P2P Foundation

The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

by Dr. Vladimir N. Tretyakov

Posted as Lecture 6 at Free School for Panoramic Thinking 

The highest wisdom is discerning good and evil.
- Socrates.

Content

*Reason and heart: ethical aspect
*Authoritative and humane ethics
*Application of ethics to school pedagogy
*Application of ethics to international relation
*Exemplifying the national selfishness
*Application of ethics to global problems
*Application of ethics to civilization security
*Let’s lower ourselves on our Earth
*Widening the ethical framework for sustainable development
*Ethics and overcoming the SPT

*Reason and heart: ethical aspect

Within ethical framework, these two notions appear naturally, at that usually in juxtaposition. Heart as a metaphor means the same that soul. It is so as the adjectives dushevniy (soulful) and serdechniy (heartfelt) are synonyms in both languages, Russian and English.
It is understandable that the heart is only a metaphor, materialized synonym of an immaterial soul.  And for all that, how we can ascribe any mental functions to this muscle bag pumping the blood across vessels? Moreover, heart is estimated even higher usually than the very reason.

 

Really, Jean de Labruere counted: "Not so much the reason as the heart helps people to get nearer and be more pleasant". Luc de Vauvenargue said out a similar thought: "The reason is an eye of the soul, not its force; force of the soul is its heart".

The wittiest François de LaRochefoucauld, however strangely it was, as well shown a preference for heart: "Reason can’t a long time play a role of the heart".
But Fyodor Dostoyevsky appeared especially radical in this contraposition: "The main in a human it is not the reason, but that what governs by him: character, heart, good feelings, advanced ideas".
True, the next de Vauvenargue’s saying stands somewhat out of this raw: "The very high thoughts prompts us the heart". Though we feel here as well the same: heart is "better" than reason.

 

To explain an interrelation between these two notions may help the thought by Leo Tolstoy who entered the concepts  "reason of reason" and "reason of heart". Here are his words:

 

"That who has reason of reason is without compassion to neighbors. This reason is cold and proud. Reason of heart is softer, more sympathetic and in the end more necessary in the life than its arrogant brother".


So, reason of heart (i.e. soul, conscience) may be accounted that part of the reason what "rules" estimation of behavior, events, actions, sayings and thoughts from point of moral and ethic, in correlation with the good and the evil. It is understandable then that the reason may be governing in forming the moral principles. Just so is thought of Friedrich Schiller:


"Enlightened reason ennobles moral feelings; the head should bring up the heart".

 

It was Russian historian V.О.Klyuchevski who had similar opinion: "Thought without moral is under-thinking; moral without thought is fanaticism". Anatol France, however, was of quite another opinion about heart-reason mutual relations: "Heart can add reason, but reason can’t add heart".

That is a cause to be surprised: how can an erudite and intellectualist France betting with Schiller ignore position on this score of his compatriot Blaise Pascal who in essence called people to form themselves their moral principles in result of mental work and to perfect this work, considering that ability to good think is the basic principle of moral.


*Authoritative and humane ethics

To explain who is nearer the truth can help Erich Fromm, having created the theory of forming the ethic values (exposed in his book "The Man for Himself"). Rejecting ethic relativism, Fromm was sure there is possibility to find objectively correct norms of the ethic. He carefully underwent to analysis two possible ethic systems: authoritative ethics (AE) and humane ethics (HE).

 

AE means recognizing an authority. This authority may be rational (then its ground makes competence what provokes a respect) and irrational (then it based on fear of being not well-come for a power). AE denies ability for a human to know what is good and what is bad as the norms are set by the authority. AE reveals itself e.g. when a child is in process of forming his valuable estimations or when an adult says out any not reflexive valuable judgments.

 

HE is based on the principle that a human self can determine criteria to distinguish good and evil. At that for a human "good" is deemed as what is good and "evil" as what is bad. Otherwise, HE is an applied science of "the art to live".

 
Some other positions of Fromm humane ethics:

- Good for a human is actualization of potential forces, virtue being responsibility for his existence.
- As evil takes away human force, then vice is irresponsible relation to one’s own life.

- A mature, fruitful person having sufficient level of the reason, prefers for an ethic system to be permitting reasonable behavior to be valuable in result.

- Authoritative conscience is a voice of an interiorized outer authority.
- Humane conscience is our reaction to us ourselves. The reaction is a voice of our truth Ego demanding for our life to be fruitful. It may be named the voice of loving care for one’s self.

