AN ESSAY ON UTILITARIANISM, VOLUNTARY RENUNCIATION AND THE SUFIS’ WILL-LESS-NESS

Mohammad Israr Khan

Abstract


ABSTRACT

            The global world of contemporary dimensions is characterized by an unprecedented progress and material abundance unevenly distributed among the nations and peoples. The guiding philosophy of the affluent sections seems to be an accumulative and obsessive consumerism grown up in the backyard of classical utilitarianism. As a matter of fact, utilitarianism is nothing but the guidance of a hedonistic self-interest lying beneath the public and private domains.

            However, it becomes a value loaded and normative dogma when the supposed ‘positive’ character of self-interest overtakes an empiricist character to reign over everything, including the humankind itself, put in a commodity frame. At its extreme utilitarian ethics becomes an end in itself, searching for the self and meaning of self in a narcissist frame of consumerism, unconscious of the sufferings of the toiling man and nature as well. Such a state of affairs is precarious to long term peace, endurance, and sustainability of an integrated self and the world around of living and non-living dimensions forming total ecology. The way out of such an obscurantist enclosure is to search for the eternal and eternity which transcendent the contemporary. Tasawwuf or spiritual tradition of Asiatic Sufism provides one such frame of reference which relies upon ‘will-less-ness’, instead of consumerist ‘will-ness’, to enjoy the bliss or a sort of it which is not much dependent upon material abundance, but which is internally caring and sharing.

The article attempts to provide a critique of utilitarianism and consumerism, evaluates the efficacy of ‘voluntary austerity’, and puts forward the Sufis’ construct of ‘renunciation of will’, in place of a self-defeating will of the consumer-self.

KEYWORDS

           Utilitarianism, Consumerism, Narcissist-self, Rational Constraints, Voluntary Renunciation, Tasawwuf (Sufism), Renunciation of Will, Ordained Necessity.


Keywords


Utilitarianism, Consumerism, Narcissist-self, Rational Constraints, Voluntary Renunciation, Tasawwuf (Sufism), Renunciation of Will, Ordained Necessity.

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References


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