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Sunday, June 8th, 2008
“We must put an end to war or war will put an end to us.” — John F. Kennedy

The following speech was delivered on June 10th, 1963 at the American University in Washington, DC.

Declaration of Peace

John F. Kennedy

     President Anderson, members of the faculty, board of trustees, distinguished guests, my old colleague, Senator Bob Byrd, who has earned his degree through many years of attending night law school, while I am earning mine in the next 30 minutes, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

     It is with great pride that I participate in this ceremony of the American University, sponsored by the Methodist Church, founded by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst, and first opened by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914. This is a young and growing university, but it has already fulfilled Bishop Hurst’s enlightened hope for the study of history and public affairs in a city devoted to the making of history and the conduct of the public’s business. By sponsoring this institution of higher learning for all who wish to learn, whatever their color or their creed, the Methodists of this area and the Nation deserve the Nation’s thanks, and I commend all those who are today graduating.

     Professor Woodrow Wilson once said that every man sent out from a university should be a man of his nation as well as a man of his time, and I am confident that the men and women who carry the honor of graduating from this institution will continue to give from their lives, from their talents, a high measure of public service and public support.

     “There are few earthly things more beautiful than a university,” wrote John Masefield in his tribute to English universities–and his words are equally true today. He did not refer to spires and towers, to campus greens and ivied walls. He admired the splendid beauty of the university, he said, because it was “a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see.”

     I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived–yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.

     What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

     I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

     Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles–which can only destroy and never create–is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

     I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war–and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

     Some say that it is useless to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament–and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitude–as individuals and as a Nation–for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward–by examining his own attitude toward the possibilities of peace, toward the Soviet Union, toward the course of the cold war and toward freedom and peace here at home.

     First: Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable–that mankind is doomed–that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

     We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade–therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable–and we believe they can do it again.

     I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

     Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace– based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions–on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace–no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process–a way of solving problems.

     With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor–it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors.

     So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all peoples to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly toward it.

     Second: Let us reexamine our attitude toward the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent authoritative Soviet text on Military Strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims–such as the allegation that “American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of wars . . . that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union . . . [and that] the political aims of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries . . . [and] to achieve world domination . . . by means of aggressive wars.”

     Truly, as it was written long ago: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.” Yet it is sad to read these Soviet statements–to realize the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning–a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible, and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.

     No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity. But we can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements–in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture and in acts of courage.

     Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and farms were burned or sacked. A third of the nation’s territory, including nearly two thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland–a loss equivalent to the devastation of this country east of Chicago.

     Today, should total war ever break out again–no matter how–our two countries would become the primary targets. It is an ironic but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the cold war, which brings burdens and dangers to so many nations, including this Nation’s closest allies–our two countries bear the heaviest burdens. For we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle in which suspicion on one side breeds suspicion on the other, and new weapons beget counterweapons.

     In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours–and even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.

     So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.

     Third: Let us reexamine our attitude toward the cold war, remembering that we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the history of the last 18 years been different.

     We must, therefore, persevere in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists’ interest to agree on a genuine peace. Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy–or of a collective death-wish for the world.

     To secure these ends, America’s weapons are nonprovocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self- restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility.

     For we can seek a relaxation of tension without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people–but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.

     Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument for peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system–a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished.

     At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends, are divided over issues which weaken Western unity, which invite Communist intervention or which threaten to erupt into war. Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and in the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides. We have also tried to set an example for others–by seeking to adjust small but significant differences with our own closest neighbors in Mexico and in Canada.

     Speaking of other nations, I wish to make one point clear. We are bound to many nations by alliances. Those alliances exist because our concern and theirs substantially overlap. Our commitment to defend Western Europe and West Berlin, for example, stands undiminished because of the identity of our vital interests. The United States will make no deal with the Soviet Union at the expense of other nations and other peoples, not merely because they are our partners, but also because their interests and ours converge

     Our interests converge, however, not only in defending the frontiers of freedom, but in pursuing the paths of peace. It is our hope– and the purpose of allied policies–to convince the Soviet Union that she, too, should let each nation choose its own future, so long as that choice does not interfere with the choices of others. The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.

     This will require a new effort to achieve world law–a new context for world discussions. It will require increased understanding between the Soviets and ourselves. And increased understanding will require increased contact and communication. One step in this direction is the proposed arrangement for a direct line between Moscow and Washington, to avoid on each side the dangerous delays, misunderstandings, and misreadings of the other’s actions which might occur at a time of crisis.

     We have also been talking in Geneva about the other first-step measures of arms control designed to limit the intensity of the arms race and to reduce the risks of accidental war. Our primary long range interest in Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament– designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. The pursuit of disarmament has been an effort of this Government since the 1920’s. It has been urgently sought by the past three administrations. And however dim the prospects may be today, we intend to continue this effort–to continue it in order that all countries, including our own, can better grasp what the problems and possibilities of disarmament are.

     The one major area of these negotiations where the end is in sight, yet where a fresh start is badly needed, is in a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests. The conclusion of such a treaty, so near and yet so far, would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of nuclear arms. It would increase our security–it would decrease the prospects of war. Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady pursuit, yielding neither to the temptation to give up the whole effort nor the temptation to give up our insistence on vital and responsible safeguards.

     I am taking this opportunity, therefore, to announce two important decisions in this regard.

     First: Chairman khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan, and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking toward early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history–but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind.

     Second: To make clear our good faith and solemn convictions on the matter, I now declare that the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not be the first to resume. Such a declaration is no substitute for a formal binding treaty, but I hope it will help us achieve one.  Nor would such a treaty be a substitute for disarmament, but I hope it will help us achieve it.

     Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude toward peace and freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our own society must justify and support our efforts abroad. We must show it in the dedication of our own lives–as many of you who are graduating today will have a unique opportunity to do, by serving without pay in the Peace Corps abroad or in the proposed National Service Corps here at home.

     But wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our cities today, the peace is not secure because the freedom is incomplete.

     It is the responsibility of the executive branch at all levels of government–local, State, and National–to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means within their authority. It is the responsibility of the legislative branch at all levels, wherever that authority is not now adequate, to make it adequate. And it is the responsibility of all citizens in all sections of this country to respect the rights of all others and to respect the law of the land.

     All this is not unrelated to world peace. “When a man’s ways please the Lord,” the Scriptures tell us, “he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights–the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation–the right to breathe air as nature provided it–the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

     While we proceed to safeguard our national interests, let us also safeguard human interests. And the elimination of war and arms is clearly in the interest of both. No treaty, however much it may be to the advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion. But it can–if it is sufficiently effective in its enforcement and if it is sufficiently in the interests of its signers–offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.

     The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough–more than enough–of war and hate and oppression. We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we labor on–not toward a strategy of annihilation but toward a strategy of peace.

 audio Listen to this speech. Visit the John F. Kennedy Presidential Archive.

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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

From the 2004 SynEARTH Archives

Seeking a Definition of God

Timothy Wilken, MD

I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking about God recently. What is the role of God in Humanity’s future? It would seem that any serious inquiry into that question must start with a definition of God.

I found the following definitions of God on a website about the various religions of the world:


Tao, the subtle reality of the universe cannot be described, That which can be described in words is mearly a conception of the mind. Although names and descriptions have been applied to it, the subtle reality is beyond the description.
Tao Teh Ching – beginning of chapter 1

The subtle essense of the universe is elusive and evasive. …

It is the subtle origin of the whole of creation and non-creation. It existed prior to the beginning of time as the deep and subtle reality of the universe. It brings all into being.
Tao Teh Ching – portions of chapter 21


“There is, O monks, an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed. Were there not, O monks, this unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed.

“Since, O monks, there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, and unformed, therefore is there an escape from the born, originated, created, formed.”
The Gospel of Buddha – Sermon at the bamboo grove at Rajagaha


Neither the multitude of gods nor great sages know of my origin, for I am the source of all the gods and great sages.

A mortal who knows me as the unborn, beginningless great lord of the worlds is freed from all delusion and all evils.
The Bhagavad-Gita – The tenth teaching, verses 2 & 3


There is One, only One Supreme Being, Truth Eternal, Creator of all seen & unseen, Fearless, Without hatred, Timeless Being, Non-Incarnated, Self created, Realized by the Grace of Guru (Perfect Master Only.)
Guru Granth Sahib Page 1


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

For thus saith the Eternal that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the self existent One; and there is none else.
Isaiah 45:18


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and without him was not one thing made that has come into being.
Gospel of John 1:1-3


You are the Absolute Existence which causes (our) transient (existences) to appear.
Masnavi – Book 1 – Creator and Creation

Elsewhere I have written: Humanity has used the term God to represent ‘that’ in universe that is larger than ourselves. We have used the term God to represent ‘that’ which is the source of Universe — ‘that’ which is the source of Heaven and Earth — ‘that’ which is the source of Life and Humanity.

I make no argument against the existence of God. I am in full belief that there exists ‘that’ in universe that is larger than ourselves. I am in full belief that there is a ‘source’. And I also call that source God. Let us agree then that the source of Universe — the source of Heaven and Earth — the source of Life and Humanity — is God. This agreement does not require that we describe God in anyway.

Harry Rathbun in Creative Initiative writes:

We use the word God to designate that which is beyond description or definition. That which is ineffable, unutterable. That which is the Ultimate Reality, the Ultimate Mystery, which stands both behind and within the universe, behind Creation; that which is at once both immanent and transcendent. By the word “God” we refer to that which is source, direction, intelligence, and will; to that spirit which encompasses the supreme values of truth, beauty, and goodness; to that reality on which we are totally dependent and to which we are totally subject; and to that before which we stand in awe, wonder, and reverence, but with which we can communicate.

God is that which draws man up toward the heights, whose plan and intention call for all of us to rise to that level of being which is our destiny and our fulfillment.

This seems quite positive to me. Life’s power is to create syntropy. This ability to ever increase order, organization, pattern, and form is a defining characteristic of life. Life evolves towards ever-increasing syntropy — ever increasing order — ever increasing organization, form, pattern, and heterogeneity.

Young’s Theory of Process explains that this transition is from simple process to complex process — from light to particles, from particles to atoms, from atoms to molecules, from molecules to plants, from plants to animals, and from animals to humans. This process of synergic evolution then is another of the defining characteristics of life. This brings us to a new definition of evolution:

Evolution—def—> The transition of process from a state of lower syntropy—order, organization, pattern, and form to a state of higher syntropy—order, organization, pattern and form.

Science in 2004 has discovered that evolution is synergic. Then the purpose of life is to evolve. To transition from a state of lower syntropy to a state of higher syntropy. And so perhaps God is that which pulls us towards oneness–that which pulls us to be the best we can be. This seems an appropriate definition of God for a Future Positive.

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Monday, May 26th, 2008

The following words are attributed to Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi.

“Seek the truth and the truth will set you free.

“Peace is the way. Love is the answer. Harmony is the result. The purpose of education, whether religious or secular, is to help a person function effectively in society. War is not effective either for the individual or society.

“All true religions teach peace. The Golden Rule is a peaceful principle because it produces equity. We should share our wealth with our brothers and sisters because we are all part of the same human family. All teachings which divide us are false and all prophets who preach such division are false prophets.

“True education empowers us to live in peace by teaching us the truth about life and liberty, personhood and society, materiality and spirituality as a single evolutionary dance.

