Source: World Network of Religious Futurists
http://www.wnrf.org/cms/philosophy.shtml

Dr. Richard Kirby
The Philosophy of Civilization Building
By Dr. Richard S. Kirby, Nov 24, 2003

With special reference to the future contributions of Chinese classical and contemporary philosophy

Philosophy School Lecture 1 of 2
Zhejiang University
Hang Zhou

December 2003

1. INTRODUCTION

Dear Friends:  Allow me to express my thanks for this opportunity to talk with you today about the leadership of civilization, building, or more generally the philosophy and science and art of civilization yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

In these talks I will introduce the core ideas of my book The Leadership of Civilization Building (Seattle, 2001), co-authored with Dr. Richard J. Spady. 

Many years of experimental social science have gone into the preparation of this book for publication.  We are now eager to present it to Chinese audiences as we have in Russia and other countries. We feel that these ideas will be especially important to Chinese thinkers as we work together to develop the science of world civilization from the standpoint of many disciplines.

My educational aim here today is to present our book as a part of the story of future Chinese contributions to the leadership of civilization building, with two installments. Of course we would, like to see our book translated into Chinese as it has been into Russian. Future Chinese contributions to the leadership of civilization building should be enormous and subtle and profound and consequential. For I would like to describe contemporary China as a vast land of wonderful and indeed huge opportunity for contributions to the healing of world culture and the improvement of world affairs through the genius of Chinese cultural history. For our subject must be potential Chinese contributions to the past, the present and the future of scientific, international, innovative, experimental, 'spiritual civilization building.'  Accordingly, we shall present key ideas interspersed with short descriptions of issues in the recent history of scientific attempts at civilization building.  Indeed, our work must here be partly a critique of extant conceptions of 'civilization science" or even of 'civilized science'; and the same would be true of extant notions of "science of culture" in its various guises such as anthropological, socio-biological, post-modernist, Deconstructionist, etc.  Landmarks in the history of Eastern and Western 'civilization definitions' will also be noted.

Chinese cultural leaders, citizens - cities - and teachers are already notable worldwide as civilizations builders; we start by building our modest edifice on the shoulders of giants.  Giants such as Lao-Tsu, Confucius, Mencius and may others throughout the long march of Chinese history.  Chinese science, too, is reaching for its place among the stars as we join NASA in America in celebrating the journey of the first Chinese astronaut.

As the United Nations Organization, particularly in such branches as he World Health Organization, UNESCO and UNICEF look for best future racks for successful work according to their purposes, Chinese civilization of the 21st century stands poised to make a mighty contribution to the health, happiness and prosperity of the world. In our book THE LEADERSHIP OF CIVILIZATION BUILDING we offer a scientific paradigm for such contributions to world civilization.  Allow me then to briefly introduce our textbook.

2. THE LEADERSHIP OF CIVILIZATION BUILDING: introducing our book

Our book is dedicated to you - the present and future students, leaders, scholars, scientists, innovative entrepreneurs of social life and captains of industry, cultural geniuses and ambassadors of Chinese culture to the four corners of the world, to forward-looking citizens of China,  as indeed is our hope with citizens of the USA, of all nations, of the united nations.

Our book is designed to call you, with a call to wise but fresh vision deriving from the genius of the vast cultural legacy of the Chinese political, spiritual and ethical geniuses.    Where there is no vision, the people perish.  So say the shared scriptures of Jews and Christians. (Proverbs 29:18, KJV).

Our purpose is to equip civilization builders. In this book we give a vision of cost-effective civilization building to builders of civilization, such as political, business, educational, and religious leaders. We provide an introduction to the tools- conceptual and social to do that building. This book is a manual for fresh vision for creative civilization builders. It is also a textbook.

Our aim is to help leaders and their constituents to talk symbolically together. On what subject? On the improvement of organizations, institutions, and society as a whole.