- Joy is the achievement presupposing an inner effort, the effort to be fruitfully active. One’s happiness is no God’s gift but а human achievement being possible in result of the one’s fruitfulness.

 

Having known the base of the human ethics, we can say out certain utterances on grand writers’ thoughts.

- Thus, "reason of reason" of Leo Tolstoy is a part of the reason to be in charge of logics and analysis, whereas "reason of heart" is that what is under jurisdiction of the human ethics.

- A. France is right that "the heart can add reason" as a heartfelt human understands other people better; but he is not right saying that "the reason can not add heart".

- We may count Dostoyevsky is right admitting that "character, heart, good senses" govern by reason, but only then when he said about a mature, fruitful, formed person, having formed for all that by the person’s reason.
- What about thoughts by Pascal (“ability to think good is the basic principle of moral”) and by Schiller ("the head should bring up the heart") then those might be epigraphs of the Fromm’s book, being so near on the spirit to his argumentation.


*Application of ethics to school pedagogy

I am about the ethics of intra-human relations, what may be named the ecology of intra-human space. Such the discipline being entered into school pedagogical process may naturally unite upbringing and education. Inculcating in pupils ability “to think about others” in addition to about themselves opens the path for them to gain later social responsibility and ability to think ecologically. It is important as well that ecology of intra-human space might teach how subject knowledge and knowledge of the life enrich each other.


Among human ecology, there are already separated such its sections as ecologies environmental, industrial, rural, urban. Those are mastered in scientific and practical way, and the questions of topical significance are stood once and again about ecology of culture and ecology of the soul. But ecology of intra-human space (EIHS) as a special part of human ecology, being so necessary for people, because of unknown causes appeared out of attention of ecologists, pedagogues and psychologists, though a «bad» EIHS is always noticed by each of us through any sense of discomfort, sorrow, grief, affliction, distress, irritation, aggressive affectation (with possible result in forms of reveals of indignation and aggressive behavior up to acts of violation). Just those last keen forms of aggressive human behavior appear to be not motivated make first of all think that without this cause – imperfect EIHS – people might not break out.

 

Let us guess for a moment that in a society, there is widely distributed the known “gold rule of morality”, i.e. «don't do for others that what you would not want you were done by them”, or, conformably to human intercourse, «don't behave so to do unpleasant for those who are around you, just so how similar behavior would be unpleasant for you yourself». However we may admit because of that EIHS may not get better essentially. That's just the point that one who in a populous city uses two fingers in place of handkerchief to clear own nose and the pavement sees as a big spittoon, may not lay claim to others when those do in similar way. Well, the one has no sufficient natural sense of aversion to remark others' negative appearance of bad EIHS.

 

So, it'd be good in addition to “gold rule of morality” to be explained and used at lessons to let the education be aimed to teach how for pupils to behave within intra-human space so that EIHS be getting if not better, but even if not worse. If EIHS gets in the universal education status of a school discipline, one may account the culture of peace will be higher.

 

For pupils, first representation of EIHS should be of course behavioral ecology as people of school age by their behavior have big “possibilities” to worsen intra-human space (IHS) around them. Having given a thesis “it's depends from each of us what IHS will be: secure, benevolent, responsive – or dangerous, indifferent, suspicious, guarded, rejecting”, a teacher then may propose pupils to play some stages showing their behavior “at the diner table”, “at the library”, “at the stadium”, “while speaking by phone”, “while visiting web sites”, “contacting by e-mail”, “in wagon of metro/train/taxi”, “visiting a doctor”, “while having caught a cold”, etc., at that each may choose variants to show: how to behave badly, even awfully, or how good, normally, even if many better than normally. We may imagine such lessons would not be boring for children rather entertaining.

 

There are more advantages of the discipline. EIHS being entered into school education would provide its unity as admitting to set up numerous links to other disciplines learned. So, with consultation with other disciplines' teachers may be prepared many lessons on EIHS, for example with the biologist, when devoted to discussion on human responsibility for living nature; with the chemist, when question is considered about green movement and other ecologic initiatives; with the psychologist when is learned the subject on human abilities to think more widely (as “thinking about others” presupposes “thinking for others”).

