1. Horizons of culture-specific values and ethics
2. Horizons of culture-specific awareness and the quest for supreme cultural awareness
3. Horizons of culture-general awareness, values and ethics
The integration of axiology, awareness and values in a higher state of mind and consciousness, i. e. the third millennium transcultural spirit
Third Millennium Axiology, Awareness and Values
1. Horizons of culture-specific values and ethics
Axiology, the theory of ethics, needs to be considered praxologically, behaviourally. Beginning with the Fortune 500 corporate scandals and the following global financial crisis ethics has resurfaced, as it did and does in all civilizations past and present. It is the perennial struggle of man, a major theme and challenge to the human species in all societies. Ethics, that inbuilt sense of what is moral conduct and not, whether formulated ex post as a Kantian imperative or in the array of religions or culture-contingent ethical systems, is certainly conditioned culturally, but within the cultural ethical socialization – even in the most collectivist cultures - there is this universal theme that is man’s tremendous freedom and margin of choice as to his individual conduct. All codes of law, all the major religious systems, ideologies, most artistic production, indeed, the sum total of human creativity and artifacts are more or less centered around ethical decision making or involve such decision-making. The collective and the individual aspects of the ethical challenge are the two arms of the problem which man must reconcile. What I do with my cultural programming depends on how I use it, and how I use it frequently depends on one’s ability to manage such programming and that management will depend on one’s ethical assumptions and evolution. Due to the overriding importance with regard to its consequences for the human species individually and socially, nationally and globally it should be part of any cultural analysis. Therefore it is part of my Transcultural Profiler, which forms the backdrop and the theoretical basis of my approach. Consequently the superordinate levels to the Cultural Levels are the Levels of Ethics and Evolution, followed by the Transcultural or Noetic Level which allows to synergize ethics and culture, to use or to transcend culture. Whether it be a captain of industry or a top political decision-maker, the nature of his ethical conduct may make or break powerful corporations and entire societies. And as these days D-Day remembrance is celebrated, one must not omit for example, that an ethical decision against a perceived unethical system by a few individual resistants can and could have impacted the course of history. Those are surely highlights, but the same challenge arises on a daily basis at the individual, organizational national and transnational levels. Non-commitment, unfaithfulness, to oneself, and fellow humans in any social setting will jeopardize life as a whole it its myriad aspects and forms. Ethics is concerned with the life and its integrity. That is the reason, why it is one of the most determinant motives across time and space of human cultures and civilizations. While it is culturally shaped, its individual and universal components count:
Drafting a third millennium ethics blueprint can be compared to the challenge of writing the preamble to a world constitution: a monumental challenge, if it is designed to be operational and socially applicable. The global "space-time" of this dawning third millennium requires the integration of an expanding field with a growing number of players in a sustainable equation. The driving force behind the shrinking space and the speed up has been and still remains technology. The challenge architects of a third millennium global civilization face is to reconcile and synergize an x-axis of a unified field, with a y-axis of an infinite amount of players in a maximally operational and sustainable way.
All cultures and civilizations have developed their codes of ethics in their diverse historical contexts. And since the magnitude of the global ethics challenge has become increasingly pressing and paramount as a consequence of the holocausts of the past century, diverse attempts have been made to engineer such drafts. In modern times there is first and foremost the Charter of the United Nations, which has been formulated in San Francisco shortly after the World War I. NATO has been created to enforce some of its principles among other objectives. The European Iron and Steel Union of 1951 and the Rome Treaty of 1957, although economic at the surface were an enforced ethical system by indirection, in the sense that it provided a better control of the European economic, industrial and military infrastructure, which provided the resources for international conflicts. All grew out of the war experience and aimed more or less directly and pragmatically at ensuring the peaceful coexistence among nations.