Our theme is that a better civilization is not only desirable, but also attainable. We believe this is not only true ethically and spiritually, but also as a civic, economic, educational and political project. 

We have many Chinese readers in mind. Some of our intended audiences are: governors, political leaders, public officials, political scientists; students and teachers of civilization and sociology; students, teachers, and practitioners of management and administration; religious and moral leaders, all churches, and religious communities and laity; and parents.  Our book is not for a particular religious group, but aims to offer all religions, spiritualities and wisdom traditions channels into which their ethical energies can be fruitfully directed in the construction of higher levels of culture and civilization in the multi-faith contemporary world. On the other hand, we should note that such scholars as John Hick in such books as God and the Universe of Faiths, and Death and Eternal.

Life, have offered the idea of global theologies, in which the insights of all religions are brought to bear upon a subject such as death or community or the sacred arts. In this respect, our work here is partly the construction of a successful experimental global theology, or philosophy-theology, of global spiritual civilization building, thought the word 'spiritual' there may mean primarily 'ethical.'  Anyhow this experimental global theology, or philosophy-theology, of global spiritual civilization building must certainly be a task for the world’s parliament of religions, and not just for a single religion, let alone a single denomination.

We hope that our text will be read wherever civics and/or futures issues are studied in China- in schools from grade schools through graduate school and in business, law, and ministry schools everywhere.

We intend that our text will be read (perhaps in excerpt) by professionals in politics and government, whether officials - such as governors, country executives, mayors, legislators and their aides; or teachers of political science/philosophy, civics and their students.

Our book offers solutions (theories), not just diagnoses of problems. We describe and prescribe a civilized future- thus we offset the gloom of pessimistic future- trend books.

We offer skills, vision, and strategies to citizens, not just governors. We encourage people to make trends, not just observe them as some authors do.

A major purpose of the book is to inspire the use of Fast Forum and symbolic dialogue program models or applications in governments, organizations, schools, the community and churches. Students of administration and civilization in business schools, public planning, education, and seminaries can read it as a textbook to help clarify their own emerging theories of organizational dynamics and leadership.

The book aims to give people a sense of being in control of their own future. We desire to help citizens in all lands grow into being the creator of their own civic destiny. Thus we hope that this is an empowering book, for it is a book about civic power. It aims to offer civic inspiration.

We hope to enable these new social processes of communication to mature and become embedded in public policy. Our current civic necessity is what we call building working social models of Many-To-Many communications. These practical social technologies such as the Citizen Councilor Network and Psycho-Social Education are vital civic experiments for the cities and the citizens of the 21st century. The will enable every interested person, every citizen who wishes to do so, to contribute to civilization building. They will mobilize his or her opinions and energies toward the vision of the highest good for society. This is what we call the Zeitgeist (Spirit-of-the-time). For it is this which is the Supreme Governor of society.

 3. THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION

Who cares about rethinking the essential theory of civilization? Designers or architects of civilization are rare. Builders of civilization are even more rare. Thinkers about civilization do not lie thick on the ground, neither in the realms of business, nor government, nor society. The essential theory of civilization is at a level of abstraction above that which at economists, politicians, journalists, religious leaders have to operate. It is high social synthesis to embody the most prized values of culture and society in order to make a just world order - and a beautiful, loving one also. The air is thin in this stratosphere of the spiritual-social intelligence, and rethinking the essential theory of civilization is not a very popular activity, except in periods of revolutionary change such as China has known in the last hundred years. This shows wonderfully the Chinese capacity to assimilate and act on new ideas!  It also reminds us of T.S.Kuhn's celebrated study of "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" (1970 2nd ed.) in which he portrayed revolutionary periods of paradigm shift in normal science, during which extraordinary science appears and a new paradigm is born. We offer a new paradigm in civilization building as a social, spiritual. and political science of a distinctly empirical, even experimental nature.

