Enlightened Conflict

pew, religion & the muslim world

February 28th, 2013

“And the dawn came to the trusted ones and He who had cast them out returned and it was then that the light was shown.”

Muhammad in the KoranControversy Continues To Swirl Around Erection Of Mosque Near Ground Zero

 

 

As part of the newer PewResearch studies they took a look at the Muslim world and Islam religion <note: most of this post is a direct pull from the Pew report>. The survey, which involved more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in over 80 languages, covered 39 Muslim countries and territories.

 

 

Let me begin with something that I believe will make you want to read on <because I imagine it does not align with many of the perceptions most people have>.

 

“Most Muslims Want Democracy, Personal Freedoms, and Islam in Political Life”

July 2012 Pew

 

 

I often believe we in the western world have a skewed perception of Muslims and the religion of Islam therefore there are some things I would like to share from a Pew Research study.

 

Before I do … consider this.

 

 

Fundamentalists are … well … fundamentalists <and often extremists>. Sounds obvious but needs to be stated upfront. I will not call them wackjobs but I will suggest that (1) they are in the minority <in all religious beliefs> and (2) their voices and actions are significantly louder than their sheer numbers and (3) regardless of the religion we may decide to discuss their actions will always be at the fringe of what is acceptable to the mainstream.

 

 

I think it is crazy for a Christian based group to base their perceptions on a small fundamentalist <albeit far too often radical> Muslim group … just as I believe it would be crazy for a Muslim moderate majority to base their perceptions on a small fundamentalist <albeit sometimes radical> Christian group.

 

 

Regardless.

 

 

Just think and try and keep an open mind … and read some of what a non-biased research study states.

 

The study.

 

 

We are many months past what we called the Arab Spring. And the news continues to review the struggles of new government and new social construct. Yet, there continues to be a strong desire for democracy in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations.

 

Solid majorities in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan believe democracy is the best form of government, as do a plurality of Pakistanis.

 

Yes.

 

 

Even Pakistan.

 

 

A quick side note … we in the united states should never confuse a desire for democracy to be a desire to be friends with the United States. America does not own democracy nor does America have the “how to” guide that other countries can follow <unless you want to skip to chapters called ‘revolution’ and government unrest>.

 

 

Anyway.

 

These countries not only support the general notion of democracy but they also embrace specific features of a democratic system, such as competitive elections and free speech.

 

However.

 

 

They do not want a separation of ‘church & state.’ They would like religion to play a significant role in their country and government.

 

 

A substantial number in key Muslim countries want a large role for Islam in political life. But we should note that there are significant differences over the degree to which the legal system should be based on Islam.

 

 

This all means that while democratic rights and institutions are popular, they are clearly not the only priorities in the Muslim majority nations surveyed. In particular, the economy is a top concern. And if they had to choose, most Jordanians, Tunisians and Pakistanis would rather have a strong economy than a good democracy. Turks and Lebanese, on the other hand, would prefer democracy. Egyptians are divided.

 

 

–          the challenge religious beliefs createpew religion survey all

 

 

There is a strong desire for Islam to play a major role in the public life of these nations and most want Islam to have at least some influence on their country’s laws.

Majorities in Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt believe laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Quran, while most Tunisians and a 44%-plurality of Turks want laws to be influenced by the values and principles of Islam, but not strictly follow the Quran.

 

The world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are united in their belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and almsgiving to assist people in need. But they have widely differing views about many other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam, according to a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

 

 

The survey finds that in addition to the widespread conviction that there is only one God and that Muhammad is His Prophet, large percentages of Muslims around the world share other articles of faith, including belief in angels, heaven, hell and fate (or predestination). While there is broad agreement on the core tenets of Islam, however, the Muslims surveyed differ significantly in their levels of religious commitment, openness to multiple interpretations of their faith and acceptance of various sects and movements.

Generational differences are also apparent. Across the Middle East and North Africa, for example, Muslims 35 and older tend to place greater emphasis on religion and to exhibit higher levels of religious commitment than do Muslims between the ages of 18 and 34. In all seven countries surveyed in the region, older Muslims are more likely to report that they attend mosque, read the Quran (also spelled Koran) on a daily basis and pray multiple times each day. Outside of the Middle East and North Africa, the generational differences are not as sharp. And the survey finds that in one country – Russia – the general pattern is reversed and younger Muslims are significantly more observant than their elders.

