Liquid Humanitarianism

Liquid Humanitarianism

Syed Ismyl Mahmood Rizvi (Patna University, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9065-1.ch011


Evolution is fluid, and it adapts to the shapes of its containers. This chapter contemplates the idea of liquid humanitarianism in the process of adapting to its cultural containers. True humanitarianism is evolving from the earlier stage defined by the term “humanism,” which has focused primarily on human self-interest rather than geocentric interest. Collective cognitive transcendence from a humanist state to a humanitarian state constitutes initiation into an infinite cosmic reality that is based on the emerging quantum perspective of science.
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Before the term humanitas came into use, it was an unconscious concept intrinsic to the human species—a survival mechanism practiced among humans long before the advent of ancient cultures and civilizations. The term describes a practical state of human welfare that was critical to human survival. Beginning within families and gradually extending throughout ancient cultures and civilizations, the concept of humanitas may be loosely equated with a general evolutionary trend in the expansion of consciousness to ever-larger civilized contexts—family, clan, neighborhood, town, city, state, and nation state. The essential characteristic of humanitas is empathy—without which the current global civilization would not have been possible. The development of systems of transportation, trade and commerce, education, value structures, language, ethics, and even military defense have always been based on existential aspects of empathetic humanitas. So, it may be stipulated that modern humanism is based on empathetic cooperation. However, from a psychological point of view, the concept of humanitarianism goes beyond humanism to incorporate super-human characteristics and scales of sentience.

From the psychological point of view, this is a longstanding but largely misinterpreted ontological concept that is directly correlated with modern holistic principles such as holography and quantum field theory (QFT). For example, a fundamental principle of alchemy is synthesized in the axiom, “As it is above, so it is below”. The alchemical metaphor of turning base metal into gold expresses the same principle as the axiom. In the metaphor, humanitarian sentience is the gold. The alchemical ontology is that “everything is in everything”. The ancient Greek philosopher, Anaxagoras (fifth century B. C. E.) maintained that the original state of the cosmos was a mixture of all its ingredients (Anaxagoras, 2015). He propounded a physical theory of “everything in everything,” and claimed that nous (intellect or mind) was the motive cause of cosmos. In his own time, his philosophy was largely misunderstood because criticism derived from contemporary theories that did not have the same scope. From the modern QFT perspective, his philosophy becomes very practical for understanding the evolution of humanitarian sentience.

Shared empathy is based on life-experience that demonstrates the similarities among human individuals. The term “mutuality” refers to the experience of recognizing the humanity of the not-self—that other who shares a physical body, consciousness, emotions, drives, and desires that are familiar to us through our self-knowledge. This mutual empathy evolves into a cognitive set characterized by a common denominator that links human beings. During early stages of development, mutual empathy is mostly generated by defensiveness—the need for security, health, sympathy and freedom from threat, illness, rejection and subjugation. Gradually, mutuality is extended to protection of posterity, enjoyment of mutual respect, fairness and appreciation of others, and finally to the quest for self-actualization. (Aloni, Nimrod, 2007)

According to Theory of Mind, human empathy is the capacity to put oneself into someone else’s shoes, to imagine their thoughts and feelings (Baron-Cohen, S., 1995; Baron-Cohen, S., et al, 1985). Empathy verifies the belief of Greek philosophers that man by nature--a social being and that the state of nature is a social state-of-being. In the state of nature, natural right and natural law prevails, but this natural state is one of cooperation as clearly indicated by current environmental research which has displaced the Darwinian view of nature as “Red in tooth and claw”. The distinction is important for understanding the difference between humanism and humanitarianism. The human view of nature radically effects human behavior and value structures. The consequences of human belief that the natural environment is inferior to humanitas result in “domination”, whereas the humanitarian view of nature is “protective”. Leo Strauss (1953) observed that humans should act in accordance with the principles of nature in order to function in harmony with society and with their inner social being.

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