For we believe that there is a hunger, within every human mind, for the habitation, the safe harbor of civilization. This would be the ideal society, or at least tending in that direction. Civilization building is not Utopianism, though naturally the builders of civilizations are inspired by certain ideals such as truth, beauty, goodness, health, prosperity and so on...and perhaps by more subtle value systems and spiritual principles, such as are found in the Tao Te Ching and the Analects of Confucius.  But in EXPERIMENTAL civilization building we deal with the "ideal society" as PROCESS not as goal. If we have time to talk about Process Philosophy of the kind initiated by Alfred North Whitehead in such books as Process and Reality, we will together learn more about this phenomenon of civilization as a process of idealization without any necessary ceiling or end-point. This is a rethinking of the entelechy or teleology of Aristotle.  

The notion of 'civilized society' or simply a state or place of 'civilization' is one that the human mind naturally understands. It would appear, as social philosophers increasingly understand, that we are made for civilization.

Social philosophers! How much they, along with political philosophers of peaceable and/or revolutionary intent, have done to define new horizons for civilization building!

Thus, for example, around the time of the French Revolution (no political revolutions without a political philosopher!), the Swiss sage Jean Jacques Rousseau in his famous book La Contrat Sociale (The Social Contract) states that a  human being is born free but is everywhere in chains. These chains are not merely chains of imprisonment or starvation, but chains of squalor and degradation. These chains reveal a widespread impoverishment of culture. This perhaps is also what Thomas Hobbes, the 16th-17th Century political writer had in mind in his book Leviathan. His famous words described human life as a typically "nasty, brutish, horrible and short." His words still describe what millions feel is an apparent life-sentence. Life is not a gift but a punishment: condemnation to living in a world whose civilization is rudimentary and sometimes altogether absent.

Likewise English philosopher W.Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950) in his books on Philosophy and Living spoke of his desire to study the causes of the tragic disorder in our terrestrial hive. The social disorder of civilizations absence seems indicative of a wider, perhaps a cosmic disorder. But builders of civilization act to reverse this grim syndrome of social entropy, deterioration, violence and the increase of misery.

It is my belief that Chinese wisdom systems such as Taoism and Confucianism can play an important role in reversing this baleful syndrome of 'social entropy.'

In the history of culture, it has been a rare event for theories of civilization to discover new truth about this great subject. For theories of civilization investigate how people can live together not only in harmony and productivity, not only in brotherhood and freedom, but in state of civilized being which harmonizes the artistic, scientific, economic and spiritual elements of social being. The concept of civilization (in terms of philosophical psychology) is thus not static, but is a vector, pointing and moving towards transcendental ideals for culture.  

Civilization thus exalts human social nature, and causes social being and human nature itself to evolve towards higher levels of consciousness and happiness.  

4. CHINESE PHILOSOPHY

Chinese wisdom systems such as Taoism and Confucianism are tremendously important for our subject.

Chinese Landmarks in the history of civilization definition include of course the ever-living genius of Confucius (552 or 522- 479 BC), and perhaps his contemporary Lao-Tsu, though of course I am aware that there is a great deal of scholarly controversy about the dates of the Tao Te Ching and of its author(s). The social and mystical doctrines of Confucianism and Taoism contain many strands: ethics and metaphysics, shamanism, education, leadership, wisdom transmission, political science-philosophy, social life principles, natural philosophy and much else. The fusion between philosophy and government is characteristic of Taoism in part, as it is of Plato and Aristotle and their predecessor Socrates, who lived around the time of Confucius, and perhaps of Lao-Tsu. 

It is this harmony of the philosophy of nature - physics as we say today- and mysticism, political philosophy and government, communication, leadership and wisdom which make the Chinese classical philosophers so essential to the construction of a modern theory of world civilization. And this is our task together here!

For example, I have had my American students think through Taoist approaches to Business Ethics.