 

–          a bruce thought.

This is being posted at the same time as my observations on the Religion in America Pew study … and I found it interesting that when you put on some harsh ‘truth goggles’ you begin to see some key generational similarities when discussing religion.

I believe all religions have a challenge with the younger generations.

By the way … this is not a ‘new issue’ in that the world has faced it before. Without going into excruciating detail from the 4th Turning and how religious belief ebbs & flows from generation to generation suffice it to say that the religious challenges today are not solely driven by technology or the ‘flattening of world’ but also by how generations interact with each other.

A couple of thoughts.

First.

We should never be surprised by what we perceive is happening in our little corner of the world is actually happening in many little corners of the world. Call it the 100 Monkey Theory or just call it being human … but it happens.

Second.

Religious leaders, of all religions, shouldn’t be freaking out. And they shouldn’t be wringing their hands worried over the demise of religion. It is simply a demise of the religion as they know it. the construct and core can remain steadfast but out f the general chaos and ‘destruction’ can be built a newer stronger belief system. Out of that being broken something new and stronger can be built.

<call me religious leaders … I would be happy to help>

 

–          both Democracy and Economy Are Priorities

Majorities in five of the six nations polled (and a plurality of Pakistanis) believe democracy is the best form of government. Moreover, there is a strong desire in these nations for specific democratic rights and institutions, such as competitive multi-party elections and freedom of speech.

pew muslim 1

 

Other goals are also clearly important. Many say political stability is a crucial priority, and even more prioritize economic prosperity. When respondents are asked which is more important, a good democracy or a strong economy, Turkey and Lebanon are the only countries where more than half choose democracy. Egyptians are divided, while most Tunisians, Pakistanis and Jordanians prioritize the economy.

Overall, views about the economic situation in these countries are grim, although Turkey is a notable exception.

 

–          a Bruce note

Well. this certainly sounds relevant doesn’t it? money, or prosperity, is important to the happiness of people. Actually balance is important to people. The happiest people tend to be economically sound <not necessarily wealthy> and ‘valuely’ sound <some religious foundation>. They are happiest because they are well grounded in head, heart & wallet. That my friends … is called balance. It always seems crazy to me when all the talking heads expound on one aspect over the other … well … because it is crazy. One aspect can certainly be more important and can dominate within an individual but the happiest has aspects of all. Balance. What a crazy thought. 

 

–          limited support for extremist Groups

Ok.

 

This is an important one.

 

Across the survey and the key six Muslim nations, less than 20% have a positive opinion about al Qaeda or the Taliban. In Turkey and Lebanon, support for these groups is in the single digits. However, fully 19% of Egyptians rate these extremist organizations favorably.pew muslim 2

 

 Extremist groups are largely rejected in predominantly Muslim nations, although significant numbers do express support for radical groups in several countries. For instance, while there is no country in which a majority holds a favorable opinion of the Palestinian organization Hamas, it receives considerable support in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt.

 

The militant Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah receives its highest overall ratings in Tunisia, where nearly half express a positive opinion. Sizable minorities in both Jordan and Egypt also have a favorable view, but Hezbollah’s image has been declining in both countries in recent years.

 

 

It is extremely rare that extremists have complete support … and they tend to do have more support within economically challenged groups <because in some odd way they represent ‘hope’ … a powerful attribute>.

 

 

–          a bruce note

Extremists are … well … extreme. And most people reject the extreme … in anything. However, religious extremists, within any and all religions, are difficult to completely reject because at their foundation, their soul as it were, they have an undying belief in something true. Allah, or God, is not a bad thing to believe in. they struggle to understand that most people believe that the path to salvation is not paved with stones of the extreme. Rather they are paved with some basic beliefs and most of us do not believe we have to, or should have to, walk a gauntlet of pain & suffering in order to be accepted by whatever Higher Being we believe in. We get this. Extremists do not get this. And before ‘we’ start casting stones at the Muslim world we should take a good look around us and at our own brand of extremists hovering around our own world.

