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Harmony Forum

Peace from Harmony
Tetrasociological substantiation of childrens priority and social harmony

The tetrasociological substantiation of the childrens priority submitted in details in my books: 2004. Children's Suffrage: Democracy for the 21st Century, Priority Investment in Human Capital as a Way toward Social Harmony. St.-Petersburg (our site page 2-4), and 2002. Tetrasociology: Responses to Challenges. St.-Petersburg (our site page 2-1). The briefest substantiation is submitted lower in my answer to the Japanese Professor of sociology Reimon Bachika with which we cooperate many years.



Dear Reimon,

I congratulate you for your deep and wise paper "Towards Harmony in the Religious Sphere"! I have been looking forward to receiving it for a long time and shall be happy to publish it o­n our website. Your statement about harmony of religions is, in my opinion, revolutionary.  Religious disharmony has for centuries stood as an insuperable obstacle to social harmony and sustainable peace. You write about such religious conflicts as Belfast, Jerusalem, Ayodhya (India). The religious enmity exists not o­nly between religions: Christianity and Islam, Islam and Hinduism, Judaism and Islam (the enmity between last religions is a basis of the Arabian-Israeli conflict) etc. but within each religion. Inside Christianity there is enmity between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, between Catholics and Protestants; inside the Orthodox Church is enmity between the Eastern and Western Churches. Inside Islam there are two hostile directions: Tolerant and Intolerant, which has found reflection in the writings of the world-known Egyptian writer Tarek Heggy, whose brilliant pieces are o­n our site (Contents page 4-8-1). The source of enmity is incorporated in the religious bases. In each religion there exist two parallel alternative principles: Jus Talionis and the Golden Rule. The coexistence of these rules within the different religions is excellently exposed by the known American Professor Rudolf Sieberts wonderful article o­n our site (Contents page 7-2). It explains the existence in the world religions of two tendencies: hostility and peaceloving.

You analyze a global vector of religious development from enmity to harmony through key cultural mechanisms of the objective symbolizations having greater weight for cultural identities (giving special meaning to things, words, rituals etc.) and the subjective values having greater significance for personal identity expressed in various hierarchies of values. Allocation of these universal cultural mechanisms and the consideration of their action in the religious sphere make your achievement and innovative contribution. You open the negative aspects of symbolizations and values, which lead to intolerance and enmity through them absolutism, and also their positive contribution to more harmonious attitudes of religions and religious groups through the cross-cultural connections of their different aspects. However, you go no further in exposing those social conditions and mechanisms, o­nly at which process of the religious harmonization can turn to the prevailing tendency controlling and regulating religious enmity. I would like to proceed from this point to develop your remarkable ideas about the role of symbolizations and values in the religious harmonization with the idea of a social priority of children as the general priority for all religious groups, harmonizing their mutual relations. This idea is examined by me as hypothetical, theoretically possible but requiring additional arguments and substantiations, which I can not develop here.

I think, that to cultural mechanisms of symbolizations and values it is necessary to add the general social mechanism of distribution of social priorities between different groups/classes of the population. This mechanism is embodied in this or that social hierarchy of the people, classes and groups within the framework of the certain society or civilization. The mechanism of social priorities (social hierarchy) includes symbolizations and values but subordinates them to itself. The symbols and values of a top class in social hierarchy become the top symbols and values of that society. A top class could be the caste of Brahmin in the caste hierarchy of India, or the military estate in Ancient Sparta, or the party nomenclature in USSR, or the oligarchs, in a wider sense the top/high class of riches (property and money) in an industrial society etc.  It is possible to prove that the quality of social hierarchy (or distribution of social priorities) defines a vector of cultural mechanisms in the direction of enmity or social harmony. Until now there was no social hierarchy of harmonious classes of the population, which are the sphere classes (for more details about this classes look in my book Tetrasociology: Responses to Challenges, 2002, and on our site Contents page 2-1).

The sphere classes hierarchy begins to develop in an information society, where basic resource and riches becomes the information. A top class in social hierarchy of the advanced information society becomes a humanitarian class (or "socioclass") as the most informational capacious class, as a subject and product of reproduction of this class are the people, human capital making the most informational capacious resource. The humanitarian class includes children, learning youth and also everyone, who is engaged with them: parents, teachers, doctors and all other caregivers. (We shall notice that the sphere classes have no rigid borders; they are functional and in the process of execution of different functions o­ne human can be included in the different sphere classes in the appropriate measure). Within the framework of the humanitarian class the most informational capacious resource (i.e. resource requiring for itself, in comparison with other resources: culture, organization and things, the top quantity and quality of the information) are children. Therefore the advanced information society puts children o­n a top of the social hierarchy and approves them as the top social priority.

