Letter to President Obama
From a Bureaucratic to an Evolutionary Way of Life,Bernard Phillips and David Christner
HOW TO SAVE THE WORLD: From a Bureaucratic to an Evolutionary Way of Life Bernard Phillips and David Christner Preface Part I Extinction or Evolution? Chapter 1 Bureaucratic Problems Versus Human Possibilities: The Potential of Language and the Scientific Method The grocer and the chief. The bureaucratic way of life. The evolutionary way of life: language. The evolutionary way of life: language and the scientific method. Plan of the book Part II Extinction Chapter 2 "Head": Outward Perception and Thought Outward perception and thought. Self-image. Worldview. The scientific method. Chapter 3 "Heart": Emotional Repression Values, cultural values, institutions, culture (people-oriented cultural values, work-related cultural values). Emotional repression. Chapter 4 "Hand": Conforming Behavior The extraordinary language. Social organization. Conforming behavior. Institutions (the political institution, the economy, science, education, religion, the family). Part III Evolution Chapter 5 "Head": Inward-Outward Perception and Thought The scientific method. Language (consciousness of abstraction, dating and indexing, complexity of human behavior, reflexivity, the map is not the territory, urgent need for a null-a way of life). The East-West strategy (the Eastern strategy and the Western strategy, the East-West strategy: both East and West). Chapter 6 "Heart": Emotional Expression Reconstructing cultural values: beyond external conformity and group superiority. Individual evolution. Chapter 7 "Hand": Deep Action and Deep Interaction Negative thinking, cortical- thalamic pause, deep action and deep interaction (negative thinking, cortical-thalamic pause, deep action and deep interaction). Deep dialogue and deep democracy (deep dialogue, deep democracy). Part IV A Vision of the Future Chapter 8 Moving Toward an Evolutionary Worldview and Way of Life The East- West strategy revisited: from social science to social technology. The East-West strategy and institutional change (science, the economy, education, the political institution, religion, the family). Afterward Personal and Social Technologies. The East-West strategy for idealists. The East-West strategy for realists. Glossary References Preface C. Wright Mills--the sociologist whose The Sociological Imagination (1959) was the inspiration for this book that is appearing half a century later--stated that the failure of social scientists to confront our threatening social problems "is surely the greatest human default being committed by privileged men in our times." We would extend his conclusion to the failure of the rest of us to confront our most threatening problems. Ours appears to be the greatest human default being committed by the human race throughout its history. We have learned to point the finger of blame for our failures outward: at the President of the United States, at greedy tycoons of industry, at bureaucratic governmental officials, at terrorists using weapons of mass destruction, at our materialistic world, at criminals in our midst, at parents who do not do their job, at schools that fail to educate, at captains of industry who continue to pollute the environment, at religious fundamentalists who are intolerant of those with other beliefs, at scientists and their technologists who continue to create ever more deadly weapons, and at much more. Granting that there is some truth in all of these explanations, we side with what Walt Kelly's opossum Pogo said while looking at litter under a tree: "We have met the enemy and he is us." We must look inward no less than outward. We must take responsibility along with social scientists for unearthing, integrating and applying available knowledge to address our deepening problems. A great many of us are indeed confronting very limited problems, yet all the while we tend to look outward to those supposedly in positions of power to address the big problems. Granting that those in high office are in a position to put out many of the fires raging throughout the world, we believe that they are severely limited in their ability to penetrate the enormous complexity of human behavior as well as our escalating problems. And this is exactly where social scientists come in, for it is they who are responsible for the failure to integrate our knowledge of human behavior. And it is they who are in the best position to help us all make up for that lost ground. Yet it is up to the rest of us not only to encourage them to do this but also to take the lead where possible and demonstrate what we are able to do even without their help. It was right after World War II, even before the appearance of Mills' The Sociological Imagination, that a sociologist teaching at the University of Washington--George A. Lundberg--made a case for the indispensability of social science knowledge for confronting world problems: A leader, however admirable in ability and intentions, attempting to administer centrally a large society today is somewhat in the position of a pilot trying to fly the modern stratoliner without an instrument board or charts. That is to say, it cannot be a very smooth flight. If he succeeds at all, it will be at the expense of much wreckage of men and materials. Successful piloting depends directly upon the adequacy and accuracy of the instruments in the machine, the charts by which a course can be pursued or modified, and the training of the pilot to read both aright. Only as a result of the development of the basic physical sciences can a large modern airplane either be built or fl own. Only through a comparable development of the social sciences can a workable world order be either constructed or administered. The appalling thing is the flimsy and inadequate information on the basis of which even a conscientious executive of a large state is today obliged to act. It comes down, then, to this: Shall we put our faith in science or in something else? . . . If it is answered in the affirmative, then social research institutions will make their appearance, which will rank with Massachusetts and California Institutes of Technology, Mellon Institute, the research laboratories of Bell Telephone, General Electric and General Motors, not to mention several thousand others. . . . To be qualified to pull a tooth or remove an appendix, we require people to study systematically for seven or eight years beyond high school. To keep nations from flying at each other’s throats, any political hack will do. Human relations will improve when we undertake serious scientific study of how to improve them. In the meantime, we continue to rely on incantations, denunciations, exhortations, and exorcism exactly as our prescientific forefathers did regarding their physical maladjustments (1947/1961: 142-143, 77). Lundberg's plea for the social sciences made no impact in his time or up to the present time. He claimed, "We will probably become much sicker before we consent to take the only medicine which can help us." Since Lundberg wrote those words we have not only experienced many wars but also escalating acts of terrorism from small groups bent on mass murder. Having learned to worship physical and biological science and technology, we continue to fail to see the potential of social science for helping us with these threats. Mills made his own plea for a focus on social science a decade later, supplemented by his The Causes of World War III, but to no avail. And we are now making our plea. In our own view, we have no time to spare. Let us note that Lundberg's reference--to the "Massachusetts and California Institutes of Technology, Mellon Institute, the research laboratories of Bell Telephone, General Electric and General Motors, not to mention several thousand others"--is not a reference to physical science, but refers instead to physical technologists like engineers, for it is they who put basic scientific knowledge to work. Similarly, we believe that it will be social science technologists like those in fields like education, government, business, journalism, social