What is the reason that modern society has lost this principle of integration?The reason seems to be this. In the Middle Ages - that is, in the years AD 500-1500 - not only in Europe but also in China and India and the Islamic world, a creative synthesis was achieved, in which the physical and psychic and spiritual worlds were marvelously integrated. The economic, social, political and cultural orders were all conceived as a harmonious unity in which each man (sic) was related to nature, to his fellow-man and to the divine source of truth and justice, the dharma, the eternal Law. Of course, this order was being continually threatened with destruction by the forces of disintegration, but the principle of integration was preserved in the 'perennial philosophy', the tradition wisdom, whether Confucian or Buddhist or Hindu or Islamic or Christian. A Chinese landscape, the Ajanta frescoes, the Hindu temple, the Gothic cathedral, the Taj Mahal, are all alike evidence of this creative synthesis, of the harmony of heaven and earth, of the right order of human life. In this period we can see the model of perfection, what human life was intended to be. After this period this creative synthesis began to disintegrate. The Reformation and the Renaissance, the 'Enlightenment' and the French Revolution, the Russian and the Chinese revolutions, are all stages in this process of disintegration. Now, after nearly five hundred years, the process seems to be almost complete, and there are those who question whether our present civilization can survive for more than fifty years.
Protestantism broke up the organic unity of the mystical Body of Christ, that divine-human order which the Church had established in the West, and made each man an isolated individual. Rationalism set the human mind free from the divine and enclosed each man in the limits of his own reason. Finally, communism came to deprive man of his basic liberty and enslave him to the material world, separated from the divine and dominated by human reason. But this is only one side of the picture. On the other side the religious traditions had each lost their creative power. Catholicism in Western Europe, Orthodoxy in Russia, Confucianism in China, like Hinduism in India and Islam throughout the Middle East, had all alike declined and become closed in on themselves, so that the divine Truth, which was in each one of them, could not exert its power. At the same time each of these revolutionary movements had released immense forces - humanism and democracy, science and technology, capitalism and socialism - which could no longer be controlled by any religious order.