Novasutras extends an invitation to co-create the religion that meets the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s world. Together, we can conceive a religion that remains adaptable, deeply democratic and egalitarian, open to both science and mysticism, and so beautifully enticing that it can powerfully transform the way humans live together in our biosphere.
While Novasutras do not adhere to any strict, non-negotiable dogmas, there are some principles that form the basis of the religion, and certain specific values at its core. The best ways to express them or adhere to them are open to interpretation and revision as science and society move forward. However, these principles form the originating impulse behind the Novasutras movement, and help to unite our community behind shared goals
Life is sacred (agaya).
It appears that Earth is quite exceptional in its ability to produce complex life. Perhaps there are other places in our galaxy where life is similarly complex, but to-date we have no evidence of even very simple forms of life elsewhere. As sentient beings able to consider our role in the future, this fact of the extraordinary complexity of life on our home planet obligates us to do all we can to protect the diversity and healthy function of Earth’s biosphere.
Change is essential, inevitable and important.
Life is dynamic. That which does not change is dead. Knowing this, we embrace change, and seek to cultivate changes that improve the diversity and healthy function of life on Earth. We embrace and cultivate changes in our society that improve the well-being of living things, including other humans and other life forms with whom we share our planet.
Complexity and maturity emerge from cooperative relationships (ubuntu).
Maturation is an expression of health, and is characterized by increasing complexity and interconnection (agaya and ubuntu). A brain or an ecosystem adds connections as it responds to changes over its lifetime. Diversity leads to more dynamically efficient and resilient systems that use resources and cope with change in ways that benefit their systems. Unhelpful connections that sap resources are pruned in favor of those that enhance system health and well-being. This is true of a sequoia, a swamp, or a society.
Mature ecosystems are replete with examples of species that reciprocate beneficial functions (agaya and ubuntu): flowering plants provide nectar to pollinators, who help the plants produce more diverse offspring; trees signal one another about attacks by folivores, providing early warning to others who can prepare better defenses.
Humans owe their success as a species to their special capacities for cooperation and sharing (ubuntu).
The lone human, or the lone wolf for that matter, are much less likely to survive and thrive than those who participate in community. Human intelligence has given us uniquely advanced capacities for sharing fairly. We readily exchange information, aid, even food with others. This specialization for community is something we should express
and celebrate at every opportunity. We must guard closely against those who succumb to exploitative urges, as expressions of such antisocial implulses threaten to unravel the possibilities for joyous collaboration that are our birthright as thinking, feeling humans.
The beauty of the living world is to be savored, honored, celebrated and protected (agaya).
Our aesthetic impulses can often be a guide for what is right and good. Evolution has endowed us, and so many other species, with the ability to derive pleasure and joy from our sensory experiences, and our participation in the living world. Wherever we can delight in such pleasures without harming ourselves or the potential for others — human and non-human — to experience wonder and delight, we should be joyful and grateful for those opportunities. While some denial or postponement is indeed necessary for meeting valuable goals, for maintaining social and physical well-being, and of course for minimizing harm to others, denial in and of itself is no great virtue.
What do you think about these values and principles? Are there better ways to express them? Is there something essential that is currently missing? How can we best meet our goals to make these the basis of a world that works for all beings?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below.