work and psychotherapy--who have a crucial role to play in building on social science knowledge and, thus, learning how to shape the world of the future. Up to this point in time they have not been able to build on integrated knowledge of human behavior along with broad and systematic knowledge of the problems that they are addressing. They take for granted their present expertise, and people generally go along with them despite their fundamental limitations. We, however, see present-day social technologists as most limited, given the failure of social scientists to give them integrated knowledge that can penetrate the complexity of human problems. It is, in our view, a complexity that far exceeds the complexity to be found within physical and biological phenomena, given the interactive ability of the human being. Overall, our criticism of the present ability of those in all fields of knowledge centering on human behavior--and in all of our social technologies--runs very deep. How, then, can we possibly come up with a realistic direction for making progress on our escalating problems? Here, our optimistic view is supported by what we believe is a realistic view. What we must do is to examine our fundamental assumptions as to the nature of the world and ourselves. And it requires us to change those assumptions, for we believe that they point us not only toward the problems outlined above but also--more generally--toward nothing less than the extinction of the human race. Yet we can and must invent new assumptions, and we must make those assumptions the basis for our behavior as individuals and for the behavior of society as a whole. We must, then, begin to ask basic questions. Who are we? What is our potential as human beings? What barriers have we erected that keep us from fulfilling that potential? These questions must be asked by those within every one of our institutions: science, education, the economic and political institutions, religion and the family. And our answers must take into account the integrated knowledge of human behavior that we expect will emerge as more and more of us work toward it. We hope that the pages to follow will open for the reader a door leading to questioning his or her fundamental assumptions about self and world and also to considering alternative assumptions that promise to confront personal and world problems effectively. The alternative assumptions that have guided our efforts point toward the integration of knowledge by using a very broad approach to the scientific method. We are following the scientific ideal of opening up to all phenomena that are relevant to any given problem. Such a scientific approach must be interdisciplinary if it is to penetrate the enormous complexity of human behavior. It is a problem-centered approach that can be adopted by each one of us in our everyday lives, within each of our institutions, and in society as a whole, following the problem-centered approach of the scientific method. It is a method that we all are already using to a limited extent, for we do focus on problems and on efforts to solve them in our everyday lives. What is lacking and what we believe will become ever more available to all of us--as well as to professional scientists who presently blind themselves from a broad approach to knowledge--is integrated knowledge from social science. That conviction derives from work that we and others have been doing since the beginning of this century to integrate social science knowledge and to illustrate the implications of that work for addressing a range of problems. Our work has taken place within the context of a group that we and others have formed, the sociological imagination group, that has held annual meetings since 2000. The present book is the seventh book that has been published within this context since that time, and it builds on what we have learned from those earlier publications. Their titles illustrate what we have been up to: Beyond Sociology's Tower of Babel: Reconstructing the Scientific Method (2001); Toward a Sociological Imagination: Bridging Specialized Fields (2002); The Invisible Crisis of Contemporary Society: Reconstructing Sociology's Fundamental Assumptions (2007); Understanding Terrorism: Building on the Sociological Imagination (2007); Armageddon or Evolution? The Scientific Method and Escalating World Problems (2009); and Bureaucratic Culture and Escalating World Problems: Advancing the Sociological Imagination (2009). In addition to our reliance on the analyses in these books, each of them is in turn built on a wide range of knowledge throughout the social sciences that has proved to be absolutely essential. This book differs substantially from these other published books in two ways, granting that it makes use of their findings. One difference is its usage of what Alvin Gouldner has called the "extraordinary language" of social science, namely, key concepts linked together systematically that are selected from the basic theories within the social sciences, paralleling the technical concepts developed within physical and biological science. Human behavior is substantially more complex than physical and biological phenomena, and technical concepts from social science are absolutely indispensable to help us penetrate that complexity. The books cited above do indeed emphasize use of this extraordinary language, but the present book develops that language along with examples of how it can be used to a much greater extent. For example, Figures 2-1, 3-1, 4-1 and 5-1 present that language one step at a time. As a result, we believe that the reader is in a good position to learn how to make use of that language--and, thus, make use of the bits and pieces of social science knowledge--in confronting personal and world problems. Such an approach is nothing less than learning the nature of a scientific method along with a system of ideas that one can use in everyday life to penetrate the complexity of human behavior. A second difference between this book and those cited above is its greater focus on social technology. That is a focus elaborated in our final chapter. Beyond an understanding of the nature of problems with the aid of the extraordinary language, we also require a specific direction for making progress on those problems. Just as we have argued above, social science requires effective social technologies. All of our institutions are indeed social technologies, yet we submit that generally they have failed us, just as social scientists have failed us, to confront our problems effectively. Yet this is the past and not the future, for we can no longer afford a continuation of those failures. We do not claim that the social technologies introduced here are more than a beginning of movement toward increasingly effective social technologies. Neither do we claim that we authors somehow have mastered the technologies introduced here. Rather, we will be students of them along with those readers who become committed to testing their effectiveness. But we do claim that we have a direction for moving from that past to what we optimistically see as our future. Ralph Waldo Emerson claimed: "If a man write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbor, tho' he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door," a statement we have quoted in Chapters 4 and 8. Of course, there are other factors involved in such an achievement, like the man's long-term and deep commitment to his efforts along with his ability to communicate to the world the effectiveness of his resulting achievement. Given these additions, we believe that Emerson was correct. Yet this is far easier for engineers and physicians than for teachers and other social technologists, given the complexity of social and personal problems. For example, if social technologists are to become truly effective in helping to solve the problems of others, they must learn to apply their tools to their own personal problems to good effect. Following Emerson, their "better mousetrap" must be themselves as well as the tools that they offer to