by the wisdom of Avatar Adi Da Samraj, The
COTEDA Institute works toward creating global progress,
global agreements, and global harmony on the basis of three spiritual
- The COTEDA
principle: COoperation through Transcending Ego and through Divine
- The TOTEDA
principle: TOlerance through Transcending Ego and through Divine
- The PECOTO
principle: PEace (and global accord altogether) through self-transcending,
spiritually aided COoperation and TOlerance
The COTEDA Institute
Da Samraj has pointed out, cooperation
and tolerance are the necessary
foundation stones for a new world order. To fully understand their
importance to a new world order, let's first examine the old world
order and the current world order, and track the consequences of
the absence of one or both of
In the Cold
War era, the world was split in two: the "West", or capitalist
sphere of influence, and the "East" or communist sphere
without Tolerance: The Limits of Communism
is an ideal that emphasizes cooperation through classless, communal
living based on shared, materialistic ideals. It presumes that all
fundamental human problems can be solved by the elimination of classes
and the re-distribution of wealth and other resources. Communism,
in any of its actually implemented forms, however, also tolerated
no independence. It cultivated not only community but uniformity.
It castigated all non-conformists. The State dictated what to think
and how to act. As a result, all implementations of communism became
"lumbering beasts", unable to adapt to the ever-changing
world circumstances and pressures. The need to adapt rapidly has
only increased with the onset of globalization .
result, severely lumbering beasts like the Soviet Union collapsed
completely. Less lumbering beasts like communist China have been
forced (reluctantly) to introduce forms of capitalism. Holdouts
like North Korea are literally starving to death. And indeed, not
only all communist states, but all authoritarian regimes of any
kind, have been impacted similarly, for similar reasons: a purely
top-down, or monolithic structure of control does not respond quickly
enough to change.
Tolerance without Cooperation: The Limits of Capitalism
contrast, the West — and the United States in particular — has been
the land of the "free" ("free" to choose, not
necessarily "free at heart"), where an individual's right
to pursue whatever path and lifestyle he or she likes is not only
tolerated, but even glorified (so long as he or she does not directly
infringe on the rights of others). In some sense, the byline of
the West is:
the best ego — individual or corporate — win!
Let the marketplace judge!"
so in this new era of globalization, it is the marketplace that
sets the bottom line values on what will succeed. It is no accident
that the idealism of the West is named capitalism:
"capital" — money — is king (as well as judge and executioner
for the less fortunate). If one cares about something else other
than money these days — say, the environment — one must find a way
to make one's environment-saving proposal square with good economy.
If you want to save a rain forest, you had better create "eco-tourist
guide" jobs in the rain forest with comparable pay to the "clearcutter"
jobs, if you want the natives, however much they love their land,
to side with you rather than the lumber industries. The natives
have to feed their families, and that will be their bottom line,
even more so than their love of their land. And who could blame
them? And don't expect much political assistance for your causes
from higher levels. Capitalism, in its valuation of money about
all, has defeated the Kyoto Accord and similar attempts to establish,
on a global scale, values other than (and higher than) the merely
so the first major failure of capitalism is that, while it supports
the right of any individual to believe whatever he or she wants
to believe, in practice, it makes it very difficult for any value
system other than the materialistic and egoic "me for myself"
to gain ascendancy, in terms of real numbers, real organization,
and real power. In effect, it works to ensure that no alternative
value system could get big and powerful enough to threaten its
ascendency, even as it argues the right of individuals and relatively
small, powerless groups to hold whatever views they like.
the same reason, capitalism also tends to severely limit the size
of a genuine, alternative-value-sharing communal unit. In fact,
generally the largest true communal unit in the West these days
is the "family unit". Politicians often portray themselves
as champions of "family values"; but the deeper, unspoken
implication is that no higher cultural cooperatives will be supported
(unless you consider "big business" and "transnational
corporations" a form of cultural cooperative — I don't!). There
are very few examples of larger communities, actually living and
working together communally under a shared system that is significantly
different from the materialistic/egoistic status quo of capitalism.
The Post-Cold War Era of Globalization
won the Cold War. The bipolar
world collapsed into the unipole world of capitalism, which is now
(in effect, if not by intention) conducting a "mop-up"
operation that will subsume all remaining cultures. Globalization
is basically just another name for capitalism on a worldwide scale.
