... A 4


A4 (A Universal Ethos) 1/95

A 4 represents in brief the fundamental ethics and morals of all the great religious and humanistic traditions. There is nothing new about it; all has been said before. Yet, A 4 is a label for people who like to go beyond common organized religion and institutionalized ethics and dogmatism. It is for those concerned world-citizens who believe in a Supreme Reality and who see the material. Social, economic and spiritual inter-relatedness of everything. A4 also serves as a common ethical base and link between different spiritual groups overcoming religious intolerance and sectarianism. An A4 does not blindly accept the authority of professional script-commentators. He has decided to be guided by the highest teaching given to mankind and by his own conscience and to contribute towards the upliftment of all, by following a truly universal ethos based on cooperation, solidarity and love. Each individual and only he (she) himself (herself) interprets the following principles and suggestions with his (her) understanding and wisdom and TRIES to live up to them. The spread of A 4 is encouraged through exemplary living, through individual and social responsibility , and by supporting whoever and whatever this ethos in any way for his personal, financial and material enrichment.

Whatever has understood the essence of A4, knows that:

In the name of A4, no churches, memberships and script- composing are acknowledged.

In the name of A4, no authorities, no priests, founders or scriptures are accepted.

Since A4 is no church and has no organization; no property, power and finances are maintained in its name.

A4 does no prescribe any rituals, dogmas nor idols.

Whatever enhances a persons' integrity, wisdom, understanding, charity and love is accepted by A4, and whatever produces the opposite is rejected.

A4 accepts the following uplifting essentials, ideals and moral conduct taken from the different religious and humanistic traditions and teaching:

A Humanity and its World

1. Humanity is an inseparable part of nature within a dynamic, ever-changing universe, and whatever induces peaceful and harmonious living should be followed and promoted.

2. The duty of society and the elite is the cultural and spiritual upliftment of all its members-to be able to live a fruitful and meaning existence In human dignity to the fullest potentials.

3. The ethical and moral criteria of a society is demonstrated by the treatment of its weakest and least protected and by the type of integrity it produces among its elite.

4. In the most economical way the greatest happiness and contentment for all of society's members should be achieved; an economy for the people's needs and not greeds.

5. Only a society and economic system based on solidarity and cooperation for the common good (also on a global level) is worth its support.

6. In a multicultural and pluralistic world a society decides the course of development according to its own circumstances and its own time, by accepting the basic human rights.

7. The individual freedom and rights stop where the other's freedom and rights need to be respected.

B A Person's Spiritual Place

1. A person's highest spiritual achievement is to realize the oneness of all and the all in One, the transcendental stage of which all great saints, sages and philosophers of all religions, at all places, at all times, have talked and preached about. Whatever induces this realization should be promoted.

2. All religions and scriptures contain valuable advice for humanity; one should, if need be, get inspiration from all sources, from all cultures and civilizations.

3. Religions call the creative principle by different names, be it God, Absolute, Tao, Brahman, The Supreme Reality, Allah or whatever; the individuals highest spiritual aim is union with this Supreme Reality beyond the pairs of opposites and to live a life according to this innermost realization.

4. Spiritual progress manifests itself as independence, equanimity, tolerance, equity, compassion, understanding, modesty, respect, love and courage.

5. Humanity is one, all humans, men and women, are equal and the social rank of an individual is according to his insight, wisdom and contribution towards all. A person is judged according to his actions and deeds, not his (her) beliefs. The highest respect goes to him (her) who demonstrates dignity, honesty and righteous living; a person who has transcended the selfishness and greed for wealth, fame and power.

6. Let each human being take the best and most uplifting from his spiritual and cultural background and tradition.

7. Let each individual follow his (her) own path, work out his (her) own rituals and philosophy according to his (her) temperament and disposition and take advice according to his (her) needs, FROM sources and teachers (even without clerical titles) of integrity and wisdom. What might be nectar on one level of guidance can be poison at another.

8. If a command, statement, doctrine, scripture or tradition contradicts one's own experience, reasoning, moral and ethical convictions, it has to be rejected.

9. The fear of an eternal Hell paralyses and victimizes a person in the present. The reward of right living and right acting- the motive defines the worth of an act- will come at its proper time and place.

