Human evolution concerns the health, strength and growth of human soul. What constitutes the content of inner and outer conditions of evolution is determinable through the study of human soul, just as what constitutes the health, strength and growth of a body is determinable through study of body. All those personal feelings, thoughts and actions and social conditions of customs, conventions and laws, which contribute to the health, strength and growth of soul are inner and outer conditions of evolution.
Human good consists of the conditions of evolution. Human evil consists of the conditions of human bondage. Low-loves and low-hates are human evils for they are destructive of the health and strength of the soul and other existents. Higher loves and higher hatreds are human good for they make for the strength of a soul and contribute to the evolution of others.
So human good and human evil are determinable by the study of human soul. But good and evil are not humanistic concepts, they are cosmic concepts. There are certain conditions, inner and outer, which, e.g. help a plant to grow well and bear fruits. These conditions define its good. There are certain conditions, inner and outer, which hinder a plant from growing well and bearing fruits. These conditions define its evil. It is part of the science of the agriculture to define the optimum conditions of health and growth of plants, as it is part of the science of medicine to study the standards of health and growth of human body, as it is the science of psychology that deals with mental hygiene.
It is pity that the terms good and evil have been discarded in scientific studies. For example, psychology does not call stealing bad but anti-social. It speaks of mental hygiene but not of ethics. It speaks of atmosphere of love for a child’s growth, but does not speak of love as a virtue for the guardian for the moral growth of the child.
The tendency to avoid the use of the terms good and bad in scientific studies, is in part due to the fact that these terms have gathered meanings which fall outside their perusal.
Devatma does not feel the same need to avoid the use of these terms, for he brings down soul to the same ontological level as life force in plants and animals. Human soul is life-force, nutritive, reproductive, sensitive with additional powers, intellectual, aesthetic and emotional. It is born, grows and decays like any other living organism. Therefore, for devatma, good and bad carry the same meaning as health and growth, disease or decay carry for the medical scientist.
However , Devatma extends the application of good and bad to non-living things. The conditions that preserve inanimate entity are good and the conditions that injure or destroy it are bad.
Devatma takes a cosmic view of good and bad or values. The entities in the cosmos are in casual relationships. When a causal interrelation betters the figure, form and qualities in relationship it is good, when it harm them, it is bad. There are changes in the entities that produce a pattern of mutual co-operation for better existence and those are called evolutionary or good and there are changes in the entities that produce a pattern of mutual destruction and such changes are devolutionary or bad.
Let us now view the value situation of our planet as a whole. There have been changes in the physical conditions that made life possible and these conditions continue to persist. These changes are good or evolutionary. Further, there have been changes in the growth of life under the stimuli of certain physical conditions that have led to man. These are evolutionary changes . Again there are changes in the human society for co-operation for common good for all existences, human , animal, plant and mineral. All these changes for good are evolutionary.
This is one side of the picture. There are changes in the cosmos which threaten extinction of life , retardation in further improvements of species or qualities in the animal or plant world or in human communities. These devolutionary changes are bad .
Devatma holds that good or evolution of man is not in conflict with the good or evolution of other entities, it is part of it. Whenever man participates in the process of change for the common good in the cosmos, he ensures the health, strength and the growth of his soul.
We have seen how low-loves and low-hates injure and exploit others. They constitute the pathology of human soul, its bondage. They tender the soul blind. pervert, weak and ultimately bring about its death.
Higher loves and higher hates make us fair, just and serviceable to others and they strengthen the human soul. They constitute human evolution.
It is clear from our discussion that for Devatma human evolution or human good is not moksha. i.e. deliverance of the unborn, unchanging, and eternal soul from body, or karmic matter, or Maya. Since Devatma rejects transcendental metaphysics, he rejects transcendental interpretation of the moksha for man.
Devatma employs two concepts in his philosophy, Moksha and Vikas. Moksha means deliverance from low-loves and low-hates. Vikas means development of higher loves and higher hates. Taken together, the two constitute the health and strength of the human soul. Just as health is not only freedom from diseases but positive functioning of bodily organs for strength of the body, the health of the soul is not only freedom from low-loves and low-hates, but positive development of altruistic feelings-higher loves and higher hates. . .
Let us enumerate the conditions Devatma stipulates as criteria to know if a person possesses an altruistic feeling :
1. a person has altruistic feeling if he serves some existences with whom he is not bound by ties of low-loves or undue attachment. Common sense is clear on this point. It does not consider service to wife and children as altruistic, for here is considered by it as motivated by selfish pleasure. But if this person looks after some orphans children his service is altruistic. In such service it is thought he is not seeking his pleasure, but the good of the other. Devatma does not accept this common sense view to be precisely true. A person can do altruistic service to his own children if he is motivated in his service by the sole motive of their good. Again, a person may develop undue attachment with some orphan children and hence his service may not be altruistic. A person is altruistic if it is the good of the other which is the sufficient motive of his doing service to the other.
2. A person has altruistic feeling if he is sensitive to some evil to be removed or some good to be ushered in. The average man lacks altruistic feeling. He therefore lacks insight into the evils of his society. he lacks vision for the reconstruction in the society. He lacks vision for the reconstruction in the society. The acuity of an altruistic feelings in a person opens his eyes to some evil in the society or raises his gaze to higher vision of the society. It is these exceptionally gifted altruists who awaken and develop the altruistic capacity of the less-gifted in society who come to share their insight into some evil or vision of good. The two together constitute the class of altruists.
