Sunday, June 04, 2006

You should find out too

"The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race."
- Don Marquis, American humorist best known for his stories about Archy (a cockroach who left him poems on his typewriter) and Mehitabel (a cat) (1878-1937)

The pivotal word of this quotation is "progress."

First of all, the primary objective of all known life forms is reproduction, to pass on their genetic code in as many ways as possible, as often as possible. Humans have done that well, especially over the past two centuries.

A successful species is one that can adapt to as many changes as present themselves through nature. Humans live in all parts of the world. Only bacteria are known to have a wider diaspora.

Judging by the primary objective of life, increasing numbers, and our adaptability, humans have made enormous progress as members of the animal kingdom.

Although we have distinct characteristics that make us different from other life forms on the planet, we have yet to prove that we can surpass the greatest barrier of all to our success as a species: overcoming our natural tendency to be brutal with each other. That involves setting aside our drives for personal gain and satisfaction in favour of the progress and health of our species as a social group.

Like other vertebrate social animals, we work and play together in groups when it suits our purposes, but we become extremely selfish when the opportunity or the need presents itself. Unlike the fictional Vulcans of Star Trek fame, the good of the many does not yet supercede the good of the few (or the one) for us.

Yet now it must. Global business interests force us to take responsibility for the social and psychological welfare of people around the globe. Not likely? In fact, it will happen.

Not long ago it was inconceivable that we could use a device to speak with a person or exchange written messages with a person internationally in real time. Most of us had no need to do so. Now we buy products and use services provided by people from anywhere, and we can order these or provide our own order services to others almost instantaneously.

Our business leaders know what they must to expand their business globally. What they don't know and our political leaders don't know is how to manage the social implications of these invasions. We see China expanding its industry at an unsustainable rate to make products to sell to the world, but we don't see what will happen when the Chinese who make these products insist on the same standard of living as the people who buy the products they make, for example.

The world has existed in relative ignorance of those in other parts of the planet since before history was recorded. It cannot happen any longer. Ignorance won't work. It has never worked successfully over long periods of time in any society in history. Now that we are in the process of becoming one global society, albeit while embracing many different cultures, we must begin the social process of educating ourselves about something more than work.

Can that happen before we kill each other off? Very likely. We already have global interests of a social nature due to diseases such as AIDS and bird flu. And members of the United Nations send peacekeepers, agricultural experts, health experts and community building experts to war torn, nature-ravaged and socially wrecked parts of the globe.

Social development begins with caring for others. A large majority of people do care for others, both in their own and in less fortunate parts of the world. However, generally speaking, we don't know what to do, how to help ourselves develop socially in the directions we want to go.

That's where Turning It Around comes in. The book has a plan to find out what people want to happen, then to implement these in the form of laws and teaching curriculum so that the objectives that everyone wants can be reached within the shortest possible time.

We can make it happen. Now we know how. You should find out too.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to push us toward positive progress on a global scale.
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