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Auroville at the United Nations



Guy Ryckaert



A participant from Auroville made a well-received presentation at the 52nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference on "Challenges of a Globalised World: Finding New Directions" in the United Nations Headquarters, New York, on 17 September 1999. The brief intro emphasises the larger world context in which Auroville is emerging and its role as R&D station into a new way of being and living on the planet.


Dear Friends, Guests and Panel Members,

I've been asked to speak about globalisation from an ethical and religious perspective. However, I've taken the liberty to talk to you about globalisation from an evolutionary perspective.

When Edgar Mitchell, the NASA astronaut, returned from his mission on the moon in 1972 and looked at that blue globe, which we call planet Earth, he had a profound inner experience that changed his life. He suddenly experienced the interconnectedness of the vast universe around him and became deeply aware that all life on our planet is one. Later, he would explain in simple terms: "It's rather crude to be standing on the moon, looking back at Earth and say 'I come from the United States'. That tiny little point of light out there is Earth and we come from planet Earth!"

Whether we like it or not, we ARE global! And globalisation as the emergence of a global market in terms of labour and commerce is just one facet, one expression of an evolutionary force that is guiding present humanity towards the recognition, the acceptance and the conscious experience of mankind as ONE family.

It is true that economic globalisation has worked so far more for profits than for people! The recent Human Development Report from UNDP states clearly that the present market dominated globalisation has led to a growing marginalisation of poor nations. "The global gap", says the report, "between the have and the have-nots, the knows and the know-nots is widening", and it makes a passionate plea for globalisation with a human face.

However, as I already indicated, there is a conscious evolutionary force that is acting behind this rather blind creation of a global market. This force is a force of unification, which is embedded in the evolutionary design of planet Earth itself! This force doesn't look at globalisation from an ethical or religious perspective. This force just knows that the planet IS global and that we, human beings on this planet, ARE one! And it works through human history and through all of us at present to manifest and materialise this oneness.

In other words, the evolution of mankind is not finished. On the contrary, the planet is preparing for its next step in evolution. And, as a result, we are in the midst of a global crisis, which challenges all mental concepts and existing realities that are based on division and separation. We have created a world of tremendous prosperity and abundance and yet half of the world's population is still living below the poverty line. Conflicts and wars are still dividing us along national, religious, ethnic and social borders. And, at the same time, we are overshooting the planet's resources and threatening the survival of the human species itself with an ecological collapse.

Standing at the threshold of the 21st century, humanity is faced with the global challenge to move into the next cycle of its evolution: the creation of a truly global, gnostic society that integrates matter and spirit, unifies science and religion, and embraces all aspects of life, including economy and trade, as an exploration and manifestation of the oneness that we fundamentally are. As Andre Malraux, the well-known French writer, said: "The 21st century will be spiritual or will not be!"

In this context, the world needs R&D stations, laboratories for the future, where volunteers from all over the world consciously dedicate themselves to the challenge of an inner, spiritual transformation and, at the same time, embrace all outer activities and material aspects of life. Volunteers who are dedicated to the manifestation of that unifying force on this planet by creating relevant collective models on a significant scale for the world at large.

Auroville, the "city of dawn", an emerging international township in rural India, is such a laboratory. Endorsed by the General Assembly of UNESCO, it was founded in 1968 with the intention to become such a collective model. Based on new economic, environmental and spiritual values, Auroville wants to promote peace, international understanding and to quote from its Charter -- be a "living embodiment of an actual human unity".

Today, about 1500 people from 30 countries are, in cooperation with the local population, engaged in wasteland reclamation, soil and water conservation, reforestation, organic farming, integral education, alternative healing, renewable energy, appropriate building technologies, arts and culture, handicrafts and small-scale industries, architecture and town planning, and an integrated development of the neighbouring villages and the larger bioregion. At the same time, they are working on themselves so that that unifying, evolutionary force can raise their consciousness and transform their minds, their hearts and their bodies.

As such, Auroville stands as a global, evolutionary experiment on the planet that, according to its Charter, "belongs to nobody in particular but to humanity as a whole". And it carries the vision, the hope, the challenges, and the aspiration to become truly "the City the Earth needs"!

(Talk given by Guy Ryckaert at the 52nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference on "Challenges of a Globalised World: Finding New Directions" in the United Nations Headquarters, New York, on 17 September 1999.)



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