3.5 The Planned Bio-Cultural Diversity of Groups in the Great Experiment


It is the naive belief of most "reformers" and "reactionaries" alike that they know a priori what is best, and also that they like the desired ideal state of affairs for the reasons they announce. With the latter the reliability of insight we are not for the moment concerned, though a common historical comedy is that in which the reformer get sick to death of living in the society he has created. (This touches the issue we scrutinize later of how far reformist zeal is really directed towards an improved society and how far it is a psychological rationalization of poor ability to tolerate any reality demands whatever.) For knowing in some objective sense what is best, one must recognize that even when the argument for a particular social change does not rest on a priori, philosophical arguments, but is based on a preliminary study of social scientific laws and analyses, absolute certainty is still not possible. Wind tunnel experiments and calculations with models are made before engineers build a large and expensive plane, but the degree of success achieved is not known with confidence until the plane itself is flown.

So here, though we may define a more advanced society by certain criteria just discussed central in which is superior potential adaptation to environmental challenges and changes the innovation which Beyondism now requires is the inauguration of well-recorded, comparative experiment, with whole communities. Parenthetically, let us be clear that "advance," "reform" and "moral values" must necessarily be regarded as different facets of one and the same concept. When we say that moral values are to be determined as those which conduce to the evolution of society, as defined above, we are automatically asking that the direction of true reform be simultaneously defined. By the Beyondist approach progress and morality derive from a single definition.

The uncertainties, and the evaluations of probabilities about which we are now speaking, belong to a concept of organized social research which now appears as the central practical proposal of the Beyondist creed. What we may call the primary research design, to which we shall return from time to time, is aimed to get far more knowledge and direction from the principle of cooperative competition among groups than its haphazard present action achieves. If some hypothetical Great Experimenter could in some mysterious way implant in the hearts and minds of men a variety of diverse cultural aspirations to produce an ideal experiment, what would he set up? A social scientist will at once think of the basic plan in what researchers call a "factorial design." Therein each of several cultural variations would be combined in every one of the possible ways with each in turn of several racial variations. Further, several sub-groups or countries would be employed as instances to give due representation to each of these combinations. Taking measures on all of them, upon those indices of evolutionary progress defined above, the experimenter would then seek to decide which culture patterns and racial patterns per se are significantly more successful than others. Almost certainly he would also get the statistician's "interaction effects" since there is good reason to believe that some cultural aspirations and norms would more fruitfully fit upon some racio-genetic populations than others. Indeed, science need to investigate as soon as possible the limits which exist for grafting certain cultures on certain genetic groups, or for developing certain genetic gifts within cultures of a certain type. For use of the factorial design above depends on the experimenter's freedom to put into practice most possible combinations.

Elements of this basic research proposition are explored further in later chapters, but here we must keep to the central fact that the variation and natural selection which now take place in our world haphazardly could, if coordinated world experiment became possible, be deliberately broadened in scope and more accurately recorded. This would permit both an increase in precision of the answers about the desirability of certain trends, and, for a given advance, an immense saving of human effort and suffering. The essential proposal is thus that experimental variation of culturo-genetic types of community needs to be encouraged, and coordinated, both toward greater comprehensiveness of alternatives and more systematic, objective comparison of results.

Many questions will at once occur to the thoughtful reader as he looks at this conception of an ideally planned group cooperative competition. How could the spontaneity and self-determination of individual culturo-genetic experiments be preserved while yet maintaining an overall world plan? How stressful should competition be allowed to become: Is there, if frustration produces pugnacity, a danger of suffering war? And finally one may ask "What actually are the individual societies as sociopolitical organizations that are considered to operate as the unitary organisms in this competition?" Are they countries, religions, classes, or some other aggregates yet to be developed?

Especially one wonders, "What should be the rules of such competition?" In working to the common end of improving man, how far dare we incorporate designs that risk the very survival of the individual group?" The choice of progressive goals and the moral rules among the individuals sharing the group life of a given group are, according to the above argument, to be fixed by the group itself, in accordance with its own best view of its survival, and they are unlikely to differ much from current inter-individual ethics. But what does this plan mean in terms of the moral rules among groups? And what would be done if the authority in a society becomes so rigid as to decline advice to modify itself, in the light of demonstrated unsoundness of the changes and experiments which it is making?

