New Metaphors, Myths, and Values for a Steady State Future.
This essay was awarded a Mitchell Prize for essays on sustainable futures in 1979,
making Robert L. Chianese, Ph. D., a 1979 Mitchell Laureate.
It is published in Coomer, James C. ed. Quest for a Sustainable Society.
Pergamon Press. New York, 1981,
"Values lag behind the genius of technology"
--A. Resnais, Hiroshima Mon Amour
MYTHS ABOUT THE FUTURE AND PERPETUAL GROWTH
Our visions of the future reveal our dreams, fears and realistic expectations about the place and time in which we hope to live out our destinies. The longing for a better future, usually with vast material and social improvements, informs the heart of Western thinking from Plato and Thomas More to B. F. Skinner and Buckminster Fuller. The history of Western thought looks backwards in time and deep into human nature to discover essential contours of our being that could enable us to design a future compatible with our best and most characteristic qualities. This quest is utopian, scientific, and religious, and it marks a long commitment to material and spiritual values which shape and color our images of the future.
Signs of the powerful influence of these values on our notions of the future, though often hidden, can be found everywhere, for values pervade language, thought and action. Visions of the future in popular films, for example, reveal familiar assumptions. Luke fights Darth Vader in Star Wars, and Apollo fights the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica: here, human intuition and individual bravery combat villainous arch-antagonists who are soul-less machines programmed to destroy. This apocalyptic battle pits the artful intelligence of freedom-loving human beings against the limited responses of beasts and automatons and reaches back into pre-history to reveal Ulysses, Beowulf and Arthur as the ancient forebears of Luke, Apollo, Flash, Buck and their kin. The depiction of the future itself in these films, however, is more revealing than the dialogue or action, for it looks incredibly man-made. Space operas feature totally fabricated worlds and giant vessels, where computers, power sources, battlements and other technical hardware constitute the living environment. Indeed, human beings in the future live by means of machine microcosms even as they do battle with mechanical demons.
Perhaps such a vision points to current ambivalence about technology and anxiety over our loss of freedom in depending on it. Kubrick's 2001 makes this theme its subject, and, like the other films, defines the future in a by-now familiar way: first, that the future unfolds up and out among the planets and stars through technological advances; second, that the unspoiled Earth is either a distant memory or a future dream; and third, that our old, deep-rooted problems will continue to haunt us like unremitting ghosts, though we will become wizards of applied science. This view of the future epitomizes the principle and often unacknowledged assumptions of many scholars, writers, technicians, scientists, professional futurists, and ordinary citizens: technical progress will proceed apace, the Earth will recede in importance as a theater for the drama of humankind, and people will remain much the same--particularly in maintaining current racial, sexual, economic, and class power structures as they continue to search for freedom and peace out in the stars.
These ideas about the future, which together form the outline of a pervasive myth, capable of many plots and stories, may be so popular because it seems such an inevitable step from our previous history, embodies so many of our values, and posits continuity in the face of tremendous change. Presumably it is comforting to imagine the wielder of a photon weapon having trouble getting a date, and it is reassuring to see women and blacks in less than command positions, still supporting white, male leaders. Nevertheless, this vision of the future derives its appeal from an even more widespread assumption most people make about the future itself --namely, that it represents a "natural" growth and expansion of the present. This concept reveals the linear and materialistic bias of Western thought even as we attempt to define metaphysical abstractions such as space and time. In sum, we define the future as more, later! Almost every chart and graph in the West moves from left to right, from less to more, from the past or present to the future. Time moves away and out for us, like a seed growing in the ground, ramifying into a splendid tree. Time bears fruit, is pregnant with importance, etc. These ideas coalesce into a nexus of assumptions that forms a mythology of growth. This mythology, which permeates modern culture and often serves as its official and acknowledged creed, gives growth, expansion, and progress the status of world metaphors for success in life.
It is no great leap from this idea to believing that growth occurs best without restraints and that life itself is a struggle for unlimited expansion through individual competitions over territory and resources. In the West, Nature herself is believed to operate by the presumed law of exploitive self-preservation, and we hold that human life should be modeled on evidence we find in nature for an opportunistic and expansionist life-process. It is no wonder that screen battles in the future, where resources and space would presumably be inexhaustible, still take the form of imperial struggles for territory, material wealth and a way of life. Space, itself a metaphor for infinitude, becomes the ultimate booty for victors whose motives are clearly colonial.
