Volume 21, Issue 1, 2011
Studies of Civilizations
Ashok Kumar Malhotra
Reflections on the Clash or Reconciliation of Civilizations
The thesis of the paper is that the root cause of clash or reconciliation among civilizations is housed in the drama of consciousness! Two models of consciousness that highlight this drama are put forward here. First is Jean Gebser’s view, which asserts that the history of human civilization is nothing more than the manifestations of the development of consciousness. This development has taken place through five distinct stages: the archaic, magical, mythic, mental and integrative. Clash in civilizations is due to the fixation on the first four stages whereas reconciliation is possible through the use of the integrative stage. The second is the Tantric Yoga view of consciousness in terms of the seven chakras or wheels of consciousness. These chakras are spread out in the body like seven colors of the rainbow—starting with the base of the spine to the genitals, the belly button, the heart, the throat, the forehead and ending in the crown of the head. Clash in civilizations is due to the fixation on the first three levels (chakras) of consciousness whereas reconciliation is possible through the use of the upper four
wheels of consciousness (chakras), which are focused at developing universal consciousness. Since religion and civilization are intimately connected and several of the prominent civilizational clashes have been due to the religious differences, religious consciousness will be taken as the paradigm of this paper.
How can humanity move from clash towards reconciliation? Such a possibility is suggested by both Gebser and Tantric Yoga whose theories point towards the development of an integrative universal consciousness: an encompassing consciousness that will transcend as well as incorporate all limited religious consciousness perspectives in its fold! The views of Vivekananda, a scholar-monk of India, on “one religion/one spirituality” are of particular interest in this context. They indicate an approach, which might lead to a possible future solution thus paving a path towards one-world-spiritual-peaceful order!