10. Support an educational system which is in accordance with the above mentioned ideals and guidelines and the following moral conduct:

C Moral Conduct and Right Living

1. Refrain from killing, stealing, lying, cheating, sexual misconduct, intoxication and addiction.

2. Practice: Non-violence towards all creatures overcome hatred with love and understanding.

3. Purify body, mind, and spirit- not by suppressing and negating but by making conscious, the destructive tendencies.

4. Do not misuse and exploit nature: minerals, plants and fellow creatures.

5. The happiness one wishes for oneself, one should wish unto others and what one does not like to be done to oneself, should not be done to others.

6. Whatever causes dishonesty, corruption, misery and pain, should be fought against with love, understanding and compassion.

7. The highest social good is to help the weak and needy; physically, mentally and spiritually according to one's capacity.

8. Contribute a part of your income and time for a good cause.

9. Accept the monk and hermit who has renounced the world of possessions, fame and power and who is willing to give his (her) life for truth.

10.Stand up and speak for truth and justice, even if it means unpleasant consequences- to ignore evil to let it grow.


- Looking at the present world, are you concerned about the future of your children? Are you also worried where humanity is heading?

- Looking at the environmental, social and spiritual degradation of our planet, don't you think something has gone wrong?

- Do you also sense that our politicians and religious leaders have no vision?

- Do you agree that it is not us, but some market-forces who decide about our destiny?

- Do you also question a culture and economic system which condemns everyone to a never- satisfied consumer, and needs and breeds egotism, gluttony, ruthlessness, adversary and inconsiderate competition?

- How much longer can we accept the world's ongoing discrepancies between the rich and poor?

- Do you also agree that the wealthy, the powerful and strong in society have a social responsibility towards the weaker and less fortunate?

- How much longer are we to be at each other's throats in the name of God and Religion?

- Do you agree that all the high ethical talks are useless unless put into practice?

- Do you also question the ethical superiority of the multi-billion-dollar soul- saving industry? (approx. 180 Billion dollars a year for the Christian sector!)

- Do you also believe that men and women can lead a decent and cooperative life without ecclesiastical instructions?

- Do you also agree that the basic Ethos; the vision man has of himself, determines the spiritual, political and social direction of a culture?

And last but not least: Do you also detest being labeled a communist, leftist, green, red, sectarian or Godless subversive just because you show some social, spiritual and universal concern?

Isn't it time that all people – laymen and professional, believers and non- believers, agnostics and atheists- who are concerned about the world, humanity, nature and the ongoing moral decline of our societies, get together and find solutions for the prevailing decadence and Mammonism? After thousands of years of Bible revelations, Vedic knowledge, Buddhist teachings, Good News, Muslim Brotherhood, which also instigated and supported some of the worst barbarism, from the inquisition to slavery, from castism to child labour, from superstitions to the suppression of women, can we not accept an Ethos beyond the manipulation of professional script-commentators?

Is it really not possible to agree on an ethical and moral conduct, free of any religious and institutionalized organization, which is acceptable to any thinking and reasoning person, no matter from what cultural and religious background he comes?

Does mankind, particularly the individual, really need to know ten thousands of so-called spiritual and infallible writings and commentaries to live an decent, humanistic and spiritual and infallible writings and commentaries to live a decent, humanistic and spiritual life?

Does mankind (particularly the women !) have to be forever at the mercy of contradicting clerics and their everchanging confusing commentaries?

A4 represents such a Universal Ethos acceptable to all.

A4 stands for the common international A4 paper size. The idea and purpose of it is to have all the essentials that humanity needs to know to lead fruitful, meaningful life on one page. (A4) It is just a label, an identification (ID) for a value- system based on the most common humanistic and spiritual ideals. Its ethos tries to be high and idealistic enough to prevent it from being attacked by representatives of organized religions as being morally inferior.

A4 should serve as a spiritual and social force next to and beyond institutionalized churches and confessions.

Religion is far too important to be left only to theologies and script- commentators!

Even if you have problems accepting the idea of a Universal Ethos, at least encourage and open debate on it.



Photocopy this introductory letter and A4-Ethos and send it to 10 or more potential sympathizers and concerned individuals, who will hopefully do the same, The only reward you may gain from this letter is a better world for yourself and your children.