The upcoming general election will be an opportunity for Malaysians to reflect on one of the critical areas of nation- building which is unitive consciousness.
Are Malaysians united in a real sense of word or are we separated by race and religion? Do see we see the good in others even though we might have different political affiliations?
Whilst having different ideas and approaches is unavoidable and part and parcel of human reality, do we have a consensus on the most basic aspects of humanity, such the respect for human dignity and the rights of all?
To have such an attitude, it is vital for all of us to get the basics right by broadening our horizons and embracing plurality, diversity, and inclusivity. In other words, we need to embrace unitive consciousness.
The nation’s meritocratic strength can only be built if it is ingrained in unitive consciousness that embraces plurality, diversity, and inclusivity. This would ultimately lead to solidarity where we would be able to recognise our different social contexts and positions but still highlight how critical it is to work together.
The prominent American Christian mystic Richard Rohr in his writing states that the ego is formed by contraction while the soul is formed by expansion. The ego pulls into itself by comparing, competing and separating itself from others. “I am not like that,” it says.
The soul, however, does exactly the opposite: “I am that.” It sees itself in God, the other, flowers, and trees, animals and even the enemy: similarity instead of separateness. It participates in the human dilemma instead of placing itself above and beyond all tensions.
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When one analyses the Malaysian political realm, we have major political parties that use the ego of race and religion as their basic foundation of survival, such as Umno, which leads in the name of race and religion, together with ethnic parties like the MCA and the MIC.
Pas leaders tend to embrace an egoistic, religious, self-righteous image by accusing others of immorality, while Bersatu’s core ideology is not much different from Umno’s. They stress separateness when challenged for accountability and stress unity when it suits their political context.
In Pakatan Harapan, we find Amanah as an ethnic-based party; yet it is united with bigger multi-ethnic parties, such as PKR and the DAP, that are distinct from an ego ethno-religious dominant coalition such as Barisan Nasional and Perikatan National.
This dominant ethno-religious BN and PN are no nation-builders because they believe in articulating the tribal parts rather than embracing unitive consciousness. It is through unitive consciousness that we are able to see the beauty and goodness in others in a sustained manner.
Therefore, the Association for Welfare Community and Dialogue urges Malaysians to support political parties that are multi-ethnic and multi-religious, ie those that embrace unitive consciousness in the upcoming general election. The future of the nation depends on such consciousness. – Malaysiakini