Tag: <span>World Society</span>

politics without borders Appeals

Politics Beyond National Frontiers.

Featured Image: Photo by  Markus Spiske,  Unsplash.

In our current globalized world society, there is an increased role for politics without borders.  Politics no longer stops at the water’s edge but must play an active role on the world stage. 

However, unlike politics at the national level which usually has a parliament at which the actors can recite their lines, the world has no world parliament as such.  Thus new and inventive ways must be found so that world public opinion can be heard and acted upon.

Beyond The Borders of Individual Countries. 

The United Nations General Assembly is as close to a world parliament that we have today.  However, all the official participants are diplomats appointed by their respective States – 195 members.  U.N. secretariat members, the secretariat members of U.N. Specialized Agencies such as UNESCO and the ILO are in the hall ways or coffee shops to give advice.  Secretariat members of the financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF are also there to give advice on costs and the limits of available funds.  The representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in consultative status with the U.N. who can speak at sessions of the Economic and Social Council and the Human Rights Council cannot address the General Assembly directly. However, they are also in the coffee shops and may send documents to the U.N. Missions of governments.

Politics without borders requires finding ways to express views for action beyond the borders of individual countries. 

Today, most vital issues that touch the lives of many people go beyond the individual State:

  • The consequences of climate change.
  • The protection of biodiversity.
  • The resolution of armed conflicts.
  • The violations of human rights.
  • More just world trade pattern. 

Thus we need to find ways of looking at the world with a global mind and an open heart.  This perspective is an aim of world citizenship.

However, world citizens are not yet so organized as to be able to impact political decisions at the United Nations and in enough individual States so as to have real influence.  The policy papers and Appeals of the Association of World Citizens are often read with interest by the government representatives to whom they are sent.  However, the Association of World Citizens is an NGO among many and does not have the number of staff as such international NGOs as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Greenpeace.

We still need to find effective ways so that humanity can come together to solve global problems – that is – politics without borders.

René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

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Piaget's Project Appeals

Completing Piaget’s Project. Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of…

Featured Image Jean Piaget By Roland Zumbühl of Picswiss as part of a cooperation project. Wikimedia Commons.

Edward J. Dale. Completing Piaget’s Project. Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology.

(St.Paul, MN: Paragon House Publishers, 2014)

Edward J. Dale has written a very useful overview of the intellectual currents in trans-personal psychology;  a broad field in which different practitioners use different terms for roughly the same approach:  Robert Assagioli – psychosynthesis, Ken Wilber – integral consciousness, Abraham Maslow – the farther reaches of human nature, Marilyn Ferguson – the Aquarian conspiracy. Dale provides an extensive bibliography of authors.

Therefore; there are at least two journals which specialize in trans-personal research:  Journal of Humanistic Psychology, founded in 1961 and the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology founded in 1969.

Roberto Assagioli

 Photo of Roberto Assaglioli, M.D. – Taken from the book ‘ Psychosynthesis (1965) By U3195247, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Roberto Assagioli: The Will as a Road to the Higher Self.

Psychoactive Substances.

All the trans-personal authors hold that it is very likely that the ability to develop trans-personal capacities is universal;  under the right developmental conditions. However, these trans-personal characteristics have been developed in many societies and are found in shamanism, in induced trance states, in contemplative prayer-meditation, in the use of natural psychoactive substances; and in more recent times in the use of LSD in psychedelic research.

Nevertheless; there is a possibility of a rapid and widespread emergence of trans-personal consciousness in the near future;  as an increasing number of people undertake spiritual practices of meditation, tantra, Zen, kundalini and other self-development techniques.

Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber. By Kanzeon Zen Center, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Trans-Personal Psychology.

There are basically three avenues leading to current trans-personal psychology. 

The first is a development growing out of therapeutic work. Assagioli began in the Freudian mode;  being the first translator of Freud’s writings into Italian. His work with clients showed that there were deeper aspects of the personality than Freud had stressed;  and thus a need to find therapeutic techniques,  which reached these deeper layers.  Much the same holds true for Abraham Maslow.

