Human behavior

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Introduction

Definition
What does the term “Human Behavior“ mean? We, the authors, describe it as follows:

“Human Behavior“ is a synonym for the entirety of human activity.
This includes aware, unaware, active as well as passive actions and reactions.
Human behavior always relates to a surrounding environment.

Every human being acts within and responds to his or her environment. It is not always obvious whether a human being acts out of personal motives or responds to events that happen in the environment. The line between “action” and “reaction” is blurred. The division of the human world in “individual” and “environment” or “action” and “reaction” is conceptual only. Classifying things and circumstances is a helpful (human) concept of describing the world around us. However, let’s keep in mind that “environment” and “individual” are not separate from each other. They are interconnected.

When discussing societal systems, which strive to expand everybody’s scope of liberty (→ Values), we, the authors, think that it is important to question cause and effect of different characteristics of human behavior.

The human individual in his or her environment
Let’s have a look at the interactions between the human being and its surrounding environment. Every individual exists within her or his particular individual environment. But what does “environment” mean?

There is a multitude of aspects constituting an individual’s environment. For example the physical environment: we are surrounded by different living entities like plants, animals and people as well as non-living entities like stones, furniture, buildings and technical equipment. We can see, hear, touch, taste or smell those things that make up our physical environment. Further, every individual is a part of a social environment which consists of individuals like friends, partners, family, and strangers that come across its path. The individual takes on different social roles within these various environments. Often we are embedded in organizational environments (e.g. families, teams and hierarchies) in which we take responsibility. Every individual is also surrounded by diverse world-views, values and attitudes towards life. These reflect in the behavior of fellow human beings and are perceptible through the content of conversations and the media, as also in historical documentation, music, film, art and generally the surrounding culture. Furthermore, there is a technological environment which consists of e.g. communication devices, machines (such as cars, computers and elevators), roads and supply systems as well as concepts of how to use all of these things. There are many other aspects you might identify to describe your particular environment. We, the authors, want to point out that we refer to EVERYTHING – physically, mentally, socially, spiritually and so on – surrounding us when talking about “environment”.
An individual is influenced by its environment in many different ways: climate conditions, water and food supply, fellow humans with different expectations, or laws to be obeyed. All environmental influences play a role in how we feel, what we think and how we consequently act. Our environment influences us.

The other way around, every individual also influences her or his environment in many different ways. For example, if I walk through the streets with a beaming smile on my face, I might have a positive impact on the people I come across. In contrast, if I walk through the streets with hate in my eyes I might have a different impact on people. In communication we might choose to suggest an idea or we choose to withhold it. We can influence the way technical devices and processes are developed. We can hand over the design of societal structures in our interest to other people, we can ourselves become societal designers or we completely refrain from the involvement in societal design. Every choice an individual makes influences her or his environment. In fact, every human being is constantly faced with choosing from options.

However, to what extent an individual can influence her or his environment strongly depends on one’s personal life situation. This includes for instance one’s health, one’s knowledge and skills, one’s social role and reputation and the surrounding societal systems. But in the end, the observation is the same: the behavior of every individual has an impact on how other individuals feel, what they are concerned with and how they act. Since the entirety of all individuals makes up society, the behavior of every individual influences what the societal systems are composed of and how they operate.

The interplay thus works in both directions: our environment influences us and we influence our environment.

Environment & Individual

How we become who we are

The timeline of influences
Throughout an individual’s life, the interactions with a multitude of aspects of his or her environment influence this individual. This interaction with the environment shapes the individual in its ways to interact with the environment. To depict the multitude of influences in their entirety is probably an impossible undertaking due to the topic’s diversity. In the following, we would like to present a descriptive overview of environmental influences that affect human individuals and thus their behavior. Firstly we would like to introduce a graphic on which we will than elaborate.

Timeline - My development history

This is a time line of influences. At every point of an individual’s life, her or his behavior is a consequence of the interaction with all current and all past influences that ever affected this individual. The specific action and reaction patterns of any individual are the culmination of all the influences that the individual is facing throughout her or his life.

1 Genetics (species attributes and predispositions)
In the moment of conception, genes of the mother and the father unite and make up the blueprint of a new being. This blueprint is the individual’s genetic makeup – the genome. As every known species on Earth, every human being has a unique genetic makeup (except identical twins). Since genes are the blueprint of an individual’s biology, they also impact an individual’s characteristics. How intensely a human being experiences heat and cold, joy and anger, or wether she or he is more or less prone to a particular disease, partially depends on that individual’s genetic makeup. That is what is called predisposition: the genetic tendency to particular characteristics, conditions or traits.

There are specific attributes of the human species that are encoded in the genetic code and that all human beings have in common: Every human being lives a balance between activity and rest. We need to breath, eat and drink to supply our body with energy. Blood flows in our veins driven by the rhythm of our heart. Our hormonal balance – the balance of the system of signaling molecules in our body – continuously varies throughout our life and influences our metabolism, moods, emotions and cycles. Through complex mechanisms neuronal activity coordinates the various cells and thus organs in our body and their function. Our skin copes with sun light, wind, heat and cold. These and other species attributes make up the human organism’s foundation and hence create the biological conditions for the interaction with our environment. (A0)

2 Epigenetics
Within an organism there are usually both active, as also inactive gene sequences. Only active gene sequences are implemented by the organism. Inactive sequences are not. The epigenetic mechanisms have influences over the activation and deactivations of certain gene sequences (A1). Whether gene sequences are activated or deactivated is dependent upon what environmental influences are impacting an individual. If environmental conditions change or the individual changes her or his way of living (e.g. food choices, attitudes, habits), this configuration might change. When it comes to conception, an individual’s epigenetic configuration is partly inherited by the next generation.

A popular example for the effects of epigenetic processes are the longterm studies with surviving individuals of the dutch hunger winter in 1944: Children who’s mothers suffered from malnutrition in a certain period of their pregnancy during this winter showed higher obesity rates. These effects were even partially present in the third generation. They were inherited.

3 Prenatal phase
The development of a human being begins within the mother’s womb. During the nine months of prenatal growth, the young human is dependent on the mother’s health. For example, the fetus’ growth and health are dependent on the quality of water and food the mother can access. The fetus’ growth and health are also influenced by the kind and quantities of medication, alcohol and drugs the mother consumes. Periods of disease and extraordinary stress that the mother experiences, additionally largely influence the fetus’ prenatal development. Finally, the exposure to sound and noise, toxins and radiation as well as the mother’s access to prenatal health care services are further influences.

All environmental conditions influence the fetus’ health and physique. They create first experiences which may manifest in characteristics and behavioral patterns far after this human being’s birth.

4 Food, water and other physical conditions
After birth, the young human faces a very different environment and has to get along in it. In order to optimally develop and thrive, the environment must satisfy the human organism’s needs for physical necessities like water, food, oxygen and sunlight.

The regular intake of water and food is a biological necessity of developing human beings. The human body is made up of more than 70% water. Water is the foundation for human body fluids and thus enables the transport of oxygen, nutrients and information carrying substances. Food provides the organism with nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins and minerals. Such nutrients enable the human organism to grow and thrive. The quality of drinking water and food is a major contributing factor to an individual’s health, fitness and resistance to disease.

Unfortunately, there are conditions that can threaten the development of a human organism. Being (regularly) exposed to toxic chemicals as well as extreme noise, temperature or radiation, not only endangers the health but might even considerably disrupt an individual’s development.

5 Socialization
A very complex and significant impact is the influence of socialization. Socialization describes the active and passive transfer from society’s values, attitudes, world-views, experiences, concepts, knowledge, skills and thus behavioral patterns to the developing individual. An individual perceives his or her environment and consequently adopts thoughts and behavioral patterns from the people around.

In early developmental stages, a child is very open minded, unprejudiced and curious and thus receptive for information. For that reason a child is vulnerable. As a child lives through its first experiences it accepts many things as given. Hence, a child’s parents, family and generally the environment a child grows up in has a huge impact on this child’s personality. For example, it makes a difference if an environment is loud, hectic and stressful or if it is calm, relaxed and balanced. It makes a difference if a child’s family is responsive and tries to explain things or if people barely care while repeatedly dictating rules. It makes a difference if a child feels acknowledged and secure or if it feels lonely and misunderstood.

This is quite similar in later development phases. Now, it is friends, education systems and work environments that additionally influence the individual. Social relationships that develop range between cooperation and competition, between understanding and misunderstanding, between conflict and harmony, between empathy and ignorance.

Furthermore, societal movements, institutions, traditions and laws have their impact. The individual learns what is “important”, what is “necessary to achieve”, what is “allowed”, and what is “forbidden”. She or he learns how to behave in particular situations, who has what “privileges”, who is an “authority” and possibly why.

Thereby, behavior of an individual is also largely influenced by the scope of liberty that the currently established societal organizational structures allow. For example, different behavioral patterns develop if societal institutions exclude the individual from solution finding processes rather than integrating his or her understandings. Different behavioral patterns may also develop if societal organization leads to insufficient access to resources rather than providing knowledge, goods and support in abundance (→ Handling Resource Scarcity). Furthermore, different behavioral patterns may develop if an individual has possibilities for self-development through access to e.g. libraries, challenging tasks or skill training or if she or he does not have this access.

6 Spirituality
Spirituality – the search for meaning, inner peace, explanation, awareness, transcendence, contact to a higher order, etc. – performs remarkable influence on the behavior of many individuals. Spirituality is a multilayered, diversely defined term. Human beings explore astrology, different nature teachings, dream interpretation, mysticism, tarot, gods, energies, auras, presentiments, notions about the origin of humanity or afterlife, suggestions, epiphanies and many other forms of spirituality. Spiritual topics often have in common that they are more intuitive than tangible for the mind but have such a fascinating impact that they can enrich and inspire people.

7 Profound life experiences
Finally, it is the sometimes unforeseeable fortunate or tragic course of life itself that holds profound personal experiences (e.g. the sudden death of a family member, the unexpected reunion with a long forgotten friend, or the perfect opportunity popping up at the right time) which influence an individual and thus this individual’s behavior throughout her or his life.


Perception
Many of the exemplified influences can be described as environmental signals. These environmental signals trigger reactions within the individual’s organism. Such a reaction can be biochemical, neuronal, mental, physical or every other kind. Frequently, such a reaction is an interplay of many reaction types.

We all have senses with which we can grasp ourselves and signals from our environment. This is the beginning of the process called perception. However, perception is not only the act of our senses taking in signals. It is also the process of the individual’s organism categorizing and filtering these signals in order to make sense of them within the – from the individual’s point of view – meaningful overall image. In this way, along an individual’s development history, her or his attitudes, opinions and beliefs form. Consciously and subconsciously they constitute the basis of how we divide the signals we perceived in “important” or “unimportant”, “good” or “bad”, ”right” or “wrong”, “trustworthy” or ”suspicious”, ”normal” or ”strange” or other categories of differentiation.

Every individual experiences an individual constellation of influences throughout its life that impact the individual with a unique timing. Consequently, every individual has a very personal perception of their environment. Each individual perceives the same environmental signal differently and is therefore very likely to react very differently in similar environments and situations.

The perception of environmental signals is not only different for every individual, it can also change. Does an experience fit into the individual’s fabric of attitudes, opinions and beliefs, this fabric will be confirmed. Does it not fit, this may lead to irritation of the individual. Consciously and subconsciously the individual either tries to harmonize the experience with its attitudes, opinions and beliefs, to lay it aside as lack of understanding for the present, to ignore it or to change the fabric of attitudes, opinions and beliefs.

Hence, if we expose ourselves to new influences, we may gain new experiences. Through new experiences our attitudes, opinions and beliefs may change. These changes impact our division of the world in categories like “important” or “unimportant”, “good” or “bad”, ”right” or “wrong”, “trustworthy” or ”suspicious”, ”normal” or ”strange”. With our view on the world our perception changes.

Behavior: the product of influences
An individual’s predispositions coupled with this individual’s development history lead to the particular momentary physical and mental state that the individual is in. Neither our mental, nor our physical state is ever static. The various cycles, biological mechanisms, energetic flows and all the other aspects within our body, mind and entire organism are in continuous change and thus constantly bring forth new constellations of momentary physical and mental states. For example, due to changes in your hormonal balance you might go from feeling joyous to feeling frustrated from one moment to the other, even though your environment has not changed. Or, while pursuing your least favorite activity, suddenly a thought pops up that makes you feel lightweight and energetic.

However, an individual’s behavior is the direct consequence of this momentary physical and mental state seen within the context of the actual environmental circumstances in a particular moment. Hence, environmental influences not only shape an individual throughout her or his development history. They furthermore compose the circumstances this individual is confronted with at every moment. Consequently, it is fundamental to understand the impacts of environmental influences in order to comprehend the behavior of (groups of) individuals.

The individual’s perspective

Question: How does the interplay with the environment impact an individual’s behavior? Let’s have a look from the individual’s perspective:

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Every human being pursues personal satisfaction. (→ Basic understandings)

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.Satisfaction
Satisfaction is a pleasant state of mind. You feel good because you feel happy, comfortable, proud, safe, secure or anything alike. Satisfaction may also be reached when you feel comfortable with your life situation, despite or because of its difficulties. In contrast, a lack of satisfaction stirs unpleasant feelings.

Pursuing personal satisfaction – planned or spontaneously, patiently or euphorically, consciously or subconsciously – means pursuing the creation of situations and circumstances that induce this pleasant state of mind. We, the authors, think that every individual endeavors to realize personal satisfaction at every single moment within her or his existence. Thus, the most powerful drive in the shaping of an individual’s behavior appears to be the endeavor for personal satisfaction. We, human beings, always strive to keep our actual state or to reach a higher state of satisfaction. An individual’s behavior in any situation results from her or his experiences of how to achieve this.

Human needs
Personal satisfaction can be accomplished by satisfying needs. The term “need” describes the yearning for a specific quality of life. Needs can be satisfied or unsatisfied. They are not concrete actions, they are independent from time and place, as also from other individuals. The range of human needs is incredibly vast and multifaceted. Just to name a few: there is the need for vitality, health, movement, rest, safety, security, stability, support, trust, warmth, closeness, harmony, happiness, connection, sexuality, love, appreciation, contact, exchange, empathy, acceptance, appreciation, participation, community, development, self-fulfillment, autonomy, meaning, and purpose. Beyond that there are many more needs a human being might long to satisfy.

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Every action of an individual serves the satisfaction of this individual’s needs.
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All actions and reactions of a human being are attempted strategies that can successfully, partly successful, or unsuccessfully contribute to the satisfaction of personal needs. They spring from the actual experience – the personal truth (→ Basic Understandings) – of the individual. The individual steadily develops, refines, or dismisses these strategies. This is done consciously, as well as subconsciously (→ The Scientific Method).

A particular action may thereby serve the satisfaction of more than one need. For instance, a small boy climbing a tree, may satisfy simultaneously his needs for adventure, exercise and attention.

Vice versa a single need can always be satisfied through more than one action. The small boy for example could satisfy his need for exercise playing football, table tennis, or swimming.

Different people apply different strategies in order to satisfy the same need. For instance the need for nearness: one person is seeking conversation, another one wants to watch movies together, and a third person may want to kiss and cuddle.

Some needs are more pressing, others are less pressing for an individual. Some people for instance satisfy their need for rest and relaxation before they (can) pursue the need for community and responsibility for others. For other people the reverse is the case: the needs for community and responsibility are of higher priority than for instance the needs for nutrition, rest or self-fulfillment. These priorities are not only different for every individual, they also constantly change. (B1)

The behavior – actions and reactions – of several individuals can stand in conflict. That does not mean that the needs of these individuals’ stand in conflict. It is exclusively the strategies chosen by the individuals to satisfy their needs which collide in case of a conflict. To achieve the goal of society (→ Values) it is thus helpful if individual’s are enabled to harmonize the satisfaction of their needs with another.

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The higher the personal level of satisfaction,
the more likely an individual is able to harmonize the satisfaction of its needs
with the satisfaction of the needs of others.

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The better an individual can satisfy her or his personal needs and the more thoroughly an individual’s personal satisfaction is constituted, the more likely it is that she or he is able to perceive the needs of others, to get in touch with these people and to reflect her or his own behavior. Thereby it is important that individuals are able to mutually communicate their needs. Only if individuals know the needs of another, they all can harmonize the satisfaction of their needs together.

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The higher the level of personal satisfaction of single individuals,
– and the better their communication contributes to the joint awareness of their needs –
the more likely it is that the culture of their society is shaped by harmony and synergy.

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That’s why supporting every single individual is essential in order to achieve the goal of society (→ Values). That is the case for the support at satisfying their personal needs, as also at the mutual communication about these.

Supportive environment
What kind of environment would support an individual (or a group of individuals) in satisfying needs and thus in finding personal satisfaction?

Since every individual strives for personal satisfaction, an optimal environment would support every single individual as holistically as possible. In a supportive environment an individual who asks questions will receive answers or the support required to find them. An individual in need of drinking water will be provided with it or the means of attaining it. If an individual wants to follow an ambition, a supportive environment provides access to knowledge, skill trainings and contact to others with similar ambitions or useful expertise (→ Education). If several individuals want to make the exchange about their needs more pleasant, efficient or fulfilling, a supportive environment offers access to numerous helpful communication techniques. In case of conflict such an environment provides methods for establishing non-violent, solution-oriented communication in order to solve the current conflict and to prevent further conflict from arising (→ The Scientific Method).

Non-supportive and hostile environment
On the other hand, what kind of environment could hinder an individual (or a group of individuals) from satisfying needs aimed at achieving personal satisfaction?

A non-supportive environment does not provide sufficient support, care, and advice. For a single individual it is therefore harder to strive for the satisfaction of her or his personal needs. In a hostile environment an individual is denied support. In extreme cases, an individual might even be abused.

An individual asking a question in a non-supportive environment does not receive an answer, and won’t be understood or heard. A hostile environment even responds with condemnation violation, and punishment. If an individual is in the need for drinkable water, it has to figure out ways to do that on its own. It could even be faced with active blockades from its surrounding that hinder it from attaining any drinkable water or the means of attaining it. If an individual wants to realize a goal it has to acquire knowledge and skills on its own without any aid. Contact to other people is difficult or even impossible. The resolution of conflicts is not supported. In a hostile environment conflicts are even stoked. The responsibility is thereby attributed to the individual which sees her or himself left alone with feelings of guilt and shame.

Supportive Environment

Supportive Environment

Hostile environment

Hostile environment

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Supportive vs. Hostile Environment

In a supportive environment an individual may achieve personal satisfaction much more efficiently than in a non-supportive environment. The more possibilities an individual has at hand for attaining personal goals, the more likely this individual is to achieve them and the less reasons she or he has for expressing destructive behavior. Equipped with all kinds of means and methods the individual might be enabled to easily coordinate personal ambitions in harmony with her or his environment. The feeling or the awareness to live in a supportive environment fosters trust in this environment. This trust can lead to behavior which cares for and supports this environment: “I can satisfy my needs more thoroughly through the experience, the knowledge and the skills of my fellow humans as well as existing societal structures and forms of organization – rather than without those”.

In contrast, within a hostile environment an individual feels a lack of support and in return is discouraged – or simply not able – to care about harmonizing her or his endeavors with the surrounding environment. A lack of support, mistreatment or abuse might provoke feelings of anxiety, anger, frustration, helplessness, despair, or aggression within the individual. If such feelings stay unnoticed or ignored by the individual’s environment they can lead to behavior which hinders or harms other individuals, or disturb, damage or destroy societal structures and processes. Such sentiments are provoked in environments in which barriers, walls, rules, laws or people permanently hinder the satisfaction of the individual’s needs. This additionally means that an individual which does not feel welcomed, supported or which even feels excluded possibly is only poorly motivated but also does not see possibilities to contribute to societal development. This in turn means that all other individuals won’t benefit from the developments this individual might have initiated. (→ Values).

How individuals interact with their environment
There are, generally speaking, two major ways of how human beings get along within their environment. Both of these ways are applied consciously, as well as subconsciously. The first option is to adapt to the environment. In this case, an individual adjusts her or his mentality, their strategies for satisfying needs, their physiology and thus their behavioral patterns to surrounding circumstances. The second option that human beings have to get by in their environment, is to change and shape the environment to fit their needs.