The Confucian approach to international finance is also a wonderful hope for the economic future of the world, and Taoism can raise world prosperity to marvelous degrees if we have the courage to apply it at the World Bank and such centers of economic, financial and monetary leadership. What splendid opportunities for Chinese scholars and what we in America call 'imagineers'. And the same is true not only for medicine, health and wellness economics but for the emerging interdisciplinary field of medico-financial ethics.

5. WESTERN APPROACHES TO CIVILIZATION

Landmarks in the history of Western civilization definition include St. Augustine of Hippo. This 5th century North African Bishop was one of the most eminent Christian theologians in his or any other time. It was he who wrote the city of God in the twilight of the period that we call ancient or Patristic times. This was at the dawn of the Middle Ages.

Indeed he wrote his great books even as the Vandals were destroying the great empire of Rome, in the twilight of which St. Augustine lived.  Of course, Chinese civilization has not experienced such devastating interruptions to its continuity, and thus claims to be the world's oldest continuous civilization, though of course the even stream of its path through history has certainly been punctuated by disruptions, diversions and profound change periodically. 

With the coming of the Renaissance and the reformation as the second Christian millennium got under way, science, religion and civilization began once again to form a harmonious triad. The founders of the modern scientific revolution, Descartes, Bacon, and their colleagues in political and scientific realms, understood the revolution of scientific thought that grew out of the Renaissance to be a civilizing influence. They were concerned with the higher truth not only of physics and astronomy but also of society.

The Industrial Revolution occupied parts of the late 18th Century, and much of the 19th Century. The emerging power of new technologies to change the world was seen as truly remarkable by many people in those eras, and the one that immediately followed. The early years of the Industrial Revolution were also the years of the birth of new political ideals and whole new countries such as the United States. To the social philosophers of the late 18th and 19th centuries, these changes were momentous advances (or so they seemed) in human affairs. They were accomplishments that they seemed like signals or heralds of a triumphant new period of human history. This would be the beginning of sustained and ever increasing progress. It seemed to these thinkers, and in due course to political and social leaders also, that the 20th Century would be one of unhindered progress. This would be, they asserted or imagined, the greatest century known to humanity.

6. REVIEW AND SUMMARY

Our subject today has been potential Chinese contributions to the past, the present and the future of scientific, international, innovative, experimental, 'spiritual civilization building.' Our first approach to this subject has necessarily contained implicitly a critique of extant or recently abandoned conceptions of 'civilization science" or even of ‘civilized science.' This does not just mean, for example, the discrediting of racism as a science, but the analysis of the ideologies operating within philosophy of science itself.  (This was a subject of my doctoral dissertation at King's College, London University, 1992.)

Furthermore, we are postulating a new era in social science and its derivative socio-political science. Also, we have named some Landmarks in the history of Western 'civilization definition.' In studying the modern history of civilization itself, we have arrived at a moment in history of great hope - the beginning of the 20th century. 

In my next lecture I will take up this story of world culture in war and peace and see what legacy it bequeaths for the study of the civilization building of the near future. But our wider theme - a sub text if you will - is the improvement of world affairs through the genius of Chinese cultural history. I am here, in part, to celebrate the genius of China in the philosophy of civilization!

Tomorrow we will thus complete the task which has been so well begun today by your very kind attention to this English-American scholar. 

Thank you for your gracious listening.

 (TO BE CONTINUED AND COMPLETED IN LECTURE 2)

THE PHILOSOPHY AND LEADERSHIP OF CIVILIZATION BUILDING,
With special reference to the future contributions of Chinese classical
And contemporary political philosophy

Philosophy School Lecture 2 of 2

Zhejiang University
Hang Zhou
December 2003

INTRODUCTION

Dear Friends: Allow me to express my thanks for this opportunity to talk with you again today about the leadership of civilization building, or more generally the philosophy and science and art of civilization yesterday, today and tomorrow. 

In these talks I will continue introducing the core ideas of my recent book THE LEADERSHIP OF CIVILIZATION BUILDING (Seattle, 2001), co-authored with Dr. Richard J. Spady. 

