Global Man (Human) as the Vision for the Third Millennium: The Role of Peace Education
Author: Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D.
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on: 02/14/2012
In my view, only global man (human) can help in building a global common society for peace among all humankind. This does not mean that global man (human) will have to go to all of the different parts of the world to make a global community feasible, but rather it is a matter of thinking and understanding that we are the world, and this will mold our behavior for the benefit of all humanity.
According to Chhandogya Upanishad, a great ancient intellectual book, man (human) is able to declare, “I, indeed, am this whole world”. And Socrates of ancient Athens declared, “I am not a citizen of Athens, or Greece, but a citizen of the world”. In the opinion of Korean peace thinker Young Seek Choue, “Mankind and the universe, man and man are a part of the whole and at the same time the whole of parts. Human beings are a part of the universe. However, a human being is a universe itself…. Therefore, it is very natural to believe that we co-exist with the universe”. If we followed such spiritual guidance, there would be no conflict between different races, religions, nations, and there would be no discrimination of any type.
This very idea about man (human) and the universe leads us to the definition of man (human). Saint Tulsidas, a great author of Ramayana, a very popular epic in India, asked “What is man [human]?” According to him, man (human) is made of five elements: earth, air, water, fire , and these elements are in scattered form in the universe, but are in consolidated form in man (human). This is why man (human) has been called a miniature universe. These five elements take the form of body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit, respectively, in man (male and female both). Thus, man (human) is made of five sheaths: physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual. Therefore, man (male and female both) is everywhere the same. He or she has the similar basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, education and health. He or she has a common feeling of happiness and sorrow. His or her basic physical structure, mental make-up, moral needs and spiritual aspirations are the same the world over. The cycle of birth, growth, childhood and youth, of sickness, old age and death, of love and friendship are the same for all men and women. We all share a common origin and a common destiny: the human race is one. Homo Sapiens are everywhere the same. As such, the world would be based on communication of minds and hearts: homo-noia, of one mind.
It is man’s (human’s) urge to overcome the maladies of conflict, ignorance and alienation of man from man (of human from human) and to rediscover oneself in unity and harmony with all fellow-men (humans) that impels one’s philosophical quest for a universality of human beings and encourage one to be universal or global by the practice of altruistic behavior. The aspiration of the individual self to become one with the global self is the reflection of man’s (human’s) desire to bridge the gulf between what he or she is and what he or she can be. His or her true being is identical with the global or universal being. Man (human) is nothing but global. He/she can realize his/her own global self by a process of becoming.
All altruists are naturally global. Global men/women are altruistic towards the whole of mankind and all living creatures. Buddha, Jesus and Saint Francis of Assisi were highly global personalities. They loved even their enemies; their sphere of love was unlimited and their altruism was most creative, wise and of the purest type. Several political leaders and social reformers like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and great educators like Socrates and Comenius were global men for their movements serving the cause of a better life for all humankind. Real scientists, poets, dramatists and composers, eminent philosophers, moralists, educators and inventors and also the great ascetics and hermits, true religious leaders and mystics are also global because of their performance for the benefit of others.
It is true that in man (human) lies the whole world; but it is also a fact that each one of us must be perpetually aware of this reality to be global. Then, there would be no chance to be exploited or oppressed by any one, nor to exploit or oppress anybody. Because no one on the Earth except ourselves can give us freedom, justice and peace, our own awareness about self and others, including our social, political and economic surroundings, can make us free, provide us justice and lead us to peace.
For this perpetual conscientization about the real nature of man (human), i.e. global, we need the learning of a new discipline; that is, Peace Education. Conscientization, which begins among the oppressed and exploited, is the main goal of peace education. In the beginning, conscientization meant awareness, awakening the people toward their oppressive and exploitative conditions and situations to fight their own unjust realities to make them just for all. And above all, it means also the awakening of both the exploited and exploiters towards their own nature, i.e. global. Thus, peace education views the world as one whole, a single community, a fellowship of human beings who have the same instincts of hunger and sex, the same aspirations of generosity and fellow-feeling. So, the basis of peace education is cosmopolitan. Peace education helps people to become human and global. It develops a sense of belonging to humanity, and strengthens it by connecting man with man (human with human). It helps people to feel more for other people, enable them to change the exploitative and oppressive society, and to create a non-violent and just society. Peace education prepares global man (human), and these global men and women will assure peoples’ peace.
Thus, peace education develops in the minds of men and women the large, inclusive vision of humanity through understanding and respect for differences, and increases global awareness and cooperation in the ways of peace. It helps in developing a global community, which will have in common science and technology, economic arrangements and political forms, but it will also help the varied people of the world to develop their local customs, art and literature to save the new civilization from monotony and destruction. And this global community will be radically different, based on justice, non-oppression, non-exploitation, and non-violence. Therefore, Global Man (Human) should be the only Vision for the Third Millennium for Peace for all humankind, everywhere.
Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D. is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Peace Education: An International Journal; former Visiting Professor of Peace Studies at Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea; and Executive Vice President of the International Association of Educators for World Peace. firstname.lastname@example.org
The ideas expressed in this essay are based on the special speech delivered by Prof. Prasad at the Commemoration Ceremony and International Peace Conference for the 17th Anniversary of the UN International Day of Peace, organized by Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.