Hearthstone - Statement of Purpose.
Mr. Jan Hearthstone.
BA - Anthropology (UHH May, 2002)
Sebastopol, CA 95473, USA
modelearth at gmail - com
My "Curriculum Vitae":
Major interest: Ecological
and Social Sustainability, Collaborative Modeling of the Future.
I feel that any of the remedies that either are being currently pursued, or such that still might be in consideration, meant to address the many, with time rapidly increasing environmental and social problems of this planet, do not keep pace with the proliferation of those problems. In my opinion, the only certain thing about our collective global future is that whatever problems the world might have had in the past and is facing presently, the future will have those problems also, but multiplied and greatly amplified. Although technical and scientific knowledge is increasing astoundingly, the more so are increasing the world's problems. The more computers we have (to put it simplistically), the proportionally more homeless, hungry, abjectly poor, socially dissatisfied, and the more beings that are afflicted by armed conflicts there are in the world, the more natural resources get irrevocably exhausted, the less clean water, clean air, plants, and less animals are there left to rejoice in. Obviously our knowledge doesn't serve us well.
It is only a tiny fraction of humanity who could expect their future to be better than their past, with more choices and less worries. This tiny fraction of humanity is also the portion of humanity that is responsible for the greatest exploitation of resources both--"natural" (including very many other than human species) and human.
Many people feel a great concern about the state of the world, many people are trying to find a venue for meaningful actions, but despite of a growing awareness of the need to do something to provide a decent future for this world, the overall situation is not improving. This, I feel, might be due to the fact that most actions that are being done, or contemplated for improving of the situation in the world are based on methods, on ways of thinking that we have inherited from our forebears, methods that might be even considered adequate by the majority of people, but those methods can never result in any significant help in the world's plight, because they mostly have not worked in the past--something that becomes evident when we see the difficulties that we are being faced with today! What I am saying might sound sacrilegious, but, if we look at the record that our ancestors left behind, we should note that despite teaching the future generations the best they knew, their legacy has been increasingly more problem-some and lethal with every new generation (on the whole, seen as a general trend over the ages).
This is undeniable: Warfare gets "improved" with each generation (meaning that weapons can kill more people more effectively), the exploitation of resources gets more sophisticated and escalated, the general quality of life worsens--not measured by any subjective standards, but noting that with each generation there are proportionally more people in prison, more people homeless and hungry, and more refugees. That there is less and less clean potable water and less "natural" nature to enjoy (all this taken over larger spans of time--there were periods of time when things improved somewhat, only to get much worse than before afterward). All the foregoing is well founded on statistics and on available records, whereas any optimism about the possibility of the future happiness of the majority of beings on this planet is not so well founded.
I suggest that perhaps a significant betterment, and also healing of the persistent wrongs, could be obtained if we would stop patterning remedies meant to cure the world's ills on models from the past, and turn instead to an ideal projected into the future. I would suggest that we, collectively and globally, consciously design an ideal future that would accommodate all life on Earth most optimally.
It is imperative that all humanity unites in a common purpose, in sharing of our common ground--the Earth, and in sharing of our common future. It only makes sense that we resolve any and all differences that there exist among people in a model, rather than in real life. Resolving our differences in a model is not only more expedient, but it prevents suffering real damages in real life. The cost of not caring, of holding any intolerant views can be well demonstrated in a model; in real life these "demonstrations" mean an ongoing and escalating misery for all. What a real, lasting Peace on Earth should be must acceptable by all concerned, or else there is no end to wars ever.
Consider this: Most of life on Earth is planning for the future, most people do. Those various plans of a multitude of beings entail visions of a place to live, nourishment to be procured, and leisure to be experienced. The trouble is that most of these plans are done by individuals for themselves alone mainly, and that the majority of those plans for future usually disregards plans for future that other people and other forms of life might have. When it comes to realizing of those plans, it is no wonder that all those individual plans for future clash with most other plans for future that others might have, more often than not, and because of that most of the individual plans for future are not possible to be brought into being entirely at all.
