In comparison with many of its predecessors and
competitors the Society of
HumanKind can claim to be unique in the extent to which it actively seeks and
enthusiastically encourages both unity and diversity among and between its
membership. Others have too often asserted that human communities and
organisations cannot be both unified and diverse. Indeed, some commentators
claim that the one must be the enemy of the other. How is it then, that the
Society of HumanKind is able to reconcile these two very different principles
of human social life?
The answer begins with an understanding of the
Aim of the Society
effort to maintain and promote the social conditions that make an achievement
of that Aim possible. The
Dogma of the Society
sets out the social conditions required for the achievemnt of the Society's Aim. It
asserts that if the human
species can survive into the infinite future under conditions that allow
continuous growth in human knowledge and skills, then humankind will discover a
means to extend life beyond death. On that
Dogmatic base the Aim of the Society of HumanKind is then developed by the
addition of a commitment by the Society to extend that new gained freedom from
oblivion to all past and future generations of humanity.
Clearly, neither the objective of the Dogma nor
the Aim of the Society has yet
been achieved. Equally clearly, and importantly for the purposes of this
Topic, neither the Society nor anyone else can say when or how either will be
accomplished, which is the situation faced by the Society of HumanKind now and
for the foreseeable future. All the Society can do in those circumstances
therefore, is work to maintain the two conditions necessary to the achievement of its Aim.
They are, first and crucially, to ensure the
infinite survival of the human
species. This is the primary condition for an achievement of the Aim of the
Society for the simple reason that if we become extinct our knowledge and any
plans we may have to make use of it die with us, whereas while we survive we
can always have hope for the future.
The second condition the Society seeks to maintain is that human human knowledge and skills
should grow continuously, remembering that neither the Society nor anyone
else can predict what humanity will need to know, or be able to do, in order to
discover a means for our species to extend life beyond death. That is so
because the Society, in common with every individual member of the human
species, has no attribute or ability enabling it to predict what knowledge it
will have, or might develop in the future.
As to the first condition, unity among
humanity is vital in seeking
to ensure the infinite survival of the human species. The major, most
immediate, and some say the only reliably foreseeable, threat to our continued
existence as a species arises from the actions, decisions and behavior of our
own kind. Any such threat that may arise from any other source is unlikely
to discriminate, as we do, between differing types, cultures and communities in
the human population, so it will probably unite us whether we will it or not.
Hence any sensible or realistic programme of action designed to ensure the
infinite survival of our species must begin with the premise that we should do
all we can to draw the whole of humanity cooperatively together into the effort.
But it must be remembered that a united humanity
is not an end in itself for the Society, it is a means to its Aim. It is not
enough for the Society to preserve and unite the human species indefinitely.
It must discover how to take advantage of human unity to find a means for human
kind to free itself from the oblivion of death.
The importance of the earlier emphasis on the Society having no way of
knowing what skills and knowledge will be required for that purpose, or where,
when or how the necessary discoveries may be made, must now be apparent. If
the Society of HumanKind is to pursue its Aim it must not only seek to unify
humanity, it must then maintain social conditions in which each and every
individual member of that united mass achieves the full development of whatever
diverse potentialities they may have. That is the only way to ensure that human knowledge, in all its forms, grows continuously.
In short, the Society must foster,
support and demand
individuality both among its membership and in the human population at large in
all its forms; consistent, of course, with the continued infinite survival of
The answer to the question with which this Topic
began is therefore to be found
in a full understanding of the Treatises on the
coupled with the conclusions drawn from those Treatises in the
Essay on Equality
. From those sources in its founding literature it can be seen that
the Society of HumanKind reconciles unity with diversity in human affairs
because it must have both if it is to have any realistic chance of achieving
its Aim. Indeed, the Society goes so far as to identify diversity as both
the cause and the purpose of human unity, as well as being the most valuable
quality and characteristic of any viable human group. As the
Essay on Childhood
makes clear, '…it is the duty of the Society to teach all its
children that variety in humanity without unity is purposeless, while unity
without variety is valueless.'