A second avenue has been from that of academic research and experimentation;  such as the work of Stanislav Grof, author of The stormy search for the self.

The third avenue  has been the presence of Asian teachers of meditation;  who came to Europe and the USA: the Tibetans after the 1959 flight from Tibet;  and the voluntary departure from India of yoga teachers and from Japan for Zen.

Stanislav Grof

 Stanislav Grof, psychologist and psychiatrist. By Anton Nosik, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Completing Piaget’s Project.

The value of Dale’s book is in its subtitle Transpersonal Philosophy and the Future of Psychology.  What can be confusing to readers is the title of the book Completing Piaget’s Project. Dale draws on an extended poem La mission de l’Idee;  written when Piaget was 19 and published in the French-speaking Swiss Protestant youth journal;  and his only novel Recherche;  written when he was 20 and trying to organize ideas from his college studies; his wide reading and his personal experiences of psychic events and their impact on his body. 

The poem and the novel do have trans-personal elements;  as well as reflecting debates going on at the time in the Swiss Protestant churches;  between more liberal and conservative currents. However; Piaget’s “project” linked to the creation of the League of Nations; and carried out from the 1920s in Geneva is not analyzed.

 

The League of Nations.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) was born and educated in the French-speaking canton of Neuchatel.  He was a brilliant student;  and at an early age started writing articles for nature and wildlife journals.  He became active in the Young Socialists League and a militant for peace. He was influenced by the destructive violence of the 1914-1918 war.  Many children from France were sent to Neuchatel to take them out of harms way.

At the end of his university studies in Neuchatel;  he went to Paris to work with Alfred Binet on the early IQ tests to measure intelligence. After a couple of years;  he returned to Geneva to teach and do research in an institute devoted to education: l’Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Piaget came to Geneva just as the League of Nations was starting at the end of 1922. Piaget hoped as did many others;  that the League would establish a peaceful world society. Piaget’s project was born in the intellectual currents stimulated by the League of Nations.

League of Nations

 Image: Stanley Bruce chairing the League of Nations Council in 1936. Joachim von Ribbentrop is addressing the council. By Commonwealth of Australia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The League of Nations and its unused Peace Army.

A Peaceful World Society.

His project was to build a peaceful world society;  by developing education for peace that aimed at the full development of the person.  This had to begin with the very start of education in primary school;  and strengthened through education in secondary school.

In order to create primary education that would fulfill this aim;  one had to understand how children learn.  Thus,  began his life-long investigation of the sequences of learning – when does awareness of shapes, colors, numbers, relations to others and a moral sense arise.

However; a world at peace could not be created only by having good education in the primary schools of Geneva.  There had to be a world-wide improvement of primary education;  by bringing advanced child-development knowledge to the attention of educators the world over;  in particular to the Ministries of Education;  which had the responsibility for educational policy  and content.

Alfred Binet

Alfredo Benet Junior (July 11, 1857 – October 18, 1911). By Unidentified photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Rockefeller Foundation.

Thus, in the spirit of the League of Nations; Piaget and some of his Geneva colleagues created the International Bureau of Education in 1924;  which Piaget headed for nearly 40 years.  Intellectually, it was related to the League of Nations and brought together;  usually once every two years, the Ministers of Education of the League members to discuss curriculum and teaching methods influenced by research being undertaken. 

The Bureau was largely financed by the Rockefeller Foundation. Since the USA had refused League membership and so did not contribute to the League’s budget;  much of the intellectual efforts of the League were financed by the Rockefeller Foundation including the impressive Library;  which is part of the League’s Palais des Nations.

After the Second World War;  the Bureau continued its work of conferences for Ministers of Education as an independent organization, always with Piaget as director.  In 1964, the Bureau was administratively incorporated into UNESCO but remained in Geneva.

The Same Learning Sequences.

The International Bureau of Education, housed in the Palais Wilson; the original League Secretariat offices, Piaget’s separate office building and the experimental primary school;  that served for observations were just across the street from my office as professor and Director of Research of the Graduate Institute of Development Studies. 

