TREATISES
of
The Society of HumanKind

7

OF CULTURE

SUMMARY
The Axioms say that humankind exists solely by chance. Critics of the Society and its ideas might argue that the Society therefore cannot explain human culture and creativity. This Treatise sets out the Society's defence against that criticism and concludes that the Society is bound by its own principles to foster and encourage all forms of cultural expression and to preserve and protect variety and diversity in human culture.

Some may argue that the Axioms, Dogma and Principles, and the programme and structure of the Society of HumanKind derived from them, make no provision for human culture. The First Axiom is the main ground on which that accusation against the Society may be based. If, as the First Axiom proposes, our origins and thus the range and nature of our attributes are the result of pure chance, then any element of purposeful creation is removed from the origins of our species. No explanation is then available for the possession of just such an attribute by every human individual and community, or for the culture that arises from it. Creativity is a universal feature and factor in the life of humanity, yet the Axioms deny it any part in the appearance of our species.

It may thus appear that the Society cannot account for the observable creativity of our species, seen in our capacity for originality and innovation in movement and performance, in writing, music, poetry, art, sculpture, architecture and design, and in all the creative arts. Nor can the Society explain human intellectual and aesthetic progress built upon learning and the accumulated genius of successive generations of our kind. By contrast, earlier belief systems were more easily able to explain our culture, generally seeing it as yet another demonstration of the presence of a creator in the universe whose nature and powers were to be found faintly echoed in our attributes.

Opponents of the Society of HumanKind may even turn the appearance of its founding books against the Society. These volumes represent a new way of understanding and explaining our history and social life. Opponents and detractors may therefore argue that they themselves are the surest demonstration of the existence of god given, or inherent, creative qualities in humanity, and hence a demonstration of the falsity of the Axioms on which the Society of HumanKind is based. Critics of the Society may even want to press on to argue that the whole premise of the Dogma is equally fatally flawed, in that both it, and the consequent proposal for the establishment of the Society, depend on there being a cultural and creative capacity within the human species that cannot be deduced from the Axioms.

It will be as well to start an examination of this criticism of the Society by clarifying what it will not dispute. There can be no doubt that human history provides overwhelming evidence of the existence of a creative quality in humanity, as well as a convincing demonstration of our capacity to appreciate the culture that emerges from that characteristic of our species. It is also clear that our creativity extends beyond the arts and into our wider intellectual life. Again, it must be conceded that the development of a means to extend life beyond death, which is central to the achievement of the Objective of the Dogma, will involve the emergence of abilities in the human species that do not yet exist; that we have never possessed; and that can only be developed by generations of innovators building on the creative achievements of their predecessors. The Society will also not deny that our liberation from the oblivion of death will be a cumulative creative act by humanity, or that the Axioms of the Society provide no basis for a demonstration of the existence of that capacity in our species.

Finally, the Society will admit that, in common with all its predecessors, it can never give any independent demonstration of the truth of its fundamental premises, or of any of its founding ideas. The Society therefore makes no claim that a decision to choose the Dogma as a consequence of an acceptance of the Axioms is a logical or rational decision based on testable evidence, or that it is one which is natural to humankind, in that it necessarily follows from membership of the human species. Specifically in relation to the issues examined in this Treatise, the Axioms do not imply or suggest that humankind possesses any inherent quality of creativity.

A defence of the Society of HumanKind against the accusation that it cannot account for human creativity or the culture that flows from it must therefore begin with an admission that the Society, like all its predecessors, demands an act of faith from its adherents. That act of faith can be specified. Members of the Society are required to accept without demonstration or further proof and in the full light of the uncertainty of our knowledge and judgement set out in the Treatise of Knowledge and elsewhere in this book, that humanity has the capacity to achieve its Aim; that is, first to discover a means to extend life beyond death, and then to use that power to provide a personal salvation to every member of the human species. Necessarily, this act of faith by adherents of the Society must include an otherwise unsupported belief that humanity does indeed possess all the creative capacity required to realise its Aim.

