Perceptions on social evolution

Abraham Moses Genen (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 19:52:38 -0400

Abraham Moses Genen
Being dedicated to the future progress of humankind
should be the prime concern of all civilized beings.
Dear fellow Extropians:

What the public has allowed to pass for leadership in our federal, state
and local governments -- and out other social organizations as well -- has
been, to an unfortunate extent, self-serving and egocentric rather than
altruistic and humane. This might be due to the social orientation of our
times. We have given a minority in our society excessive authority by
default. As a consequence of our actions -- and inactions -- most of us
have placed ourselves in a position where we choose to live our lives
without much meaning, power and responsibility in a society lacking clear

We frequently focus on irrelevant headlines, superficial stories and
emotion oriented sound bites designed to encourage the dreams and
vicarious adventures many of us feel we need o fill the voids in our
existence. The relative emptiness of our lives is rarely reflected in the
pervasive simplistic content of the mass media. Any sensible person who
has developed the ability to do their own thinking can probably draw that
conclusion with minimal intellectual effort.

Regrettably, most members of our society have not yet developed the
capacity to transcend heir initial emotional reaction to the mass media
and other social stimuli. Largely, this has been due to the hierarchical
social orientation of our educational systems. Many of us have been
trained to respect and be directed by symbols and figures of authority
without much question.

Our society is, however, undergoing increasing, and accelerating changes.
These changes place an increased emphasis on a power shift toward ever
greater self-determination and self-reliance in a non-hierarchical, team
and group oriented community an work environment. In response, our
educational systems are gradually being re-oriented with an increased
emphasis on individual initiative and self-actualization. More and more of
us are beginning to think for ourselves. As our social and educational
evolution continues, our reliance and respect for most authority figures
and symbols have -- and contunue to -- diminish.

As we continue our progress through the post-industrial era, however, we
are regularly confronted and assaulted by the obscurantist resistance of
many of our traditional social and political structures and workplaces.
Their wish is to prevent such changes and maintain their power and
position in our society. By attempting to preserve a dubious status quo,
such persons frequently use their authority to promote friction and
conflicts between our many and diverse social, economic and cultural
communities. By fractionalizing our society, these established powers and
elites seeks to use our petty jealousies against ourselves.

Those conservative elements in our society that fear such changes need to
be confronted in a pro-active and progressive manner. All forms of social,
culural, political and economic authority and administration need to be
reformulated. An environment must be created where our increasing
knowledge, skills and abilities rather than the social, political and
economic influence and status in a hierarchy are the determining factors.

As we develop and -- hopefully -- work to carry out an agenda based on
respect for each individual and cooperation within our community, we must
thoroughly consider the broader social and cultural implications of each
of our initiatives. There is, for example, a substantial need to
continuously involve each member of society in cooperatively deciding and
carrying out the internal and external policies of their society, culture
and workplace.

Such changes require us to overcome our many preconceived political
biases, fixations and hostilities. We must all work at creating a
political and structural environment directed toward modifying and
enhancing the political and bureaucratic structures we ar required to live
in. Direct legislative and legal initiatives should therefore be given a
much higher priority. A greater degree of public involvement must be
achieved than has been the case in the past.

There should be little doubt that there will be some within our society
who will have great difficulty understanding these changes and the need
for further, and continuous changes. Unfortunately, there will always be a
few who, lacking vision, will continue their attempts to manipulate and
undermine our social and cultural structures to gain greater personal
power at the expense of others. There will also be those who will continue
to consider themselves ahead of the legitimate needs of their fellow
members of society and its constituents.

To some extent, however, these contemporary social conflicts can be
overcome through continuous and credible education and the re-orientation
of our society into a broad-based, interactive, and ethical community.
Credibility is based on sincerity. The needs of all of the members of
society and the community must take precidence. A constructive dialogue
among all members of a ommunity should be aimed at achieving greater
social cohesion while while promoting cultural diversity. This is an
achievable goal in a society that learns to see beyond itself.