How does a person, caught up in the warp and weft of daily struggle, of the pressure of income, family relationships, inter-personal conflicts, and the pressures from one's own desires, fears, aspirations, and responses, engage with himself and the world, such that he or she can mould himself into a person living, breathing, and realizing the Ideal of Fulfillment?
To answer this question, one must first examine what the Ideal of Fulfillment means to such a person. One can answer this question simplistically and say "O, the Ideal of Fulfillment is so vast, so immense that each one's interpretation is unique and personal to that human being"
While this is true, it is also true that the Ideal of Fulfillment is also a General Model for living in the world. It is this "General Model" that we seek to perceive.
This Ideal is first and foremost a philosophy of total human fulfillment. Total human fulfillment means "complete and total manifestation of all the positive inherent in the human being".
A person living the Ideal of Fulfillment is living at the peak of his or her potential as a human being.
The Ideal of Fulfillment is secondly, a new mode of science – the science of developing human beings along the pathways of their intrinsic capacities rather than along the pathways of extrinsic (acquired) skills. Put another way, this is the science of developing "inside-out" action in humans and human systems in the context of "outside-in" forces.
This is a new mode of science because it demands that we engage with "relational knowledge" more than with "objective" knowledge. Objective knowledge represents the world outside us. "Subjective" knowledge represents the world within us. Relational knowledge focuses on the interactions between the world within us and the world outside us. Motivation, Inspiration, Commitment, Loyalty, Team-spirit, these are in the realm of "relational knowledge". Such relational knowledge being the heart of all human behavior at an interpersonal and collective level.
The Ideal of Fulfillment is also a "technology" – a framework of models and applications that allow us to solve certain classes of challenges more effectively than in the past.
This "technology" underlying the Ideal of Fulfillment we call "Enablement".
Enablement represents the capacity to serve other human beings in the highest possible manner such that he who serves is not just gratified by the outcomes but is also simultaneously invoked and put on the path of personal excellence.
Put another way, enablement is the technology of "personally transforming work" – work that consciously and purposively shapes the individuals concerned besides shaping the objects and events around in similar fashion.
This three-fold perspective of the Ideal of Fulfillment remains at the backdrop when we take up the question of moulding one's life in that Ideal.
To mould oneself in the Ideal of Fulfillment would mean putting into place two key building blocks – which Swami Vivekananda succinctly summarised as "Tyaga & Seva" – renunciation and service.
What do renunciation and service mean in the context of one's living in the world? Renunciation and Service would, in their highest sense in the world mean being able to combine a deep seriousness of intent in every moment of life with an equally deep commitment to one's own and every other person's evolutionary freedom in the same context.
Deep seriousness of intent – in its most palpable and living sense – manifests as complete identification with the subject, object, or task at hand – a complete burring of the boundaries between the observer and the observed.
(see Box 1 for 'the practice of utmost seriousness in every action').
Commitment to evolutionary freedom – in oneself and others – means the primary recognition that the purpose of all work, all results, all struggle is human evolution – and that all "context" in work is valid insofar as it supports that evolution. In short, the complete identification with subject born of deep seriousness of intent is counter-balanced by the complete willingness to let go of the same subject – if it does not support or consciously comes in the way of evolutionary freedom.
(see Box 2 for ‘the recognition of evolutionary freedom in every individual').
Seen together – tyaga-seva - renunciation-service – seriousness of intent and commitment to evolutionary freedom – represent the building blocks of one's journey to the Ideal of Fulfillment.
A life of utmost seriousness combined with complete evolutionary freedom would lead to both great external achievement and deep personal peace. It would lead to intense engagements wrapped around a sharply defined "structural frame of human respect and mutual concern".
Such a life would be "successful" – in both societal and personal terms – not in any abstract sense of awards or recognition, but in terms of an everyday experiencing of growing meaning and strengthening purpose.
Box 1: The practice of utmost seriousness in every action.
What is seriousness? To be able to apply oneself wholly and completely – without the distortions of personal motive – onto the task or subject or person at hand – would be called seriousness.
To be serious about a task means to be serious about its purpose, to be serious about defining its "value" clearly and without obfuscation, to be able to establish the right resources – tools, capacities and information – needed to realized the value expected. And furthermore to be serious about carrying out all the necessary changes in oneself and the environment – so that the resources fructify into a realized value in the context of the purpose.
Box 2: The recognition of evolutionary freedom in every individual
To be able to recognize that man is at the center of all work is easier said than lived. Ever so often we "shift" from the people purpose to the apparent results born in a situation. Indeed it may be argued that collectives of individuals exist such that a "larger purpose" be served – but the counter argument is that there is no higher purpose than the people involved – those who work and those who benefit from the work – directly or indirectly.
When we say that people are the purpose of work – we mean people in the sense of being evolutionary entities – human beings who are marching through time – sometimes winning – sometimes losing – but always evolving.
This recognition means that we may not always be "nice" or "comfortable" to human beings in our choices at work – but it means that we always ensure that each person involved has the space and wherewithal to refine that experience into an evolutionary possibility for oneself.
V. Srinivas has spent more than 20 years working on the question of knowledge and how it enables human societies in ways that other resources do not. He currently leads the team at "Illumine Knowledge Resources", a design lab and consulting firm specializing in "architecting design collectives' in various institutional and community settings. He is based in Mumbai, India and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2006, Illumine