What is needed is to synchronize all the plans for future of all the individuals that there might be by making it possible for virtually anyone on Earth to input their ideas into a process that would compare those individual plans for future with each other, match them with all the knowledge we have about the Earth and about human society, and thus create a model of Life on Earth that would be available for inspection and critique by virtually anyone on Earth.
Naturally enough, such a model could never be really finished. It would keep dynamically adjusting itself to the ongoing input of all concerned, and to the ever-increasing knowledge of the Earth and human society. The scope of such a model (or rather, a social design tool) could be as large as the Earth, or as small as an individual family. Creating of such a model would be certainly technically possible, the technology for accomplishing of this exists already, and is not complicated--already individual PC's are being harnessed together for a variety of tasks ("distributed computing"), and their capacity together is often greater than a supercomputer's--but it is not the technology that matters here as much as the principle of consciously designing the future collectively.
Ideally, our common future should be designed on all fronts--it would mean to create a space, a space that could be as much mental as physical. An object of meditation--desiring, praying that all differences that there are among people resolve before those differences manifest unfavorably in reality, and physically making this possible to do by resolving of those differences in a model--again, before those differences cause damage in reality.
It could be argued that since time immemorial there exist ideologies that advocate peace and non-violent pursuit of happiness. I think that the reason that we still do not have a Heaven on Earth is that most praying and meditations that have as object an ideal state of Life on Earth do not have a common perception of what the prayed for Heaven on Earth should look like. Neighbors and enemies do not have the same position of importance as ourselves in our vision of our future.
The unified idea of what an ideal Earth should look like should be commonly shared for any efficient actions to happen. In this an actual modeling would help to make the common vision commonly perceived by all, whether they pray, or not.
In contrast to any methods of organizing the world's future known to me, the designing of the future from at the grass-root level by virtually anyone who would be interested in doing so would have the advantage of not leaving anyone behind; any- and every-body's future would be designed on valid grounds, taking into account the wishes of all the participants, the availability of resources, and all the knowledge pertinent to which-ever problem. This cannot be said of most processes that, to a lesser or a greater extend, control the creation of our collective future currently.
Modeling our future collaboratively would put anyone's contemplated future into a right perspective - the model would "teach" any individual what might, and what might not be possible, realistic, and what complications might ensue should such an advice be disregarded.
The crises that we are heading into globally is an emergency, and any science contributed towards the construction of this model of the future could be the best instance of an applied science. The model could serve as a basis of unifying of all scientific knowledge to be applied to, to deal with problems that humankind experiences, and those problems that are to emerge yet by modeling the ideal state of a sustainable Earth.
This model of our collective global future would serve as a gigantic "round-table", always in session, ready to advice in any matters concerning anybody's future design, always ready to deal with any emergencies as they arise.
I would like to point out that although there have been many global models already created--the many "Utopias" and, perhaps, the many "socialist" and "communist" systems (extant ones and all those that are still being contemplated)--all of them, as far as I know, were a creation of just a few people, incorporating only certain aspects of possible futures, and most of these models are/were limited by partisan interests and purposes. If the energy and all the intentions to improve the state of the world of all the myriad of individuals and organizations that strive to better our collective lot, and indeed of anyone at all who wants to have a hand in creating of their own future were coherently brought together to co-operate together on a realistic global future on the basis of all available knowledge, creating together a realistic goal to strive towards, this combined energy and knowledge might give our global future a viable hope.
One of the advantages of the social modeling tool that is described above would be that it could be wholly non-partisan, the input would be anonymous--only ideas would compete on the basis of current knowledge of Earth. This social modeling tool would take into account any- and every-one's wellbeing, which as it ought to be, because it is the non-represented members' of any society discontent (caused by non-representation in the future making process) that the most violent social changes do arise sooner, or later.