With the development of nuclear, spatial and biological capabilities in the following decades the challenge of creating a reliable system that would be able to regulate peaceful coexistence and the peaceful continuity of life on earth grew proportionally to the challenges posed in these key domains. Around the millennium threshold, concepts like World Ethics have been developed from a religious background. In global economics Codes of Global Business Ethics have been proposed. Yet, these constructs remain inspirational blueprints which are challenged by increasing cultural diversity which manifests on the y-axis of the above referred to mapping of the third millennium dilemma. In the meantime the ideologically bipolarized world of the aftermath of World War II has become a multipolar world with regional communities like NAFTA, ASEAN, EU, to name but a view, and due to the empowerment of technology which makes global instantaneous interconnection of all coordinates of the planet feasible, the amount of potential players has multiplied infinitely. So, due to the consequences of technological innovation, both the y-axis as well as the x-axis are growing to their extreme: global integration of the entire planet on one arm of the dilemma and interconnection of an infinite number of players on the other arm of the dilemma need to be reconciled by a global mind yet to evolve. The mind itself has to catch up with the artifacts it has created.
The global terrain which has to support the consequences of technological and demographic change responds to the pressure exerted by an infinite amount of players in an integrated but not expansible, limited field by climate, biological and health threads. The challenge of peaceful coexistence has become a more fundamental challenge of survival. This entails the need of a transition from polarization and fragmentation to integration, from the intercultural to the transcultural paradigm; the integration of an infinite amount of variables in a sustainably operational equation. A model that integrates the potentialities of infinite diversity with an operational unified field could be a guiding star for a third millennium civilization.
Communities always define themselves as communities of values. Whether in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, at NATO headquarters in Brussels or at the level of regional communities or national governments, first and foremost the in-group identifies itself by values, ideological, cultural and ethical ones. However the values framework referred to here seems to be more fundamental in nature than national cultural values in the social anthropological sense. Therefore it may be called a cardinal value system as opposed to a cultural value system in the cultural anthropological sense. Both are interconnected. They interact in both directions. Different ethical systems in one cultural community are hard to imagine, but different cultural expression of the same ethical value system are acceptable in the eyes of its members. Interestingly the soft systems govern the hard systems. It has been said that the semantic world governs the physical world. To a mathematician the governing principle may be numbers, to a spiritualist these principles may be of spiritual nature, to a culturalist the governing principle may be cultural values. If the invisible principles determine the visible world, it follows that we also have to account for those invisible cardinal principles as determinants of human societies, which are ethical in nature and which shape cultures and nations. The cardinal and the cultural values both interact to shape the totality of the human environment, inner and outer. Cardinal values have a stronger inner focus, while cultural values have a stronger outer focus. Is it not rather the totality of human values, cardinal values, which tend to be irreconcilable and cultural values which can be reconciled, govern the totality of the human environments with all its subsystems and determine human individual and societal choices in the various sectors of its institutional environment, the political, economic, legal, social etc.?
Let us travel for a moment across time and space to get an understanding of the what diverse cultures and civilizations have internalized as their cardinal values and virtues:
1. Ancient Greece: The Ancient Greek World believed in the
1. The Good
2. The True
3. The Beautiful
These three transcendentals are the attributes of God and also the attributes of the soul as man is created in the image of God. All cultures could be differentiated by the degree to which they highlight one of these transcendentals. In that sense India or Germany would celebrate the love of Truth, Japan and England would celebrate the love of Beauty, China would celebrate the love of the practical Good. The derivatives of this archetypal sacred trinity can be found in many phenomena. Can there be any nobler value or virtue than the attributes of the creator of these values and virtues? These three transcendental values permeate the entire human civilization. And it they are attributes of God they are also the ideal attributes of man who is made in his likeness.
2. Latinity: The people from the region of Lacio in central Italy were the substratum of what later became the Roman Empire and through the conquista (conquest through colonization) of Central and South America their Latin values and virtues - the cardinal as well as the cultural values - were carried to that part of the southern hemisphere which comprises the totality of the Romance language (Spanish, Portuguese, and some French) speaking people of the Americas: Central and South America, including the Southern Cone (Cono Sur). The Latin European (Mediterranean) and the Latin American world of over 30 countries carry the imprint of Latinity. In the diverse Latin languages, which are also derived from the Latin language of the Romans, it is referred to as, latinidad (Spanish), latinité (French) or latinidade (Portuguese). The cardinal values of the Latin people were Virtus (Virtue), Pietas (Piety) and Fides (Loyalty)
1. Virtus: the capacity to conduct oneself according to the principle of justice and the rule of honour; moral strength and courage.
