Business, Religion, and Spirituality: A New Synthesis.

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Business Religion Spirituality: A New Synthesis by …

22/03/2004 · Business, Religion, and Spirituality: A New Synthesis Oliver F

Business Religion And Spirituality A New Synthesis

Having explored Gandhi's philosophy and practice of nonviolence above, as he used it against the British first in South Africa, and then in India, an interesting question is: what relevance do Gandhi's ideas have for today? The first obvious answer is that with the destructive potential of nuclear weapons today, the world can no longer afford to solve its conflicts via violence and weapons of mass destruction--if we want a future for ourselves, our children, and the earth. Gandhi was the first person to take ideas of nonviolence and apply them in a mass movement for social and political change, that showed that a party to a conflict can win via nonviolent means against a much stronger party, 'if' the former can appeal to the moral conscience of their opponent, and the world, and convince them that they have a just cause which deserves to be listened to and addressed in a constructive manner. Certainly the world can use such an approach today. Being willing to listen to inner spiritual guidance, and then to undergo purification (to be sure one's motives are pure) before embarking on political action in the world are other characteristics of spiritually-based nonviolence, which distinguish it from both temporary uses of nonviolence for functional purposes, and from violent efforts at social-political change. Such spiritually based nonviolence carries a much bigger moral authority and influence because it is not undertaken for personal power or ego reasons, and because it does not dehumanize one's opponent, which is a necessary step before people can justify killing other human beings in the world. All of these values, if adopted by the world's different peoples, cultures, and religions today would do much to create a more peaceful world in the 21st century. It is also significant that religious leaders of many of the world's religions would agree today that when violent actions are undertaken in the name of religion, the party concerned is not being true to the spirit or the letter of that religion. (Certainly religious cults today or fundamentalist religious factions that advocate and engage in violence against others with different perspectives than their own are not being true to the spirit of the original founders of their professed religions.)

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Holistic definitions of nonviolence have of course been present in the Western literature for a considerable time, with Eastern traditions in general, and Gandhi in particular, having made the greatest contribution to our understanding of this spiritually-based type of nonviolence. The distinction between nonviolent action as a technique of struggle versus nonviolence as a philosophy and way of life has provided the basis for discussing nonviolence in the West, thanks to the work of Gene Sharp in the West and Mahatma Gandhi in the East and their respective perspectives. Whereas Sharp has stressed the functionality of nonviolent action and its value as a technique for waging conflicts--a technique he believes to be superior in pragmatic terms to violence--the Gandhian nonviolence as a way of life school has always adopted a deeper view of nonviolence, based on a centuries-old Eastern tradition that stresses an inner, spiritual peace component

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Religion, and Spirituality: A New Synthesis

Business, Religion, and Spirituality by Oliver F

The still evolving Western civilization, in Sorokin's view, had achieved overripe sensate status (with too much stress on materialism and an almost complete disregard for spiritual values) and was now in crisis, swinging back towards the ideational pole. Such a swing would inevitably manifest itself in the emergence of "new holistic paradigms" in many different areas, as illustrated above, as well as in the re-emergence of ideational, religious or spiritual worldviews. It will also, in Sorokin's view, lead to a period of turmoil, crisis and catharsis, from which the new ideational or idealistic culture will emerge.

Business Religion Spirituality: A New Synthesis

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Part I begins by providing a framework for looking at all the world's religions as having a potential spectrum of perspectives, including: the external, socially-learned, cultural or exoteric part --including different religious organizations, rituals, and beliefs, which are passed down from one generation to the next, and the internal, mystical, direct spiritual experience or esoteric part. In considering the external aspects of religion, principles from the field of intercultural communication are used to explore the creation of tolerance, understanding and valuing of diversity concerning different aspects of socially learned behavior or culture, including religion.

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Table 3 details how each culture mentality affects what is meant by "self" and what is defined as knowledge in each type of culture mentality. Both the sensate and ideational types are highly integrated around completely different reality definitions. The sensate culture is associated with a view of the self as a material entity dissolved (or living totally) in the immediate physical reality. Under this view the material world provides the basis for everything, and materialistic models of reality are likely to be dominant in all compartments of culture. Mechanistic models of the universe and materialistic biochemical models of health are typical examples of the sensate view of reality, a view that stresses caring for the physical body, sensual liberty (for example, sexual freedom) and sensual egotism (for example, cultivating the body beautiful). Such a worldview will naturally develop physical and biological sciences that study and manipulate the external world, and in so doing will develop technology for this purpose. In contrast, the ideational culture type searches for the inner self, which is experienced as dissolved (or existing totally) in the ultimate spiritual reality. The external material world is seen as an illusion, and knowledge of the spiritual, psychical and immaterial reality becomes the basis for knowledge. Using meditation and other self exploration approaches, knowledge of the inner self, including inner peace, becomes central. As in the case of Table 2, the idealistic culture mentality attempts to balance both approaches.