(Parte 2 de 6)

What has been handed down to us does not seem to be working for the majority of people. With the advances in science and technology over the last two hundred years, you may be asking: “does it have to be this way?” With the observable fact that scientific knowledge makes our lives better when applied with concern for human welfare and environmental protection, there is no question that science and technology can produce abundance so that no one has to go without. But the misuse and abuse of technology seems to make things worse.

The problems we face in the world today are mostly of our own making. We must accept that our future depends on us. While the values represented by religious leaders over the centuries have inspired many to act in a socially responsible manner, others have gone to war over their differences in religious beliefs. Hopes for divine intervention by mythical characters are delusions that cannot solve the problems of our modern world. The future of the world is our responsibility and it depends upon decisions we make today. We are our own salvation or damnation.

The shape and solutions of the future rely totally on the collective effort of people working together. We are all an integral part of the web of life. What affects other people and the environment has consequences in our own lives as well.

What is needed is a change in our sense of direction and purpose -- an alternative vision for a sustainable new world civilization unlike any in the past. Although this vision is highly compressed here, it is based on years of study and experimental research.

These writings offer possible alternatives for striving toward a better world. It arrives at decisions using the scientific method. Like any new approach, it requires some imagination and a willingness to consider the unconventional in order to be appreciated. Remember that almost every new concept was ridiculed, rejected, and laughed at when first presented, especially by the experts of the time.

That’s what happened to the first scientists who said the earth was round, the first who said it went around the sun, and the first who thought people could learn to fly. You could write a whole book, and many have, just on things that people thought were impossible up until the time they happened. Imagine going to the moon, for example! Your greatgrandparents would have laughed at such a notion! Such notions were the ramblings of science fiction writers. Many forward thinking people have been locked up and even executed for saying such things as the earth wasn’t the center of the universe.

Those who fought for social justice and change had even greater difficulties. People advocating change were beaten, abused, put in prison, and brutally murdered. For example, Wangari Maathai, who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Peace Price on December 10, 2004 was tear gassed, beaten unconscious, and imprisoned for fighting against deforestation in Kenya, Africa. Dianne Fosse, the naturalist who actively strived to protect declining gorilla populations from poachers, was found hacked to death in her hut. Unfortunately she did not provide for the needs of the poachers. Any number of volumes could be written on the hardships endured by those who sought change that threatened the status quo.

(1)The world hunger problem: Facts, figures and statistics http://library.thinkquest.org/C002291/high/present/stats.htm

(2) Hunger Report 2004. Bread for the World Institute Hunger Facts: International

Chapter Two All Things Change

In our dynamic universe all things change, from the farthest reaches of outer space to the movement of continents. Change occurs in all living and nonliving systems. The history of civilization is the story of change from the simple to the more complex. Human ingenuity and invention bear witness to this fact. No system can remain static for long; most of the monarchies have been replaced by other forms of government and societies based on the will of the people, not kings, have evolved. Unfortunately, the changes are not always for the best.

Although we accept the inevitability of change, humans meet it with a lot of resistance. In most cases, change threatens those in positions of advantage and for the most part they are there in the first place to keep things the way they are. This is true for any society, whether the power structure is religious, military, socialist, capitalist, communist, fascist, or tribal. The leaders will attempt to hold back change. Sometimes, even when conditions are terrible for the majority of people, the people themselves may resist change because there is comfort in the familiar. We refer to them as the un-appointed guardians of the system.

constant. We can be sure that the history of humankind is one of change

But no matter how much people resist, human civilization is no exception to the fact of change. Change occurs in all social systems, and is the only

Yet at every turn, vested interests (those who have the most to gain in keeping things the way they are) oppose even technological changes. For example, earlier in the twentieth century, defenders of the horsemounted cavalry delayed development of the tank. So entrenched was this tradition that when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, their tank division faced Polish soldiers still mounted on horseback.

It was obvious that the horse soldiers did not stand a chance. The development of aircraft threatened tank divisions. Then pilots and aircraft designers fought to hold back the development of guided missiles. The missile men fought to hold back the development of laser weapons. And so it goes.

If we wonder why we are still faced with many of the same problems our ancestors had when our technological capabilities so surpass theirs, we must consider that we have been here such a short time that we could almost be called “newborn.” If you were to use a twenty-four hour clock to represent the time since life began on earth, it would show that humans have only been in existence since the last minute of the twenty-fourth hour. Only during the last few seconds of the last minute have modern humans begun to use scientific methods to find out the most effective ways of getting things done. We are just now beginning to hit our stride. More new knowledge has been created from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present than in the previous billion years. Change is almost everywhere.

If life at times seems bewildering - if you feel pulled in many directions, if you find that no matter what you do, you still have sticky problems, if you find that our economic, political, and social ways of doing things sometimes create more difficulties than they solve - then you are simply playing your part in suffering through the present transitional phase of our civilization.

Chapter Three Using the Scientific Method

What Have We Here

Until scientific inquiry came of age, human beings could not comprehend their relationship to the physical world, so they invented their own explanations. These explanations tended to be simplistic and in many cases harmful. For example, if one knows a tidal wave is approaching and chooses to stay and pray for deliverance rather than leaving, this could be detrimental to his/her survival. People used to believe that plagues and diseases were retributions of an angry God, but the scientific method found that many diseases were carried by rats and lice, and caused by germs.

It is not that scientists are close-minded regarding these issues—it’s just that their acceptance of ideas requires more sophisticated standards and methods of inquiry.

