2017 9th Fireflies Dialogues Bangalore

Cultural and Spiritual Values for Sustainable Futures 

All over the world, xenophobia is creeping in. We have never witnessed as much fear of the ‘other’ as we do today, whether it be in ethnic and cultural conflicts or in the rejection of refugees. Cultural passions for limited and narrow ends are ruling the roost in many contexts. The goals of building towards a shared future are often completely sidetracked in the resulting noise and confusion.

By now we all know that what is important in building collective futures is not only creating robust economies, but also considering the kind of society we want to create and the kind of relations we wish to foster. In India, as in many other countries, the preamble to the Constitution enshrines, with broad brush strokes, the kind of society we aim to create. The Preamble of our Constitution consecrates a number of values that are important to keep in mind as we move forward:

  • JUSTICE, social, economic and political
  • LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
  • EQUALITY of status and of opportunity and to promote among them all
  • FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

We often see the Constitution as a mere legal document concerned with checks and balances, forgetting that it is the fundamental vision of our society. Underlined within is equality, fraternity, the dignity of every individual, and the unity and integrity of the nation within the global community.

These values are not only values for India, but also universal values in an interconnected and interdependent world. Problems related to creating sustainable futures are local and national, but they are also preeminently global. We need to globally gravitate not only to the economic processes that need to be radically altered to fight climate change and promote sustainable growth, but also towards diverse cultural and spiritual values that can serve as the driver of these changes.

The 2017 edition of Fireflies Dialogues, organised by Pipal Tree in the spirit of the global processes of Dialogues and Humanity happening all over the world, will explore liberative and sustainable dimensions of various cultures. Contributions will emphasise the values of the Constitution of India as well as Hindu, Christian, Sufi, Buddhist, Indigenous and secular practices and ideas that foster sustainable futures.

We shall also explore personal and community values, as well as spiritual insights, that contribute towards building dialogue and trust. These values and insights are so important to veer the creative world-building process away from conflictual and consumer values towards one of caring for each other and the planet.