The Great Experiment is a new world of possibilities in which no existing moral authority has yet developed the ethical rules, and for which no world organization or traditional political science has yet worked out the appropriate international law. Before considering so formidable a problem, demanding that the mind be very thoroughly washed of current prejudices, it would be best to exercise our methods on the problem of deriving the within-group, inter-individual ethical values from an evolutionary goal; for here the inferences are less conflicting with current moralities, and the connections more easily seen. Accordingly, Chapter 4 will be devoted to exploring the bases of inter-individual, and Chapter 5 of inter-group, ethical laws. However, by the argument above for the primacy of group survival, the inter-individual ethical standards in a general way depend on inter-group laws, so in this chapter, in Sections 3.6 and 3.7 which follow, that general direction of dependence will first be clarified.

The moral values shared by citizens which make for the survival of a group are in part the same for all groups in as much as the internal machinery of all groups must have much in common. In addition each has its own unique values as to what human progress means in terms of its own uniquely attempted experiment. Because of concern for its own survival every well-developed group in a Beyondist future will resort to its own social scientific research center to determine the former values, and to fix the associated internal legislation as accurately as possible. But in regard to the latter the entirely new and, hopefully, uniquely progressive steps peculiar to the one group investigation is likely to be less certain. One wonders both what the machinery for it may be, and how far the sovereign right of the group to its own spontaneity of choice is likely to be influenced by some world conception of what diversities of racial-cultural experiment are most needed. This latter question can be left for Chapter 9, on a machinery of world coordination, where it is argued that because of the natural tendency to seek individuality of expression the problem of getting all diverse "cells" in a factorial experiment voluntarily occupied is not so intractable as it may seem.

As to the formation of within-group values by the group itself the Beyondist position implies that new institutions of applied social science must perform in novel ways yet to be studied. Those institutions will be engaged in what might be called social cybernetics the steering of social change. But although we have rejected as far as final validity is concerned such sources of progressive planning as utopianism, rationalism, inspired religion, or intuition based on scientific information the last especially is still likely to play some part. For in this realm of social experiment we are by definition operating with guesses and the group that would progress maximally cannot afford to delay all action until everything is proven to the hilt. But even in making an educated guess the work of the insitutes which record, collate and digest data on the cultural and genetic health of the group will be extremely valuable.

Thus, for example, though any final still less any crash plan for a simple minded Utopian goal is absurd; "action research" toward "trial one step utopias" (if one wishes to call them that, as in "five year plans") may need to continue to be described, especially to the young, as intermediate Utopian goals. The hunch of Plato that "harmony of parts" is the social ideal, of Confucius that it is "stability under the Emperor," of Marx that it is a "final revolution" bringing a society without government, or the vaguer conviction of a Utopia in Russell that man has to climb "a difficult and dangerous precipice, at the summit of which there is a plateau of delicious mountain meadows" (1968, Vol. 2, page 35) may suffice to motivate the less farsighted. But it would be out of keeping with the analysis and spirit of Beyondism to pretend they are final goals.

Similarly, the "tension reduction" values (in the modern jargon) are likely to play an inevitable part in choosing "progressive goals," be they in the form of "the greatest happiness of the greatest number" or the Nirvana of Buddhism. And rationalist derivatives from a priori "self-evident" principles will also never be lacking. But the generation of new steps in within-group values by Beyondism principles needs more austerity, imagination, organized research, discipline and audacity than these. It needs austerity in expecting no "delicious meadows" in immediate utopias, but a road that winds uphill all the way. It demands imagination to conceive big ideas beyond the stale alternatives of current political and religious values. It needs intellectual discipline, because the cause and effect relations which must govern choice of moral ideals are only going to be reached by patient, organized, empirical observation and intricate mathematical analysis. And it requires audacity, as the first airplane, or heart operation or rocket to the moon required audacity. For in cultural and genetic innovation the risks of a disastrous mutation always exist, and in any case the recommendations for social values may be sharply different from the comfortable values to which we are now accustomed.















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