But the faith involved in the choice of the Objective of the Dogma and Aim of the Society differs significantly from that required to put blind trust in the beneficial workings of forces external to our species and beyond our control. The Society does not demand that adherents should depend for their existence or salvation on powers or entities with potentialities, capacities and purposes beyond human capacity to comprehend. To choose the Dogma and the Aim of the Society is to reject the providence of history or of others, and to put our faith in our own potential, including therefore in our capacity to be both innovative and creative.

It is on this ground that the Society builds its defence against those who might argue that its founding ideas leave no scope for the existence for creativity or culture among humankind. Because from the defensible position so far set out in this Treatise, the very facts that earlier seemed to undermine the Axioms and Dogma now come to their aid. Critics might seek to use the indisputable evidence of the existence of a creative capacity in our species as evidence of the falsity of the Axioms, but this Treatise shows that such evidence equally provides a buttress for the hopeful conclusions reached in the Treatise of Knowledge, and thus for the faith of the Society in the creative capacity of humanity.

This is no blind, uncritical orthodoxy. It is a tangible prospect for our future which the Society anticipates with the confidence described in the Treatise of Knowledge. That Treatise is also drawn from the Axioms and Dogma, and it provides good, arguable, if not provable, grounds for the belief that the Society will achieve its Aim. It does so despite its recognition of the uncertainty of all human knowledge that also follows from an acceptance of the Axioms, and without otherwise contravening the founding ideas of the Society.

Those who choose to affirm the Aim of the Society of HumanKind will therefore find reinforcement and confirmation of their faith in the Society in the very evidence put forward by its critics; of the indisputable existence of the twin qualities of culture and creativity in our species. They will strengthen their faith through study of the rich record of the creative achievements of their predecessors and contemporaries to be found in our history. To turn the earlier argument finally onto its head, adherents of the Society may also find confirmation of the creative capacity of our species in these very writings, and from the consequent emergence of the Society itself from humanity's long struggle with the issues its appearance resolves.

The greatest contribution of the Society to human culture will not, however, come from its emphasis on the importance and relevance of the study and appreciation of the cultural achievements of our predecessors. It will arise from its day to day, month by month, year-in and year-out effort to build its pursuit of the Objective of the Dogma on our creative capacity. That effort to maintain the peaceful and stable social conditions that are the fundamental precondition of all cultural development, will foster and encourage the development and application of creativity and innovation to every aspect of human society. The emergence of the Society will move human culture into a new era. Its activities will transcend any simple attempt to understand, and perhaps emulate and preserve, all that is best in the achievements of our contemporaries and predecessors. It will make our intellectual and aesthetic life a focus of our peace, unity and progress from generation to generation.

In the era of the Society each succeeding wave of humanity will have, as the golden thread of its culture, a determination to keep a covenant with every member of all past generations to preserve and advance all their achievements, in gratitude for their legacy of the gift of our continued survival. An inheritance that alone makes it possible for their successors to choose the Objective of the Dogma and pursue the Aim of the Society.

The conclusion to be drawn from the Axioms on the place of culture in our lives is the same as was reached by many of the forerunners to the Society of HumanKind, although they may have done so from a different direction and by other methods. It is that creativity and a love of culture should permeate every aspect of human society, and the life of every member of our species.

Since it has already been established and accepted that those qualities are indeed to be found in humanity, then by an application of the First and Second Principles, they are to be developed and encouraged in every member of our species, by all who claim to adhere to the Aim of the Society of HumanKind. To foster the cultural life of our species in all it forms and expressions must be a special concern of the Society and all its adherents, not just because that is the only path which leads to the achievement of its Aim, but because that policy is a true expression of a social life based on the Principles.

In particular, the Principles 1.2 and 2.1 apply to this aspect of our lives, so that variety in human experience, skill and understanding must be regarded by the Society as our greatest asset. Diversity in our culture, in all its manifestations, should therefore always be preferred by the Society to any sterile conformity.


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©Lawrence Thornton Roach
2000-2005 AD