The Arc of Life on Earth tends toward a framework within which each person can choose her or his place in the evolution of Life and Mind. First we must understand the framework, then we can each find our place within it.
We live at a time when information technologies are advancing at an exponential rate while our self-governing processes seem unable to break out of their pre-21stcentury forms. Consequently, unregulated false news reports confuse the electorate; foreign states and special interests use sophisticated hacking techniques to invalidate “democratic” elections; meaningful employment is on the decline as machines replace workers; educational institutions and mass media fail to make the reforms necessary to keep up with technological change; economies give rise to obscene wealth and homelessness; national sovereignty produces conflict and waste; environmental crises loom ever larger; religious and political fantasies make terrorism a daily fact of life; and nuclear war remains an ever present possibility. In short, the flow of information is helter-skelter, and the human species is drifting mindlessly toward either self-fulfillment or self-destruction with little ability to choose between the two.
How are we to think about this enormously complex situation? It would be easy to throw up one’s hands and think that the human mind, and its reflection in the social process, is simply incapable of any coherently organized approach to all the uncertainties involved.
And yet…we try. First, we search for a means of achieving a social consensus. We base our approach on widely accepted values. We rank human life above property. A second criterion must be that our strategy provide a means of organizing the flow of information. This flow is a principal determinant of the structure and content of our socio-economic and mental processes.
Now let’s do something truly different. Bear with us as we engage in “gedankenspiel,” that is, in “thought play” that—however unrealistic it may seem at first—could lead us to a new strategy for global prosperity and progress.
We ask you to imagine a social system that has a Universal Goal and a means to approach it even if achieving it remains an impossible Ideal. The vast majority of us would like Life to go on forever, so let our Universal Goal be the perfection of adaptive and creative intelligence. Having a goal organizes our attention to information as well as the flow of information.
Next, imagine that all the participants in this system are transparently honest. No lying allowed, no intentional distortions of the truth insofar as the truth is known.
Thirdly, each participant shares with the whole system a conscious desire to learn how best to survive and evolve toward our Universal Goal. Thus a standing invitation exists for each participant to make uniquely individual contributions to the future of Life in the Universe.
Finally, assume also that an “authentic democracy” is the foundational grid or framework within which this imaginary society exists. We’ve made reference in previous writings to democratic authenticity without defining it. Now that we are placing it at the center of our thought experiment, we’ll explain it. By an authentic democracy we mean one that precisely meets the criteria mentioned above: every participant, at every level, desires progress toward the Universal Goal, is transparently honest, and has equal access to democratic decision-making that is structured on the basis of a perfect compromise among the three cardinal values of democracy: freedom, equality, and community.
Let us keep in mind that an authentic democracy is one of those Ideals that the human mind is prone to imagine as a Standard against which a realworld structure can be compared, as we do when we imagine a perfect circle, a perfect wave frequency, or any goal that we may have set for ourselves.
Since each participant will have had a different life experience and different personal goals, each participant will offer a unique perspective which then becomes a unique input to the overall learning mindset that grows more adaptively intelligent with each new challenge to the system’s survival.
Now compare this Ideal system with what actually exists. Ask yourself: Why are they so different? What would we have to do to move existing systems closer to the Ideal? What are the forces and incentives in our present systems that stand in the way of progress? Is the human species capable of living without deception?
Here we leave you to your own thoughts. We have briefly outlined, in the above thought experiment, the ends and means of the Syntropic Arc Project. For greater detail, see The Consciousness Revolution by Will Foreman, 2017, in press.
The Syntropic Arc Project is a non-profit organization that aims to help transform modern society into a more adaptively, and creatively, intelligent process. We offer a philosophical foundation for a new direction, a very specific revolution in consciousness, and a proposal for a “New Life” political party with clearly defined and detailed political goals consistent with the Ideals described above.
Although our approach is fundamentally secular we recognize and respect humanity’s need for a coherent spiritual life based on goals and values. Accordingly, we attach a high importance to the task of conceptually integrating secular and religious forms of spirituality.