Real threats to reaching this essential goal lurk in many of our nations where vested interests have even goaded Nature into lashing out at us. Yet, a strong, healthy, individual, and organizational surge is building, but is not a tsunami required for a species largely adolescent? Recent advances include a Nobel prize awarded to ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) which was energized to a large extent by women. The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted 07 July 2017 by 122 members and, so far, 53 have indicated ratification. It is opposed by all the nuclear-armed powers. How can we educate them?
Throughout history the lack of concern by selfish humans for other humans (and other life forms) has been colossal, shameful, and criminal. In that unnecessary WWI, politicians and generals shamed ever more men, and used conscription, to send millions to their mutilations and deaths. They punished yearnings for peace such as the Christmas 1914 truce initiated by German soldiers and embraced by British that spread 400 miles along the trenches, lasted a week, included soccer games, and needed heavy artillery barrages and troop rotations to force resumption of the killing. Then, there was the failed Poilus revolt of 40,000 French troops. Other stoppages also failed on the Eastern Front. Vietnam was just another example of the sacrifice of human life for what? Capitalist fears of communism? We are overpopulated but wars do not kill population explosions.
Humans do feel more comfortable when left safe in small groups, free to trade and inter-marry with other safe small groups. While it should be argued, even if false, that all humans are born equal, the same cannot be said for the varied and changing land areas essential to growing populations, so we get conflicts, migrations, and profits. Yet the concept of world unity is well worn and exhibits the desires of millions of us. For at least 12,000 years we have embraced conquests and expansions, usually for Greed that needs to seduce manpower by such tactics as spreading religions or philosophies and offering spoils of war, especially women. This has given us a mixed bag of assimilation, bloodshed, personhood, building, commerce, destruction, enlightenment, ethnic cleansing, equality, exploration, gene-mixing, human rights, inequalities, peace, salvation, slavery, and strife. Today, we can procrastinate no longer. Actions, many quite painful, are unavoidable - but is our species sufficiently educated to finally work in global harmony, tolerant of all peaceful diversities that identify us?
In spite of the rapid growth of instant communication that could unite us, we remain easy prey for the Greed of selfish individuals and groups who use it for fraud and scams.
There are now more mobile phones than people and their birthrate exceeds ours. So, why are we so tribalized that we remain suspicious of those who dwell on the other side of the mountains, across the river or ocean, or even on the other side of the railway tracks, and at the sending end of our e-mails.
On being born, naked and with no set of prior instructions, into a very complex world, each of us has had to rely on forebears to educate us - a task that takes at least 15 years. Do enough of us sacrifice the time and effort to seek, to learn from, and to act on the wisdom that abounds out there?
Languages and cultures do influence the human mind. Since the Industrial Revolution and the growth of Capitalism too many current languages have drifted away from intimacy with the environment and other life forms to embrace the God of Greed. Animals and Plants were put here to serve us we are told. In many of the nations, that now make up America, from Canada to Terra del Fuego, thousands of European settlers discovered they preferred the native life styles to European even though many native tribes also used torture and warfare.
“I am a citizen of the world.” replied Diogenes in 422 BC when asked about his origins. Individuals who considered themselves to be citizens of the world can be found among the ancient Greek thinkers, the Romans, the Chinese dynasties, the Persians, all the way to Immanuel Kant in Königsberg, Germany, who, in 1759, outlined the steps necessary for perpetual peace. And, yes, Einstein considered himself a world citizen.
I must mention Alfred Tennyson who, in 1842 in the UK, wrote a poem I have cherished since childhood:
For I dipt into the future far as human eye could see
Saw a vision of the world and all the wonder that would be
Till the war drums throbbed no longer and the battle flags were furled
In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World.
There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful world in awe
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.
Ulysses S. Grant in 1873 predicted that the great advances in transport and communication would make the world one, thus eliminating armies and navies.
Karl Marx, 1818-1883, argued that capitalism depended on competing world businesses so should soon be superceded by socialism that would erase national rivalry thus uniting workers of the world for the benefit of all.
Kang Youwei published in China his 1885 “One World Philosophy”, concluding that Nature would coalesce the 10,000 countries the world had known into one.
Bahá’u’lláh, 1817-1892, in the Ottoman Empire was imprisoned and tortured for 40 years in Tehran and Acre because he preached one world under one god. His son built a religion that accepts major religions as manifestations of God who will reveal further manifestations such as a universal language to a species that will continue to be diverse. It seeks limits to both poverty and wealth. It has enticed adherents in Europe, the Americas, and Australasia. It boasts 5 million members among 2,100 ethnic groupings in 100,000 locations.
The International Humanist and Ethical Union was founded in 1952 in Amsterdam with Julius Huxley presiding. Current headquarters are in London. It now embraces 130 organizations in over 50 countries. It promotes free thought, following science rather than gods, to enhance the welfare of humanity.
Other One-World predictors warn it would be under the control of one of the established nations such as Britain, Germany, Russia, or the United States. Alexis de Tocqueville (France 1805-1859) warned that the United States, set to take over the British Empire, would go on to dominate the entire world.
The late 1800s and early 1900s was an optimistic age. Some 450 international organizations were formed. These included the Red Cross, the Universal Postal Union, the Institute of International Law, and the International Parliamentary Union. Yet all these were inadequate to prevent the jingoists and profiteers from launching the horrors of WWI and from setting the stage, in the Treaty of Versailles, for Adolph Hitler and his Nazis.