others. Given the emphasis on emotional repression throughout Eastern and Western society--as we argue in this book--any effort to develop ourselves as "a better mousetrap" goes against the grain of our fundamental assumptions. It appears to require not only Herculean efforts to change those assumptions but also a clear view of alternative assumptions and how to move toward them. What we must do in order to become that better mousetrap is to learn to follow the biblical injunction, "Physician, heal thyself." We believe that a better book will be written or a better sermon will be preached only by someone who is on a path to becoming a better mousetrap, given the enormous power and reach of our present assumptions, and given the humongous complexity of human behavior. The introductory part of this book has the title, "Extinction or Evolution?" In our view, the backs of the human race are up against the wall at this time in history. Yet if indeed we can learn to continue to develop intellectually, emotionally, and in the effectiveness of our actions--paralleling the assumption behind the scientific method that there is no limit to the development of knowledge--then we should be able to solve our problems at some point no matter how difficult they are. However, we should also take into account that we may have no more than a limited time to do so, given what we see as the escalation of problems that threaten our very survival. We are, then, realistic as well as optimistic. Yet awareness of a problem and commitment to solving it is the first and most important step of the scientific method. If we do succeed in convincing readers to take that step--whether or not our own remedies are taken seriously--then our efforts will have proved to be worthwhile. Thornton Wilder's play, "The Skin of Our Teeth," reviews the many narrow escapes we humans have adopted throughout history. We believe that as yet we have learned to employ our powerful tools of language and the scientific method only to a very limited extent. In order to move from that first step of the scientific method to a next step where we learn to gain deep insight into the nature of our problems, and then into a technological step where we learn to make progress on them, we require a vision of a way of life within which those problems will be resolved. We have put forward our own vision in these pages, granting that it is no more than a sketch. If that vision proves to be inadequate, then some other vision is required. If readers succeed in taking that first step of the scientific method, and if they succeed in developing such a vision, then we believe that they will also succeed in taking that second and third step. We would like to acknowledge the important contributions of J. David Knottnerus to our basic ideas, especially his understanding of the concepts of ritual and social ritual. We also thank him for his timely reactions to each of our chapters despite a demanding schedule. We also wish to thank Harold Kincaid, Thomas J. Scheff and Louis C. Johnston, whose efforts were essential for the origin and development of the sociological imagination group and who helped to shape our approach to the scientific method. This manuscript never would have seen the light of day without the continuing encouragement of Dean Birkenkamp, publisher of Paradigm. And we thank Louis Kontos and Christian Flores-Carignan, whose critical insights proved to be most useful. We are also grateful to those individuals who have given us their reactions to part of the manuscript and thus helped us to move outside of our own blinders: Hans Bakker, Stuart Bennett, Robert W. Fuller, John de Graaf, Douglas Hartmann, D. Paul Johnson, Vince Montes, Richard Moody, Hilarie Roseman, Thomas J. Scheff, Sandro Segre, Irwin Sperber, David Stearns and Emek Tanay. Afterward: Personal and Social Technologies Looking back over these eight chapters, it appears that we have indeed portrayed an image of a possible future for the individual as well as the world. And we have also sketched a general strategy for moving toward that future and illustrated how that strategy might be put to work. That East-West strategy for solving problems requires lowering our aspirations in the short run so as to narrow our aspirations-fulfillment gap. That is coupled with a very broad approach to the scientific method enabling us to continue to raise both aspirations and our ability to fulfill them in the long run with no limit as to how far we can go. It is a strategy that makes use of our most powerful tools, language and the scientific method, to go beyond what we have already achieved. It is a strategy that builds on the hard-won bits and pieces of social science knowledge, using the extraordinary language of social science to move toward unearthing them from their burial vaults in libraries and integrating them. It is a strategy that calls on us to learn to see the glass as both half empty and half full. Yet our focus throughout the book has been on the latter part of the East-West strategy rather than on the former part: raising our aspirations and their fulfillment rather than lowering those aspirations so as to narrow the aspirations-fulfillment gap. Our approach has emphasized a Western strategy and not an East-West strategy, as illustrated by our analysis of institutions in Chapter 8. Within the institution of science we have called for "books written by individuals who are learning to use the East-West strategy in their everyday lives." In the economic institution we have looked to "an enormous expansion of our economy in the direction of fulfilling our people-oriented values" as well as "productivity that continues to increase." As for the institution of education, we have pointed toward "a problem-based emphasis" that "would link those applied or technological fields"--like engineering, medicine, education, business, journalism and mass communications, social work, library science and law--"with the fields emphasizing basic knowledge, such as the liberal arts and sciences." Within the political institution we call for deep dialogue and deep democracy in that institution as a model for all institutions, involving a decline in what Robert W. Fuller has labeled as "rankism" in everyday life (in Chapter 6). Concerning the institution of religion, our focus has been on using the extraordinary language of social science to locate the values shared by all religions, with that as a basis for doing away with religious-based violence. And with respect to the family, our focus has been on "individual development as well as social development," thus calling for an emphasis on the evolution of the individual with respect to "head," "heart" and "hand" as a basis for increasing intimacy and closer relationships. We have emphasized seeing the glass as half full and not seeing it as both half empty and half full. Let us not forget that we foreshadowed these incredibly high aspirations in our introduction to Part I of this book. It was there--paralleling Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech at the Civil Rights March in Washington in 1963--that we put forward our own Bali Ha'i, our own special island, our own vision of the future. Among other things, we dreamed that "one day we will see peace on earth and fellowship among all human beings," that "one day we will be able to bring to the surface and reduce our stratified emotions like fear, shame, guilt, hate, envy and greed, and we will learn to express ever more our evolutionary emotions like confidence, enthusiasm, happiness, joy, love and empathy," and that "one day we all will learn to be poets, philosophers and scientists." Given our lack of emphasis throughout this book on the very concrete and increasingly threatening problems that we are confronted with at this time--but rather on our image of the future--we can easily understand a reaction among readers that we have described a utopia that can never become reality. How can our overall argument be credible if we ourselves have violated the very technologies that we have emphasized by focusing on a Western rather