PROUT is a guiding vision for transformative social change and a powerful paradigm for sustainable socio-economic development. PROUT has the fundamental purpose of creating opportunities for people to develop and express their physical, mental and spiritual potentialities, while maintaining dynamic balance among individual quality of life, collective well-being, and ecological integrity.
Neohumanism is a new form of humanism that expands humanism to be inclusive of all living beings. Neohumanism promotes reverence for all life and sees all beings as manifestations of one, integral whole, giving depth and breadth to the relationship of human beings to each other and to the world in which they live. Neohumanism is fundamentally spiritual in nature – not because it subscribes to any religious view, but because it acknowledges the inherent unity in all life and the spiritual essence at the core of all beings.
The fundamental design principles of PROUT guide socio-economic development in a way that maintains social equilibrium and progress, and that provides all people – individually and collectively – with ample opportunities to develop and express their potentialities in physical, mental, and spiritual arenas of life.
History is a process of dynamic forces that motivate social movement. In the PROUTist view, the process of history is an expression of a people’s collective psychology; it flows out of their ideas, values, and sentiments. Many factors shape collective psychology, one of the most important being social class. Societies are dominated by either warrior, or priesthood/professional, or merchant elites, and in ways that become self-serving and oppressive to the subordinate classes. PROUT rejects the belief that social classes will wither, as class identity is deeply rooted in people’s social experience. The answer to class tyranny is not the utopia of a classless society, but the emergence of individuals dedicated to neohumanism, who rise above class allegiance and are motivated by a spirit of service. Because of their concern for universal welfare, such individuals will facilitate change not for the benefit of oppressive elites, but for the benefit of all. If such dedicated individuals establish themselves in positions of social, moral and spiritual influence, they can inspire and guide social action to end class oppression and create opportunities for the society to reestablish its progressive bearing.
The PROUT economic system focuses on meeting human needs, insuring equity, and maintaining sustainability and equilibrium. Because capitalism is based on self-interest and centralizes economic power in the hands of a relative few, it cannot provide for the welfare of all, maintain ecological balance, or keep local communities vital. PROUT’s economic system is based on decentralizing and democratizing economic power. The main form of economic enterprise is cooperatives. Economic planning is decentralized. Capital is not allowed to drain out of local economies. There is to be equitable distribution of the world’s resources. All people are to possess adequate purchasing capacity to acquire the basic necessities and amenities of life. The standard of purchasing capacity is to increase over time. And incentives are essential for the economic welfare of society.
Democracy, to be viable, can only occur where there is local economic control; so PROUT calls for economic democracy. PROUT emphasizes that democracy requires an electorate that is well-educated, possess socioeconomic-political consciousness, and has high ethical standards. Political leaders should be selected on the basis of their competency, universal outlook, and moral strength. In addition to executive, legislative and judicial branches, there should be a strong audit branch that insures governmental integrity. A world federation must be established which prevents military conflicts, secures the rights of minorities, protects the environment, and insures equitable distribution of resources, among other things. The foundational principles of a world constitutional framework should be: the right of all species to exist; the guarantee to all of purchasing capacity to acquire their basic necessities; and the guaranteed right to education, use of indigenous language, expression of local culture, and spiritual practice, except where these rights conflict with cardinal human values.
PROUT views culture as the sum total of human expressions and achievements. According to this perspective, there is one human culture that is expressed in a vast variety of specific ways. Diverse cultural expressions reflect the multitude of different conditions in which humans live and the extensive creative capacities that humans develop as we adapt to ever-changing circumstances. PROUT encourages a rich variety of cultural expressions and supports cultural variation and autonomy in terms of language, traditions, arts, dress, diet, etc.. Yet PROUT also promotes a proper balance of cultural expression that remains consistent with cardinal human values, respects all living beings, and facilitates coordinated cooperation or mutual respect, civility, and cordiality among different individuals, communities, groups, and regions. When properly balanced and diverse in form, vibrant cultural expression can facilitate collective human fulfillment and be indicative of a dynamic, evolving process of human development toward higher levels of planetary unity – a unity in diversity.
PROUT’s ecological philosophy seeks a balanced relationship between society and the natural world. Humans are not inferior or superior to other living beings; they are a part of the larger community of life and live in an interdependent web of living beings. If human society is to be healthy, and endure, it must function in harmony with the web of life within which it exists. If it becomes destructive to the web, it becomes self-destructive. So human society must be guided by values that keep it in harmony with the natural world. Earth’s ecology has been so damaged by human exploitation that restoration of balance is now imperative.
PROUT provides a methodology for materializing theory into practical social reality. As the current political and economic order becomes increasingly unstable and unsustainable, interest will naturally arise in alternatives. It will become necessary to project a viable new social vision and inspire people with a new ideal. It will also be important to build practical models that demonstrate new values and new principles. Also important will be having new leaders in all areas of life that promote the universal welfare. According to local circumstances, social movements must arise to express people’s aspirations for progressive change. Social struggle should be undertaken in a manner that minimizes harm to life and property. As a liberated society can only arise from the liberated consciousness of individuals, spiritual growth is part and parcel of social change.