Quo Vadis, Humanity?
In this post Cold War and postmodern age, we are asking serious questions regarding the preeminence of rigid ideologies, national boundaries, proprietary interests, technological utopias and naive, egalitarian demands in crafting the next global mesh. We hear all of these voices. We register all of the claims. We record all of the “truths.” We see all of the demonstrations and displays of street theatre. But, we have a sense they all stream from the Tower of Babel. No wonder the realities are so diverse; the thoughts so confusing, the solutions so divisive. It is as if all six billion people have climbed on top of the Tower and are now shouting slogans at us. All seem to want a place in the sun, a position in the niche, and free tickets to Disney World.
If one were to do a content analysis of all the books and articles written on the global gaps, or arguments presented in academic or think tank settings, or even the political dialogue in national parliaments or international summits, we would see several clear and distinct patterns. Capitalism is great or greedy. Socialism is humane or harmful. Technology is a blessing or a curse. The rich are that way because they worked hard or simply won life’s lottery. The poor are that way because they are undisciplined or oppressed by the rich. Economic redistribution will level the playing field or dumb down global intelligences. Which is it?
Most of the discussions center around competing economic models, open political access, mandated equality of opportunity and results, and a host of other external, top-down solutions. Arguments grow in emotional intensity around the size and distribution of budgets. Money becomes the magic elixir that will cure all ills. If we build attractive places for all to live the “losers” will be transformed into “winners” by simply changing street addresses. New rules and regulations will transform hearts and minds. Everybody will benefit from the rising tides of prosperity as the free market makes global waves. Everybody will benefit from the largess of big government, using taxes to fund social work schemes. And, of course, brilliant technological innovations will bring the Internet into each and every home, with or without electricity. Right.
But, why haven’t these policies worked in the past? Look at Africa. Look at Haiti. Look at the Balkans. Look at Russia. Look at the Mississippi Delta. Look at Yorkshire’s coal mining villages. Look at American Indian reservations. Look at the huddled masses everywhere yearning for a loaf of bread. Look at India’s Calcutta kids. Look at border sweat shops and urban cesspools. Look at the number of “minority” teenagers in American prisons. In spite of all of the money spent, expectations raised, programs imposed, “good deeds” celebrated and “good works” performed, our problems persist. Why?
The central thesis of this document is that external approaches designed to improve the human condition are faulted unless they also include, as parallel and simultaneous tracks, the essential steps and stages in interior social development. In short, economic, political, and technological efforts must correlate with the levels of complexity of thinking within individuals and entire cultures. Unless the external efforts match, in their respective operating codes, the existing capacities within leadership cadres and the general population in specific countries, they will make things worse, not better. Like the deep sea diver who gets the bends by coming up too rapidly, or runs out of air if the ascent is delayed too long, entire societies are vulnerable to this too much: too little dynamic…