It may also be helpful for us to take a look at extremists and terrorism and note that Muslim extremists kill more Muslims <and Christian extremists kill more Christians> as we think about this.

Ok. My point? Religion per se is not the issue. Extremism is the issue.

We should not confuse the issue.

 

That’s it.

 

It was good information and I wanted to share all under the enlightened thinking heading.

 

 

Studies like this are at the foundation of Enlightened Conflict.

Pew, religion and us common folk

February 28th, 2013

pew survey america“There are two bibles … well … only one originally but now split in two. Half is in the book written on paper and the other half is inside of people. You are born with it but it’s up to you to find out. You gotta learn to see it for yourself … that’s the only way.” – from the book ‘City of the Dead’

 

Well.

PewResearch just completed another study measuring religion in America and the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace.

In fact … one-fifth of the U.S. <a third of adults under 30> are religiously unaffiliated today. This is the highest percentages ever seen in Pew Research.

 

–          Before I begin let me share a thought will consistent bring to bear in this post … religion, to me, is not what is written, or said, but what someone believes. It is the ‘half the book’ inside you … whatever that book <Koran, Bible, Torah, etc.> is. That said … the books and teachings provide a construct, or framework, for what someone believes. As I have noted in a past post, I do not believe you can create something from nothing … and religious belief is exactly the same.

 

Anyway.

Pew states that in the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. This number includes more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).

religion subtleThis large and growing group of Americans is less religious than the public at large on many conventional measures, including frequency of attendance at religious services and the degree of importance they attach to religion in their lives.

You can view, and download, the entire report here if you would like: http://www.pewforum.org/Unaffiliated/nones-on-the-rise.aspx

 

Let me begin with why I believe this is happening … and conclude with what it doesn’t mean.

 

–          Why these study results are happening.

Intolerance and “the devil is in the details.”

<note: I believe these are significantly more impactful than trust or any – human – flaws organized religion may have exhibited in the past>

It is the extremes in religions that produce intolerance and extreme opinions and threaten a tolerant well balanced society and not the rejection of religion that is creating the results.

I will avoid same sex marriage and abortion and pick a more benign example to showcase absurd intolerance … and how it ripples out in its effect.

For example <and I include the link to this article below> … Mix It Up at Lunch Day in the United States is one of those programs that seems like the right thing to do.

The idea is that on one day of the school year, kids are invited to have lunch with the kind of kids they don’t usually hang out with: the jocks mix with the nerds, lunch tables are racially integrated, et cetera. Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center as part of their Teaching Tolerance division, it arose out of a broad effort to tackle the problems of bullying in the schools and bigotry in society – and it appears to have been effective in breaking down stereotypes and reducing prejudice. Over 2,000 schools nationwide now participate in the program.

 

And, yet, a religious group has challenged the Day in court and threatens this initiative … and initiative that, frankly, you really have to dig deep to find something wrong.

Here is the article:

“I don’t believe for a moment that this hysterical voice that screeches in America’s political sphere is the authentic voice of religion in America. Most religious Americans want to mix it up at lunch! They want to make friends across party lines, and they want to help people who are less fortunate. A survey by the Public Religious Research Institute, released on 24 October, reveals that 60% of Catholics believe the Church should place a greater emphasis on social justice issues and their obligation to the poor, even if that means focusing less on culture war issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.” – author of linked article, Katherine Stewart

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/26/religious-fundamentalism-toxic-partisanship-us-politics

 

While I am still slightly dumbfounded that someone would be against an initiative like this I use it to make a point that rigidity creates the conflict & tension where organized religion doesn’t win.

The net impression is that organized religion is about … well … organized religion … and not for the overall good of the people.

The struggle that organized religion has is that I would imagine, given an opportunity, it would not want to be affiliated with this smaller group’s actions <or any of the smaller extremist groups out there>.

Organized religion is being damned by a minority <pun intended>.

Regardless … it all feeds into a cynicism for organized religion and increases the belief that all that really matters is ‘individual belief.’

<I will get back to that point at the conclusion>

 

Ok.

The pun I used … “the devil is in the details.”

