Humanizing the Human within an Era of Disruption

Glen T. Martin

World Philosophical Forum

World Philosophy Day, Keynote Address, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 21, 2019

What do we mean by the humanizing of the human?  And what do we mean by an era of disruption?  The attempt to answer these two questions will guide the discussion in this paper. Let me try to approach these questions through first sketching a broad overview of our cosmic and human situation as this has been uncovered by both Western history and contemporary thought. Secondly, I will undertake an analysis of the present world system to reveal both the outlines of our current disruption and the direction we must urgently proceed if we want to continue the ancient process of humanizing the human.

The ancient Greek philosophers understood, first, that human beings were related to the structure of the cosmos.  For Plato, in the Republic, human beings were capable of living in the light of the “Form of the Good,” itself beyond being (hyperousia), while cognizing the intelligible structure of the manifest world.[1] For Aristotle, we were capable of a contemplation mirroring that of God, the Unmoved Mover, and we apprehended a world in which all entelechies exhibited a nisus toward the actualizing of their unique potentialities, a nisus eternally animated by that Unmoved Mover.[2] 

These ancient philosophers understood our humanity as becoming ever-more actualized as we developed our specifically human potential, moving upward, for example, on Plato’s ladder of love toward the highest level, thereby becoming “a friend of God and immortal.” Ancient Greek and Roman civilization also often emphasized our common humanity, especially in the cosmopolitism of the Stoics, who recognized the rational nature and ontological equality of all human beings.[3]

Medieval thinkers added to the humanizing of the human in various ways, one of which involved  opening human experience to union with the divine source. From Plotinus to Dionysios the Areopagite to Eriugena to Avicenna to Jalal Udin Rumi to Meister Eckhart to Nicolas of Cusa, medieval thinkers experienced the immanence of God within our human reality.[4] This led to some, such as Sufi mystic al-Hallaj, to declare “I am the Truth,” offending ordinary believers by claiming one of the names of God, with tragic consequences for himself.[5] It also led Meister Eckhart in the 14th century to an indictment by the Catholic Church for possible heresy. The innovators and the pioneers in the process of humanizing the human often face great odds and take great risks.

Human beings are humanized through actualizing awareness of their participation with the divine source that flows through the depths of all being. Perhaps, as the Eastern Orthodox Church puts it, we are capable of “divinization,” or, as Buddhism has put it, of actualizing our Buddha-nature, or in Islam, we are capable, as Frithjof Schuon declares, of “seeing God everywhere and everything in Him.”[6]

The Early Modern period from the 17th century saw the rise of the scientific method in Europe. This period gave birth, in general, to a mechanistic reduction of the concept of human being. No longer the microcosm of the macrocosm as we were for the Greeks, no longer capable of the direct realization of the divine as we were for the Medievals, the early moderns such as Francis Bacon, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and David Hume understood human beings as complex machines within what they took to be a mechanistic, deterministic, atomistic universe.  Here we encounter some roots behind our present “age of disruption.”[7]

From the discovery of the scientific method by Galileo and others in the early 17th century to the brilliant synthesis of Newton’s Principia Mathematica of 1687, the early modern thinkers generated a world view derived from what they took to be the fundamental components of reality.  Atomism: everything can be understood as built from parts that are real in themselves and make it what it is. Determinism: everything is causally determined by the principle of universal efficient causality.  Mechanism: everything operates like a machine with parts working together to make it function efficiently. External relations: the atoms and entities are externally related (only) to other parts and entities: in this world view, atomistic units impact one another externally but exhibit few internal relationships.[8]

However, human beings can only be adequately understood under the models of growth and evolution linked to the fundamental nature of the cosmos and the divine. Plato and Aristotle articulated our microcosmic connection with the macrocosm and our potential to grow into knowledge and harmony with the intelligible whole. The Medieval mystics apprehended the divine reality immanent within our depths.  Although their metaphysics was often limited by prescientific mythologies about the world, they added this dimension to our quest to humanize the human. However, while the discovery of the scientific method in the 17th century was a great step in and of itself, the reductionist world view that arose from early-modern science did a tremendous disservice to our intrinsic human vocation of humanizing the human.[9]