We would often eat or have coffee in the same places. Of course, I knew who Piaget was and would say “hello”, but I interacted with his team of researchers,  who were more my age. They were working on observations in Africa and Asia to see if the same learning sequences that Piaget had observed for Geneva children were true in other cultures as well. Their findings were that the sequences were the same; but the ages at which they took place differed due to child-raising patterns in Africa and Asia.

Institute International_Bureau_of_Education_-_UNESCO

International Bureau of Education – UNESCO @ Le Grand-Saconnex. By Guilhem Vellut from Annecy, France, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Contribution of Education to World Peace.

Piaget’s project of peace through improved primary and secondary school education has not yet been fulfilled.  UNESCO has a major program “Education for Global Citizenship“. The teachers’ manuals for the UNESCO program owe much to Piaget’s research.

While Dale’s book has many interesting elements and is a useful overview of trans-personal efforts. I think that it is a mistake to try to transform Piaget into a forerunner of trans-personal approaches;  and to neglect the heart of Piaget’s project: the contribution of education to world peace.

Transformation of Education

 Image: Image by Ian Ingalula from Pixabay.

Peacebuilding and the Transformation of Education.

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

You might to be interesting to read:

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

The Uprooted.

Increasing numbers of people in countries around the world, have been forced from their homes, by armed conflicts and systematic violations of human rights. Those who cross internationally recognized borders…

1 2 12

Richard Falk Appeals

Richard Falk. Public Intellectual: The Life of a Citizen…

Featured Image: Richard Falk. By Iran Review, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Richard Falk has written an autobiographic account of the political issues; which have marked his life: the U.S. war in Vietnam, apartheid in South Africa; the end of the Shah’s government in Iran, and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.  For those who wish to know where Falk stands on political issues today; one can start with Chapter 16.

“Intellectually Engaging the World: Fears, Desires, and Hopes.”

However; if one is interested in how he got there; it is better to start with the front of the book which details his experiences but also people met; what he did with them at the time and also later.  This review starts in the same style.

(Atlanta GA: Clarity Press, 2021, 464 pp.)

The pilgrim, as he walks upon the road, must have the open ear, the giving hand, the golden voice, and the open eye which sees the light.  He knows that he does not travel alone.  There is no rush, no hurry, and yet there is no time to lose.  Each pilgrim, knowing this, presses his footsteps forward, and he finds himself surrounded by his fellow men.  

Some move ahead – he follows after; some move behind – he sets the pace.  He travels not alone.

         Tibetan advice for the pilgrim.

Yasser Arafat.

Falk became a friend of my Princeton classmate Edward Said. Said and I shared an interest in how literature could tell one something about a culture.  At Princeton; Said was concerned with English literature and I with French and Russian. Later Said turned to the study of how Western writers saw the Middle East and “Orientalism” as well as “Culture and Imperialism” became fundamental approaches to the march of empire through Western literature.  Said became the best known of the public intellectuals of Palestinian background; and for a while was a member of what could be considered a Palestinian parliament; until he could no longer take the autocratic ways of Yasser Arafat.

The name of Yasser Arafat brings to my mind an invitation to supper with Yasser Arafat.  I knew Arafat’s brother somewhat who was president of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society; and who would come from time to time to Geneva.  Thus; I was invited to a supper that Yasser Arafat was giving in a hotel in Geneva. Although I was not a big fan of Yasser Arafat; I accepted the invitation.  It was a buffet-type supper; and Arafat moved among the guests.  He came to me and we chatted awhile.  Nothing very memorable was said; but I thought if there were something at a later date that I could do on the Palestinian issue; I would be happy to say to Arafat “I am glad to see you again” and not “I am glad to meet you.”

Yasser Arafat

PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat receives the Nobel Peace Prize for 1994 in Oslo. Government Press Office (Israel), CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

Vietnam War.

Thus with Falk’s account; we move from issues to people met.  Richard Falk spent most of his academic life teaching international law at Princeton; an hour by train from New York City; where he grew up with a lawyer father and was a graduate of the elite secondary school Fieldston; whose graduates Falk continued to meet in the halls of power.  New York was home to the Institute for World Order; where Falk was active in the World Order Models Project – an effort to analyze the trends in the development of a world society from different cultural viewpoints.  New York was also home to the Council on Foreign Relations; in which Falk was active along with a good number of other public intellectuals.