“Where there is no progress there is death. Religion is dead; it has stopped progress. It produces division, dominance and death. It is clear that religion is killing us because it is focused on division and dominance. Why should you choose one religion over another? It is a recipe for division, dominance and death. The first causality of religion is evolutionary progress.

“Islam teaches that its followers should pray towards Mecca five times a day and once in their lifetime take a journey to visit Mecca. This is making one place on the planet more sacred than every other place. It makes the “then and there” more important than the “here and now.” This is a recipe for conflict and war.

“Judaism teaches that Jews are God’s chosen people, thereby dividing humanity into two racial groups. It teaches that there is a place on the planet where Jews have a special right to be, dominant over all the rights of all other people. This is a recipe for war because it teaches superiority and dominance.

“Christianity teaches dominance as well, in the sense that Christians believe they have the right to dominate others into submission, as has been repeatedly demonstrated throughout history. Christianity teaches moral and spiritual superiority and thereby justifies dominance. It teaches that the afterlife is more important than this life, that the “then and there” dominates the “here and now.” This is a recipe for war.

“Islam, Judaism and Christianity are all recipes for war. The only true path to peace is the path of equity, which means we should accept full responsibility for the basic needs of all people on the planet. We should share. We should treat each other as brothers and sisters of the same human family, looking out for each other’s best interests and correcting each other when we have done wrong.

“We should judge religions by the fruits they produce in reality. Islam, Judaism and Christianity produce division, dominance and war.”

Reposted from

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Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

SynEARTH Archives … This 2004 article reposted from Co-Intelligence Institute, seems even more relevant today. The author asks an important question of our communities? … I think perhaps, we should be asking the same questions of our Nations.

Can Communities be Wise?

Tom Atlee

A wise person has perspective. They can see the big picture without losing sight of the small. They can see the part without losing sight of the whole. They understand the partnerships of day and night, good and bad, the known and the unknown. They have observed how it all fits together, including their own limitations and immense ignorance – and that realization makes them humble, insightful and flexible. They are free to creatively see and respond to what’s actually around them.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.”This famous “Serenity Prayer” arises out of, and nurtures, wisdom.

Can communities be wise?

Interestingly, a community of people (whether a group, a company, a town or a nation) is better equipped to be wise than an individual. This is true despite the fact most of the communities we live in or with are clearly foolish, small-minded, unconscious and/or destructive. Truly wise communities (some of which operate on millennia-old traditions) are seldom seen or publicized by our civilization, preoccupied as it is with bustling off to its own demise.

As individuals, we are inherently more limited than a community. Although we can consult books and friends and critics, in the end we are limited to our own single perspective. We are, alas, only one person, looking at the world from one place, one history, one pattern of knowing.

A community, on the other hand, can see things through many eyes, many histories, many ways of knowing. The question is whether it dismisses or creatively utilizes and integrates that diversity.

Communities are wise to the extent they use diversity well. The wisest know that every viewpoint represents a part of the truth, and that it is through the cooperative, creative interplay of viewpoints that the wisest, most comprehensive and powerful truths emerge. So they engage in that interplay, that dialogue – a creative controversy or consensus process that winds its way to wise public judgment.

The best government is that government which enables communities to do this – to nurture and utilize their wisdom and resources – especially their diversity – in such a way that they require less and less government.

A community that can manage itself in a wise and sustainable manner is one that has mastered democracy. They know they can’t depend on leaders (from dictators to saviours, from representatives to experts) to do things for them. They know that democratic citizens and leaders work best in partnership with each other, co-creating each other’s power. They know that leaders must be seen as living extensions of their own will and wisdom, which must be kept active. They know that passive “followership” abandons leaders, deprives them of the wisdom and creativity of the community, and opens them up to the corruptions of alienated power.

A democratic community grows beyond dependence and paternalism. In a sense, the more democratic a society is, the more it has “come of age.”Movements for democracy might even be seen as the maturation process of a culture. A mature society knows how to handle itself in dynamic context with others, drawing on its inner resources (its diverse members) and relating responsively and creatively with its environment.

The more it knows how to nurture and use the rich diversity of individual views and capabilities within it, the more wise (and democratic) a society will be. It will resist small-minded leadership and even the dictatorship of the majority. It will cherish dissent as a wise individual cherishes doubt – as a door to deeper understanding.

However, as we all know, it is not easy to do something creative with diverse opinions and experiences. It’s much easier to settle for lowest-common-denominator agreements, press for (or give in to) one-sided decisions, or enforce thoughtless compliance. But a wise, democratic society knows that such approaches inevitably overlook important factors and result in poor decisions. A public rush to judgement is comparable to an individual jumping to conclusions. In the long run, it only makes things worse.

So a major activity of a democratic community is developing the skills, procedures, and attitudes needed for people to jointly create with their diversity. As more people become artists with these democratic tools, the community’s thinking becomes more wise, their collective behavior more intelligent and successful.

In this process, communities leave domination and fragmentation (alienated individualism) behind. Those dysfunctional approaches arise from a false dichotomy between the individual and the group. In fact, individuality and community are two facets of the same thing – our alive humanity. Individuals and communities can only be whole and healthy when they nurture each other. This is the lesson of deep democracy.

Through building creative partnerships among empowered, deeply unique individuals and groups, deep democracy enables real community wisdom to emerge. Peace, justice and fruitful, sustainable lives are natural concomitants of this process.

Just as a healthy body contains a deep wisdom that enables it to heal itself and to go about its daily business with energy and intelligence, so does a deeply democratic society resonate with the creative, healing wisdom of the body politic.

Copyright 2004 by Tom Atlee

Tom Atlee is the founder and co-director of the non-profit Co-Intelligence Institute. Recently his work has focused on developing our capacity to function as a wise democracy, so we can turn our social and environmental challenges into positive developments for our society. His social change vision is based on new understandings of wholeness  which recognize the value of diversity, unity, relationship, context, uniqueness and the spirit inside each of us and the world. Co-intelligence is a form of intelligence grounded in that kind of wholeness. It has collaborative and collective dimensions, which we see clearly in higher forms of politics and governance, the central focus of the Co-Intelligence Institute. Co-intelligence theory also acknowledges many facets of intelligence (like head and heart), wisdom, and the higher forms of intelligence (natural and sacred) that move through and beyond us. Although Tom and the Institute focus on very practical issues of group, social and political dynamics, co-intelligence has many esoteric dimensions as well.

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Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

From the SynEARTH Archives. … Sometimes the truth just keeps on telling. …

How about those humans that just want to survive. I remember back in the 70’s when the gasoline crunch meant you had to fuel your cars on odd and even days. Interest rates were over 20%.  Jimmy Carter and the USA was being pushed around by IRAN. And, lots of people including me were buying guns and preparing to SURVIVE.

We are beginning to hear the same kind of talk these days. Let’s go off in the woods and just survive. Good idea ?

This morning’s author tells us that won’t work. We need lots of other humans to survive. We need a team working together. Remember synergy is “working together.”

Survival Requires Synergy

Steven D. Ramseur

Once you have studied the realities involved in surviving a long term catastrophe (years, not weeks), it becomes painfully obvious that maintenance of a reasonably comfortable standard of living in a post disaster situation is beyond the resources of one individual or one family.

It is simply impossible to know enough… to learn enough… or to afford enough to meet all the needs of a family unit living at more than a bare subsistence standard of living… a standard of living far below what we would now consider to be “third world”. This is a future I would wish upon my family only if death were the only alternative. We can, however, do better… much better.

“How?”, you ask. “With a little help from our friends” is the answer.

Team work is the key to survival, not only individual survival, but survival of an acceptable standard of living… even survival of a productive society. It is simply not possible to cover all of your future needs from within your family unit.

For example, you may be a great gardener, but can you build and maintain the tools necessary for production level farming. Even if you can forge plowshares and tan leather for tack, what if your animal gets sick, or what if your family gets sick? Can you diagnose the problem, and if you can, will you have stored the supplies needed to treat the problem?

What if you are a great farmer, a great blacksmith, a great vet, and a physician on the side? What if someone attacks your family while you are in the field?

Who will spin the yarn? Who will weave the cloth? Who will make the clothes? Who will tan the leather? Who will make the shoes?

Who will teach your children? Even if you have every one of these skills, you are not likely to have the current resources to stock the supplies needed to maintain the trade. Even if you stock everything that might possibly be needed for every one of these trades, there will simply not be enough hours in the day to meet even your most basic needs.

What is the answer? The answer is specialization. This is the root foundation for human society. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Forget the idea that you will survive in your secure fortress with your solar power, your tons of wheat, and your thousands of rounds of ammunition. You will succumb to a superior force, or to disease, to starvation, or to isolation and depression.

The “dream” survival situation would be a small, relatively isolated community with a large agricultural base and some manufacturing resources. It would have its own power supply, temperate weather, and a good mix of trade skills. Very few of us have the luxury to live in such a plane. In fact there are very few such places at all. Even if you can find one, they are not likely to welcome a total stranger into their community during the turmoil of a post-catastrophe situation.

If you know of such a place, consider moving there now, even if it means a career change and an income reduction. You may have to give up your weekly trips to the symphony and the theatre, and you might not have a choice if 15 different French restaurants, but you might find your live very much richer for the safety, fraternity, and slower pace of life.

I realize that we cannot all live in small town utopia, and even in these communities, the vast majority of people don’t give a moment’s thought to post-disaster survival. They don’t have on hand even a fraction of the supplies needed to carry on their trade for even a few days out of touch from the regional and national distribution system. Life in America is just too comfortable just now to think about things.

So what can you do? You can learn all you can about everything you can. You can stock up on reference books. You can collect all the supplies needed for short term survival and intermediate term subsistence. But most importantly, you can learn a practical skill, then stock deep in what you do well, then recruit friends of like mind who will do the same for other complementary skills. A carpenter with some wheat and a rifle with loads of ammunition might be in a poor situation with a sick or hungry child. A carpenter who has seen fit to put aside a top quality set of hand tools and several hundred pounds of nails might be a rich man in a community with a need for shelter and building skills.

A physician may be a lousy shot and unable to defend his family, but a physician with the tools to diagnose illness and a stockpile of medicines to treat them is guaranteed to have the whole community turn out in his defense. The combination of his knowledge and his supplies, not necessarily either one alone is what makes him an immense asset to the community. The whole is again worth more than the sum of the parts.

After realizing that the team or group approach to preparedness is superior, one must consider what skills are essential in order to know what to learn or who to recruit.

Skills might be divided into essential or primary, and desirable or secondary, based on whether they are necessary for personal or cultural survival respectively. Primary skills needed for personal survival, and the people to provide them, might include:

1) Sustenance – storage, preparation, and production of food and water

  • A) farmers
  • B) serious gardeners
  • C) cooks and bakers

2) Shelter – short and long term protection from hazards of toxins, fire, radiation, the environment, and antisocial behavior, including maintenance of existing shelter

  • A) builders – electricians, plumbers, carpenters, masons
  • B) wood cutters
  • C) sanitation or radiation engineers
  • D) mechanics

3) Security – protection from the antisocial conduct of insiders or outsiders

  • A) law officers
  • B) military personnel or veterans
  • C) hunters or others skilled with weapons
  • D) administrators (yes, even after the great disaster there will be a need for a few petty bureaucrats. Someone has to keep the ducks in a row.

