Diversity in contemporary society is often viewed as the leveling of difference in pursuit of equality. True respect for individuals cannot be found in the false conception that all beings are the same, we must instead learn to respect the ways in which they are different. Most philosophies and worldviews including those of Buddhism and the Upanishads focus on the sameness of human beings, especially on the metaphysical/absolute level. The primary purpose of these philosophies has been to create unity among people of different races, ethnicities and cultures on the basis of their relationship with the Ultimate Truth or impersonal God and to create compassion for people on the basis of their similar divine nature. These philosophies have been quite successful in creating tolerance for others, but they seem inadequate to meet the needs of today’s world of tensions, conflicts, and violence. This paper examines other Indian philosophical systems—Vaisesika’s categories, Carvaka’s materialism, and Samkhya’s dualism—and drawing upon those ideologies, proposes a synthetic philosophy of diversity and difference that can lead to the development of positive attitudes and a joyous environment for peaceful coexistence.
|Keywords:||Diversity, Ethics, Peace, Co-existence, Philosophy, Indian Philosophy, Biodiversity, Symbiosis, Equality, Equity, Respect|
Professor, South Asian Languages, Literatures, & Cultures, Institute of Linguistics, ESL, & Slavic Languages & Literatures, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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