We humans constantly use both ways of getting along in our environment. We use a mixture of adapting to the circumstances of our surrounding and shaping them. We choose one or the other option – or we find a way in between – based on our experiences in order to decide about what way benefits us most.

An individual or a group of individuals should take care not to shape their environments in ways that create hostile environments for others. That is because an individual adapting to a hostile environment may develop behavior that in turn is hostile to others.

Main article – Societal change

From hostile to supportive environments
Consequently, with respect to the goal of society (→ Values), it is necessary to avoid creating circumstances that provoke harmful behavior. That is why societal change should be about turning existing non-supportive or even hostile environments into supportive environments in which every human being is enabled to pursue satisfaction as freely and easily as possible.

Needs-Based Design
And here the societal systems come into play: societal structures should be designed to serve human needs in order to create satisfaction. They should thus be designed to create supportive environments for all individuals. Societal structures should constantly adapt to changing constellations of needs rather than forcing individuals – due to the rigidity of these structures – to step into conflict with the systems.

The process of developing societal structures that can respond to the current needs of all individuals – applying current knowledge and technology purposefully – is what we call “Needs-Based Design”. In summary, the Needs-Based Design of societal systems has to lead to a culture of societal exchange and learning, so that the mutual awareness of our needs raises. This culture would constitute the basis for the development of suitable structures and forms of organizations (→ The Scientific Method) to achieve the goal of society. Designing societal systems on the basis of our needs would enable every individual to grow and unfold and thus strengthen and expand the capacity for mutual care within society.

In order to successfully implement the concept of Needs-Based Design it takes technology (methods and tools) that enables us to grasp and process the complexity of societal interrelations, problems and conflicts (→ Technology). For instance, it is essential for societal institutions and representatives to have insight into the needs of the people they represent. Therefore, the establishment of demand overview systems would be of enormous significance as a guide line (→ Handling Ressource Scarcity). These systems would allow individuals to communicate which of their needs are currently unsatisfied or which resources they require. With the vast information gathered, interdisciplinary societal design teams (anthropologists, sociologists, biologists, psychologist, planners and organizers, architects, engineers, physicians, technicians, pedagogues, coordinators, conflict consultants, etc.) could create mechanisms that enable the coordination of the satisfaction of all individuals’ needs. The design process should thereby include all affected and interested individuals as far as possible. In the best case, these teams would consist of those individuals that later on would use these structures.

On an individual level, Needs-Based Design means:

  • questioning ones desires in order to fathom the true needs standing behind each desire
  • pursuing the satisfaction of one’s own needs
  • realizing where one’s approach to satisfy personal needs stands in conflict with other individuals’ approach to satisfy their needs
  • communicating empathically and non-violently to enable the satisfaction of the need of everyone involved
  • being open for the vastness of possibilities and potential alternatives that are at hand or can be developed

If individuals are able to distinctly identify their own needs and are able to express them in ways that others may understand, conflicts are very unlikely to escalate. Revealing the needs of the involved individuals is an essential foundation to successfully resolve conflict. Dealing with these conflicts then does not need to be an emotional confrontation but can rather constitute a joint solution process that is based on the foundation of the disclosed needs. Confrontations in which the true needs of the involved individuals stay hidden behind accusations and justifications can be tiring and (emotionally) exhausting. If those confrontations stay out through resolving conflicts needs-based, the stress level reduces which leaves room for the pursue of personal satisfaction.

We human beings need flexible societal systems that can optimally fulfill their purpose: to coordinate the satisfaction of needs (→ Handling Resource Scarcity).

Personal responsibility
Every single individual is part of the environment of everybody else. If it is important to you to contribute to getting closer to the goal of society (→ Values), it is your responsibility to not constitute a hostile environment for others. You are in charge of being heedful towards your environment in order to be able to recognize if your strategies to satisfy your needs and thus behavioral patterns may eventually hurt others. From the moment of awareness about your behavior, it is your responsibility to use your entire scope of liberty to solve arising conflict within yourself or between you and others. Use your possibilities to get in touch with your fellow humans and conflict partners. You are jointly responsible to not create circumstances that require you or others to apply behavioral patterns which harm, damage or hurt yourself or other individuals.

Overlapping, individual environments

–– A comparison to our contemporary society (2016) —

Non-supportive environments in our contemporary society
In our contemporary society there are many circumstances that contribute to the creation of non-supportive and hostile environments. In the following there are some examples of those circumstances:

  • war and environmental pollution make many parts of the world dangerous places
  • many children all over the world grow up in environments that are physically and mentally stressful and even dangerous
  • education systems as well as working environments are rarely adapted to individual human interests and needs (e.g. too big classes, lack of individually supporting learning opportunities, too few self-development possibilities, compulsory attendance)
  • the ratio of personal tasks and time for rest is mostly directed by others
  • no or too few influence in solution finding processes and decisions
  • fear and control dominate trust
  • isolation and suppression of minorities

These circumstances can have a variety of different impacts on an individual. It is not uncommon that individuals within the contemporary global society feel

  • that “leaders” and governments do not openly communicate or deliberately misinform the people
  • that today’s politics and economy do not seek peace on earth and ecologic harmony
  • stressed and overburdened
  • ignored, abused and threatened by local, regional, national or global political and economic systems
  • excluded from society
  • that some of the people surrounding them do not notice, listen to, acknowledge or understand them

Non-supportive and hostile environments make people want to withdraw themselves from, or fight against such environments. Examples of that are separation and disputes within families, friendships, partnerships or employment. In a larger societal frame this is reflected in a lot of organized protests, strikes, and boycotts. Riots, assaults, rampage and terrorism are some of the most extreme forms of the fight against hostile environments. Those societal symptoms are NOT consequence of a natural drive of “evil” people and cultures to harm and destroy others. These societal symptoms occur if (groups of) individuals are exposed to non-supportive and hostile environments. Today, most of the non-supportive or hostile environments are caused by the consequences of the competition for ressources.

Competition
Throughout human history, there were periods in which scarcity was a predominant experience for many individuals. The products that people produced were therefore very precious to them. People developed methods to offer their goods and services to others, trying to gain access to different goods and services in return in order to satisfy their needs.

If goods or services are offered in amounts that exceed demand, it becomes difficult to barter or sell them. Thus, multiple parties that offer the same good or service step into competition with each other. And that’s exactly what happened.

In today’s society, we see competition on many levels. It is common for us to stand in competition with each other. There is a competition amongst individuals, amongst companies and even countries compete with each other in the race for resources. Those who aren’t able to keep up with their competitors may get little or no access to resources. Therefore, many people are filled with fear of losing their established status. From these reasons, politicians domestically tent to compete, rather than cooperate with each other. All these circumstances impede our arrival at sustainable, holistic solutions through cooperation and constitute a big obstacle for achieving the goal of society (→ Values).

Furthermore, there are other very destructive attributes that may accompany competition. For example, competition often goes hand in hand with not allowing others to use information or ideas that could create an advantage for one’s competitors. That is beautifully seen in the patent system. People need information and ideas, but for many it is often not affordable to gain access to those. Even worse: competition mostly goes along with hiding information from one another so that “my (financial) advantage stays my advantage only”. But that also means that “my ideas” cannot be taken to the next level by somebody else. Consequently, an incredible amount of innovation and problem solving that could happen in this world doesn’t happen because information and ideas and concepts aren’t extensively shared.

The competition driven urge to be faster and cheaper at what we do, leads to new norms that push us to become even faster and cheaper. In order to save money, employers employ less people, but expect them to do more work. This leads to less people having a paid job which consequences enormous tension within our current global society: people with a paid job often have little time to tackle huge workloads while people without a paid job have the stress to get by with little or no income. On top of that they are often accompanied by the sentiment to not be able or allowed to contribute.

Additionally, competition can, and often does, foster corruption. One needs to have a very strong character to not try to “work around the rules” in order to have some kind of advantage. There is always temptation to “foul play” in order to be slightly ahead of your competitor. No matter how many rules and regulations against it a society legislates: there is always the incentive to trick, or manipulate the “game” a little to one’s advantage.

Competition is the opposite of cooperation. Competition can create an atmosphere wherein competitors envy another and wish each other bad luck in their endeavors. Where cooperation fosters information sharing and synergistic problem solving, competition provokes withholding and manipulation of information, dogmatism and corruption. Therefore, competition often induces mistrust. Mistrust does neither allow open minded communication nor a free flow of information as a fertile basis for exchange between individuals. However, only a free flow of information coupled with sustainable access to goods and services would enable the establishment of societal systems that assist all individuals in the achievement of their goals optimally (→ Handling Resource Scarcity).

Some of the above mentioned traits can, of course, also be found outside realms of competition. Nevertheless, competition provides an extra set of incentives that guide individuals towards expressing the above mentioned behavioral patterns.

As long as competition is friendly based (e.g. in sports) and not connected to serious consequences, it can be very constructive. However, the moment that it comes to accessing resources that satisfy needs (e.g. money, food, shelter, transport and the like) competition can have very destructive effects.

Extrinsic Motivation
In most of the current societal systems people are motivated to get things done through systematically applying external incentives attached to conditions. Extrinsic motivation is the drive to do something in order to receive some kind of promised reward or avoid some kind of threatened punishment. If you are good, fast or smart enough, then you get something. If you are not so good at doing stuff, then you get less or nothing, or you even get punished for not being good enough. Such incentives are contingent.

For instance, you work a job in order to get access to resources (e.g. money, housing, food, credit, etc.). If you’re not fierce enough at your job you won’t get the promotion and thus no reward: you won’t be able to live in a house you love to live in, or to buy the food that you want to eat. Or maybe you’ll even perceive it as some kind of silent punishment.

Grades in school that decide upon the continuation of an individual’s education and the associated pressure to perform, as also punishments like being fined or imprisoned are examples of contingent incentives.

What kind of problems accompany the extensive use of such incentives?

Contingent external rewards (“If you do this, then you’ll get that.”-rewards), by their very nature, narrow our focus and concentrate our mind on a specific task. Therefore, concerning complex tasks and problem solving, extrinsic incentives tend to prove little effective, and even counterproductive. Solving complex problems – like those the global society is confronted with – requires attention, vision, patience, creativity, thoroughness as well as a fine grasp of details and interconnections. In order to profoundly and holistically understand an even slightly complex problem, an individual needs to be at ease. The brain must be able to intake a broad spectrum of information in a relaxed manner in order to process it efficiently (C1). Yet, if individuals are mainly motivated by contingent external incentives, they tend to concentrate on attaining the promised reward rather than entirely devoting their attention to holistically sustainable solving a problem [2].

This applies also to long term thinking. External rewards can focus the mind on the reward at hand rather than on what’s off in the distant future. Therefore external incentives often undermine the ability to foresee problems and conflicts. Hence, short-term thinking due to focusing on external incentives can inhibit the development of long-term solutions [3].

Extrinsic rewards offered for a task have the tendency to make the extrinsically motivated individual expect the same kind of reward when a similar task is faced. That compels the rewarding individual to offer rewards over and over again. Furthermore, over time offered rewards may become standard to the rewarded individual. That means that the incentive offered to the individual may not suffice any more to motivate her or him. Hence, the rewarding individual is obliged to regularly increase the reward in order to get similar results [4]. If the reward is not continuously increased, the motivation of the rewarded individual might steadily decline. Consequently, extrinsically motivated individuals might become addicted to external rewards. In the absence of external incentives it may be observed that the incentiviced individuals stop to pursue extrinsically motivated tasks. Thereupon, they are often rumored to be “inactive” or “lazy”. Due to the systematic use of external incentives, “laziness” appears as a big topic within many contemporary political discussions.

Already in early age, most education systems teach us the importance of rewards and punishments. Many of us seek to attain good marks in order to comply with societal expectations rather than attaining them as a result of their interest in the subject. Later in the societal education process, we tend to choose disciplines that promise a decent income rather than those that feed our passions and interests. Finally, advancements concerning our “career” – and money – become the main motivation to accomplish things.

Intrinsic motivation
Intrinsic motivation means pursuing something that interests you, that awakens your curiosity, something that inspires or challenges you. You do something without expecting any external reward in return since the task itself or its outcomes please you directly.

Intrinsic motivation involves the following three characteristics:

  • Autonomy – the urge to direct your own life, to decide yourself what you want and what you do not want to do
  • Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something
  • Purpose – the yearning to do what you do in the service of something of importance

We all want to do something that matters. And we want to decide ourselves what to do. Purpose coupled with autonomy usually enables us to always improve at what we decide to do. Furthermore, people also do things exclusively for the joy of mastery.

It is usually at least one of these three characteristics that is present in a task that holds your interest. For instance, if you enjoy painting, it is very likely that you would like to decide yourself what to paint and how to paint it (Autonomy). Or if you train in order to participate in your favorite sports game you might develop a strong will to master your discipline (Mastery). Or your interest in developing airplane propulsion systems may be fueled by your desire to make transport more simple, safe, convenient or more eco-friendly (Purpose).

Intrinsic motivation enables us to stick to a subject or problem that is hard to understand. It helps us to creatively solve problems, boosting our energy to dig into a subject, getting better and better at understanding it. Therefore, this kind of motivation helps us to arrive at solutions, even in nowadays “external-incentive-driven” world. [5]

There is a wide array of tasks that can be described as purely intrinsically motivated. In contrast, extrinsically motivated tasks always have a portion of intrinsic motivation to them; even if that portion purely consists of the individual’s instinct of self preservation. However, in order to achieve an intrinsically motivated goal, individuals often pursue multiple tasks that pave the way to this goal.

For example: you want to become a scientific researcher for natural cancer remedies. The vision of pursuing this occupation in the future fills you with joy because it will satisfy your needs for purpose, progress and connectivity to nature. Unfortunately, a semester at University is mad expensive. In order to pay the fees, you most probably have to earn money. Say, you work in a post office for little money. It’s a stressful job. You do your best every single day. Over the years you manage to build up some savings, but it’s just not enough to pay the fees for your desired studies. In order to get a promotion in your current job, you firstly have to invest into further education. This makes you spend parts of your savings for further education. After five years you are promoted to be department chief. Now, everyone expects you to be available at any time. How long can you keep at following your dream?

The more tasks and barriers there are between you and your goal the more you might feel a decrease of intrinsic motivation. As long as progress towards the achievement of the root intention is experienced, you may have a sense of accomplishment. However, if there are too many tasks and barriers between you and the achievement of your goal, you might lose sight of your goal.

Losing sight of your goals could be seen as “disconnection” from oneself since you lost your emotional relation to your needs. The main reason for “disconnection” is the constant race for making a living within societal systems that apply extrinsic incentives and make us compete with another. Within these systems we often have to pursue tasks which we would not pursue out of intrinsic motivation.

Disconnection from oneself
As mentioned above, due to the pressure of keeping and improving one’s societal status, many of us are losing sight of – or never discovered – some of their personal needs. We tend to lose the emotional relation to ourselves, our environment and to the activities we are occupied with. Focusing our attention on rewards (e.g. wages, interest rates, dividends and discounts) and on judging other people’s lives and opinions, we separate more and more from our sense for our own and our beloved’ needs. This disconnection deters us from recognizing our intrinsic motivated goals. We tend to lose interest for the quality of the tasks we pursue since we mainly come to work to get the money. We merely function rather than experiencing our activities with all our senses. We wear masks and lack authenticity pretending to be fine and happy. Our superficial happiness is nourished by material status symbols and trendy gimmicks that enclose us. We tend to thoughtlessly repeat what we hear from politicians, celebrities or religious leaders rather than developing our own understandings and perspectives. All that makes it almost impossible to truly pursue personal satisfaction.

Power in the hands of a few
Disconnection creates a tendency in us to simply follow others’ ideas without reflecting on those. That makes one susceptible for manipulation. Thus, we can often see that only a few individuals within society shape societal structures at their will. This circumstance furthermore gives rise to the opportunity of those few people to control the flow of resources. This concentrates power and resource access in the hands of a few creating oligopolies and monopolies. That is seen in the increase of the gap between super rich and poor, or in the assimilation of companies by huge enterprise groups.

If having power over (the resources of) others becomes normality for an individual or a group of individuals, they get used to using this power to satisfy their personal needs. This can be a dangerous situation, because consequently, those individuals may tend to cling to their status of power over others. If individuals with power over others fear to lose their power, they might strive to restrict the scope of liberty of these other individuals. This impedes the achievement of the goal of society (→ Values).

We are living in societal systems which allow (groups of) individuals to have power over others and their access to resources. We need to recover our emotional connection to ourselves, our personal needs and our environment. Only then are we able to develop our own ideas and concepts of how societal systems should be to enable the satisfaction of our needs. Not to do that leaves us at a lack of vision which results in inactivity concerning societal development. This inactivity is a silent approval of the existing societal systems and the circumstance that some have power over a lot of others.

Inefficient performance of the contemporary societal systems
Societal systems that do not support and guide individuals in discovering and unfolding their intrinsic motivation create a serious gap within society: If people are mainly motivated through extrinsic incentives, they might learn and work in a profession they would have never come to without these extrinsic incentives. If they are not mainly intrinsically motivated to pursue their professions, the emotional connection to their activities tends to be very little. Consequently, many people in society aren’t very passionate about what they are doing for a living. They do not feel “happy” in their job. In contrast, there are many people who are interested in and would love to start working on these very same tasks, but they cannot. Firstly, because others hold these positions. Secondly, because they probably feel like they have to face huge societal barriers if they want to change their life situation from one profession to another.

For many of us it is very difficult to change an established educational direction or a profession nowadays. Those changes (like changing your field of studies or creating your own business) are mostly connected to overcoming huge societal obstacles. Many of us didn’t learn how to examine their personal situation and how to discover their possibilities. Furthermore, many people experience a lack of access to societal support. Thus, thinking about changing one’s own path leaves too many uncertain factors. It often is not possible to try out new educational directions and professions without having to fear negative (e.g. existential) repercussions. Consequently, many of us are discouraged to change anything about their path and even cease to think about it.

Summed up, the contemporary societal systems are not as effective and as efficient as they could be in getting tasks done that are necessary to create and sustain a healthy society. They fail to optimally situate people in convenient positions, functions or jobs.

Apathy – Inactivity and laziness
As already mentioned, most of the contemporary education systems systematically train children to follow extrinsic incentives. They use incentives like rewards and punishments and often prohibit “romping about”, playing, or “fooling around”. Generally speaking, contemporary education systems inhibit the drive to follow one’s own interests and force children to focus on the compulsory subjects.

As stated above, extrinsic incentives can be addictive. After years of systematically diminishing intrinsic motivation through educational systems that apply extrinsic incentives on a large scale, those incentives need to be continuously provided in order to keep the individual motivated in its activity or profession. Since many people do not recognize this cause, they arrive at conclusions like “People are lazy by nature!”. People aren’t lazy by nature. The contemporary education systems – shaped by the economic pressure of competition – create the addiction to extrinsic incentives for many members of society .

Education systems should not tend to train individual’s exclusively for the requirements of competition oriented societal systems. Education systems, family members, friends and society as a whole should rather foster the discovery, the unfolding, and the pursuit of satisfaction of personal needs, interests and goals. We need to equip this world’s individuals with the necessary knowledge, skills and tools that enable them to pursue the satisfaction of their needs (→ Education). That circumstance could foster the transition towards societal systems that work for everyone as much as possible.

The bad image of egoism
Nowadays, when people talk about “egoism” or “being egoistic”, they often mean it in a negative way. However, everything we do is based on egoistic motives: we do things that serve our physical existence, our well-being, our self-esteem, our conscience or our sense of necessity. Every action of every individual has – consciously or subconsciously – self-serving motives at its core. You, your mind and your body always try to do what seems right, based on your personal truth (→ Basic Understandings). That means that it’s inevitable for you to do things for your own benefit. There is nothing wrong with acting consciously self-beneficiary.

If people criticize the egoism of an individual, the criticism is not about the entailing self-benefit. The criticism rather relates to the disadvantage of others that accompanies the “egoistic” actions.

Hindering the realization of others’ ambitions by carelessly realizing a personal goal, gives rise to conflicts. Being hindered at realizing ones ambitions creates dissatisfaction and may strain the relations amongst individuals. That may lead to tension amongst individuals. And those tensions may intensify the conflict for all parties and thus cause problems for everybody involved.