4) Medical care – maintenance of the personal and public health of the community

  • A) physicians, especially Family Practitioners and Surgeons, a Pathologist might have his place but would be of less general use than a primary care clinician or surgeon.
  • B) dentists
  • C) nurses, physicians’ assistants, paramedics, EMTs, ex-military medics
  • D) pharmacists
  • E) sanitarians and public health officials

Secondary skills are things you personally might be able to live without, but society cannot.

1) Education

  • A) teachers – parents can teach, but not as well or as comprehensively as someone who is trained in it professionally. Note also that teachers frequently make good administrators if you don’t want any real bureaucrats in the group.
  • B) parents – education is their principle job anyway. C) lawyers and accountants – Their primary skills may be useless, but they are well educated people. Don’t let lawyers administrate, however, unless you want a new world as screwed up as the old.

2) Transportation – life proceeds very slowly when you must walk everywhere.

  • A) mechanics – There will be no shortage of surplus vehicles, but keeping them running will be a task.
  • B) chemists and/or distillers – Those surplus vehicles and machines must run on something.
  • C) animal breeders – If you can’t get the truck run you can ride an animal. This form of transportation is also edible and produces fertilizer. Petroleum may be hard to come by as well.
  • D) wood and leather workers – to make harnesses, saddles, wagons, etc.

3) Communications and Electronics – vastly increases the efficiency of production, distribution, and security.

  • A) ham radio operators – they almost always have plenty of equipment and they think a lot about emergency preparedness.
  • B) telephone technicians – the telephone system will still be there but keeping it working will be a vital help to the community.
  • C) electricians or electronics technicians – the generation and storage of electricity is vital to communications and very helpful to almost every other sector of the community.
  • D) athletes – If you can’t get the message there any other way, you can always send a runner.

Others might add quite a few more categories to this list, but it’s easy to see that the scale of the task in mastering even a fraction of these skills is beyond reasonable expectation.

A practical way of dealing with this problem can be found in studying the organizational principles of the U. S. Army Special Forces.

Among the concepts taught in the Special Forces is the idea of limited specialization. Every Special Forces soldier is expert in the basic skills of soldiering such as weapons, movement, concealment, survival, etc., but he is also a specialist with very advanced knowledge in one particular area such as communications, intelligence, demolition, or medical. Every team member is familiar with the skills of the others, but he is expected not only to be able to utilize his skills in a superior manner, but also to teach his skills to others.

The Special Forces soldier is a consummate warrior, but his principle mission is not to fight but to teach, lead, and inspire. The
“survivalist” should consider this to be his mission as well. The Regular Army NCO would be expected to lead a squad of ten or so men. The Special Forces NCO would be expected to teach his skills to a large number of indigenous sympathizers and then lead a group as large as a company or a battalion… jobs usually held by captains or lieutenant colonels.

So too should the dedicated survivalist consider himself a leader and teacher. After having mastered the basic skills of self- reliance his next priority must be to master his specialty skill, and having learned it well, to stockpile the tools of his trade. He must then work on the other specialties important to survival, with special emphasis on skills not yet filled by recruitment.

A good plan would be to become a specialist in one of the primary or secondary skills, develop a good working knowledge of all of the primary skills, and become familiar with the secondary skills.

The camouflage-clad, rifle toting loner of the popular media isn’t practicing survival, he is practicing for suicide. Don’t imitate him, and don’t recruit him. Survival means teamwork, and the bigger the team the more comfortable the future.

Just think, if everyone thought like a survivalist, then it’s likely none of us would ever need these skills and supplies we work so hard to obtain. The best life insurance policy is the one you don’t have to collect on.

Copyright 1990 by Steven D. Ramseur

Originally published under the title: How to Survive Comfortably or What Friends are really good for…

Front Page

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

From the 2002 SynEARTH Archives. … This article was the fifth in the SafeEARTH series. See: 1) Beyond Crime and Punishment, 2) Synergic Containment: Protecting Children, 3) Synergic Containment: Science & Rationale, and 4) Synergic Containment: Protecting Community


If those perpetrating the adversary event have weapons, they must be disarmed. Today, the danger of adversary events is greatly magnified by access to weapons. We humans are Time-binders. That means as a species we can create knowledge without limit. When we incorporate knowledge into matter-energy it is called a tool. Because knowledge can grow without limit, tools can also grow without limit. When tools are used to hurt others, they are called weapons. In our modern world, we have created ever more powerful weapons. These weapons are not safe in the hands of ignorance.

Once the perpetrators of an adversary event are contained, their victims rescued, then they will be disarmed, this must be effected before they can be rescued.

Much of the pain and suffering in our world today is the result of our love affair with weapons. In regard to weapons humans are unsane. They have deluded themselves in to thinking weapons make them safer.

Six years ago, the advent of the Washington D.C. area sniper has brought renewed interest in the subject of weapons and their role in our present society. We were reminded that weapons are very easily available to just about anyone that wants them. And, while the technology to track these weapons and even the ammunition used within them is easily possible, we don’t do it, since this might infringe on the American citizen’s Right to bear Arms.

In a synergic society there is no need to be armed. Even within our present adversary-neutral society, weapons in the hands of law abiding “good” citizens seem to bring society little benefit. And certainly, weapons in the hands of criminals and predators bring great harm to the public. Any scientific analysis of the role of weapons in modern America would reveal that weapons are not only plentiful and easily available, but that they are also very powerful.

One gift of  human intelligence is that it allows humanity to create knowing without limit. Every generation knows more than the previous generation. When humans incorporate their knowing into artifacts, they are called tools. Unlimited knowing produces unlimited tools. Every generation has more powerful tools than the previous one.
As I have explained elsewhere, we humans always have three options in relating to others. We can help each other, we can ignore each other, or we can hurt each other. When tools are used to hurt others, we are call them weapons.
Now humans have been making weapons for a long time. Weapons are tools designed to hurt or kill others. As our human knowing has grown, we have always quickly incorporated that knowing into our new weapons. And as a result, weapons have and continue to grow evermore powerful.
Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman writing in the Evolution of Weaponry explains:

Humans have proven themselves to be infinitely ingenious at creating and using devices to overcome their limitations. From one perspective human history can be seen as a series of ever-more-efficient devices to help humans communicate, travel, trade, work, and even to think. Similarly, the history of violence, peace, and conflict can be seen as the history, or the evolution, of a series of ever-more-efficient devices to enable humans to kill and dominate their fellow human beings.

The concept of an “evolution” of weaponry is very appropriate, since the battlefield is the ultimate realm of Darwinian natural selection. With few exceptions, any weapon or system that survives for any length of time does so because of its utility. Nothing survives for long on the battlefield simply because of superstition. Anything that is effective is copied and perpetuated, anything ineffective results in death, defeat, and extinction. There are fads and remnants (the military equivalent of the appendix), but over the long run, everything happens for a reason, and a valid theory of weapons evolution must make these reasons clear, explaining all extinctions and all survivals. …

Weapons’ lethality (in peace and war) is a factor of the effectiveness of the weapons used to kill and of the ability of available medical technology to save lives. Thus, weapons’ lethality can be thought of as a contest between weapons’ effectiveness (the state of technology trying to kill you) and medical effectiveness (the state of technology trying to save you). Like weapons’ lethality, the difference between murder (killing someone) and aggravated assault (trying to kill someone) is also largely a factor of the effectiveness of available weapons vs. the effectiveness of available medical life-saving technology.

Throughout most of human history the effectiveness of weapons available for domestic violence was basically stable, a relative constant. The relative effectiveness of swords, axes, and blunt objects has been basically unchanged, and killing (as an act of passion vs. a pre-meditated act like poisoning or leaving a bomb) was only possible at close-range by stabbing, hacking, and beating.

Bows were kept unstrung, not in a state of readiness for an act of passion. It required premeditation plus training plus strength to kill with a bow. Early, muzzle-loading gunpowder weapons were also often not kept in a state of readiness. It required time, training, and premeditation to load and shoot such a weapon. Once loaded, the humidity in the air could seep into the gunpowder and the load could become unreliable. Only in the late 19th century, with widespread introduction of breech-loading, brass cartridges was a true act of passion possible with state-of-the-art weapons technology. Powerful weapons could now be kept in state of readiness (i.e., loaded), and they now required minimal strength or training to use.

ca. 1700 B.C. Chariots provide key form of mobility advantage in ancient warfare
ca. 400 B.C. Greek phalanx slows the chariots, since horses consistently refuse to hurl themselves into a hedge of sharp projecting spears
ca. 100 B.C. Roman system (pilum, swords, training, professionalism, leadership)
ca. 900 A.D. Mounted knight (stirrup greatly enhances utility of mounted warfare)
ca. 1350 Gunpowder (cannon) in warfare (Battle of Crecy, 1346)
ca. 1400 Widespread application of long bow defeats mounted knights ( Battle of Agincourt, I4I5)
ca. 1600 Gunpowder (small arms) in warfare, defeats aIl body armor (30 Years War & English Civil War)
ca. 1800 Shrapnel (exploding artillery shells), ultimately creates renewed need for helmets (ca. 1915)
ca. 1850 Percussion caps permit all-weather use of small arms
ca. 1870 Breech loading, cartridge firing rifles, and pistols™
ca. 1915 Machine gun
ca. 1915 Gas warfare
ca. 1915 Tanks
ca. 1915 Aircraft
ca. 1915 Self-loading (automatic) rifles and pistols
ca. 1940 Strategic bombing of population centers
ca. 1945 Nuclear weapons
ca. 1960 Large scale introduction of operant conditioning in training to enable killing in soldiers
ca. 1970 Precision guided munitions
This then is our real problem. Weapons in our modern society are not only too plentiful and too easily available, but they are also way too powerful and easy to use.
Speaking just this week, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said, “Looking at what was overwhelming force a decade or two decades ago, today you can have overwhelming force, conceivably, with lesser numbers because the lethality is equal to or greater than before,” he said. It has been a mistake, he added, to measure the quantity of forces required for a mission and “fail to look at lethality, where you end up with precision-guided munitions which can give you 10 times the lethality that a dumb weapon might, as an example.”

GENIUS, we shouldn’t have!