2. Pietas: respect for family and fatherland
3. Fides: Loyalty and trust in the given word
3. Christianity: The seven cardinal values or virtues of the Christian civilization are
4. The Confucian world: The Confucian World, East Asia and South East Asia are imbued with two and a half thousand year old Taoism and the Confucian ethical system. Confucius lived from 551 to 479 BC. The cardinal values and virtues associated with the two systems are the notion of Tao (the Way), the five cardinal relationships which require a trade-off of care and loyalty between the senior and the junior partners in these basic relationships. The compliance with this ethical code of conduct would lead to a harmonious society. In addition to the five cardinal or basic relationships (in Chinese: wu lun) there are Confucian precepts for the right way to live. The classical Chinese cardinal value and virtue system therefore comprises the following items:
1. Tao: the way, the good way as in the Christian “I am the way...
2. The quest for the practical Good as in the Greek values system
3. The relationship between ruler and subject
4. The relationship between father and son
5. The relationship between husband and wife
6. The relationship between elder brother and younger brother
7. The relationship between older friend and younger friend
8. Know your place
9. Loyalty to others
11. Mutual advantage/obligation
5. Negritude: The cofounders of the Negritude Movement were the Senegalese writer and later President Leopold Senghor and the Martinican writer Aime Cesaire. A literary movement at the beginning, it was described by Senghor as the “sum total of the cultural values of the Negro-African World. Based on information from the Encyclopedia Britannica the cultural values connected with Negritude are:
1. Mystical warmth of African life nourished by
2. Closeness to nature
3. Constant contact with the ancestors
4. Relativization of Western Materialism
5. Assertion of value and dignity of African people and traditions
6. Common black cultural inheritance and destiny
7. Culture founded on emotion and intuition as opposed to Western reason and logic
African culture is not very much spoken about in intercultural studies. Let me therefore add an additional element of appreciation, of mutual perception of Africa by natives and foreigners. The writer V. S. Naipaul refers to “an African Africa, an Africa which – whatever the accidents of history, whatever the current manifestations of earthly glory – has always been in its own eyes complete, achieved, bursting with its own powers”. He contrasts this African self-perception with the perception from outside: “Africa can often seem be seen in a state of becoming. It is always on the point of being made something else. So it arouses hope, ambition, frustration, irritation”: He opposes the idea of African completeness to the outside perception of volatility.
6. South Asia: India is said to highlight and contribute the following cardinal values and virtues to human family. Among others the following three are paramount
1. The quest for metaphysical truth
2. The concept of the consciousness witness underpins the noetic mindset
3. Ahimsa: The concept of non-violence
The key which can open the door to a transcultural ethical mindset is located at the intersection between a transcendent dimension, let's exceptionally call it x-axis, because it can be viewed as a constant, and an immanent dimension, let's call it y-axis. Both dimensions are present in the diverse cardinal value and belief systems described above. Man always has to solve these two dimensions of his existence, the physical and the metaphysical, which we have identified as the core meaning of culture contained in its etymological Latin root word cultura, which points to the humus, the earth to be mastered, and to the cult, the metaphysical. Both reference points seem to be imperatively required in order to stabilize his specific distinctive verticality as homo sapiens erectus. Contrary to earlier stages of evolution, this verticality could and can only be achieved through culture as a whole. The vertical and the horizontal dimensions of culture concomitantly provide the quintessential human nature and differentiate civilized man from precivilized man.
At the threshold of the third millennium, the door towards a third millennium ethics seems to hinge on cardinal (cardo means hinge in Latin) values and cultural values alike. Only jointly these two pivotal hinges can provide the horizontal diversity dynamics as well as the vertical stabilization that door. We can neither open nor pass this door without its dynamic stability on its two hinges, the door which may also open onto the quest for the lost human unity which cannot be found on the horizontal dimension (here: cultural diversity, relativity) alone, because its nature is essentially diversity, whereas the vertical dimension (here: evolution towards the transcultural mindset) also provides the guiding motive of unity. The two concomitantly synergize as unity in diversity and diversity in unity. It is the simultaneous awareness of the unity underpinning diversity and of diversity as hidden unity which allows us to perceive the two aspects of man, his unique distinctiveness as an individual or cultural group as well as his being part of a biological as well as a quasi-mystical common thread and human unity.
