Re-Establishing Altruism As A Viable Social Norm

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Global Consiousness - We All Share One World

In today's world, all nations and all people are more inter-connected and inter-dependent than ever. An economic downturn in one country rapidly impacts upon its neighbours, which - in this era of globalisation - means all of us.

The world's youth face problems of a different nature than did their parents. Greed has created ecological problems such as resource depletion, pollution and global warming that know no borders, and work on a deeper level that human made rules of the old world order. Hunger for power has spawned technologies of mass destruction, decreasing not increasing fear and uncertainty about the future of all of us.

Such changes have brought about an increasing acknowledgement of the co-dependence of the diverse forms of life on earth. Deeper understanding is spreading the realisation just as a healthy ecosystem requires species diversity, so a healthy global society must protect all its members interests and treasure rather than suppress the diversity of their thought, actions and ideals.

Some would say that the conflicts going on in the world prove that mankind has learnt nothing from millenia of historical struggle. However, we believe that a worldwide change of consciousness, perhaps even the evolution of a qualitatively new, global consciousness is underway. The invasion of Iraq, for example, sparked the largest ever anti-war demonstration, involving well over 10,000,000 people in almost every country.

As the world moves from material scarcity to abundance, last century's metaphor of life as a Struggle for existance1 is looking increasingly unhelpful. Social Darwinism, popular amongst the ruling elites a century ago, is now a highly unpopular view, and insights such as the evolution of altruism have sprung from a deeper understanding that our role is to cooperate, not to compete.

Now connected worldwide by communication technology as never before, more and more young people are making personal connections internationally. More experience makes them less willing to accept simple stereotypes. They are questioning their parents' worldview of life as a perpetual battle, and are trying to think and behave more altruistically. Nowadays no government or corporation can afford to ignore the new force know as 'global public opinion'. New technologies of connection are defying the controls of the established order, and a global consciousness is permeating more and more young minds.

The old, national and regional top-down systems of military, financial, legal and political domination are fast becoming untenable in the face of younger, decentralised but increasingly coherent chaordic grassroots alternatives. Horizontally organised social justice movements resonate more deeply with the human spirit because they are based on autonomy and consensus not control, on cooperation not on conflict.

[1] This phrase was first recorded during Ludwig Boltzmann's lecture to the Imperial Academy of Science in Vienna, 1886

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