Timothy Wilken, MD

One of my areas of interest and study is human intelligence science. The reason human intelligence is so powerful is because of the synergic relationship between two powerful minds—the space mind and the time mind. This “dual mind” intelligence is capable of generating four distinct levels of knowingInformation, Knowledge, Genius, and Wisdom. I am currently completing a new book on Understanding Human Intelligence which will explain the Dual Mind and the four levels of knowing which it produces.
A simple metaphor for these four levels of knowing are:
Information is KnowWhere. Where do I go in space to survive. Where do I get water, food, shelter?
Knowledge is KnowWhen. When do I act in time to encourage or stop a sequence of events.
Genius is KnowHow. How do many different temporal sequences fit together to create spatial complexity.
And, Wisdom is KnowWhy. Why do things happen the way they do? What is the consequence of complexity?
A human with information would know they should avoid a nuclear explosion. Where can I go to be safe.
A human with knowledge could learn to detonate a nuclear weapon. When to a push the button and in what sequence to trigger the bomb.
A person with genius could invent and design a nuclear weapon. How do the laws of physics work together and what temporal sequences must I create to allow nuclear fission or fusion to occur.
A person with wisdom, would know that nuclear weapons should never be invented or manufactured. What are the consequences of using nuclear power as weapons? What happens when such weapons are common? What happens if they fall into the hands of those dominated anger and ignorance. Why would it be a bad idea to create nuclear weapons?
With our new understanding of human intelligence, it will soon be possible for many humans to learn to understand their minds and began accessing the higher levels of knowing. As they do they will gain increasing understanding of sequence and consequence. But, today most humans live their lives in the level of Information with only occasional visits to the level of  Knowledge. Educated people with high literacy, good understanding of mathematics and science may live their lives equally in the levels of Information and Knowledge with occasional flashes of brilliance in the level of Genius. Inventors, innovators, and what we commonly call creative geniuses live in Information and Knowledge, but have learned to easily visit the level of Genius. But, so far only a handful of human geniuses have learned to access Wisdom.
Tools Contain Embedded Knowing
Recall from the introduction, that tools are artifacts made from matter-energy that contain embedded knowing. And, as there is no limit to human knowing, there is also no limit to the amount of knowing that can be embedded in an artifact. That is why we have such powerful tools. Today’s tools commonly contain embedded information, knowledge and genius.
Think of the power of the tools we humans use everyday—a Boeing 747 airplane, our automobiles, the internet, computers, cell phones, televisions, household appliances, the tools in our garages and at our places of work. The knowing in these tools multiply our human power by orders of magnitude. They allow us to do what was considered impossible just a few years ago. It is the power of the knowing embedded in these tools that give them their power.
Using Tools without Understanding
You don’t have to be wise to use a tool full of genius. You don’t even have to be knowledgeable to use such a tool. Many of our fast food restaurants, use picture icons of the food and drinks on the buttons of the check out computers, so that the illiterate and innumerate humans working there can operate the computers without reading, adding or subtracting. The computer even tells the operator the correct amount of change to return to the customer.
However, there is risk in using tools you don’t understand. Remember, “a little knowing can be a dangerous thing.” Today, we commonly put enormously powerful tools into the hands of those who do not understand them. This means the risk of these tools being used in an unsafe manner is high.
And since weapons are just tools that are specifically designed to hurt or kill, they are among the most dangerous tools  in our present world. Today, weapons are easily available to anyone who desires them. They can be purchased legally by any adult who passes a background check for a criminal record. If you are not a convicted felon, you can legally purchase all the weapons and ammunition you desire. You are not legally required to be literate, numerate, or have any knowledge of science or physics.
You are not required to demonstrate any knowledge of weapons or the consequence of their use or misuse, before becoming armed. And of course, there is no psychological screening to determine if you are stable and responsible.
As to felons, minors, or non-citizens—anyone wishing to avoid the background check of legal purchase—they can easily purchase weapons  illegally in almost any town in America.
Why are weapons  so easily available ?
We don’t let just anyone operate a nuclear powerplant, a 767 Boeing Airliner, or for that matter an automobile, without some training, education and testing. But we will sell a gun to anyone who can afford it. After all we just want to make money. And, of course every American possesses the Right to Bear Arms. The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (1791)
The result of America’s policy of easy availability of weapons is reflected in these grim statistics from the CDC:
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reports that in 1999, there were 28,874 firearm-related deaths in the United States. By contrast, there were only 19 firearm-related deaths in Japan in 1998. Gun possession is prohibited in Japan.
Rates of homicide among American youths 15-19 years of age reached record-high levels in the latter half of the 1980s and continue to be among the highest ever recorded in the US for this age group. Between 1985 and 1991, annual homicide rates among males 15-19 years old increased 154 percent.

  • In 2001, homicide was still the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds overall. In this age group, it is the leading cause of death for African Americans, the second leading cause of death for Hispanic Americans, and the third leading cause of death for Native Americans (CDC 2001).
  • In 1999, 4,998 youths ages 15 to 24 were murdered – an average of 14 per day (CDC 2001).
  • Guns are a factor in most youth homicides. In 1999, 81% of homicide victims ages 15 to 24 were killed with firearms (CDC 2001).
It must be obvious to the reader, that manufacturing unlimited tools and unlimited weapons, and then placing them in the hands of ignorance is foolish.
Humanity as Community
Synergic society seeks to protect humanity as community and humanity as individuals. No responsible parent would allow a four year old child to use a blow torch, a power saw, or a nail gun unsupervised. No responsible parent would allow a ten year old to drive the family car on the interstate highway.
Why not? Because these tools are just too powerful to be used without adequate knowledge, education and training.

Genius, they shouldn’t have.

This is our problem today. People have genius, they shouldn’t have. They have access to enormously powerful tools and weapons—tools and weapons containing embedded genius—that they are shouldn’t have access too.
The Saudi terrorists that attacked America on  September 11, were not geniuses. None of them could have invented a Boeing 767 or even a cell phone. None of them could have even explained how these tools even worked. However, they were allowed to use deceit, and threat of force to gain control of these enormously powerful tools, and then use these tools as weapons to bring down the World Trade Towers and damage the Pentagon.
By embedding genius into tools and then selling those tools to anyone with money, we endanger humanity as individuals and humanity as community.
Today, we need a higher standard. Most advanced tools today contain embedded genius. This is powerful KnowHow. Those who use such tools need to well trained and intelligent enough to understand the consequence of using such powerful tools. Access to powerful tools (tools leveraged with genius) that could potentially harm others must be controlled. Only those humans who demonstrate: 1) the knowledge for the safe use of the tool, 2) an understanding of consequence of that tool’s use and misuse, and 3) a history of responsibility, should be allowed access to them.
Iraq & Saddam Hussein
How many Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Iraq in science, physics, biology, or medicine? How many for Peace?
Did Iraqi scientists invent the automobile? The airplane? The telephone? The radio? The television? The computer? If they don’t have the intelligence to invent or even manufacture any of these tools, how did they get them?
They bought them with money.
Where did they get the money? They got it by selling the oil discovered under the desert they live on. Did they discover the oil themselves? No it was discovered by engineers from the West. What makes this oil even theirs? An accident of birth and the mistaken belief that oil is property.
As I have discussed elsewhere, the land and natural resources are wealth provided to us by God and Nature. The sunshine, air, water, land, minerals, and the earth itself all come to us freely. The Earth’s land and natural resources are not products of the human mind or body. They existed long before life and humankind even emerged on our planet. There exists no moral or rational basis for any individual to claim them as Property. If a claim of ownership can be made at all, it must be a claim on behalf of all humanity both the living and those yet unborn.The Iraqis have no moral or rational basis to even claim ownership of the oil. It is only our mistaken belief that oil is property, and specifically the property of those who happen to be living over the deposit that allows this fiction to fly.
Did the Iraqis invent and manufacture oil drilling and refining technology? No, they bought this technology with money loaned to them by Western banks based on future repayment once the oil was extracted.
If you take away the oil money, and limit them to those tools invented and manufactured in Iraq, there would be no danger to anyone. Saddam Hussein would have been impaled on a sharp stick long ago.
We Americans must recogize that we have flooded the world with billions of high powered tools and weapons in order to make money. All the great democracies are guilty. But, the biggest exporter of tools and weapons in the history of the planet is the United States. We Americans are the most guilty. We have basically sold these tools and weapons to anyone with the money to buy them. That has been our only criteria.
Now let us look once again at the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Somehow, we have focused on the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but have overlooked the founding fathers purpose in writing the second amendment: that of insuring “a well-regulated Militia“. A mob with guns is not a “well-regulated Militia.”
Public Safety requires responsible use of powerful tools and weapons. We need to recognize the potential danger in the use of tools and weapons in our present society. We must establish some standard of knowledge, training, and responsibility as a prerequisite to gaining access to these tools and weapons.
Protecting Us from the Police

Some will argue that we need a private right to weapons to protect us from the police. This argument misses the point. In an earlier article of this SafeEARTH series, I introduced the concept of the Life Trust Guardians and their enforcement arm the Synergic Containment Officers.
Life Trust Guardians and Synergic Containment Officers are not the police, they are synergists. They will be well educated and trained. They will understand the powerful tools they use and the consequence of both the use and missuse of those tools. Remember, synergists believe that we should work together and act responsibly to make the world work for everyone. Synergy means working together—operating together as in Co-Operation— laboring together as in Co-Laboration—acting together as in Co-Action. The goal of synergic union is to accomplish a larger or more difficult task than can be accomplished by individuals working separately. Synergists are committed to a world where I win, you win, others win and the Earth wins. Win-Win-Win-Win.

Best of the Best

Synergic Containment Officers are Life Trust Guardians. The Life Trust will seek to attract the best of the best as candidates for Trust Guardianship. Once selected these Trust Guardians would have greater trusteeship privileges with concomitant authority and responsibilities for and to the Life Trust.

Trust Guardian Candidates should have repeatedly demonstrated both personal and public honesty, and should have a history demonstrating synergic morality and behavior. In the future, Universities will offer degrees in Trustegrity and Guardian Science to prepare those young humans to desire to serve Humanity as Community. A careful selection process will be developed to select the very best which could include Trust Guardian Academies.

It is apparent that the responsibilities of Trust Guardians will be great. They of course are not allowed to hurt anyone through their control of the Synergic Trusts. But in addition they are required to protect and conserve the Synergic Trusts. Further, they are required to help others and to insure that all humans have the basic needs of life —both survival and meaning. This is a binding obligation. Failure to meet these obligations results in the immediate loss of Synergic Trustee privileges. The Life Trust Guardians will be charged with protecting Humanity as Community, and Humanity as Individuals.

Public safety is paramount. No human has the right to injure another human with an adversary action. Once such an event has occurred, those responsible will be contained, they will be monitored and their freedom restricted until such time as the Life Trust Guardians have determined that they are safe without monitoring or restriction. This process is described more completely in Synergic Containment: Science & Rationale and Synergic Containment: Branch Davidian Compound, Waco, TX.
If the Life Trust Guardians release them from monitoring or restrictions, and they hurt someone else with another adversary action, then the Life Trust Guardians involved in their release will share responsibility with them for that adversary event. Life Trust Guardians are held accountable for failure to protect the public. This is a much higher standard then offered by today’s criminal injustice system.
No Knives, No Guns, No Killing!

One hundred and twenty years ago the American West was a vast, open area brimming with natural resources and opportunity. Cow towns and mining camps sprung up across the landscape. From around the world, millions of people flocked to the Western territories with the hope of making a better life for themselves. Many came to find gold or silver. Others came to open saloons, general stores, and other small businesses. And still others came to steal from the productive members of the west.

It was in such a setting that Wyatt Earp lived and worked. Like many of his time, he skipped from one boom town to another, always optimistic that his fortune awaited at the end of another long, dusty ride. And in nearly every town he invariably found himself called upon to bring law and order to what was previously anarchy. Earp’s exploits in taming lawless cow towns and mining camps and his bravery in facing ruthless killers—particularly at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona—make him one of the great figures of the American West. While the movies make much of the gunfights and use of intimidation in the streets of Dodge City. Earp’s greatest tool was the prohibition of weapons within the city limits. His rule was simple: “no knives, no guns, no killings.”

The history of the American West, is in large part the struggle to overcome  adversity. Earp’s discovery of a mechanism to insure public safety spread. By the summer of 1876, Denver was slightly larger than Dallas, although not a mite different as far as being fronted by the inevitable plankwalks and halter-polished hitch rails. A sign posted at the edge of town warned: “No guns in town.” This law was strictly enforced.

