Pluralism and Symbiotic Relations: A Path to Peace

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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, as well as a number western philosophers including Epicurus, Spinoza and Heidegger, 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, Epicurus, Heidegger, Biodiversity, Symbiosis
Stream: Identity and Belonging; the Politics of Diversity; Globalisation, Nations, Nationalism, Communities, Representations: Media, Communications, Arts, Literature
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Pluralism and Symbiotic Relationships

Dr. Indira Y. Junghare

Professor, South Asian Languages, Literatures, & Cultures
Institute of Linguistics, ESL, & Slavic Languages & Literatures

Minneapolis, MN, USA

Dr. Indira Junghare did her M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Texas, Austin. Since 1971 she has been teaching at the University of Minnesota South Asian languages, linguistics, literatures and cultures—Marathi, Hindi, and Indo-Aryan Linguistics, Indian Literature and Culture—Hinduism, Buddhism and Comparative Religions. She has published extensively in the field of linguistics, literatures and religions of India. Junghare’s most outstanding contribution to Indian Studies lies in her tremendous efforts of preserving the South Asian Languages, Literatures, and Cultures curriculum and the Programs at the University of Minnesota. She is a recipient of numerous awards including the CLA Distinguished Teacher Award, Outstanding Faculty Award, and the University’s Community Service Award. Drawing on the philosophies of India, her present project is to establish the Institute of Diversity, Ethics and Peace Studies at the University of Minnesota, which has received a Tony Diggs’ Excellence Award for Innovation.

Timothy Stewart

Affiliation not supplied

Ref: D08P0011