I apologize to my religious friends if they believe I am suggesting the devil is involved anywhere in this discussion. He is not. The details are the laundry list of “rules of the road” organized religion demands to be a true believer in God.

This is a tricky issue.

I have published articles that state my belief that religions need these details, eliminate some ‘on-the-ground’ ambiguity so that people don’t get stuck in the gray.

However … it is within some of these details that organized religion finds themselves trapped in some relatively absurd boxes.

Look.religion god literally

The percentage of Americans who say the Bible should be taken literally has fallen in Gallup polls from an average of about 38% of the public in the late 1970s and early 1980s to an average of 31% since.

But.

I would like to note that I believe there is a corresponding whiplash affect <going back to my initial “extremes” creating the discomfort with organized religion from an overall perspective>.

What I mean is that as the percentage of ‘literal interpretation of the bible’ people has declined I believe the percentage remaining, who believe ‘literal interpretation’, has become increasingly threatened and therefore have even stronger inclination to literalness.

In other words … that percentage is a minority <and shrinking> but more rigid and uncompromising.

By the way … that is a natural human response.

Regardless.

 

–          What this study does not mean.

God is loved no less than before.

And moral underpinnings are not diminished.

 

You cannot equate the fact that one in five Americans having no religious affiliation with a diminished importance of the moral underpinnings. Suggesting such a thing is extremely unfair, and untrue, to those who may display a distaste for organized religion but who do not doubt the existence of a God.

In addition, even if you take into consideration a rejection of aspects of the “literal interpretation of the written word” <recorded thousands of years ago> doesn’t diminish the moral standards that exist in our minds.

One can still have the same ethics and morals as proclaimed by any of the religions without belonging to a church/mosque/temple.

 

Me?

religions togetherIn general I believe Americans have lost faith in religion … not in God.

<note: I do not believe Americans are alone in this … I just do not have the research on hand to pony up and show it beyond my opinion>

 

My issue/thoughts?

I do believe religion, or organized faith, not only has a role in society but I also believe it has an opportunity.

I said at one point earlier … “feeds into a cynicism for organized religion and increases the belief that all that really matters is ‘individual belief’ …”

I do believe construct matters. Guardrails matter. And sometimes individuals are not good at building guardrails … and I know for sure if I were to gather 100 people and have each build guardrails they would not all be the same.

In addition, humankind, in general, seems to be showing more and more flaws.

In addition, it seems we humans, in general, are becoming less and less centrist <in everything> and more extreme in our overall opinions.

This means more divisive.

In addition, leader/heroes are becoming more difficult to find.

 

What this means to me?

We need God.

We need a belief in a God.

And whether we like, or dislike, organized religion the role it plays is to organize people around God. They facilitate (and shouldn’t act like the end all).

I imagine I am suggesting that people are disillusioned with institutions in general.

But I don’t believe we are actually disillusioned with God.

And <God forbid> if we are?

I tend to believe it shows a lack of understanding.

And religious organizations can help people understand.

 

Couple of thoughts to end this research overview.

First.

The organized opportunity.

We are better drivers when there are lines on the road. We know what lanes to stay in and even use blinkers <most of the time> when we want to shift lanes.

Rules of the road are good.

It permits us to not only judge our own actions but the actions of others.

Is this a bad analogy? Maybe. But you get the point.

I do not agree with people who say “we know the right thing to do without anyone telling us.” We all can always use someone telling us the right thing to do. I call it stimulus-response. Maybe that is organized religion’s sole responsibility to society and culture … to provide a “right” stimulus and we can ‘respond’ as we see fit <accept, adapt, reject>.

I don’t actually believe that but if that is true I can think of worse things.

I actually believe that if organized religion <of all religions> get their shit together they will be in the stimulus-response business. In other words … stimulate ‘good’ responses.

That is called ‘encouraging desired behavior’ in the business world.

Crazy talk on my part? Maybe. But it can be done … and it works.

 

Second.

Faith & hope.

I do not have proof of this but I have studied human behavior for years.

I get concerned that as organized religion decreases individualism <or “it is all about me” attitude> increases. In other words we lose sight of the bigger picture ‘hope’ and larger view of ‘faith in groups, culture, civilization, etc.”