Zone of Safety

What Wyatt Earp achieved with his “No Guns in Town” law was the creation of a zone of safety. Within city limits there could be no guns. Apparently Earp understood that “guns do kill people.” Guns are weapons. By excluding them from the town, he was using a principle of synergic containment and disarmament.

We need to create a zone of safety. And, then we can begin to extend that zone. We need to protect those within the zone and isolate those outside the zone. This is how the immune system in our body works. The skin is the boundary for the body. Its job is to isolate all adversity from the interior. We need to create a skin around our safety zone. That isolates all adversity from the interior.

Within the safety zone, there should be no tolerance of adversity. None!

No violence would be allowed. No weapons would be allowed. Violation would result in expulsion from the safety zone. Committed Adversaries would be expelled from synergic community. They would be expelled from the zone of safety. And that zone of safety is not anonymous. Everyone is the zone is know. The immune system of our bodies knows every cell. Unknowns are presumed to be adversaries until proven otherwise. Freedom and privacy is available to all who do not hurt others. Injure someone and forfeit both.

It is time to put away the adversary way.There is no need for weapons in the zone of safety. In civilized community, the simple possession of a weapon is an adversary act. It must be surrendered immediately and voluntarily, or you leave the zone of safety.

Living in the zone of safety is not a right, it is a privilege available to civilized humanity. Civilized humans do not want or need weapons.

I believe it is time to create and then extend zones of safety. This is the only way the Israelis can make their people safe. No knives, no guns, no killings! None. The same is true for all nations. Except for small arms in the hands of Synergic Containment Officers charged with protecting both Humanity as Individuals and Humanity as Community, it is time to put away all weapons.

Pandora’s Box
What do we do now? Now that these powerful tools and weapons are in the hands of ignorance and anger, how do we get them back.

We must begin by regaining control of all those tools and weapons that threaten humanity. Our message to Saddam Hussein, and all who would act to harm humanity. If you want peace lay down your weapons. All of them. This must be our message to all those who are armed.

It is time for a complete and total disarmament. Within the human body reside 40 trillion individual cells, none are armed except the immune cells. Within a synergic organization which could reside all of humanity presently 6.3 billion humans. None would be armed except Synergic Containment Officers.
Universal Disarmament

During a period of moratorium, all humans would be expected to surrender all weapons into the custody of the Life Trust Guardians. A few of these weapons would go into museums, some would be be made available to the public within Earth Trust hunting parks and designated sport weapons clubs. Humans who desire to use weapons to hunt and kill animals may do so only within designated hunting parks managed by the Earth Trust Guardians and regulated by the Synergic Containment Officers.

Those humans who desire to use weapons for sport shooting may do so only through designated sport weapon clubs which are regulated and monitored by the Synergic Containment Officers. All weapons must be kept on the premises of the sports clubs, or within the grounds of the hunting parks. These weapons will be montored and accounted for under strict Life Trust Guardian guidelines.

However, the vast majority of weapons would be destroyed and scraped. Once the moratorium expires, the possession of a weapon outside of a permitted location is prohibited, and is by definition an adversary event. The Life Trust Guardians will dispense Containment Officers to confiscate the weapon or weapons and take those responsible into custody. Those individuals found responsible for weapons possession would be subject to the same public safety process as any other human found responsible for an adversary event including rehabilitation, education, restitution, and prevention of future adversary events.

How dangerous would the Washington D.C. sniper be without a gun and ammuntion? How dangerous would Saddam Hussein be without his weapons?

Read more by Timothy Wilken: 1) A Synergic Future 2) Protecting Humanity 3) Beyond War

Read Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s: 1) Aggression and Violence 2) Evolution of Weaponry 3) Psychological Effects of Combat.

Front Page

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

“The needs of the many … outweigh the needs of the few … or the one.” — Mr. Spock

The needs of many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.Synergy at its most basic simply means “working together.”Synergic science is then the study of “working together.”

As science has progressed in helping us understand the human condition, it is now clear that we are an INTERdependent species. Sometimes I depend on others, and sometimes others depend on me.

Another important fact of being in INTERdependent species is we share the same environment—the same reality. At home, we share the same living space with friends or family. If I turn the heater thermostat up, the room will become warmer for everyone. Control of that reality is shared.

If I start yelling and screaming, things will get much noisier for everyone. Control of that reality is shared.

If I make a mess or don’t clean up the kitchen, then we are all living in that mess. This is just as true in the workplace, our neighborhoods, our communities, and in fact in the whole world. We live on a single planet, we all share the same water, the same air and the same resources of the single small planet.

Because control of reality is shared, if I foul the water or air, I foul your water and your air. Whatever I do, will effect you. Whatever you do, will effect me. If we work together and act responsibly, we can minimize the harm we do each other, and maximize the benefits of solving our problems together.

Freedom of action in a shared environment is a privilege, not a right. …

That bears repeating! Freedom of action in a shared environment is a privlege, not a right!

Which is more important? The individual’s right to freedom of action or community’s right to public safety? We can now see that this is a silly and false argument. Community is simply “many” individuals. My freedom of action stops at the boundary of another individual’s personal space and safety.

America has long been the champion of the individual’s right to freedom of action. In fact, our American criminal justice system is so paralyzed by the need to protect the rights of the individual, that our streets are full of criminals, and our e-mail boxes are full of unsolicited junk mail and garbage including pornography and fraudulent offers.

Why do we tolerate this? Isn’t it time to grow up? Aren’t we smart enough to create a society that values both an individual’s right to freedom of action and the community’s right to public safety.

When Community and the Individual Conflict

Timothy Wilken, MD

With the discovery that humanity is an INTERdependent species comes the realization that we humans can no longer separate ourselves from community. Humanity as community is larger and contains humanity as individuals. The needs and safety of humanity as community must precede the needs and safety of humanity as individuals

Freedom of action in a shared environment is a privilege, not a right. When we use Synergic Containment to protect a child, we are teaching the child that in a shared environment, he is free to act as long as those actions do not hurt others. We are teaching him to work together and act responsibly.

Synergic containment is probably most attractive to parents because it is a technique to control adversary behavior when you love and care about the individual behaving adversarily. Most parents love and care about their children. Containment is about protecting both the victim and the aggressor. It does this by stopping adversary behavior. Now synergic containment could be used just as effectively outside the family.

Community Use of Synergic Containment

Throughout the long history of humanity, the primary mechanism for controlling adversary behavior has been adversary punishment. In the short term, adversary punishment seems successful in controlling adversary behavior, but punishment always hurts and injures the one being controlled. This injury tends to breed anger and resentment in the one being punished. Of course the effect is longer if you kill the aggressor, at least until their children grow up.

Now, outside the family, we often do not know or care about the individual being controlled with adversary punishment. So we are less disturbed that they are being injured and hurt. In fact we often identify with the victim, and feel it is only fair that they suffer for their crimes. It is an “eye for an eye,” and a “tooth for a tooth.” It is our very definition of justice.

What we are missing here, is that adversary punishment fails to stop adversary behavior in the long run. Punishment breeds hostility, hatred and eventually revenge. The Israelis and Palestinians have been punishing each other for decades, with no sign that the mutual adversary behavior in their communities is stopping or even slowing. “As you sow, so shall you reap!” You can’t stop adversity with adversity.

We have been adversarily punishing serious crimes in the United States for over 200 years. As the FBI reported in 1998: Despite the fact that as of “midyear 1998, the United States’ prisons and jails incarcerated an estimated 1,802,496 criminals”, in the year 1997, “the number of violent crimes—murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault —and property crimes—burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft —reported to the police departments in the United States totaled 13,175,070.” (2)

Community’s Right of Synergic Containment

The human body is a community of 40 trillion individual cells. The individual cells are organized synergically to be interdependent upon each other. They cannot separate themselves from the body as community. The survival of the cells depends on the survival of the body. The needs and safety of the body precedes the needs and safety of the individual cells. Sometimes individual cells are injured or even sacrificed to protect and insure the survival of the body as a whole. The needs and safety of the community of cells takes precedence over the needs and safety of the cells as individuals.

Community’s Right to Synergic Containment rests on the premise that if you deliberately harm other members of community, you will lose freedom of action within that community. If I harm others in a shared environment, I should expect community to contain my behavior—I should expect community to restrict my  freedom of action.

The Rule of Public Safety is that no human should be allowed to deliberately injure another human—that all adversary actions should ideally be prevented and when not prevented quickly contained.

Our present culture based on the false premise of human independence often places individual needs and safety over community needs and safety. This will shift dramatically in a synergic culture. If we humans choose a positive future, we would want a system that provides both for the protection and safety of humanity as community and humanity as individual.

Life Trust Guardians

This future system might well be modeled after the most successful systems on the planet—the living systems. Your body has a powerful immune system which protects the organism as individual cells and the organism as a whole.

In my proposal for protecting humanity, I have defined those who would assume this role as Life Trust Guardians. Their mission would be the protection of both humanity as community and humanity as individuals. They are bound by two laws.

The Code of the Life Trust Guardians

1) A Life Trust Guardian may not injure humanity or, through inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.

2) A Life Trust Guardian may not injure an individual human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would conflict with the First Law. 

The first law of the of the Code commits to protect Humanity as Community. The second law commits to protect Humanity as Individuals. This represents a major shift in human values from today’s focus with the individual as primary to tomorrow’s focus with community as primary.

While Life Trust Guardians are responsible for the safety of both humanity as community and humanity as individuals, the needs and safety of community take precedent over the needs and safety of individuals.

This does not suggest a casual attitude toward the rights of individuals. Life Trust Guardians may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, except where that would cause injury to humanity as a whole — except where that would cause injury to humanity as community. When an adversary event presents no risk to humanity as community then the Synergic Containment Officer’s first responsibility is to the safety of the individual. (3)

Protecting the Public

The Life Trust Guardians (LTG) as described in A Synergic Future have large responsibilities. Here we will only address their role in protecting public safety.

The Public Safety Division of the LTG would be entrusted with protecting the public safety by containment and prevention of adversary events. They will utilize synergic mechanism based on synergic morality to insure freedom from crime. This synergic organization will act more like our body’s immune system, than the law enforcement agencies we are familiar with today. Life Trust Guardians accept the premise that adversary behavior is caused by ignorance and not badness. This is discussed at length elsewhere in Beyond Crime and Punishment. Life Trust Guardians are synergists. They operate in the synergic paradigm.



MISTAKES = Badness MISTAKES = Ignorance


—> self-punish


—> self-educate





Life Trust Guardians accept as their responsibility the protection of humanity as community as well as humanity as individuals.

The Rule of Public Safety is that no human should be allowed to deliberately injure another human— that all adversary actions should ideally be prevented and when not prevented quickly contained.

