P.R. Sarkar defined Neo-humanism as when the sentiment of humanism has been extended to plants, animals and the inanimate i.e. when the practice of universal love is extended to all created beings in the universe. And whilst this is an ethic that most people might like to aspire to, it is easier said than done; in large part because of the unconscious biases and sentiments we have.

Therefore Sarkar discussed in depth the need to develop two mentalities to overcome the sentiments that prevent us from becoming more neo-humanistic. The first is a rationalistic mentality which is developed through study of the subject matter. The second is to cultivate a proto-spitirualistic mentality (loosely meaning to have the sense that we are spiritually connected) through the cultivation of universal love and the principle of social equality as opposed to selfish pleasure, because we come from the one same source. The intention here is to create a sense of universal family rather than a dog eat dog world.

So, that sounds easy doesn’t it? Just love everything and then we can easily be neo-humanists. Well… no, it’s not that simple. There is a reason Sarkar’s book on neo-humanism is titled Liberation of Intellect: Neo-humanism.

I might love Asian music, but that love doesn’t prevent me from engaging in cultural appropriation/exploitation. Likewise, men usually love their wives, mothers and daughters, but that hasn’t prevented systemic gender inequality in society. It means we have to do some thinking too. Specifically, Sarkar gave a process for making neo-humanist decisions: study the topic critically to avoid sentimentalisation; apply a rationalistic mentality that weighs the positive and negative sides to make a logical decision; and implement if/when it is conducive to human welfare and useful for society.

A hot topic across the planet right now is marriage (in)equality and this presents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the process of neo-humanist rationality and thus policy making.  However, rather than derive a neohumanist policy, I will use a comparative analysis to show how you might reach two very different outcomes depending on your initial assumptions about a topic. This will demonstrate why Sarkar said that “The importance of study is tremendous.”(1)  In particular, if we can not be sure of our initial assumptions, then we must be very careful in deriving policies that are based on incomplete study or incorrect information because it may not be for the benefit or welfare of society.

Because it is a large and complex topic, I will confine the analysis to the question, “Should homosexual people be allowed to have civil marriages?” I will not include bi-sexual, transgender or intersex people in this analysis in order to simplify the task. Furthermore, this is a high level basic analysis for illustration purposes rather than the comprehensive arguments that would be required in a proper policy decision.

“the first step towards the establishment of Neohumanism is study”

Therefore given that the two assumptions above roughly represent the two arguments for and against marriage equality, it is easy to see why such different policy positions can result. The conservative assumptions from number 1, when following the ‘logical’ process, result in a convincing argument against homosexual marriage, where as the assumptions from number 2 result in a convincing argument for homosexual marriage.

Sarkar states that “the first step towards the establishment of Neohumanism is study”(2) and from the analysis above we see that it is a crucial step. It is the very foundation of the Neohumanism process. If we get that wrong then everything else is wrong; just like those long maths tests where one makes a small error at the start and it carries the whole way through. Likewise, if one has an unconscious (or even conscious) bias against homosexuals, that will carry the whole way through their thinking.

The conservative perspective – the cons outweigh the pros.

Study (what is it?) Pros & Cons Welfare
Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that includes open relationships and promiscuity.

The number of people who are switching to homosexuality is on the rise.

Promiscuity and thus homosexuality breaks down the marital bonds and trust in a society.

Homosexuality is not normal or found in the animal kingdom.

Allows for the same legal rights that heterosexual couples have including inheritance and hospital visitation rights 

Will break down the institution of marriage due to the long term effects of promiscuity/distrust on marriages.

Does not comply with religious definitions of marriage and will create a backlash.

The cons are bad for the society and based on the rule of selfish pleasure (e.g. promiscuity and lack of responsibility).

Because promiscuity and homosexuality go hand in hand, there will be a negative impact on the institution of marriage with few people treating it as a lifelong commitment.


The human rights perspective – the pros outweigh the cons.

Study (what is it?) Pros & Cons Welfare
Homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice (it is inborn) and includes the desire to commit and take responsibility for a loved one.

The number of people who are no longer afraid to come out as homosexual is on the rise.

Some homosexuals are promiscuous and others are monogamous. Of those who are promiscuous, much of this can be traced back to a reaction against the systemic oppression of homosexuals, or regular promiscuity that can be correlated to results found in heterosexual populations. Promiscuity from both heterosexuals and homosexuals breaks down marriage.

Homosexuality is found in the animal kingdom and a normal part of the span of sexuality, even though it is a relatively small percentage.

 Allows for the same legal rights that heterosexual couples have including inheritance and hospital visitation rights. 


+ Will strengthen the society by expanding the principles of commitment and responsibility across the whole society (not just heterosexuals)

Does not comply with religious definitions of marriage and will create a backlash.

 Moves society towards the principle of social equality and allows stronger social fabric because a larger percentage of the population will have access to a legally recognised commitment that they intend to fulfil.


Therefore before you personally come to a decision on marriage equality, make sure you do your study. Read what the social science has to say, speak with homosexual people about their experience and deeply understand what homosexuality really is. This is what Sarkar wants us to do in order to “escape the bondages of false information” (3) and to shatter all our social bondages i.e socio-sentiments. We don’t want to be on the ‘wrong side’ of neohumanist policy history, right?

However, there are also draw backs to study which we need to be aware of in order to come to a neohumanist conclusion. Study can be literal (reading, books etc) and non-literal (talking, acquiring information through the senses). But this type of knowledge is never absolute and therefore can be subject to two kinds of errors. The first defect is due to ignorance where the source of information is simply incorrect. The second defect is due to change in time, place or person. At the time the knowledge was imparted it “expresses a certain reality according to its own temporal perspective” (4). I.e. it was correct according to the conditions at the time, but with variation in time, the conditions change and “that reality loses its validity” (4).

Likewise, Sarkar warns of people who will deliberately create misinformation in society because they are motivated by their geo/socio-sentiments. If an entire group of people are being persecuted, humiliated or exploited, he instructs that rather than remain like a frog in a well, one has to identify the forces that are depriving people of the minimum necessities of life (of which marriage is arguably one for those in lifetime partnerships).  This study allows one to “rescue people from the tightening noose of exploitation” (4) by coming to a “clear conclusion with proper analysis”(4).

Thus in summary, the neohumanist policy process requires study, a rational weighing of pros and cons, and an evaluation according to its usefulness and welfare for society. However we must be very careful to be diligent in the study phase, because incorrect information can lead to a very different policy outcome that might even put us on the side of the oppressor and take us away from our desired outcome of one universal family. Social equality can be achieved with the help of study, so let’s hop to it! (ribbit)


1 – P.R. Sarkar, 1982, Liberation of Intellect: Neo-humanism, 4th edition, p76
2 – as above p 77
3- as above p 75
4 – p72




  1. Non-brainer. Everyone has a right to love the person they are attracted to regardless of gender. We don’t have to over think the situation at all!

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