Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Decade Planning

The World-Planning Decade, Part One, Overview

To have law and order on a planetary level, we need systematic planning. To have peace and freedom, everybody needs to be involved in an open, common planning process, for as one cynic said, anyone not at the table is on the menu. John Amos Comenius perceived centuries ago that the best way to link world-embracing plans with initiatives that come from below, individuals, families and neighbourhoods, is not by rules or other arbitrary measures but by way of a common paradigm. In his seminal work, Universal Reform, he wrote,

"I say that the task must be tackled in order as I fear that a haphazard process would produce more disturbances than reforms. But in what order? The first essential is to convey light to the Mind, giving men the correct outlook on themselves and things, good or evil, so that they learn to reject the evil and choose the good, especially the supreme good, which is God." (Panorthosia, Ch. 19, para 13, p. 14)

A plan for world order, therefore, should start with personal enlightenment, the ultimate goal of individual progress, and end in world peace, the ultimate object of social development.

We can order our approach through a world plan based on this orderly approach. Done right, a world plan would unite religion, science and politics in a common, cooperative effort for human advancement. In order to rise above sectarianism and conflict among world faiths, we must first establish what is common to all faith, no matter what, and learn to work from that ground. Before we can shake off partisan contention in politics, or tension between nations, we must first find our common feeling and universal understanding. Thus, Comenius suggested this order:

"If they are seized with [God's] love, and truly unite with Him in their desires, they will also find it easier to cooperate with one another. You must understand that education must be reformed first and true wisdom instilled into the minds of men; then we must reform religion, and lastly politics. The reason for this order is that mankind cannot possibly reach agreement within its own ranks before agreeing with God, and this in turn is impossible until it agrees about the natural world, which comes from God, exists with God, and is related to God. But man cannot even agree truly about Nature until each individual agrees within himself and knows how to know and apply himself, and this is attained by the light of true wisdom." (Panorthosia, Ch. 19, para 13, pp. 14-15)

Comenius wrote this just before he launch into several full chapters in Panorthosia devoted to reform on various levels, the individual, familial, educational, religious and other spheres of philosophical and social organization.

There is nowhere else to visit. There is nothing beyond the journey from individual enlightenment to social progress to world peace. A world plan, therefore, should start over again and recycle itself in a perpetually spinning wheel. For, as educators and advertisers will tell you, without repetition and recapitulation the greater part of any important message will be lost on the public at large.

This is the flaw of the international planning years and decades of the United Nations. They do not repeat in a predictable manner. It is true that these plans have had some limited success in influencing the policy of governments and NGO's. However, they do not even attempt to involve the individual; they are designed exclusively for members of the U.N., both governments, NGO's and other policy organizations. As a result, most people have never heard of the U.N. planning years and fewer still can name the theme of this year (I looked it up: 2010 is the Year of Biodiversity and that of Rapprochement of Cultures). Even those few who do know what planning year it is tend to have no idea how to relate the theme to their own lives, work, hopes and dreams. And, since the year is unique even those few who do hear about it and try to make plans around it, by the time they do the year is likely to be already over.

In "People Without Borders" I am proposing instead of international years and decades, world years and decades. That is, a single, repeating ten year plan that would be designed to involve and inspire every world citizen to aid in the goals of a world government for improving our planet. Backed up by broad publicity, this World Planning Decade would be integrated into the curriculum of schools, the structure of trades and professional careers and even leisure and tourism.

Here is a suggested list of ten principles or areas of concentration for each year in the world-planning decade:


Year of Enlightenment or, Investigating Reality.

Human Oneness, Unity in diversity

Religious Cooperation

Nature, Science and Research

Elimination of Prejudice

Economic Equity and Readjustment

Promotion of Education

Language, Media, Communication

Equality, especially that of the Sexes

Universal Peace and Morality


As part of a repeating planning decade, each encounter with one of these principles of social progress increases understanding of a major concern wherever people live, in the past, present and future. They cover every universal aspect of progress, spiritual, scientific and political. It would also order our perception of time, both historically and futuristically.

Mentoring through the Cycle of Decades

This consistent ten-year rollover makes it easy and natural to plan one's career to serve one or more of these principles, each of which addresses a concern that is both urgent and unlikely ever to go away. A typical trades-person during a working career of 40 years would run through four planning decades. This consistency allows the worker to measure his or her own progress with that of the planet.

The more involved workers become, the broader their perspective on the planetary situation. In addition, having a basis of comparison with past application of principle would change personal plans and influence how master trades-persons train their apprentices. Then a new generation in their formative years can count on dealing with a given principle many times in their lifespan.

Thus the planning decade would eliminate the generation gap by allowing older workers to contribute in a broader and more meaningful way to the younger generation. Even when their technical skills are obsolete, older and retired workers could give a meaningful yearly perspective on how that year's principle has been handled throughout living memory. In retirement senior world citizens can reflect back upon their years of experience in applying principle and mentor the next generation in how to avoid past mistakes and to concentrate upon what will carry them further still.

In future essays we will look at each of the ten planning years in turn.


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