Cultural praxeology must encompass culture in its totality which alone can account for man as a whole, his undivided being, the individual. Otherwise one would remain on a pre-individualized, mass consciousness stage. The new found unity is the antithesis of mass consciousness. The complete field of vision, the vision of the actual and the potential man is an inner act of awareness, an awareness of the apparent and the hidden nature of man, which provides the dynamics of a new ethics. The new ethics seems to hinge on a principle of actualization and potentialization, which seems to be applicable to physics and to metaphysics alike in the sense that its understanding provides a solution to the challenge of integration of cultural diversity versus human unity into a human family, a family - metaphorically speaking - with a shared blood but unique members. This dialectical energetic system of the two aspects of the nature of man can lead beyond the cultural blockages and open the door to new transcultural energetics and dynamics. Its dynamic provides the impetus that leads beyond the inertia and bloodlessness of more static construals of cultural diversity while it provides a sustainable ethical platform. The dual perception of man as a cultural and a universal being defuses the antagonisms found in the relative world of culture through its contextualization in the whole. With universal man being the absolute the relativity of cultural man can be reconciled. If, however, cultural man construes himself as absolute man, reconciliation is impossible.
The perception of the dual nature of man, fragment and totality, the part and the whole, cultural and universal man, cultural appearance and human essence, the wholeness of man, seem to be at dead angles to each other. In analogy to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, where one can perceive one aspect of the subatomic reality at the expense of another but not the two - position vs. momentum - simultaneously, the perceptual instrumentation of consciousness, as opposed to technical instruments of measurement, can be expanded to encompass the totality of the field.
Practically one can always move to the common ground if one gets stuck in cultural particulars. If neither adjustment nor reconciliation strategies yield desired mutually beneficial results one can take refuge in the common next plane closer to the center of being. There the cultural threads converge in life itself, before culture sets in. Then a dialectic between the diverse cultural approaches and the universal dimension can begin. This mental shuttling between the two - therefore holistic cultural training must comprise three dimensions: the cultural values, the cardinal cultural values and the universal or transcultural dimension - instantaneously or progressively approximates a solution. Let me use a cinematographic metaphor to illustrate: If the culture scripts projected on the screen are two diverse to be managed synergistically there is always the common unchangeable background of the screen itself, on which, necessarily, any script must be projected. Without this screen, there can be no projection of any script. It's up to the aware person to clear the screen, to manage the projection of scripts. This enhances cybernetic cultural thinking by including truly holistic approaches. Culture clashes can thus be recontextualized in a way that transcends them. Cybernetic thinking switches perspectives on the horizontal plane, holistic cultural approaches also leverage the vertical plane of cardinal values, universalism and last but least the transcultural approach. Actually, this strategy may be considered still another cultural interfacing strategy adding to the range of strategies identified in this study. In any case the inclusion of more variables, or the enhanced optic - provided there is some higher level mutual awareness and good will - can always yield results, if one has the stamina to work through the different planes, to reach the vital, existential common ground where a fusion of interests takes place, as opposed to the division on the peripheral cultural plane; a truly powerful approach. If there is no mutual higher cultural awareness - only primary cultural training - then one can still build on the fact that more highly evolved states can induce changes through resonance. If we use the highest registers - the higher octaves - of the transcultural profiler it will resonate - far and wide, even on the entire earth!
It is said that man made culture before culture made man. Those cardinal values and virtues played a key role in the making of culture which in turn has shaped man in his relationship to other human beings and to the environment and time. Together the cardinal values and virtues and the cultural values form the core of culture.
Culture, the key component of the human psychological architecture is more than the “response to the challenges of the environment and dilemma resolution”. Inner man, intrinsic properties seem to precede this fairly mechanistic definition by Trompenaars and Hampden Turner.