Passports: Restrictions to travel have a long history. One of the oldest known documents is the letter that Persian King Artaxerxes prepared for Nehemiah in 450 BC requesting safe passage to Judea. The first true passport is credited to Henry V of England about 1414. The rapid expansion of railroads prior to WWI led to a large relaxation of passports. Church birth certificates were the major use of identification if required. Two world wars created a compulsory use of passports, greatly hampered today by the millions of paperless refugees fleeing wars, persecutions, ethnic cleansing, droughts, fires, and floods. Is the next step a world-wide data base of computerized facial impressions? Are these foolproof to ageing?
World Unifying Organizations: In March of 1943 I was shocked to see, from the train taking me as a new POW across the entire width of Germany, Coca Cola signs and those of other US commercial interests especially petroleum. So wars did not stop enemy commercial dominations. Was commerce an ally or enemy of politics?
We had tried the League of Nations that failed to prevent WWII. Why? Consider the USA. Divided even before its birth, it was so blessed by the geography it stole that it rose to be the richest and militarily-most-powerful nation. Its President, Woodrow Wilson, with his 14 points, promoted strong support for the League of Nations but his electioneering train was followed by Republicans intent on keeping the US out of world politics. Wilson died on reaching Pueblo, Colorado, and the Republicans went on to win and keep the US out of the League thus curtailing its abilities. After WWII the US partially reversed its stand, providing a HQ location and the largest budget share for the United Nations in the desire to control it, a desire shared with China, France, Russia, and the UK, all with veto powers.
Recently, politicians from 35 nationalist parties went to Barcelona to support Catalan independence. Included were: Parti Quebecois, Scottish Nationalist Party, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru of Wales, and Belgium’s New Flemish Alliance. Now, we have armed conflict over the Kurdish desire for its own nation.
Heart warming is the growing number of individuals who are pursuing Truth and informing the rest of us:
Ruth Conniff, editor of The Progressive magazine is leaving for a year to immerse herself, her husband, and 3 daughters into Mexican culture. They will live in a small house at the end of a dirt road in Oaxaca. The girls will attend Mexican middle and high schools, learn Spanish, and something about the 16 distinct ethnic groups that enrich the area.
Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing in 1957 to a mother who was a writer and a father a poet. Named enemies of the people, the family was sent to a hard-labour camp. Here Ai spent 16 years under harsh conditions with little formal education. Returning to Beijing at age 19, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy whose leader was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1981, prompting Ai to flee to New York, speaking no English and with only $30. He worked at numerous odd jobs, but returned to Beijing in 1993 as his father was ill. He founded One World, an architecture firm that became highly influential. He was also dedicated to art and writing. After a 2008 massive earthquake in Sichuan he documented the 5,000 children killed due to shoddy government schools. He was put under house arrest, his blog site was deactivated, and his beatings by police required brain surgery. His passport was seized until 2015. He then fled to Berlin, and formed a crew to visit 23 countries, and 40 refugee locations, to produce the current documentary “Human Flow”.
Formidable obstacles to the one-world concept include:
Ethnic Cleansing: From Carthage in 149 BC to two world wars to today’s Central African Republic, Botswana, Bulgaria, Congo, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Myanmar, Niger, Palestine, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, South Ossetia, Sudan, Syria, USA, millions have been killed or forced to flee while many of their homes were destroyed.
Powerful self-centred Leaders are powerful and dangerous only because they have attracted num erous powerful lieutenants to control the masses.
One-worlders do face immense barriers. Only 13% of 190 rated countries have a free press. In order of the degree of freedom Scandinavia takes the top 5 slots with Costa Rica leading all of America as #6. Other selected ratings are: New Zealand 13th, Germany 16th, Australia 19th, Canada 22nd, USA 43rd, Argentina 50th, Poland 54th, S. Korea 63rd, Japan 72nd, Greece 88th, Israel 91st, Ukraine 102nd, Brazil 103rd, Palestine 135th, India 136th, Jordan 138th, Pakistan 139th, Mexico 147th, Russia 148th, Libya 163rd, Iran 165th, Saudi Arabia 165th, Cuba 173rd, China 176th, North Korea 190th.
Powerful world leaders guilty of crimes against humanity include: Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu, Myanmar’s generals, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte, Russia's Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia’s royal family, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğen, and, sadly, several US presidents leading to the current one who support 800 US military bases in over 70 countries when Britain, China, France, and Russia combined have 30. The US has some 50 in resource-rich Africa where US drone strikes do create ever more “terrorists” to fight. In fact the current US president has launched 10,500 drone strikes in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. That is double the Obama record. It is estimated that US-led airstrikes have killed over 3,200 innocent civilians with Russia adding about half that number.
When, to these threats, we add Over Population, Global Warming, Restless Earth Eruptions, Solar Flares, Colliding Asteroids, Immune Disease Predators, and Inevitable Death we have more than enough reasons to lie back, grab what transient pleasures we can, and accept imminent oblivion.
Or, we can emulate the millions who have preceded us in making this world a better place because they fought back to glorify our species that has, over some 200,000 (400,000?) years, especially the last 2,000, made such amazing progress and have left us with the potential to achieve paradise even if it too must have an end.
Surges can empower tsunamis. We possess the knowledge and wherewithal to create one world beyond wars. Let us accept the challenge.
Ye Olde Scribe