Even more sober accounts of our "conquest" of space highlight the increased energy, mineral and food supplies that space factories could provide us in much the same language of the corporate executive projecting future business growth. Indeed, space in America has become a commercial enterprise, with scientists, astronauts and lecturers on the futurist circuit extolling the investment benefits and social virtues of the exploration and exploitation of space. J. Peter Vajk in Doomsday Has Been Cancelled presents an elaborate defense of space colonization as the natural continuation of our quest for unlimited material prosperity, which he sees as the means to our growth as a species, including the development of a higher consciousness. In a chapter significantly entitled "The Endless Horizon," Vajk draws this portrait:
As the human population of the solar system grows, and as the total economy of the space communities expands and becomes more intricate and complex, small groups of people will have the opportunity to set out on their own, homesteading the asteroid belt or various orbits around other planets, to pursue whatever visions or lifestyles they may choose. In less than a hundred years human settlements will be found in most parts of the solar system, with no possibility overcrowding--after all, more than just a little bit of space is available out there (1).
This scenario projects the myth of the frontier into the extraterrestrial dimension, where Vajk's homesteaders brook no restrictions on their freedom of choice. All limits or value conflicts are avoided through continued growth and expansion, and all hope for the future depends on having "more": "If we are to have a humane and positive future, the production of food for human consumption must expand as the population increases" (p. 67). These good intentions Vajk wants to achieve through "social reforms" which do away with mismanagement and "inequities" in food distribution in backward nations. But to solve other problems, Vajk's space explorers will have to turn a profit and, with exclusive access to the bounty they discover there, they will be able to use their privileged vantage point in space to exact a high price. Would they, once at home in their self-contained and efficiently designed colonies, want to rescue the messy and problematic Earth? The personality of the space-merchant--the competitive, materialistic, progress-oriented, business-adventurer--puts grave qualifications on the conquest of space as a final solution to the energy, environmental, and social problems that beset us. Finally, Vajk provides surprisingly few examples of how the space program will actually solve present problems, for his real mission is offering positive countervisions to the doomsdays he finds in other writers on the future, particularly those advocating limitations to growth.
STEADY STATE CULTURAL CENTERS
This sketch of the origins and pervasiveness of the mythology of growth is meant to suggest the extent of the difficulty confronting world leaders who are preparing the way now for viable steady-state societies in the future. People will resist "no growth" and "steady-state" as philosophies fit for a defeated race if the metaphoric equations between the future and natural expansion, between growth and unlimited competition are allowed to stand. In such a context, steady-state is seen as a stalemate against the human spirit.
This is more than an image problem for steady-state, though the term, with its unfortunate suggestions of an austere and colorless standstill, needs to be replaced. If, for instance, we substitute the term "dynamic equilibrium" for “steady-state,” we clarify and add attractiveness to the idea of limits. A dynamic equilibrium describes a condition of balanced change along defined limits; it adds action and motion to the concept of "steadiness" and characterizes the manner by which change proceeds as a harmonious balance of all moving parts within a self-contained system. (Calder's mobiles are sculptural dynamic equilibriums, whereas "steady-state" seems sculpturally analogous to a static monolith.) The new term more accurately conveys the nature of a "no growth" society, which will change and continue to present risky challenges to the imagination and stamina of its inhabitants as they strive to maintain a balance.
Growth has other forms besides unlimited material expansion, and freedom can be defined as the opportunity to cooperate and not compete. Natural growth can be shown to be dependent on strict laws that regulate recycling ecosystems within the balance of the Earth, while unlimited expansion of a single part at the expense of the whole is one way of describing cancer. Inner growth, the expansion of mutual interdependencies and the development of the human character free of material definition are versions of growth that involve the quality and depth of our lives and not quantities and products. Such modified myths of growth are compatible with a steady-state future and need to be shown as attractive alternatives to the destructive ones that dominate us now.
The contest between these two views of growth pits expansion, territoriality, competition, and exploitation on one side against steady-state, shared resources, cooperation, and interdependence on the other. The conflict points to a much larger issue than the solution of environmental problems, or population pressures or unequal distribution of goods. It reveals our current dilemma to be a crisis of our basically dual nature --selfish and altruistic, acquisitive and generous, hostile and gregarious, repressive and ecstatic, impulsive and thoughtful. It is as if after eight million years of evolutionary and cultural history, we must in the next fifty to one hundred years face the ultimate issue, ourselves: whether our capacity for rational cooperation in the art of living on Earth or even in space can win over our proclivity for competitive self-interest, which will destroy us. In sum, the problem is power, not energy, greed not resources, and solutions must fit the political and cultural nature of the problem at the persuasive level of values and fundamental assumptions.