The Public Safety Division of the Life Trust Guardians accomplish the rule of public safety by:

  • 1) Seeking the Containment of all adversary events,

  • 2) Performing Scientific analysis and investigation of all adversary events to determine the causes and parties responsible,

  • 3) Holding Responsibility Hearings when those suspected of adversary actions claim innocence,

  • 4) Providing Rehabilitation of those responsible for serious and dangerous adversary events up to and including incarceration for long term psychiatric and psychological treatment until they are found to be fully recovered and no longer a threat to the public safety,

  • 5) Providing Education of those responsible for adversary events until they possess the understanding and knowledge necessary to avoid such events in the future,

  • 6) Seeking Restitution from the responsible parties to repair to extent possible the injuries that their adversary actions have caused, and

  • 7) And, always working toward Prevention of future adversary events, by monitoring and/or restricting personal freedom as appropriate to protect the public. (3)

The Public Safety Division is composed various pubic safety specialists. These include: Synergic Containment OfficersScience Officers, Hearing Officers, Rehabilitation Officers, and Prevention Officers.

Let us examine the process in more detail. When an adversary event occurs and an injury is reported to the Life Trust Guardians, they will dispense Containment Officers to the scene of the injury to analyze the adversary event, and if further risk to body or life exists, contain it.

Principles of Synergic Containment

1) Protection and safety of Humanity as Community.

2) Protection and safety of Humanity as Individual

3) When in conflict, the protection and safety of Community takes precedence over the protection and safety of the Individual.  “The needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few or of the one.” A community is a collection of many individuals.

4) The force of Synergic Containment is overwhelmingly powerful. The power of community is much much greater than the power of any individual or group of individuals. The power of the many outweighs the power of the few or of the one.

5) The force of Synergic Containment is never applied to punish others for wrongdoing. It is applied only to protect. The goal is to protect the largest number of individuals possible. Because this force is so powerful it must be applied carefully. It is always applied with love and compassion. It is always applied thoughtfully, carefully, intelligently, cautiously, and calmly. Ideally, individuals win, community wins, Life wins and the Earth wins. If some must lose, all efforts will be made to minimize that loss.

Depending on the nature and severity of the adversary event, Containment Officers have the authority to take those suspected of adversary actions into custody. Public safety is paramount. Suspects are required to cooperate with the Containment Officers, and if asked to enter into custody to do so voluntarily.

Containment of adversary events is the prime responsibility of the Synergic Containment Officers. They are required to protect themselves and the public. If a suspect resists being taken into custody, the Containment Officers will utilize the most advanced containment technology in every effort to avoid injury to the suspects, but if the suspects resist, Containment Officers are authorized to use whatever level of force necessary to insure public safety. This includes authorization to use deadly force.

When a synergist is containing an adversary, he must speak the language they understand—the language of force.

While our immune system lacks any ability to repair or rehabilitate cancer cells, the Life Trust Guardians should have much greater success rehabilitating and educating adversarily behaving humans. In a synergic future, all Physicians, Psychiatrists and Psychologists will be Life Trust Guardians. As humanity becomes more synergic and our knowledge of human psychology becomes greater, the need for deadly force should diminish.

In a moment we will examine how this might work in the real world, but first we need to define what it means to be “hurt”. Recall, when an adversary event occurs and an injury is reported to the Life Trust Guardians, they will dispense Containment Officers to the scene of the injury to analyze the adversary event.

Today, if you have a house fire you call the fire department. If you have home accident with personal injury, you call an ambulance. Now within synergic society all of these problems would be reported to and handled by the Life Trust Guardians, but Synergic Containment Officers would only respond to reports of adversary events.

An adversary event involves the intentionally injuring or threatening to injure other individuals–fighting and flighting–pain and dying. This is where we find conflict–the struggle to avoid losing–the struggle to avoid being hurt or killed. These are the events that our police forces respond to today.

Synergic Containment

Synergic Containment Officers are only responsible for containment of adversary events.


Their first task will be to contain the adversary event, and prevent the event from spreading further into community and involving new victims.


Synergic society does not view the perpetrators as bad or criminal. However, they certainly recognize that they are dangerous. Recall in our initial discussion of using synergic containment to protect children, we are seeking to contain and protect all the individuals caught up in an adversary event—both victims and perpetrators. Containment is about protecting both the victim and the aggressor.

Synergic Rescue

Once the adversary event has been contained, the second task becomes to safely rescue all of the individuals caught up in the event. This rescue is prioritized. First to be rescued are victims at greatest risk for further harm, then victims at lower risk. Once the victims are safe, the synergic containment officers will begin their rescue of the perpetrators.

 Synergic Disarmament

If those perpetrating the adversary event have weapons, they must be disarmed. Today, the danger of adversary events is greatly magnified by access to weapons. We humans are Time-binders. That means as a species we can create knowledge without limit. When we incorporate knowledge into matter-energy it is called a tool. Because knowledge can grow without limit, tools can also grow without limit. When tools are used to hurt others, they are called weapons. In our modern world, we have created ever more powerful weapons. These weapons are not safe in the hands of ignorance.

Once the perpetrators of an adversary event are contained, their victims rescued, then they will be disarmed, this must be effected before they can be rescued.

Front Page

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

“Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the earth.”

Archimedes (287-212 BC)

There are three types of humans to be found in our present world. Which type you are depends on what you believe about how the world works.

Adversaries believe there is not enough for everyone and only the physically strong will survive. They believe humans are coercively dependent on others, and they best understand the language of force.

Neutralists believe there is enough for everyone, if only you work hard enough and take care of yourself. They believe humans are financially  independent and should be self-sufficient unless they are too lazy or defective. They best understand the language of money.

A new type of human is emerging called synergists. Synergists believe there is enough for everyone, but only if we work together and act responsibly. They believe humans are interdependent and can only obtain sufficiency by working together as community. Synergists best understand the language of love.

But, to be successful in our present world, the synergist must understand all three languages and know when to use them. Synergists must sometimes use the language of force, and sometimes the language of money, it depends on whom they are talking to. However, when synergists are seeking allieswhen synergists are seeking to build communitythey must speak the language of love.

Synergists are trying to heal the wounds inflected by those who don’t understand how the world could work. This then is the essential challenge to the synergists.

Can we work together and act responsibly in time to save our ourselves on this planet ?

Not without tools!


Timothy Wilken, MD

When I began searching for a better way for humankind, I new we would have to learn to do things in a different way. My goal was to find a safe path that humankind could follow to move from our adversary-neutral past to a synergic future.

I called this path SafePassage. This word was important to me and I even used it as the original title for my books on Synergic Science.  Before moving on it is important that the reader understand what is meant by synergic science. If you already understand this, skip down to the next section.

What is Synergic Science ?

Some of you may be familar with the term synergy. Synergy means working together—operating together as in Co-Operation—laboring together as in Co-Laboration—acting together as in Co-Action. The goal of synergic union is to accomplish a larger or more difficult task than can be accomplished by individuals working separately.

R. Buckminster Fuller was a pioneer of synergic science —the science of working together— the science of whole systems, he considered the relationships between the parts that make up a system. He discovered that it is how these parts relate with one another that will absolutely determine the success of the whole system.

The dictionary defines synergy as the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. A simple example might be two muscles working together or two medications combined to treat a medical illness. R. Buckminster Fuller writing in 1975 explained it this way:

Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately. Synergy means behavior of integral, aggregate, whole systems unpredicted by behaviors of any of their components or subassemblies of their components taken separately from the whole. Synergy is the only word that means this. The fact that we humans are unfamiliar with the word means that we do not think there are behaviors of “wholes” unpredicted by the behavior of “parts”.

Synergy can best be illustrated I think, by chrome-nickel-steel — chromium, nickel, and iron. The most important characteristic of strength of a material is its ability to stay in one piece when it is pulled — this is called tensile strength, it is measured as pounds per square inch, PSI. The commercially available strength of iron at the very highest level is approximately sixty thousand PSI; of chromium about seventy thousand PSI; and of nickel about eighty thousand PSI. The weakest of the three is iron.

We all know the saying, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Well, experiment on chrome-nickel-steel, pull it apart, and you will find that it is much stronger than its weakest link of sixty thousand PSI. In fact it is much stronger than the eighty thousand PSI of its stronger link. Thus the saying that a chain is as strong as its weakest link doesn’t hold. So, let me say something that really sounds funny: Maybe a chain is as strong as the sum of the strength of all its links. Let’s add up the strengths of the components of chrome-nickel-steel and see. Sixty thousand PSI for iron and seventy thousand PSI for chromium and then and eighty thousand PSI for the nickel, that gives you two hundred and ten thousand PSI. If we add in the minor constituency of carbon and manganese we will add another forty thousand PSI giving us a total of two hundred and fifty thousand PSI.

Now the fact is that under testing, chrome-nickel-steel shows three hundred and fifty thousand PSI—or one hundred thousand PSI more than the combined strength of all the links.

This is typical of synergy, and it is the synergy of the various metal alloys that have enabled industry to do all kinds of things that man never knew would be able to be done based on the characteristic of the parts.

Another Synergic Science pioneer Edward Haskell taught us that when we apply synergic science to examining our human relationships, we discover:

ïrelationships can be adversary where either I lose or you lose or we both lose,

ïrelationships can be neutral where we don’t lose, but neither do we win,

ïor, relationships can be synergic — good for both of us — WIN-WIN.

Synergic system analysis reveals that efficiency within a system is a direct variable of the type of relationship. Win-win relationships maximize efficiency. Win-lose or lose-win relationships severely limit efficiency. And the lose-lose relationship allows no possibility of efficiency.

We can be more working together than we can be working separately. And, much more working together than we can be working against each other. This is just common sense.

Human synergy is working together by explicit intent. (1+1)>>2

Human neutrality is working separately and ignoring each other. (1+1)=2

Human adversity is working against each other.(1+1)<2

R. Buckminster Fuller and Edward Haskell’s achievements were in understanding how whole systems are created in physical Universe. They discovered that Nature always forms whole systems using win-win relationships. This results in the sum of the whole system being much more than the sum of the parts making up the system.

Nature was always seeking more for less — always seeking maximum efficiency in all that she did. Fuller called the principle of seeking more for less the “dymaxion” way. This is of course simply another way of stating the Principle of Least Action.

As I began to master synergic science—the science of working together, I began to realize that SafePassage would come from getting evermore humans using synergic process. How could I do that? I knew that most humans are motivated by making a profit. If I could show them how they could be more successful by acting synergically rather than adversarily or neutrally, they might seek co-Operation.

Synergic Systems — the cooperator’s reward

The most dymaxion principles always occur within wholes. Wholes — made up of parts having win-win relationships with each other. It is the win-win relationship that produces a profit for all of the parts. This is why the sum of the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Edward Haskell’s term for this more is the cooperator’s reward.

I was interested in synergic relationships not with atoms or molecules, but with human beings. I knew there was no law of Nature preventing humans from forming win-win relationships. If we humans could learn to organize synergically, we would also gain access to the co-operator’s reward.

By applying win-win strategy to human organizations, it would be possible to to synergize an organization so that the sum of the whole organization is much more than the sum of the talents, abilities, & resources of the individuals making up the organization.

Adversary Systems — the conflictor’s loss

However, today’s human organizations are at best neutral systems with much internal adversary process, or at worse adversary systems. Adversary process is characterized by losing relationships between the individuals of the system.

Adversary process is by definition conflict — the struggle to avoid loss. Within an adversary system, the sum of the whole organization is much less than the sum of the talents, abilities, & resources of the individuals making up that system. Haskell called this much less — the conflictor’s loss.

Conflict and losing relationships severely limit efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life. If we humans desire more for less, we must learn to organize without conflict. If we desire to avoid the conflictor’s loss, we must learn to organize without “losing”relationships.

