Search the GAIA - Site

  powered by FreeFind
insert here

Site Map    What's new?    Search



The Social "Defence-System"

 Our View of Humanity Decides our Future

 by Wolfgang Fischer

(download pdf.file) (german ) ( spanish) 

The tasks of the immune system of biological organisms are threefold:

1. to recognise and contain possible dangers,

2. to defend against damage and injury, and

3. to maintain the integrity of the organism

- i.e. in total, to safeguard that which we call health. The term 'health', as here understood, does not refer to a state but denotes a continuing process which may either be supported or gravely disturbed.

In the long process of evolution a part of the physical immune system has learned to distinguish what is alien from that which is its own, and that which is supportive from what is creating disturbance. It continues this learning process in the life of the individual. It "knows" from experience what constitutes a danger or threat, and it endeavours to keep this knowledge unreserved current so as to be able to respond adequately and flexible and thereby protect the individual's health from harm.

The continuing evolution of the primate's brain has led in humans to the emergence of a mental potential which in comparison to that of animals is "free and new". This makes it necessary to develop a kind of immune system also for the domain of ideas and ideologies so as to ensure protection from world views that are destructive and antisocial. And just as the learning processes of the body's defense system are based upon experience gathered in the course of evolution, the experience of human history forms the basis of a mental defense system.

If humanity ever wants to learn from history it needs to face reality, renouncing any view that's ideologically colored. For just as in the immune system of the individual the recognition of dangers constitutes a precondition for successfully dealing with them, the same applies to the successful maintenance of the integrity of humanity.

Wherever rational and physical experience remains connected, the mental immune system will develop undisturbed. In the life of indigenous tribes life experience and the accumulation of knowledge go hand in hand. Their trance techniques, whether induced by hallucinogens or through breathing processes, dancing or meditation, invariably serve to provide a holistic experience. Feeling and the intellect are considered of equal value and remain connected, thus ensuring the maintenance of physical and mental health.

In our modern society which seeks to set itself off against all that's linked to nature, an imbalance has arisen: the intellect is overvalued as compared to feeling; feeling and sensitivity are given a negative connotation, being considered effeminate if not a sign of weakness. Seen from a historical point of view this development - according to James DeMeo's Saharasia-Thesis - started about 4000 years ago when dramatic changes in climate in Africa and Asia forced peacefully existing societies to new social concepts. We cannot tell definitely whether or not these specific changes or others initiated the emphases of Ratio by neglecting sensitivity. Anyhow, giving more value to Ratio as compared to sensitivity created intellectual potentials. However, these growing abilities made themselves independent and on the long run lost their connection to the fundamental conditions of Life. This loss is the loss of religion in its very sense. Aggressivity getting stronger up to open and deliberate destruction of Nature only was possible by a finally systematical negation of sensitive attitude towards Life by a coldhearted intellect.

This loss of sensibility robs us of a natural regulator, aggravating the imbalance to the point of pathological destructiveness: individual pain is negated, social pain erased from reality. The dying of the diversity of species, the increasing pollution of our water, our air and our food, together with the resulting health problems - all these natural regulators in our life are being rationalized and remain inaccessible to feeling. They thus miss what is their real function: to shake us into actively changing our all-consuming way of living. Without shedding a tear we freeze and neutralize that inner force of sensation which would have the power to wake us up and move us. Pain and the feelings of joy as "vital guide rails" are not being acknowledged. The source of intuition, which makes life richer, is being dried out by only calculating reason.

Just as pain as a regulator is meant to prevent us from acting in a way that is harmful to ourselves, the feelings of joy or happiness are rewards for right action (=action that is advantageous in the evolutionary sense). Both pain and joy seek to guide the individual along a safe path. Their fallibility arises solely from the fact that they may not be acknowledged, since we are concentrating upon different, rationally based interests. In this pursuit we are separating ourselves from the reality of the given moment of sensation (=the appropriate feeling), thereby submitting to a lack of direction in the space of any given possibility which prepares the way for illusion. The illusions of 'civilized' present-day human social systems negate reality by no longer perceiving the interwoven character of all life and the resulting necessity of global cooperation and respect. This makes it increasingly difficult to respond and act meaningfully.

