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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 9 New Delhi February 16, 2019

Value System Changes Needed for a Protective World

Sunday 17 February 2019, by Bharat Dogra

While most people in our increasingly troubled world are too absorbed in struggles and problems of daily life to find much time for larger issues, there is nevertheless growing realisation that several serious problems are fast getting out of hand to the extent that even the basic life-nurturing conditions of our planet are threatened. Hence clearly there is need for reorganising human life and for this we need some basic values on which common agreement can be reached among a very large number of people in the world.

These values can be expressed in various ways. One simple formulation can be based on the following five basic values—

There should be basic acceptance that the earth belongs to not just human beings but all forms of life and we should be protective towards all forms of life.

We owe a great responsibility to all humanity and to all forms of life of present as well as future generations to protect the basic life-sustaining conditions and habitats, on the whole to leave a safe and more secure world for future generations.

One of the most basic values of human life to be promoted from early childhood onwards is that as far as possible we should avoid causing distress to other fellow human beings as well as to other forms of life. An accompanying value is that we should accept non-violence as a way of life.

A basic aim of any human life is to seek to develop its creative potential in ways that are in harmony with and protective towards the welfare of the entire world (human beings as well as other forms of life).

The above formulation is a very simple one and it can be the starting point for a wider discussion on what basic value systems are needed. It is interesting to see how even a single person living on the basis of these principles can become a more creative and useful global citizen giving much more to the world while also improving her/his own creativity all the time. It will be much more interesting to see how a small community changes when trying to live in accordance with these simple principles.

At a very decentralised level, we can see how smaller communities which start living on the basis of these values can become examples of a much happier, satisfying, peaceful, justice-based and sustainable life,

Also various visions of world-level changes based on these principles can be simultaneously explored with a special focus on timely changes which can protect the life-nurturing conditions of our planet.

Both decentralised efforts and world-level planning are needed to effectively face the growing challenges so that a vision of world level changes can be supported by a growing number of people at the grassroots.

The author is a freelance journalist who has been involved with several social movements and initiatives.

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