2. REVIEW

I believe it would be a courtesy to recall where we arrived at the end of part 1 of this two-part lecture.

Our subject yesterday has been potential Chinese contributions to the past, the present and the future of scientific, international, innovative, experimental, 'spiritual civilization building.'  Our first approach to this subject has necessarily contained implicitly a critique of extant or recently abandoned conceptions of 'civilization science" or even of 'civilized science.'  This does not just mean, for example, the discrediting of racism as a science, but the analysis of the ideologies operating within philosophy of science itself.  Furthermore, we are postulating a new era in social science and its derivative socio-political science. Also, we have named some Landmarks in the history of Western 'civilization definition.'

But our wider theme - a sub text if you will - is -the improvement of world affairs through the genius of Chinese cultural history. I am here, in part, to celebrate the genius of China in the philosophy of civilization, particularly the FUTURE of world civilization.  In other words, I am here as an ambassador, as a goodwill ambassador representing particularly the community of futurists who study the way the world is tending with its new inventions (see wfs.org for descriptions of the World Future Society meetings) and also the world of interfaith dialogue and parliaments of religions (see wnrf.org and the book, Temples of Tomorrow [1993] which I wrote with the late Earl D.C.Brewer).  

Likewise my interests encompass the intersecting worlds of business and financial innovation, and social innovation.  All these are grounds for our cultural exchanges as we seek to increase world prosperity, wealth and happiness through the growing contribution of Chinese genius.  For we are dealing with the highest good for the theory of all organizations, be they commercial or educational, artistic or familial, political or military or spiritual.  This is the task of Administrative Theory, an important section of our book.

In yesterday's studying of the modern history of civilization itself, we arrived at a moment in history of great hope - the beginning of the 20th century.  Let us now take up this story of world culture in war and peace and see what legacy it bequeaths for the study of the civilization building of the near future.

We recall that it seemed to social philosophers 100 years ago, and in due course to political and social leaders also, that the 20th Century would be one of unhindered progress. This would be, they asserted or imagined, the greatest century known to humanity. This was true, but not perhaps in the way they thought.  For it turned to be in truth a century of technological progress with many advances in civilization, but also the cruelest, most hazardous and most bellicose century ever.  Einstein reputedly commented that Man had become a giant scientifically while remaining a pygmy ethically.

3. THE COLLAPSE OF 19TH CENTURY PROGRESSIVIST CULTURAL SCIENCE

So the social philosophy of the 20th Century began in a mood of vast hope, eager expectation of benevolent scientific-technological breakthrough and the lively belief in (at last!) sustained progress for humanity and human society.

Shortly after the century began (with wars in parts of the world such as South Africa), the cruise ship Titanic, the "unsinkable," the sign of triumphant technology and human unconquerable ingenuity, sank [April 14-15, 1912] on its maiden voyage. It was punctured by a humble iceberg with no malevolent intent. Perhaps progress was not inevitable. Perhaps science did have limits.

Then came the apocalyptic event of the First World War (1914-1918). Nations were bled almost to death, genocide appeared, new forms of weaponry such as mustard gas were deployed, and unnumbered millions of the youth of humanity were killed in a futile, horrific war. This led to the great economic depressions of the 20s and 30s and then the Second World War, followed by the Cold War. Once again, it turned out science was not only not inevitably progressive, but not even inevitably benign.

The appearance of atomic and hydrogen bombs left mid-century humanity with a chronic subliminal fear of science at its worst as a threat, not as an angelic presence. Science-technology had made the 20th Century into the cruelest and most murderous in all known history.

It was as if the idea of progress sadly, was a philosophy of evolution that perished on the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars.  As Bryan Appleyard says in his book, Understanding the Present, science was humbled and its humbling needs to continue.

