- Consultation - Education - Governance - Language Human Nature

Shadows of the Mind: Disorganized Activism, Conducive to Change?

Decades have come and gone and our busy lives, cluttered with diverse daily drives and enjoyments, have advanced in age, irreparable choices have been made, courses set, and moral decisions cast in the stone of opportunity cost. Billions have come before us and billions beyond, all have passed into the annals of history, and been forgotten by the onward march of time.

The abyss of oblivion now beckons to our scrumptious generation, morsels for its dinner. Not many with good intentions have been seen on the world stage; albeit works of charity and small acts of kindness are as prevalent as the annual holiday season – but  structurally, not much has changed. A collective will that is able to revolutionize the structure of society and apply new values to its educational, operational, military, economic, and cultural aspirations has not emerged.

The failure belongs to us all, as much as it does to any individual, institution, or activist community. Faith in a number of established principles has waned from public consciousness. With lack of faith in these values, and the will to apply them, it is not easy to conceive a remedy for society’s spiral.

Many people speak of their ideals of improving society, but without the will to plan for the future how will this good intention produce any result? Without organization for the widespread application of intelligence, foresight, evidence-based strategy, and the will endure what is necessary to arrive at the desired result, of what use are all “good intentions”? The touchstone of intention, is the ability to learn from mistakes, not just to reapply the same failed systems and ideas to current problems.

Society has inculcated a system that places economic activity at the center of social existence, that deifies the market, that worships monetary wealth, that promotes cutthroat and deceitful business practices, that is protected by a system of legality that is equally divorced from morality as it is profitable to ruthless corporate-legal machines.

We have abandoned our children and the future generation to teachers less qualified, less compensated, and less equipped to discharge their duties than the sacred task of education requires them to be. The educational system is outdated, ineffective  and trains people to be a receptacle of knowledge, not active participants in their own learning process. This reflects our collective disregard for the importance of education. Lip service is no substitute. Where society places its wallet, is where you find what it believes in, what it values.

We have relegated intelligent problems that is the substance of climate change and discourses of global importance to the realm of political talking points, and corporate manipulation. When justice is dethroned, and intelligence is mocked as a partisan ploy, there you see the dangers of corruption in politics. Individuals cannot combat institutional corruption – institutional capacity is needed to deal with the evils of partisanship and to cleanse the current system.

We have abandoned justice for the guise of non-aggression in society: where human psyches should be nurtured with love and education and opportunity we have implemented a system of mass consumerism and individual disconnectedness.

Loneliness and desperation bursts through publicly in acts of unprovoked personal massacres committed by mentally deranged outcasts on the fringes of the social order. Mentally ill college students, and bullied high schoolers exact their vengeance upon a world that neglected their need to belong. The difference between outcasts and the rest of people living “normal lives” is not clear superficially, because the baseline level of social disconnectedness is so high. Madness, goes undiagnosed and unsuspected for decades. Loneliness is widespread and the human need to belong – much more powerful than the drive to consume commercial products – is not recognized at all in social value, taking hardly a second place to the recognized need for an new iPod.

Pain is the perpetual companion of the disenfranchised members within the system. Those without happiness, home, opportunity, love, or family values are relegated to a world of isolated subsistence, where they are expected to “overcome” through “self-reliance” the disparities that divide them. Instead, most are forced to suffer in solitude the aching question: should I continue being misunderstood by society? or take from society the attention and awe I deserve? Crime is the result.

Disconnectedness and disunity remain the foremost culprits. Though society has adopted a lingo of professed love and unity one to another, disenfranchisement and lack of a community to belong to, remains the de facto reality for most of the world’s inhabitants.

Oblivious to this suffering, post-modern voices from a bygone philosophical age still cry: “NO, to organized initiatives. NO organized system is needed to solve any social dilemma!” Why is this opinion maintained, that organized systems are superfluous to addressing social disparities and values of social cohesion and unity? Do we leave medicine and finance to free-lance garage-practitioners? Do we leave law and order to old-school sheriff’s like the wild wild west? In this day and age, do we leave governance to regional chieftains and warlords? So why would we leave social justice to disorganized activism?

