A Quest for Humanity

A Quest for Humanity: The Good Society in a Global World

MENNO BOLDT
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2ttw9n
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  • Book Info
    A Quest for Humanity
    Book Description:

    With a fresh vision designed to inspire a universal acknowledgement of human dignity,A Quest for Humanitypowerfully affirms the value of each human being.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9678-5
    Subjects: Philosophy, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Prologue
    (pp. 3-6)

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported in 2009 that 1.02 billion people in the developing world suffer from chronic hunger. It is expected that this number will increase as the population grows and food prices rise. This is happening in a world that can produce more than enough food for every man, woman, and child. The United Nations reported that in 2008 global military expenditures were $1.2 trillion and total global humanitarian expenditures by governments were $10.4 billion. The 1993 Parliament of the Worldʹs Religions stated in its Declaration of a Global Ethic: ʹThe world is in agony....

  6. Part One: The Nature of Globalization
    • 1 A Theory of Globalization
      (pp. 9-16)

      In our quest to establish the Good Society – a world of humane social relations among all people – we need to understand the forces that shape our world. Given the present fragmentation of humankind into numerous political-economic-social jurisdictions, my conception of the Good Society requires that I explain the phenomenon of globalization. It also calls for an exposition on the essential principles for a global social order that will effectuate humane relations. I will begin my thesis with a discussion of a theory and the reality of globalization.

      Globalization is a process of expanding social-relational interdependence and the convergence...

    • 2 The Reality of Globalization
      (pp. 17-32)

      As we have seen, the forces of globalization date from the beginning of human history and have given rise to todayʹs nation-states. Before the advent of modern air travel and satellite and Internet communications, spheres of power and jurisdictions of authority were relatively isolated and distinct by virtue of geography, and globalization progressed slowly. Advances in technology have changed the basic dynamic of these forces, and globalization has accelerated at an unprecedented pace. The effects of the expansion of social-relational interdependence and the growth in shared knowledge and understanding signified by cultural exchanges, global trade, and other forms of interaction...

    • 3 Globalization and the United States
      (pp. 33-70)

      All national elect bodies aspire to retain or expand their authority. The U.S. elect body, however, is distinguished from all others by reason of its global political, military, and economic dominance; much more than any other national elect body, its policies and actions are decisive for the destiny of humankind and for our quest for the Good Society. Thus, it merits special consideration in our discussion of globalization. How will it respond to the forces of globalization? I will address four issues in respect to which the U.S. elect bodyʹs policies and actions cause concerns about the future of globalization:...

    • Summary
      (pp. 71-74)

      In the world today, globalization is manifested by international investment, trade, and monetary institutions; numerous bilateral and multilateral free-trade agreements; a growing corpus and jurisdiction of international law; an expansion and increase in global communication; and internationally shared social-psychological concerns over various global problems.

      My theory of globalization posits that social-relational interdependence generates power which is always actualized as social-order authority to meet the need for social regulation. The expansion of social-relational interdependence and growth in shared knowledge and understanding into larger spheres involve the realignment of social-order authority into ever larger unitary jurisdictions, coextensively with the growing scale of...

  7. Part Two: Social Order in Theory and Practice
    • 4 A Theory of Social Order
      (pp. 77-86)

      Social order as I use the term in the following discussion comprises two elements: a structure of authority, and a set of social-relational values. Social order can provide stable and predictable social relationships, and it has the potential to humanize or dehumanize its subjects.

      In chapter 1, I described social-order authority as the actualization of power for the purpose of governing social relationships, and I stated that the transformation of power into social-order authority is a subjective process, meaning that every social grouping has the capacity to self-determine the mode and form of authority by which it will govern its...

    • 5 Social Order in the Modern Age
      (pp. 87-131)

      When thephilosophesdiscredited the churchʹs doctrines of divine rule and divine law, and delivered social-order authority into human hands, they brought about the displacement of the prevailing system of government (and the associated legitimating sacred doctrines) by a new system and new, secular rationales for state authority. It ended the hegemony of the church and, as described in chapter 4, inspired the idea of a social contract as the legitimating authority and basis of the sovereign nation-state. This fundamental change in principle of social order ushered in the Modern Age.

      Social-contract theorists rationalized and legitimated the centralization of authority...

    • Summary
      (pp. 132-134)

      In the opening chapter of Part Two, I stated that humankind has the capability to determine its social order. And I posed the question: How can we actualize our power in a pattern of social-order authority to realize the Good Society in a globalizing world? I devoted most of Part Two to a discussion of how the question posed has been addressed by Western societies in the Modern Age. My thesis holds that the experience with the synthetic moral order of the church-state misled the Enlightenmentphilosophesto assume that the tyranny of their day was prototypical of the moral...

  8. Part Three: Social Order in the Global Age
    • 6 Human Rights and the Global Good Society
      (pp. 137-148)

      The Enlightenment signified a crucial development in the history of Euro-Western societies. It achieved the end of the monarchic system of governance and the dogmatic authority of the church-state. It initiated the contract-state with a system of representative government and individual rights. It triggered a fundamental change in social-order authority: from a moral mode defined by synthetic moral order based on sacred doctrine to an amoral mode defined by secular-legal order based on human-rights doctrine.