Therefore it is important to organize “my benefit” or “my advantage” in ways that do not bring any disadvantage to others. Consequently, the realization of personal goals should harmonize as much as possible with the intentions of others. If that is considered, then it can be the case that “my benefit” even enables the others to benefit as well instead of hindering them (→ Values). This means: As long as no one suffers a disadvantage from your actions, be as self-beneficiary as you like.

The major task for societal organization should be to coordinate the different endeavors and interests of individuals (→ The Scientific Method). That could prevent collision of interests and solve arising conflict. The old notion of having altruistic good people on one hand and egoistic bad people on the other is outdated.

Handling of destructive behavioral patterns
The global society applies multiple methods of handling individuals who express behavior that is considered inappropriate. However, it appears that the main focus of handling undesired behavioral patterns is the application of methods of punishment. The various forms of punishment include fines, prohibitions, limitation of physical liberty up to torture and death. Punishment thereby shall lead to four effects: firstly, it shall force the individual to change her or his behavior. Secondly, the punishment shall prevent others from taking the same or a similar action in the future. Thirdly, the punished individual may be isolated from the rest of society so that others will not be bothered or harmed. Lastly, punishment is supposed to soothe the predominant “sense of justice” of a society.

The contemporary global society seems not aware enough of the interrelation between an individual’s behavior and this individual’s particular environment. Every individual is born into and grows up in a particular environment. Instead of only looking for reasons for the expression of destructive behavior in the individual’s personality, it is as important to look for reasons of the development of destructive behavior in the individual’s environment and development history. Investigations should answer the following questions:

  • What circumstances drove the individual towards expressing the exhibited behavior in order to satisfy what needs?
  • In which ways can society assist the individual in comprehending why this particular behavior is considered destructive?
  • How can society in cooperation with the individual develop possibilities which enable the individual to satisfy her or his needs without disturbing or harming anyone?
  • How can society adjust the societal systems in order to help individuals in similar situations to satisfy their needs without the need for destructive or harmful behavior?

In everybody’s interest, investigations of every kind of “crime” should reveal which circumstances were crucial in leading an individual or a group of individuals to act in destructive ways. Society’s focus should not be on punishing undesirable behavioral patterns but rather on creating environments that support the individual and render the expression of destructive behavior as far as possible unnecessary.

All the small, big and partly inconceivable acts of violence that we humans inflict upon another, are symptoms of our current culture of dominance. A majority of us seem unaware as to how violence within society develops, how it is passed on from individual to individual and how it ultimately culminates in assault, torture, murder or war. The global society should accompany victims and their relatives in their pain, anger, and sadness and provide them the support they might need.

Ecosystems for sale
As mentioned in the main part of this article, the human organism requires the regular intake of clean air, nutritious water, and nutritious food, sufficient portions of sunlight and many other forms of substances and energy. Additionally, a safe and secure environment gives time and space for the discovery of things and interconnections in our world. Safe and secure environments enable learning, experimenting, planning and enjoying a peaceful life without being thrown off course by stressful events.

However, it appears that humanity is continuously endangering the future stability of those environments. Raw materials are exploited everywhere on the planet on a scale the global society has never seen before. The global society tries to cling to the fossil-fuel age by pressing every drop of oil out of tar sands (e.g. in Canada) or by using high-risk fracking methods for gas extraction. There is some progress in the development of renewable energy systems but the majority of energy generating systems keep hold of the usage of coal, oil and, uranium. Burning coal radically downgrades air quality (as to see in China). The mining, transport and usage of uranium in order to use it in nuclear power plants exposes many people to elevated levels of radiation and creates high risks of severe nuclear accidents. By excessively burning fossil fuels we might have accelerated or even caused global warming. The climate of our one and only home planet changes. The global society observes the melting of the polar ice caps, the rise of sea levels, a higher rate of storms, warmer seasons, and, in general, the rise of weather extremes.

Furthermore, biodiversity suffers great losses due to monoculture farming and the intense application of pesticides. The population of pollenizing insects – like bees for instance – is diminishing. Due to the same reasons and due to over-fertilization, the planet’s quality of soil downgrades. Virgin forests get cleared for cheap wood and for establishing free space for agriculture. The industry uses toxic chemicals in products and production processes in ways that threaten the health of all beings and pollute the water sources around the production sites. Worldwide, there is a lot of exploitation of natural water reservoirs. Additionally, we threaten our marine food supply by exploiting the world’s fishing grounds and by polluting the oceans with plastics. The industrial use of biochemical substances (e.g. hormones) leads to an accumulation of those substances in soil and water. Through the intake with food or water such substances may wrongly trigger biochemical processes within an organism which naturally are only triggered by hormones occurring in the organism itself. Such artificially induced reactions put the organism under stress and can dramatically impact health and development.

Reducing the planet’s ecological richness and exploiting finite resources will most probably intensify resource scarcity on a global scale. This might create far more unforeseeable conflicts than we are currently facing, provoking us human beings to aggravate our race over scarce resources. Solely concentrating on structural incentives like monetary profits or misleading prosperity indicators (e.g. the GDP) obviously leads to destructive and harmful behavior.

Our competition driven, profit-oriented economic systems waste our resources and thus reduce our flexibility to shape our life on this planet. Now is the time to steer into a new direction of societal development. We need to bring forth societal systems that structurally enhance sustainability, individual health, and vitalizing environments, instead of promoting financial gain as the only goal.

Living up to values and rules
If society gives itself rules, each rule should be communicated to every individual in ways that enable everyone to comprehend the reasons for this rule and the rule itself. On this basis everybody might be enabled to apply these rules so that they become established within society.

If a group of individuals – a society – expects their members to respect societal values (e.g. listening to each other) and consequently expects them to adapt their behavior, it is highly important that these values are tangible in this society. In their everyday life, individuals should experience the values they are expected to live by. For example, if teachers want their students to respect each other, they themselves should respect their students, their students’ parents, and each other. If politicians rail against corruption, they should not abuse their positions to gain economic advantage. Countries that underline their will for global peace should stop to provoke violence and war in any kind of way.

Punishments and rewards are not the optimal instruments for establishing moral values. If the values desired by society are lived by in this society, all individuals of this society automatically experience these values as part of their life. Nowadays, it may be a necessity to actively instill these values into individuals. This may be the case, because most of the values that our society officially admires (e.g.. “Protect the environment.”, “Respect your fellow men.”, or “Help others without demanding something in return.”) are totally insufficiently applied in politics, economics and other societal levels of organization. We need to integrate these values into the structures of our societal systems instead of trying to establish them as counterbalance to the very fabric of our societal systems.

In order to not provoke the expression of destructive and harmful behavior, the global society needs to change hostile environments into supportive ones. That also entails identifying and removing those characteristics of societal systems that propagate exploitation, pollution, abuse, violence and other destructive actions. We need to aim for creating societal systems that allow people to pursue their goals in accordance with the needs of all other individuals and the ecosystem surrounding them. On every societal level (politics, economics, families, etc.), people should be enabled and encouraged to act as cooperative and supportive as possible. However, this goal of society (→ Values) might only be achieved in an “Abundance Creating Economy” rather than in a “Scarcity Managing Economy” (→ Handling Resource Scarcity).

— Myths and Opinions —

In our lectures and conversations about society, we established a collection of Myths and Opinions that have crossed our way most frequently. Some of these statements are widely spread amongst the people in this world. We would like to give you some thought provoking impulses concerning some of the Myths and Opinions of our collection.

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“There are good people and there are bad people,
and the good people need to be protected from the bad people.”

“Good” and “bad” are attributes that are always tied to a particular context. What appears to be good for one, may be bad or inappropriate for another. When looking at behavior of individuals that may be called “bad” or “immoral”, there are always reasons to be found as to why they behave that way. “Good” as well as “bad” behavior can be traced back to pursuing the satisfaction of one’s needs. People usually do not do bad things just for the sake of being bad.

Many people are so busy pursuing their goals, that they overlook the bad repercussions that their actions (or inactions) have for other people. In other cases rigid perspectives and hardened convictions like “This can’t work any other way!” prevent people from thoroughly examining conflicts and from developing solutions. Those people often struggle to really examine alternatives.

For some people the alternative approaches that they know of may not constitute adequate options in order for them to satisfy their needs effectively. “Bad” behavior is thus a consequence of the circumstances surrounding the individual and not inherently a sign for the “bad” nature of a human.

Other people truly do not care how their behavior affects others. Often the cause for such an attitude may be found in their development history. It may be the case that they repeatedly experienced that their societal environment doesn’t care about their needs. Hence they made it a habit not to care about the needs of others. “Bad” behavior is thus not only a consequence of momentary circumstances, but also a consequence of those circumstances that influenced the development of an individual. Therefore, society should look after every individual at every point in time, if she or he needs support.

In extreme cases people even see an important reason for doing “bad things” to others. They feel like their cause is so important, it justifies harming others. Or they think that “bad” people deserve to have bad things done unto them. This conviction is often portrayed by people when they fall prey to the simplified belief that there are “good” and “bad” people in this world. They themselves thereby always belong to the “good” people.

It is very destructive and dangerous to label (groups of) individuals as “good” or “bad”. If one wants to understand other people’s motives better than it is much more helpful to inquire the needs behind an action, tradition, or way of thinking. Empathic contact to these (groups of) individuals might be the best way to inquire those. In conflict situations the focus should thereby not be on the behavior of others, but rather be put on ones own behavior.

Within the global society, we don’t need more control over each other, shielding “good” from “bad” people! What we need is a much better coordination of our different interests (→ The Scientific Method). Such coordination would render it unnecessary to harm others in order to achieve goals. The ability to satisfy one’s needs in a non-violent, empathic, and cooperative way, without harming others, is learnable. However that only works really well in environments that are supporting individuals in attaining the goals of their desire.

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“Haters gonna hate!”

Not necessarily. People can and do change. There may be lots of effort involved, but it is possible. People can (and will) also show you a totally different side of themselves according to how YOU approach them.

However, the achievement of satisfaction of an individual’s needs should not even be dependent upon the good will of others. An individual may not see any need to struggle for being respected by “haters”, if that individual can independently satisfy her or his needs. Individuals need to be enabled to step out of the circle of people that envy and hate on them, without negative repercussions. Furthermore if societal conditions change in ways that make it unnecessary and worthwhile to be a “hater”, or in ways that do not encourage hate, “haters” might not even stay “haters”.

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“People often show aggressive behavior, because of their genetic predispositions.
That is because genes are determining the physical characteristics and
the chemical metabolism of the individual and thus their emotions.”

Human behavior is influenced by many factors. It cannot be solely reduced to the genetic predispositions of an individual. For instance: A person with a predisposition to feel anger very intensely will deal with that anger differently living in a very peaceful, supportive environment than she or he would living in a very humiliating, aggressive environment. Possibly the feeling of intense anger and aggression would not even be triggered, since the environment does not provide any corespondent stimuli. The expression of any type of behavior is always connected to a particular environment that provides particular stimuli.

Societal systems are part of every individual’s environment. If we have the impression that people are inherently aggressive then that might be due to flaws in the very structure of our societal systems. (We mention many shortcomings of the current societal systems in all the comparison sections of the main articles of this blog.) To be confronted with the shortcomings of our societal systems in their everyday life, may subliminally frustrate people and thereby create a sensation of constant petulance. Such a condition can be misinterpreted as people being “naturally aggressive”. However, this condition should rather be understood as a consequence of societal systems that do not operate in accordance with the needs of the people.

The emergence of aggression is thus influenced by many factors and is not solely provoked by genetic predispositions. We should design our societal systems in ways that help to prevent conflict, frustration and aggression from arising and help resolving them.

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“Humans get lazy if they are provided everything.
It is important that many people within society are productive.”

Let’s start with the first part of this and have a look at the definition of Laziness:

Laziness in terms of “physically and mentally not doing anything” does not exist. We always breathe, digest or metabolize. We always think or actively try to calm our thoughts (for instance in meditation). That means that “being lazy” always stands in contrast to “being diligent”; in relation to work that “needs to get done”. An individual is seen as productive or unproductive according to what she or he “gets done”. But in order to determine whether a person is lazy or diligent, there always must be an assumption about what actually needs to get done. Who is to say what really needs to get done? Is it only the life sustaining activities, deeds, and tasks that really need to get done? What does it mean to be “productive”? Who is to say what is productive and what is unproductive? Is a person unproductive spending years just thinking and philosophizing, experiencing life? What if that person – after a decade of “laziness” – writes a poem that inspires people to change their life for the better? That individual might never have written such a poem, striving to be “productive” all these years. One can never know what type of activity might turn out to be of what value in the future.

The next question that must follow is: “Is it really necessary to make sure that everybody is productive?” Is it really about everybody doing something, just for the sake of doing anything? What if having our focus solely on being productive leads us to being over-productive?

Over-productivity can be very destructive. For instance: Designing products in ways that these products quickly fall apart and cannot be reused or recycled in order to produce and sell even more, is counterproductive if maintaining a healthy, clean environment is amongst the goals we set for ourselves. How can we make sure that productivity does not turn into destructive productivity? Here are some examples of thoughts that individuals in our contemporary societal systems are often faced with:

  • “Yeah, I know that what I sell is produced under inhumane working conditions. I’d rather not sell that, but I need to keep my job!”
  • “I know it’s unethical and wasteful to develop technical gadgets that are designed to fall apart quickly, but we need to keep making money.”
  • “I don’t wanna sell food that has such crappy quality. But I can’t afford to grow the better foods and I need to make a living…”

We simply cannot make sure that productivity stays constructive, unless we stop forcing people into being productive at any cost. We have to free all individuals from the existential fear of having to “make a living”. Only in that way people have the possibility to become aware of their needs and ambitions. Out of this self-awareness they commence to pursue activities through which they can unfold their potential. And only in that way they can develop “productivity” that springs from their intrinsic motivation. If people are provided the freedom to be productive at their own discretion, being supported with all the necessary resources, it is likely that a huge part of society decides to pursue constructive and meaningful activities.

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“Humans get lazy if they don’t have obligations.
On their own, they don’t want to take on responsibility.”

To live in societal systems that enable everyone to efficiently satisfy personal needs doesn’t mean that there won’t be any obligations. To feel needed and (a sense) of importance is a basic need, because it gives us a sense of direction and purpose. Many people feel a purpose in their life because of their obligations. They feel like what they do is making a significant contribution to society. Therefore they have a purpose and feel like they belong. If people feel like there is a need for them to oblige themselves to certain tasks and deeds, they should be free to do so. That is an important aspect of enlarging the scope of liberty for the individual. Everyone should be able to choose what they oblige themselves to do and what not. If there are important tasks that need to get done (e.g. growing food, cleaning the streets, maintenance of public transport), organizations that carry out these necessary tasks will surely continue to develop. In contrast to our contemporary society, the people that make up those organizations would primarily decide to pursue these tasks out of intrinsic motivation, rather than only from external driven incentives. Therefore these people would be highly interested in properly executing the necessary tasks.

Projects that too few people want to realize or too few people want to assume responsibility for, perhaps could not be realized in the way those individuals envisioned it. However, the individuals that pursue the realization of such projects should continue to be provided support for communicating their ambition, for finding like minded people and for fathoming alternative approaches in order to be able to realize their project in another way.

Today many people feel isolated in positions of great obligation. That may partly be due to our organizational structures, and partly due to our current mind set of rewards and punishments. The expectation that someone who takes over a task is solely responsible for it – leaving the individual alone with the completion of it – is a mind set that society has to leave behind. Having to pursue an important task all by oneself, not getting much constructive feed back, and possibly being punished for doing it wrong is a truly effective motivation killer. This is also the reason why people often feel reluctant to accept responsibility.

If an individual undertakes a task, all other individuals involved should show their interest and support for the execution of that task, not just stand by full of expectations and requirements. Being able to openly communicate all difficulties that come along with the responsibility of fulfilling a specific task, may enable people to take on this responsibility care free and effectively. In such supporting environments it is much easier for people to oblige themselves to a deed or task, than it is in the environments of today’s societal systems.

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“Some people are simply lazy by their very nature.”

Let’s have a look at children’s behavior. Most children under three years of age are very diligent at discovering the world surrounding them. (Yes, you probably were too, when you were a child.) The more there is to discover, the more they discover. Children are not lazy. Even if their interests are solely about observing, they are very diligent at this discipline. Our current educational systems tend to inhibit the further development of this intrinsic motivation, rather than supporting it. We tell our kids to “concentrate on this task” and “stop fooling around”, instead of supporting them in following their inherent interests. We put them into schools where – for years – they have to learn things that may not be of any interest to them at all. And then, after years of systematically diminishing intrinsic motivation within young people, we say such things as “people are lazy by nature”.

If people after years of training have internalized not to follow their inner interests and inner motivation, but rather to motivate themselves with extrinsic motivators (like grades and money), it is no wonder that they are inactive in the absence of extrinsic incentives. If, on top of that, you are punished for being active – discovering, learning what you like to learn or just for the sake of having playful fun – of course you’ll rather be inactive!

People are not lazy by nature. People are curious and interested by nature. Most children know when they need a break, when they need to sleep, when they feel hungry, or when they simply want to be productive. That doesn’t mean they are lazy, it just means they’re in tune with their energy balance.

In societal systems which are actually designed to unconditionally take care of all people and secure the well being of all, we would have a very different situation. In such systems everybody would be optimally supported in pursuing the realization of their intrinsically motivated goals since early childhood. In societal systems that holistically sustain and foster people’s intrinsic motivation, many people might be very active, since they would be accustomed to follow their inherent interests from the beginning of their lives. (→ Education)

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“If everyone has access to everything, people will simply destroy their environment.”

That everyone is taken care of, supported, and helped in satisfying their needs and pursuing their ambitions doesn’t mean that everyone can just take whatever they want to and do with it whatever they like! Granting free access for everyone would entail to also educate ourselves about the interrelations on all levels of life on this planet (ecological, social, economical, etc.). In that way everyone could develop an awareness about interrelations and the importance of protecting the integrity of all life of this world. Such awareness established as common sense would lead to a set of rules and regulations to protect the ecosystems and their natural cycles, plants, animals, and humans.

Today people need to “make a living”. That often drives them to pursue jobs that exploit or damage their environment. Within a society wherein everyone is taken care of and no one has to have existential fear, “making a decent living” just won’t be an excuse to break protecting rules anymore!

Additionally concerning particular tasks, there will certainly still be regulations that determine authorization procedures that authorize an individual to responsibly handle dangerous or scarce materials, goods, services and procedures.

If it’s our goal that everyone has access to whatever he or she needs, we will have to derive reasonable rules from extensive understandings about how to treat each other, the earth, and all creatures on it in order to not exploit or destroy our living habitat or another. Ridding ourselves of the experience of existential fear by applying needs-based design to societal systems will give us the liberty to actually align with these rules. That will make it unnecessary to damage or destroy anything in order to satisfy ones needs.

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“Competition generates very productive ideas.”

That may be true. However, it also generates some very destructive stuff. And often it just doesn’t give us what it’s actually supposed to. We – the authors – think, competition may be a good and healthy method concerning many situations. For instance when it is used in games, for learning, or if purposefully applied to solve problems, competition can have very constructive impacts.

However, to apply the concept of competition to the race for (access to) resources is a very dangerous and destructive combination. We all need resources to satisfy our every day needs. Competition in these terms puts life as a society into a very different light. This game of competition is rather destructive to the actual goal of society (→ Values). People do not recover from losing within this global game of competition like from losing a sports game. They actually lose their homes, die of malnutrition or food poisoning, get hurt in war, become drug abusers, are imprisoned, or they become victims of other forms of violence. And all that just because they are not as good, fast, fierce, harsh, smart, advanced or privileged as other (groups of) individuals. The race for resources – and therefore for a good and decent life – should not be a race in the first place! Competition should not be used as the main method in the allocation of resources! It can be used in games, but not as the basic means of how (groups of) individuals satisfy their needs.

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“It’s impossible to make everyone happy. You cannot please everybody.”

We do agree on that one. Redesigning societal structures is not about pleasing everyone, but about getting as close as possible to an ideal (→ Values). Moreover, it is not the aim of societal systems to make people happy. What a societal system can and should contribute to the happiness of the individual is to provide a fulfilling, supportive environment. In that way the individual has the liberty to discover her or his happiness her or himself. People know, or can learn, how to make themselves or each other happy.