The remaining countries in the process of being "mopped up"
include the Islamic countries; the holdouts from the Cold War (e.g.,
North Korea); the various indigenous peoples (Australian aborigines,
New Zealand Maoris, etc.); older cultures (India, China, etc.);
and newly wizened cultures (the countries of Europe and Japan, which
gained wisdom firsthand through the still remembered suffering of
the World Wars). All look on the American Empire with both envy
and dismay: envy, because all egos desire materialistic self-fulfillment;
but also dismay, in that they see a soulless, adolescent culture
(with nothing better or greater to do with their leisure time than
watch "reality TV" and eat hamburgers) taking over the
world. This culture is appropiately called "adolescent"
insofar as it is mostly only aware of itself; it acts like it will
live forever; it thinks it can drive at any speed and not get into
an accident;and it hasn't had any significant war on its own land
that would gain it some wisdom based on first-hand experience of
the horrors of war (its current generation mainly knows and "fights"
war at a distance and on TV); etc. This adolescent culture is creating
a soulless world that is increasingly pleasurized in body and stimulated
in mind, but also increasingly empty and desperate at heart.
"smash" of civilizations and the resistance. It
is no longer a "clash of civilizations" ,
as some have called it, as though there were an equality of power
(as during the Cold War). Rather, this mop-up operation is a "smash"
of civilizations. But not every other culture is going down without
a fight, as the Islamic and other terrorists demonstrate. And the
aborigines, the Maoris, the native Americans, and other indigenous
peoples are resisting in their own way, even as is the European
Union, Japan, and other first world countries, similar though they
already are to the subsuming American culture.
many Western analysts (steeped in the culture and viewpoint of capitalism)
presume that the root of these conflicts is poverty (alone), and
eradicating poverty (through MacDonaldization) will eradicate the
resistance as well. But poverty has always been only one part of
the problem. The other very significant part has been the preservation
of one's own culture. There is a fear among many such cultures that
if they "make a deal with the devil" to address their
poverty and backwardness, they will also lose their culture, and
hence their very heart and soul. History has not exactly proven
from within the MacDonaldized world.
But even should this soulless culture take over the entire
world, these forms of resistance will live on. They simply will
have shifted from the geographical "outside" to the geographical
"inside" of the dominant world culture. (The terrorism
of 9-11, for example, was primarily planned from Hamburg, Germany,
not Afghanistan.) And they will function in the manner of networks
rather than countries, using the advances in technology to communicate
with each other (even as hackers, the mafia, and drug rings are
already doing to further their own interests) and to work against
the super-culture (the Internet, suitcase-sized nuclear weapons,
etc. all are coming into play). The "war on terrorism"
will start to look a lot like the "war on crime" and the
"war on drugs".
And this resistance
will take religious and spiritual forms as well, aimed at addressing
the soullessness of the super-state. For instance, Stephen Carter
suggested that the Bill of Rights had in mind not merely the separation
of Church and State, but the enabling of churches to function as
independent cultures, independent pockets of power, with their own
shared values, and their own lifestyles, which can differ from that
of the surrounding (and now soulless) culture. In a better-organized
world, such independent cultures could thrive as "two-story
buildings", or body and soul". The "basement",
or "body", that ensures material well-being is provided
by the democratized, capitalistic state. The "above-ground
story ", or "soul", or "heart", is provided
by the independent culture. The liability we are currently suffering
is that the "basement" is taking over everything, to the
point where there is no "above-ground story" worth mentioning.
conflicts. Even though the entire world may be MacDonaldized,
that does not mean it will turn into a single superstate, or that
wars will disappear (even though some idealists — see, e.g., 
— tend to believe in a "Pax Americana" wherein no two
countries that contain a MacDonald's will ever go to war with each
other). Even now there are "intractable" conflicts within
"MacDonald world", like the one in Northern Ireland. A
lot of these intractable conflicts have to do with the fact that
two different spheres of influence are competing for the same geographical
territory (Northern Ireland, Kashmir, Taiwan, Israel/Palestine,
etc.). Other ongoing conflicts are due to the related fact that
geographical divisions and ethnic or religious divisions do not
coincide. This is particularly true in some of the African states
the geographical divisions are the residue of the British and other
colonial empires of the nineteenth century, and have little to do
with the way the native peoples align themselves. This lack of coincidence
between geographical divisions and ethnic or religious divisions
has also been at the root of the centuries-old conflict in the Balkan
states . Both cooperation and tolerance
are required to resolve these situations, in either of the two possible
ways: a different, agreed-upon geo-political boundary, or a more
workable, peaceful arrangement and co-existence within the existing
geo-political boundaries. (Or some combination of both.)