But philosophers and theologians studying the theory of science are reasoning that the picture is not wholly gloomy. For what is generally known as science is only one of many possible social endeavors leading to knowledge and technological applications. Perhaps the spiritual core of the science was lost during the time of the Industrial Revolution, but it is now being regained. We still can believe in progress, but in a more humble and gentle way, and with the hope of a better, wiser science and a healing technology.

4. THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF CIVILIZATION

Our model, as described in our book, aims to be introducing new truth about the theory AND the practice of civilization. Our goal is to offers an enlightened approach to leadership. This civic innovation treatise offers the students, the teachers and the citizens of the 21st Century practical tools of understanding civilization, including civic action. We present a curriculum that will allow many persons all over the world to develop their own power as citizens. As a result all citizens are shown how to become architects and builders of the civilization of tomorrow. 
We accomplish this by presenting an actual theory of national and international citizenship. 

According to E.R.Hughes, in his excellent text "Chinese Philosophy in Classical Times"  (Dent: Everyman, London, 1942),  Chinese philosophy is very well suited to discussing the contributions of the citizen of "Everyman":  "For the Chinese people and their tradition have been impregnated with a sense of Everyman.....from a quite early date most thinkers and scholars never succeeded in forgetting that the ordinary man, and in particular the peasant, is a virally important member of the Great Society." (p.xi). China would thus not perish from what Western mathematician J. Bronowski calls an "Aristocracy of the Intellect".  Indeed, our book, so well suited to Chinese philosophy, is an attempt to think through the political implications of a democracy of the intellect.

Thus, in Section One, Theory Building, we present new administrative and civilization theories. We aim to offer an alternative to hierarchical, authoritarian approaches to all kinds of management or administration in society, in business, in government and in churches. We proposed as a reasoned alternative, a democracy of the intellect and a democracy of leadership. Their theories imply a resultant quantum leap in the efficiency and financial potency of all organizations and citizens. These theories aim to empower employees, administrators and CEOs, elected and duly appointed government officials, teachers, artists, scientists, pastors, and all those who work in groups. 

We can understand what fertile ground there is in Chinese history, to understand and develop such initiatives, when we recall the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong in the 1966-74 episode of his leadership.  I speak, of course, only as a China-watcher, a friend and not a scholar on this subject, but in looking for the positive thrust of this remarkable experiment, it does seem clear that the Cultural Revolution was an attempt to create balance in a society which was thought to be intellectual (I am speaking very briefly here, with admittedly only a thumbnail sketch of a vast field..).

In Section Two, namely Technology Building, we have announced our hope of a breakthrough in social science with a description and the utilization of the Fast Forum Technique, Symbolic Dialogue, Social Audits, Opinionnaire, Views paper, and the Future Modeling Game. They are building on contemporary realizations that human being is radically, intrinsically, and necessarily interpersonal being. These realizations are based partly on insights drawn from such varied fields. As anthropology, philosophy, sociobiology, religion, and quantum mechanics.

We also present the necessary social technology for multiple simultaneous human communications to take place effectively. In this way, we hope to be enabling leaders, governors, managers, and citizens of tomorrow to be able to communicate more and more intelligently and effectively with one another through symbolic dialogue. Our models should make it possible for the collective intelligence of communication systems to become more and more potent, financially productive, and progressively intelligent leading toward wisdom.

We have a special hope of empowering young people. The textbook offers groupware and social ware application models that implement Eric Erickson’s work on psycho-social education. This approach is a potential landmark for pedagogy and youth leadership approaches to democracy in schools and among young people in all nations. New administrative theory supports an early and exciting civic role for young people. Today's and tomorrow's teachers can use the social technologies presented by us.

For what? To call youth to high service and to summon them to moral and emotional maturity! Young people can be encouraged to exercise their energies in the service of idealism that will not fail. Youth leaders, their teachers, and their groups are being called up now. They can be enrolled in the service of a great cause. They too are among the leaders of the building of the civilization of tomorrow. For that is a civilization, a culture, a way of being human in societies, which they themselves must inhibit.