 

The very main cause of inter-teachers interactions in connection with EIHS is the language creating all IHS and keeping it united, giving numerous and diverse possibilities for intercourse between people. So, the teacher on the native language may be contacting EIHS teacher more often than others as there are some presupposed “language” subjects for EIHS lessons, for example on ecology of language surroundings, ecology of space both of advertisings and public announcements, ecology of media's language. Lessons on those subjects as arising children's culture of thinking (analyzing and revealing language mistakes that are around and are not remarked usually by majority of people) would be then a pledge of their successful future professional activity.

 

Needless to say that ground of more traditional ecologic disciplines concerning the environment, near-Earth space, space of the culture, space of the soul – all there may as well be in any way presented at EIHS owing usual broad interpretation of the “space” notion.

 

Thus, ecology of intra-human space might get a school discipline 1) quite rich in content, 2) giving school children any integral picture of the world, 3) widening panoramas of pupils' thinking and 4) just because of the last appeasing manners and customs, so giving less causes for them to behave aggressively and accomplish violation acts.

 

Practical (“along the living”) value of EIHS as the school discipline is as well in possibility owing it for children to be joint in psychological culture of intercourse (for example, knowing frontiers of others' personal psychological spaces and how to be respectful not intruding into them in while of conversation, at being in populous locations, etc.).


Didactical value of EIHS as a discipline is possibility for school children to set up their behavior in correlation with how that or this may better/worsen EIHS (perceived as human surroundings) and owing it to gain skills of operation with notions not fully determined (what are characterized for humane discipline). It has much to do with distinguishing good and evil, what is decent and indecent in interrelations with people.

Because of foreseen conciliation between people if the discipline “ecology of intra-human space” would be distributed in many countries, another name of the discipline proposed might be «Culture of the Peace».


*Application of ethics to international relation

That was Anthony Judge who altered a folktale associated with legendary Mulla Nasreddin (see his article United Nations Overpopulation Denial Conference exploring the under...


The UN is frantically searching for something in the obscurity of global policy-making, just outside its domain, in the light of conventional thinking. A concerned citizen comes by and asks, "UN, what have you lost?" The UN replies, "I have lost the keys to global climate change."

The citizen gets down on his hands and knees and begins to search with the UN through the conventional dust. After a long time, the citizen says to the UN, "UN, are you certain you lost the keys here in the street?"

"Oh no!" says the UN, "I lost them within my domain."

"If you lost them within your domain," says the citizen, "then why are we looking for them outside in the light of conventional thinking?"

"The light is better here," the UN replies.

This gentle hint is understandable: the UN vainly look for the keys to global climate change in the light of conventional thinking. Remembering his article’s name, the story prompts: it’d be better to look for the keys within domain of overpopulation. That is the very overpopulation whose anthropogenic impact is of planetary scale, as changing not only the climate but many things together on, over and even under earthy surface. But that impact is “badly seen” by the UN, and causes are explained in the above named article by A. Judge. An explanation gives even if the biblical precept “propagate and multiply” which otherwise would be necessary to question, or positions of leaders of countries with recession of population in place of growth, and that is why they realize policy of birth-rate’s stimulation.
So, such the logics of national selfishness using conventional thinking may even not admit to discussion any subjects touching national interests in order to exclude solutions to be not in their favor. There is another Anthony Judge’s article for many officials and world leaders to enlighten: Root Irresponsibility for Major World Problems.


*Exemplifying the national selfishness

The Southern Kuril Islands subject that were Japanese former, now Russian after results of the WW 2. Results? No, not quite an apt word as a peaceful agreement between Japan and Russia until now (66 years after!) is signed. Just after as awful catastrophes in Japan happened (tsunami, earthquakes, died, injured, homeless people, NPS damage, radiation zones of alienation, refugees etc.), what a beautiful case had Russian leadership to reveal their compassion and reckon up of the war! Those islands, having transferred to Japan, would give its inhabitants any addition opportunities to move out of radiation-threatened zones, widen their living space to be even more narrowed after the catastrophes – and realize wish of the islands’ residents to live under Japanese jurisdiction (with double citizenship).

Regrettably, to hold on to these islands at any price (“not to yield an inch!”) was perceived as following national interests, better to say a narrowly understood national selfishness. Though considerations of moral-ethic character in splendid way are in concordance with pragmatic ones being widely understood. Really, to get image of a country governing by humane principles and turn Japan into the main and friendly oriented strategic partner – all this would mean for Russia to stand surely on the way of both modernization and technologic development, being both for the leadership an object of serious preoccupation (till now with skepticism perceived). “How it’d be good for Russia if it gave back the Japanese those islands!” Such opinion I heard of many people. Halas, even to launch a discussion to explain what Russian people think about such possibility was impossible for their leaders. It used to account ethical arguments is not for any policy.