Arising out of this early-modern mechanistic paradigm were the two institutions that have come to dominate the contemporary world: the sovereign nation-state and global capitalism. Governance during the European middle ages had been by dynasty and lineage, that is, by royal families. The devasting 30 Years War was concluded at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.  Awareness of the new “scientific” paradigm led to a solution to the complex claims of royal families to rule disparate areas linked to family lineages.  They decided instead to create an atomized world of territorially bound sovereign nation-states. 

Each state would have absolute territorial boundaries ruled over by a unitary governmental authority, responsible for internal affairs and well-being. Each state would be independent of all other states in a collective equality. That is, each would be independent in its foreign affairs.[10]  Out of this agreement the atomistic system of sovereign nation-states was born.  Today, there are some 193 of these sovereign territories, with absolute borders, most of them militarized, not easily penetrable by “outsiders.”

Capitalism paralleled the atomism of territorial states. Individual businesses and persons competed in a marketplace for wealth and success. Similarly, nations competed economically for markets, colonial power, and wealth. It was not an accident that Adam Smith’s summary of this process in 1776 was called The Wealth of Nations. Today, world system theorist Christopher Chase-Dunn declares that “the state and the interstate system are not separate from capitalism, but rather are the main institutional supports of capitalist production relations.”[11] The human image became prostituted to the pursuit of wealth integrated within a patriotism directed toward discrete, militarized territorial entities, all of which were permeated by the nearly universal technological drive to military and industrial domination, exploitation, and control of both nature and human beings.[12]

In 1905 Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity, the premise of which was that the universe is an integrated whole, every aspect internally related to every other aspect. Since that time science has continued to uncover evidence of the undivided wholeness of the cosmos, with quantum physics rooting the Einsteinian ontological holism in the undivided unity of a quantum dimension transcending even space and time.[13]  All individuals, from galaxies and stars to human beings and animals, are related to all other individuals. This means that the primary mode of relationship involves “internal relations,” not merely external relations. Atomism is dead. Mechanism is dead. Holism means universal relatedness.[14] A vast literature developed linking human beings holistically to the divine source of existence and the evolutionary process.[15]

In the mid-20th century, the Big Bang emerged as a leading theoretical concept for the whole. Recognition of this primal flaring forth some 13.8 billion years ago gave rise to the concept of universal evolution: everything evolves. Human consciousness has itself evolved from its primitive beginnings some 2 million years ago. It has moved away from its original unity with nature through successive stages of increasing self-awareness.

Scholars record the movement of human consciousness from its “Primitive Unity” through an “Age of Magic” evidenced in cave paintings around the world, to an “Age of Mythology” that characterized ancient civilizations from the Yellow River Valley in China to the Egyptian civilization along the Nile, to our present age of “Self-aware Reason.” The latter began during the famous “Axial Period” of human history from the 8th to the 2nd century BCE. Our present age could also be termed the age of dualistic “Subject-Object” consciousness.[16] We need an integral consciousness, a holistic consciousness.

The 20th century discovered, from multiple angles, the vast integrated unity in diversity of the universe. With the ecological crisis that emerged since the 1960s, we began to uncover the interrelated unity of our planetary ecosystem and the inseparability of human society from the planetary biosphere.  Everything evolves: the geological character of the Earth has evolved over the 4.6 billion years of its existence. Life on Earth has evolved over its 3.8 billion year history.[17] Human beings evolved from the hominids and human consciousness continues to evolve. Everything is interrelated within the evolutionary process. All human beings are brothers and sisters and intimately related to the divine ground of being from which self-consciousness and freedom have emerged.