Nature has succeeded in removing the conflict from between the cells of our bodies., Can we learn to remove the conflict from between the individuals within our human organizations? Nature has learned to produce win-win relationships between the cells and tissues, between the organs and systems of organs that comprise the human body. Can we humans now learn to produce win-win relationships between the individuals and departments, between the units and divisions that comprise our organizations?

I believed the very future of our species depended on finding the way. I knew the ideal system would be synergic, but as to what particular form it would take I was not sure. Then I realized I needed to make some synergic tools.

Tool Users and Tool Makers

Humans have been using tools from the days of our earliest history. Many Anthropology and Evolutionary Scientists define human as the tool maker and tool user.

Archimedes is generally credited with the first scientific description of a tool. It was called the law of the lever.

Tools—Physical Levers

Tools are physical levers of human action. It is any device or mechanism that provides the user with leverage—any device or mechanism that leverages human action. We are all familar with physical tools.

Our homes are full of tools. We all have a tool drawer that has our screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, scissors, needles, tape, etc., etc., etc.. These are all tools. These are all levers of human action. If we look around our house we find appliances, televisions, stereos, radios, and computers. These are also tools—levers of human action. If we look in our garage, we find our more tools, power drills, crowbars, skill saws, air pumps, lawnmowers, and automobiles.

Knowing—Metaphysical Levers

Levers are not always physical—not always tangible. Levers can also be procedures, formulas, or kitchen recipes. These are metaphysical levers. Buckminster Fuller explained that some of our most powerful levers are metaphysical—that means they have no weight or substance. They are simply patterns of advantage. Another term for these metaphysical levers—these patterns of advantage are “knowing”.

One of the earliest and most important patterns of advantage was the “knowing” of the sequence for starting fire. When a group of early humans had a member who could start fire, they held an enormous survival advantage. Knowing the sequence one must use to build a table for your kitchen or make a gourmet meal for your family are examples of metaphysical levers. These are patterns of advantage.

Learning to read is learning to understand sequence. The meaning of written words depend on the sequence of their letters and that is just as true for numbers.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

The meaning of written sentences depend on the sequence of the words.

The quick red fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Synergic Levers for SafePassage

I would need to develop synergic levers that humans could use to solve the real problems in their lives. The synergic process itself would be embedded within these levers.

Read the full description of ORTEGRITY

Also see GIFTegrity

Front Page

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

I was honored to present the following material a the UnMoney Convergence in Seattle, Washington on April 15, 2008. You may view the slides used in the presentation.

Synergic Science
Relationships, INTERdependence, Push & Pull, Tensegrity and CommUNITY

Timothy Wilken, MD

Synergic Science is the study of how systems work together — physical systems, biological systems and social systems. This involves a careful study of the relationship of the “parts” of a system to the “whole” of the system.

 “Synergy means behavior of whole systems unpredicted by the behavior of their parts taken separately. Ö Synergy is the only word that means this. The fact that we humans are unfamiliar with the word means that we do not think there are behaviors of “wholes” unpredicted by the behavior of
”      —R. Buckminster Fuller

Synergic Science makes much of the relationships between the “parts” and their relationships to the  “whole”. For human beings there can be no other more important “parts” than Self and Other.

From my perspective I am self and you are other, but from your point of view you are self and I am other. This is a very simple way of looking at things.

 Our relationships then are major importance in determining the quality of our lives.

From the point of view of the individual joining in relationship, I can be hurt, I can be ignored, or I can be helped by the relationship—there are only three ways.

Relationships that hurt are adversary.
Relationships that ignore are neutral.
Relationships that help are synergic.

Therefore all human choices and all human relationships can be described as falling on a continuum.

Adversity — ï — Neutrality — ï — Synergy

We humans are conditioned by our life experience. The propensity of the types of relationship we encounter can well determine how we believe the world works.

Adversaries believe there is not enough for everyone and only the physically strong will survive. They believe humans are coercively dependent on others, and they best understand the language of force.

Neutralists believe there is enough for everyone, if only you work hard enough and take care of yourself. They believe humans are financial independent and should be self-sufficient unless they are too lazy or defective. They best understand the language of money.

And, finally a new type of human is still emerging. Synergists believe there is enough for everyone but only if we work together and act responsibly. They believe humans are INTERdependent and can only obtain sufficiency by working together as community. Synergists best understand the language of love.

But, to be successful in our present world, the synergist must understand all three languages and know when to use them. Synergists must sometimes use the language of force, and sometimes the language of money, it depends on whom they are talking to. However, when synergists are seeking allies—when synergists are seeking to build community—they must speak the language of love.

Synergists believe that you should, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

What is it that most of us want others to do unto us? Synergic scientists answer this question as follows: Help and support others as you would wish them to help and support you.  Or, more simply, “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

Synergists are trying to heal the wounds inflected by those who don’t understand how the world could work. This then is the essential challenge to the synergists.

Can we work together and act responsibly in time to save our ourselves on this planet? …

Yes, but only by helping each other. … Yes, but only by working together.

Synergists can be most powerful when they form synergic community. This first requires committment and unity. Once such a community is formed you have something very special I call CommUNITY which uses the power of WIN-WIN relationships to empower the process of working together.

Synergic science has developed two technologies for use by CommUNITYthe Gifting Tensegrity and the Organizational Tensegrity. To better understand them you, first need to understand Tensegrity which was addressed in this presentation. …

View a PDF of the Presentation Slides.

Who was there

Boaz Klapphotz, John Rogers, Rozie Hughes– note-taker (New Road Map Fdtn), Kirsten Liegmann (Gaia Univ), John Bloom (RSF Social Finance), Orland Bishop (ShadeTree Multicultural Found.), Geoff Chesshire (Regenerosity), Bruce P. Norman, SHann Turnbull (Int. Inst. for Self-Governance), Tatiana Cattard (BALLE Seattle), Arthur Brock (Targeted Currencies), Nick Soletti, Kevin Keck

Was to be a Slide Presentation about “tensegrity” and applications to social interactions, by Timothy Wilken, but technology failed!  He presented content, while we looked on at his computer.

Boiled down to three possible relationships: win (be helped), lose (be hurt), draw (neutral) on the individual level. Taking that out a level, mathematically, conflict creates “conflict deficit”, draw is no net loss, co-op creates
“cooperation surplus.” Truly fair market is (theoretically) neutral.

Timothy then began his discussion of tensegrity. Towards the end of that discussion, Wilken suggested that in a synergic civilization that humans would move beyond conflict. Criticism from Shann Turnbull that this is not congruent with Tensegrity.  Evolution created competition/co-operation to create social tensegrity.  Can’t have fully co-operative structure, it will not have tensegrity. 

Timothy responded that competition is allowed, but adversity isn’t.  Does not take into account the larger product resulting from individual interaction.  Rozie countered that this yin/yang construct is represented in Tai Chi push hands — someone is pushing while another receiving push with tension, at some point IT MUST REVERSE, creating a whole in balance, each participates in both types of dynamic.  Have to be consciousness that individual must change role  respond/adapt to dynamism of whole system.

Synergistic construction is predicated on commitment to self being connected to commitment to others.

Recognition of interdependence.

Boaz asked, but how do you engineer a larger system?  Timothy responded – have to start in small yunits, create agreements re: commitment and unity (Comm Unity),  Agree upon supergoal wich contains individual goals.  Shann Turnbull sited new Visa Intl structure as example of external co-operation, internal competition.  Rozie sited Microsoft.

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Friday, April 25th, 2008

From the SynEARTH Archives. … This is the fourth article in the series explaining synergic organization. See: (1) Discovery in North Carolina, (2) Heterarchy—The Secret of Japan, Inc. and (3) Defining the Ortegrity

ORTEGRITYThe Structure of Winning

Timothy Wilken, MD


Major Features

ï Decision-Action Tensegrities utilizing — 

  ï decision heterarchy with synergic consenus and veto,

  ï action hierarchy with synergic negotiation,

  ï conflict free mechanism

The Ortegrity is a system for organizing two or more humans. It produces win-win relationships between all individuals within the organization. This results in a conflict free environment which optimizes the two processes of human behavior — decision and action. The resultant is that efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life are optimized.


In the Ortegrity, decisions are made in heterarchy. Each member’s role is the same. The goal is to find the plan of accomplishing the assigned task with best effect on all. A win-win solution. This search leads to the most efficient way of doing things. All members are protected from any loss by their veto. Only a win-win plan can be approved. Such plans that will be strongly supported by all members.

Humans develop strong feelings of community in heterarchy. It strengthens their committment to the organization. Individuals are more creative and enthusiastic in a setting where they feel respected and needed.

Decisions are always made heterarchically. All individuals in a heterarchy sit on the same level. They are equal in authority and responsibility. No one is superior to anyone else. It is the responsibility of all to accomplish the task assigned to the heterarchy. They all have equal authority and equal responsibility to decide how the task will be accomplished.

Anyone can propose a plan as to how the task might be accomplished. The heterarchy continues discussion until a unanimous decision is reached. Only those plans not vetoed carry. Every member has a veto and is expected to use it to prevent losses. This is synergic consensus. It is a powerful system for producing unanimous decision. Remember loss can still occur in synergic organization. But if loss must occur it is minimized and then shared equally by all members of the heterarchy.


The Synergic Veto — life’s secret for efficiency

Most humans are suprised to learn of veto power. It seems very strange in the world of “directed” management. How can the boss allow employee’s to veto his orders and get anything done?

Members of a heterarchy are not employees. They stand equal with the organizer. A major secret of life is that self-directed organization is much more efficient than other-directed organization. The secret is to transcend directing anyone. The Ortegrity creates the ideal environment for self-organization.

In an environment of self-organization, human potential blossoms. Humans operate at a more powerful level. Those in an Ortegrity soon realize that their well being depends on the success of their organizations. They realize that if they wish to be well paid their organization must be successful. They have high interest in successful solutions to their tasks. They desire to be successful, and they want their organizations to be successful as well.

Now once the members of a heterarchy have decided on a plan of action. They then renegotiate among themselves to divide the plan of action into subtasks.

Recall that all members sit on the same level as “equals”. No one has more authority than anyone else. Every one has equal responsibility and equal authority within the heterarchy. The assignment for the heterarchy is to find the best plan to accomplish the task so all members will win. It is the collective responsibility of the entire heterarchy to find this “best” solution. Anyone can propose a plan to accomplish the task. All problems related to accomplishing the task would be discussed at length in the heterarchy.

The proposed plan for accomplishing the task would be examined by all members of the heterarchy. Anyone could suggest a modification, or even a completely different alternative plan to accomplish the task — always seeking to maximize the win. All individuals would serve as information sources for each other. The heterarchy would continue in discussion until a plan could be found that worked well for everyone. The goal of the heterarchy is to find that course of action that maximizes the win for everyone, if that is not possible and the group must lose, then the goal becomes to find that action which minimizes loss for everyone. And when loss occurs it is shared equally by all. 

Organizing Humans

Those individuals within even today’s organizations are the ones who collectively “know” the most about the organization, and they certainly “know” best how to organize their own skills, talents and abilities .

In an environment of calmness and trust, two heads really are better than one. And it is the veto that lets this all work.

It is the veto that allows for synergic consenus within the Decision-Heterachy. Synergic consensus requires that all decisions be unanimous. All proposed plans are approved unless they are explicitly vetoed. Any member of the heterarchy can veto any plan in which they or anyone else loses. It is their duty to veto any loss in the system.