What are the consequences from a social hierarchy of the sphere classes with the children as the top priority? Children become the top symbol and value of the society, state and culture. Children, together with the parents and other caregivers (which make up 50% to 80 % of the population in the different countries) become a social support of the new public order of social harmony and sustainable peace preventing wars, terrorism, poverty etc. If a peace culture of the industrial society stands o­n a rule: "Want a peace - prepare to war", a rule of the advanced information society will be: "Want a peace create social harmony o­n the basis of the childrens priority, which is provided with childrens suffrage executed by parents". I think this rule will become "Gold Rule" for the 21st century. The sphere hierarchy and childrens priority require not o­nly harmonious religion but also harmonious thinking, philosophy and political psychology. In this social order human victimization and humiliation for the sake of any economic, political, cultural (including religious symbols and values) purpose becomes impossible.  While in former social hierarchies  it was natural to lay down human life for the sake of religious and other values, in the advanced information society hierarchy it becomes impossible or extremely problematic. o­nly the social priority of children can make human life the most valuable religious symbol. Their priority is equally important to all peoples and. at the same time neutral towards other groups and classes as children does not pretend (owing to age) o­n functions of the adults and to their property, power and other their resources.

The advanced information society hierarchy with children as the priority is the softest and most flexible of all known systems. It represents the most perfect o­n sustainability and plasticity sociocybernetic system with an optimum harmonization of the social inputs and outputs. It does not divide but, rather connects, people of different classes, cultures, religions, professions etc. The basis for the division of the people into classes becomes their productive employment in the society spheres, which defines their social relations towards children, to the youngest generations, from which the quality and life of each society depend. (I shall remind the relation to children is the relation to the information at the same time). People are divided at sphere classes depending from what resource they reproduce for children, hence, and for all society, as it is necessary for children. A persons identity in relation to a child is often multidimensional (for example, the father of the child can be the teacher or doctor for other children, or for their parents etc.), instead of o­ne-dimensional as in traditional religions. The priority of children excludes any human victims, prevents wars, terror, poverty and other social illnesses as all this worsens a situation for children or poses a threat to their lives. The childrens priority opens an outlet from the "closed", o­n your expression, conflicts, i.e. irreconcilable, hopeless and covering many centuries. The childrens priority creates an alternative to old priorities, which reproduce enmity of religions, nations and civilizations. Children become the top symbol and value of the advanced information society and they will create a basis for peace and social harmony of humanity.

Dear Reimon, you justly write that the hierarchies of values are relative. They vary with change of social hierarchy and priorities. Soft social hierarchy of the advanced information society and appropriate soft social priority of children exclude "pollution", as you write, the universal values and symbolizations, i.e. or their rigid absolutism, conducting to intolerance and enmity, or their excessive equality as values and the priorities can not be equivalent. The childrens priority and soft social hierarchy allow to keep useful cultural distinctions, including distinctions of different religions, but to exclude enmity between them. It is harmonization of the religious sphere, attitudes between religions and religious groups. So, a road "towards greater sociocultural harmony ", as you have expressed very well, in my opinion, is the childrens priority.

Certainly, in this connection, the religions will undergo qualitative changes. Earlier I have stated a hypothesis about the association of religions at preservation of their basic distinctions, in a certain new religion, which I have titled "Plurotheism", which differs from the traditional forms polytheism and monotheism. But the plurotheism hypothesis requires special discussion. A significant role in harmonization of the religious sphere and occurrence of the new, harmonious, form of the world religion can be played by such religion as the Bahai Faith and also Esperanto as a language of the international dialogue. But this is a specific issue, which is discussed in my aforementioned book. The special meaning for religious harmonization and globalization (Roberto Cipriani, 2004) have many Buddhist cultures requiring harmony (Carl Becker, 2002) and East Asian philosophy, which a central idea also is harmony (Richard Nisbett, 2005).

Such to me represent a way of the religious sphere harmonization o­n the basis of occurrence of new social hierarchy of the sphere classes and the childrens priority in the advanced information society. Certainly, now it is very disputable idea, so it is at the beginning of the research and discussion. I shall be grateful to you, dear Reimon, and all interested parties, for your critical remarks.

Warmest wishes of peace and harmony,

Leo

Leo Semashko

Ph.D., A/Professor, IFLAC Director in Russia, Website Director,

Chief, Public Institute of Strategic Sphere Studies, ISA and HumanDHS member

P.S. In summary I take note that it is my last theoretical reply within the framework of the discussions, the themes for which have produced the remarkable responses of the sites authors to the issue of the childrens priority. 

October 4, 2005

P.P.S. I express sincere gratitude to the American colleague Rose Lord for editing of my English translation.

October 12, 2005.



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