Monday, November 23, 2009

Checking Up on the Cosmopolitan Condition

Introduction to a Traveler's Report

By John Taylor; 2009 Nov 23, Qawl 02, 166 BE

It is impossible to underestimate the momentousness of the idea of world government. Its formation would mark the first truly universal institution, the consummation of history in every sense, philosophically, religiously and politically. World government has been put off for centuries largely because leaders of science, faith and politics have been unwilling to come together and agree upon what is most important for human survival. Yet every headline urges us on to this one conclusion: until we take this giant step, every measure will remain an inadequate half-measure.

In his writing, John Amos Comenius demonstrated that world peace and human oneness are the ultimate goal of the Abrahamic Religions, and that every educator has a duty to prepare students to implement the goal of seeing to it that science, religion and politics are harmonized, for the good of all. Until we do this, no progress will be possible. He wrote,

"Any reforms in philosophy, religion and politics must fall short of perfection, unless they bring peace and lasting happiness to the minds, consciences and societies of mankind." (Comenius, Panorthosia, Ch. 1, para 4, pp. 48-49)

In his latter works, Immanuel Kant showed that he had arrived at the same conclusion, though his methods differed slightly. He stood on scientific and philosophical grounds, but he agreed that all of nature urges the human race to one inescapable conclusion.

"Although this government at present exists only as a rough outline, nevertheless in all the members there is rising a feeling which each has for the preservation of the whole. This gives hope finally that after many reformative revolutions, a universal cosmopolitan condition, which Nature has as her ultimate purpose, will come into being as the womb wherein all the original capacities of the human race can develop." (Cosmopolitan History, Eighth Thesis, in Immanuel Kant, Philosophical Writings, Ernst Behler, Ed., Continuum, New York, 1986, p. 260)

This series of essays is my attempt to imagine what will come out of the "womb" of the "cosmopolitan condition."

First of all, I think it is reasonable to expect an unprecedented up-swell of innovation, not only in gadgets and consumer goods as we are used to presently, but in infrastructure itself. The establishment of a world standard building code alone would eliminate the inefficiency and pollution that are destroying our chances of survival. It would assure that food is grown locally and energy comes from nearby, renewable sources, such as wind, sun and geothermal. If this is done all at once it would not be difficult to eliminate all the harm that our present, primitive infrastructure is doing, not only to the environment but to the cohesiveness of our social lives.

I have discussed at length many expected features of the infrastructure of the cosmopolitan order: escutcheons, dashboards, war and peace rooms, terra currencies and hillside architecture. These do not come about piecemeal; they are all implemented at once, in a single stroke. This means that there would no longer be any need to worry about universals. Invariables and basic standards are already built into the larger structures of the neighbourhood. Instead, each household compound and personal space accommodates local expression, whatever most fosters individual and familial growth.

The most crucial aspect of this infrastructure, I believe, is what I have been calling "consultative architecture." This comprehensive construction system I call "consultative" because decisions as to who lives and works where are determined not by government, architects or other central planners but by the current occupants. These meet regularly and decide what their world will look like in specially designed "war and peace rooms" located at the center of each household and neighbourhood.

Like all political systems, the bare nucleus of consultative architecture is, by definition, the individual. Unlike other arrangements, though, this is the case in consultative architecture both literally and physically. Each resident has a right, from cradle to grave, to a small private space. Along with the right there is also an obligation to use and maintain it well. This home base we call the Room of One's Own, or ROO.

The ROO is a standard enclosure the size of a standard air freight shipping container. Just as matter has atoms, and organisms have cells, so the cosmopolitan condition entails the ROO. As we have recently discussed, the organization of the ROO is the foundation of personal existence and the prime concern of a consulting practitioner known as a dialectician.

Most often, a ROO module splits into three parts, a recreational center, a professional cubicle and a bedroom. The bedroom is moved to the sleeping section of a larger living compound within a household. The recreational space organizes one's avocations and hobbies, and is placed in the most convenient location for recreational activity, often in a household's business, garage or atelier. The professional workstation normally is located at one's principle place of employment.

Next time, following the precedent of Sir Thomas More, we will imagine what a traveler just returned from a visit to such a housing development might report.


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