On the material level providing everybody with one of everything is not necessary to aid people in their pursuit of satisfaction. For example, you might have the impression that everybody wants to ride a car. If we – the global society – don’t have the resources to grant everyone a car as means of transportation, we firstly need to check, how many people want such an automobile in the first place. Then we need to look at what they really want from that car: Do they want to use it two months a year, own it as a status symbol, use it to go on short weekend vacations five times a year or do they need it for their daily transportation? So basically the question is: “do they really need to own a car, or do they need individual, safe, reliable, flexible, fast and comfortable transportation?”

To arrange the latter is a matter of organization. The goal is to take the whole array of needs and expectations – which will continue to change – into consideration and develop a traffic concept out of them. This traffic concept would largely be based on the intelligent coordination of all the means of transportation (walkways, bicycles, buses, taxis, cars, trains, helicopters, airplanes, etc.) that are available. The intention would be to provide every individual at any point in time access to the means of transportation of her or his choice. In parallel we should try to provide a vehicle to those people who would like to have access to it around the clock. In that way we could build reliable, sustainable transportation systems that could optimally serve the individual’s personal needs.

We have to apply such approach of questioning our needs in order to coordinate different interests within society to many areas of our societal systems. Only then will we achieve access abundance (→Handling Resource Scarcity). This requires questioning what the real needs behind our desires and opinions are. Figuring this out more precisely may give an extra boost to the satisfaction of the individual’s need. The more clear we are about our needs the more direct and sustainable we may satisfy them. This awareness and this way of coordinating our needs with another will lead us much more effectively to satisfaction and happiness than we are used to today. Everyone should be enabled to satisfy their needs and therefore be free to choose happiness in the process.

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“Once a person has the opportunity, he places himself above other people.”

This is a quite accurate observation in today’s systems. Since our current systems operate with the artificial creation and the sustaining of scarcity (→Handling Resource Scarcity) it is a logical conclusion that a human being would rather push that scarcity towards others, than experience it her- or himself. Experiencing scarcity means “not being able to satisfy ones needs in the way that one wants to satisfy them”. And since every human being strives for satisfaction (→ Basic Understandings), we all are eager to achieve our goals most effectively.

In societal forms of organization, wherein ones position in hierarchies, casts, and the social stand are not crucial in order to achieve goals, it might occur much less that people try to dominate each other. Even if it occurs, individuals might have viable options to step out of these dependent relations of such rigid organizational structures.

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“Is that about abolishing hierarchies? Without hierarchical structures there is chaos!”

The task that humanity faces is not to rid itself of all kinds of hierarchical structures. It is however important to free people from the (societal) pressure to submit themselves to hierarchies in order to gain access to whatever resources they need or want. People should be enabled to choose whether they would like to be part of a hierarchy or not. They should be able to develop hierarchies together, or to change them. Hierarchies that are developed and shaped by all individuals of a group for themselves, are usually found helpful by all involved individuals. Concerning the pursuit of a common goal, such hierarchies that are derived from a self-chosen culture of cooperation, work far more effective and efficient than rigid, appointed structures. Hence, it is not about abolishing hierarchies, rather it is about rethinking our forms of organisation and together shaping them anew.

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“In order to implement such an idea, everybody has to agree.
As soon as one person does not want to go along, it won’t work.”

Such a statement springs from our current democracy understanding. This understanding evolves around making decisions – especially decisions that lead to “let’s do that” or let’s not do that”. However, our possibilities are far more versatile than bluntly choosing between “yes” or “no”. The goal should rather be to assemble solutions from the vast array of possibilities that optimally support every individual and all individuals together at satisfying our needs. Everyone who wants to find solutions for themselves and others, joins in. Everyone should have the freedom to join or not to join.

An important requirement for that is to free people from the (societal) pressure to submit to hierarchies in order to gain access to resources. Such dependencies can render people (near to) unable to pursue solutions that are contrary to what their leaders or superiors propose.

Finally the question is not if everyone will join in. The question is what steps we want to take in order to develop forms of living together where not everyone has to agree in order for everyone to be okay. How can we establish the trust and certainty that the solutions and decisions of others do not stand in conflict with the satisfaction of my personal needs for all people?

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“And what about the people that oppose that? What about those people?”

People that are opposing something are doing so to satisfy some of their needs. What those needs are is differing from individual to individual. Mostly, they act out of the fear that the undertaking they oppose might impair their well-being or the well-being of someone they care about. Therefore it is always important to take these fears seriously and meet them with empathy in order to find solutions together. Should mental or physical violence arise, it is important to protect everyone involved in order to enable the continuation of the dialogue.

Only through contact people can obtain clarity as to where there are conflicts, what are the objectives, values and needs of “opponents” and how to derive proposals for solutions from these insights. That’s how a conflict can be transformed into peaceful coexistence or even cooperation.

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“You cannot change that. That is human nature!”

This opinion is often stated when people talk about personality traits in general or the characteristics of particular people. However, it is simply not possible to draw conclusions as to what is “unchangeable human nature” and what is not! For instance: that an individual does not know how to change certain characteristics about themselves doesn’t mean it is impossible to change these. It simply means that it is impossible for that individual, with her or his current knowledge at this particular time.

However, mostly it is not at all necessary to try to change human traits. It is rather necessary to change the conditions surrounding these individuals, so that whatever behavior is expressed does not have a negative impact on other individuals. For example, a person that likes to dance all night, might really annoy the neighbors with playing loud music and stomping around. However, if that person has the opportunity to dance in a room in his or her community center at night, she or he might not even have to change anything about their nightly passion.

More importantly, if circumstances surrounding individuals are changed in order to better fit these individuals’ needs, the expression of harmful behavior towards others might even disappear. Many people act mean, ruthless, nasty, aggressive or cruel because they feel vulnerable, threatened, or somehow uncomfortable within a certain (life-) situation. As soon as it is not necessary to express offending behavioral patterns in order to gain or get something, it might not even be desirable for the individual to do so.

If the reasons to express destructive behavior disappear, a tendency to show peaceful, non-aggressive behavioral patterns often emerges. That is the case because it is much more pleasant and healthy to live in harmony with one’s surrounding. If people change from living in one kind of environment into another, over time they adjust their way of relating to their surrounding.

We should therefore stop trying to change one another. We should rather try to understand the interconnected relations between behavioral patterns of individuals and surrounding circumstances. The insights that we gain from this undertaking make focusing on changing “human nature” unnecessary. They rather put the focus on shaping our ways of living together and the environments we live in. The environments of individuals should favor and support the expression of behavior that is considered constructive – or at least not destructive – to the purpose of society. (→ Values)

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“People need to be controlled in order not to harm each other.”

In short, people tend to rarely show harmful behavior, if they feel safe, secure and free and live in a culture of mutual recognition and support. Therefore they do not have to be controlled. The circumstances ensure that they can live in harmony with their environment. If we want people to show less destructive and harmful behavior, we need to make sure that no one feels threatened for being who they are, liking what they like, living how they want to live, expressing themselves how they feel like, loving who they love, expressing what they think, or pursuing their dreams the way they want.

If control is self-chosen, it often is perceived as helpful by the individual. However, if people feel exposed to external control that they can not understand, did not pick and may even consider threatening, they feel confined, blocked and powerless. So therefore precisely because they are controlled the resulting anger and aggression may inflict harm onto other individuals.

Of course we – the global society – will not let people that harm others continue to do so. People involved in violent confrontation should be enabled to deal with the conflict non-violently. Those individuals should be supported in resolving their conflicts. The process of overcoming the conflict should at least lead to a peaceful coexistence. However, that does not mean that we need to control each other.

We will (have to) continue to assure the compliance with the rules that we collectively give ourselves. The goal however should be that we do not even need these rules, because they are so deeply engraved in our societal togetherness that we can trust that they are followed and therefore do not need to be controlled.

The attempt to control other individuals usually originates in some kind of fear. That mostly springs from fears like:

  • “Others may be destroying what I build up!”
  • “They’ll be taking opportunities or items from me!”
  • “They’ll be stopping me from achieving my goals!”

Fear can be very restraining. Trying to control others’ actions often has the opposite effect of what is initially desired. People who try to control others will most likely never feel completely free. They are just too likely to always watch their back, having a hard time enjoying their freedom.

It is unnecessary – and undesirable – to try to control the behavior of (groups of) individuals. Since fear is often triggered by unknown situations that we find difficult to evaluate, the opposite is necessary: We need to overcome our fears by trying to get to know the unknown. We need to collect information, getting in touch with the situations and individuals we are afraid of. On this basis we might establish cooperative togetherness. That would mean we could live together without fear and thus without any need for mutual control. People do not need to be controlled. People need to be satisfied (feeling safe and secure, living a fulfilled life of their choice) in order to be able to live side by side in harmony.

— Footnotes —

(A0) For simplifying purposes we do not elaborate further on those influences occurring before conception (e.g. natural selection as part of evolution, our ancestor’s development history etc.).

(A1) The genetic code is used to construct proteins within the body. If genes are like blueprints for an organism, proteins can be seen as the actual biological “machines” implementing the instructions of these blueprints. They perform a vast array of tasks within living organisms. For instance, proteins break up the sugar that you eat so that your body can absorb it. Other proteins are health-protecting antibodies.
Proteins are constantly produced in all cells of the human body. At the beginning of this production process, some proteins read out the genetic code. While attached to the genetic code, they read it sequence by sequence. However, not all genetic sequences are constantly legible since there are other proteins that influence the accessibility of a genetic sequence. These proteins are wrapped around the genetic code, thus covering it. There are signals from their environment (environmental triggers) that can cause such proteins to tighten and thus hide particular gene sequences from being read. If a sequence cannot be read, this part of the genetic code will not be expressed. This mechanism therefore does not change the genetic sequences. It rather influences which parts of a gene sequence are expressed or suppressed. The science of epigenetics describes the mechanisms of activating or deactivating the expression of gene sequences.

(B1) At this point we would like to comment on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs since we think that many of our readers are familiar with the pyramid graphic. We would like to refrain from the division in deficiency needs and growth needs. Furthermore, the division of needs in any other kind of categories (e.g. basic needs, existential needs, luxury needs, etc.) is irrelevant for our purposes in this article. For specific purposes it can be useful to assign needs to particular categories. However, we observe the priority of needs to be highly subjective. From our perspective, the order of priority is different from individual to individual, from life situation to life situation. For this article, it is neither important in which hierarchical order an individual’s needs are arranged nor if this order is universally applicable.

(C1) Since rewards and punishments (can) put people under pressure to perform and to pinpoint their focus, those incentives can be a rather constraining factor in problem solving. Focusing the mind often is adverse to the ability of cognitively putting together information that seemingly has little or no connection but needs to be connected in order to derive solutions.

— Quotations and References —

[2] – “An achievement focused approach that may be fostered by an “if-then” reward system therefore may be counterproductive: People that were offered rewards for solving heuristic tasks quickly turned out to need longer solving them. The focus of the mind is narrowed and therefore it is harder for the individual to see a new functionality (or use) for old (long known) objects. … All of this is true for tasks that are not algorithmic and more elevated right brain activity – flexible problem-solving, inventiveness or conceptual understanding. For those tasks, contingent rewards can be dangerous.” Daniel Pink

[3] – “The very presence of goals may lead employees to focus myopically on short-term gains and to lose sight of the potential devastating long-term effects on the organization.” Harvard Business School

[4] – “Rewards are addictive in that once offered a contingent reward makes an agent expect it when ever a similar task is faced, which in turn compels the principal to use rewards over and over again.” Anton Suvorov

[4] – “And before long, the existing reward may no longer suffice. It will quickly feel less like a bonus and more like a status quo – which then forces the principle to offer larger rewards to achieve the same effect.” Daniel Pink

[5] – “Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy.” Daniel Pink

[5] – Passage freely adapted from Daniel Pink


Further inspirational information and research material is available on our link pages (→ Links about Human Behavior).

Handling Resource Scarcity

Deutsch

Question: What is a resource?
A resource is something an individual uses for achieving a personal goal. This can be materials, energy or tools. Information and knowledge can be seen as a resource. Living space is a resource. Or the personal physical or mental fitness. Nearly everything we know can be called a resource.

Question: What is scarcity?
If a resource is not available in satisfying quantities, then this resource is scarce. Scarcity means that there is a lack of or too little of something. Something is missing. For example, scarcity is obvious when someone does not have enough to eat or insufficient space for accommodation. Scarcity is visible when there is not enough information in a library or when the doctor and nurses in a hospital are stressed and exhausted. Also the experience of insufficient inspiration, time or ingenuity can be seen as scarcity of resources.

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The majority of the problems in the world are caused by resource scarcity.

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The opposite of resource scarcity is resource abundance. Resource abundance describes situations where resources are available in sufficient quantities. Abundance means that there is more than enough of a particular resource to satisfy a need or fulfill a purpose.

Resource abundance is a state where supply exceeds demand.

Resource scarcity is a state where supply does not meet demand.

Imagine four hungry people around a table upon which there are three apples. If one single apple would satisfy a single person’s hunger, three apples are too few for four people. The resource is scarce. The four people can deal with this situation by communicating and cooperating with each other or fighting each other.
Now, imagine five apples on the table instead of three. The resource is abundant. There is no problem concerning resource organization and distribution. Consequently, there is no need for solutions, and no need for occurrences like exhausting debates, betrayal, intrigue and battles.
Thus, through deliberately altering the environment the four people would avoid this kind of scarcity situation (→ Technology). Here, they could avoid apple scarcity by planting apple trees to create four and more apples instead of three.

The global society should endeavor to prevent resource scarcity from occurring
by deliberately creating resource abundance.

Resources have to be available to individuals who need them to satisfy their needs. Consequently, resources that exist need to be accessible. Inaccessible resources of desire are scarce resources from the individual’s point of view.
For example, even if the aforementioned apple trees provided sufficient apples to satisfy everybody’s hunger, it is absolutely necessary that the apples are available to the hungry. This availability may be accomplished through making the apple trees, and thus the apples accessible to them or through establishing some kind of distribution system.
Thus, in order to effectively provide resources, the global society should endeavor to establish abundance of access possibilities. Abundance of access possibilities is a situation where an individual has immediate access to every resource that is necessary in order to satisfy a need or achieve a goal when she or he needs it. In the following, we refer to this state of access as access abundance.

The global society should endeavor to establish access abundance
by effectively organizing the distribution of resources.

Every society establishes economic systems. Economic systems are supposed to organize and distribute resources within society for satisfying the needs of society’s members. The more abundant resources are available and accessible, the more needs can be satisfied through the economic system.
Resources like food, water, materials, energy, tools and information are spread throughout the entire globe. In order to enable an effective allocation of resources, it is necessary to establish globally interconnected economic systems that can enable and sustain resource and access abundance. The resulting global economic system should enable the global society to overcome every kind of scarcity for extending every human being’s scope of liberty as far as possible in order to enable the satisfaction of everybody’s needs (→ Values).

The global economic system should assist everyone in acquiring knowledge and skills (→ Education). It should enable everybody to communicate with others so that they are able to coordinate the pursuit of individual goals and develop sustainable solutions (→ The Scientific Method). The global economic system should continuously assist the optimization of tools and methods for being able to utilize material and energy resources as efficiently as possible (→ Technology). The global economic system should endeavor to supply everybody with requested resources they request at any point in time.

We, the authors, call such an economic system an Abundance Creating Economy.

An Abundance Creating Economy is an economic system
that deliberately establishes resource and access abundance
in order to maximize every individual’s scope of liberty.

Question: How does life in such an Abundance Creating Economy look? How can such an economic system assist every human being? What kind of structures are necessary for most effectively pursuing the goal of society?

 

The following section describes the different economic systems which – in their interconnection – make up an Abundance Creating Economy. Through these systems the global society can accomplish resource and access abundance.

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The global society needs satisfying communication systems.

Since communication is essential for cooperation (→ The Scientific Method), the global society should create communication systems that enable all human beings to communicate globally at any point in time. These communication systems should be fast and reliable as well as guaranteeing protection of privacy as greatly as possible. Furthermore, these communication systems should be able to be adapted to everyone’s personal way of communicating. Every human being should be able to communicate experiences, ideas, concerns, resource demands and everything else she or he might like to communicate.
Therefore, these communication systems should also realize comfortable and intuitive communication between human beings and the different economic systems which assist them in organizing and coordinating societal processes. Additionally, these communication systems should realize effective communication between these single economic systems in order to enable their effective interaction.

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The global society needs knowledge platforms.

For everyone to gather information (→ The Scientific Method) and learn effectively (→ Education), the global society should establish knowledge platforms. These platforms should be accessible to everyone. They should be designed to allow the simple finding and understanding of contents through vividly presenting them. These knowledge platforms should also provide services for enriching and discussing entries. They would store and organize cultural content (e.g. texts, music, pictures, recipes, etc.), technological content (e.g. theories, design plans, inventions, ideas, studies, etc.), historical documentations and in fact everything humanity was, is and will be interested in.
For an interested individual, it should be easy to look for and find desired information, and easy to get an impression of experiences about a certain topic. Everybody should be enabled to contact those who like to share their knowledge about related topics. It should be easy for an individual to establish a personal overview of topic specific materials like books, films, reports, studies, lectures, an overview of skill training possibilities and an overview of subject-related tools and methods.

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The global society needs reliable passenger transportation systems.

The global society should endeavor to provide individual, comfortable and reliable passenger transportation throughout the globe for everybody. Such passenger transportation systems would assist everybody in gathering experiences, in meeting dialogue partners and thus vividly acquiring knowledge and skills (→ Education). Furthermore, they would enable everybody to experience and enjoy the full range of the planet’s cultural and natural diversity.

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The global society should have an overview of resource demands.

Since every individual requires resources like food, water, living space and tools, the global society should establish systems for tracking resource demands. By registering the number of ordered tools and materials and combining this information with information from design and assembly processes, a demand overview system is able to create an overview of required material and energy resources. Thus, demand overview systems assist in answering questions like “How much energy do we consume in what circumstances?”, “How much of which materials is needed where on the planet?” or “How many people are traveling between Asia and Europe, New York and Beijing or between Bokolo and Bongila? And how do these people prefer to travel?”
Accurate demand overview systems enable the global society to create an overview of needs within society. This overview is a basis for the deliberate design of societal structures, since it is the goal of society to care for everybody’s needs (→ Values).

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The global society should overview material and energy resources.

The global society needs effective reuse and recycling systems.

The global society uses material and energy resources. Therefore, the global society should establish resource overview systems that permanently create overviews where on Earth what amount of which resource exists and how it can be extracted and used. These systems should furthermore provide information about the regeneration rates of resources. For example, we need to know how fast which plants grow under which circumstances, how fast top soil regenerates or how our planet’s water cycles function.
If an individual does not require a tool anymore, this tool should be reintegrated into economic resource cycles – either as a tool or as a source for materials. Hence, the global society would establish effective reuse and recycling systems in order to sustain resource abundance. If a tool’s disassembly is considered in the design and production process, it is possible to collect a tool to upgrade it or extract all of its materials in order to produce a tool with improved features. Consequently, newly arisen understandings could be dynamically integrated into existing tools (→ Technology). For this reason, by accessing design information of tools, resource overview systems should also track the material resources that exist in produced tools.

Furthermore, information about resource demands (generated by demand overview systems) and information about available resources (generated by resource overview systems) should be combined. This combination of information enables the global society to measure grades of scarcity or abundance. Moreover, this combination of information enables the global society to estimate future resource demands and hence address arising resource shortages as early as possible. This information might help to point out which kind of research for alternatives and which kind of improvements is necessary for increasing resource efficiency in order to ensure the supply of resources continuously slightly exceed occurring demand.

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The global society needs flexible production and distribution systems.