3. A person with an altruistic feeling experiences to some degree the suffering of the victim of that evil or imaginatively lives through the thrill of the satisfaction that would come to others when the visioned good is brought in their lives. It is altruists of compassion who experience the suffering of some section of the down-trodden in society. It is altruists of the future who are full of joy for their new vision of interpersonal relations, for which they live and labour.
4. An altruist feels an urge strong enough to engage himself in removing that evil or ushering in that good. There are some persons who feel inspired at moments to engage themselves in altruistic work of removing some suffering or doing some constructive work of rebuilding society. But their low-loves are too powerful and would not allow their altruistic feeling to have its way. Some have the low-love of laziness. They cannot bring themselves to do the hard work demanded by the altruistic work. Some have low-love for name in society. They cannot stand the bad name and condemnation of their community which engagement in altruistic work brings in its train. Some find that their low-love of wealth or children would not let them make the necessary sacrifice for the great cause they feel an urge to serve. A person can be an altruist if his feeling of altruism is strong enough to overcome the opposition of his low-loves.
5. An altruistic is a person who engages himself in an altruistic work in a regular and methodical way. There are persons who feel enthused by, say, a great cause, serve it for some time, them give it up, return to it, only to give it up again. Such spasmodic altruistic work indicates that altruistic feeling has not yet got stable position in their personality. It is still at the mercy of other low-loves and low-hates. It is yet not their character. Unless an altruistic feeling becomes the character of a person, he cannot claim to be an altruist. An altruist is a person who lives altruism every minute of his life, as a greedy man is one who lives for wealth even in his dreams.
6. An altruist experiences satisfaction in his altruistic engagements. Satisfaction in the altruistic work by a person is an indication that the altruistic feeling has become his character. As Aristotle points out, a good man is not he who does good actions but one who finds pleasure in doing good actions. Unless a person finds pleasure in his altruistic work, he is an altruist, though he does altruistic work. To do altruistic work is not to be altruist, though it is a step towards being an altruist.
7. An altruist finds his enthusiasm for altruistic work grow with time. every exercise of a feeling strengthens that feeling if it is accompanied or followed by satisfaction. If the enthusiasm for the altruistic work does not grow with time, it means that it is infected by low-loves and low-hates. This is an alarm-bell for the altruist to safeguard his altruistic feeling from the evil influence of low-loves and low-hates. If he is not conscious of what is happening to his altruistic feeling, he may lose it altogether.
8. An altruist does not spare himself in his work for a good cause. This is a non-moral mental equipment for an altruist. One must have the whole-hatred devotion to the work in hand. There should be complete commitment to the accepted work. Without the gift to forget oneself in a great task, an altruist fails in his vocation. There can be no half-heartedness, no relaxation of effort, no surrender to laziness, for an altruist. He is so full of what he is called upon to do by his insight and vision that every other thing sinks before it. His altruistic feeling taps the last ounce of energy from him. Death alone can spare him from his constant commitment to his self-chosen service of some great cause.
9. An altruist never despairs of his great cause even in the most non-co-operative and inimical conditions in the social and nature world. An altruist is inspired by faith for the victory of his great cause which he is serving. His altruistic feeling is like a light-house to him for it is an unfailing light to him to see through the darkness of opposition that surrounds him. He is able to direct the ship to his cause clear of shoals in spite of the storms of the sea that toss his ship, for he has the light-house of altruistic feeling in him. This light gives him the faith to rise above despair.
10. An altruistic never throws up the sponge. As said above, an altruist has invincible faith in the victory of his good cause. This unconquerable faith and his identity with the good cause makes it impossible for to throw up the sponge. He and the good cause are not two but one. To give up the cause is to give up his life. He would prefer to give up his life, but not his good cause, for he knows his cause to be a far more excellent thing than himself.
11. The opposition of others and the Herculean nature of the task only stimulate an altruist to greater and greater commitment to the cause. This characteristics of an altruist shows that he needs to be equipped by a number of non-moral qualities in order to be an altruist. One who has not the character to meet the challenge of circumstances, to rise to greater effort to overcome obstacles and thus have the character of invincibility – all non-moral qualities – cannot be altruist. A great cause throws up great challenges to the courage, resourcefulness, energy, intelligence, perseverance, patience, faith, or an altruist. Without these non-moral qualities in greater abundance, he cannot stay an altruist of first importance.
12. An altruist seeks no return for the service he renders to his society. He seeks no praise, no title, no reward. His satisfaction in the accomplishment of removing suffering or bringing in some good in the life of some section of humanity is so valuable to him that every other satisfaction is to him, relatively insignificant. An altruistic feeling gives eyes to the altruist to see the intrinsic value of his work of removing some suffering and ushering in some good and he feels all sufficient satisfaction in working for it.
When one expects a return for his service to a great cause, here and hereafter, he is not an altruist. what is motivating his altruistic work is not altruistic feeling but desire for name and fame, power and position, possessions and pleasures. He is anything but an altruist. His altruistic services will cease also, if he fails to get praise or reward, for it is for their satisfaction that he did the altruistic work.
It is when the life of a person is characterized by these twelve excellences that he can be said to be an altruistic.
It is when the life of a person is characterized by these twelve excellences that he can be said to be an altruist.
This is the description of altruism in general. It expresses itself in specific forms and these specific forms have these twelve good characteristics besides their own