Illusions as Visions leading to a Loss of Reality - what are the factors facilitating them?

In comparison to the new-born of other species, human infants at birth are the least able to survive on their own and the most dependent on a postnatal learning process. In contrast to that of most animal species, the innate programming in humans is insufficient for assuring survival. And culture still is not successful in creating a social conscience for global survival.

In the case of animals, a genetic programming takes care of the survival of the individual, thereby also ensuring social cohesion, whereas humans are born into a kind of "mental vacuum". Their cerebrum needs to be filled with concepts and images of reality via a process of learning. A precondition for reality and concept to be in agreement and illusory misconception being avoided is, that this learning should be unimpeded - that experience be possible without dogmatic restrictions let alone prohibitions. Only such unrestricted process of experience will assure a meaningful psycho-cultural development.

On the other hand, any coercion to adopt a certain belief in pre-formed images precludes the authentic copying of reality in the brain, in our concepts and dreams. The perception will then be distorted, leading to a loss of truthfulness and thereby of necessity into illusion, which may be aggravated to the point of insanity.

And as reality too is subject to a continuing process of change, the illusory misconception will increase to the extent to which the mental images and concepts are dogmatically solidified as being meant never to be changed.

This shows that any political initiative that is to have practical consequences needs to face the issue of ideology, and religion in particular, for in the final analysis it is their mental potential which shapes social reality, in its insanity as well as in health.

In the domain of Christianity the concept of a God who reserves his love for the diligent and wealthy is leading to the callous exploitation of both the living and the dead resources of our planet. The idea of a Savior keeps our self-healing energies unutilized in paralyzing fatalism. The concept of a God who favors a chosen people is preventing, even after the experience of the holocaust, a learning process towards tolerant peaceableness and equal cooperation with people who have been deprived of their homeland. The concept of a God who fights for his ideas with fire and sword gives rise to the madness of a Holy War. The idea of a male God is used to disadvantage women. The idea of a God outside our human existence deprives us of our own responsibility. The mechanical idea of karma favors the maintenance of the status quo: those of low status have to blame themselves for it while those at the top can revel in their self-righteousness! The notion of re-incarnation, of having several lives, does emphasize on an individualistic EGO, which marginalizes the 'transpersonal reality', the interconnectedness of all being. The view that we exist separately from Nature and are meant to rule over it perverts the instinct of self-preservation into an unfeeling, merciless craving for power.

It is when we leave God aside to begin with, making our human existence in all its natural contingencies the focal point of our deliberations and research that we will be able to learn, in justice to ourselves, to advance our life style and ensure a future for all.

Let us take the natural laws which apply and have effect throughout the universe, without at this point pondering the question how they came into being. Let us concentrate on Life which, as physicists tell us, owes its existence on this planet solely to the light energy and organizing power of the sun. Until the emergence of mankind this power, resisting entropy, developed a continuity of fine-tuned processes of equilibrium. Characteristically, all of these promote the unfolding of their underlying potential. They thereby give rise to a development from simplicity to highly complex diversity which maintains its direction and adjustment (=justice) by means of feedback processes (=religion).

With the emergence of humanity a new kind of scales in Nature has come into being - one which still has not fully realized that finding its equilibrium is not only its task but also a precondition for its continued existence. A majority of human concepts and ideas developed in the course of history is still lingering in areas where awareness of the contexts of the biosphere is lacking. Worse still: many of them are even used to destroy this context of wholeness. In so doing, 'civilized' humanity is attacking the very foundations of its existence, a behavior which may fittingly be characterized as 'insane'. The above-mentioned examples of misconceptions, religious or otherwise, all share a lack of holistic orientation, which in view of the actually given situation renders them destructive.

A simplifying and false picture of reality is being generated when we place 'rationality' versus 'irrationality', as we normally do, thus completely neglecting our sensitive potentials. Acting rational never guarantees to act rightly, seen from a holistic perspective. Irrationality exposes itself where rational lies combine with disharmony of feelings whereas rational truth together with harmony of feelings produce 'emotional intelligence'. Irrationality based on mental and/or emotional deficits is being opposed by emotional intelligence of mature human wisdom.