Is the fear of oppression from large organizations rational? Or does it stem from a past where systems had been abused to commit atrocities against and oppress the public? Examples that come to mind are gender inequalities propagated by the Catholic Church, and government embroilment in scandals like the Tuskegee experiments?But should we throw out the baby with bath water, and use the rationale of post-modernism?

Religious structure even still oppress the masses. But is disorganization and the dissolution of organized approaches to reforming society’s values the solution? Do we consider these religious structure valid expressions of religion? Is al-Qaeda a valid expression of religion? Is Christian fundamentalism a valid expression of religion?

But what should be foremost in our concerns, fear of tyranny, or commitment to improving the world? Systems increase the power of response. As such they increase the power of corruption as well.  Corruption should be rooted out, however, and we ought to struggle to eliminate. Let this be the end to which a painful past can motivate us to act. Let our will be stronger than our fear. Let us embrace an overarching process within evolutionary and global history. Let us acknowledge a fruit and destination to which the revolutions ages is inexorably drawing the human race. Let the telos of the universe again be recognized.

The new demand and discourse on valid religious organizations begins here:

Mankind’s united destiny beckons. The merger of nation states into global federalism, the elimination of distinctions of all kinds, the economic, cultural, linguistic, and ultimately the political and biological unity of the human race is inevitable.

Inevitably, globalization will merge our economies, internet and cell phone communication will combine our languages, intermarriage and the force of biology will intermingle our genomes, the collective travails and natural disasters that persistently plague our world will require us to unite economically and politically to resist them, and the global trends in trade will mandate us to adopt a single international currency.

Competition, we have institutionalized in economic doctrine and business practice. Selfishness, we have inculcated as the driver of innovation and change. Concern with one’s personal family, we have touted as moral responsibility, while the heavens have said from the beginning of time “prefer others before oneself”.

Military might we appraise as a means of keeping peace and an expression of our patriotic commitment. But when has a display of might been conducive to de-escalating the portents and probability of war? When has war run from selfish armamentarians? and when has hot war not been preceded by cold-war?

When research and investments in technologies and green-energy for the future, upon which the prosperity of the whole race depends, are relegated to a second priority, and fossil fuels burnt at a ever-accelerating rate, it raises concerns about the intelligence of out political and discursive climate. If this trend continues, the demise of the values of the mind of man will be evident, and the rise of values pertinent to his body will be consummate in lust for power, war, and dominion. The drive for economic and military domination is an expedient, and not a path to enduring change and prosperity. domination is nullified when it faces the same thing across the sea. Historically, it has been particularistic pursuits of power that produce destruction, and it has always been submission of the ego in deference to the collective will that produces progress and prosperity.

Drives for particularistic interest, personal control, with power and war as a means to it, inevitably end by destroying and disenfranchising all, irrespective of the identity of the parties. Selfishness itself is the essence of destruction. Its origin is the war within the self, and its end is annihilation.

“…ye walk on My earth complacent and self-satisfied, heedless that My earth is weary of you…”

Discourse Knowledge

Habits of Thought

Certain habits of thought also need to be fostered in connection with a culture of learning, often at odds with current society’s tendencies – three will be mentioned.  It is clear that society increasingly speaks with slogans.  To be able to analyze yet not reduce, to ponder and not dwell, to categorize but not compartmentalize are essential to form full and complex thoughts required of a learning mode.  To take science and religion as an example, there seems to be an endless quest to describe each of these vast systems using fewer and fewer words accompanied by clichéd pictures.  “Science flies you to the moon while religion flies you into a building” is one rather amusing one.  What is actually learned from this statement?

Society also breeds false dichotomies – many of which have already been mentioned: science vs religion, study vs action, individual vs collective, material vs spiritual, action vs reflection, mind vs heart, “us” vs “them”, etc.  They are all manifestations of fragmented thought, harmful to a culture of learning that seeks to understand the interconnectedness of all things.  Many stem from the general false dichotomy between being and doing.  These are two mutually informing aspects of one coherent human being;  an individual personally develops through service, and gains the impulse to serve through personal growth.

And thinking in terms of process, as oppose to society’s end-point oriented value system characterized by punctuated events, short-term vision, and instant gratification, is crucial in understanding that learning is a process that will proceed over time, will evolve in an organic fashion, will require sustained and long-term action and vision, and will never reach a definite conclusion.    Regardless of if current society has forgotten this fact, science and religion are both characterized  historical process, whether progressive unfoldment of revelation or progressive development of disease treatment.