than an East-West strategy? How can we give others advice that we ourselves do not take? The bible tells us, "Physician, heal thyself," yet we have proceeded to ignore that injunction. And if authors cannot themselves heed their own ideas, how can they expect others to follow their lead? Of course, what we have done is shared throughout the world, given our bureaucratic worldview. We have emphasized looking outward versus both inward and outward. We have repressed awareness of our one-sided behavior. And the result has been substantial conformity to that worldview with respect to our actions. We stand guilty of failing to heal ourselves. Like Walt Kelly's Pogo, we have met the enemy, and he is us. Yet it was a failure of social technology more than a failure of social science, for we remain convinced that these pages do in fact put forward a direction for a breakthrough in social science. It is a breakthrough that was foreshadowed by the Enlightenment dream of a society based on reason, to which we have added the importance of the "heart" no less than the "head" and the "hand." It was also foreshadowed by the efforts of C. Wright Mills and Alvin W. Gouldner (discussed in Chapter 1), and of a great many others as well. And we have much to learn from our failure to apply the social technology that we have emphasized to ourselves. For one thing, it alerts us to the enormous power of our bureaucratic worldview to shape our very thoughts, feelings and actions. Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)--as discussed in Chapter 5--suggested the enormity of the problem of changing from one scientific paradigm to another. It appears to be far more difficult to change from one cultural paradigm to another. However, there is a great deal that we can do now, given our awareness of our failure to emphasize personal and social technologies for evolution. Just as physical and biological technologies like engineering and medicine employed the scientific method to build on the achievements of physical and biological science, so can we now employ the East-West strategy to focus on personal and social technologies that build on our integration of social science knowledge within the foregoing pages. We shall begin with a section centering on the general strategy that we shall adopt. That strategy will link our own approach to the Western history of philosophy along with orientations from Eastern religions. It will invoke the importance of changing not only situational behavior but also personality and social structures. And it will be oriented to making use of the potentials of language, including the extraordinary language of social science. We shall then proceed to a section on a very brief history of the universe. That history is vital, given our overall focus on individual evolution. Finally, we shall take up specific tactics based on our strategy for individual evolution. That section will focus on concrete examples for different kinds of situations. As a result, we can succeed in opening the door to learning to use technologies for individual evolution. Technology for Individual Evolution: Strategy Our overall strategy is the East-West strategy--with its focus on language and the scientific method--discussed primarily in chapters 5 and 8. It is a strategy based on accepting the idea that we are already deeply committed to employing a bureaucratic worldview and leading a bureaucratic way of life, granting that we would reject this idea because it conflicts with fundamental cultural values like equality and the ultimate worth of the individual. Yet the acceptance of our present commitment to that worldview, given the breadth and power of a worldview, makes it possible to apply a broad scientific method to all of our behavior. For the first and most important step of that method is awareness of and commitment to a problem. Since that worldview structures a large and increasing aspirations-fulfillment gap within the individual and society, that initial problem becomes one of narrowing the gap, following the Eastern element of the East-West strategy. Since we have sketched an alternative worldview or cultural paradigm that promises to resolve the problem of the large gap, we can learn to move toward that alternative one step at a time, applying the argument that Thomas Kuhn used for scientific revolutions to the problem of achieving a cultural revolution. That alternative paradigm is an evolutionary one, calling for using that broad scientific method to continue to raise both aspirations and achievements, keeping the gap between them quite limited. That East-West strategy--by contrast with our emphasis in this book on a Western strategy--orients us to focus on what we can achieve in any given momentary situation. We can learn to look to our very small victories with respect to inward-outward perception and thought, emotional expression, and interaction. Yet at the same time we can come to link those victories with our images of the future, so long as we do not aspire to move beyond those small achievements until we are ready to do so. In this way we can learn to link an Eastern strategy with a Western strategy, for we will focus on the small successes that are within the reach of all of us while not abandoning our evolutionary vision. For that vision will be utopian only if we ignore what we do within any given momentary scene, and it will become a realistic guide for us once we learn to link it to what we do in everyday life. This is not a question of first using an Eastern strategy and then following it with a Western strategy. Rather, it is a strategy that makes simultaneous use of an Eastern and a Western orientation: it is an East-West strategy. This approach is similar to that described by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay, "Nature" (1836/2000)--especially in the section on language--given his focus on using metaphors based on our everyday experiences to shuttle far up language's ladder of linguistic abstraction. We might use Emerson's words in that essay to help us understand just how we might proceed to use the East-West strategy--and neither the Eastern nor the Western approach--within our everyday lives, taking into account the role of the extraordinary language developed throughout Figures 2-1, 3-1, 4-1 and 5-1. And by so doing we might be able to clarify the nature of an evolutionary worldview and way of life. For we see that way of life not as "somewhere over the rainbow," as Dorothy sings in "The Wizard of Oz," but rather as a concrete direction that anyone and everyone might adopt as they proceed with the mundane tasks we all have in our everyday lives. Emerson experienced many tragedies in his personal life, analogous to the problems linked to the disasters the human race has experienced throughout the 20th century as well as the beginning of the 21st century. Yet his pendulum of the scientific method, which we believe that he was implicitly using, gained momentum from his personal problems, as illustrated by his view of the human being's infinite potential along with the infinite potential of language: Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour and is not reminded of the flux of all things? Throw a stone into the stream, and the circles that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence. . . .It is easily seen that there is nothing lucky or capricious in these analogies, but that they are constant, and pervade nature. These are not the dreams of a few poets, here and there, but man is an analogist, and studies relations in all objects. . .All the facts in natural history taken by themselves, have no value, but are barren, like a single sex. But marry it to human history, and it is full of life. Whole floras, all Linnaeus', and Buffon's volumes, are dry cagalogues of facts; but the most trivial of these facts, the habit of a plant, the organs, or work, or noise of an insect, applied to the illustration of a fact in intellectual philosophy, or in any way associated to human nature, affects us in the most lively and agreeable manner. . . . The moment our discourse