs­ery and place of de­vel­op­ment- from dev­as­ta­tion and wretched­ness; rather, his mul­ti­far­i­ous sciences them­selves have be­come a means of its de­struc­tion and chaos. More­over, the hu­man spirit it­self has fallen cap­tive to pro­found ne­science in the val­ley of an il­lu­sory civil­i­sa­tion.

The Western world has made man a means of its goals of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion, and it takes what is means for an end in it­self. As a con­se­quence it has cre­ated a so­ci­ety based ei­ther on the prin­ci­ple of con­flict on the plane of the in­di­vid­ual or that of con­flict among so­cial classes. None of these two kinds of so­ci­eties are wor­thy of man. Man can­not at­tain his true hu­man­ity without re­solv­ing the con­tra­dic­tion be­tween his own be­ing and civil­i­sa­tion.

Eric Fromm writes:

Mod­ern man's feel­ing of iso­la­tion and pow­er­less­ness is in­creased still fur­ther by the char­ac­ter which all his hu­man re­la­tion­ship have as­sumed. The con­crete re­la­tion­ship of one in­di­vid­ual to an­other has lost its di­rect and hu­man char­ac­ter and has as­sumed a spirit of ma­nip­u­la­tion and in­stru­men­tal­ity. In all so­cial and per­sonal re­la­tions the laws of the mar­ket are the rule. It is ob­vi­ous that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween com­peti­tors has to be based on mu­tual hu­man in­dif­fer­ence...

Not only the eco­nomic but also the per­sonal re­la­tions be­tween men have this char­ac­ter of alien­ation; in­stead of re­la­tions be­tween hu­man be­ings, they as­sume the char­ac­ter of re­la­tions be­tween things. But per­haps the most im­por­tant and the most dev­as­tat­ing in­stance of this spirit of in­stru­men­tal­ity and alien­ation is the in­di­vid­ual's re­la­tion­ship to his own self. Man does not only sell com­modi­ties, he sells him­self and feels him­self to be a com­mod­ity. The man­ual labourer sells his phys­i­cal en­ergy; the busi­ness­man, the physi­cian, the cler­i­cal em­ployee, sell their "per­son­al­ity." They have to have a "per­son­al­ity" if they are to sell their prod­ucts or ser­vices. This per­son­al­ity should be pleas­ing, but be­sides that its pos­ses­sor should meet a num­ber of other re­quire­ments: he should have en­ergy, ini­tia­tive, this, that, or the other, as his par­tic­u­lar po­si­tion may re­quire. As with any other com­mod­ity it is the mar­ket which de­cides the value of these hu­man qual­i­ties, yes, even their very ex­is­tence. If there is no use for the qual­i­ties a per­son of­fers, he has none, just as an un­saleable com­mod­ity is val­ue­less though it might have its use value. Thus, then self con­fi­dence, the "feel­ing of self", is merely an in­di­ca­tion of what oth­ers think of the per­son, It is not he who is con­vinced of his value re­gard­less of pop­u­lar­ity and his suc­cess on the mar­ket.

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