The project envisioned here addresses this need directly by founding steady-state cultural centers throughout the world to foster new habits and attitudes about cooperative coexistence in a world of limits. The centers would attempt to become a source of cultural transformation through the critique of destructive myths and the promotion of alternative ones. In revising the "mythology" of modern society, the centers would provide models for change that reach society's very core--its shared inner life. On one level, this mythology consists of actual legends and stories, which entertain people and instruct them in their collective origin and history. (For example, the myth of the virgin land and the story of Paul Bunyon.) This kind of myth is often seen merely as a fanciful diversion from reality or an imaginative remolding of it. Others view such myths as products of "primitive" minds, using magical tales to quell the gods or expiate natural forces. Freud saw myths as public dreams, signaling pathological disorder in the body politic. Still others grant myths the status of careful descriptions of reality or pre-scientific explanations of empirical phenomenon. The centers would be guided by the notion that mythic stories and legends continue to exert strong influence on people because their imagery and plots reveal the life-fulfilling needs and healthy longings of the human psyche. Such a view holds that the essential purpose of myths is to improve the dialogue between the holistic and integrative unconscious and the analytic and linear conscious and that myths guide us in forming a cosmos, on a unified world view, out of the disorganized flow of experience.
On another level, the mythology of modern society comprises its characteristic "fictions” and its accepted and inherited fixations, which may or may not surface as manifest tales. These "ideas" constitute the fundamental assumptions that people think with rather than think about. They may be said to structure consciousness itself and thereby organize the human environment in pervasive ways. (For example, "good is straight and true and right.") They at once fuel a society, channel its driving energies and mark its ingrained prejudices. The basic values of a society find expression in these assumptions. Both a society's ''ideas" and its legends represent adaptive forces of stability and therefore act to resist change. The centers will therefore attempt to modify them and graft new varieties to existing stock, in the belief that the appropriateness of this revised mythology will enable it to serve as a catalyst for the change of values and habits of thought required for the creation and maintenance of a steady-state society.
These centers would be dedicated to the following set of principles and ideals:
--that life is an infinite mystery, full of paradox, which art, science and human understanding only partly comprehend; respect for and love of that mystery must be a central human concern
--human potential is unlimited and is developed by challenging the unknown;
--that the goal of human life is full exploration and uninhibited satisfaction of one's capacities, talents and desires through enduring relationships with others;
--that material acquisitiveness is the greatest deflection from such a goal and the transformation of people into dull, anxiety-ridden consumers its most sorry consequence;
--that one of the most complex things in the universe is human, pluralistic community, which presents the ultimate challenge for thinking, moral creatures today;
--that no individual human being can be whole or complete until all are so, for humanity is a single creature;
--that human survival is at stake because of greed.
This collection of statements would serve to guide the centers in their operations, informing them with a general outlook rather than defining a specific creed.
These centers would serve society somewhat in the way organizations for institutional development serve a business, a region, a profession, or a university. Lead by a director or coordinating team, they would offer selected people the opportunity and resources to launch planned social change. In their commitment to a particular set of values, the centers differ from the typical "think tank," since the task forces developed through them would be the actual source of change. To be effective, they would address a wide audience through the mass media, the arts, drama, films, books, lectures and exhibitions, where myths and values are most powerfully communicated. They would try to revolutionize culture not through force, but through the persuasiveness, quality, and ethical soundness of an art, mythology, and new order of ideas that celebrate the values of cooperative restraints in a sustainable society.
The pool of people to direct or work at the centers is large: it includes everyone with a basic commitment to cooperative coexistence. Since this principle is not overly restrictive, the various projects the centers would sponsor would be extremely diverse and treat a wide range of issues from different approaches, thus allowing numerous people with heterogeneous backgrounds, personalities, and talents to participate. This would include a large segment of women, who might find the centers a unifying vehicle for their own liberation activities, one that many men would support just as enthusiastically. It would also include retired people and those who have left lucrative careers, dissatisfied with "the system," and those who have as yet been unable to find one. Artists, intellectuals and academics, as well as people in professions, government, and business, who are critical of a wasteful and debilitating society, would find a creative outlet for their ideas and talents. Many people already working in areas such as consumer advocacy, alternative energy technologies, and environmental and health movements, would discover strong affinities between their goals and the goals of the "steady-state" centers. In essence, many people in our society who at this point have rejected the reckless consumption and self-serving profiteering of the establishment, in spirit if not in fact, and who now seem diffused and isolated in single-issue politics or narrow social experiments, would discover a focus and a constructive form for their energies. Indeed the founding of this loosely organized counter-establishment would galvanize a large segment of people in search of new ideals and could alter significantly the collective psyche of society by bringing a critical and creative mentality to the forefront of social consciousness.
