Regularity and Popularity of the Comenian Decade
By John Taylor; 2011 Jan 11, Sharaf 12, 167 BE
The plan outlined above is an implement to correct our collective vision.
A political order oriented around regularly returning principles would set up a different standard of comparison for leaders. Instead of competing with their immediate predecessor -- often even undoing the accomplishments of previous administrations -- leaders will look at where we are in relation to where we will be decades and centuries into the future. This avoids invidious comparisons and erases partisanship by fixing attention where it should be in politics, on peace and the greater good of our children and grandchildren.
But it is much more than that. The decade reminds each of us to concentrate upon our three highest reasons for being, to serve our own enlightenment, to serve others and to serve God -- which is to say, to serve life in the long term. To do this, the decade divides needs into three overarching principles of governance, based upon what Comenius calls a "parallelism of Philosophy, Politics, and Religion..." (Panorthosia, Ch. 13, para 12, p. 204) Comenian leadership divides these principles into three distinct institutions each with a special, delimited mission, separate in detail but one in purpose. These he named the College of Light, the Dicastery of Peace and the Consistory of Holiness. Franchises of these operate at every level of society, starting from the family household, proceeding right on up to the world government.
The decade also includes three ongoing, integrated election cycles of three years in length. The votes take place approximately every three years -- on years four, seven and ten. Then we vote in the membership of each of the three institutions. Thus, rather than "one man, one vote," the franchise is tripled to "one person three votes," one each for the college, the dicastery and the consistory.
I should add that cosmopolitanism operates by means of what is termed direct democracy, where elections are entirely open, without nomination or candidature (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy). This is not only less expensive but it is also inherently peaceful. Democracy in a world at peace cannot tolerate the lobbying, advertising, contention and riotous head-butting that distract voters. Such travesties are by no means essential to the electoral process. Instead, by having diverse groups work together on the goals of the decade, the most effective problem solvers will naturally rise to higher office from among their peers.
This regular experience serving and voting at least three times each decade is an increased responsibility that admittedly may at first overburden some. However, as we learn to use steles and PIM software more effectively, the triple franchise should become interesting and stimulating. It will create a new cosmopolitan citizen, the true Homo Universalis.
From an institutional perspective, the repeating decade gives the educational, the political and the spiritual branches of government much greater direct influence over the grassroots than has been possible to any government in the past, no matter how powerful. No need to issue press releases or whip up artificial publicity campaigns to inform the public of specific problems. The plan and its principles teach themselves.
During the decade, each responsible institution oversees three principles over three years of intense activity. During the remaining seven years it works out plans for the upcoming decade. Their nine years, plus the year for individual conscience, add up to a ten year plan.
Although the first year of the decade plan, the "year of enlightenment," concentrates upon recreation and contemplation, and is empty of outward activity, it is crucial to the years that follow because it bolsters the quintessential duty of individuals to be earnest and sincere in their search for truth. The nine principles that follow are as universal as possible and to cover a major preoccupation of modernity. Repeated, predictable contact with them encourages decision makers to take a longer view by anticipating conditions decades and centuries in advance.
Each new generation of workers can expect to run through the respective principles of the decade several times during their lifespan. Even young people entering the workforce will have lived through at least one iteration, while a worker in mid-career can look back over three or four full cycles of involvement. Even relatively young journeypersons will have long experience setting goals, assessing progress and taking into account the long term considerations of their trade. This means that their knowledge is both coherent and exportable, easily passed on to apprentices and younger colleagues.
Cyclical repetition should obligate even the most worldly and the least engaged among us to give due attention to our highest ideals. The regular repetition of principle helps us look beyond celebrity gossip, natural disasters and other essentially random events in the news. For individuals and small groups, it raises their purview above the ephemeral concerns of personal life to what affects the fate of humanity and our small, delicate planet. As Shakespeare said,
"Of your philosophy you make no use, if you give place to accidental evils." (Cassius, in Julius Caesar, Act IV, Sc. III)
The purpose of the decade's goals is to uplift our world view into what some philosophers are calling the "whoosh factor," the thrill of a universally recognized historic moment. Until now these "whooshes" have been few and far between, taking place usually at sports championships and other triumphant events. These "whooshes" tend to be incoherent, parochial or partisan. The glory of filling a goal of the decade is truly a triumph that would give all a sense of accomplishment. There are no losers, only winners. The human interest here is more than one life, or even human life in general, it takes in all life on earth.
From the average person's point of view, the advantage of the decade is that it offers drama, excitement and encourages active involvement. If organizers heed Comenius' advice to keep it simple, the plan will continually remind specialists, especially journalists and historians, to broaden their outlook and make sure that the forum of opinion, however detailed, still is comprehensible to the majority. This way it will appeal to all ages, cultures and temperaments.
In order to do this the organizers of the decade will have to enlist the press, the estate whose highest role is to raise consciousness in the public interest. These principles are admittedly challenging. They are highly philosophical. But if we persist, gradually a thousand disparate languages, cultures and ethnicities will transform into a single audience witnessing a single dramatic performance.
The great unseen obstacle to progress in planning right now is a worsening clash between special and general interests, worsened by grating tension between populism and intellectualism. Obfuscation and credentialism alienate the public and force experts into Ivory Towers where they speak only to other experts. The forum of opinion thus becomes a chaotic Babel. It is possible, though, to give an equal voice to both expert and lay, if both respect the virtues of the other. This was recognized as long ago as Aristotle's time,
"It is this simplicity that makes the uneducated more effective than the educated when addressing popular audiences -- makes them, as the poets tell us, 'charm the crowd's ears more finely'. Educated men lay down broad general principles; uneducated men argue from common knowledge and draw obvious conclusions." (Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book 22)
The expert can appreciate the eloquent simplicity of the generalist while the average person in turn should admire and embrace the specialist's knowledge and powers of analysis. And since elections are a great part of the activity in the plan, even non-experts in a work group who do not grasp all the technical details can still vote for an expert who demonstrates virtues apparent to all, qualities like reliability and integrity.
The Comenian decade is designed to harmonize and bridge this and other such gaps between elites and the general public. It calls upon leaders of thought to work out broad goals that will enlist professionals and amateurs in a common labour. Specifics should fully involve experts and specialists, while the mass media focus everyone else's attention on the big picture and on how to follow through on what science, faith groups and peace negotiators discover.
The lines of enquiry of the College, the Dicastery and the Consistory extend straight and parallel as far as the boundless reaches of human potential. Our lines of investigation should similarly, through the repeating decade, extend to infinity, liberating us from borders once and for all.