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Rifkin (2009). The Empathic Civilization.

Rifkin, Jeremy (2009). The Empathic Civilization. New York: Tarcher/Penguin.

“Empathic extension is the only human expression that creates true equality between people.” p. 160.

Will empathic extension grow fast enough for humanity to save the planet – and thereby our species?

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Will world population explode?

“There are just too many children in the world. People in developing countries get too many babies. World food production will not be able to keep up, and there will be no space for all those people.”

True? No. The number of babies per woman has been overwhelmingly decreased towards two. Two babies per woman clearly means population will grow no further.

So now we are with seven billion, and growing, because there are relatively many young people. But in 2050 the world population will stabilize at about ten billion.

Human population is large but not growing out of hand, at all, anymore.

Hans Rosling, Swedish doctor and statistician, gives a face to the data in a TED talk of April 2012.

How to deal with dictatorship?

Vision 1. We are born into a safe and secure social environment…
Vision 10. Government and parliament are democratically elected…

So what if you live under dictatorship? You start a non-violent revolution.

Gene Sharp has already inspired generations of revolutionaries worldwide. His book, From Dictatorship to Democracy[1], is a guide with over 180 means of non-violent resistance. The book can be read free online or downloaded as pdf.

  1. [1]Gene Sharp (1993)

The Spirit Level – Why Inequality Kills

Abstract and interpretation of Wilkinson and Pickett (2010). The Spirit Level. Why Equality is Better for Everyone. London: Penguin.

Details of the research can be found at www.equalitytrust.org.uk.

High inequality has strong negative effects on societies, at the bottom as well as at the top. People die sooner in more unequal countries, mainly because social status has a staggering impact on health and wellbeing. Using a wealth of data and meticulous reasoning Wilkinsons and Picketts reach this conclusion: socio-economic inequality stands out as a crucial factor explaining life expectancy and many other problems like violence, drug abuse, mental illness and obesity.

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Educating Values for Life

Vision 4: Education is generally accessible and reaches high levels. Teachers are well paid. Classes are not too big, and personal and social development go side by side.

How to educate ourselves and our children for living in times of turbulence? How to educate starting from the ideas of what a human being is actually is? Education shouldn’t just transfer knowledge, it should educate values.

Proposals for Crisis Catalysed Change

Proposals for how to deal with converging crises will be based on both the image of humanity and the ten visions set out in our Universal Declaration of Human Direction. We will focus on catharses; new narratives with the power to clean the soul and replace old ways of doing, thinking, because austerity is virtuous but human beings are much better at doing more in stead of less.

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Image of Humanity – What is One Man?

PREAMBLE: Man is a social being. Individual development is always dependent on social development. Man is empathetic and able to love. This is the basis of human community.

The image of what a human being actually is has been narrowed down by science. Schumacher argued[1] that man is considered to be a machine more than a living being. The dominant scientific paradigm, what Schumacher calls materialistic scientism, has deaf ears and blind eyes towards non-materialistic qualities of life thereby stripping it of most of its meaning – meaning that seems to be experienced by individuals as crucial.

A consequence is that the social aspects like relationships to peers, ancestors and offspring are neglected; we need both a latitudinal and longitudinal extension of human image.

Maslov’s hierarchy of needs is an example of what happens when human beings are considered to be singular machine-like creatures. The hierarchy, often depicted as a pyramid of needs, implies that the top needs are most important; self-actualisation would be the highest goal of a human being. But is this universally true? For one single individual it might be, but humanity doesn’t function as a collection of individuals. Maslov’s needs in reality are only being met in patterns of collective behaviour and collective growth. As research on well being shows,[2] being connected to others might be at least as important as self-actualisation. As a model for building a society, Maslov is too much focused on the individual. A model of society should have groups of people as building blocks.

So what is a human being? To what extent is his or her context part of the individual? What does latitudinal and longitudinal extension of the human image look like?

Latitudinal (peers) and longitudinal (ancestors and offspring) extension of human image

A consequence of increasing specialization in science is that categories and descriptions of singularities are abundant but relationships between objects go largely unseen. Our theoretic lenses of science do not put relationships in focus, while relationships are defining what and who we are to a large extent.

Research into subjective well being shows that happy people have in common that they spend a lot of time with others and cherishing relationships.[3] Research into innovation and trade shows that prosperity and wealth only come from trust based exchange with other people.[4].

Not only we literally do not exist without others; we need others to be happy, to prosper and to thrive.

  1. [1]See Schumacher 1977
  2. [2]Lyubomirsky 2007: 23
  3. [3]Lyubomirksy 2007: 23
  4. [4]Ridley 2011

Schumacher (1977). A Guide for the Perplexed.

Schumacher (1977). A Guide for the Perplexed. New York: Harper and Row.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Guide_for_the_Perplexed

We all recognise life if we see it but only the material aspects are regarded as truly existing by science. Schumacher argues how problematic this is and why.

British economist Schumacher acknowledges a hierarchy of knowledge and consciousness; mineral – plant – animal – human. There is progression when moving up along these levels. Origin of action progresses as well; cause – stimulus – motive – will. Therefore each level of being becomes increasingly unpredictable.

Materialistic scientism, dominant in science, is flawed; methods of research used on lower levels of existence are inadequate when dealing with life, consciousness and self-consciousness.

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Bateson, Gregory (1979). Mind and Nature. A Necessary Unity.

Bateson, Gregory (1979). Mind and Nature. A Necessary Unity. New York: E.P. Dutton.

”The pattern which connects”

== Introduction ==

Mind as a reflection of large and many parts of the natural world outside the thinker. Existing (human) epistemology reflection of obsolete physics; man unique and materialistic, while living universe generalized and spiritual. And yet beauty persists.

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Living by Values or Survival by Defence?

Survival in times of turbulence requires adaptation; living requires a radical rethinking of the world as we see it, and doing the things we do in life quite differently. Where are we flawed and what should we be doing?

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