The Society of HumanKind
The first founding book of the Society of HumanKind deploys reasoning that demonstrates, to the point of tedium, that the Principles derived from the Axioms leave no room for any judgement that any one variety of human being is better or worse than any other. It also explains why we are bound to treat every individual, whatever their qualities or characteristics, as being of equal value and worth if we choose the Objective of the Dogma as the purpose of our lives.
People steeped in earlier ways of thinking will not appreciate the full extent of the revolution that will be led by the Society of HumanKind. If however, they follow the Society into the open spaces created by the Axioms, they will find that much that seemed to be of central significance and vital importance in the past will no longer be of interest, let alone concern. So it is with the question of racial differences. To the question, 'Are there distinctly different races within the human species?', the Society will apply the Principle 2.2 and react with indifference. If such fundamental differences within humanity can be identified then the Society will welcome them, and recognise them as a reinforcement of our confidence in our capacity to face an uncertain future. If no such distinctions can be found, then the Society might be a little disappointed but will be equally unconcerned. In either case it will wish to do nothing, other than to ensure that the full range of diversity and variety presently found amongst individuals of the human species is preserved and enhanced for all the good reasons set out in the Treatises on the Individual and on Peace, as well as elsewhere in these Essays.
No matter what might be the answer to the question of whether or not racial differences exist, the actions and attitudes of the Society and its adherents will be the same. To treat each and every member of our species as a separate and equally valuable resource for humanity, to be preserved, fostered and developed to the fullest extent possible. That approach to questions of race does not arise from some vague concern to do good, or to conform to some definition of altruistic or politically correct behaviour. It is aimed simply and directly at the expansion and intensification of the reservoir of talents and abilities that is both our hope for salvation and our only reliable defence against the unknowable hazards of our future. In its approach to question of race the Society does no more than pursue its Aim, thereby simultaneously promoting the vital self interest of each and every supporter of the Society, and of every member of the human species.
Any debate about racial differences will sound strangely in the Axiomatic age, other than as part of an esoteric exercise for academics. But the Society will not be entitled to assume that all the problems arising from our perception of racial distinction within the human family will disappear from our lives. History, used here for its proper purpose, indicates that would be a serious mistake. The different varieties of humanity have far too frequently coalesced to embark upon campaigns of conquest, repression and extermination against each other for the Society to be sanguine about the tendency. The generations that follow the adoption of the Principles as the guide to the solution of our social problems will not be able to assume with any confidence that racial divisions will be wholly eradicated from our species by the emergence of the Society. We will still need to be on our guard against conflict within humanity between groups defined along racial lines.
For the sake of clarity it will be as well to try to identify the kind of racist behaviour the Society will wish to combat. Many examples can be seen in our history. One of the clearest is not typical, being more difficult to understand than most of the other expressions of this aberration in the make-up of humanity. Yet its very incomprehensibility increases its significance, and its impact on the history of the period of the writing of these Essays makes it relevant to this discussion. The example is the assertion of Aryan racial superiority that was an important factor in fuelling the aggressive wars of the German nation in the 1930's and 40's.
What exactly was an 'Aryan'? How was that variety of human being distinguished from the rest of the human population? No doubt the advocates of the concept could have supplied an answer, but it is not readily apparent. There can be no doubt however, of the reality of the distinction in the minds of the people who propagated it. The record of that period of our history shows that millions of otherwise perfectly normal citizens of the German state not only believed in the existence of a distinctly Aryan race, but were prepared to launch into a campaign of indiscriminate conquest and extermination against whole sections of their neighbours in order to preserve and promote it. Many similar examples of the pernicious effect of the concept of racial identity can be instanced. Amongst them, of course, are the wars of conquest launched by the Japanese people in the same period, the practice of slavery by European nations during the 18th and 19th centuries, and the later 20th century racial tensions between differently skin-coloured communities in America, Britain, and other nations. Either alone or combined with its cousin concept of the nation, the idea that the human species is composed of a number of distinguishable racial groups can be found amongst the roots of many of the more violent conflicts within human society in modern times.
That clarification of racism and racist behaviour reveals the real question to be answered here in this Essay. It is not whether racial differences exist, but rather how do we cope with the devastating consequences of the belief that they might?
The logic of the Axioms and choice of the Dogma, crystallised in the Principles 1.3 and 2.2, provides a permanent answer to that problem for adherents of the Society of HumanKind. It forces them to adopt a positive and welcoming attitude toward every sign and symptom of variety in the human species, as well as destroying any basis for any pejorative determination of the relative value or worth of such differences. Repeatedly in the Treatises and in these Essays, and for a range of very good reasons, diversity and variation within the human population is discovered to be the greatest strength of our species. It provides our best hope for salvation and our future and is the measure of our value to each other. It is even the basis of our unity. The Essay on Equality argues that it is the one essential inherent common characteristic of our species.
The Society of HumanKind therefore does not follow other philosophies and ideologies into a belief that the only solution to racial conflict is to eliminate such differences, or to try to prove that they do not exist. It will strike at the source of the disease by following the dictates of the Principle of Peace. Properly applied, that will result in the removal from our thinking and from our social life, of any grounds on which anyone can argue that difference is something to be avoided or eliminated, or is a cause for hatred or fear.
On the contrary the Society will contend that there is every reason for any human community to be pleased, proud and joyful to find a stranger in its midst, or amongst its neighbours. That attitude will itself grow out of an understanding of the vital need to preserve and foster variety and difference between individuals and groups as the simplest and surest means to promote the Aim of the Society, and so advance the hopes of humanity for salvation and a life beyond death.
When the Objective of the Dogma and the Aim of the Society of HumanKind is accepted as the base for our lives, a firm foundation is laid. On it, a structure of human society can be built that not merely accepts the possibility of racial differences within the human family, but positively welcomes and encourages such evidence of variety in our species. The hope must be that by and through that development the Society the consciousness of humanity will be so changed that it will lose the power to imagine how the wars of genocide and the racial conflicts which so tragically besmirch our past were ever possible.
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