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S.P.Semenov

Basic components of the humanist transformation of society

The speech at the X conference of the International Coalition For Humanism!
29.04.2006, St.Petersburg, Russia

Dear friends,

I am sincerely glad to see you, I am glad that we are together again and can discuss the issues that concern all of us. The problem we deal with for more than a decade is such by nature that from year to year these issues arise always more and become always more acute. So formulating our answers to them we should be always more scrupulous. My report today is dedicated to detalisation of several principal theses presented by me in the last year. Then, concluding my short speech, I said that to us the inevitability of the humanist transformation of society is absolutely evident. In the past year there occurred a whole series of events that witness convincingly that the planetary civilisation is moving quickly to its decline. I think that the participants of the conference will analise and evaluate these events.

Yes, to us the inevitability of the humanist transformation of society is absolutely evident, but also clear is that this transformation will take place only when for the bulk of the planets population two things become evident: on the one hand, the impossibility of further conservation of the existing social order, on the other hand, the necessity of adoption of a new order founded on humanistic ideals.

As to the impossibility of further existence of society founded on commercial relations, here all is clear: the general understanding of it is the more close, the more acute manifestations of the global crisis in all its magnitude. Of course, for some time the ruling classes will still be able to deceive the population of their countries, in all ways obscuring the fact of causal connection between the global problems and the fundamental principle of todays society the principle of profit. But there are quite a lot of clever people on our planet who see this connection and speak of it publicly. To make them shut their mouth completely is hardly possible. And this means that, with the global problems worsening, the understanding of their true nature will inevitably become general

Unfortunately, for the humanist transformation to happen, the sole understanding of inadmissibility of further existence of commercial relations is not enough: also necessary is the clear understanding that the new society should be founded on the principle of harmonious development of personality. And here is the problem: first, today there are too little people who are devoted to this principle, for understandable reasons; second, until now they do not see the necessity to achieve agreement in definition of the corresponding ideal.

What is a harmoniously developed person? This is the question I am going to consider in the first place.


The Ideal of Man

At first sight this question seems artificial: man is man, why ask questions. It seems that one should think not about human nature and not about what a harmoniously developed person is, but about how make society such that all people feel good. And its the way in which almost all social-political organisations act today. But in fact their social conceptions are of course based on certain understanding of man. Because, if you want to make life human, you have to bear in mind certain measures of man. Simply today everyone judges by himself. And the desired social organisation seems conforming to ones own needs. As the structure of needs differs for different social classes, the corresponding political conceptions turn out to apply not so much to humans in general as to specific classes. In general, considering what should be a society where everyone would be able to develop into a harmonious person, one has to begin with a strict definition of the notion of Man.

As this notion has been discussed during many years in our community, such definition has formed long ago and it is known to all of you: "Man is a being of triple nature: biological, cultural and spiritual". In other words, biologically man is such that in order to fully realise his genetic potentialities he needs not only favourable biological milieu (which is healthy food, pure air, good lodging etc.), but also favourable cultural milieu that would permit development into intellectual, emotional and spiritual being. Such understanding of human nature places culture, i.e. total experience transmitted from generation to generation, to the basis of the entire social structure.

It is important to see that the culture, as such, has two parts. Its one part, comprehensible to everyone, is the knowledge humanity accumulated about environment and possibilities of its favourable modification, i.e. science. Another part, much less evident but much more important, is the experience of human education and self-realisation. A quarter of century ago I named this part of experience transmitted from generation to generation the psychic culture.

The psychic culture is all that helps humans to develop their true human qualities: to think clearly and precisely, to feel sensitively and to feel with, to perceive Universum at all levels of its structure (up to substance); to use one's body in effective and harmless manner. Under the conditions of the aggravating system crisis of commercial civilisation the psychic culture has fallen into extreme decline. It is understandable: a person gifted with all mentioned abilities is a bad consumer while in order to realise the formula "commodity money commodity" you need a greedy insatiable consumer. From all components of the psychic culture the most potentially dangerous for the society based on commercial relations are, on the one hand, the experience of perceiving Universum in its fundamental structure, on the other hand, the experience of feeling with, of perceiving all-human unity... A person who gained such experience naturally rejects individualism which today justifies the admissibility of producing potentially dangerous commodities. This is why the named components of psychic culture are practically unknown to general public or known only in extremely mythological forms of archaic religious beliefs.

I am telling about it to clarify why it is so complicated today to achieve agreement in defining the ideal of harmoniously developed personality. For us, this ideal means the following:

  • good physical health, so that it would be always nice to use one's body;
  • well developed intellect and high organisation of consciousness;
  • well developed structure of feelings open to the experience of human kinship;
  • such development of higher cognitive abilities that enables access to spiritual-psychological unity with other people as well as the World.

Only such man is truly a Man!

What are the implications of this high ideal for our social-political practice? From all said it is obvious that an absolutely necessary condition of humanist transformation is the presence of an organisation that can, first, make everyone understand the human ideal, second, accept a leading role in the new society.

What must be this perspective organisation of humanists? It is this question that the next item of my speech deals with.


The Humanist Party

At first sight, the same as with the ideal of man, it seems that there is nothing to discuss and one should just found the corresponding political party. However, in reality a humanist party may in no way be an ordinary social-political organisation. In order to be able to make our contemporaries understand the high ideal of man, it must be a union of people which not only agree in definition of this ideal but are devoted to it in practice. This means that it must be, first of all, an instrument of self-perfection for its every member. So the organisation in question must have the psychic culture as the basis of its activities.

Fortunately, we have the experience necessary for that. I mean the Psychic Culture Studios. For understandable reasons, the studies in these studios were centered on health invigoration, but much attention was also paid to the issues of self-perfection. In the course of a quarter of century we created special methods of ascension to the truth of one's individual way. Now they may be propagated to however large audience. I think now it is right time to do it!