rises above the ground line of familiar facts and is inflamed with passion or exalted by thought, it clothes itself in images. A man conversing in earnest, if he watch his intellectual processes, will find that a material image more or less luminous arises in his mind, contemporaneous with every thought, which furnishes the vestment of the thought. Hence, good writing and brilliant discourse are perpetual allegories. This imagery is spontaneous. It is the blending of experience with the present action of the mind. It is creation (1836/2000: 14-16). Emerson saw the possibility of individual evolution, just as we have indicated in our own "evolutionary manifesto" (in Chapter 1) that "one day we all will learn to be poets, philosophers and scientists." For we can learn to tie our concrete experiences, like observing "the habit of a plant" or "the noise of an insect," to meaningful human ideas. For example, just as those experiences illustrate the interactions of plants and animals, so might we see them as steps on a long evolutionary journey toward the human being's interactive abilities based on language, abilities that are by far the greatest throughout the entire known universe. This metaphorical, figurative or poetic use of language is an approach within everyone's grasp, granting that our bureaucratic worldview teaches us to see it as the sole domain of poets, writers, dramatists and filmmakers. Yet it is central to employing the East-West strategy from one moment to the next in one's everyday life. For it enables us to move very far up language's ladder of abstraction, even to the level of our worldview. And it also enables us to move very far down that ladder to our sensory experiences. Social science had hardly begun to be developed in Emerson's day, and he was unable to link the broad scientific method discussed in these pages to his vision of the individual using linguistic analogies. Thus, he could not tie concrete personal experiences to the extraordinary language of social science. Yet at this time in history we are able to build on his understanding of the metaphorical potential of language as applied to that extraordinary language. For example, when we observe a plant or an insect and link that observation to our own interactive abilities, we are illustrating inward-outward perception and thought (by contrast with outward perception and thought), which is fundamental to an evolutionary worldview. When we see that this momentary analogy is actually taking us on an evolutionary path toward confronting personal and world problems--a path that anyone and everyone can take--we might well become "inflamed with passion" as a result of that accomplishment, thus moving toward emotional expression (by contrast with emotional repression). And when we see the widening circles that result from throwing a pebble into a stream as illustrating the breadth of human influence, we can be encouraged to shout out our discovery for the whole world to hear, thus illustrating social interaction (by contrast with conforming behavior). Such movement from a bureaucratic toward an evolutionary worldview follows the East-West strategy as focused, for example, on the problem of our wide and widening aspirations-fulfillment gap. By paying attention to our momentary sensory experiences in everyday life, we are lowering our aspirations so as to focus on the specific problems that we are encountering in our concrete situation, such as conversing with a friend or crossing a street. Yet by learning--one step at a time--to see those experiences as illustrating the extraordinary language, we can also learn to raise both aspirations and achievements in an evolutionary direction. For example, we might employ a broad scientific method to help us not only to have a conversation but also to move toward deep interaction and deep dialogue (as discussed in Chapter 7). And we might also employ that same scientific method to help us not only to cross the street but also to make full use of deep action in doing so. And we might learn to see our behavior as not only yielding situational changes pointing toward an evolutionary way of life. For we might also learn to see those situational changes as the beginning of structural changes, such as changes in our beliefs and assumptions, our values, our rituals, our self-image, and our worldview. It is in that way that we can build on Thomas Kuhn's insights in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, adding social technology to social science. For we can learn to fulfill the promise of our alternative cultural paradigm by changing not only our situational behavior but also our personality and social structures, thus moving toward fulfilling our biological potential as human beings. Our East-West strategy is by no means a completely new idea, for its ancestry within the history of ideas dates back to the philosophy of pragmatism, as described by Abraham Kaplan in Chapter 5. Kaplan locates pragmatism within the Western history of philosophy in this passage: If we now ask, "What is the task for twentieth-century philosophy in the Western world?" . . .it is to assimilate the impact of science on human affairs. . . .The history of modern philosophy is, for pragmatism, a history of successive attempts to cope with this problem. . .On one side we have science and technology, on the other side, religion, morals, politics, and art. The tradition of realism and empiricism--from John Locke and David Hume to Bertrand Russell--has turned largely in the direction of science, and has provided for human values no more solid foundation than a subjective emotional involvement. The idealist tradition--represented most influentially by Hegel and the conventional religionists--may do justice to human aspiration but cannot give any intelligible account of science and scientific method consistent with its own presuppositions. Other philosophies--like those of Descartes, Immanuel Kant, and contemporary neo-orthodoxy--try to resolve the dilemma simply by accepting it, thinking to settle the conflict between science and religion, between rational good sense and emotional sensibility, by assigning to each its own domain within which its sovereignty is to be undisputed. Pragmatism cannot rest content with either of the one-sided philosophies, which simply ignore the problem, nor yet with any dualistic philosophy, which mistakes a formulation of the problem for its solution. As against the scientific philosophies of our time, the pragmatist is determined to restore man to the position of centrality which is rightfully his. . .As against the several idealisms, the pragmatist insists on the realities of conditions and consequences, causes and effects, in which ideals must be grounded if they are to have any impact on human life. And as against the philosophies which compartmentalize experience, the pragmatist argues that man cannot live divided against himself, affirming in the name of religion or morality what he must deny in the name of science. By circumscribing for each its own sphere of influence, we do not forestall conflict but only mark out the battle lines (1961: 16-17). Kaplan describes here a philosophical framework for a scientific method broad enough to include idealism no less than realism. Pragmatism's realistic orientation is similar to our own Eastern orientation to lower aspirations so as to narrow our aspirations-fulfillment gap. And pragmatism's idealistic orientation is similar to our own Western orientation to continue to raise aspirations, Further, pragmatism is not a dualistic philosophy, as are the philosophies of Renee Descartes and Immanuel Kant, where idealism and realism are each assigned to its own domain. Rather, pragmatism seeks to integrate realism and idealism. This parallels our own efforts to link an Eastern with a Western orientation so as to emerge with an East-West strategy for solving problems. Thus, the East-West strategy draws from the traditions of realism and idealism within the history of Western philosophy, and it also draws from dualistic Western philosophy with its focus on the