The United Nations
will never become a world government. No nation-state is willing
to give up its sovereignty. Quite the contrary! Every "piece"
of the shattered Soviet Union demanded sovereignty, and now "pieces"
of the "pieces" (e.g., the Chechnya region of Russia,
the South Ossetia region of Georgia, etc.) are seeking to splinter
off in the same manner. So is Kashmir (claimed by both India and
Pakistan). Even the "European Union" is finding it difficult
to converge on a common Constitution, now that its members are being
required to not only share the benefits, but also to share the power.
(The problem? The ones with more power currently — France and Germany
— don't want to give up any of that power; and the countries with
less power want more.) Indeed, if human egos could easily be completely
self-sufficient and self-protected, they might not even be willing
to strike the bargain that creates "civilization and its discontents"
; each one of us would declare himself
or herself a sovereign nation-state! Whether writ large (in the
actions of a nation) or writ small (in the actions of an individual),
such is the nature of human egoity (in the absence of spiritual
realization).For the foreseeable future, then, the best the world
can be is a fellowship of sovereign nations. And so there will always
be a need for both cooperation on shared values and shared priorities,
along with tolerance of differences.
need for larger global values and accord. Purely capitalistic
globalization always is shortsighted. it works on the "free
market" principle which is always a reaction
to the current moment. It won't respond to the longterm effects
of what we are doing (and it
is doing) to the environment unless or until those effects are in
its face: we begin to run out of potable water or clean air; the
effects of global warming start to effect the global economy; we
over-fish our oceans beyond the point of sustainability; the ever-increasing
demand of the market for oil finally empties our last oil reserves;
etc. Clearly, preventive measures
are required to address such issues; reactive
mechanisms like the global markets will be too slow and
too late. The damage will have been done and much of it may be permanent
For this reason
(and similar ones), globalization and capitalism alone are not
sufficient for running the world. People and nations with greater
wisdom than the marketplace must come together and forge global
accords with foresight, regardless of whether it is immediately
(or even ever) profitable. Cooperation and tolerance are essential
to this process.
Even if we leave
aside global concerns for the moment, and focus solely on the material
prosperity of individual nation-states, differences in prosperity
among those nation-states already integrated (to one degree or another)
into the globalized world are worth explaining. It appears that
those societies which instill trust and cooperation because of shared
norms and cultural values are more capable of creating (at lower
cost and with less overhead) the innovative business structures
that lead to prosperity, than "low trust" societies .
A Cultural Renaissance for the Post-Globalization World Order
In a real sense,
we have reached the end of the line, both here in the West and on
a global scale. Let us not mistake decadence for culture .
We have burnt our cultural house to the ground. We have killed God,
we have overthrown all authorities, we have isolated ourselves from
any communities larger than the family unit (and even there the
divorce rate is high), and we have replaced any genuine culture
— in which a greater purpose is the basis for all cultural activity
— with the sole value of materialistic self-fulfillment. All we
are doing is "killing" time. All we are doing is making
a pseudo-culture out of each individual ego, as though it were a
nation unto itself.
self-fulfillment as our sole cultural impulse is nothing more than
horse manure to the human heart. But there is a right and valuable
use for horse manure, as every farmer knows! Good things don't grow
in barren soil. As Abraham Maslow pointed out ,
lower needs must be handled before we even are in a position to
be aware of our higher and deeper needs.
obviously should not be valued in itself; by itself, it stinks!
The right use of horse manure is for fertilization. The best use
of the MacDonaldized world — which has the potential to provide
at least basic material well-being for all — is that it serve as
the soil in which real cultures, based on higher values, are grown.
The right use
of the cultural razing of the twentieth century is to grow a new
crop of cultures in the twenty-first, and enable a new kind of evolutionary
process to begin, based not on the "survival of the fittest",
but rather, the "flourishing of the happiest". Out of
the ashes of our former houses can emerge a cultural phoenix — or
Earlier on we
characterized capitalism in its current form of globalization by,
" Let the best ego — individual or corporate — win! Let the
marketplace judge!" The right evolutionary process for the
post-globalization world will be one in which the fundamental principle
the best culture win!
Let the human heart judge!"
And the fundamental
values of a cultural ground that accommodates such
a culture-evolving process are tolerance of such new cultures, and
cooperation within such cultures .
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