 

*Application of ethics to global problems

Being Representative powered by an international scientific NGO (IAIT) at an UN agency (DPI) I sent an Appeal for delegates of the 62nd (2009, Mexico) Conference NGOs/DPI/UN (it was done at about the same time as Judge’s article above mentioned appeared, though independently on his text). I wrote in there:  

- The global problems are in mutual connectedness which appears evident sometimes only. So we have grounds to consider that those problems make up any system, and then the systems approach would be adequate means for their discussion and resolving. But we have seen another: while being set up, relations used to be set up in pairs or threes ones, hardly ever more. Conferences of NGOs/DPI are not excluding of the rule, too: so, 61st – relations to climate changes; 62nd – to terrorism. I wish of course that Conference be successful, but success a priory may be only particular. 

- Besides good known threats of civilization security, such as climate change, overpopulation, resource exhausting, worsening environment, degradation of soils, deforesting, etc., there exists another, maybe not so frightening, as not attracting public attention, but because of that more perfidious. I mean evolution conditioned human mentality’s backwardness lurking the threat of fatal mistakes, including of global scale. Just such “possibility” permitted me to conclude: All humankind may have been fooled. So, initiative intelligent people need who are able to launch the process of a global brain’s forming what supposedly may take time of some human generations. 
I like most in Judge’s parable his mention about conventional thinking what is so insufficient for complex seeks to be successful. I expressed the thought in the Appeal in such way:

 - Such global brain, having been formed even if in any shortened sharp, might endeavor to rebuild systems of education in the world changing educational priority from "to study to know" onto "to study how to be thinking better”. By the way, such transition of the education systems would be in accordance with new reality of the world overloaded with information more and more.


*Application of ethics to civilization security

I begin with a vast quotation about the principles of societies formed formerly and

“continue to this days:
(i) procreate and multiply,

(ii) compete and conquer and

(iii) use nature to the utmost.
All societies promoted maximal rates of procreation and extraction of natural resource, maintained as large army as possible and strived to develop means and systems for killing and destruction.

One of the reasons that this mentality continues today, despite the global view of the planet and advances in sciences with the consequent understanding of the functioning of the biosphere and the geophysical systems of the Earth, is that the speed of the growth of population and possibilities of consumption were so great compared to human lifetime that human mentality did not have adequate time to assimilate the new situation. Philosophy of the life of individuals and societies are formed by formal education, social customs and value systems of the community and, once formed, is hard to change thorough the life of individuals that worm the community. As the education transmits the values of the adult society to children and these children will transmit largely the same values to the next generation, the social inertia is intrinsic and changes are inherently slow, except in cases of revolution or subjugation by another culture. Actually in many nations the hard struggle for survival persists for a majority of the population, even without elementary education, and the global view of the Earth and considerations of the environment are luxuries far removed from the life of these people”.

[The above is from “One-Billion World” book by Juji Ishiguro published in 2010 by Rio de Janeiro publishing house BOOKLINK. I am thankful its author for presenting me some copies of this containable book]

Human civilization had been created in several millennia; then problem of survival was standing only for individuals, not for whole human race. In XX century, on the contrary, the civilization's survival got greater problem. It was Paul Valery who said out a thought containing a gentle hint: “Now the future is at all no such as earlier”. In according to Stanislaw Lec, Earth is turned "into point under question sign", at that "the sign" is increasing, even if because of so called overkill - "possibility" disposed to completely exterminate life with tenth or even hundredth quotas of warheads available. There is even a gloomy joke: "Optimists and pessimists distinguish themselves by the dates of a doomsday only". It means - if we want to defend what had been created in thousands of years we should save it from both destruction and self-extermination in during for some decades, because we have scarcely more time to undertake something, until global catastrophes (predicted!) will come.

 

Who of human individuals first and foremost should take these arguments as challenge for them to act both individually and in coordinated way intending to take out threatening global problems hanging over Humanity? Answer is intelligent people as it is naturally for them to perceive any social phenomena using moral evaluations having more possibilities to built their ethical systems and live “by the conscience”.
Just so moreover, as whole human civilization, with its culture and techno-sphere, had arisen in result of intellectual, creative activities of many generations of people, of those, who now are called as intellectuals, intelligent people, intelligentsia. It is why intelligent people, mastered with knowledge and apt abilities, may and should realize that their historical mission in the perspective of some generations is to elaborate a strategy of existence and development of Humankind, the strategy what might minimize threats of civilization's extermination and self-extermination and to be corrected then "in course of the life". See at great length Creating a system of civilization security in 3rd Millennium (see at the blog).