Because all loss positions are vetoed, all relationships become win-win. The power of synergic concensus rests on finding the third alternative. A major fact about human performance mental or physical is that it is greatest when the individual is winning. Examine our Olympic atheletes or our Nobel laurates. An environment that allows only win-win relationships will produce major increases in efficiency, productivity, and quality of work-life.

We humans are presently conditioned to expect our relationships to be win/lose. We view most situations from that either/or point of view. Either I win or I lose. It has to be one or the other. Synergy science reveals the third alternative. It may be harder to find, but there almost always exists a third way of doing things so no one loses. Or at worst you are assured that the loss has been minimized and equally shared. This distributes the loss so it has the least negative effect on the individual. This is the win-win way — this is synergy.

When all were in agreement and only then would the plan be implemented. The plan must insure that all members of the group win. Any member can veto a losing plan. Taking the time in decision making to discover the win-win way means that action will be many times more efficient.

In most human organizations today, the boss simply assigns tasks or groups of tasks to each of his selected managers. This is other-directed management — telling the managers what to do. The Ortegrity operates very differently. No one tells anyone what to do. All other-direction is replaced with self-direction. Once the heterarchy has synergically decided on a plan of action, the system negotiates to form an action hierarchy. This is the structure used in implementation. Here, each member’s role is different.

Action — Hierarchy

Now once the heterarchy has approved a win-win plan of action to accomplish the Synergic Task, the members of the heterarchy begin to form a action team on a negotiated basis. The individuals within the heterarchy divide labor. Action is too large for any single member. Individual responsibility and authority is agreed to through open negotiation. The action team then functions as a hierarchy to carry out the plan. Participation within the system is always voluntary. The members of the team decide how they wish to work together, or even if they want to participate. No one is ever forced to do anything they don’t want to. However no win can occur unless they are successful.

Individuality is a strong feature of the action hierarchy.

Actions are always made heirarchically. All individuals in a heirarchy sit on different levels. They have different authority and responsibility for accomplishing the task. Their individual responsibility and authority is determined by synergic negotiation. Once having reached a decision in heterarchy they begin an open win-win negotiation to divide the labor of the plan. They develop levels of responsibility and authority. But these levels are voluntarily assumed. Again only a unanimous arrangement is permitted.


All relationships within a Ortegrity are win-win. This is the first principle of an Ortegrity, and all are pledged to uphold it. This is why every member is required to veto any action within the the system in which he or anyone else would lose. The utilization of synergic consensus and synergic negotiation produces very different forms of heterarchy and hierarchy. The forms used within the Ortegrity are nothing like committees with majority rule, or typical other-directed hierarchies. Heterarchy decides using the mechanism of synergic consensus and veto. And hierarchies are created by synergic negotiation of individual responsibility and authority. Synergic means all must win.

There is a division of labor with the individuals negotiating as to levels of  responsibility and authority in terms of implementing the plan. The individuals remain in hierarchy until the task is accomplished. When finished the hierarchy is abandoned and heterarchy reformed to make a new decision.

Ortegrity utilizes a dual mechanism in that everyone within the organization has two identities — two roles. Everyone participates in both decision making and in action implementation. Everyone has both heterarchical and hierarchical functions. The unit of organization with in the Ortegrity is the sub-tensegrity — the Decision-Action Tensegrity.

The Rhythm Of Life

During implementation, the action team would continue to function until the task was accomplished, then the action hierarchy is abandoned with all members returning to heterarchy to make a new decision about the next task. this of course leading to the creation of a new action team.

Decision —>Action —>Decision —>Action —>Decision —>
Action —>Decision —>Action —>Decision —>Action —>
Decision —>Action —> and on and on and on …

First it configures as a decision-heterarchy, it then considers its task, then one member declares a plan of action. If there are no vetoes, then the heterarchy configures itself into an action-hierarchy. During the action it functions as a hierarchy. Each member standing where he agreed to stand, performing those tasks he volunteered to perform. Once the action is successfully completed, the hierarchy is abandoned and the members return to the heterarchy.

Heterarchy —>Hierarchy —>Heterarchy —> Hierarchy —>Heterarchy —>
Hierarchy —>Heterarchy —>Hierarchy —>Heterarchy —>Hierarchy —>
Heterarchy —> Hierarchy —>Heterarchy —>Heterarchy —> and on and on and on … 

As a balanced system of discontinuous hierarchies and continuous heterarchies, the Ortegrity has the strengths of both heterarchy and hierarchy, and none of their weaknesses.  

The End of Conflict

This system is designed to eliminate all internal conflict. Elimination of all conflict maximizes efficiency, productivity and quality of work-life. All relationships between all individuals within the system are win-win. This is a design characteristic of the system. It is veto power that forces the third alternative — the win-win solution. It is synergic relationship that unlocks human potential. This is the relationship that elimates all conflict.

          CONFLICT                        FRICTION
   _____________    :      __________

Using the win-win relationship in organizations is like applying grease to machinery. Japanese corporations are presently 150% more efficient and productive than American corporations. Those companies who choose to restructure as Ortegrities could experience an increase in efficiency and productivity of 1000%.

Decision-Action Tensegrities

The organizing unit of the Ortegrity then is the Decision-Action Tensegrity. These are also tensegrities. Synergic organization utilizes a tensegrity of tensegrites.

The D-A Tensegrity is a group of between two and twenty humans. The size of a D-A Tensegrity is limited by the complexity of decision making. In a complex area such as in research & development, the ideal size may be six or seven members. In a system with simpler decison making as many as 16 to 20 individuals may form a production D-A Tensegrity.

During decision making the D-A Tensegrity uses the heterarchical form. A heterarchy with seven members is a base seven tensegrity. A two member heterarchy would be called a base two. A three member heterarchy is a base three and so on.

The following illustration of a base seven D-A Tensegrity represents the heterarchical relationship on the perimeter and the hierarchical relationships with direct lines of communication. All individuals have a dual idenity. Their heterarchical role in decision and their hierarchical role in action.


The organizers using synergic consensus will determine how to structure their Ortegrities. There is no right or wrong way. The way that insures the maximum win and prohibits loss is the best way for a particular system. I expect Ortegrities will be as diverse as life forms.

The “organizer” does not direct the other members of his group. He would instead be responsible for coordinating their organization into an effective team.

The “organizer” begins by presenting the synergic task to the individuals within the heterarchy.

An Ortegrity divides itself into synergic groups in order to function. We can call these groups Decision-Action Tensegrities. Heterarchy is used when making decisions and hierarchy when carring out actions. Each Decision-Action Tensegrities has an “organizer” that functions as coordinator-leader. When the group is making decisions, he/she coordinates the heterarchy. When the group is taking action, he/she leads the hierarchy. Decision-Action Tensegrities can have two to twenty or more members.

StartUp Ortegrity

A StartUp Ortegrity begins when a single individual commits to using the synergic mechanism of the O.T. to accomplish some goal or set of goals that are beyond his/her abilities as an individual.

The primary organizer first sets about recruiting one or more other individuals to help him or her. The primary organizer will begin by sitting down in heterarchy with the primary group and define the primary task using synergic consensus and veto. The members of the primary Decision-Action Tensegrity all have equal responsibility and equal authority in reaching synergic consensus and defining the primary task.

They discuss things fully. Any member of the group can propose a change to improve or refine the primary task. Only those modifications which find support from all members of the group are implemented. Anyone can veto any proposal in order to prevent loss, or offer a modification to insure a greater win. Only those proposals unanimously agreed to carry.

Once the primary synergic task is defined and unanimously elected by the heterarcy, then a plan for synergic action must be developed using synergic negotiation. Now the members of the heterarchy will accept hierarchichal roles with individual responsibility and authority. If the primary synergic task is within the abilites of the primary Decision-Action Tensegrity to accomplish it,then they accomplish it operating in action-hierarchy. When they are done, they reconfigure back into decision-heterarchy to define their next synergic task.

If however, the synergic task is too large for the primary Decision-Action Tensegrity to accomplish, then part of the primary synergic task will be to make the Ortegrity larger. This is accomplished by having the primary members recruit and organize secondary D-A Tensegrities.

TopDown Self-Organization

Once all members have agreed to a primary plan of action, they then divide it into smaller secondary plans for distribution among themselves. This results in the self-assignment of tasks. The members of the primary tensegrity, then divide labor through the voluntarily formation of a action-hierarchy to implement the plan. Each “organizer”, the term “manager” is scraped altogether, then takes his task down to the secondary tensegrity which he is responsible for organizing.

The pattern of organization is from the top down. This is not the “other-directed” hierarchy of American Capitalism. The process of organization is from the top down, but the mechanism is “self directed” heterarchy. Only when synergic consensus has been achieved at the higher level can the organizational focus move down to a lower level.

Within the Ortegrity, most “organizers” will function at two levels of tensegrity. Within the primary tensegrity, they are “organized” by the primary “organizer” — the synergic alternative to a CEO. In addition these members are also the “coodinators” of their own secondary tensegrities which they are responsible for organizing.

Within the Ortegrity, those individuals operating at two levels are then both organized and organizers. As members of the primary tensegrity, they are organized by the “primary organizer” — the O’ (called the O prime) and they are also the organizers of their own secondary tensegrities. Each of these is therefore an “organized-organizer” — the O-O  (called the double O).

An organization can have any number of Decision-Action Tensegrities. These Decision-Action Tensegrities can be on different levels. Large organizations would include severay levels of Decision-Action Tensegrities. These different levels are referred to simply as first level, second level, third level and so on in synergic terminology.

Compound Tensegrities

The following illustration is of a base five, level two O.T.. Twenty five employees with one five-member primary DA-Tensegrity and five (five-member) secondary DA-Tensegrities.


The central * DA-Tensegrity is the primary Tensegrity. It divides the primary tasks of the company into secondary tasks, these are then carried down to the secondary Tensegrities for solution by the O-Os, “organized-organizers”. In this example the O’ functions as both primary organizer and one of the O-Os.


Ultimately Flexible

No known system of organization is more flexible and adaptive then Living systems. The Ortegrity is a pattern of life.

The Ortegrity is ultimately flexible. There can be two to twenty individuals within the base D-A Tensegrities. Bases can be regular — all with the same number of members or irregular — all with different numbers of members or any mixture of regular and irregular.

There can be any number of levels, and any number of branches on each level. The system is so powerful that twelve levels looks like enough for most of our needs.

The following chart is based on a base seven regular tensegrity. All DA-Tensegrities would have seven members.

# of base tensegrities
# of individuals
1 1 7
2 8 49
3 57 343
4 400 2401
5 2801 16,807
6 19,608 117,649
7 137,257  823,543
8 960,800 5,764,801
9 6,725,601  40,353,607
10 47,079,208 282,475,249
11 329,554,457  1,977,326,743
12 2,306,881,200 13,841,287,201

A level 12 Ortegrity would be adequate for organizing the entire humans species within a single organization. Recalling that the larger a tensegrity the more powerful it will is. Synergic science predicts this will also be true for human organizations structured as Ortegrities. Therefore, I would expect a trend towards very large organizations.

Imagine, what could be possible if the entire human species were a single organization. No conflict, no wars, no crimes. Is there anything we could not accomplish?

To be continued …