The scientific method helps to diminish biases, prejudices, and preconceived notions. The method requires that statements be verified and that researchers find out through experimentation just what works and what doesn’t. Scientists ask the question “what do we have here?” and then they proceed to do experiments to determine the nature of the physical world.

This process requires that experiments be verified by others who must get the same results. One of the major developments in science was the realization that we can not acquire answers to problems just intuitively. It requires painstaking laborious effort and time to find solutions and answers. Often many failures come before any new findings.

The Language of Science

The communication of ideas and information usually starts with language, but when you see how misunderstood you may be in daily life, you know this can be a confusing task. Our everyday language evolved through centuries of cultural change and unfortunately, it is difficult to resolve conflicting ideas by using it. In most instances, because of varying backgrounds and life experiences, the same word can have different meanings for different people. One’s thoughts may be interpreted differently by others even when using the same language.

But there is a language that is easily understood by many, even in different parts of the world. This language has a high degree of physical correlation with the real world. There is little to no confusion in it. In different scientific fields such as engineering, mathematics, chemistry, and other technical areas, we have the nearest thing to a descriptive universal language that leaves little room for one’s own unique interpretation.

For instance, if a blueprint for an automobile is given to any technologically developed society anywhere in the world, regardless of political or religious belief, the finished product will be the same. This language was deliberately designed as a more appropriate way to state a problem. It is nearly free of vague interpretations and ambiguities.

Many of the great technical strides made in our modern day would have been unattainable without this improved communication. Without a common descriptive language, we would have been unable to prevent diseases, increase crop yields, talk over thousands of miles, or build bridges, dams, transportation systems, and the many other technological marvels of this computerized age.

Applying and understanding General Semantics is essential to improving communication. Semantics has been defined in many different ways. Briefly, it is an attempt to improve communication through the careful use of language. For example, terms like “Arab”, “Jew”, or “Irishman” have slightly different meanings to different people. Similar words have various meanings depending on differences in background and experience. This also applies to words like understanding, conscience, democracy, reality, love, etc. To have intelligent discussions using certain words, it is essential to ask what one means by the words being used. If one wishes to communicate in a meaningful way, it is best to have people define their terms. Semantics is just one instrument that may help improve communication. A useful book for this subject is Tyranny of Words by Stuart Chase.

Can we apply the Methods of Science to how we Design our Society?

The discovery of scientific principles enables us to validate and test many proposals. If someone claims that a certain structural element can support a specific number of pounds per square inch, this statement can be tested and either accepted or rejected based on the test results. It is this testing which enables us to design and construct bridges, buildings, ships, aircraft, and other mechanical wonders.

Almost everyone you know will go for the scientific way when it comes to surgery, airplane rides, or building things like skyscrapers, bridges, and cars. Over the centuries, we seem to have developed a consensus that when it comes to matters of personal safety, we will go with the science rather than the magic. Why is that? Probably because it works, and everybody can see that it does.

Then why don’t we do that when it comes to planning our societies: our cities, transportation systems, agriculture, health care, and so on? If you thought we were already doing all those things scientifically, look again! If science has a lot to do with what works, then clearly there’s much about today’s social and economic setup that isn’t scientific, because things aren’t working very well for a majority of the world’s population or the environment. If they were, war, poverty, hunger, homelessness, pollution, etc., would not be so prevalent today. Unfortunately our social structures evolved with no overall global planning.

One condition for the assignment of redesigning society is that your social design must live within the carrying capacity of our planet. This means our resources have to support life on the planet for everyone. This will certainly require scientific methods of evaluation.

If one wishes to put a person on the moon, one cannot just build a rocket and head for the moon. We must first test what forces the human body can stand. We would put a person in a centrifuge to see just how many “G’s” the body can withstand. We would put a person through a barrage of tests. For instance, we would test to see how the body functions in a gravity- free environment and the effects on human health. We would also need to have information about survival possibilities on the moon; for example, is there water, air, an acceptable temperature range, etc.

In much the same way we must look at the entire planet as a whole and ask “what have we here?” We want to apply this same intelligent method of planning using a scientific system of Earth sciences for planetary survival. The degree to which we don’t apply this scientific method to the way we live on Earth may very well determine the unnecessary amount of suffering that will occur.

How do we do this?

Chapter Four Existing Myths

The Rule of Law

Many people feel that we need the rule of law to eliminate our problems. But is it more laws that we need? We have many laws – thousands upon thousands of them - but they are constantly being broken.

For instance, there are thousands of laws against stealing. But if we examine this more closely and look at the statistics, we find that a few people control most of the earth’s resources. Most people have insufficient money to purchase even the barest of necessities. How can we think that without altering these conditions, the passing of a law will prevent stealing? This is even more difficult when advertising makes products so enticing. Almost unknowingly, people in the US are exposed to over 2500 advertisements a day.

Even a peace treaty cannot prevent another war if the underlying causes are not dealt with. Laws for international cooperation do not deal with the reasons we need the laws -- they just tend to freeze things as they are. Regardless of treaties, nations that have conquered land all over the world by force and violence still retain their positions of territorial and resource advantage. Treaties are only a band-aid on the problems and usually only work to postpone conflict for a short time.

Perhaps what is needed are different people in government, ethical people who are concerned about others. Maybe they will wipe out corruption and work towards everyone’s well-being. But even if the most ethical people were elected to high position and we ran out of resources, there would still be lying, cheating, stealing, and corruption. It is not ethical people that are needed but rather a way of intelligently managing the Earth’s resources for everyone’s well-being.

(Parte 2 de 6)

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