â€œTo create is to resist. To resist is to create.â€Â Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995)
Contemporary technology has brought people and ideas together in a way totally inconceivable even a few years back. Paradoxically, the risk of lapsing into intolerance, discrimination, or even extremism, has never been greater. Access to the internet facilitates rich, humane relationships between people separated by great distance as well as wide collaboration on many worthy projects. This same technology is used against individuals, entire peoples and even the earth itself in an elitist, invasive and calculatingly destructive manner.
The pressures of globalisation also affect institutions everywhere. Both religious and secular institutions suffer increasing loss of credibility and influence. New reference points emerge, but bring their own tensions between tradition and modernity, belief and practice, morality and ethics.
“Institutions are not pretty. Show me a pretty government. Healing is wonderful, but the American Medical Association? Learning is wonderful, but universities? The same is true for religion… religion is institutionalized spirituality.”Â Huston Smith(1919-)
Take away institutions and what is left to guide us towards peace with ourselves, those around us and our surroundings? Humanityâ€™s ancient quest for spiritual values has defied and survived all institutions. In their truest form, the age-old ideals of the living spiritual traditions perdure, as vibrant and as valuable as ever for the world in which we live today: harmony, love, compassion, respect, understanding, allegiance, devotion, unity and care for nature.
“If we take the world’s enduring religions at their best, we discover the distilled wisdom of the human race.â€Â Huston Smith (1919-)