I am not suggesting organized religion is necessary to keep us out of some self-satisfying individual driven society but I do believe it plays a significant role.

It helps balance.

It helps provide those societal guard rails.

Does this show that I don’t have faith in people to do the right thing all by their lonesome?

Whew.

Maybe.

Individuals respond to the culture they exist in. If they perceive that those at the top are ‘in it for themselves’ and driven by self/individual wants/needs/desires than they will start to emulate that behavior <at least some aspects>.

It becomes a “Me” driven society.religion world 940

Organized religion, for all its warts, is a constant reminder that salvation is not just through God but also society. You may not follow all their rules and regulations but you do keep a North Star view on the betterment of all versus I.

Religion is in the faith & hope business.

And, frankly, we all could use a good dose of that on occasion.

 

Sorry.

I wrote less about the Pew Research than I did my own thoughts. But I did include a link to the research and it is interesting stuff.

In the end I believe people tend to look at this research and wring their hands in dismay and start thinking about the “crumbling of civilization as we know it” rather than recognize it is simply reflecting change.

And change represents opportunity.

And I think we could all take an opportunity to do some soul searching <pun intended>.

global generation 12: not too close a link to Human Rights activity

February 14th, 2012

So.

With this post I am going to try and wrap up what I believe will be my last thought article on this initiative and then I plan on updating projectglobalgeneration.com with updating all the posts … and then let the chips fall as they may on that idea. I spent a couple days over my holiday vacation basking in the sun and writing. You have seen most of what I wrote, on this initiative, and this is it.

Anyway. I have written two back-to-back project global generation articles, one on the power of global collaboration and one on impact of conflict, referencing human rights and human rights initiatives as reference points.

Therefore, before anyone got too far in putting Project Global Generation initiative into a Human Rights bucket I wanted to take a moment and discuss kids’ education and Human Rights.

How close a link should there be? Not too close I suggest.

I am more interested in the “stimulus” within this particular ‘stimulus-response’ model.

The intent of this Global Generation education plan is the betterment of children’s minds. Sure. Somewhere down the road (let’s say when they are adults) this plan of action will probably benefit Human Rights initiatives.

Anyway.

I said two things specifically at the end of Global Generation 6 (actually 11 on enlightened conflict site and 6 on www.projectglobalgeneration.com)  that I wanted to use as I discuss the impact Project Global Generation can have on human rights (and yet not be a human rights initiative):

In the end, society benefits from groups performing productively with another. Of course, teaching the basics of all of this at the preschool age means a greater likelihood of kids continuing positive collaboration abilities as they progress in life.

This is an idea of molding a people from diverse origins, cultural practices, languages, into one collaborative group of thinkers, within a framework which has to be democratic in nature (because it crosses any and all geographic boundaries, yet it can be absorbed within any cultural construct).

And by doing so it mitigates conflicts and adversarial interests without oppression and injustice but rather through expanding brain power.

I try and always am careful when discussing this global education initiative and the use of the word “values” or human rights … as well as ‘democratic’.

First.

Democratic in this sense has nothing to do with government not each city-state’s constitutional beliefs. Democratic in this sense has to do with the belief of a collective friendly collaborative framework.

Second. About values & rights.

I am less willing to get into some debate of whether one country’s values are better or more important than another’s (The Economist gave a nice snapshot of this discussion in a recent EU versus China article pointing out what is right in one country does not always make it right for another country .. nor healthy in terms of constructive relationships).

That said.

Simplistically I am proposing an education initiative for the betterment of minds and not a betterment of values. There is a sharing of ideas, and I assume values (or let’s call this … some belief system) will follow, because all of that is inherent in the “global collaboration” aspect simply because it is a web based initiative.

But (please). This is not a Human Rights initiative.

Sure. I do believe some rights are basic to all … but some are not universal (because of cultural differences). And I do believe that ignoring cultural differences (i.e., what is right in the minds of Americans, or even someone in the EU community, versus what is right in the minds of, say, a Muslim based country or a Monarchy directed country) is imperative for the success of a children’s global education initiative.

And, yes, I did use the word ‘ignore.’ Global education has to be religion/governmentally “blind” (or agnostic if you would like).