Axiology is the theory of ethics. Here I would like to connect ethics, culturalism and transculturalism. How is it possible to reconcile the infinite diversity in a unified field? How is it possible to reconcile the cultural and the transcultural level, to bridge the gap between the intercultural to the transcultural mindset, awareness or consciousness, from cultural to transcultural intelligence and ethics?
Well, if we return to the Transcultural Profiler, we note that the link between the Cultural levels (individual and national culture profiles) and the Transcultural level is precisely the Ethics level, preceded by the Evolution level. The progress on the evolution scale towards a more allocentric, synthetic or universal mindset constitutes already an ethical frame of mind which in turn provides a launching pad for a transcultural mindset. In other words, the path of transition from a purely cultural mindset towards a transcultural mindset passes through Evolution and Ethics. Therefore the cardinal values or virtues are the link between a mindset governed by the principle of polarizations and antagonisms and a mindset or rather a state of awareness and consciousness that transcends cultural polarizations and antagonisms while it more intelligently manages them interculturally, be it domestically or internationally. The transcendent and transcultural seed is contained in all the cardinal value systems of the world described above. Therefore it can be accessed from any cultural background. The four top levels of the Transcultural Profiler, the societal and individual culture profiles, Evolution, Ethics and Noetics (the transcultural level) profiles or levels seamlessly feed into each other. In that sense Evolution and Ethics are the launching pad for the transcultural destination, an inner destination which has the power to reshape the global cultural environment in a scientifically and experientially founded integrative way.
The destination of cultural evolution is the transcultural or noetic mindset - as natural as the river that flows to the sea if it is not barraged - which actually is the third millennium ethical and transcultural system. Evolution and Ethics are catalysts or enablers. They are contained in the highest function which is implemented and operationalized on the subjacent level of operationalization of the transcultural consciousness level. The transition from duality to non-duality, from the fragment to integrity passes through Evolution and Ethics. This focal function contains and controls the totality of the human architecture irrespective of the myriads of garbs of cultural diversity. Thus the transcultural awareness or consciousness contains and controls the third millennium cultural and ethical system.
When all cultural knowledge has been silenced
Transcultural awareness may begin.
2. Horizons of human awareness and the quest for supreme cultural awareness
Intercultural theoreticians as well as practitioners sometimes tend to forget, in addition to the contributions of the diverse civilizations of the world to the topic, which we shall review later on, what the sciences of life, matter and energy as well as religion as an all-encompassing time transcending understanding of life can contribute to a complementary epistemological, transcultural perception of cultural diversity and its effective and sustainable management that suffices the global management imperative of our global multicultural age.
The transcultural and transdisciplinary perception and insight, which we shall look at in greater detail in the course of this exposé, are among other readings, last but not least also transpositions of hard scientific evidence, albeit at a metaphorical rather than a concrete level of course. I am referring more specifically to Niels Bohr’s complementarity principle, formulated in 1927 already. It is among quantum physics breakthrough discoveries which have enabled modern high-tech civilization right to space conquest. Not only the management of physical space but also that of psychological space can benefit from such principles, provided they are carefully - with due respect to the specificity to the disciplines - translated to other levels of life and research. Objections against the crossing of disciplines are legitimate and need to be carefully scrutinized in order to prevent confusion. But not attempting the judicious metaphorical translation of fundamental laws of existence, which due to their fundamentality affect everything that is supported by that foundation in nature as a whole, has not been and does not seem to be pardoned by history. On the contrary, the omission has called a form of scientific nemesis on to the world’s stage in the shape of the greatest cultural conflicts of human history. The translation and application of lead-paradigm shifts for an enhanced view of life is not only more appropriate epistemologically but also more ethical, because it is more truthful. And truth is one in which true science and true ethics seem to converge and guide human understanding and action in a new light, the light of truth which is sustainable per se. But it is never too late. Therefore let’s get started hic et nunc, here and now. At least the question needs to be raised in order to be not held accountable by history for an epochal omission.
- Quote paper
- D.E.A./UNIV. PARIS I Gebhard Deissler (Author), 2011, Third Millennium Axiology, Awareness and Values, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/182055