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TRANSCULTURAL FRIENDSHIP: OUR POLITICAL FUTURE

Chapter One: The Search for a Pragmatic Utopia

Section 2: Achievability

 

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"Oranges" a dance of Latin origin performed by the Lysaya Dance Ensemble for the Russian Festival at the Palo Alto (CA) Jewish Community Center on June 14, 1998.

 

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Achievability is practically a tautological requirement. What good is a utopia that cannot be attained? The requirement draws attention to the necessity of basing our vision, however optimistic, on reality. Thus, it will not do to base a utopia on the assumptions that humanity can do away with; the sex drive, aggression, authority, egocentrism, competitiveness, defenses; human will, or concern for the future.

 

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This is not to limit our vision to current capabilities. The range of pragmatic futures is dependent upon potentials. Has human evolution reached a final plateau, with only minor refinements to be achieved? Or have we only achieved 10%-25% of our potential as is claimed by some humanists Chapter 12 supports the position that major cognitive capabilities emerging this century will be widespread enough to allow the development of more sophisticated and competent societal forms. One is therefore justified in founding a pragmatic utopia on these as well as other real but as yet unrealized potentials provided that a viable mechanism for achieving them is presented.

 

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The requirement of achievability not only addresses individual capacity, but also questions of scale. Certain potentials that can be achieved in a small group are not readily transferable to societal and global levels. For example, in a small group it is often possible for one member to comprehend the perspectives and interests of each of the members -- but the same may not be possible for very large groups. A parent might be able to make "best" decisions for a family of five; a dictator, however wise and well-meaning, will not be able to obtain or comprehend the information required for comparable best decisions regarding a society of millions.

 

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Similarly, a group of Quaker friends might act only on unanimous decisions. Consensus is obtained by having each member share one's perspective with others. Since each member cares for the welfare of each of the others and since each member understands all the perspectives, collectively they can achieve a best decision for all concerned. It is certainly questionable that such sharing can be achieved on national and world scales. It is also answerable, that a global friendship is an approachable, if not achievable, ideal.

 

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Finally, achievability addresses the question of whether one can get there from here. A proposed utopia might be within human potential, even considering scale, but remain as beyond our grasp as a paradise planet in another galaxy. A utopia might exclude doomsday weapons, but unilateral disarmament by a superpower to put the worlds on track is unlikely. Thus, achievability means that a pragmatic utopia: 1) must not require something beyond individual human potential; 2) must be applicable to a large societal or global scale; and 3) must not require impossible or improbable steps to be taken for its attainment.

 

 

 

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The Search for a Pragmatic Utopia

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