All that said. Interestingly there is something called “the 2048 initiative” which is more focused on a global legal platform – the overall intent of this adult legal program is similar to the Project Global Generation children’s initiative.

And I actually believe the 2048 initiative has the right perspective on human rights, i.e., side step sterile arguments about whose values may be better and focus on building a global legal platform and help individual countries obey their own laws (and the global foundational laws). And, interestingly, there is a good current debate on how effective this is (if you care about this kind of stuff pick up “The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions are Changing World Politics by K. Sikkink).

note: the first part of this sentence is not my idea but rather The Economist.

So.

I avoid human rights and debating values when discussing a global education program and focus on respect for choices (within some basic values construct such as ‘killing is bad’ and high level non debatable values type things).  It should probably be noted that I actually placed these human rights initiatives on the left hand side of my tactical plan on action chart (highlighting the fact I believe they are important but separate).

A global education movement like I am suggesting is going to have to redefine traditional education itself. It will be expansive and non directional (meaning open-ended) in terms of values definition, governmental beliefs & religion.

All that said.

It would be foolish to ignore the fact that education at a very young age does affect morality (or, maybe better said, some values-based critical thinking).  It is just inherent within learning.

In children, morality is typically reflected in judging, or in other words, the capacity to make good/bad distinctions. And that is all I care about within this initiative (although it has been brought up in discussion that this initial young child foundation evolves in teen years into a more principled behavior/decision making and, ultimately, in adults as a sense of obligation to contribute to the well-being of others).

Each step begets the next. If we elect to implement the first step in childhood then, bigger picture, as adults it is embodied as empathy (or tolerance as Helen Keller has suggested) for other humans.

This initiative, through the collaboration aspect, teaches children to treat each other with dignity, to act with concern for others, to take personal responsibility (all of which inherently benefit humanity … but, once again, is not Human Rights as such).
I believe Project Global Generation should be free and ‘choice neutral’ and accessible to all children (or via parent).

Through education we should all be aiming to empower children as they grow into a more educated adult to understand and critically reflect the conflicts of interests surrounding them, as well as to reflect one’s own individual role within a larger global community (and how they can impact as an individual within their own smaller community).

The inherent collaboration, or learning by lurking, aspect of Project Global Generation has the added benefit of encouraging an entire generation to actively shape the global future (in big and/or small ways).

Ultimately the intent is to provide a foundation of learning for children so that it actually leads to “understanding of choice” (even if you do not actually have freedom of choice).

Why do I feel this way?

Rights are often in the eye of the beholder, with some of them clearly demonstrating a perplexing and perhaps even contradictory side.

So this initiative really has nothing to do with ‘rights’ but rather values.

And when I came to that conclusion I searched value systems definitions and discovered this:

–          Indications for understanding of value systems

It would seem useful to distinguish sets of value functions. It is also useful to attempt to distinguish for each case between: a positive interpretation (p); a negative interpretation (n); a paradoxical negative interpretation of the positive (pn); and a paradoxical positive interpretation of the negative (np):

Class I: Efforts at recognizing ‘the’ one fundamental underlying value governing human society, readily labeled by different constituencies as ‘love’, ‘profit’, ‘peace’, ‘justice’, etc according to orientation (p). This then tends to be used in an overly simplistic or fanatical manner resulting in a form of behavioural blackhole (pn). These value terms are however readily deconstructed into a referential void that is characteristic of this class and the (entropic) pull that it exerts on the constructions of other classes (n). Such seemingly ‘negative’ aspects of this function are also recognized in references to existential despair, alienation and emptiness (n) — which is valued in spiritual disciplines for the perspective (np) that it gives (‘dark night of the soul’, ‘ego death’, etc) and its mysterious relationship as a catalyst or matrix for the creativity of Class IV (Nishitani, 1982).