The global economic system should enable every single human being to order goods (resources and tools) at any point in time. Additionally, it should assist every individual in the pursuit of ambitions like designing or configuring tools. Design tools and services should enable everybody to develop new tools through proposing realizable design patterns, by working out if manually created constructions function and by composing optimal combinations of materials. Test and simulation tools might reveal weak spots within a design before a prototype has even been created. These services might assist every individual in effectively designing tools while ensuring that these tools harmonize with the Earth’s ecosystem and societal criteria (→ Technology).
New designs and configurations whose supposed functionality has been proven by extensive tests could immediately be released for ordering. Thus, the range of tools and their variations might increase permanently, which increases the probability that individuals gain access to tools that may optimally satisfy their needs
By considering as much information as possible, production systems should produce goods which are regularly demanded in slightly higher quantities than would equal demand. Producing slightly more than demanded provides the flexibility to supply individuals with goods, even if demand varies. Irregularly demanded goods should be produced on-demand. The delay between order and delivery should be kept to a minimum.
Therefore, the global society should establish flexible distribution systems that dynamically adjust their capacities to demand throughout the entire globe. These distribution systems distribute goods as individually, fast, accurate, reliable and careful as possible to their points of destination. Hence, goods should be produced as close as possible to their points of destination. Short distribution distances increase energy efficiency. The endeavor to realize short distribution distances could be termed Short Distance Strategy.
An example: the local food production predominantly serves local citizens with nutritious, healthy food. Food which cannot be cultivated in the regional climate is produced in other parts of the world. Thus, the local food production cares for the production of food requested from other regions additionally. The distribution systems take charge of fast and adequate delivery in order to deliver any kind of fresh and tasty food to every place on Earth.
How the local food production is organized, may vary from region to region. This might be full automated food production systems in coordination with the efforts of passionate gardeners and farmers who like to provide handmade food.

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The global society needs effective energy systems.

Since all the economic systems mentioned need energy, the global society should endeavor to use exclusively clean and fast-renewable energy sources. These might be sources such as the sun’s light and heat, the movements of water and wind as well as those of the Earth’s core. Energy generation and distribution systems should operate as flexibly as possible in order to satisfy energy demands at any time and at every place on Earth.
Energy should be preserved during its transmission as another way of pursuing this goal and energy systems should therefore also apply the Short Distance Strategy. Hence, energy should be preferably produced at the site of consumption. For example, the surfaces of buildings could be designed for collecting sunlight and other forms of energy in order to supply energy to the building itself. Any overproduction of energy could be fed into the regional and global energy distribution system. It would be very effective for creating energy abundance if as many buildings as possible could generate more energy than they consume.

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All the above mentioned economic systems need to be holistically interlinked with one another in order to enable the coordination of all individual endeavors to the highest extent possible. This is to prevent the collision of different interests and thus prevent conflicts from arising. This interconnection is the task of the communication systems. They are supposed to assist every kind of communication, every kind of information exchange between the various systems in an Abundance Creating Economy. The better all systems can interact with one another the more effective they can operate to continuously serve every single individual’s needs.
For example, the better future demands can be estimated by demand overview systems, the better production systems can prepare adjustments of their capacities in advance. The more comprehensible knowledge and information about the range of available methods and tools is prepared and presented by knowledge platforms, the easier the global society can design concepts for realizing adjustments of their production systems. The earlier new understandings can be integrated into existing structures, the earlier those structures advance for more effectively satisfying needs.

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Every individual should be enabled to realize personal ambitions
while automation is used to accomplish unpleasant tasks.

In an Abundance Creating Economy every individual spends time on doing what is interesting, pleasant or important for her or him to do, pursuing personal goals. An Abundance Creating Economy endeavors to provide the necessary systems for enabling the global society to optimally assist every individual in realizing personal ambitions. For example, through easy-to-use knowledge platforms and intuitive communication systems, everybody might be enabled to cook the most delicious recipes, understand and use the most complex machines or effectively practice and sing personal favorite songs (→ Education).
Tasks in an Abundance Creating Economy that are vital to the sustainment of a prosperous society, but which are considered unpleasant, should be automated where possible in order to meet demand. In theory, every physical task that is executed by human beings could be completely automated. One of humanity’s capabilities is to design and advance machines for automating entire process flows – from growing food over transportation to cleaning and repairing any kind of structure (→ Technology). From our point of view, automation is a very important technology which offers possibilities to free human beings from unpleasant tasks in order to concentrate their potential and motivation on tasks of their choice.
However, if there are human beings who want to pursue some automated tasks manually, it should always be possible to adapt the grade of automation in order to sustain a balance of demand and supply. We, the authors, call this Optional Automation.

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Transparency, the possibility to observe and experience societal processes,
enables individuals to understand interrelations within society
for being able to question and advance any kind of technology.

Every societal structure within an Abundance Creating Economy should be designed to function as transparently as possible to human beings. Since learning is most effective when human beings have a close insight into the fields they are interested in, transparency offers the opportunity to observe, experience, understand and consequently improve societal structures (→ Education).
For example, production processes should be accessible for everybody. Texts, films as well as passionate individuals could guide visitors through every single step of production processes. It should be possible to shadow nurses and doctors in hospitals and vividly experience the ways they care for their patients, the ways they are organized and the ways they use the hospital’s infrastructure.

We think, this kind of an economic system is only feasible when based on the deliberate application of the Scientific Method (→ The Scientific Method). The systems that make up an Abundance Creating Economy are created to detect possibly arising resource scarcity by combining demand and resource overview information. If scarcity does arise, however, occurring conflicts and problems should be solved through extensive communication for enabling an effective coordination of individual ambitions. Such communication might start with posing questions like “Who needs this resource how urgent?”, “May we find alternatives for fulfilling these people’s purposes in order to diminish the occurrence of scarcity?” and “Which concepts may be the best for distributing the available resources within the group of demanding individuals?”
In parallel, it is necessary to examine scarcity problems in order to create and sustain abundance. Therefore, the global society might need to answer the following kind of questions: What kind of scarcity do we have here? How can we avoid the occurrence of this kind of scarcity today and in the future? Therefore, what kind of information do we need for answering these questions? What do we find on our knowledge platforms in order to acquire relevant information? Who might have detailed experiences within the field we are concerned about? Who can we ask for advice? What kind of further research should we initiate? Once we have gathered satisfying information, how should we adjust and improve our technology – the currently used methods and tools – in order to (re)establish a state of abundance?
Basing on the Scientific Method, an Abundance Creating Economy develops in accordance with environmental and societal criteria. Basically, the concept of an Abundance Creating Economy is about using technology in a way that allows the deliberate coordination of the special potentials and skills of the many individuals in order to create and sustain an abundance environment.
An Abundance Creating Economy permanently adjusts to needs within society. It continuously develops with humanity’s understandings, imaginations and ambitions. It furthermore permanently assists the global society in getting closer to the ideal of society where everybody might find satisfaction and fulfillment (→ Values). An Abundance Creating Economy endeavors to enable sustainable peace on a healthy planet with a myriad of development opportunities for every single human being.

In order to allow our readers to deepen their understanding about the concept of an Abundance Creating Economy, we created the following example which describes how a construction site in such an economic system might look and feel:
Citizens, somewhere on the planet, want to build a bridge. Already the planning phase has already been accompanied by everyone who is interested in this project. The bridge design features the newest state of technology, since it is based on every kind of knowledge around bridge construction that is provided by the societal knowledge platforms. Additionally, the planning people had the possibility to be extensively advised by construction experts. Studies on the environmental impact, which were created by interested, passionate and specialized human beings, formed the basis for design and selection of materials.
The construction process itself is a societal event and combines effective construction with a wide range of education and celebration elements. It might feel like an education excursion combined with a music festival and a technology exhibition .
The whole construction site features information panels for everybody to be able to follow progress of the construction process – from the occurrence of problems over the progress of subsequent research to finding solutions. In principle, this information is available everywhere on Earth. Thus, everyone who is interested in the project can always stay up to date, expand and deepen personal skills and knowledge, and thus everybody is enabled to contribute ideas for solving problems or improving solutions. Workshops about topics which are related to the construction of bridges assist everyone in acquiring knowledge and skills. This enables a subject-specific communication on the construction site.
The tools used on the construction site, like diggers and cranes, may be designed to operate as quietly as possible. Unpleasant effects like smell or dust should be avoided where possible to enable a comfortable atmosphere on and around the entire construction site.
The food supply is provided by those who love to cook and serve delicious meals. There are concerts and plays from people who like to present their music and art.
In fact, we cannot imagine in detail how effective, funny, inspiring, healthy and joyful such a construction site could feel. But there is an important point to make: every individual on the construction site can come and go as she or he likes, since the construction process does not depend on a specific, small group of people. That is the case because society assists everybody in learning, practicing and applying every kind of technique or machine.
The core motivation for an efficient bridge construction that respects environmental conditions originates from the local citizens and those who share love for the particular region, its nature, culture and atmosphere. It is their need, their motivation, their interest and finally their will to care for everything to be as perfect and as joyful as possible.

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— A short comparison with our contemporary society (2012) —

Some resources appear to exist in finite quantities. Those resources are e.g. material and energy resources. Hence, the question is: How do we deal with the finiteness of resources?
In the following section we compare the contemporary approach of organizing resources with the approach described above. Both approaches assume the finiteness of some types of resources as a given. Furthermore, we elaborate on our views of why and how our current idea of ownership has become of such dominating, unshakable importance, how the idea of ownership is connected with resource scarcity and how we might alter this situation in favor of a societal form of organization that does not require adherence to resources for creating a safe, joyful and multifaceted life on Earth. Therefore, this comparison summarizes two approaches at handling resource finiteness and compares the inherent mechanisms of both.

Question: How did we get to where we are today?
In our eyes, the contemporary economic systems can be understood by looking at humanity’s historical development. Historians say that we, humanity, once lived in little groups that were geographically spread over vast distances. These groups learned how to find, hunt and cultivate food and developed ways to communicate effectively within their groups. Every group established specific ways of communication – their specific kind of language. Communication between the different groups was difficult, since they used different languages.
Additionally, since understandings about the world they lived in – and thus technology – had not yet matured to an extent that would enable the creation and sustenance of abundance, scarcity was a common experience to the groups and their members. Resource scarcity often dominated the global situation. Resource scarcity often meant the members of these early communities would starve in winter due to food shortages, or die from water shortage during droughts, or have their scarce, precious resources taken away from them by other hungry groups.
Not being able to communicate with other groups in combination with the observation of unknown appearance, behavior and actions of these groups’ members might have caused skepticism, mistrust and even fear of each other. This fear of others probably resulted from fear of losing important things in life, or life itself, due to the aforementioned experience of scarcity. Out of these fears developed a protective attitude, hostile to other groups, in order to secure their share of resources like food, water, arable land or any other resource. This protective attitude due to fear of the unknown appears to be the major foundation for the mentality of ownership.
However, every group had access to a different set of resources. The interest for another group’s resources thereby provided a driving motivation for a group’s members to develop ways of communication with this other group. If one group was interested in acquiring a second group’s scarce resource, the second group demanded one of the first group’s interesting resources in exchange. The principle of barter developed between the groups. Once barter was an established method for allocating resources, the use of money simplified the concept of barter and gave rise to a whole new dimension of trade. However, money is another type of barter and barter stems from our current idea of ownership which is a direct consequence of values that establish through life in scarcity environments. Scarcity environments that are basically sustained by the assumption that states of resource scarcity cannot be changed into states of resource and access abundance.
In summary, there were two major deficits in this form of society consisting of the slight interconnection of multiple scattered groups: communication difficulties between the single groups and lack of understanding about how to overcome resource scarcity. Until today, fear of foreign groups, their cultures and traditions, still dominates the worldview of many individuals and groups. This is largely due to aforementioned communication difficulties as well as established mental constructs like prejudice and convictions about others and about how things “are” or “have to be”. Additionally, within these groups and consequently within the whole global society there are still huge deficits in establishing effective organization for overcoming resource scarcity. That is largely due to a lack of awareness of the necessity of overcoming states of resource scarcity to enable peaceful and sustainable togetherness. Therefore, many groups (e.g. nations) focus on protecting their property due to fear of loosing an established standard of living rather than endeavoring to create abundance. That is why the idea of ownership has become of such a dominating, unshakable importance. The unawareness of the ability to work around resource scarcity combined with the effects of closed-minded, cautious communication due to fear, are the foundations of the development of our current idea of ownership and thus they are the foundations of the use of money.

In order to legally access goods and services in today’s economic systems, one has to spend a specific amount of money: the price. The more scarce a resource appears to be, in relation to the level of demand, the more money can be asked in exchange for that resource. Very scarce resources can achieve very high prices, since many people endeavor to acquire these “precious” resources that seem to exist only in small quantities. Thus, there is an incentive for artificially creating resource scarcity in order to secure and raise financial possibilities. This circumstance creates an incentive for individuals, nations and companies to reduce supply, or artificially raise demand of resources they provide. Hence, a monetary system bases on, and thus provokes resource scarcity.
However, the probably most astonishing realization is that resources which are available in abundance can be hard to sell, because nobody sees the need in paying a price for them. For example, barely anybody living in the desert would spend money for standard-desert-sand. Barely anybody would pay for fresh air unless the air of the atmosphere is polluted. To provide an abundant resource or to work on creating abundance of a product, can diminish the chance of acquiring a satisfying income. Consequently, the contemporary monetary system does not only have scarcity at its base, it furthermore functions exclusively within a frame of scarcity.
The focus of the current economic system does not lie on “abundafying” resources, but rather on managing scarcity within society. That is why we, the authors, call such an economic system a Scarcity Managing Economy.
Within societal systems that organize resources through a Scarcity Managing Economy, decision making (e.g. politics) is important for defining which ways for distributing resources are accepted by society under what conditions and which are not accepted. However, even nowadays the organization of resources could be much more effective, if we consider extensive, open-minded communication as a basis for solution finding. All too often, money is our only means of communication for organizing resources today. But money as a communication means for organizing resources does not reflect the diversity of needs and technological possibilities.
A short overview of our contemporary society that apparently has not realized which paths can lead to creating resource abundance – so that people do not permanently need to fight for resources -, can be found in one of the overview articles (→ Our society).

The ability to create resource abundance can render the necessity for a monetary system obsolete. Therefore, we need to change the basic approaches of societal organization. We need to begin extensive, satisfying communication, informing each other about our needs, wishes and possibilities for creating some kind of societal organization that handles resources efficiently in order to establish resource abundance for enabling coordination of the satisfaction of everybody’s needs.

 

Our ability to organize societal endeavors has increased many fold since the time we lived in scattered, small groups. Since then we have established communication systems throughout the globe, like mail services, mobile phone services or communication services provided by the Internet. We are able to translate almost every language into all others. Theoretically, every human being could communicate with every other human being. Additionally, thanks to online encyclopedias, search engines and social networks, we have a feeling of how communication, knowledge and information platforms might assist the global society in establishing global cooperation. Moreover, resource management, demand tracking and effective organization are basic principles in the philosophy of today’s companies. Successful companies build on effective employee and client communication, close contact to research institutions and fast adaption according to the needs of clients and employees.
Hence, necessary concepts for initiating a transition towards an Abundance Creating Economy are already in existence and are – at least in part – in use today. The only trouble is that they are used in isolated manners. They do not yet function as a global system, implemented to satisfy all people’s needs. At the moment, these systems are neither deliberately interconnected nor coordinated.
To be able to effectively coordinate all societal elements with another, the deliberate application of communication needs to become the basis for societal organization (→ The Scientific Method). This communication of ideas and their implementation must lead to an efficient use of resources. Efficient in this case means to design and use things in a way that enables us to ensure the sustainable satisfaction of the needs of the organisms of the planet. It therefore also means that there are no waste products. All materials should be recycled (→ Technology).
Through the implementation of these goals, we might be able to realize the creation of abundance on Earth. Abundance means that we always provide slightly more than what we require to satisfy our needs. It means that we always produce a bit more than necessary to meet demand – and thus needs – optimally. Thus, the dilemma of having not enough of something would be a seldom rather than frequent occurrence. And even if we experienced a lack at something, we could rely on forms of organization that enable us to quickly communicate and organize ways to “work around” the experienced scarcity by developing alternatives that may help meet the pressing needs.
Moreover, abundance means that everyone has access to what she or he wants, needs or requires to have access to, at the time when she or he wants, needs or requires it. This means that the necessity of holding on to resources, for self-protection and self-sustaining purposes by denying each other access to those resources, might decrease or even disappear. We would no longer have to hold on to resources, defending them, because we could be sure that abundance is provided for every individual due to a societal system that is developed by humanity, for humanity. Since one can be sure one is able to access the things that one needs and wants to use, whenever one wants to use them, one would not have to hoard material things anymore (such as money for food, the use of means of transportation, land ownership, etc.), for being assured access to the resources one wants to use. Thus, a free flow of resources could become possible.
Coupled with the understanding that we need to preserve and sustain the Earth’s resources, such availability of resources could initiate a shift in mentality from holding on to material values to a very caring and careful usage of the goods we use and produce. Through this form of organization we could develop a “Mentality of Access”. That means, people utilize resources as long as they need them. If they do not need them anymore, they can be returned and made available to other people. This could work a little like the concept of a library, combined with the concept of a bottle recycle factory. If products are outdated or found to be impractical, they may be upgraded or recycled and their materials may be used to construct new things (→ Technology).
Finally, through the establishment of resource abundance and access abundance as well as a developing mentality of access, it might be possible to observe the establishment of values that assist the global society in their pursuit of the goal of society (→ Values). Within this process, we might experience the transition to a global society that unconditionally assists everyone as well as possible in order to enable happiness and satisfaction throughout every individual’s lifetime.

In summary, once we begin to deliberately base societal coordination on effective communication and organization, we would be able to establish societal structures that enable us to use resources more efficiently. Continuously increasing resource efficiency shapes the path to the creation of resource abundance. Resource abundance in turn enables a free flow of resources. Hence, rather than claiming materials, tools, knowledge and information as property, individuals would have access to what they need, at the time they need it. A mentality of access would enable us to detach from our current view on ownership of property while we develop a more effective economic concept.

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—– Myths and Opinions —–

In our lectures and conversations about society we established a collection of Myths and Opinions that have crossed our way most frequently. Some of these statements are widely spread amongst the people in this world. We would like to give you some thought provoking impulses concerning some of the Myths and Opinions of our collection.

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“If we elect the most ethical and honest leaders,
like politicians and managers, the current system could work.”

That opinion is often raised to indicate that the roots of the problems we are facing, like poverty, corruption and war, lie in unethical behavior and so called “bad decisions” of leaders. In our view, unethical behavior and “bad decisions” are symptoms, not root causes. The root causes of the problems that the global society is facing, are systemic. They lie in the very structure of our established contemporary societal systems, their interactions with each other and their impact on the planet’s ecosystem. We regard unethical and dishonest behavior as results, as consequences, as symptoms of a scarcity environment and of sets of values and attitudes, derived from having to adjust to such a scarcity environment (→ Human Behavior).
In our contemporary society, leaders are supposed to create boundaries around symptoms like the expression of unethical and dishonest behavior and resulting conflicts through rules, laws and their implementation. This makes our societal systems being full of bureaucracy and tendencies to monitor and control everything, including the privacy of individuals. However, endeavoring to frame symptoms does not diminish systemic problems and may even induce the occurrence of further negative consequences and conflicts. Consequently, the global society should focus on diminishing systemic problems to reduce the occurrence of negative consequences and conflicts. The better the societal systems assist everyone in satisfying personal needs and realizing ambitions by deliberately coordinating different endeavors, the less conflicts arise, the less crime occurs, the less control is necessary, the less rules and laws are required, the less bureaucracy complicates our lives and the better leaders can concentrate on solving unique coordination problems rather than being faced with the same kind of conflicts over and over again.
Even if the most ethical and honest leaders lead society within the frames of the contemporary societal system, with the intention to enable the satisfaction of the needs of every single individual, they would permanently need to fight against the strong, counteractive systemic mechanisms (”my advantage is your disadvantage”) that are driven by the mere intent of every single human being to live a pleasant life (→ Basic Understandings). We should deliberately design societal mechanisms, changing their competitive characteristics into cooperative characteristics, rather than creating borders that block human endeavors through liberty limiting rules and laws (→ The Scientific Method).

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“One can not have everything.”

One does not need everything. At least not at once. For example, one can not drive in two cars at once for traveling from A to B. Hence, it is not necessary to create everything for everybody in order to make the societal system serve everybody’s needs. We simply need a form of organization that supplies everybody with desired things at the time she or he needs them. Consequently, an individual could have access to everything and would use only a small portion of the whole range of possibilities at one point in time. Thus, meanwhile, everything else could be used by all others.
The opinion above is also often heard in situations where one can not afford an item of desire, or where one does not see the possibility of realizing an ambition. This is usually the case if the item is too expensive or the realization of an ambition would require too huge efforts. Thus, according to this opinion, one has to accept some things in life as unobtainable.
Figuring out the reasons for not being able to obtain something requires the pursuit of questions like “What is necessary in order to achieve my goal?” and “How could I achieve my goal?”. By reading, posing questions and looking out for others who share similar goals, an individual might reveal multiple ways to achieve the desired situation (→ The Scientific Method). Individuals that are used to finding ways of making something obtainable, rather than declaring or accepting things as unobtainable without questioning them, often successfully obtain things that are thought to be unobtainable by many.