Physicists have proposed “the Anthropic Principle” according to which human life was built into the fundamental structure of the universe from its very inception.[18] In India, Sri Aurobindo understood that the ONE (God) emerges in human beings as “a localized consciousness through which it becomes aware of itself.”[19]  20th century philosopher Errol E. Harris writes: “The universal principle [God] is necessarily immanent in every part and every phase of the system. It is the alpha and omega of the universe, and without it nothing could be what it is, or happen as it does. Bringing itself to consciousness in our minds, it determines the essential nature of our thinking….”[20]

Today, we require an “open synthesis”, or “open horizon,” that is, a vision of human participation in the cosmic reality that is evolving, open to the new, and does not close off emergent possibilities.[21] We need a principle of unity in diversity in which both the unity and the diversity are recognized as evolving, as we participate in the process of cosmogenesis as vehicles of the divine-human-cosmic project of emergent existence. In my view, in his book Al Fathun Nawa, Dr. Halo-N has shown us the inexhaustible richness of the Quran for such continued human growth and development.[22]

Whereas the ancient Greeks articulated a static ontological macrocosm toward which humanizing the human could aspire, and the Medievals mentioned above articulated a depth dimension that often emphasized divine reality in opposition to matter.[23] Today, we have uncovered the evolutionary upsurge of the universe and ourselves as an integral component of that upsurge. Body, mind, and spirit are aspects of one integrated reality, and we are in its midst.

This is the meaning of human freedom and why freedom must be an integral component of our unity in diversity.  Human freedom is essential to our cosmic-human-divine vocation.[24]  Can we understand this with more than just the abstract intellect?  Can we internalize this awareness so that it becomes fundamental to our being in the world? We need an existential paradigm-shift away from all forms of atomism and mechanism toward emergent evolutionary holism. Freedom envisions a transformed future.

In the light of contemporary science, well-known Physicist Henry Stapp observes that we have revised our conception of a person in relation to nature. This new conception “must inevitably lead us away from the egocentric bias that was the rational product of the ontology of classical physics, to the values inherent in the image of the self, not as a local isolated automaton but rather as a nonlocalizable integrated aspect of the creative impulse of the universe.”[25]

 The Cosmos belongs together with humanity and God, as philosopher Raimon Panikkar has long insisted.[26] Three dimensions, three principles in one, unity in diversity, the whole as an emergent evolutionary open future. We humanize the human today by recognizing our unity with the cosmos and God and by living in terms of this “open synthesis” that allows the genuinely new to emerge, that keeps open the eschaton, the emergent fulfillment, the vision, in more traditional language, of the Kingdom of God on Earth, or of the Shari’ah, an age of obedience, freedom, peace, and compassion, when God-consciousness is all in all. Sufi poet Jalal Udin Rumi sings:

Something opens our wings.

Something makes boredom and hurt disappear.

Someone fills the cup in front of us.

We taste only sacredness….

Real value comes with madness,

matzub below, scientist above.

Whoever finds love beneath hurt and grief,

disappears into emptiness, with a thousand new disguises.[27]

We need to “open our wings” to taste the sacredness of existence. We need to rediscover God-consciousness within the context of our emergent freedom.[28] The Quran is for everyone; the Bhagavad Gita speaks to all; the same is true for the Bible, the Tao Te Ching, and the sutras of Buddhism. We emerge from the emptiness in a thousand new disguises, a vast diversity within unity, animated by love.

Yet today’s world disrupts this process. We live in an era of disruption because both global capitalism and its sister institution the sovereign nation-state interfere with, block, and distort the process of humanizing the human. Ours is an age of disruption because the mechanistic materialism of the early-modern paradigm has colonized the life-worlds of people around the globe. Nations, economic wealth-seeking, technological domination, and the idolatry of false, anthropomorphically conceived images of divinity, enslave humanity to war, destruction of the environment, spiritual and planetary ruin.

These institutions with their false paradigmatic assumptions interfere with the open and evolving project of unity in diversity that constitutes our true human vocation. The sacred needs to appear to us in a thousand new disguises.  But this cannot happen within the global war system.