Class II: Value sets as assiduously elaborated by international constituencies in an effort to achieve universal consensus on a framework for action and governance (p). Such sets are also characteristic of religious dogma (eg sets of virtues). They may be viewed as essential to society for the reasons well argued by their advocates. They can also be viewed with suspicion as straitjackets on that very development of value sensitivity and diversity which ensures their relevance to living systems (pn). From a Class III perspective, such value sets are quite claustrophobic and inappropriate to a learning environment, to the point of being associated with outmoded patterns of dominance (n). Such sets may thus be seen as continuously decaying into Class I in the mindsets of the disabused and alienated. But it is precisely their ‘outdated’, predictable, dependable, disciplined quality which constitutes a vital complement (np) to the chaotic and evanescent value experiments of Class III, providing the stability through which Class IV can emerge.

Class III: Value systems created by individuals and groups to frame and enhance their particular, and often private, experience (p). The freedom and experimental quality of such value creation reflects the views of social constructionists and an appreciation of diversity. Not necessarily viewed as (to be) widely held, permanent, coherent, or systematic. They are essentially unstable and unaccountable (pn) and may be quickly abandoned (through a decay process into Class I) although they may undergo a form of reification (into dogma) into Class II, possibly accompanied by some form of institutionalization. Some, notably those advocating Class II frameworks, severely question and condemn the social incoherence and irresponsibility of such value relativism where ‘anything goes’ (n). It is however precisely in their role as an evanescent, exploratory complement (np) to Class II that Class III creates a dynamic environment through which Class IV can emerge.

Class IV: Emerging, surprising, new value patterns reflecting new degrees of sensitivity, coherence and fundamental groundedness as a source of inspiration (p) that contrast with those of Class II. In contrast to the chaos of Class III, these carry a recognizable quality of stability and integrity (failing which they decay into Class III, or directly into Class I). They tend however to attract a pathological enthusiasm, in a manner somewhat analogous to Class I, as offering ‘the secret elixir’ by comparison with the perceived irrelevance of other classes (pn). Through a form of value narcissism, they distract from the vital functions of other classes (n). They can be confused with more familiar values in other classes through a failure to recognize their originality and as such run the danger of being coopted under the frameworks of those other classes. It perhaps precisely in this manner that the new strengths renew the values in the other classes (np).

< Note: I apologize in that I lost the source for this but please note I cannot take credit for this extensive insightful analysis of value systems >

Although that may have sounded quite clinical, in an academic fashion, I believe it is helpful in uncovering how Project Global Generation can positively impact children through education – and its inevitable impact on a global value system.

In summary.

If you believe in the words you have just read, i.e., a more educated individual educated within a collaborative global community creates a strengthened global value system, then it is difficult for you to not be a proponent of this initiative.

I strongly believe that if we want individuals to benefit a more global community perspective then we have to work for it … and the best place to start is by giving our children an education.

And education that includes problem solving skills, critical thinking skills and collaboration skills.

I believe if we do so then we endow in them a consciousness and respect (for others ideas & ideals) all in “a spirit of brotherhood.”

Yes.

I believe very strongly that all human beings are born equal and free and are guaranteed certain inalienable rights that can never be taken from them and, in this case, I am speaking of education.

Project Global Generation is simply seeking to secure a higher standard of life for future generations – through education.

And through education at the youngest ages and, with that, I will go back to the beginning of this post:

In the end, society benefits from groups performing productively with another. Of course, teaching the basics of all of this at the preschool age means a greater likelihood of kids continuing positive collaboration abilities as they progress in life.

So.

While Project Global Generation is not a human rights initiative, with its successful implementation, it should benefit what is right globally. Is that a play on words? You bet. But it gets me out of the Human Rights morass that could bog down this idea and be able to focus on the bigger education opportunity.

Using a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, then chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, here is where I believe the Global generation education plan and Human Rights meet.

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world … Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.”

Therefore … education can be viewed as a right. And it is so right to think of it that way because it isn’t about a country or a culture … but rather ‘so close, so small’ that it is unseen on a map. So. As with most relatively good ideas this idea circles back to the beginning as you read this quote – community individualism.

It will be the main characteristic of the global generation.

A generation retaining a strong sense of “small places, close to home” and the culture they hold each & every day … yet balanced by what they have learned in a larger global society collaboration of learning and shared ideas through education.

Regardless.

I don’t want an education initiative to get bogged down on a human rights discussion. What I do know is that it is our responsibility, as adults, to uphold educating our children as a promise for bettering future generations.

Enlightened Conflict