Eastern Religions and Western Man

June 11, 1969

Report Outline
Quest for Meaning in Ecosteric Cults
Abiding Influences of Eastern Wisdom
Western Man and the Future of Religion

Quest for Meaning in Ecosteric Cults

One hundred philosophers from the corners of the globe will converge on Honolulu, June 22, for a dialogue that will continue for five weeks. Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Under Secretary of the United Nations for Special Political Affairs and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for mediation in the Middle East, is to deliver the keynote address. The theme of the meeting, “The Alienation of Modern Man,” has been described as follows by the program director, Prof. Abraham Kaplan of the University of Hawaii: “Interpreted broadly, this includes any estrangement of man—from himself, from other men, from nature, or from God—and whether as an individual or in groups such as generations. castes, classes, races, religions, or nations.”

The thinkers and scholars assembled at Honolulu will confront the fact that modern man, especially Western man, in the process of learning to control his environment has been alienated to a great degree from his spiritual moorings. Until the scientific era, religion—fed mainly from Middle Eastern springs—had provided Western man with a meaningful way of understanding the world and relating to it. But science tended to rip the foundations from the teachings of traditional religion and, in consequence, to deprive many minds of a sense of meaning in life.

Lacking a full measure of spiritual security, modern man developed a need for new foundational ideas about life and the cosmos which would stand the test of experience. This hunger of the alienated for meaningful living has been felt among all kinds of people—executives, housewives, intellectuals, the young, and those touched with sorrow —and in some cases it has given rise to an impulse to savor the wisdom of Eastern religions.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Sep. 15, 1971  Future of Liberalism
Nov. 04, 1970  The New Humanism
Oct. 15, 1969  Science and Society
Jun. 11, 1969  Eastern Religions and Western Man
Religious Movements