As several major western thinkers have pointed out, the system of sovereign nation-states is inherently a war system. Spinoza, in the 17th century, recognized that states will wage war according to their perceived national interests, since there is no higher authority that can arbitrate or mitigate the resort to violence. British philosopher Thomas Hobbes also understood the system as intrinsically a war-system. He declared that outside of their borders, states confront one another “as gladiators.” This state of nature, he declared, without government to keep the peace, consisted in a “war of all against all.”

 This condition violates the most fundamental ethical principle (that of treating all people as having equal dignity). This condition is, therefore, inherently immoral. In Perpetual Peace (1795), Immanuel Kant describes the relation between sovereign nations as an immoral condition of war.[29] In his Philosophy of Right, G.W.F. Hegel declares “if no agreement can be reached between particular wills, conflict between states can only be settled by war.”[30]

After the Second World War, journalist Emery Reves declared that, “War takes place whenever and wherever non-integrated social units of equal sovereignty come into contact.”  He concluded that, “‘Policy’ and ‘diplomacy’ not only may lead to war, but cannot fail to do so because they are actually identical with war.”[31] The system of “sovereign” nation-states, recognizing no enforceable law above themselves, remains intrinsically a war-system, impeding the humanizing of the human.  The United Nations Charter is fundamentally a treaty of sovereign nation states, and that is why it has been unable to stop war, protect human rights, or preserve our planetary environment.

The system of militarized sovereign nation-states, the capitalist system, and the technological civilization that these have generated, now dominate us. We no longer control or dominate them.  And this world system is leading us to total destruction.  Adjustments by the UN or climate treaties under this same paradigm are not going to address the issue.  Our present condition is vividly depicted in works such as Jonathan Glover’s Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century or in David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.[32]

The future may look bleak indeed. In the face of today’s planetary crises, the humanizing of the human becomes an urgent demand. We need to become different and to think differently. We need to see ourselves as integral participants in the biosphere, as citizens of the cosmos as well as planet Earth, and as manifestations of the divine ground of being with its evolutionary upsurge. 

We urgently need to transform the world system from a war-system, greed system, and domination system to the integrated harmony of democratic world law under a united humanity. Only this can make possible the continued upsurge of humanizing of the human. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth, of course, cannot of itself establish such a transformation of human consciousness.  But I am convinced that it remains an essential vehicle for making this happen. I will briefly describe its role in three ways: the principle of unity in diversity on which it is founded, the freedom system that it creates, and the “open horizon” that is built into its provisions.[33]

First, the Constitution is designed around the principle of unity in diversity, a principle that the Earth Federation will promote throughout the government as well as in media, education, and law. The Constitution’s design brings in people from every corner of the Earth and ensures diversity in every agency and organ of the Earth Federation Government.  It ensures participation from 1000 electoral districts around the world and draws human beings into a unity that respects and dignifies their immense human diversity. This constitutional unity in diversity in many ways mirrors the unity in diversity of our emergent evolutionary cosmos.

 Second, the Constitution maximizes human freedom. The second “broad function” of the Earth Federation specified in Article 1 states that it must “protect universal human rights, including life, liberty, security, democracy, and equal opportunities in life.” The entire system of the Constitution is built around this and the other five broad functions specified in Article 1, the first of which (Article 1.1) is world peace, the second of which (1.2) is freedom and the protection of human rights, and the fifth of which is “to protect the environment and the ecological fabric of life.” By transforming a world system that currently defeats freedom in every dimension, the Earth Constitution opens before humanity a horizon for moral, emotional, spiritual, and cognitive growth that would otherwise be impossible.

 Major impediments to human freedom and flourishing endemic within the present world chaos are removed and prevented from recurring by the integrated functions of the Earth Federation under the Constitution. For example, there will be no more national security states, world militarism, authoritarian regimes, rogue militarized terror groups, corporate violations of the dignity of employees, child labor, human trafficking, extremes of poverty and deprivation, lack of literacy and education, or lack of adequate health care. These phenomena are largely products of the system and require system transformation if they are to be adequately addressed.

