Science tempered by spirituality is key to civility

The Hindustan Times
New Delhi, 16 October, 2001

MEDITATIONS/ Swami Chaitanya Keerti

A sannyasin from USA has sent me a lovely joke, which is a significant comment on the present situation in the US. This joke is a news item that no newspaper has published.
It is headlined: “U.S. Urges Bin Laden To Form Nation It Can Attack. And it goes like this: “WASHINGTON, DC- Speaking via closed-circuit television from the Oval Office Monday, President Bush made a direct plea to Osama bin Laden to form a nation the U.S. can attack. “Whether you take over an existing nation like Afghanistan or create a new breakaway republic called, say, Osamastan, the important thing is that you establish an identifiable nation-state with an army, a capital, and clearly defined borders,” Bush said. “Maybe you could also sign some quick treaties to definitively establish who your allies are.” The president then pledged $600 million to bin Laden for the construction of a state-of-the-art defense headquarters that the U.S. can bomb.”

It is being said that the war between the US and the Taliban is the ‘clash of civilizations’ a term coined by Samuel Huntington in his book with the same name. The fact is that it is a clash without any civilization or civility.

The West equates the advancement in science and technology with civilisation. This is far from the truth. Science and technology can only make the world materialistically rich and comfortable. It only brings about external prosperity.

With deeper insight, the technology being used in war is also the manifestation of extreme and subtle refinement of barbarism. On the face of it, laser-guided missiles represent the advancement of civilisation, but the reality is that even small time terrorists who till now have been riding on camels have become proficient in the use of these weapons.

Whether we live in the East or in the West, we have not evolved enough to be called civilised. It may be pertinent here to remember what H.G. Wells said when , after the publication of‘War of The Worlds’ an interviewer asked him to spell out his idea of civilisation.

The acclaimed writer replied, “Civilization is a good idea, but it has still to happen. It is still an idea, someone has to make it a reality.”

In the worldview of Osho, the problem is the retarded man, not science and technology. The problem is the man using science and technology or being used by it. Man, insists Osho, remains retarded and uncivilised as long as he does not transform his inner self. To attain that state, we must practice the meditation. Meditation is the key to real civilisation. If we want our world to be a safe place to live, an Einstein will have to be a Buddha too.

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