importance of both realism and idealism. In addition to seeing the roots of the East-West strategy within the history of Western philosophy, we can also see its roots within the history of Eastern religion. We have emphasized the Eastern realism of Buddha as part of an East-West strategy, yet we would do well to add to that the Eastern realism of Confucius. But Eastern religion is by no means limited to realism, just as Western philosophy is not limited to idealism. For we also have the idealistic Eastern thought of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu as embodied in Taoism, just as we have the realistic Western thought of Aristotle, Locke, Hume and Marx. Apparently, both Eastern and Western thought are too complex for any one-sided stereotype that views Eastern thought as realistic and Western thought as idealistic, granting that there is indeed that emphasis. There are also minor keys that accompany the major keys. And this combination of a major and a minor key also occurs within any given body of thought and within any individual. The realist is not without ideals, and the idealist is not without realism, just as our own idealistic emphasis in this book was not without a good deal of realism. Yet we believe, following our pragmatist orientation, that we idealists would do well to learn to be more realistic, and realists would do well to learn to be more idealistic. That, indeed, is what the East-West strategy points toward. It is that strategy, with its use of the extraordinary language of social science, that points away from our focus on the dichotomous potential of language to the neglect of language's gradational and metaphorical potentials. For it is that dichotomous emphasis that has encouraged our simplistic split between realism and idealism, where we must choose between one or the other. This neglects a gradational orientation--as illustrated by the pendulum metaphor for the scientific method--where we can develop ever more idealism and ever more realism. It is that gradational orientation that can also help us to move far up language's ladder of abstraction so that we can uncover our fundamental assumptions or worldview, discover contradictions there, and move toward an alternative worldview. And that dichotomous orientation also neglects language's metaphorical potential, as is well illustrated by Ralph Waldo Emerson. For it is that potential that can help us to move from social science to personal and social technologies. We can learn to become poets in one scene after another, thus creating new personality and social structures as a result. Without such structural changes, we might continue to think about, talk about and write about moving from a bureaucratic to an evolutionary worldview and an evolutionary way of life. Yet we will be sharply limited in just how far we can follow that path, for the basic structures of our way of life will remain in place. President George Bush senior, father of President George W. Bush--responding to the suggestion that he turn his attention from short-term campaign objectives to look at the longer term--responded: "Oh, the vision thing," Given our bureaucratic worldview, he is certainly not alone in failing to give serious attention to the future. It was Fred Polak, a Dutch sociologist--briefly cited in Chapter 1--who saw the image of the future as potentially the most powerful force for actually creating the future. Phillips and a colleague examined his approach in The Invisible Crisis of Contemporary Society, with the presentation of studies by Lawrence Bush that built on Polak's book (Phillips and Johnston, 2007: 201, 212-218; Polak, 1973). It is our hope that the vision we have put forward in this book has the potential that Polak saw in images of the future. Given our current pressing problems, what we need most at this time in history is the optimism that is so closely linked to idealism. We saw that need demonstrated by millions of people during the American primary elections of 2008. We also saw that need expressed during the election that followed. We hope that our book will add credibility to the worldwide hope for the future that has accompanied those elections. At this time in history of fundamental and highly threatening worldwide problems, perhaps it is a sense of optimism that we all need more than anything else. Our aim has been to help provide an optimism or idealism that does not quickly fade but rather is long-lasting because it is based on realism Polak ended his own book, The Image of the Future (1961) with words that call for all of us to take responsibility for the future of society. We see our own image of the future as our Bali Ha'i, our special island, that also calls for such broad responsibility. In our view this vision is more than a dream: it is a direction that we can actually move toward one day at a time, one hour at a time, one situation at a time. Yet, as Polak suggests in the following passage--granting that our own special island might prove deficient--we all have a responsibility not only to create an image of the future that promises progress on our problems, but also to move toward our visions: Everyman, look to the harvest! It is the layman's responsibility to be aware of his own aspirations and those of the group to which he belongs. It is for him to choose the vision he will follow and to take responsibility for carrying it out. . . .No man or woman is exempt from taking up the challenge. social scientist, intellectual, artist, leader, middleman of any breed, and the Common Man (and Woman) to whom, after all, this century belongs--each must ask himself, what is my vision of the future? And what am I doing about it? . . .Man has the capacity to dream finer dreams than he has ever succeeded in dreaming. He has the capacity to build a finer society than he has ever succeeded in building. . .Here lies the real challenge! There are among us even now dreamers and builders ready to repeat the age-old process of splitting the atom of time, to release the Western world from its too-long imprisonment in the present. Then man will once again be free to "seek the city which is to come" (1973: 305). A Very Brief History of the Universe Given our interest in individual evolution, it is most useful to look far back at where we have come from in order to understand both where we are and where we might go. We began to do this in the introduction to Part One, where we described our physical universe as an interactive one. All phenomena interact with one another directly or indirectly, with there existing no such thing as a perfect vacuum. And we described the fourteen billion years of the history of the universe as yielding phenomena with increasing abilities to interact with other phenomena. In the glossary we defined physical structures as persisting systems of elements that interact to a relatively small extent with their environments. By contrast, we defined biological structures as organisms or elements of organisms that interact to a relatively great extent with their environments. And we saw the human being as the most interactive creature throughout the known universe. Overall, we see five fundamental stages in the history of the universe if our concern is to move away from our escalating problems and toward the evolution of the individual and society: (1) the development of the physical universe, (2) the origin and evolution of life on the planet Earth, (3) the origin and history of homo sapiens, (4) the continuing scientific and technological revolutions from the 16th century onward, and (5) the future change from a bureaucratic to an evolutionary way of life based on social science knowledge. We might note that out of all that has occurred throughout history since the appearance of human beings, we single out the development of biophysical and social science as the two most fundamental developments. By so doing, we go along with Abraham Kapan's vision of the aims of the philosophy of pragmatism (as well as the central task for Western philosophy): "to assimilate the impact of science on human affairs." For it has