- Oppression - Religion - Science Knowledge

Fanaticism and Ridicule: Science and Religion

Currently, there are some who resist the reconceptualization of science and religion.  They fragment science and religion, and dismiss one for the other, claiming that only one or the other has led to humanity’s successes. How often is it that we hear religion caricatured as a superstition of idle fancy, or a hollow ritual of football-detracting compulsion. How often is it that we hear the thunder of ‘hail to science’ with the glorification of the latest cell phone mobile technology; and how often is it that we read of principle-compromising cover-ups of Church-father molestation scandals. If Thor ‘God of Lightning’ was real, one would think that we worshiped him as he flowed in our power cables.


A Mendelian punnet square emerges with fanaticism and ridicule on the Y axis and religion and science on the X (Figure 1). People often fall into habits of speaking fanatically about the exclusivity of science as a source of human betterment, or the monopoly that religion exercises over truth. Both are caricatures of reality, and neither adequately describes it. A discourse that ridicules religion as an empty ritual and a superstition for the ‘masses’, co-exists with a view in society that mocks science as a) a theoretical preoccupation of the disconnected elites, or b) a dangerous and heretical arrogance before the angry, angry Lord. The dichotomies of this punnet square are to be utterly and wholly discarded. The present discourse pays no attention to these ways of compartmentalizing our epistemic experience and collapses these dichotomies under the view: reality is one, knowledge of reality is multi-factorial, and ultimately represents only diverse views of a single entity.


We propose an alternate schema that reconclies these epistemic systems (Figure 2). We start with the understanding that reality is one (R1=S1). Science and religion are two systems of learning about it. Religion offers the Revealed Word of God and its authoritative interpreters (R2), and science offers the physical universe as an experience of facts and laws we can all observe (S2), as the first level of the two great systems. The interpretations and methods for justification of ethical commands in religion (R3) and the standards and justifications offered by the scientific method (S3) are the next level of knowledge offered by these two systems. Practical knowledge of daily spiritual disciplines as an individual and cultural norms of the collective within a community (R4), and technology and practical knowledge of scientific inquiry in application (S4), constitute the third layer and final of these two knowledge systems. They both intertwine to produce the harmony and betterment of the human condition and human society.

- Oppression - Prevailing Conceptions Development


Today’s vision of betterment is dogmatically materialistic.  The interpretation of reality that progress equals economic development, and that people’s happiness would only be the result of better health, food, education, living conditions, etc., has consolidated itself to become the deciding factor in the direction of society.  In the West, this relegated spirituality and religion to the realm of personal preference – each individual could hold whatever belief or relationship with transcendence that he wished, but society’s course would not be influenced.  (This fragmentation is already problematic in itself, independent of the content of what is being fragmented.)  Throughout the rest of the world, where the view that human nature is fundamentally spiritual is a common truth, the ideological imperialism of the West marginalized people’s deepest convictions – rather than challenged them directly.  Faith became impotent to direct society, something that it had done for millenia prior.

The field of development was rooted in these underlying materialistic assumptions and values.  Since the end of the World War II up to the present, global development efforts have been judged, by their own standards, a failure, often causing the opposite of their intended, well-intentioned, and idealistic goals – resulting in the widening of the gap between the rich and poor, the plunging into hopelessness of whole peoples, the desolation of vast geographic areas and ecosystems.  Economic activities, rather than knowledge, assume the central role of social existence; while knowledge is reduced to information, and is valuable insomuch as it can aid economic growth.

Even diverse worldwide economic systems, different in their approaches and methods, still nonetheless held the same underlying assumption.  Whether a state-controlled system, seeking to liberate the populous from struggle; or a system of competitism, invoking the “invisible hand” to create a prosperous society if each individual sought his own economic well-being; all yielded similar results: a host of personal and social pathologies, including anxieties, prejudice, apathy, breakdown of family life, ineffective educational systems, and consumer culture, just to start.

Economic growth is not the problem; it is essential, provided it is in the context of building a just and unified world civilization, having both a spiritual and material component.  Materialism’s error was in the arbitrary attempts to divorce humanity’s physical development from its spiritual development.  Both need to advance coherently.