 
But regrettably the ethical imperative of survival is not realized widely among intelligent people. We may see that the intelligentsia “like” to be and act separately, and there are intelligentsia of natural sciences, human, technical, being in and out power, with and without degrees, titled and untitled, being in and out elite, belonging to scientific/artistic schools "good" and "bad", not to mention about common human barriers of separation – by national, racial, of age, sexual, religion-confessional. Because of this intellectual “clusterization” there is a ground to talk about Institutional and strategic bankruptcy of intelligent people in the...

Let’s lower ourselves on our Earth

… I mean on WiserEarth. There are here 2 groups, To Higher Mentality (or The Mind Needs to Change) and this School, both created to assist overcoming COMMON, all-human evolutionary inherited backwardness of human mentality what may be named SPT, or the shortage of panoramic thinking. Just because of the backward mentality, the humankind, with their mighty intellectual and other resources, appeared to be absolutely not able for some decades to cope with that mass of global problems hanging over and threatening in intensifying way the humanity. If so, a possibility to higher even if a little one’s own individual mentality might be of significant interest for many, if not for all, on WE, moreover it might be of interest as well to demonstrate others one’s own attempts to cope with SPT and widen the thinking. Halas, common numbers of both groups is hardly 50 members, common numbers of really interested so to discuss being hardly 3.
I hope ethic considerations move both groups to more active co-participating.

*Widening the ethical framework for sustainable development

My conceptual note for Earth Charter+10 Conference at Ahmedabad (India) in early November 2010 posted on one of its websites: www.earthcharterplus10.org/pdf/global_gov_papers/Tratsiakou_U.pdf

~Ethical imperative is in essence the only imperative of human species survival, and having recognized it Earth Charter might radically renew its vision for the next decade.

~Sustainable development may only be considered a small, initiate stage of civilization security strategy to carry out humankind out of threats of extinction and self-extinction and realize its indefinitely long positive development

~Concern about future human generations and the live nature of Earth in general might rouse Earth Charter to adopt any universal principles of human planetary responsibilities, some times already proposed by international organizations and private persons in order to be declared from the UN tribune as an international document deserving to be in couple with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

~Preparing this process, Earth Charter might launch completing in the next decade a Code of Ethics of Planetary Responsible People, Habitants of Earth.

~The conference on ethics concerned by sustainable development might say out as well for creating Committee for Civilization Security within the UN Security Council. It would be a realization of the new reality motto “Think globally, act locally and globally”.

~One of the main concerns of the Committee might be then to launch creation of a collective Internet resource of global scale aiming to elaborate above mentioned strategy of sustainable, secure development.

~Plato said: Making efforts for happiness of others, we have found our own.” Initiating local, regional, then global internet forums on discussing problems of happiness/unhappiness Earth Charter and its adherents would make for better moral climate within communities and after all in the world.


*Ethics and overcoming the SPT

Blaise Pascal reckoned: “All our dignity is enclosed in the thought. Neither the space nor the time elevates us, but only it, our thought. Let us learn to good think: that is the main principle of moral”.
As we can see, Friedrich Schiller’s principle – “head should bring up the heart” – is in full agreement with Pascal’s. To elaborate one’s own ethical principles, to out-build an individual life strategy intending to be / to get a fruitful person interesting and necessary for others – all that is overcoming SPT on the moral-ethical territory.

So the head may have taught the heart to think good. What does it mean?
Good thinking is honest thinking, i.e. controlling whether double standards are not used: one “for me”, another “for others”. In particular, your honest thinking is presupposed as well for you to be “suspicious” to yourself: “Whether I have “played” with myself at give-away?”

Modern times give for ethical, i.e. honest thinking fantastic, unprecedented causes. Thus, you can now ask yourself:

“What I, educated and much knowing how to do, can help in solving, or even if relieving, these huge all-human problems because of which any long prospective for Humankind is not seen?”

 Any perceiving of your planetary responsibility may here be useful for you.  

…………………………………….. *   *   *  ………………………………..

I presuppose it is the species Homo Sapiens Ethicus that will have only survived. And you are proposed to think over whether it is light optimism or dark pessimism.


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