Once chartered by a regional or national coordinating committee to undertake specified tasks, a center could start work with a handful of personnel. People would apply to join work groups by explaining their ideas about announced projects to the center's local coordinating team, which would make the selection. Depending on the nature of the project, people would work at the center, at home or elsewhere. Since much of the effort would result in public entertainments and educational materials and programs, the center could preview its productions with the help of an advisory board. This board, made up of people dedicated to the center but with limited time, would offer suggestions for improvement but would not have veto authority. The coordinating team, working with the participants themselves, would be responsible for quality control. Conflicts over content would seek resolution through the regional committee, which would be charged with applying the widest interpretation possible to what constitutes effective "steady-state" material.
In an example of the kind of work these steady-state cultural centers could produce, a task force or a whole center might undertake to revise the traditional concept of the hero. Hero-myths usually involve a male quester searching for himself. The archetypal pattern of this myth sets tests of strength and prowess as impediments in the hero's way to self-discovery. He must realize and accept hidden aspects of his own nature before he wins the sacred treasure of freedom and understanding. The story often becomes a paradigm of individual (male) ascendancy and a symbol of psychological growth--from dependence to independence, from youth to maturity. It is enacted by heroes from many cultures and eras, from Gilgamesh, Prometheus, Buddha and Christ to Huck Finn and Superman. The embellished biographies of historical figures such as Lincoln and Mao, Rembrandt and Beethoven, and Darwin and Einstein erroneously stress their self-made character; and types such as the knight, the samurai and the cowboy glamorize self-sufficiency. This nearly universal myth, which is essentially an initiation rite into experience itself, stars, as Joseph Campbell has said, a hero with a thousand faces.
To make this myth more compatible with a steady-state society requires an important shift in emphasis. (Replacing the male hero with an androgynous quester improves it but does not change the basic pattern and point of the story.) The self-reliant figure often discovers that the crucial parts of himself with which he must come to terms are embodied in others and that his growth depends upon the integration of them into his own personality, usually through love. This key aspect of the myth must be stressed n that personal freedom and the fulfillment of one's inner desires require other people. The myth's paradoxical conclusion defines growth and personal freedom as the extension of one's responsibilities to others. Thus, in a revision, the collective aspect of the self (psyche) needs emphasis, as well as the collaborative nature of the quest. The "hero" cannot be allowed to forget his dependence on others, whether it be in the form of servants, sages, companions, combatants--or society and tradition themselves. A refocused initiation myth must place emphasis on the conclusion of the quest and reveal the sacred treasure as interdependence. A team of male and female characters as the protagonist could itself make this point, especially in a story of collective self-discovery and an assault on group fear and ignorance. The challenges could involve the solution of technological, environmental or social problems rather than the destruction of some villainous scapegoat. The crisis would test the bond of cooperation and synergy between them rather than individual might. None of the vigor and danger of the old stories needs be sacrificed, especially their mystery, frivolity, sensuousness, and their joy in eccentric personality. "Revisions" must avoid the clinical purity, the jargon and the dogmatism of the zealous ideologue.
In this example, the centers would then seek ways to promote the new myth, mainly through commercial ventures. The range of possibilities is enormous: exposure in popular entertainment, the creation of schools of art, the development of toys and games, and the production of educational materials. Revised versions of familiar tales, stories and legends that employ the hero myth or altogether new stories could be written and illustrated for young audiences in book or comic book form, along with action-figures and games that feature the protagonists. New scripts for those current T.V. series that are most adaptable to the redesigned content of the myth can be written and completely new series can be introduced. Even quiz and game shows that involve tests of collective knowledge and ability could be devised. Stock situation comedy, soap operas and talk shows are prime sources of popular attitudes about cultural values. No serious attempt at cultural transformation can ignore them and the centers could introduce their own or promote the introduction of new material in these and other popular art forms.