History of the World, Part 1

In previous posts, we read about various fragmented and incoherent conceptions of the individual and her or his relationship to society.  We also looked at an example of the evolution of conceptions of the individual over a historical perspective.  The concept of the oneness of humanity, woven throughout our earlier posts, has helped illuminate our understanding about the nature of social relationships.  Drawing on the analogy of the human body has helped us avoid fragmented conceptions of social reality.  As we delve deeper into the metaphor, refine our understanding of the relationship between cells, tissues, organs, and systems of the human body, we behold a rich model materializing before us of how to avoid extremes of unfettered individualism and suffocating collectivism – a topic of heated contention in western political theory.

Oneness is our foundational principle, which we use as the context to understand our interconnected and collective life on the planet.  It is through the lens of this principle that we analyze and interpret human history.  The next few posts will provide a perspective of history that is consistent with a conception of global and temporal human oneness.

The first point we consider, is that all things are on a path, evolving and developing towards maturity.  This is true of plants obviously: the progression from seed to sapling to fruit-bearing tree. It is true of the human being: from embryo to infancy and childhood to youth and adulthood. And it is even applicable to a conception of society and the path of human civilization: from family to tribe, to city to nation-state, and to planetary civilization.  Each stage betokens requirements and characteristics, each stage expresses powers and limitations, each stage engenders conditions that the subsequent stage supersedes.  From stage to stage, new capacities are trained and awakened, new limitations wax and old ones wane, and novel challenges are confronted.  The progression is not linear, but rather goes through cycles, characterized by ebbs and flows of tragedies and triumphs, of crisis superseded by victory.

Discourse Human Nature

Questioning Fragmentation

The previous post’s mention of various views about human nature, incoherent and fragmented in and of themselves, are also incoherent and fragmented in their application towards different domains of life. One individual, as an example, who claims self-interested notions of human nature when discussing the economic life of humanity would not claim these same notions when considering family life; it would more likely be characterized as altruistic. A certain group might hold the belief of human nature as innately competitive when describing politics, for instance, but would think quite differently regarding their own friendship and community life.

Throughout all of history, human beings have demonstrated the capacity for selfishness and selflessness, for competition and cooperation, for malice and mutualism. In fact, these higher nature qualities have been responsible for most of the greatest accomplishments throughout history. In the midst of our current crisis of civilization, and given the profound reciprocal relationship between society and the individual, we would benefit well from re-examining the assumptions underlying social relationships and systems, and re-conceptulizing human nature, purpose, existence, and capacity. At a fundamental level, understandings of these foundational concepts actually form social reality. Let us be clear. What type of conceptual framework are we seeking to construct? A fragmented view or a coherent vision? What type of society are we aiming to create? One that bolsters our animalistic nature, or one that engenders our higher susceptibilities?

- Prevailing Conceptions Discourse

Caricatures of Human Nature

There are multiple models of human nature that have been claimed on various levels throughout the ages, and regardless of whether they are religiously or philosophically associated claims, social models employed by policy makers, rhetorical assertions used to group rationalize behavior, or popular opinions constructed for economic profits of advertisers, they are all highly fragmented conceptions – including such examples as materialism, that humans are sophisticated animals with the illusion of self-consciousness as a result of neurochemistry; hedonism, that human happiness is achieved through consumption and seeking pleasure; individualism, that humans are atomistic, relationships are a means to an end, and society is a mere aggregate of autonomous actors; and competitism, that humans are inherently conflictual and motivated by self-interest.

These caricatures of human reality are not just interesting to discuss, but have real social ramifications.  Their selective and exaggerated views have been reified in human consciousness and social structure, serving to normalize, justify, and encourage the associated patterns of behavior – often egoistic and harmful.  These behaviors, in turn, become models for social structures and institutions, which shape behaviors, and the result is a vicious self-reinforcing feedback cycle.

It’s true, fragmented conceptions of human nature did not originally create these behaviors, but started off simply describing them – after all, human beings did have selfish tendencies prior to Adam Smith.  The problem is when descriptive models of human nature are used for prescriptive purposes.  It is then that problematic models are reified, policies are built around them, self-interested behaviors are encouraged and normalized, and the flawed conception is reinforced.