TOPIC for TODAY

by
the Founder


Unity and Diversity

     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 and the 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 our species.
     The answer to the question with which this Topic began is therefore to be found in a full understanding of the Treatises on the Individual and on Peace , 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.'


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©Lawrence Thornton Roach
August, 2002 AD