Solidarity with life finally proves human maturity

It is by activating and utilizing our full rational and sensitive potential that we shall be able to learn to recognize, and accept, the holistic nature of the natural laws we are subject to. And we must learn to comply with them, for they are our actual roots that ensure our survival.

However, doing this we need to expand our view to take in a global perspective. If it remains limited to the concerns of an elitist minority, we will be violating the laws of wholeness and health and miss out on our salvation.

Human history is dotted with examples of partial knowledge being used in the service of a small elite as an instrument against others. In our times, such repressive conduct is leading to more than just a limited conflict: it is the harbinger of catastrophes on a global scale. Nor can it be overcome unless we open our perception. Only a precise knowledge of the global laws governing Life will bear fruit in holistic ethical values of a culture deserving to be called truly human. In this culture, not only practices such as clitoral circumcision or cannibalism will be perceived to be a-natural, but likewise colonialism, neo-liberalism and all the rest of pseudo-religious/ ideological/moral concepts, all of which when measured by the exigencies of global survival are counterproductive. Such perception is the basis for a global humanism which is fully conscious of its inherent connectedness with the given conditions of life and survival, and will therefore take responsibility for its actions to the benefit of all involved.

This I consider to be the starting point of any political vision that seeks to support the development of society in the direction of world-wide solidarity. Party platforms only will be socially helpful if they meet the challenges of the reality of life. Religion only will be cultural productive under the condition easy to understand and onward leading if real answers to people's questions are offered. Liberation/emancipation and a healthy development assume mental flexibility as well as the readiness to learn.

Dogmatism hampers mental growth

Outdated, fundamentalistic, and dogmatic answers tend to become rationally untrue thus becoming false, like irrationality of metaphysics. When Christian tradition invites us 'become again like children', this invitation aims at the children's mental freedom, their huge power of imagination, their ability to admire and to believe. Again we should be able to perceive and trust our visions. Visions are trans-cultural resembling perspectives on future. Their source is the hope of human soul for solidarity among people and with nature. We regain our chances to make come true our deeply routed visions and hopes for peace and security only if we really believe in them.

'Free from prejudice' - it is exactly this unspoiled belief in ourselves and our inner potentials which is abused by religious institutions world-wide. Religious as well as ideological tutelage does violence to the 'divine' within humans. Tutelage, with its coerced belief in prefabricated ideas creates the monster out of us, the real evil. Subjugation ensures a continuous discord by violence-addicted use of power.

"A childlike belief " encourages, enforces one's own opinion and leads to a encreasing readiness to engage actively in all questions of public interest. Today, this becomes more and more necessary as political parties only pretend to stand for general welfare. Long ago they have lost perspectives which could encourage solidarity. They have become selfishly subservient to the dictates of Capital, and on a global scale are trying to excuse this subservience by portraying it as in accordance with natural law, hence not allowing any alternative. They will continue to lose their credibility to the extent to which their 'neo-liberal' policies solely subservient to isolated interests and due to their home-made narrowed horizon continues to produce impoverishment and social misery by following a defective spiritual orientation.

Moreover, as the people's hunger for answers to their social problems and questions is growing, so too is the danger of irresponsible answers being offered. To immunize society against this danger, we need to encourage visions which offer truly holistic answers. The forming of a critical opinion along the lines of the thoughts here presented would constitute an effective social defence system against man made life threatening dangers. It is my hope that there are still a sufficient number of intellectuals around who, on account of their mental flexibility and emotional empathy, would be able to convey this: All life stems from the same source, and the foundation of a healthy future is universal cooperation. A Cooperative Competition by raising the social standards serves the realization of the newly set goal of a worldwide sustainable society. This goal is identical with Paradise as portrayed by the various religions.

Taking into account the laws of nature and the requirements of eco-social health, the vision here outlined portrays the picture of a kind of present of which humans need no longer be ashamed. The realization of this, however, requires not only a change in consciousness but also concrete action in accordance with it.