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“We need more jobs.”

Question: What are the actual needs behind this kind of statement? And how can society best help with satisfying these needs?
There are two needs that the aforementioned statement may derive from:
The first need which might explain this opinion is that people need access to resources like information, goods and services. Today, the access to resources is organized through the use of money. Over centuries and until today, for the majority of people having a paid labor job has been the only legal way to attaining money. Thus, there is a huge demand for jobs within society. However, the first actual need for demanding a job is to have access to resources of desire, which may enable an individual to satisfy needs or fulfill personal goals.
The second need which might explain this opinion is the need for an occupation that is fulfilling and joyful to the individual pursuing it. An occupation that is inspiring to the individual. One that challenges her or his skills and knowledge. Something that is interesting and has a purpose.
Enabling access to resources can thus enable individuals of the global society to pursue fulfilling occupations. Society could and should let people choose themselves what activities they want to pursue for themselves. That, of course, implies that intrinsic motivation is taking over as the leading type of motivation for individuals in society (→ Human Behavior).
Through well functioning communication systems and knowledge platforms, the societal system should arrange that those people who love pursuing a certain task or love concerning with a specific topic can be contacted by, or get in touch with those people who want to realize an ambition. Such kind of cooperation is a symbiosis: one individual is assisted in realizing an ambition or achieving a personal goal while the other one has the chance to enjoy a fulfilling occupation and the possibility to advance personal skills. It is a win-win-situation wherein a group of individuals creates something that requires the expertise and experiences from more than one individual.
The bottom line is: We don’t need more work to do. We need things to do that we like doing, that fulfill us. And we need access to resources to be able to really pursue the things that interest us. People who have learned how to work at subjects of their desire, following their inner motivation, usually look for the tasks of their choice themselves. They don’t need to be told: “This is your job from now on! Work at it!” Hence, we do not need more jobs. We need a societal system which enables us to satisfy our needs and assists us in realizing our ambitions. We need a societal system that offers support when we need support. We need a societal system that enables us to find each other when we need each other. We need a societal system that enables us to discover and pursue the tasks of our choice and thus allows us to satisfy our longing for sense and fulfillment.

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“Those who own a lot and those in power are responsible for the majority of our problems!”

We disagree. It’s easy to assign responsibility for things within societal groups with which one has no direct connection. If one does not personally know the president of one’s country or the top manager of a national bank then it is easy to claim these people are responsible for societal problems, since they are actually supposed to make reasonable decisions within their field of responsibility. It is also easy to claim people are responsible who may have huge influence without being officially visible.
We, the authors, think that the problems lie in the way we organize society today. The problems lie in the circumstances we live in: in the scarcity environments wherein power over others is a possible – and often necessary – means for realizing personal ambitions. Power over others within a scarcity environment enables an individual to direct resources within society and thus allows the individual to avoid scarcity within the personal experience.
Believing in the necessity of the concept of “rich” and “powerful” necessarily consequences that there are people who are “poor” and “powerless”. In our conversations we observed that most people in today’s world believe that there must be people that lead and people that follow in order to establish a societal form of organization that enables a prosperous life for the individuals on the planet. This belief, coupled with the belief in the necessity of the concept of ownership – as described in the article -, are the basic convictions that create the distinction between owning, powerful people and poor, powerless people. Furthermore, granting individuals power over others inevitably creates incentives to abuse this power. These incentives are of even greater impact in a scarcity environment.
For establishing a global society in peace and fulfillment to the highest extent possible, we need a form of organization wherein every individual’s power over her- or himself – every individual’s liberty – is expanded to a maximum. A form of organization wherein power over others is not necessary for achieving personal goals.
The focus of societal criticism should lie in questioning basic concepts of societal organization that might cause negative consequences in order to be able to change these basic concepts. Consequently, it might be constructive and helpful to think deeply about and develop alternative ways of organizing society for being able to alter structures that counteract personal autonomy. Furthermore, it might be helpful to learn how to present alternatives in ways that allow them to be easily understood. Blaming any group of people will not help create a peaceful, joyful and healthy atmosphere that helps society to prosper and thrive. Nobody who intends to constructively criticize societal structures should focus on blaming other human beings, like “rich” and “powerful” people, the “uneducated” youth, black or white people, homosexuals, American or Chinese people, Christians, Jews, Muslims or anybody else.
We don’t need hatred and aggression. We need open-minded communication in respectful co-existence if we want to solve the problems we face for coordinating the fulfillment of our personal needs and ambitions (→ The Scientific Method).

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“Well, that all sounds nice, but it is idealistic.”

Yeah, it sure is. If I am a ballet dancer and my ideal is to turn five pirouettes, I won’t practice to turn only three pirouettes. I will go for five. As a baker, I would endeavor to create the most tempting, tasty cake I have in mind – my personal cake ideal. Nothing less!
Everybody creates ideals when thinking about the forthcoming shopping tour, painting a wall or when planning the flight to the moon. It is necessary to strive for an ideal in order to get anywhere close to the ideal. If we don’t even strive to realize an ideal, we will not get anywhere close to improving our performance or achieving our goals.

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Further inspirational information and research material is available on our link pages (→ Links about Handling Resource Scarcity).

Technology

Deutsch

Every human being makes permanent use of technology. For example, technology is behind the letters you are reading right now. Even reading itself is a piece of technology. Technology is behind the display or the paper you are looking at. The chair you are sitting on and the clothes you wear exist thanks to technology.

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Technology is the purposeful application of knowledge and skills
– design, development and usage of methods and tools –
for altering situations and circumstances.

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For example, reading is a method which enables human beings to gain information. Clothes are tools for protecting or dressing human beings. And without chairs you would have to lie under or stand at your table. Hence, every piece of technology, every tool and method has a purpose to fulfill for assisting individuals in achieving personal goals. Consequently, the deliberate application of methods and tools is the key for assisting the global society in pursuing the goal of society (→ Values). Technology has the potential to coordinate the satisfaction of different needs within society for achieving individual and societal well-being.

Every form of life has the possibility of influencing its environment through technology to a certain extent. Every individual makes use of technology by applying and creating methods and tools out of their personal truth (→ Basic Understandings). For example, every bacterium, plant and animal uses its physical abilities for realizing ambitions like acquiring nutrition or defending itself against predators. We, human beings, use our brain as a tool for understanding our environment and for changing the world we live in. We build houses for protecting ourselves from the weather and varying changes in temperature. We develop recipes for capturing instructions in order to create tasty meals over and over again. We develop automates for realizing faster and more precise production processes. We use our voice as a tool for communication, like talking, singing or making sound expressions. Everybody makes permanent use of technology, everybody permanently applies, creates and develops methods and tools.
Technology is the link between an individual and the individual’s happiness and satisfaction, since methods and tools, and their combinations, can transform some state into another. They fulfill a purpose, realize an ambition, solve a problem, coordinate the satisfaction of an individual’s needs with those of others, or simply enable joyful moments. Technology, as the way for achieving personal and thus societal well-being through expanding everybody’s scope of liberty as widely as possible, enables the global society to create a world in peace, health and cultural diversity full of love and inspiration.

Technology alters situations and circumstances. Consequently, the better an individual understands their environment, the better developed methods and tools may harmonize with their environment. Every individual is connected with every other individual through the symbiotic nature of the ecosystem and societal bonds (→ Basic Understandings). Thus, an individual’s technology not only changes the individual’s environment but also changes life situations and environmental circumstances for other individuals. In order to prevent conflicts from arising, an individual’s technology should not collide with the ambitions of any other individual. Technology should not prevent anybody from realizing personal goals. For example, technology should not have negative impacts on any individual’s health. Therefore, in order to sustain a peaceful atmosphere, methods and tools should be designed to function in ways which harmonize with everybody’s ambitions. To be able to accomplish that, the global society should strive to understand its environment as holistically as possible.

Technology should be based on
the deliberate application of the Scientific Method.

At the beginning of the development of methods and tools, or their combination, stands the design phase. This phase evolves around thinking about what purpose a resulting method or tool should fulfill, and how it should fulfill its purpose. Design phases are intended to create an optimal outcome. Thus, applying the Scientific Method, design phases should be based on effective, satisfying communication and research. The design phase of methods and tools should interact greatly with every discipline they might stand in contact with for understanding their scope of application as thoroughly as possible. Within design phases, the global society should care for as many individual needs as possible in advance, for not hindering single individuals in their pursuit of happiness and fulfillment when applying the developed method or tool. The deliberate application of the Scientific Method enables the global society to develop methods and tools that respect societal and environmental requirements, like those of the Earth’s ecosystem (→ The Scientific Method).
Pieces of technology which are seen to damage environmental processes or seen as a barrier for single individuals who endeavor to realize personal goals, need to be modified or replaced by alternatives, which serve the same purpose without causing damage. Therefore, the global society should permanently question, rethink and redesign its technology in order to always apply the most effective, most harmonizing methods and tools possible.

In the following section we present design guidelines that assist the global society in developing pieces of technology for most effectively pursuing the goal of society. These design guidelines might assist everyone in developing methods and tools which respect and enrich natural and societal environments:

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A tool’s or method’s purpose should be questioned and understood
as thoroughly as possible.

When designing methods and tools, their purposes and their scopes of application should be understood as entirely as possible. Designers should answer the following questions: What is the method’s or tool’s purpose? Are there alternatives for fulfilling this purpose? In which ways will it influence its environment? Will the method or tool as well as any related piece of technology for production, service and disassembly harmonize with their environment? Who will use it?
Understanding everything about and around a piece of technology as completely as possible enables designers, users and finally the whole global society to create and apply intuitive, safe, healthy, sustainable and robust methods and tools which bring joy when using them.

Example: You want a picture on your wall. Thus, you need a form of technology that serves this purpose. This can be a combination of a screw, a screw anchor, a screw driver, an electric drill, a socket, your skills and a concept of how to apply these things.
Alternatively, you could use some glue strips or a magnetic picture frame, provided magnetic picture frames will stick to your wall. Maybe, thanks to integrated light emitting elements, your wallpaper can display graphics anywhere in your home.
However, would the picture annoy anybody who lives with you? Will the chosen technology damage the wall? Will you preserve sufficient resources for realizing other projects you plan to bring to life?
If you consider all these questions, you might tinker more goal-orientated and thus more effective. Eventually, you might enjoy your handiwork much longer, and maybe you are enabled to remove it in simple ways, once it does not please you anymore.

An example concerning a situation in our contemporary society: You want to produce mobile phones in a factory with little automation. The production flow is highly optimized in regard to the assembly rate and thus requires a huge workforce. Hence, how well have you considered and designed the working conditions and the environment for your employees? Have you created an environment that pleases them? Do they receive enough daylight? Do they have enough breaks? Do they have the chance to talk with each other or adequate management to address problems?
Your employees are closest to the assembly process. Are they enabled and encouraged to develop and implement further optimization processes? Optimized working conditions, environments and atmospheres may increase the quality of products since everybody is motivated and able to concentrate on each step of assembly.
Does the factory building harmonize with its environment? For example, may it be useful to cover the roof with top soil and vegetation, since this coverage might protect the factory’s roof from UV damage while offering living space to the surrounding nature? Have you considered covering surfaces with the creations of local artists to make your factory eye-catching? Finally, do you understand the factory as an isolated place where nobody likes to stay or as an integrated part of the local community?
The factory in its entirety is a piece of technology. In fact, a factory is best equipped for effective production when optimally harmonizing with its societal and natural environment.

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Methods and tools should be easy to use.

Methods and tools should be adaptable to individual needs.

Knowledge and instructions about technology
should be easy to understand.

The easier an individual can handle a tool or a method, the more effective he or she can realize personal ambitions. The better a form of technology matches an individual’s idea of how it should serve its purpose, the less it frustrates the individual and the more it supports the individual’s motivation. Therefore, methods and tools should be designed for safe and intuitive application as far as possible.
Since every human being is different, there are many different ideas of how pieces of technology might function or what they might be like. For example, there are some who prefer to use a screw driver with their left hand, and others that like using it with their right hand. Some like fully configurable SLR cameras, others like light-weight pocket cams. Some like to wear green sport shoes with shoelaces, others like wearing red ones with a hook-and-loop fastener. Hence, methods and tools should be adaptable to individual needs and purposes. It is a joy to use methods and tools that simply serve the purpose they are designed to serve.
For the same reasons, knowledge and instructions about methods or tools should be easy to understand in order to enable users to easily and effectively advance their skills (→ Education).

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Methods and tools should be resource efficient.

Material and energy resources
should be used in accordance with regeneration periods.


Tools should last as long as possible.

Tools should be upgradeable.

Tools should be designed for recycling.

Material and energy resources appear to be limited. The less we use of a given resource, the more we preserve for the realization of further projects. Using less resources also makes us more flexible in case of resource shortages (e.g. due to natural catastrophes). Consequently, technology should use as few resources as possible while achieving the most effective outcome possible.
The material and energy resources that we use, should be predominately fast-renewable resources. Fast-renewable resources are resources which regenerate within short time intervals like sunlight, wood, hemp and cotton. To assure a sustainable use of resources, regeneration periods of resources should be taken into account. The rate of material and energy consumption should be lower than the rate of material and energy regeneration in order to not overuse or exploit resources.
Additionally, since manufacturing processes themselves require energy and materials, tools should be designed to last and flawlessly function as long as possible. Long lasting tools, that fulfill their stated purposes as expected without breaking, do not need to be replaced. This approach preserves resources, since it decreases the need to produce replacements of broken tools.
Design processes should furthermore provide the possibility to upgrade tools by exchanging outdated or defect parts. For example, in the domain of computer technology, devices should be updateable through replacing only the outdated parts of the hardware, or simply the software, instead of a whole computer system.
In contrast to fast-renewable resources, slow-renewable resources like fossil-fuels, metals and diamonds, should be used in a manner that allows their reuse. Hence, tools should be designed for recycling. Therefore, every design phase should consider easy and effective disassembly of tools. In case a tool breaks or becomes obsolete, it should be possible to easily extract its materials. The recycling of materials is necessary for establishing closed resource cycles. Everything we use, should either fit into natural resource cycles or stay within our resource cycles.
All these approaches, that we would like to outline as Efficiency Approach, assist humanity in creating an abundance of resources in order that the maximum range of possibilities is available to everyone (→ Handling Resource Scarcity).

As mentioned above, every piece of technology fulfills a purpose. Technology assists human beings in satisfying their needs or in achieving their personal goals. Thus, technology can be used to create circumstances that encourage the establishing of values which assist society in pursuing the goal of society (→ Values).
Therefore, methods and tools should be available to everybody for optimally assisting every human being. Consequently, the global society requires a system which coordinates methods and tools among humans. The societal economic system should fulfill this purpose (→ Handling Resource Scarcity).

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— A short comparison with our contemporary society (2012) —

The contemporary global society does not seem to be aware of technology as the purposeful application of knowledge for altering situations and circumstances. We, the global society, seem to be unaware that we permanently shape situations, circumstances and thus our environment by applying methods and tools. The global society seems not to be aware of the possibilities we have for expanding everybody’s scope of liberty through making use of technology deliberately.

Today, the global society has a very static perspective on technology. The global society indeed has a feeling for existing methods and tools and their modes of functioning, but not a feeling for technology’s giant range of possibilities that continuously expands through research and ingenuity. Many people tend to see a particular piece of technology as the only solution for fulfilling a particular purpose or for solving a particular problem. From an individual’s perspective, a comfortable way to fulfill a particular need or solve a particular problem, may lie in holding on to a particular form of technology rather than examining the problem or need she or he is facing. However, there may exist much more effective technological opportunities to satisfy the individual’s needs.
For example, many people say “I absolutely need a vacuum cleaner!”. A vacuum cleaner’s main purpose is to eliminate dust. Thus, the demand for a vacuum cleaner derives from the need for a clean home. Hence, it could be useful to consider the following questions: Where does dust come from? Is dust useful in any way? Do I always need a vacuum cleaner or just at those times when I want to use it? Are there reasons for the appearance of dust and are there ways of eliminating these reasons? Do I need a vacuum cleaner at all, or do I alternatively need a system that establishes a slight fall of air pressure towards the outer areas of my rooms in combination with slightly electro static surfaces for easing dust filtering?
Obviously, there are many ways to think about a particular problem and related technology. There are many different ways to satisfy a particular need, many different methods and tools to solve a particular problem. By questioning application scopes as thoroughly as possible and by considering technology from as many perspectives as possible, the global society should establish a holistic feeling for the possibilities technology provides us, rather than clinging to static perspectives which may counteract the goal of society.

Today, there are methods and tools which create serious problems and conflicts. Certainly, many people fear those pieces of technology. Thus, a basic question appears: Is technology one of the reasons for our problems?
On one hand, there are pieces of technology that are created for diminishing symptoms of profound problems. These pieces of technology often have negative impacts, while not erasing the root causes of problems. The atomic bomb, for example, was designed for protecting populations by devastating other populations in turn. Many nations use it to impress or menace other nations. However, the detonation of an atomic bomb has very destructive consequences and does not solve problems. It was not designed for understanding conflicts and finding solutions. No weapon was designed for harmonizing with its environment. Hence, problems that result from harmful and hostile pieces of technology may disappear once the assumed necessity for those pieces of technology disappears. For example, for reducing the appearance of conflicts which bring us to the assumption that we need an atomic bomb, we could endeavor for global cooperation for coordinating different needs of different human beings within the global society (→ The Scientific Method). If the demand for a certain method or tool disappears, the problems that result from the application or existence of that method or tool disappear.
On the other hand, technological problems derive from the way tools are created, or how pieces of technology fulfill their purposes. For example, contemporary production processes of technical devices often exploit employees, manufacture toxic materials and cause huge environmental damages. In contrast, photography for example is an interest many people like to pursue. Hence, methods or tools we are not satisfied with – for example production processes of cameras – should be permanently improved or replaced by alternatives. Any tool, including its production, application and recycling, should harmonize with its environment as far as possible while fulfilling its purpose as effectively as possible. In the long run, this approach will diminish the appearance of problems that occur when producing, applying and disassembling pieces of technology.

With regards to tools, the global society seems to be unaware of the apparent finiteness of material resources. Tools (e.g. machines, clothes, buildings, etc.) are rarely designed for a long life or recycling processes. Enforced by incentives within the contemporary economic system, such as the necessity of sustaining cyclical consumption, tools break early and end up on waste dumps due to planned obsolescence, inherent in their design. Today, there are a myriad of problems with collecting, managing and abolishing waste.
The principle of waste will prove inefficient in the long run. Every production process which creates tools society can neither reuse nor recycle also creates a problem, since the used materials become unusable for further design processes. Additionally, once those tools have arrived on waste dumps, their chemicals and toxics migrate into the natural top soil and disturb natural cycles. Today, the oceans are full of plastic waste. CFC gases damage the Earth’s ozone layer. Furthermore, our most used tools for generating energy, like nuclear power plants or oil platforms, can result in huge environmental hazards. We make our ecosystem sick, and thus ourselves, despite solutions for increasing technological harmony with the Earth’s ecosystem being available.
The global society should concentrate on the establishment of fully closed resource cycles for preserving as many resources as possible for satisfying the needs of as many individuals as possible while caring for the Earth’s ecosystem which constitutes the foundation for all life on Earth.

Furthermore, due to profit orientation and maximization, the global society tends to favor inefficient and ineffective pieces of technology while overusing existing capacities provided by the Earth’s ecosystem.
For example, although many human beings complain about the way we distribute food among the globe, major companies appear to produce genetically modified plants, which generate seeds that are not as reproductive as their parent generation, on an increasingly wide scale. And this is done, even though non-modified, traditionally cultivated plants do produce fertile seed. Additionally, many so-called “developed” countries waste a lot of fresh food instead of distributing it to other countries. But it does not seem that there are insufficient distribution capacities, since, before being consumed in the western world and northern hemisphere, food is carried several times between continents. This is a bizarre situation. Obviously, these are all ineffective methods of feeding the world. They are only effective from a monetary point of view. Consequently, the contemporary economic system is unable to organize resource distribution for creating resource abundance and access abundance (→ Handling Resource Scarcity).
Nature provides a lot of methods and tools we should consider for fulfilling our needs. Therefore, we need to understand things like natural resource cycles for not exploiting and damaging them.
Methods and tools are not necessarily exclusively created by human beings. Technology is something that assists individuals in achieving personal goals and in establishing well-being. Hence, the global society should consider methods and tools that have emerged from every source across the planet when looking for solutions.