Therefore; by the mid-1960s when Richard Falk was established at Princeton University; debates on the U.S. war in Vietnam were at a fever pitch.  Falk, who opposed the war; being against all armed foreign interventions as a violation of the U.N. Charter; was considered to be on the “left”.  There were letters to the editor attacking him in the Princeton Alumni Weekly; as well as hot debates among the faculty.  Falk was often attacked by the polemic Marion Levy; who had been one of my sociology professors.  

However, by the late 1960s, U.S. elite opinion was divided on  the wisdom of the Vietnam war.  There were those who felt that the war was dividing American society – not to mention the harm that was being done to Vietnamese society.  Falk was invited to North Vietnam in a return of U.S. war prisoners to the U.S.  – a visit which marked Falk as a voice of the anti-war left.  As he writes :

” As a known critic of the Vietnam War, I was frequently invited to play a leading role in campus events that involved war and foreign policy, and I rarely refused such interventions.”

Vietnam War

Vietnam War. By Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. U.S. Marine Corps.James K. F. Dung, SFC, PhotographerRonald L. HaeberleU.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Another issue of importance to the thinking of Richard Falk; and also the way he was seen by others; was the end of the regime of the Shah of Iran and the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini.  Falk went to Iran in 1979 at the request of the political figure Mehdi Bazargan to understand the popular anti-Shah movement that was going on; some 10 days before the Shah left Iran.  On his way back; Falk stopped in Paris and was able to interview Ayatollah Khomeini.  From his Iranian observations; Falk was able to understand better the impact that religious ideas have  upon people.  As he writes; the Iranian experience gave me:

” an appreciation of the potency of Islamic values, and the potential of mobilization from below by and for the masses  in the Middle East…I came to understand that these societies were deeply religious, and that secularization  and Europeanization that had been so enthusiastically embraced by urban elites, had never been accepted by most of those living in villages scattered throughout these countries.”

The same interplay of politics and religion play an important role in a key aspect of Falk’s reflections.

” On no issue has the personal and the political been more interwinded in my life experience, especially since the turn of the 21st century, than with respect to the long struggle involving Palestine and Israel.” 

Ayatollah Khomeini

Ayatollah Mohammad Mofatteh and Grand AyatollahRuhollah Khomeini. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Therefore, Richard Falk had a Jewish mother which is all one needs to be considered Jewish.  Falk became active on the Israel-Palestinian issue as the U.N. Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur; on Human Rights in Occupied Palestine (2008-2014).  Falk was chosen for this unpaid and demanding position because of his scholarly work on U.N. issues.  However; he quickly became a target of pro-Israeli, pro-Zionist writers.  

“Typically, I was called a ‘Jew hater’, sometimes reinforced by hate language and death threats…I concluded myself that the intensity of these attacks on me, which actually almost immediately lessened after my position at the U.N. ended, suggested that the position of special rapporteur, especially with respect to sensitive issues of this kind, is more  important than I had previously realized.   In my case the position was certainly taken seriously by Israel and its supporters… Being part of the U.N. makes one aware of its scale and scope, as well as its dual ambitions of keeping the governments of member states content and carrying out its mission of making the world a better place from the perspective of peace, justice, development, and ecological sustainability.”

Richard Falk is keenly aware of the challenges which we all face.  As he writes:

” Now the future, if conceived as an extension of the present, paints a bleak picture.  The miseries of climate change, global migration, famine, autocratic governance, militarist geopolitics, and diminishing biodiversity seem unlikely to be alleviated within my life span and will more likely worsen.”

Yet at the end, he holds out the hope for positive collective action to meet these challenges. 

” I conclude with the fervent public hope that the several revolutionary pathways traveled by citizen pilgrims will be more often and urgently chosen by my sisters and brothers throughout the world, and so widened in scope, extended in meaning, and deepened in influence.”

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

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