Other notions that reinforce exploitive growth need to be analyzed and countered: for example, the one that defines early middle age as full maturity and sees youth and old age as less than ideal states; the one that sees change as only for better or worse; the one that worships quantity over quality. These ideas not only shape the theme of stories, but give form to institutions, policies and laws, as well as provide structures for our very feeling, thinking and seeing. Films, plays, street theatricals, pageants and radio dramas could be sponsored that challenge the myths directly by emphasizing other values related to the success of a sustainable society:
--complexity as a value as opposed to simplicity
--life as a process of deepening significance and connections as opposed to accumulation of products and experiences
--the excitement of long-term ventures
--the dependence of creative imagination on discipline and detailed work
--life as continual goal-setting rather than reaching a single goal
--acceptance of contradiction as fundamental to life
--the wholesomeness of instinctual gratification when free of repressive domination.
These suggestions for the new content of art, mythology and values for the future are not limited to verbal forms. Dance, sculpture, photography, music, architecture and interior design can be made to reflect these concepts. They are general enough to find expression in all art, since they do not posit specific "programmes" for reform or force the artist to create in the service of a narrow doctrine. (Indeed, the reinterpretation of much great art would find evidence for them.) Art by its nature is fundamentally noncompetitive and nonprogressive--Picasso is not an "improvement" over Turner; art changes without getting "better" or "worse." Art is an instrument of change essentially compatible with steady-state values.
Other means of reaching popular audiences need to be explored. The centers could publish national magazines that feature human interest photostories like Life, People, and Us, but which do indeed focus on the material suggested by the titles of these magazines and not on the loves, tastes and narcissistic aspirations of "stars." The centers could also promote singing groups and other musical talent to vie with the current trend of flagrantly commercial performers. Textbooks and anthologies that present historical and political events from a less ethnocentric outlook are needed as well as collections of literature that enable one to compare the new mythologies with past examples. Exhibitions of art, particularly Third World and non-Western, with detailed explanations of the background and values of the artists and cultures could provide needed education about the variety and homogeneity of people. Exhibits of rarely treated subjects such as community or collective heroism could be assembled, featuring works like Rodin's Burghers o of Calais and paintings by Breughel and Chagall. Soviet and Chinese Communist art need to be displayed if the West is to find ways to understand and coexist with our supposedly most dangerous competitors.
A NEW ORDER OF IDEAS
The centers would augment this effort to transform society through the creation of a new mythology with an equally ambitious and complementary effort at forming a new order of ideas. New intellectual syntheses are the vanguards of major social changes and the world views that emerge from them. On the horizon are unified field theories in the biosciences and physics that promise new definitions of human life. The centers can become the coordinating impetus behind this search for coherence, uniting the sciences, arts and the study of values into a modern and radical humanism--one that is understood by and responsive to a wide and popular audience.
This role of catalyst in intellectual discovery needs to be taken on by an organization like the centers, since the university and the scientific community have nearly abandoned it. These two institutions have a strong investment in the present order of ideas, which features narrow specialization and compartmentalization of knowledge territorial divisions between areas of inquiry like the humanities and sciences, standards of proof requiring quantification and evaluation of ideas based on utility. This intellectual schema is a major factor in the vocationalization of the university and the commercialization of knowledge, scientific and otherwise. As long as society requires that education serve the job market and science serve industry, knowledge, at least official knowledge, will remain circumscribed by the laws of supply and demand.
The nature of the intellectual discoveries now being made requires not only new approaches suited to a less mechanic mechanistically-determined and materially-constituted universe, but the inclusion of previously excluded areas of human understanding such as metaphysics and ethics, which are already entering scientific thought. (The humanities will have as much catching up to do as the sciences will have reviewing traditional wisdom.) Subatomic particle physics borrows poetic metaphors and mystical insights to describe for itself the paradoxes of the electron and the quark. Behaviorism and its socio-biology inherently involve "value" considerations. Theories of perception and learning in psychology make assumptions about human seeing and knowing that the artist and the philosopher could help to clarify. Objectivity (an impossibility) may itself give place to another mode of vision, deliberately interacting with the subject under scrutiny and capable of perceiving a wider spectrum of phenomena than science chooses to examine.
As medicine shifts from cures to preventive treatment and includes all whole of the human organism in its view, the definition of health itself will change and may involve factors that only shamans and savants have seemed to understand. Deeper understanding of the human cell may bring genetic engineering, and--along with the synthesis of information from the fields of nutrition, stress management, brain research, physiology, and psychology--it may lead to prolonged life span and a redefinition of life, aging, disease, and death. These theoretical breakthroughs involve a number of social, political, and ethical concerns that necessarily intrude upon the "value free objectivity" still claimed essential by much of contemporary science.
