As I stand back (figuratively) to take a panoramic view of the whole sweep of human history, I see us now on a ridge dividing that history into two distinct phases.
The first phase is marked by conditions of scarcity, and by the actions of humans to overcome that scarcity.
One of the most effective methods to solve the problem was the combination of money-exchange, individual ownership, and competition. This money-exchange system worked wonderfully to motivate production, discoveries, research and invention.
Now we humans can humble hills with great earth movers, catch millions of tons of fish, quickly cut down and carve up huge old trees and whole forests, breed and slaughter millions of cattle, fowl, and swine, direct the courses of rivers, create lakes, converse with and see each other anywhere on earth, as well as hundreds of miles away in space, and control tools millions of miles away from earth.
If we so wished, so great is our power to manipulate earth's resources, we could at this time provide every child, woman and man on earth with a standard of living equal or superior to that enjoyed by today's most privileged 40% of humanity.
This claim was first made over 30 years ago by the great thinker and inventor, R. Buckminster Fuller, and now seems self-evident to any reasonably informed person.
Have we come near to achieving such an utopia?
Instead of directing our technology toward the goal of uniting and uplifting our Human Family, the money motive has resulted in:
1) rewarding many thousands of humans for producing weapons that could destroy all human, and much other, life on earth;
2) all money crimes, from robbery, kidnapping, and murder to drug-trafficking, fraud, and political corruption;
3) destruction of earth's oxygen-producing forests;
4) plundering of earth's natural resources, including oil, ocean fisheries, and polluting air, soil and water;
5) extinction of living species for fur, feathers, ivory, etc.
6) neglect of the needy and suffering;
7) serious competition, justification and even glorification of greed, fear, and hate.
Here we now stand on the great divide between the life-threatening continuation of a past dominated by acquiring-plundering, competing, wasting, destroying-and the realized vision of humanity harmonized within, and with our environment, a future dominated by universal caring.
R. Buckminster Fuller, one of the great thinkers of the 20th century, called it a choice between "Utopia or Oblivion."
What can be done to lift the Human Family over this great divide and into a new social order, a new value system?
The answer is, only a global grassroots movement can slow down and reverse the destructive course of present-day money-questing-and-exchanging, plundering and polluting the environment, neglect of the needy and suffering, and deadly weapons creating and distribution.
Today most remedies for the ills of society are but temporary and symptom-addressing. They will remain so until two dominant motivators are rejected and replaced.
1. Money-the present money exchange system-acquiring, grasping, possessing, competing-the basic motivator of most crimes, weapons dealing, plunder and poisoning of the needy and suffering.
Money-acquiring and exchanging can be replaced by an economy based on a focused and conscious caring for the well-being of all humans and for the environment of our earth.
2. Nationalism-glorification of and loyalty to mere divisions of the Human Family-nations, races, etc., as more sacred than human lives. Excessive concern for nations, etc., underlies preparations and acts of war, and the glorification of violence on every level.
National sovereignty and glory, with its accompanying violence, fear, and hate, have become far more harmful, more divisive than useful to human life. An immediate call for a world constitutional convention would be the start of a process of creating a single, unarmed, caring world community.
We who are not world leaders, not at all well-known outside of our small neighborhoods, are not helpless to initiate actions that can ignite a conscious Movement of World Caring.
Our first objective is to provoke and inspire wide discussion of the possibility and desirability of an alternative global economy and value system. What kinds of activities can provoke attention and stir widespread controversy?
If our goal is a society that is good for all people, our means to this goal cannot be harmful to any humans. By sharing our vision, by repeatedly honoring and celebrating it, we will find opportunities to win opponents to our side.
It is not enough, however, to remain positive and focused upon our vision of a caring tomorrow. Since most people are preoccupied with business-as-usual, they are not likely to turn their attention away to examine our beautiful vision.
When business-as-usual is interrupted, however, they may find it necessary to look at alternatives, even at visions they have previously ignored or rejected.
It is essential that our Movement be seen as a break from the past. We who would be detonators of a tiny explosion, intended by chain reaction to become a mighty energy wave, must act in an unusual and possibly shocking manner, designed to disrupt business-as-usual.
Not only do we break from the addiction of an economy of acquiring, but we must break free from an addiction to lobbying politicians.
If we do not direct our efforts to political leaders-power holders-whither can we turn?
The answer is: to children and youth, power holders of the future. Their potential power will prove to be far greater than that of any politician.
To cross the Great Divide, from a turbulent world culture of acquiring to a harmonious, caring global society, we must endow our children with the following beliefs and attitudes.
¥ Our highest political loyalty must be to our one Human Family.
¥ World community, with laws to benefit all human lives and our global environment, eliminates the need for national security and militaries.
¥ To kill our fellow humans is neither glorious nor necessary.
¥ The central function of militarism is to kill and destroy. This is the only function of the weapons wielded by soldiers.
¥ Militaries kill more non-combatants than they kill other soldiers.
¥ The military uniform symbolizes death and destruction, not glory.
¥ Titles, such as "General," "Colonel," "Commander-in-Chief" are not matters of pride. Men and women who call themselves "soldiers," "veterans," etc., are to be fully respected and cared for as persons, but not honored for their connection to a military.
¥ Refusal to be recruited or conscripted into a military is a mark of courage and caring.
¥ While addictive drugs are extremely harmful, all weapons, from handguns and rifles to warplanes and battleships, are even more so and are also to be despised and shunned.
¥ Teach our children to join in no religious rituals that tend to sanctify a nation.
¥ Teach our children not to glorify any national flag. Rather encourage them to refrain from flag salutes, pledges, oaths of allegiance, or other rituals of nation worship. The national anthem deserves no more respect than any other song. By our example we can teach children to quietly and politely refuse to stand for the playing of a national anthem.
¥ Nor are armed "liberation movements" to be respected and admired. Such movements are not truly liberating, but waged for the personal glory and power of a few.
¥ Not only is it wrong to kill people on behalf of nations and other abstractions, it is also wrong to kill people for a mistaken, twisted concept of "justice," such as a death penalty, which is motivated by the desire for revenge.
¥ Our one earthly environment must never be diminished for monetary interests.
¥ Our schools and churches that are concerned for human well-being must call children's attention to the results of selfish individualism, acquiring and competing.
Celebrating caring values through the arts is as important as rejecting the old destructive values. Celebrations, logos, songs, slogans, legends, dramas-all these symbols are powerful in imprinting positive values in minds of the public.
Instead of pursuing excitement (which young people crave) in activities glorified in an acquiring social order-profiteering, violence, drugs, vandalism-our youth can find their identity in an exciting, powerful global Movement to benefit all humans and our environment worldwide.
Crossing the Great Divide, from the dominant motivation of acquiring to a worldwide emphasis on caring, promises to be the most signifiant social advance in human history. Some woman, man, or youth of courage, compassion, and persistence will emerge as the key initiator of the Movement. Someone you know?