Concord Grove PressConcord Grove Press

What is living and what is dead in contemporary political ideas, traditional beliefs and inherited allegiances? How may a better future be constructed from our complex past? Considering such questions, Parapolitics unveils a radical new perspective extending far beyond contemporary pessimism. The discussion of Raghavan Iyer moves with ease from the Greek polis to the California communes, from the psychology of self-actualization to the dynamics of social structures.

The text shows the critical distance needed to see clearly the costs of commitment, the limits and possibilities, in a global community. The book explores the subtle relationships between technology and politics, democracy and liberty, scarcity and abundance. Parapolitics calls for dialectical skill in the responsible exercise of will and imagination. By distilling the ideas of seminal political thinkers from Socrates and Plato to Marx and Gandhi, the book provides a firm basis for a fresh vision of Civitas Humana, the City of Man.

381 p. Sewn, softbound with dust jacket



Table of Contents

   1. Politics and Parapolitics    
   2. Agathon and the Cave    
   3. The Open Texture of Natural Law    
   4. Tolerance and Civility    
   5. Equality in Theory and Practice    
   6. Individuation    
   7. The Revolutionary's Burden    
   8. Means and Ends    
   9. Technology and Politics    
  10. Civitas Dei and the Classless Society    
  11. Democracy and Liberty in Emerging Polities    
  12. The Fundamental Revolution: From Elitism to Equality    
  13. Global Pointers    
  14. The Future of Europe    
  15. The Community of Strangers    
  16. An Unfinished Dream    
  17. Ex Chaos Cosmopolis    
  18. Dianoia    


Take a Look Inside

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The politics of vision, the fusion of theory and practice Politics and Agathon, the Good in Platonic philosophy Means and Ends in politics Purity of means and moral law of karma Individuation and self-actualization; freedom and equality The importance of unconditionality in human relationships

From 'Tolerance and Civility', p. 61-62:

Our virtues should be touched with a certain nobleness, our morals with a certain freedom, our manners with a certain politeness. The virtues exhibited are always less what one owes to others than what one owes to oneself.   -Montesquieu

The core of tolerance is the conviction that conflicts can and should be settled by reason, not by force, and this belief may often be founded on faith in the eventual vindication of truth. Civility, the virtue of the citizen, fosters the sense of fellowship felt by individuals with the society to which they belong. Tolerance makes possible the coexistence of competing forms of partisanship, while civility shows the willingness to transcend partisanship in the pursuit of the common good. Tolerance and civility alike point to the limitations of human powers, the folly of dogmatism and the futility of violence, and the common search for truth by responsible citizens in the service of the parapolitical Agathon. This provides the basis of protection for the inalienable freedom and the fundamental equality of all citizens united in their concern for truth and peace. To hold an opinion deeply is no doubt to throw feeling into it, but an awareness of fallibility can support a sufficiently strong sense of critical distance to prevent personal feelings from overriding the sense of human solidarity. Tolerance could be an act of faith in the ultimate victory of truth, or it may be a mere expedient to avoid the inconveniences of intolerance. Civility could spring from a profound sense of social obligation or it may arise out of a prudent awareness of the costs of violence and discord. Tolerance may degenerate into indifference, and passivity masquerade as civility. The more deeply founded is tolerance, the more meaningful and reliable civility becomes. The stronger the roots of civility, the richer the fruits of tolerance. Thus tolerance and civility constitute the minimal foundations as well as the mature graces of the good society.

Both concepts have evolved in the sacred and secular spheres of the world's great civilizations, finding their way into the parapolitical ideals and visions of all peoples. As the attainment of salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven lying beyond death requires suffering and penance, so too securing salvation in any earthly kingdom requires individuals to love and suffer each other as equally errant truth-seekers. As the pursuit of transcendental truth demands the strength to suffer the ordeals of the quest, so too the collective pursuit of truth in the midst of society and politics calls for the readiness to suffer for their convictions among those anxious to propagate their relative truths against the errors of implacable opponents and the apathy of the indifferent. The earnest seeker of truth in the social and political sphere soon arrives at a recognition of the need for tolerance and civility in the midst of those who wish to coerce others into compliance with their half-truths and exaggerated claims. In Platonic thought, sophrosyne — temperance, harmony, and self-mastery — is the essential civic virtue in the polis. In ancient Indian thought the idea of satya or truth meant far more than mere tolerance: it presupposed faith rather than skepticism. Satya was bound up with the conviction that it is possible for all men to progress through their experiments with relative truths toward the transcendental goal of SAT or Absolute Truth. Similarly, the modern doctrine of ahimsa or non-injury is concerned with far more than civility, presupposing not merely the conviction that coercion is futile but also the positive faith that non-violence could convert opponents into co-seekers, effectively resist injustice, remove untruth, and protect the weak against the strong...

Raghavan N. Iyer

Raghavan Iyer was Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Oxford University. Educated in Bombay and at Oxford, he was a Rhodes Scholar and President of the Oxford Union. He taught political philosophy at Oxford for eight years and was a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Oslo, Ghana and Chicago. He was a Consultant to the Fund for the Republic and a member of the Club of Rome. He was President and co-Founder of the Institute of World Culture.

His publications include The Glass Curtain, Utilitarianism and All That, The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi, Novus Ordo Seclorum and The Society of the Future.


Parapolitics: Towards the City of Man


"Parapolitics is a work of large-scale political theory. The book is a very fluent and readable piece of work ... unusual in trying to combine the concern of existential psychology with the more conventional concerns of traditional political theory."
— The Times Literary Supplement

"A powerful, well-written and important book."
— Prof. James Joll, London

"The author has made a remarkable attempt to use the insights of traditional political philosophy to lay the foundations for a polity which, incorporating some of man's most cherished ideals, would also be much more capable of coping with present and future challenges. Erudition is united with wisdom in this stimulating work."
— Journal of Politics

"The heart of the book is the attempt to sketch a foundation for a global society of the future . . . an ambitious and original undertaking."
— Choice

"A unique plan of meditation for all politicians, political theorists and philosophers."
— Prof. Robert Rein'l, Tempe, Arizona

"It is a first-class reappraisal of the classic problems of politics and a beautiful attempt to indicate some new roads to the deadlock of our time."
— Prof. Helio Jaguaribe De Mattos, Brazil