So, the party yes! But the party of an absolutely new type: in other parties the internal unity supposes only assimilation and adoption of a social-political doctrine, while here, in addition, everyone's personal practice aimed at realising the truth of one's own way in the World is needed.


The Principle of Exchange and the Principle of Synergy

The next question is how humanity shall realise its economic activity in humanist social order. This question arises every time we say that this order will be non-monetary.

According to our vision of humanist civilisation, the economic activity of mankind will be realised not on the basis of exchange between economic subjects (be them individuals or cooperatives) but on the basis of cooperation in coping with tasks standing before them. These tasks are satisfaction of natural human needs as well as realisation of ideas of various social groups united by common interests. Exclusion of the principle of exchange, the principle of any requital for labour, its replacement with the principle of synergy, i.e. co-operation, co-action, co-participation, this is the way that we believe the only possible.

This is why we constantly ask other humanistically oriented people what is their vision of social-economic perspective. To our great regret, in most cases the answer lies within the paradigm of commercial relations which is a particular expression of the exchange principle.

However, although the principle of synergy and that of exchange are complementary to each other, when lying at the basis of social structure they exclude each other, so that society is founded either on commodity exchange, and then the worst beast qualities of human nature inevitably come to surface, or it is founded on free cooperation, and then mutual aid and love come in place of aggressive competition.

The question that inevitably arises in such case is the question of how economic and creative efforts of society will be regulated? According to our view, such regulation is possible on the basis of global highly computerised system using modern telecommunication means. If such dynamic connection of every person with the whole of mankind is provided, the interests of this person as well as those of the whole civilisation can be correlated and satisfied in an optimal way.

In what concerns the technical part of the matter, realisation of this project is possible already today. The problem consists not in impossibility of reorganisation of society on the basis of synergy principle but in that the mankind is not ready for such a revolutionary transformation.

We should not spend our energies to working out palliative models of preservation of humanist values in the circumstances of the system crisis of commercial civilisation; we should focus all our energies on promotion of the idea of historical necessity of the humanist transformation. This sublime transformation is coming toward us at a great speed, and we should do all we can so that the human cost is the lowest possible. Unfortunately, the level of public recognition of the problem is extremely low. Therefore, in view of the deepening system crisis of the civilization, one has to forecast many victims. I told about it at the conference of last year in sufficient detail.


The Global System of Integration

The next item of my speech is that very global highly computerised system of integration based on modern telecommunication means without which the transition to humanist society is practically impossible. I shall call it GSI for short.

As you remember, a year ago already I pointed out that if you want to abolish the formula "commodity money commodity", then you have to have a precise system taking into account needs of all people and of every single person. Likening the present-day civilisation to a steam-engine where the role of steam is played by money, you can liken the coming humanist formation to a modern electronic device that works on the basis of electricity and information. Today everyone satisfies his needs through the medium of earned money which is a primitive universal regulator of social production. Setting aside the question of gaining money, I shall draw your attention to how they buy goods.

When you buy something necessary it looks as an act of choosing something more or less appropriate to your individual need out of a multitude of diverse goods. In appearance the very possibility of such choosing is good, but in essence it is bad. In the first place, the bought article corresponds to your real need only to a certain degree which, by the way, always diminishes due to commercial denaturation. In the second place, a considerable part of produced goods stays unbought... and the labour spent for their production is wasted. So if even we abstract from a great lot of negative and dangerous phenomena resulting from the economic activity mankind today, this very activity should be recognised as extremely ineffective and wasteful. The steam-engine is a very low-efficient mechanism.

The Global System of Integration will allow production of what really corresponds to needs of every single man, and precisely in needed amount. The efficiency of social production will grow exponentially. As the productive forces of contemporary civilization are great, having rid ourselves from the absurd wastefulness, we will be able to provide the possibility of complete harmonious self-realisation to everyone. And this is the humanist society.

In general, GSI is an absolutely necessary tool of progressing into future. In fact such system is already forming very quickly in the shape of global computer net open to mobile phones and devices of telemonitoring. Of course, the information that circulates in this system today is for the most part poisonous, for it can not be otherwise in the conditions of commercial civilisation. But the system itself is practically a ready technical solution of GSI. With its help, I repeat, the mankind will reach such degree of integration where the interests of every single person are harmoniously combined with the interests and possibilities of all.

Speaking about GSI I would like also draw your attention to that, in fact, only its embryo in the form of global computer net is an accessible means of our communication with like-minded people in the whole world. Hence follows the practical necessity for every Coalition member to master this informational canal. We should expand our presence in the Internet as much as possible. We should bring our humanist ideas first of all to those who, using the net, have done a step into future. Yes, the bulk of information in the net is poison, but our ideology is an antidote. And we must offer it actively to all people searching an answer to the question: What will be Tomorrow?


Conclusion

In conclusion I shall repeat briefly the most important of what I've said.

For us the necessity of humanist transformation is completely evident. At the same time it is clear that it will take place only when the bulk of the planet's population realises, first, the inadmissibility of continuing economic activity on the basis of commercial relations, second, the necessity of transition to the social formation aimed at complete realisation of the ideal of harmoniously developed personality. I have described our vision of this ideal in sufficient detail.

To make wide public understand this ideal we need a special social-political organisation. It is reasonable to call it Humanist party, but it should be a party of a new type a party which propagates humanist ideas and at the same time is a tool of personal self-perfection for each of its members. It is also important that the party itself becomes embodiment of the synergy principle that is destined to abolish the exchange principle: may participation in our common work become the experience of free unselfish cooperation. As to the mainstream of our common efforts, it is obvious the propagation of humanism. And the principle informational canal is Internet.

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