Third, Article 18 establishes within the constitutional framework that “open horizon” that I believe necessary for human liberation. The Constitution is a manual for making decisions by the people of Earth and for piloting our planetary spaceship. It recognizes the need for this manual to evolve as circumstances change. Article 18 mandates a new constituent assembly within 10 years after the ratification of the Constitution and additional constituent assemblies every 20 years thereafter.

As such, the Constitution mirrors the emergent evolutionary telos and unity in diversity of the world system, and it places the evolutionary upsurge of freedom at its very heart. Humanizing the human means to me participating in the self-actualizing movement of the cosmic-divine-human adventure.  We are the universe become self-aware. We have the gifts of language, freedom, and reason.[34]

Or as some Islamic thinkers have put it, our intelligence is theomorphic, capable of discerning the divine Truth, Wisdom, and Compassion.[35] We can discern the outlines of this mysterious process and ask the question of who and what we should become through the immense gift of freedom and responsibility. We can work to actualize the Love, Justice, Compassion, and Truth that serve as the fountainhead for all the great world religions. Mahatma Gandhi declared his method as satyagraha, “clinging to Truth.” The Truth requires an emergent evolutionary transformation of both humanity and our world system. The two are dialectically related and inseparable dimensions of our emergent future.

Ratification of the Earth Constitution alone cannot make this happen. But I believe this ratification is a necessary and essential step in the process of humanizing the human, of conforming our existential freedom and responsibility to the divine-cosmic-human adventure of awakening and discovery.  It is an essential step forward in the process of becoming who we are meant to be.

Humanizing the human is not a fixed equation, formulated in final form anywhere in human history. It includes the challenge of becoming, of learning and growing. As visionary Roman Catholic thinker Pierre Teilhard de Chardin declared, human beings form “the axis and leading shoot of evolution.”[36]  We humanize the human by affirming, from the depths of our being, our participation in this divinely ordained, cosmic and human adventure.


[1] Republic, 509b. For Plato, the first principle of existence transcends the world and is derived from nothing beyond itself, while the intelligible world and knowledge flow from this source.

[2] Metaphysics, Book Lambda.

[3] See Glen T. Martin, Ascent to Freedom: Practical and Philosophical Foundations of Democratic World Law, Appomattox, VA: Institute for Democracy Press, 2008, Chapter 4.  Also, Ernst Bloch, Natural Law and Human Dignity, Trans. Dennis J. Schmidt, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986.

[4] See Glen t. Martin, Millennium Dawn: The Philosophy of Planetary Crisis and Human Liberation. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press, 2005, Chapter 5.

[5] A.J. Arberry, Sufism: An Account of the Mystics of Islam. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1970, p. 60.

[6] Firthjof Schuon, Understanding Islam. London: Unwin Paperbacks, 1963, p. 17.

[7] See Errol E. Harris, Apocalypse and Paradigm: Science and Everyday Thinking. Westport, CT: Praeger Publisher, 2000.

[8] See Harris, Apocalypse, ibid.; Also, Garrett Thompson, Bacon to Kant: An Introduction to Modern Philosophy. Third Edition. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, 2012; and Charles Birch and John B. Cobb, Jr. The Liberation of Life: From the Cell to the Community. Denton, TX: Environmental Ethics Books. For “internal” and “external” relations see the latter, pp. 79-88.

[9] Early modern science culminated in Newton’s Principia Mathematica, published in 1687. The work of such thinkers as Galileo, Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, and Newton himself resulted in what I am called the “early-modern paradigm,” often also referred to as the “Newtonian Paradigm.” In several books, I have discussed the transition from this paradigm to the new paradigm derived from Einstein’s relativity physics (after 1905) and the emergence of quantum physics (in the 1920s), for example, in chapter two of Ascent to Freedom, entitled “The Paradigm Shift from Human Nature to Human Possibilities.” I contend that the early-modern paradigm is still with us, institutionalized within the global capitalism and sovereign nation-states of the current world system.