We provide instruments of communication and inspiration with which young people can be designers, as well as recipients, of the culture of the near future.  The wonderful genius of Chinese youth is one of the hopes of the world for a better and wiser civilization, one which can offer so much in harmonizing - in China as in ancient Greece - arts and science, history and the future, love and law, war and peace. 

It is emphatically our hope to provide some impetus to the formation of Chinese Youth Futurist leadership training programs in association with the World Future Society (see www.wfs.org).

Likewise, at the other end of life's journey, the book provides fuel for the more gentle energies of senior citizens to awaken their wisdom and rally together to support each other in refashioning and re-conceiving the philosophy and the story of old age. We need hardly say that similarly, the genius of the Chinese Sage and Elder, so inspiringly implied on the Tao Te Ching and many other places, represents a vast depository of wisdom which we would like to see made more mobile as part of a political philosophy which honors not only every class and race, but every age and stage of life also.

In this book we gather up our thinking about the civilization of tomorrow and present key elements of what must be called civilization theory.  Of course, our theories of civilization are operational definitions.

These theories include the definition of civilization and an explanation of its implication for citizens everywhere to understand their responsibilities, their rights, and their powers as citizens.

For it is not only officials who are the architects of the civilization of tomorrow, but also civilized people everywhere. It is the purpose of this work to invite intelligent citizens to play a major and ever growing part in the civilizing of their own civilization, and in advancing everywhere the theory of the citizen. Thus, we offer a fresh analysis of the meaning of citizenship in a high-tech (but high touch) multi-media, global-scientific world. We have tried to achieve a new definition of democracy in a world of Many-To-Many communication.

Our purpose is thus to equip the user with both knowledge and skills

5. EXPERIMENTAL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIAL QUANTUM THEORY

Welcome to our world of civilization building!

Our approach is that of experimental political scientists who are working mainly within academic settings, cities, corporations, and faith-based communities including military chaplaincy.  We are also professional futurists who bring to these text decades of teaching applied futures studies [see <www.wnrf.org>].

We also approach Civilization Building from within our paradigm of Social Quantum Mechanics. (Please see my article on The Future of Mathematical Sociology-http://www.stuartcdoddinstitute.org/mathematical-sociology.shtml)

This sounds formidable, but essentially means that we are experimental social scientists; but perhaps more innovatively, we are also experimental political scientists. We look forward to developing with the genius of China for experimentation in civilization, the Oriental counterparts or versions of Social Quantum theory.

Political science [called affectionately PolSci in colleges] is rarely taught as an experimental science, because it is sometimes thought that one cannot do experiments with political communities.  We disagree. One certainly CAN do experiments with political communities.  Actually, we could even define, in part, Civilization Building as conscious experiments with political communities in order to advance, or create:

a. the culture and civilization of that community;

b. the culture and civilization of the wider world;

c. the theory and practice of  Civilization Building.

Here is an example of such an experiment.

In Spring Quarter 2001 @UW, in a course on Leadership, I formed an experimental civic community in the classroom. The students formed themselves into an experimental civic community as a class. They chose the name Divercity; and they formed an Internet website <cityofgenius.org>. When the quarter ended, the class community dispersed, but the cityofgenius.org may continue, with new citizens.  It will perhaps migrate to other classroom, or will perhaps eventually become an Internet city. In any case, its life as an experimental city will continue, searching for the best way to become a city of ideals, ideally governed by its citizens; and in this sense it will carry forward the work both of Aristotle the scientist and Plato the idealist. This, in miniature, is political science practiced as an experimental science.

6. SCHOOLS FOR STATESMANSHIP: 

Also, because we are educationalists - scholars in the theory and practice of education [pedagogic, educational science, etc.] and are interested in wise political leadership, we are in the tradition of Plato in wanting to establish schools for statesmanship. Eastern and Western philosophies can now collaborate to build such schools for statesmanship.