To explore the implications of these new ideas and theories requires interdisciplinary efforts among many currently isolated fields and the adoption of a more unified view of existence. The traditional dualisms of mind and body, living and nonliving, metaphysical and physical, value and fact, and subjective and objective are breaking damn, and the content, mode of inquiry, and form of the new knowledge depend upon synthesis. In helping to foster this intellectual activity, the centers would work to remove knowledge from the control and interpretive framework of scientific, business, and academic establishment, which is committed to the economic utilization of ideas and the maintenance of the existing intellectual power structure. The centers could finance reports, debates, and conferences, and sponsored greatly needed books and educational materials that explain current theories and ideas to the general public, and place them where possible in coherent systems of thought. Fellowships could be offered to promote the collaboration and cross fertilization necessary to accomplish this. The effort to lessen the influence of the materialistic and rationalist values of our modern technocracy upon what we know and how we know it is an inevitable extension of the contest of values the centers will wage through the creation of new mythologies for the future. The new knowledge will inevitably be formed by and influence that mythology.
If the centers are to bring about significant social change, they will need funds, and, as in any venture, generating resources will represent a major challenge. The centers can begin with volunteers and benefactors and with contributions of talent and work by artists, musicians, writers and intellectuals who are dedicated to steady-state reforms. Once launched, the network of centers could model itself after a non-profit foundation, relying on volunteers, fund drives, grants and bequests for revenue. But such a status could result in limited activity and the imposition of restraints on the centers' radical purpose. Moreover, the change in attitudes the centers wish to foster must take place at the leading edge of a completely commercial society. Non-profit status would confirm the suspicion of many that steady-state alternatives are unworkable in the "real" world. The centers therefore need to turn a profit, however modest. As they support and expand programs largely on their own, the centers will provide a model of a non-exploitive, cooperative enterprise that can sustain itself and will thereby pave the way for others to launch more centers with very limited resources.
The sale of the art, entertainment, books and educational materials produced by the centers would be a major source of revenue. The centers would also sponsor events ranging from exhibits, concerts, and lecture series to non-competitive sports shows, festivals and fairs. Once underway, the centers would offer stipends or royalties to people for their work, with staff members receiving salaries commensurate with financial need and the desirability of the tasks they perform, rather than according to rank or status. As the centers grow through the investment of profits in new programs, they would make flexible financial arrangements to accommodate various kinds of working relationships, often on a contractual basis. To sponsor and produce major Ventures in television, publishing, entertainment, sports and the arts will require the centers to form companies, with the difficult challenge of adapting the economics of what is essentially a network of community cooperatives to a large-scale operation.
This assortment of artistic, educational and cultural activities constitutes an area where the main resources are, at least ideally, human talent and imagination. While growth in this area can be conventionally defined as capturing a larger share of a market, competitive expansion here does not necessarily lead to monopolistic control. The opportunity for wide participation in the "art, education and entertainment" business s implicit, though present practice often reveals the most ruthless competition. There is room for as many good artists, stars, heroes, sitcoms, singers, films and books as appear on the scene. The growth of the centers' efforts in these areas would be a model of the kind of growth needed in a sustainable state: shared, non-polluting growth of human resources, which promotes greater insight, pleasure, knowledge and connectedness between people. Eventual alliances with other industries, such as those involved with pollution control and alternative energy sources, could give the centers a strong economic base.
Activity on all these levels could be the catalyst for major social changes. Schools of art, psychology, philosophy and economics could evolve out of the programs sponsored by the centers, and the separate forces of cooperative coexistence that already exist could find a means of organization. An intellectual, cultural and political movement of the sort that accompanied and propelled the Renaissance could emerge. The movement envisioned here, with its commitment to change that gradually transforms society through new ideas and attitudes, stresses constructive alternatives and options and the formation of a highly visible counterculture within the existing order. It places its faith in the aesthetic, moral and intellectual education of humankind, rather than in revolution or coercion. It presents a working model of social cooperation for the established culture to emulate and join and looks forward to joining and being joined by the main stream. But, the first stage of that eventual and productive confluence requires the organization of the talent and techniques of the modern world against its most self-destructive actions. The centers attempt to do this by providing a means of transition to a sustainable social order. They represent more than the limited hope of human survival; they offer a version of growth and change that will enable the human spirit to thrive.
1. J. Peter Vajk, Doomsday Has Been Cancelled (Culver City, California: Peace Press, 1978), p.166.
2. Ibid., p.67.
3. Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces (New York: Pantheon Books, 1949).