[10] I have discussed this system in several places in my books and articles, for example, in One World Renaissance: Holistic Planetary Transformation through a Global Social Contract (2016), chapter five. Also, in my Triumph of Civilization: Democracy, Nonviolence, and the Piloting of Spaceship Earth (2010), Part Two. See also, Errol E. Harris, Earth Federation Now! Tomorrow is Too Late. Second Edition (2014), Chapters 4-6.

[11] Christopher Chase-Dunn, Global Formation: Structures of World Economy. Updated Edition. New York: Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001, p. 61.

[12] Jacques Ellul (1965). The Technological Society. Robert K. Wilkinson, trans. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. See also, Glen T. Martin, Triumph of Civilization (2010), Part Two: “Imperial Domination and Systematic World Disorder.”

[13] See Richard F. Kitchener, ed. The World View of Contemporary Physics: Does It Need a New Metaphysics? Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988.         

[14] Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics – An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism. Berkeley: Shambhala, 1975.  Also, Glen T. Martin, Triumph of Civilization: Democracy, Nonviolence and the Piloting of Spaceship Earth. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press, 2010, Chapters 1-3. Fritjof Capra, The Hidden Connections: A Science for Sustainable Living. New York: Anchor Books, 2002. Errol E. Harris, Errol E. Restitution of Metaphysics. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 2000.

[15] From, e.g., Alfred North Whitehead’s Process and Reality. New York: Macmillan, 1978 (first published in 1929), to Ervin Laszlo’s The Self-Actualizing Cosmos: The Akasha Revolution in Science and Human Consciousness. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2014.

[16] Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry. The Universe Story – From the Primordial Flaring Forth to the Ecozoic Era, A Celebration of the Unfolding of the Cosmos. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 2002. See also Glen T. Martin, Millennium Dawn: The Philosophy of Planetary Crisis and Human Liberation (2005), Chapters 1-2. See also John Hick, An Interpretation of Religion. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.

[17] Tim Lenton, Earth System Science: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. See also Martin Redfern, The Earth: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

[18] An overview of this movement is found in Errol E. Harris, Cosmos and Anthropos. A Philosophical Interpretation of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. London: Humanities Press International, 1991.

[19] Sri Aurobindo, The Essential Aurobindo. Ed. Robert A. McDermott. New York: Schocken Books, 1973, p. 49.

[20] Errol E. Harris, Cosmos and Theos. Ethical and Theological Implications of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. London: Humanities Press International, 1992, p. 99. Contemporary cosmologist and interpreter of quantum physics, Ervin Laszlo writes: ““Through us, the beyond-spacetime intelligence of the cosmos enters the spacetime domain of the universe.” The Intelligence of the Cosmos. Why Are We Here? New Answers from the Frontiers of Science. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 2017, p. 45.

[21] Raimon Panikkar, The Cosmotheandric Experience: Emerging Religious Consciousness. Edited, with an Introduction by Scott Eastham. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1993, pp. 12-13.

[22] Dr. Halo-N, The First Al Quranic Scientist of the World, Al Fathun Nawa: Volume 1. Selayang: Hafizul Publications, 2013.

[23] Plotinus, for example, believed the body is only a “shadow” of being, ultimately closer to nonbeing than to anything real. See his Enneads, Book VI, Section 2.7, 12-14.

[24] See Hans Jonas, Mortality and Morality: A Search for God after Auschwitz. Edited by Lawrence Vogel. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1996, Chapter 1: “Evolution and Freedom: On the Continuity among Life-Forms.”