been biophysical science that has succeeded in shaping the world over the past five centuries. And we believe that it will be social science that will shape the world to a great extent--assuming that the human race manages to survive--in the future. As for (1) the development of the physical universe, we leave open the question of its origin prior to the big bang fourteen billion years ago, since science has as yet shed little light on that question. Given the origin of the universe, from our own perspective it is its interactive nature that is its most basic characteristic. What physicists call "fundamental interaction" is "the effect of any of the four fundamental forces--gravitational, electromagnetic, strong, and weak. All known natural forces can be traced to these fundamental interactions" (Pappas, 2002: 706). After the big bang with its extraordinary interaction and release of energy, the universe as a whole has been expanding, and its entropy--or its disorder or chaos--has been increasing. This follows the 2nd law of thermodynamics that in such a situation--of uncontrolled expansion of a gas into a vacuum--entropy approaches a maximum. But it is not the case that energy is being destroyed, following the first law of thermodynamics that energy can neither be created nor destroyed as it is being transferred from one form to another. Rather, the increasing entropy means that the ability to recapture energy becomes less and less. And that increasing entropy, coupled with the laws of thermodynamics and patterns of "fundamental interaction," helps to explain for physicists the details of the origin of the galaxies along with our own planet. Yet despite increasing entropy as the overall situation of the universe, (2) the origin of life illustrates infinitesimally small pockets of "negentropy," where disorder does not increase throughout the lifetime of organisms. Not only do organisms continue in this negentropic direction but they also interact with elements of their environment to a greater extent than nonliving phenomena, as indicated in our definitions of biological and physical structures in the glossary. The phenomenon of biological evolution illustrates the importance of such rapid interaction. For it is the ability of organisms to interact rapidly with their environments that enables them to adapt to the requirements of their environments. And this in turn determines whether or not a given species is able to survive, by contrast with other species, illustrating the process of "natural selection." With (3) the origin of homo sapiens some 250,000 years ago, we also have the origin of complex languages, enabling us humans to learn from our own past experiences as well as from others. As a result, language has helped to make the human being the most interactive creature throughout the known universe. Yet it has been language's dichotomous potential rather than its gradational or metaphorical potentials that has been developed throughout human history. Every word we use in everyday life divides the world in two: what the word refers to, on the one hand, and everything else, on the other hand. Of course, we can think about and discuss matters of degree, and we can also make use of metaphorical or figurative language. Yet it is dichotomy that we emphasize to an overwhelming extent. Even physical scientists who emphasize numbers or gradation within their profession do not continue with that emphasis in their everyday lives. And much the same is the case for poets, who emphasize figurative language in their profession but do not continue with that emphasis in their everyday lives. This simplistic dichotomous orientation was tied to a simplistic worldview or metaphysical stance that sharply limits our understanding of the interaction among phenomena, including human beings: what we have called a bureaucratic worldview. The result is behavior that limits language's infinite potential for enabling human beings to continue to increase their interaction with all phenomena, as would be the case for an evolutionary worldview. As for (4) our continuing scientific and technological revolutions, this limited usage of language's potentials linked to a bureaucratic worldview has stood in the way of understanding truly complex phenomena like human behavior and human problems. The development of written language--coupled with other developments, such as the invention of the printing press, the renaissance of learning linked to the opening up of knowledge from ancient Greece and Rome, and the development of universities--initiated those revolutions in the 16th century. They were based on making use of written language to interact with and take into account knowledge from the past. The scientific method that became the basis for those revolutions was, then, a method in which scientists and technologists learned to "stand on the shoulders" of those who had gone before. Yet those revolutions along with the scientific method that developed were centered on biophysical science and its technologies rather than social science, given the complexity of the latter. Some development of social science knowledge was still possible with that limited approach to language and within a bureaucratic worldview. However, that worldview has sharply limited the ability of social scientists to integrate their knowledge, an integration that is essential for penetrating the complexity of human behavior. In order to achieve (5) the future change from a bureaucratic to an evolutionary way of life based on social science knowledge, it is essential to move gradationally up language's ladder of abstraction to the level of the nature of the scientific method that is being used by social scientists. This has to do with what philosophers label "epistemology," or procedures for learning the nature of reality. And even further movement up that ladder of linguistic abstraction is required if the limitations of a bureaucratic worldview are to be uncovered. Given the dichotomous emphasis of social scientists--based on a bureaucratic worldview--such gradational movement up language's ladder of abstraction has been severely limited. Yet just as biophysical scientists have emphasized language's gradational capacities, so can social scientists focus on language that gives attention to language's gradational capacities that matches their attention to its dichotomous capacities. Yet another barrier to movement toward (5) on the part of social scientists has been their failure to make use of language's metaphorical potential. Language's metaphorical potential must be pursued if indeed we are to understand how changed situational behavior can yield, over time, changes in personality and social structures. Here we are following Emerson's understanding of the human being's potential to see any and every situation metaphorically. Thus, metaphors can point away from a simplistic bureaucratic worldview based on dichotomy and toward an evolutionary worldview based on dichotomy, gradation, and metaphor. It is the pursuit of all three of language's potentials that enables us to move from (4) to (5), a change from a bureaucratic to an evolutionary way of life. It should be no surprise that it is our present emphasis on dichotomous language that is so deeply involved in the genesis of escalating problems throughout the world, problems that we humans have created. For it is language that is our most powerful tool for solving problems. It is language that has enabled us to become the most interactive creature throughout the known universe. And it is language that is the basis for the development of human culture and patterns of social organization. Yet it is also our limited usage of language's potentials that has yielded a world with increasingly deadly weapons of mass destruction, yet a world without the understanding needed to prevent the development of those weapons or their use. To understand (5) more clearly, we might contrast our own way of life that emphasized dichotomous language with a way of life where people are learning to use the extraordinary language of social science in