Currently very much hope is being invested in humanity's becoming "sustainable". However, a very few people have a clear idea what a "sustainable humanity" should be. And even among those people who do have a clear idea what a "sustainable humanity" should be, there is no straightforward consensus on the subject. The differences that there exist in the definition of what "sustainability" ought to be are being resolved in real life with a tremendous waste of time, resources, and with a very little, if indeed any, progress towards "sustainability". This is due to the fact that most people who are striving towards "sustainability" have actually no mental picture of what "sustainability" should be like. If one observes carefully, most actions that professedly aim for "sustainability" are actually aimed against aspects of our lives that are considered non-sustainable, and not for sustainability itself. Pursuing this course might never result in establishing of true sustainability, since there never, ever will be a time when there will be nothing that we do not like having in our lives. Once we collectively have a clear picture what should constitute "sustainability", only then we can proceed towards it, since we can never get something that we do not know what it actually is, and which is collectively, consensually not agreed upon.
Modeling collaboratively the meaning, the definition of what "sustainability" ought to be would make it possible to achieve "sustainability". Not arriving at a collectively acceptable definition of "sustainability" would mean resolution of the meaning of the term in real life would be very difficult and protracted, beset with pointless trials and errors--we do not have the leisure to allow this to happen. What is happening in the world today is a dire emergency requiring expedient actions. Modeling of the ideal, "sustainable" existence of Life on Earth would allow for "expedient actions" to achieve the ideal existence to happen.
During my graduate years I hope to elaborate and substantiate on all the above. I know that already there exist paradigms and ideologies that might provide grounds for creating of such a model. It will be left to show that our present barbaric Homo SAPIENS ("sapiens" is mis-defined, surely ) could yet become a Homo INTELLIGENTES. Else - the possible scenarios based on the trends currently observable could result in realities that no one would be able to really relate to at all. If we really care about our children's future, we should make sure that we don't hand them over an Earth that would be less perfect than the one we got from our parents. We should start healing the Earth and sustain our efforts, till the Earth becomes an ideal, most optimal home for all the beings that share her.
The idea of modeling our common future owes its existence to Mahayana philosophy and to The Path of Least Resistance by Robert Fritz--both that I have been interested in and have been practicing for at least two decades now.
Originally I wanted to live self-sufficiently on the land, somewhere, independent of a system that I considered oppressive and repressive. I started going to college in order that I would learn all that I would need to become "independent" and "self-sufficient". I started with horticulture, pottery, and weaving, and when I realized that to live independently, self-sufficiently is not possible unless the whole humanity becomes so, "ecologically and socially sustainable humanity" became my interest.
I studied Ecological Anthropology, took Sociology introduction course, and before I graduated I started developing the concept of creating the future collaboratively.
I graduated with a BA - Anthropology (U of Hawai'i at Hilo, May 2002).
My CV is at http://www.modelearth.org/cv.html .
I have been trying to popularize the concept for a several years now with no success. I, therefore, am looking for an institution of higher learning in hope to improve my communicational and intellectual abilities and thus be able to present the idea better. Saybrook, so far, is the only graduate school that expressed interest in the idea of modeling humankind's future collectively.
N. B. I would gladly debate any points of what is written above with anyone to our mutual edification.
The Path of Least Resistance, Salem, MA, DMA, Inc., 1984, ISBN: 0-930641-00-0
Mahayana and Sustainability:
MAHAYANA and ECOLOGICAL and SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY.
(The following reflects author's own personal understanding of the terms "Mahayana" and "Bodhisattva").
Mahayana is a view that acknowledges the interconnectedness of all phenomena across all time and space, and that any one being's well-being depends on the well-being of every other being across all time and all space.
A Bodhisattva is one who strives to realize the ideal of Mahayana, and therefore regards the well-being of all other beings as important as one's own.
To live ecologically and socially sustainably means to acknowledge the need of all other beings to live well also.
The need for living ecologically and socially sustainably is implicit in Mahayana.
Therefore an aspiring Bodhisattva would help all beings to be mentally and physically optimally well, and therefore an aspiring Bodhisattva would promote the way of living ecologically and socially sustainably in all places and in all times.
Please dedicate your practice to the optimal benefit of all beings of all three times and ten directions of space, starting here and now on Earth.