In the immediately preceding writing, [“618”] we empathically observed that enlightened Americans’ natural and proper inclination to present the merits of the day’s controversial issues, to that portion of the Nation termed, “ the underbelly,” who are motivated by other than considered principle, is naively ineffective. In this writing, we will state our affirmative views as to the contemporary promotion of more inclusive enlightenment and will additionally, take the liberty to briefly indicate our nuanced thoughts concerning the conceivable possibility of a still ongoing process of human [societal] evolution.
Mankind, as depicted in great literature and reported in written histories, appears not to be appreciably different from its contemporaries; apparently, the persona is identical but played out in a different circumstantial ambience. Classic literature, and other forms of aesthetic expression, seem to recycle similar passions and aspirations, strengths, as well as flaws and weaknesses in the eternal human character. Proceeding to our theme, there has always been the segment of society that is, in various degrees, enlightened, and governed by reason, and also existing, by contrast, the figurative, “mob.”
Recent signature events have evinced, a populist elevation of a prior, ignorant, incapable, and bigoted person to the Office of the Presidency, his effective use of the fascist style “Big Lie,” an unprecedented violent insurrection against the Nation’s Capital Building, the existence of military style groups, dedicated to Christian White Supremacy, the frustrating and tragic continuance of racial bias and prejudice (most tragically by police), race-based voter suppression by municipal and State Legislatures, the prevalence of gun ownership despite its tragic results, religious bias respecting woman’s personal right of abortion, the populist hatred of immigration (in a Nation populated 100% by immigrants and their progeny), archaic xenophobia, a disrespect for science and learning responsible for thousands of unnecessary Covid deaths, the ignorant dismissal of planetary (global warming) studies and vital matters of environmental concern, and a wide-spread disrespect for societal educational advancement.
Unless America can construe an effective way to ameliorate this pernicious condition, the shameful waste of human potential represented by our currently large conglomerate of ignorant and reductionist individuals will endure, and continue to impair the intended functioning of our Republic. In the interest of our ailing Nation and its well-intentioned, educated, and informed citizenry, we would propose a possible[ albeit, by practical necessity], long-term, solution to this existential democratic problem.
The problem, to repeat, is fundamental, and multi-faceted; change will predictably require much long-term, ameliorative and instructive effort on the part of a willing and sufficiently dedicated citizenry. For clarity, and deliberative convenience, we have separately set forth each proposed facet of change. Predictably, not all proposals will be applicable or relevant to the reader but may be of utility in instructively raising the consciousness of others.
Early childhood. Even the most well-intentioned teachings on the matter of a young child’s identity may constitute an insidious primer on the inculcation of racial or ethnic prejudice. The concept of “we” and “they” can be transmogrified by childhood imagination to the conclusion of the unacceptability of others who look, speak, or differ in folkways, eventuating in an unacceptable lifetime of bigoted perception. Young children must be made aware that, their own, singular identity, is but a part of an equally acceptable, multi-racial, and ethnically diverse, world population. Lessons not in “we” and “they” but, preferably and inclusively, “us.”
Family teachings of values and morality. Parents should eschew the morally flawed practice of rewards for good action and punishment for unacceptable behavior. Children, in their early years, should be instructed in the understanding of valued self-image and the inner distinction of moral and equitable action from wrongful or prejudicial behavior. To be intrinsically effective, such teachings should be modeled after the parents’ own consistent moral behavior.
Morality’s ultimate reward is in one’s recognition of a lifelong presence of self-respect and the inner, comforting, sense of personal rectitude. “Heaven or hell” morality may, empirically, be a significant error in many religious teachings.
School. To prevent cynicism in later years, the practice of candor in the young student, a revisit is recommended to propaganda-like National myths such as teaching of the Nation’s, “ Manifest Destiny” to expand its boundaries to the Pacific Ocean. Trust would be encouraged if accuracy, however shameful, is historically adhered to. The Nation’s unvarnished history relates the unjust uprooting of Native Americans from their traditionally desirably arable lands, by the Federal government to the windy, dry western territory[“ lands more suitable to injun’s”]. If still in use, such National myths should immediately be scrapped, as, indeed, should the untruthful teachings of benign black slavery.
In the development of an honest and sincere citizenry, the young student should be candidly instructed concerning the presently regrettable “dark days” of American history, and the Nation’s subsequent continuing efforts to rectify them; and of the admirable, longstanding efforts of good citizens, white and black, toward a true and lasting universal American equality.
Private life. In our writings, we have always maintained that elective time spent in personally rewarding pursuits, materially assists in the pursuit of wisdom and a mature self-image. Activities such as reading good literature, the enjoyment of music and the pursuit of skills and hobbies are, of inestimable of value in the building of self-confidence and individuality. Introduction into the regular practice of spare time reading and the acquisition of knowledge thereby lends understanding of self and others to the student’s array of knowledge. The rewards of personal advancement results to a life of meaningful value and self -satisfaction.
The earnest desire for knowledge is an invitation to an enjoyable life of wonder and inquiry. In this instance, parents and relatives who enjoy reading on a regular basis can empirically serve as models. In addition, the useful routine perusal of a daily newspaper is vital to the development of an informed, useful member of a representative democracy.
Family interaction with society. Our favorite, and often referenced, 19th Century empirical philosopher, John Locke held that man is born with a clean slate (“tabula rasa”) and that all of man’s knowledge is acquired by life experience. In addition to the four previous proposals, this one is, in the same fashion, effected and affected by the individual’s life experience. The regular observation of parental and other related adults in inter-societal interaction with diverse others, has an impactful influence on the child’s, developing social behavior. Proper, respectful treatment and communication with all members of society, of every physical description, from neighbor to postman to the door-to-door salesman, is specifically noted in the observant child’s mental notebook, as is the parent’s choices of friends and associates.
We would respectfully submit the above recommendations for the reader’s consideration, as the cumulative, thoughtful product of more than eight decades of objective societal observation, and never flagging hope for a better National society. We believe that the above considerations would be of material aid to further progress, in man’s imperceptible ongoing process of spiritual and moral evolution.