their everyday lives. With respect to perception and thought ("head"), they would be achieving an inward-outward orientation that would help them to assess their own impact on any given situation. More generally, they would learn to see themselves--based on their self-images--as having the potential to continue to develop intellectually, emotionally, and in the effectiveness of their actions with no limit to how far they might go. As for their emotions ("heart"), they would continue to develop their motivation or "energy"--analogous to moving in a negentropic direction--by learning to uncover repressed feelings and eliminate emotional conflicts that have been holding them back. That increased energy could then be employed in ever more effective actions and interactions for solving problems ("hand"). Yet this very brief history of the universe coupled with the foregoing strategy for individual evolution must be supplemented by illustrations of more specific or concrete tactics. Given the enormous complexity of human behavior and the difficulty of changing cultural paradigms, we all could make good use of hundreds of such examples. Yet we will have to make do with a limited number in the remainder of this Afterward. For this purpose we shall focus on examples taken from Phillips' personal experiences and written in the first person, with no implication that he has proceeded very far in these efforts. What he and the rest of us require are repeated behavior in one scene after another if we are to alter our personality and social structures. As the saying goes, one swallow does not make a summer. Technology for Individual Evolution: Tactics The key to learning to move from a bureaucratic to an evolutionary worldview and way of life is learning to use the extraordinary language of social science within one's everyday life. We have portrayed key concepts from that language--as we see it--in Figures 2-1, 3-1, 4-1 and 5-1, but additional concepts from that language can be found in the glossary. One key to our selection of concepts from the many hundreds that have been used throughout social science has been choosing those that can easily be linked systematically to one another. As a result, using any one of those concepts can invoke awareness of how the rest of them contribute to an understanding of any given phenomenon or situation. By contrast, the present situation of social science presents us with hundreds of concepts that bear little systematic relations to one another. This ability to integrate concepts is based on our ability to move far up language's ladder of abstraction so as to reach our metaphysical stance or worldview, and by shifting from a bureaucratic to an evolutionary worldview. Visually, we might contrast Figure 1-2 (The Bureaucratic Way of Life) with Figure 1-3 (The Evolutionary Way of Life), as discussed in Chapter 1. Another criterion for selecting these concepts was their breadth of coverage of the phenomena of human behavior in all of their complexity. That breadth is based on our movement up language's ladder of abstraction from, say, concepts like "beliefs and assumptions" to the concept of "worldview." As a result, the extraordinary language can help us learn to see any one of our experiences as linked to more and more of our other experiences. By so doing, we can learn to move ever further in an interactive direction and fulfill ever more of our interactive potential. For example, this can help us to find common ground with others who apparently differ substantially from us and who might even be in a stratified or hierarchical relationship with us. And it can also help us to learn how we can narrow the gap between our aspirations and their fulfillment. As for learning the extraordinary language and how to apply it, the following subsections go along with our division of the chapters of this book into "head," "heart" and "hand." Our focus will be on learning to link situational behavior--illustrated within each of figures 2-1, 3-1, 4-1 and 5-1--with the personality and social structures within those figures. Readers should recognize that it is indeed most difficult to change our structures, for that requires changing our behavior in scene after scene after scene. Yet such repeated changes in one scene after another can in fact alter structures, which are no more than repetitive behavior. Those structures must also include our worldview, for it is that structure which works to hold in place all of the other structures. Nevertheless, it is indeed possible to make such changes once we have in mind an alternative worldview that promises to be more effective in helping us solve our problems than our present worldview. "Head": Inward-Outward Perception and Thought In every situation we are in we can become aware of seeing our own bodies. By itself, that will succeed in changing nothing. But change will occur once we learn to tie such images, metaphorically, with concepts within the extraordinary language that point toward individual evolution. For example, as I [Phillips] sit at my desk typing these words I can become aware of my bent posture. And I can then link that posture to a self-image with limited self-confidence, and I can also link that posture to my bureaucratic worldview, where I function as no more than a tiny cog within the giant wheel of society. Yet given my understanding of the nature of an evolutionary worldview and an evolutionary self-image, I can learn to shift that self-image and that worldview. This change also has implications for "heart" and "hand." As for "heart," I can also become more aware of repressed emotions of guilt and shame that have been holding down my self-image. And with respect to "hand," I can sit up straight, accompanied by a more confident self-image along with progress toward an evolutionary worldview. Indeed, in any and every situation I can tie my perception of my body to my own evolution, thus confronting my problem--and everyone else's--of living within the prison of a bureaucratic worldview. As I continue to type these words, I can also become aware of my looking outward at my computer screen for too many hours with little attention to myself. This is similar to my becoming aware of often being glued to a seat watching television programs. We might recall here Ouspensky's statement that "we become too absorbed in things, too lost in things" from Chapter 2. And we might also recall the material on attention deficit disorder or ADD from that same chapter. My awareness of this problem is an instance of "negative thinking," as discussed in Chapter 7, namely, thinking that invokes problems that ordinarily would not be addressed. Yet I have a choice here. It is by no means essential for me to step away from the computer screen or the television set. For I can allow myself such behavior by following the Eastern aspect of an East-West strategy, lowering my Western orientation to continually raise my aspirations without regard to the aspirations-fulfillment gap that this revolution of rising expectations create. By doing so, I need not repress feelings of guilt or shame, for I can recognize my own limitations. But, alternatively, if I feel that I am ready to raise my aspirations to a limited extent, I can choose to move away from the computer screen or the television set. In that way I would be following the Western aspect of an East-West strategy, where I would be raising both aspirations and their fulfillment. The above examples of looking at my posture and looking at my computer screen or television set illustrate inward as well as outward perception, with both illustrating a spatial--by contrast with a temporal--orientation. We experience such spatial perception in every
A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.
- Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
- The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
- The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.
- The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
- Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
- Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.