Updated Thursday, 2:00 AM EDT; 29 April 2010.
LOVERS OF DEMOCRACY
The Global Noosphere
Spring in Chapel Hill N.C., a favorite picture used at the department of linguistics website
O distant, distant, deep unapproachable, receive always,
the silent ones in their absence, in the absence of the others
when the danger from the near ones, from the near itself, burdens
during nights of promise with many-colored lights in the gardens,
when the half-closed eyes of lions and tigers scintillate
with flashing green omissions in their cages
and the old jester in front of the dark mirror
washes off his painted tears so that he can weep--
O quiet ungrantable, you with the long, damp hand,
quiet invisible, without borrowing and lending, without obligations,
nailing nails on the air, shoring up the world
in that deep inaction where music reigns.
Yanis Ritsos (E. Keeley trans., Athens, January, February 1975), in THE GREEK POETS p. 542 (Hass, Introduction 2010)
The "Noosphere" -- the sphere of the mind -- is one of the seven EcoSpheres of Planet Earth, (i.e., Earth, Water, Air, Fire, Life, Ice, and Mind). Mind alone possesses "the power to change the face of the Earth" according to Jonathan Weiner, The Next One Hundred Years: Shaping the Fate of our Living Earth 5-6 (1990). Paradoxically, development of the Noosphere is not attained by following the mechanistic and materialistic world-view associated with modern science, which is hailed as the path to truth but leads only to an exclusive interest in changing the external factors for the attainment of happiness and well-being without the slightest concern about changing one's own inner nature. This historical pattern seems certainly "to be putting man on the path of self-destruction" observes P. D. Premasiri, in Humanization of Development.
Deep division by Incommensurable Values marks the civilization. Indeed, material forces set loose by the natural evolution of the "survival of the fittest" supported by computer technology, threaten to wreck the democratic aspirations of America, and turn the dream of the American civilization into a living nightmare of The Frankenstein Civilization. Nevertheless, underscoring the bizarre culture organized around the "Dominator Model" Darwin defined in his most famous work, The Origin of the Species (Encyclopedia Britannica Great Books, 1859/1952), gives only a biological foundation for his later work, a true masterpiece, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Princeton University Press, 1871/1981). The Descent of Man reveals the "Love System" that guides the social instinct and spiritual attributes of human evolution, as amazingly described by David Loye, psychologist and evolutionary systems scientist, former Director of Research for the Program on Psychosocial Adaptation and the Future, Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA School of Medicine, in Darwin's Lost Theory 160-162 (2007).
The stream of wisdom flowing from world tradition explored by the great contemporary spiritualist Deepack Chopra addresses the need for a shift from the material to the spiritual dimension of human existence. In his book “The Third Jesus” (2008), Chopra advances the Christian idea that one should ”Be in the world but not of it.” Id. at 145-146. On this topic Chopra writes:
Applying the teaching--Through detachment, you master both inner and outer reality..... You are more than the flesh-and-blood person you see in the mirror, a person created by the world around you. Your actual being has its source in spirit. Through detachment you shift your allegiance away from the physical toward the spiritual. Since you are spirit first and an individual person second, the world is actually in you, as images thoughts, sensations, memories, and projections. You are more real than the material world and closer to the creative source.
Humankind has its unique spiritual role in "the participatory universe" that best describes the emerging vision of cosmic reality defined by philosophy and science. This participatory path to enlightenment is facilitated by A Technology of Democracy, which was invented during the last several decades primarily by the collaborative efforts of J.N. Warfield, and A.N. Christakis, standing on the shoulders of many other scientists. For the individual to take command of his own role in "the participatory universe" as part of Rediscovering the Soul of Democracy citizens must obviously reject the traditions of "crowd politics" that capture the personal volition of citizens in a web of emotional manipulation and demagogy, and instead, take up the great unfinished work of collective "rule of the whole," which M.P. Follett describes, in a chapter on "Democracy Not The Crowd: Our Popular Delusion" in her book THE NEW STATE.