                Jonas writes: “The great contradictions man discovers in himself—freedom and necessity, autonomy and dependence, ego and world, connectedness and isolation, creativity and mortality—are present in nuce in life’s most primitive forms, each of which maintains a perilous balance between being and nonbeing and from the very beginning harbors within itself an inner horizon of “transcendence”…. a progressive scale of freedom and danger, reaching its pinnacle in man, who can perhaps understand his uniqueness in a new way if he no longer regards himself in metaphysical isolation.” (p.60)

[25] In Kitchener, ed., The World View of Contemporary Physics, op. cit., Chapter Three: “Quantum Physics,” p. 57.

The larger passage by Stapp states: “The general features of the quantum ontology involve a conception of man and nature profoundly different from the picture provided by classical physics. For man appears no longer as an isolated automaton. He appears rather as an integral part of the highly nonlocal creative activity of the universe…. It must inevitably lead us away from the egocentric bias that was the rational product of the ontology of classical physics, to the values inherent in the image of the self, not as a local isolated automaton but rather as a nonlocalizable integrated aspect of the creative impulse of the universe.”

[26] Raimon Panikkar, Myth, Faith, and Hermeneutics. New York: Paulist Press, 1979. Pannikar writes: “The quintessence of faith, then, reflects this aspect of Man that moves him toward fullness, this dimension by which Man is not closed up in his present state but open to perfection, to his goal or destiny, according to the schema one adopts. Faith is not fundamentally the adhesion to a doctrine or an ethic. Rather, it is manifest as an act that opens us to the possibility of perfection, permitting us to attain to what we are not yet.” (p. 202)

[27] The Essential Rumi, Translations by Coleman with John Moyne. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1995, pp. 280-81.

[28]  Immanuel Kant, even before the discovery of the evolutionary process, as is well-known, linked human freedom directly with the moral law associated with our rational freedom flowing from God (the mysterious noumenal Ground of Being).  See, e.g., the Critique of Judgement, Trans. J.H. Bernard, New York: Hafner Press, 1951, subsection 77.

[29] See Kant, Immanuel, Perpetual Peace and Other Essays. Trans. Ted Humphrey. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co., 1983. Kant writes: “Paying men to kill or be killed appears to use them as mere machines or tools in the hands of another (the nation), which is inconsistent with the rights of humanity” (p. 108). Again, Kant writes: “Just as we view with deep distain the attachment of savages to their lawless freedom—preferring to scuffle without end rather than place themselves under lawful constraints that they themselves constitute, consequently preferring a mad freedom to a rational one—and consider it barbarous, rude, and brutishly degrading of humanity, so also we should think that civilized peoples (each one united into a nation) would hasten as quickly as possible to escape so similar a state of abandonment…. The concept of the right of nations as a right to go to war is meaningless (for it would then be the right to determine the right not by independent, universally valid laws that restrict the freedom of everyone, but by one-sided maxims backed by force)” (pp. 115-17).

[30]  G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right. First published 1821, section #334.

[31] Emery Reves, The Anatomy of Peace. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1946. pp. 121 & 150 (italics in original).

[32]  Jonathan Glover. Jonathan. 1999. Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999. David Wallace-Wells, The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. New York: Tim Dugan Books, 2019.

[33] See Glen T. Martin, The Earth Federation Movement: Founding a Social Contract for the People of Earth: History, Documents, Philosophical Foundations. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press, 2011. See also, Glen T. Martin, Constitution for the Federation of Earth: With an Historical Introduction, Commentary and Conclusion. IED Press, 2010.   The Constitution can be found on-line at

[34] These gifts make us a creature that is open to the future. Economist Kenneth E. Boulding wrote “It would be presumptuous of us to think that the human race is any more than a link in the great evolutionary process of the universe that moves majestically from the unknown Alpha to the even more unknown Omega,” in Herman E. Daly, ed., Economics, Ecology, Ethics (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman & CO), p. 266. See also Glen T. Martin, Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers, 2018

[35] See Fritjof Schuon, Understanding Islam, op. cit.

[36] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1959, p. 36.