The vision of world-wide peace, the interconnectedness of all being

The basis of moral acting is awareness of reality, which is the human prerequisite for a flourishing future. 'Awareness of reality' is nothing but mysticism.

And mysticism, unfortunately, still is not yet a generally accepted issue among those people in front of the switchboards of power, who try to plan the future. Many indigenous peoples with their traditional knowledge being orally passed on and people who are able to practise sympathy never have been alienated from mysticism. Unfortunately, scientific world-view still does not realize the potential and value of an 'inner perception' thus neglecting basic connections. This is why we find such an irreverence concerning the interconnectedness of all being, the disregard of universal welfare. Support of 'partial' interests neglects the universal interests of life, is a vital mistake which strengthens the tyranny of power or majority and represents a threat for all of us. The use of weapons to find decisions does not refer to a guaranteed future. War and terror are nothing but an addicted clinging to a destuctive and degenerated way of living. They only increase insecurity and never create peace.

Here I see the worldwide opponents of corporate globalization, the anti-WTO activists, amnesty international, Greenpeace, WEED, civil peace forces - to mention but a few groups of the society which is participatorily organizing itself from below - on paths alternative and supplementary in direction to grassroot democracy or other forms and facets of a non-violent social existence.

"Liberté, égalité, fraternité!" (Equality, fraternity, liberty!) was once the catch-cry of a European revolution.

Today this motto, amplified by the words "tolerance, justice, socio-ecological sustainability" might serve to coordinate a global movement of solidarity which will be able to constitute an alternative force against the - solely economically motivated - push towards globalization. The neo-liberal dogma of a crushing competition in all fields of life for the benifit of Capital leads directly to universal destruction.

Only a merciless intellectual and emotional evaluation of the established system of canonized greed and lies and of gloryfied destruction and death, which would continue to lead us into ever increasing misery, can produce awareness of the true reality of our situation. Only then can the commitment and energy required for transformation and healing occur on all levels of society including within the minds and hearts of politicians and corporate executives.

This awareness of the urgency and magnitude of the desperate global situation automatically confers a moral imperative on everybody without exception and it takes precedence over any contradictory laws or customs. If those sharing similar concern and motivation can work together in united and effective action to create change like for example the implementation of the polluter pays principle, and if this happens all over the globe at the same time, this can create a simultaneous policy (SP), on the basis of which decisions on social-ecological affairs all over the world can be made at the same time. Thus overcoming synergetically two decisive disadvantages of the current political system: destructive competition and profits at the cost of the general public and the environment. No nation, no corporation, no peoples, not a single person would lose out.

Simultaneous Policy is a quantum leap in respect to the quality of social action which is led by global responsibility. Problems could effectively be solved, hunger and all the destructive aspects of our current system could be banished. The concentrating on common values within a global perspective will strengthen the immune system of humanity. The vital potential will be reinvigorated whilst the reactionary, patriarchal forces of alienation and suppression - whether represented by multinational corporations, despots or ideological/ religious misconceptions in their manifold forms - will be denied all further support. Utilizing the liberated resources we will begin on a global scale to dismantle the man-made threats to the health of the planet and its inhabitants. Mental blueprints which do recognize natural dependencies of mankind gain new, creative potentials and start with taking the feasibility of a socio-ecological alternative for granted as a matter of course. It is, after all, our only chance of an open future.

We begin to work actively for the maintenance of the integrity of life. Fallible as humanity may be, the natural indicator of feeling pain or joy - no longer subject to emotional alienation or dogmatic misrepresentation - will mature into a mental immune system. Characteristic expression of a fully functioning mental immun system are sensitivity and intuition which will effectively protect us from turning human faults into inhumane systems.

-- > Paul Hawken: Blessed Unrest

ISPO International Simultaneous Policy Organisation

Here is more on the subject: - -

 (german version)

contact us
visitor's book
contents / links

Emanzipation Humanum, version 12.2003, translation from german to english by Rainer Taëni. Criticism, suggestions as to form and content, dialogue, translation into other languages are all desired