One of the major problems, that human beings who design methods and tools face today, are patent and copyright systems. Due to the fact that nearly everybody in the global society has to maintain their established standard of living through always having a satisfactory income, individuals and companies require others to pay for their ideas or concepts. Hence, ideas or concepts are most likely to be published within the frame of patent and copyright systems. In other cases, those ideas or concepts are not officially published at all and therefore remain secrets. Thus, although a necessary method or tool with the potential to assist human beings in achieving their personal goals exists, people might not be able to use it, since the existence of these methods or tools was not published, their usage is prohibited or they are simply untraceable. In consequence, those individuals must wait or look for other, often less effective and resource-efficient, maybe even destructive ways for realizing their ideas (→ Human Behavior).
The current patent and copyright system hinders the exchange of information, experiences and knowledge. This complicates the design of methods and tools. We reinvent the wheel over and over again, every day, rather than advancing existing methods and tools. Therefore, we have to use pieces of technology that are not as good as they could be.
The global society should endeavor to eliminate reasons for holding back ideas and concepts in order to establish a free flow of information for exchanging experiences and knowledge. On this basis, the global society would be able to create and use methods and tools which fulfill quality criteria like high performance and ecological friendliness as widely as possible.

To this end, we, the global society, have a myriad of ideas and technological possibilities for establishing a world in which everybody can find happiness and fulfillment. The problem lies in the way we use and organize technology without endeavoring to holistically understand the ways in which our methods and tools impact on and are interconnected with the environment we live in. We have established an economic system that prevents us from exchanging knowledge and information while giving incentives for designing tools which wear out after short periods, without considering whether they can be recycled. This situation is something we need to change, if we want to live in a world which provides sustainable solutions in a healthy environment.
However, as a very basis upon which we can build, it is most important to understand that we need to establish open-minded communication within the global society for considering every idea, need and doubt when designing methods and tools (→ The Scientific Method).

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—– Myths and Opinions —–

In our lectures and conversations about society we established a collection of Myths and Opinions that have crossed our way most frequently. Some of these statements are widely spread amongst the people in this world. We would like to give you some thought provoking impulses concerning some of the Myths and Opinions of our collection.

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“The amount of resources on the planet is insufficient
in order to fulfill the desires of all humans.”

If you ever hear this opinion expressed, please, ask the person about the extensive surveys of the Earth’s resources and the collection of information about all known methods and tools and their combination possibilities, and make sure you get access to the database of all human needs and desires that this person refers to.
We, the authors, do not know of the existence of any world wide extensive survey of all the Earth’s resources, or any survey, or database that collects, manages and provides all information about all known pieces of technology and their combination possibilities in order to extract and use these resources. Furthermore, we do not know of any pool of records showing different needs, wishes and desires of all humans. Considering this lack of knowledge and information, we think that it is simply not possible to draw conclusions on which desires we can fulfill with what kind of technology.
Hence, if anyone wants to talk about humanity being able to fulfill needs, wishes and desires it is most practical to focus on what we know that we can and could do with what we know of. Making assumptions about something NOT being possible actually means: “It is not possible with the knowledge of that particular person at that particular time.” If people talk about things not being possible, it usually is due to their lack of knowledge of how to make it possible, rather than due to it really being impossible to accomplish. Even though that knowledge may not be widespread, it is always possible that one can find, someone will find, or has already found ways to make it possible. Usually, the perception that something is not possible is rooted in the absence of the ability to perceive ways how to make it possible. That is why we should never waste our time thinking about what is not possible, but rather use our time wisely to research how to make something possible. It might just be our lack of knowledge and skills that makes it seem impossible to accomplish to us.
Finally, the more efficient our technology uses and handles the resources that are available to us, the closer we get to effectively satisfying everyone’s needs. We, the authors, see huge potential in developing resource-efficient technology, as there are a myriad of ideas and concepts of how to create high-performing, sustainable, easy-to-use and environmentally friendly pieces of technology. Only by establishing societal cooperation through open-minded, non-violent communication as a basis can potentials be freed within society (→ The Scientific Method). Without this kind of organizational foundation, the level of resource efficiency will remain as low as it is today.

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“Technology cannot be the solution.
Technology is the source of most problems in today’s world.”

One can use technology in different ways. Just like a hammer: one can use a hammer to put nails into planks of wood to construct a house, or one can use a hammer to kill a person by hitting her or him over the head.
The problem usually evolves around: what kind of methods or tools do we create and use for what purposes? Purposes and motives for the creation and usage of methods and tools are derived from basic understandings. So the question is rather: what kind of basic understandings make up the foundation of the purposes and motives that determine the creation and usage of a problem-creating piece of technology? And furthermore: are these basic understandings derived from open-minded research and communication (→ The Scientific Method) or from blindly clinging to prejudice, fear and convictions?
Hence, as long as we consider technology itself as a source of problems, we, the global society, should intensify communication and research for finding out why particular pieces of technology create problems. That involves holistically questioning the scope of application of these pieces of technology as well as questioning the purposes for which they were created and are used. And that furthermore means questioning our understandings in order to intensify and broaden them.
If technology is used in order to coordinate the realization of individual goals, it can enable the global society to get much closer to the realization of the goal of society (→ Values). Technology should function for us, not against us

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Further inspirational information and research material is available on our link pages (→ Links about Technology).

The Scientific Method

Deutsch

The following article describes the method human beings apply for discovering their environment, following interests, achieving personal goals or developing solutions.
It begins with an observation or experience that raises curiosity. Once we are curious, we begin to gather existing personal and new information about the things we are interested in. Subsequently, we create theories and develop thesis statements. Then, we try to apply our theories to experiments in order to evaluate how one of them might be of use. Experiments in turn bring new observations and the cycle goes on.

Graph of the Scientific Method

The illustration above visualizes how a human being follows an interest. We call it the Scientific Method, since this method is deliberately applied by science.

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Every human being uses the Scientific Method within her or his personal truth
in order to achieve personal goals.

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Observation – Discovery – Experience
It starts with something that catches a human being’s attention. This might be a feeling, an observation, a sound, a smell or simply a message from someone else. It starts with an experience that induces curiosity.
Example: You stand in a room, planning to enter another room. There is a door that separates both rooms. Thus, when you’ve discovered the door, it catches your attention, since it hinders your path.

Curiosity – Motivation – Interest
Once a human being is curious, inner motivation arises to find a place for the experienced event or situation within her or his own world of thoughts and feelings, within her or his personal truth. At this point the individual is interested in understanding or doing something, since she or he sees a possibility to achieve a personal goal or to solve a problem. The human being begins to think about it. The human being begins to gather information.
Example: You are motivated to open the door that hinders your path.

Thinking – Gathering Information
The first source that provides information about something is the human being’s own mind. Immediately an individual begins to consider any personal knowledge or experience that might be connected with the topic he or she is interested in. In case a human being is not satisfied with personal knowledge and experiences, she or he begins to collect more information by reading books, looking for inspiration, asking other people, or doing research (→ Education). The human being gathers information in order to develop an assumption or theory about what she or he tries to do or understand.
Example: In the past, you’ve opened several doors before by pressing down their door handle. This is one of several possibilities you may think of in order to open it.

Theory – Thesis statement – Prediction
While gathering information everybody creates a picture in their mind. Based on experience and knowledge, every human being constructs his or her own reflection on all things. The individual creates her or his personal view which shapes the personal truth. From personal theories, everyone draws thesis statements. These are concepts of how something might behave, function or react.
Example: Subconsciously, you consider your theory about doors and create a thesis statement: “If I press down the door handle, the door will open and I can enter the other room.”

Experiment – Practice
One then uses developed thesis statements as predictions to confirm personal theories. Every human being constantly experiments by observing or putting things into practice. This enables the individual to verify assumptions and theories.
If an experiment fails, one wonders why, since one expected something different. If an experiment succeeds, one enjoys the success.
Example: Does the door open when you press down the door handle? That is your experiment. If the door opens: your experiment was successful. If it does not: your experiment failed and you ask yourself “What’s wrong? Why didn’t it open?” A new event catches your attention.

Our whole life is an infinite, floating cycle of these steps. It is the method we permanently apply in order to grasp, understand and shape our environment.
Every human being uses the Scientific Method within personal truth by considering personal experiences, feelings, ideas and fears. This happens much more frequently subconsciously than consciously. Since everyone’s knowledge, experiences and biology are different, the way the method is expressed is different for everybody. However, it is that very same method every human being applies for discovering and achieving personal goals.

A further example illustrates the Scientific Method. Here, the pursue of the satisfaction of hunger is set in various situations:
The feeling of hunger catches my attention. Consequently, I want to eat something. Immediately, I begin to consider every possibility that comes into my mind about how I could satisfy my need.
Maybe I have a fridge that is filled with tasty things. Maybe my fridge is empty and I will have to go to the supermarket. Other individuals in different situations may come to other conclusions: maybe one just wants to hold out until the feeling of hunger disappears. Maybe one lives on a farm and thus all she or he has to do is pick an apple from a tree. Maybe one lives on the street and sees begging for food as her or his only option. Maybe one decides to steal a peace of bread from a bakery. However, if an individual gets food, she or he eats it, since she or he expects to satisfy her or his hunger.

The example above shows something that is important to understand:

Different human beings
often come to different conclusions.

Different conclusions furthermore lead to different personal interests. These interests may express in pursuing different paths in life, various ambitions or the individual pursue of satisfying needs. Since society is a body of people, it sometimes happens that several interests collide with each other. A conflict arises. To enable a harmonic, peaceful life on Earth, it is important to coordinate these different interests in order to satisfy everyone’s needs. Consequently, we should base societal development and organization on cooperation.
Cooperation means to endeavor to achieve a goal multiple individuals have in common. Cooperating individuals apply the Scientific Method within their shared truth. They share an interest and inform each other about their views and ambitions through communication for finding shared truth (→ Basic understandings). Additionally, they gather information by asking others or doing research. They develop theories and put them into practice. Hence, it is communication within a group of cooperating individuals which forms a basis for successful cooperation.

Satisfying exchange of perceptions, knowledge and information,
i.e. communication, is essential for successful cooperation.

Once communication addressed societal conflicts, solutions need to be found.

A solution is a situation everyone is satisfied with.

As illustrated in the Scientific Method graph, the quality of a solution results from the quality of the developed theory which in turn depends on the amount and quality of the collected information. This means that in order to create holistic, well thought through, sustainable solutions, one needs to break down a problem into small pieces of information in order to question the whole problem complexity. This requires extensive open-minded, non-violent communication for exchanging knowledge and information. Furthermore, cooperation for the sake of solution finding means exploring various perspectives by questioning the personal perception, conviction and attitude towards an issue. It means considering interrelations and -dependencies to enable the development of a well-grounded theory which enables the creation of sustainable solutions. Hence, the global society should endeavor to achieve the following:

Societal communication should be open-minded and free of prejudice. Thus, structures of organization should consider every perspective, view, idea and need they might be confronted with. The global society should establish cooperation in open-minded, non-violent communication which integrates every single human being into society.
The development of sustainable solutions for dissolving and preventing societal conflicts through coordination is the most promising method for establishing a peaceful global society.
In concrete terms, the global society should deliberately design societal structures. This means, to use humanity’s capabilities (→ Technology) for creating an environment which enables every individual to effectively communicate and coordinate their interests with others. The global society should create an environment which does not diminish motivation to cooperate. The global society should create an environment that does not provoke behavior like rivalry, greed, envy and hatred which counteract the finding for an individual’s happiness and satisfaction. The global society should utilize acquired knowledge as holistically as possible for designing a global societal system in ways that enable humanity to achieve the goal of society (→ Values) most effectively.

Question: What if the Scientific Method has resulted in multiple possible proceedings within the solution finding process? What if further proceedings require decisions?
In such cases, decision making is part of solution finding.

Extensive communication and research might be followed by decision making.

Decisions and their implementation are an investigation for the optimal way of solving a problem by trying out possible proceedings. This brings new experiences as well as observations and delivers further information within the solution finding process.
Due to societal decisions and their application, new societal conflicts may arise. Societal conflicts may lead to violence. For violent conflicts, society needs ways to protect human beings from another. These ways should guarantee an ongoing, constructive, non-violent, open-minded communication, since communication is the basis for societal cooperation and enables the consideration of every single human being’s needs and ambitions. Communication and cooperation must never cease.

In the long run, we are obliged to cooperate, since we live together on one planet, in one global society. Consequently, we need to communicate extensively for establishing successful societal cooperation. Hence, it is well coordinated communication and research which would enable the deliberate design of societal structures and thus well-being for the global society.

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—– A short comparison to our contemporary society (2012) —–

The global society is not aware of the Scientific Method and the importance of open-minded, non-violent communication, cooperation and coordination as a basis for creating a peaceful global society. Today, societal structures are well prepared for decision making. We know hierarchies, organization diagrams and leadership. We have parliaments, governments and departments. Additionally, we have concepts for processing elections and votes. Unfortunately, until now, the global society has not understood that extensive communication and research processes are the important basis for finding solutions. Decision making should be seen as only part of this process.
It is the decision making structures most human beings concentrate on. Many human beings that are supposed to make decisions, like politicians or managers, focus on elections, votes, campaigns and chances to beat competitors. Thus, nowadays the global society handles it the other way round: decision making dominates communication and research. The current way of organizing society, the current way of coordinating needs and ambitions will not lead to a global well-being.
In comparison to the established structures for decision making, the global society’s official communication structures are either insufficient or simply unavailable. Even in so called “modern industrial nations”, citizens often have only one official way to express their needs or to address societal conflicts: by electing one or a group of human beings that seem to have similar perspectives. Obviously, we are not aware of the importance of communication. This lack of communication structures gives rise to loneliness, frustration, anger, envy, hate, agony and other unpleasant feelings or states of mind and expresses in demonstrations, strikes, assaults and killing sprees.
The possibility for individual satisfying communication is indispensable for societal cooperation. Every human being needs the possibility to communicate about personal problems, imaginative thoughts and ambitions, in a way that she or he can be understood. The possibility for individual, satisfying communication means being able to communicate difficulties, needs and wishes and attain the best help that society can offer at that time. Society should consider every single individual problem, idea and perspective. This does not mean that society needs to ask every single human being for her or his opinion on every topic. But it means not hindering existing communication possibilities – for example, as they exist between a mother and her child. When a mother’s environment requires her to be away from her child, in order to earn money, the little human being loses a chance for communication with her or his closest relative. Situations like this one are not preferable. We think, they are not good for human beings and hence they are not good for society.
Unfortunately, many people avoid communication, since they see disadvantages when addressing certain problems they have. These are disadvantages they might have encountered in their past. For example, many human beings are afraid of losing their job due to speaking out about difficulties at work. Society should endeavor to create environments in which fear of communication does not exist.

Today, humanity is specialized in decision making, thus we have institutions that intervene in case of societal conflicts that express violently (e.g. police). In contrary to keeping up communication, these institutions often avoid and even deny communication. Furthermore, these institutions judge, isolate and even kill people. If society ceases its dialogue with people who might have a problem with societal structures, we ignore the most obvious way of understanding societal conflicts. Without understanding those conflicts, the global society will not be capable of working on conflict prevention and resolution thus humanity will not be able to create a peaceful global society.

It seems that even many of today’s scientists do not use the Scientific Method in awareness. From our point of view, science means collecting every piece of information possible when researching or engineering something. Any contradicting perspective on a theory is a piece of information and has to be discussed. Therefore, in our eyes, scientists are supposed to be as open-minded as possible. They should try to communicate their views and explanations as comprehensibly as possible rather than neglecting contradicting arguments.
Furthermore, the conditions for contemporary scientific work are complicating research processes. A majority of scientific work is denied by journals or congresses and consequently not integrated for societal benefit. Due to financial problems scientists even have to care for monetary support by writing a lot of project outlines. Hence, many scientists cannot concentrate on their ambitions properly.

Nevertheless, in the last few years the development of the Internet and mobile telecommunication have brought a myriad of possibilities for exchanging information. E-Mail, text messages, instant messaging, forums, social networks and blogs enable the global society to communicate on a never seen scale. It is predominantly the young generation that is used to these technologies. These technologies allow information flows to be managed much more efficiently than some years ago. However, for those who have not yet conceived of the possibilities that those communication systems offer, it is not easy to grasp and consider these possibilities in order to apply them to societal development.
However, in the majority of cases, from our point of view, the most effective and indeed most enjoyable form of communication remains that whereby both dialogue partners meet face to face.

To this end, it is not technology humanity is waiting for in order to mend societal deficits. At a basis, it is the understanding about the importance of communication, cooperation and coordination within society which would enable the sustainable development of solutions – on small and large scales. Let’s communicate with one another!

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—– Myths and Opinions —–

In our lectures and conversations about society we established a collection of Myths and Opinions that have crossed our way most frequently. Some of these statements are widely spread amongst the people in this world. We would like to give you some thought provoking impulses concerning some of the Myths and Opinions of our collection.

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“Rules and laws must be the foundation of a functioning society.”

We disagree. Rules and laws as well as rights can be guidelines to support the intent of a common direction for society. Furthermore, they can even be an orientation for the organization of society. However, rules and laws usually do not prevent the sole cause for societal deficits, which provide incentives for e.g. harming other people, from occurring. They do not necessarily provide methods in order to enable the realization of their goals. Instead, rules and laws usually work with punishments and rewards. Neither punishments, nor rewards focus on removing a problematic situation, but merely focus on stopping people’s destructive reaction on socially frustrating situations and systemic deficits. In many cases the punishments that are prosecuted once a “crime” has been committed are designed to deter people from even wanting to commit it. We think that this cannot be a solution, because in many cases the reasons for not harming other people, are not well understood by those who do “evil”. And even if those persons understood why it is bad to act the way they acted, rules and laws rarely provide alternative ways with which that person can realize her ambitions, achieve his goals, or satisfy her needs without harming others.
So the more rules we establish to prohibit people from doing “wrong”, the more we see people getting better and better at hiding their way of doing “wrong” in order to realize their ambitions.
Additionally, rules and laws are very static. Once a circumstance has changed, society needs a lot of time to adapt or erase a rule. Proceedings that might work in one situation, might be very destructive in another situation. For example, the rule “Don’t cross the street when the traffic light shows red!” tries to prevent accidents. A doctor that could help another human being on the other side while the traffic light shows red, stands in a conflict. She would break the rule, she would act illegally if she decided to help. Additional laws “repair” this conflict by considering conditions wherein human beings are allowed to break the traffic rule. Obviously, the system of laws in our contemporary global society is very confusing and frustrating, since one must permanently check if one is acting in accordance with law or not.
From our point of view, the less rules exist, the freer and more flexible a society is. Thus, the global society should endeavor to eliminate reasons for harming other people or for acting in destructive manners by enabling free education, free communication and satisfying organization and allocation of resources in order to exchange understandings and information. Understandings and open-minded communication form the basis for the functioning of society, not rules and laws.

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Further inspirational information and research material is available on our link pages (→ Links about the Scientific Method).

Education

Deutsch 

What is education? In a wide sense, education is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. As soon as we are exposed to outer influences we experience our environment – consciously and subconsciously. We learn!
For example, I learn something about traffic when I observe cars on the street. I experience characteristics of water when I swim in a lake. Learning happens throughout our entire life. Consequently, talking about education means considering the environment in which a human being lives over the course of her or his whole life. In a narrower sense, we would like to define education as follows:

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Education is the acquirement of knowledge and skills.

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Every individual acquires knowledge and skills in order to be able to satisfy needs, realize ambitions or solve problems. Thus, learning is a process through which every human being might find happiness and satisfaction.

Question: What conditions enable a human being to learn most effectively?
A human being is most receptive to new information when her or his interest is derived from inner motivation. In our eyes, children bear an inconceivable amount of inherent motivation to discover their environment or to understand gathered experiences. Something that establishes curiosity motivates a human being to ask questions, to listen to experts, to collect information and to train personal skills (→ The Scientific Method). The human being can only be educated by her or his self. Others can only provide the necessary assistance (e.g. information, tools, space to practice, etc.). Education is a process chosen by the individual.

