Comenius on Corruption
Part I of at least II
By John Taylor; 2010 Feb 10, Mulk 04, 166 BE
Yesterday we discussed corruption as the cause of prejudice, violence, hatred and war. We started with the horrible example of the conflict in Congo and asked how we could ever remove such corruption from the face of the earth. Today I want to take a look at how John Amos Comenius conceived of this basic imperative of eliminating corruption in the Panorthosia.
As we have often mentioned before, Comenius held that there are three main agents of all things human: one, science, two, politics and three, religion. Each must keep to its own clearly defined sphere, although the final end of each is single and complementary, the good of all.
"Universal Philosophy should be an agent of enlightenment for all men. Universal Politics should be their agent of government, and Universal Religion their agent of blessedness." (Panorthosia II, Ch. 13, para 12, p. 206)
Comenius's repeated use of "universal" here implies that in order for humanity to be healthy, every functional world citizen must participate to the extent of his or her ability in each of the three spheres of action, science, politics and religion. At the same time we have a duty to see to it that leaders, experts and specialists in each is on friendly terms with leaders of both the other two areas. Otherwise the human race would be in the situation described in Aesop's fable, where the head, the stomach and the limbs declared war on one another. The only outcome of that is death.
The fact that everyone is involved in the big three, science (including education), government and religion, does not mean that we can afford to neglect the election of the most able people available to carry forward the goals and values that each of the three stand for. Otherwise, what we now call the "tragedy of the commons" will kick in. Corruption will prevail. We see this all around us today with the pollution of air and oceans. These are the common possessions of all humans, but with no world government, they are plundered by the first nation to find it convenient to do so.
"... since everybody's business is nobody's business, it is imperative that we select men of eminence for this solemn tower and see duty to survey the world, as it were, from a high watchtower that everything that is introduced is consistent with the sound reform of our affairs (that is, that there should be no loophole for falsehood, impiety or warmongering)." (Comenius, Panorthosia, Ch. 15, para 3, p. 216)
Clearly, Comenius is thinking of the Parable of the Watchtower, which directs the human race to be concerned with its own protection. The professions dealing with protection, in a Comenian world order, would allow free speech, but at the same time, it would assign experts and educators to stop up the "loophole" of falsehood, misconceptions and prejudices. It would direct pastors and spiritual leaders to guard against impiety, immorality and anything that causes conflict within or among religions. The political wing of the world government would send soldiers and police around the world to stop warmongering, drug peddling and other illegal activity. Only such firm, universal measures can guard against corruption in all its many forms.
"Unless this is done, we cannot expect any firm or lasting success, since there is eloquent proof in the history of every age that even the best constitutions languish, disintegrate, and finally disappear and revert to their original chaos unless they are deliberately maintained in good order." (Comenius, Panorthosia, Ch. 15, para 4, p. 217)