I ASSERT that the patterns by which we and our ancestors for
the past several thousand years have lived have now failed us.
In my view, these patterns center in the lived assumption that "I already
know how things REALLY ARE"the perhaps unspoken, even unrecognized,
pretense to "absolute certainty", with a consequent unwillingness to re-examine
and revise "what I thought I knew." From that lived assumption follows a certain
quarrelsomeness: If I already know "how things really are", and you express
a view which differs from mine, I will find your PROVOCATIVE BEHAVIOR a THREAT
to my AUTHORITY. And if I cannot persuade, manipulate or coerce you to revise
what you say so it matches what I ALREADY KNOW, I may take steps to defend
my own TRUTHS by suppressing your mistaken OPINIONSor even may set out
to suppress YOU. And the means of suppressing you range from verbal put-downs
to fisticuffs, to murder, war, and genocide.
Today, we know how to use cosmic forces (such as nuclear fission and fusionA-bombs
and H-bombs) to defend our "absolute certainties". Under these conditions,
I assert, those lived assumptions which lead us to pretend to "absolute certainty"
have outlived their usefulness. To persist in relying on them will, I predict,lead
us into species suicide and extinction.
I DECLARE the possibility of intentionally revising our lived assumptions.
We can re-build these patterns we live by so that we live not from the practice
of defending our presumed "absolute certainties" (or from what I call self-defending),
but rather, from the practice of testing our own guesses (which I call self-correcting).
In other words, I declare that we humans now have it within our grasp to produce
a fundamental, principled, concious, and deliberate revision of the structure
of human social transacting. For example, we can build up social patterns
with which to replace our non-viable social institutions: the self-defeating
or self-eliminating aspects of our dealings with ourselves, and the self-defending
patterns in what we now call "nuclear family", "friendship", "social group",
"corperation", "local government", and "nation-state". We can come to recognize
our patterned dealings with the-human-species-as-a-whole. And, having built
up these newer, potentially viable patterns, we have it within our grasp to
replace the older, non-viable patterns with the newer ones.
I PROMISE to catalyze this revision of the fundamental lived assumptions of
the human species so that, by the year 2007, we have put the new patterns
into use planet-wide.
And I REQUEST your direct and immediate participation in this project.
C.A. Higartner, MD