This shift of political focus is especially validated in the Law of democracy, and by the first principle established by the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, “to form a more perfect Union” of the whole people. This shift of political focus will also most likely open the opportunity for personal detachment, as master of both inner and outer reality, consistent with the wisdom of Deepack Chopra above related.
Development of the Noosphere, therefore, calls for humanization of development obtained by spiritual detachment and self-development of the creative intelligence of the mind through participatory dialogue -- the creation of meaning through words.
Development norms & networks
Robert D. Putnam, Director of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, in his seminal work of social science, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy (1993), placed great promise in the "norms and networks of civic engagement." Id., at 182-183. With such norms and networks the performance of democratic government and economic prosperity are enhanced; conversely, Putnam writes, "Where norms and networks of civic engagement are lacking, the outlook for collective action appears bleak." Id., at 183.
Putnam's prediction is strikingly consistent with findings of other researchers. For example, an Associated Press news story published August 6, 2006, describes the many dimensions of our Lonely Nation. In this story the AP reveals Americans are having great difficulty in trying to connect with each other, leading an isolated, displaced, and lonely existence at every level of their lives. Almost two decades earlier University of Chicago Professor Allan Bloom depicted the situation in which Americans exist: "This continual shifting of the sands in our desert--separation from places, persons, beliefs--produces the psychic state of nature where reserve and timidity are the prevailing dispositions. We are social solitaries." The Closing of the American Mind 117-118 (1987). Bloom's book was described by The New York Times Book Review as "An unparalleled reflection on today's intellectual and moral climate....That rarest of documents, a genuinely profound book."
Nevertheless, Bloom's conclusions are derived from the special conditions imposed on human beings by the "shifting of the sands in our desert." This is directly contrary to the natural state of human sociability. As related by Charles Darwin,
Most people will admit that we humans are social beings. We see this in our dislike of solitude, and in our wish for society beyond that of our own family. Solitary confinement is one of the severest punishments that can be inflicted. C. Darwin, The Descent of Man 84 (Second edition, 1874), quoted in D. Loye, Darwin's Lost Theory 109-15 (2007) (exploring the moral sensitivity of human beings).
While the massively increasing electronic connectivity of universal Internet has increased multicultural engagement in community life, adding promising new dimensions of economic creativity, superficiality imposed by the lack of adequate "norms and networks of civic engagement" is the dominant characteristic of this connectivity. This condition has pushed Americans into greater isolation as they 'hunker down' in the short run to avoid unwanted changes, resulting in a marked decrease in social capital, according to Putnam's latest research findings in E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century (June 2007). In the long run, Putnam observes, we should look toward the creation of "new, cross-cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities," which can most likely define successful strategies of "becoming comfortable with diversity." The New Agora of planetary civilization is the arena where the diversity of humankind will obviously have its greatest challenge.
Lovers of Democracy have proposed a framework for Knowledge Management Internet norms and networks that could offer an infrastructure for civic engagement, which squarely meets the challenge posed by Professor Putnam. Presently, the creative engagement of humanity is, paradoxically, the most underdeveloped resource on the Planet Earth. With such weak development of the intellectual and moral climate of the American civilization the prevailing culture of corruption was, perhaps, inevitable. The new civic infrastructure promises to fill that astonishing vacuum, potentially supporting the most spectacular development of the moral imagination of The Global Noosphere.
The capital resources of the whole world are potentially brought into Noosphere engagement in Cybserspace Capital, which is created when the patterns of relations between individuals and organizations in virtual space and time change to facilitate collective actions. Within this electronic channel humankind could organize the norms and networks of civic engagement to maximize all the forms of capital possessed by the global multitudes. Humankind could, thereby, move the world beyond the narrow limitations of the present mechanistic and materialistic world-view, which leads to an exclusive interest in changing the external factors for the attainment of happiness and well-being without the slightest concern about changing one's own inner nature. Beyond those limited dimensions lies Omni Capital -- the superordinate resource base of humankind that is the key to development of the Noosphere toward omnicompetence.
The setting for planetary civilization
The New Agora of planetary civilization is the dynamic setting and metaphor under which one can envision the realization of planetary ecological sustainability arising from "new, cross-cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities."
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