These emphases incline us to be deeply concerned with the management of the State, city, community, and world. Therefore, we are concerned with the theory and practice of government, and thus with the purposes and methods of 'governors;'  this is a term which we take to encompass State governors and their non-American counterpart, but also mayors, city managers, research directors, school  district superintendents and other 'governors' in the broader sense.

Because we are interested in government, we are interested in the inspiration of government's purposes. This means that the theory and practice of Civilization Building as we understand it entails deep study of public policy, and its roots and its branches.

7. CONCLUSION

We are seeking to develop the best theory of experimental civilization building which can be derived from the dialogue of the world's wisdom systems and political philosophies, together with the advancement of those cultural experiments which most promote the transcendental ideals of civilization, many of which are common to East and West.  These include, as we have seen, justice, health, happiness, beauty, peace and love, and from the Oriental side the ideas of balance, harmony and in the broadest sense Yoga (the yoking of the empirical self with the Divine Self). 

More generally - and this has been our work in the Stuart C. Dodd Institute these last five years - we are among many who are looking for the highest good to be find in the exploration of a spiritual theory  of society, in order that the promises of Utopianism and the energies of the Ideal Philosophy and the hopes of Religion and Communism shall, not be disappointed, but shall be continuously refined and crowned with success as the various departments of State and culture learn to harmonize their energies and ideals in the discovery and attainment of ideal communities of future science, civilization, art and love. 

For these wonderful goals, the inspiration which comes from Chinese wisdom philosophies, and the revolutionary power of Chinese political science-philosophy, together with the famous balanced common sense of the Chinese people, has potent contributions to make.  And I am here on behalf of some different constituencies in several countries and fields of inquiry and creativity,  looking to learn from you how we can collaborate together to make, for the United Nations and other international agencies, a Magnum Opus or master work which will be China moral, spiritual, and political contributions to the developing picture of the whole inhabited earth or human family.

Of course, in discussing these great ideas in China, we must contemplate the place of Chinese communism among the greater new ideas of the 20th century: the great idea of China as a vehicle for revolutionary politics and innovation in social philosophy, class structures and government is, at the very least, a remarkable phenomenon in the history of the 20th century, and of course it is an experiment which continues in the present leadership of China, for Chinese communism is an evolving body of thought, as the leaders endeavor to determine the best needs of the people. Thus the profoundly dramatic story of Chinese Communism intersects with the story which we are telling of the history of world civilization.   Furthermore, Communism makes an interesting dialogue partner for our theory of civilization - especially as we are so concerned with the philosophy of science which underlies theories of civilization.   For Marxism, in offering dialectical materialism as a science of history and in other respects, undoubtedly can claim to have a scientific outlook, whatever the varied world opinions of this science may be. 

Communism is also, of course, an Idealist or Utopian school of thought, and has been easily identified by philosophers and theologians as being a Faith as well as a theory of government.  The theories of communism express a sure belief in the perfectibility of man (to use John Passmore's phrase in his book of that name). In this respect Communism is a natural dialogue partner with Christianity, not only because the churches are meant to be communities of moral power and therefore of political redemption (within limits), but also because the thrust of Christianity has been  - like Marxism and Maoism - to show a decided preference for the poor.  Thus, in the Gospel according to St. Luke, we hear that God has "brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up he humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things bit has sent the rich away empty." (1:52-3, NIV.)

Friends, thank you for your kind attention to my modest efforts to join with you in seeking to define the genius of China in a way that can dynamically advance our shared cause of global civilization building in theory and practice.  

The wonderful wisdom and energy of China, the multitudinous populace, the legacy of Chinese civilization form a resource of tremendous power for internationalists and scholars caring about the health, wealth and happiness of humanity.  It has been my privilege to share with you some of my hopes as I present our own little contribution to this subject, and your gracious reception of these hopes has been most generous. Let us go forward together into the brilliant future of Chinese civilization in its international context. 

© 1998-2008 by World Network of Religious Futurists.

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