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Graph of an education system model

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The diagram above illustrates that society provides education for an individual all the way along the path to achieving her or his personal goals. Furthermore, this model of an education system assists the individual without insisting on any reward or condition. That is because any process that hinders an individual from acquiring knowledge or skills might diminish or even suspend inner motivation (→ Human Behavior). This interpretation of education harmonizes with the ideal of a model society (→ Values).

Question: What is the best way for a human being to learn?
Since everyone differs in knowledge, experiences and biology, every human being learns in individual ways. However, the more education stimulates as many senses as possible the easier a human being can grasp new information. Thus, education should take place as close as possible to the object of interest. Hence, in our eyes, the global society should endeavor to achieve the following:

Each individual should have access to humanity’s knowledge that is available in libraries, museums, on virtual platforms and through many other mediums. The global society should enable everyone to travel everywhere on the planet. It is necessary that everybody has possibilities to put acquired knowledge and skills into practice. Additionally, society should enable every individual to establish contact with those who share the same interest or those who want to present knowledge and skills.

Question: Who wants to present knowledge and skills to others?
When a human being is passionately interested in something, in the majority of cases he or she loves to share thoughts about it. Nearly everyone who is concerned with a particular subject shares experiences and knowledge – from the beginner up to the expert. In our experience, sharing knowledge and coaching special skills is most satisfying and even joyful when the dialog partner is really interested.

Based on the understanding that the learner’s interest is the most important factor for an effective learning process, we would like to introduce the following guidelines that have proven successful in helping humans to educate themselves about the topics of their choice:

Education should elate, enthuse and inspire
by fostering curiosity, creativity, ingenuity and resourcefulness.

The inherent self motivation that, in our eyes, every human being possesses, needs to be supported and developed. Following one’s inner curiosity and interests is the most efficient way of learning. Concentrating on something by which one is enthused, provides enough mental energy to help to solve even very complex problems. This enthusiasm and ingenuity must be supported and encouraged to enable people to effectively learn throughout their entire life.

Education should be practical.

For education to be a success, it needs to be combined with feelings and sensory experiences. Thus, education systems should present the whole world. That also means not only talking about e.g. deserts, studying them on maps, but also traveling there to explore these deserts. Human beings learn most effectively and remember best if new information is connected to self created or experienced feelings, images and impressions. And the most effective way of getting an image of something is by actually seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, feeling and experiencing the object of interest oneself.

Knowledge and skills should be communicated in easily comprehensible fashions.

Descriptions and instructions are of little value if they are written in “cryptic” language and hardly anybody can read “cryptic” language. Knowledge must be presented in easily understandable ways. Skills must be presented in fashions that enable the learner to understand, practice and apply them easily. The better an individual internalizes something, the easier she or he can continue the educational process.

The global society should provide all existing information.

If information is only partly accessible, it is very hard or even impossible to draw exact conclusions from it in order to develop sustainable solutions for problems. The more information is readily available, the better one can base her or his own research on it.

The holistic understanding of interrelations and interdependencies
should be part of education.

The universe exists as a whole entity, and thus everything in it is somehow connected with something else. That is why we consider it important not only to look at the different aspects separately, but also to consider the interactions between them.

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The following examples might visualize the points we have made above:

  • I am interested in elephants. Experiencing elephants in their natural environment offers me a graspable imagination of an elephant’s life. The observation might create further questions and ideas that I like to talk about in conversations with elephant experts or those who are interested like me.
  • I would like to learn French. Besides reading books, watching films and taking part in language courses, the best way to study the French language is to talk with people speaking French. Hence, it would be very helpful if I could find French people who want to teach me or simply like talking with me. Maybe I can teach them my mother tongue at the same time.
  • I want to play the clarinet. Thus, I need the instrument and a place to practice where I don’t disturb others. Inspired by listening to music by skilled clarinetists at concerts or on records, I can practice my skills with the help of those who already play this instrument. Additionally, it might be interesting to know about the materials the clarinet is made from and how it creates sound.
  • I endeavor to understand the processes in computer systems. Access to well written books and similar sources of information, conversations with physicists, computer scientists, programmers and engineers, and the possibility of experiencing those processes in experiments, enable me to expand my knowledge as effectively as possible. Moreover, information about energy consumption and raw materials that are necessary for building up a computer system, can sensitize me to interrelations between computer technology and the Earth’s resources.

To this end, through effective communication and organization systems (→ Technology), the global education system should enable every individual to easily find sources of knowledge, skill training possibilities and other individuals who like sharing their experiences. Tools that are required for education processes (e.g. books, pens, computers, special equipment) should be provided by the societal economic system (→ Handling Resource Scarcity).

Every human being is interested in the world that surrounds us or the world inside ourselves. From the moment we appear in this world we wonder about it. We discover needs we have and that the satisfaction of these needs can bring us happiness. At that point we become interested in education. Education as the acquirement of knowledge and skills is a means of satisfying needs and realizing dreams and ambitions (→ Basic Understandings).

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— A short comparison to our contemporary society (2012) —

There is a significant contrast between the form of education we have described above and education in our contemporary society. Most education systems oblige people to acquire knowledge. Often society understands institutions (e.g. school) as a duty and “forces” people to acquire knowledge that is preselected by others, using static, non-individual methods.

When talking about education, people often say that it is important to teach humans in order to make them “socially responsible”. What does it mean to be “socially responsible”? Well, it could mean: “It is important to know how to read and write”, “It is important to know certain behavioral rules”, or “Everyone must learn something in order to be able to find a job, so that he or she can feed the family.”
However, people that understand education in this way argue that society has to communicate its values to the following generations actively. They name values like “It is necessary to be polite, smart and tough in order to make a living”, “Being diligent is important”, or “Stealing is wrong.” They often conclude: “Our kids would end up on the street if we didn’t force them to go to school.”.
Question: What about an environment that does not operate on competition? What about an environment in which quality and sustainability are of higher importance than working as hard as possible? What about an environment in which stealing is not necessary to have access to goods and services? And finally, what about an environment that provides a lot of possibilities for every child to follow their curiosity by playing, discovering and experimenting? Do you think they would still develop an interest in street business in an environment that offers attractive courses in art, music, natural science, dancing, sports, photography, drawing, languages, engineering and all the other fields you can think of?
You see, the values that society might feel obliged to communicate actively depend on the environment a human being grows up in. If the individual grows up in an environment where no one is tempted to steal or hurt anybody in order to satisfy her or his needs, it may not even be necessary to actively communicate values like those mentioned above.
However, our contemporary education systems rarely consider understandings that have the greatest potential to make the world a safer place. These are understandings about the importance of communication or values that spring from understandings about interrelations in society.
Furthermore, our education systems rarely encourage creativity and critical thinking. Quite to the contrary, contemporary education systems try to determine right from wrong through tests and exams. Far too often the context is forgotten and right and wrong are presented as universal truths. This reveals a lack of understanding in society. It is a lack of understanding about truth, since the shared truth of education institutions is neither of lesser nor of greater value than the individual’s personal truth (→ Basic Understandings). Rather than “correcting” learners, education institutions should focus on explaining this shared truth to the individual for the individual to decide if she or he shares it.
In education processes that were not chosen by the individual, any kind of judging or labeling (e.g. by using marks) might raise pressure to perform within the individual. Pressure to perform or any expectation by society towards an individual may produce negative experiences with education. For example, it raises fear of making mistakes although mistakes are an important component in learning.
Additionally, our education systems often avoid cooperation between individuals when demanding tasks processed by each student alone. That stands in contrast to the sole idea of society, for society itself is a synonym for cooperation. That prohibition of collaboration can foster attitudes of distrust, dishonesty and non-support amongst the students. Furthermore such experiences can be very unpleasant for the individual. The fear of being labeled and judged for doing something “wrong”, coupled with the impression of non-support often create very negative experiences.
Negative experiences associated with education increase the probability that an individual loses interest. As mentioned above, the individual’s interest is the most important factor for any learning process to be successful. Hence, the way that society handles education today discourages people from learning rather than supporting their will to learn. And now many of us talk about the many “lazy” people out there. In our eyes, at one point, “lazy” people were interested in something, but their interest did not fit into the limiting frames of our contemporary education systems. Their curiosity diminished in part. Curiosity can be suppressed, for instance if adults judge children by saying “Keep quiet!”, “Stop dreaming!” or “Bother somebody else!” Curiosity can disappear if a family has no money to buy books or to finance the visit to the zoo or museum. Financial limitations appear to be the most hindering factor for educational processes in our contemporary society.

Furthermore, it is important to point at the unaccessible knowledge that must be kept back by companies for creating competitive advantages or knowledge that is held in thousands of patents. In a competition based society, patents are necessary to ensure that an inventor has exclusive control over an idea and its usage. Patents, however, hinder the free usage of knowledge and thus education.

We think, the contemporary education systems are rarely designed to optimally assist the individual in experiencing a satisfying educational process. They limit people in their ways of acquiring knowledge and skills rather than supporting them in the pursuit of their interests. If education systems served curiosity and interest instead of crushing it, human beings could be enabled to acquire knowledge and skills effectively throughout all ages.

Nevertheless, with the development of communication structures like the world wide web in the recent past, there have appeared an unimaginable number of educational sources that are now available for those who have web access. People talk about their experiences in blogs, explain interesting ideas on video platforms, or write down knowledge on Wikipedia. Additionally, search engines allow us to find sources that are related to particular keywords. Social networks make it simpler to find people that share similar interests. These communication structures allow the exchange of knowledge throughout the entire world and thus they are the beginning of a global education system. A global education system providing local education institutions in which people can meet to talk, discuss, create, analyze, practice and simply share everything they want to, whenever they want to.

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—– Myths and Opinions —–

In our lectures and conversations about society we established a collection of Myths and Opinions that have crossed our way most frequently. Some of these statements are widely spread amongst the people in this world. We would like to give you some thought provoking impulses concerning some of the Myths and Opinions of our collection.

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“Itʼs impossible to bring everyone to the same level of education.”

We agree. Everyone is different. Bringing everyone to the same level of education is of importance in a system that operates with competition. In such a system “equality of opportunity” is a factor that people are eager to establish. In such systems it is important to make sure that everyone feels able to start from the same point in regard to the “race over the acquirement of resources”, so that people do not feel disadvantaged and turn against each other.
However, bringing everyone to the same level of education might not even be necessary in a system that values cooperation rather than competition.
We all are individuals. And even though all our lives may be based on the same principles (e.g. breathing, eating, sleeping, etc.), we are still very different in the way we think, feel and thus learn. Our different interests and the variety of our ideas is exactly what makes life with one another so interesting and colorful. So instead of trying to make everyone “as equal as possible”, we think the global society should endeavor to satisfy everyones needs so people can enjoy their differences rather than being afraid of them.

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“Making mistakes is proof of one’s weakness.”

This is less an opinion and more an attitude. An attitude that often has very destructive consequences. If society equates “mistakes” with “weakness” people might become afraid of making mistakes – especially in a competing society. This fear can distract people in a way that slows down their learning process and lets them make way more mistakes than they would do without facing this pressure. People that are afraid of going wrong usually are not the best at learning new things. That is because one has to be prepared to “go wrong” to find the “right way”.
Such statements also assume that there is a universal “right” and a universal “wrong”. From our point of view, this is not the case. “Right” is always to be seen in a context: being loud is right if one wants to sing an opera. Being loud is wrong when one is working the night shift in a children’s hospital. To be loud is neither right, nor wrong. It is only right or wrong, once set in a context. And even when set in a context the decision about right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate, will be derived from the individual’s personal truth (→ Basic Understandings).
Consequently, it is even “right” and important to make mistakes if they advance the learning process. Finally, a “mistake” can be a source of new observations or ideas, as often seen in scientific developments in humanity’s history.

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Further inspirational information and research material is available on our link pages  (→ Links about education).

Values

Deutsch

If we want to talk about values in society, we firstly need to define the meaning of “society”. Definition: A society represents a group of individuals that stand in relation to each other. Since every human being stands in direct or indirect relation to every other human being on Earth, every human being is part of the global society (→ Basic Understandings).
Question: What is the goal of society? Why would people be interested in coming together in groups to stand in relation to each other in the first place?
Every human being has needs. A group of people may be able to satisfy these needs more effectively than an individual can on her or his own. From that basic understanding, we conclude that the purpose of every society is to satisfy the needs of its members. Hence, one value in our global society should be the following:

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“The global society endeavors to satisfy the needs
of all human beings.”

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For this goal to be fulfilled, every human being’s scope of liberty must be extended without limiting the scope of liberty of any other human being. A single human being must be capable of unfolding freely without impeding any other member of society.
The expansion of liberty requires effective communication and organization to such an extent that society is able to establish the following relation between its members:

“Your advantage results in my advantage
which in turn results in your advantage.”

For you to get a more understandable picture of what we mean, we would like to illustrate this in the following examples:

  • The incentive to harm others in order to steal their food, can decrease dramatically once everybody is well fed.
  • I can base my research on your research. The better the conditions for your research were, the better the results of my research might be. So, I may come to conclusions that help you in turn to solve some of your problems.
  • A technician working on an oil rig can fully concentrate on her task, because of optimal working conditions. That decreases the probability of oil accidents. Fishing in an unpolluted ocean, a fisherman is able to provide healthy, nutritious fish for everyone and thus, for the technician and her family.
  • My standard of living is higher when you are well educated, since you can realize interesting ideas for your own benefit, and thus for everyone’s benefit.
  • I can be by your side to comfort you when you are facing hard times, provided my life situation grants me the time to do so.


Society Model

The diagram above illustrates what we would call a model society. It shows two individuals. These individuals have individual goals. Both live within society. Hence, the realization of their ideas passes through society, providing society assists them (e.g. in gaining knowledge, in acquiring food, water, energy, means of communication, etc.).
The better society assists the individual, the better and faster the individual might achieve her or his personal goal. Achieving the personal goal, the individual contributes to society by developing ideas, methods, understandings and technical solutions. Furthermore, the individual contributes by either actively helping others to understand, develop, create, practice, or simply by passively inspiring others to create art, music, poetry or other forms of expression (→ Education). Thereby it can never be universally determined what is a valuable contribution and what is not. Even the seemingly most insignificant detail may be a contribution that can assist some other individual in her or his endeavor for personal satisfaction.
As long as society provides satisfactory assistance, there are few reasons for destructive contributions, as the individual can follow her or his ambitions (→ Human Behavior). Thus, contributions are primarily constructive and the majority of contributions will help other members to realize their personal goals. This is our understanding of how an ideal society functions.
Read “The Scientific Method”, “Technology” and “Handling Resource Scarcity” to gain an idea of how we might get near to a society illustrated above.

To create a societal system that operates close to that ideal, we think the following values need to be established in the global society:

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“The well being of others is as important as my own well being.”

My well being is strongly connected to the well being of others. If there are people in my environment who violently rob others, I might become a victim of crime. These people might rob others due to suffering a lack of access to goods and services. That may be goods like food. Hence, safety and peace for myself largely depend on my fellow humans’ well being.
Eating food is a human need. And just like food, goods and services are provided to satisfy needs. Considering this, we think it is safe to say that people often rob other people because they do not see other possibilities to have their needs met and to realize their dreams and ambitions. Consequently, I am interested in a society that cares for the individual needs of all human beings.

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“The Earth’s resources are the common heritage
of all the world’s people.”

The Earth’s resources are limited. We, all human beings, need these resources to satisfy our needs. All human beings have needs. Some of these needs we share with others, some we do not share. This world is one world. Only by responsibly using the Earth’s resources can we design a peaceful and comfortable life on this planet. Applied to mental resources, this means not to build artificial borders that hinder the exchange of information. Additionally, it means not ignoring, but considering the existing ideas and proposals to find solutions for the conflicts we face.

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“It is not important to make short term decisions,
it is important to find sustainable solutions. “

In our eyes, decision making means stating a problem’s circumstances as fixed. “Finding solutions” means considering the problem in its entirety with all the inherent interactions. It means questioning all reasons as widely as possible to solve the problem. “Finding solutions” means using every available understanding and expertise. Furthermore, it means talking with as many involved people as possible to point out the complexity of the problem as a whole. This enables the development of a solution that takes care of everyone’s needs.
For example, I suffer from a headache. I go to the doctor. The doctor offers me the choice between taking some medicine or going to rehab. Both possibilities might bring a good feeling in the short term. However, my headache may be the result of social pressure or emotional stress at work. Maybe I have negative attitudes towards myself or the rest of the world. Maybe I am not able to manage my time efficiently. Eventually, I have problems with my friends or my family without being aware of it. In the long run, it is necessary to examine the complexity of the entire problem to understand it and to finally develop a sustainable solution.

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“It is easier to learn ways to deal with change
than to fear change.”

Everything is constantly changing. The seasons change. Our body’s cells renew constantly. The environment we live in changes. Over the course of a lifetime, the human being’s character develops and reshapes, and thus society is in constant change.
Hence, being afraid of change cannot be healthy. In our eyes, it might be helpful to understand changes and their reasons. This might enable us to avoid negative changes and to promote positive change in the future.

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—– A short comparison to our contemporary society (2012) —–

If we take a look at global politics, global press coverage or the global economy, it does not seem that the global society is aware of itself. We only think in “nations” and “companies”. Thus, the values stated above are neither established nor endeavored by society. More precisely, every human being is currently far away from being optimally assisted by society. Everyone has to ensure their basic requirements are satisfied directly or indirectly by earning money. “Nations” and “companies” compete with each other over acquiring “market shares”. We, individuals, compete with each other over acquiring satisfying “jobs”. When I have a lot of “money”, you might have not a coin. Obviously, today, my advantage is largely based on your disadvantage.
Even people with access to a lot of “money” cannot move freely on Earth, as long as the planet is covered in dangerous areas due to violent conflicts. Furthermore, all people have to permanently ensure their “wealth” is secure. Finally, all human beings will suffer the consequences of global climate change and environmental pollution that contaminates food, water and air.
Imagine a world in which no awareness about the benefits of a societal system exists. More precisely, imagine a world in which everyone must care for personal needs exclusively on their own (e.g. food, water, housing, clothes, etc.). In this world nobody has time for concentrating on complex research or engineering to simplify processes. For example, technology like the “pencil” would not exist in this world. A wonderful tool that is used by artists to draw stunning pictures, by designers to develop new ideas and by nearly every one of us to write down thoughts.
However, the ideal described above is not something new to us. Mainly, we live it in our families and circles of friends. Even today, those parts of society live this way if human beings are able to overview the members of their close environment and are directly affected by their own behavior. For that reason, complete villages or sport teams exceedingly care for another to create a comfortable life and to achieve goals they have in common. If you meet two people on the street who smile at each other you discovered such a society in a small variant.
Our conclusion: a functioning societal system is useful to and wonderful for everyone’s life, provided all members experience its advantages.

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—– Myths and Opinions —–

In our lectures and conversations about society we established a collection of Myths and Opinions that have crossed our way most frequently. Some of these statements are widely spread amongst the people in this world. We would like to give you some thought provoking impulses concerning some of the Myths and Opinions of our collection.

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“It is important that everyone is contributing to society.”

Nowadays, this is a very widespread opinion.
Question: Is it important to contribute, no matter what is contributed? We think that one of the problems nowadays is that everyone is obliged to contribute something to acquire the means (money) to realize her or his ideas afterwards. If society urges its members to contribute in order to “earn a living”, people are often forced to do something that they are not particularly interested in doing. This might result in destructive contributions like participating in organized crime, dealing weapons or destroying the rainforest to gain arable land.
We think it is important that the societal system enables people to decide rather not to contribute at all, than to knowingly contribute in destructive ways.

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“Why should others profit from my work
without doing something in exchange?”

If one does things out of inner motivation and not out of duty, one profits alone from doing these things. A good example of how that works is what we think of as “spare time activities” nowadays. The fact that others might benefit from ones projects becomes a bonus, not a problem if the project is pursued for the sake of “joy at doing it”. This is because ones motivation to work springs from the passion that one has for that certain subject, not out of the need to “earn a living”. If provided the necessary knowledge, tools and means to acquire skills by society, the individual can experience the possibility to share her or his findings with others as very pleasant.