      Today, the Millennial Generations are witnessing the transition of the Modern Age to the Global Age. Impelled by the expansion of social-relational interdependence and shared...

    • 7 Globalization and Social Order
      (pp. 149-155)

      In the Modern Age, human rights prevailed as the dominant doctrine of social order in Western societies. However, as globalization progresses and the Global Age evolves, global free-market capitalism is setting off a political-economic dynamic that is rendering the doctrine of human rights problematical and spontaneously giving rise to a global doctrine and system of social order based on economic-utilitarian imperatives. I call this emerging post-modern doctrine and system of social order ʹglobalism,ʹ and in the following discussion I will delineate the decline of human rights and the rise of globalism.

      Human rights, like Western democracy, emerged, evolved, and reached...

    • Summary
      (pp. 156-158)

      In the Modern Age, social-order authority in Western societies was based on two primary doctrines: synthetic democracy, which defined the prevailing system of government; and constitutional human rights, which defined the dominant social-relational value system. Western elect bodies allege universal authenticity for Western democracy and human rights as doctrines of liberty and social justice; and, under the pretext of humanitarianism, they have collaborated in attempts to internationalize the two doctrines. Non-Western societies have resisted this initiative on two grounds: they consider moral duties and responsibilities, not amoral-legal standards, to be the best design for maintaining social order and warranting social...

  9. Part Four: Social Order and the Good Society
    • 8 Social Order by Design
      (pp. 161-171)

      Globalization is like a river bound for the sea; although marked by eddies, backwashes, rapids, and waterfalls, its ultimate destination is never in doubt. However, the deterministic forces of globalization do not imply the inevitability of a Hobbesian world described by globalism. The future of humankind, although problematical, is open. We, the Millennial Generations, stand at the fail-safe point in history for determining the destiny of humanity. We can surrender our prerogative as originator of social order to the ʹextra-humanʹ agency of global free-market capitalism and reap globalism, which will transform social relations and human consciousness in a way that...

    • 9 Global Moral Social Order
      (pp. 172-180)

      The philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Simone Weil considered barbarism to be the permanent and universal characteristic of humankind. Critics of this appraisal object that it is unduly cynical about human nature. However, history affirms that human beings lack a natural inhibition against killing their own kind, and they will kill purely for vengeance. Hobbes reasoned that humankind needs restraint to rise above its primal nature; I propose that humankind needs a humane moral social order that will inspire us to transcendence, that is, to rise above the limitations and imperatives of our nature and realize our potential for humanity.

      The...

    • Summary
      (pp. 181-184)

      The deterministic forces of globalization are rapidly shrinking the world into a global ʹvillageʹ filled with distrustful, fearful, and often hostile neighbours. To survive as human beings in this emerging world, we need a humane global social order. It is not possible to attain such an order by international law or by military force. It can be accomplished only by a voluntary moral consensus and mutual understanding that transcends all political, ethnic, and religious borders yet allows all societies to live their cultural differences. Unless we create such a moral social order, human beings will end up as slaves to...

  10. Part Five: Myths of Reality
    • 10 Scientific and Theological Myths of Reality
      (pp. 187-203)

      The term ʹrealityʹ here refers to our perceptions, beliefs, analyses, and constructs of the world and our experience of it. The wonders of life and the vastness of our world have excited a profound curiosity about reality and the forces that created it. Humankind, presented with ultimate mysteries that are beyond its comprehension, like the origin of the universe and life, has invented myths to explain reality.

      The predominant myths of reality in our time have been developed by science and theology. Both offer engaging narratives of realityʹs essence, origin, and future. Science and theology both claim authenticity for their...

    • 11 A Humane Myth of Reality
      (pp. 204-208)

      To realize the fullest expression of our potential for humanity, we need a myth of reality that will liberate us from the limitations of our nature and inspire a self-understanding and universal consciousness of transcendent humanity. Our discussion of such a humane myth requires that we distinguish between the concepts of ʹhuman commonalityʹ and ʹtranscendent humanity.ʹ

      The idea of human commonality is expressed in various religious doctrines. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam acknowledge all of humankind as Godʹs creation; however, all of these religions have been known to self-servingly parse the idea of human commonality in ways that exalt the human...

    • Summary
      (pp. 209-212)

      Our myth of reality is a significant issue in our quest for the Good Society. It influences our self-understanding, aspirations, and destiny. In effect, we invent our myth of reality and it in turn defines us. It is the most vital legacy we the Millennial Generations will bequeath to future generations. Therefore, our primary concern should be to get it as right as we possibly can. I have reviewed and critiqued the two pre-eminent myths of the Millennial Generations. Both science and theology aspire to serve as the primary arbiter of reality. They have devised and evolved their respective myths...

  11. Epilogue
    (pp. 213-222)

    Collectively and individually, we, the Millennial Generations, stand at a juncture in history where the decisions we make will determine human destiny. The Good Society will not materialize by divine intervention nor will it evolve by a process of natural selection. We need to become conscious of our pivotal position in humankindʹs journey and acknowledge that achieving the Good Society is a matter of human volition: the volition to create a global moral social order that honours everyoneʹs aspiration to dignity and fosters transcendent humanity.

    Biologists have categorized three broad forms of volition: ʹtendencyʹ (as in plants); ʹinstinctʹ (as in...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 223-240)
  13. Index
    (pp. 241-252)