Common Canon Website Launched, Public Invited to Edit Wiki

The Center for Human Conscience has launched a website at CommonCanon.com based on the same software used by Wikipedia. This website contains the outline of what will become a Common Canon of the greatest of human knowledge, cultural works, and historical figures, presented in the form of a wiki.

Anyone in the world who speaks English is invited to participate in developing the Common Canon by helping to decide its contents and coauthor articles about topics on which you are knowledgeable. Please contact the Center for Human Conscience if you would like to apply to become a contributing editor.

The Common Canon will be developed in three stages:

  • First, a Provisional Common Canon created by the general public.
  • Second, an official version based on the the provisional version of the Canon, which will be edited by a select team of 60 scholars and leaders of thought from a wide diversity of backgrounds, called the Council of Wisdom (a provisional version of the executive leadership body described in Article 8 of the Charter of the Center for Human Conscience).
  • Third, translation of the official English version of the Canon into several other major world languages.

After the Common Canon is completed, it will be used to create interdisciplinary, globally conscious educational curricula and learning materials for students of all ages, and it will be periodically revised as necessary.

The Common Canon is the first project of the Center for Human Conscience. The goals and principles of this project are described in Article 4 of the organization’s Charter. We invite you to visit the Common Canon website to learn more, and we welcome your participation if you are interested.

Posted in Announcements, Common Canon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Center to Create Council of Wisdom and Common Canon

The Center for Human Conscience is now forming a Council of Wisdom of 60 men and women from all over the world. This provisional Council — although not exactly the same as the one to be created later according to the Charter of the Center for Human Conscience — will attempt to fulfill the goal of creating a leadership body sufficiently diverse in nationality, ethnicity, religion, culture, and career fields, to serve as a global microcosm of well-informed, visionary people.

The members of this provisional Council of Wisdom will combine their diverse perspectives and experience and consult together to create the first version of the Common Canon described in the Charter — a list of the greatest and most significant of all human knowledge, creative works, and historical figures. The Center for Human Conscience will then use this Common Canon (subject to periodic revision and improvement) to create curricula and learning materials for students of all ages, fostering a global consciousness and appreciation for the history and progress of human civilization.

The importance of this project cannot be overstated. Even though we live in an “information age,” most people today are not yet well enough informed about the various cultures of the world and the contributions they and their key figures have made which have enabled the emergence of today’s rapidly globalizing civilization. Children in many countries are not being given an adequate education in social studies, world history, and other subjects that would prepare them for responsible participation in the advanced global society of the 21st century — especially in democratic countries where good government policy depends on a well-informed, socially and globally conscious population.

The Center for Human Conscience will work to solve these problems through our Common Canon project. As the Center’s founding Charter explains:

Whereas an educated and informed citizenry is essential to a well-functioning democracy; and whereas familiarity with the greatest achievements in every field and the best contributions of every culture to humanity is an antidote to prejudice and short-sightedness and the foundation of broad-mindedness, holistic thinking, mutual understanding and peace; and in order that the people of the world may come to feel a closer kinship through the common reference points they might share, not through the effects of cultural imperialism but by the organic emergence of a global consciousness deriving from the discoveries and creations acclaimed freely by people everywhere, that the Earth might be perceived as but one home for all, undivided; let there be a Common Canon of what all well-informed people should know, including facts, theories, belief systems, creative works, and historical figures.

We ask anyone who would like to be involved in developing the Common Canon to contact us. We may consider you for a seat on our provisional Council of Wisdom or offer you other volunteer opportunities related to this project. Thank you for your interest and help!

Posted in Common Canon, Council of Wisdom, The Charter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Main Themes of the Charter of the Center for Human Conscience

The Charter of the Center for Human Conscience is not a long document, but it is complex and detailed. Some people may find it helpful to read a summary of its most important contents before reading the whole thing from beginning to end.

As its subtitle suggests, the Charter is about “laying the foundation for a new world civilization.” This overarching theme may be broken down into several main themes that are expounded upon in the document. Here is a small selection of quotations from the Charter which represent the essential ideas it expresses:

  • Now is a pivotal moment in history, in which the human race needs to unite and work together for a better world or else face the possibility of catastrophe.

“… in an age in which advancements in transportation and communication empower and challenge people everywhere on Earth to come together as never before…”

“… that all humankind shall rise or fall together, and that the surest way to fall and face extinction would be to regard our fellow human beings not as kin in cooperation but as obstacles to be overcome or resources to be exploited…”

“The heroes, the world-changers – ’tis possible that we should be among them;
Not only possible but essential:
For we stand at the brink of an unprecedented era of potential disaster for our own kind and for the only home we know.
Let it not be accounted an exaggeration to say that this generation may bear the brunt of responsibility for either the destruction of the world or its salvation.”

“Can we be certain that homo sapiens, calling itself by the optimistic moniker ‘wise man,’ will even exist ten generations hence? Only if we are truly wise – and even then with trepidation. For we balance precariously in this world, assuming too much and thinking too little about the consequences of what we believe and how we think and live. We have created devices that could destroy all advanced life on Earth for the sake of some nation defeating another in war; and the planet groans beneath the ecological weight of our species even as we wantonly proceed toward unforeseen disaster as if our continued existence is assured.”

“Our tenure on this planet is tenuous and at the mercy of powerful forces of creation and of our own creation that we have only begun to understand. Let us not squander it through carelessness or corruption and forfeit our place and potential.”

  • Old forms of leadership and ways of thinking are failing to unite and inspire people anymore, putting civilization at risk, so new institutions need to be created which are better suited for this era of globalization.

“Whereas human beings are ever in need of informed and inspired leadership, that they may rise to their full potential; and whereas the light of civilization tends to be diminished or even extinguished, replaced by the darkness of cynicism leading to barbarism, when bereft of adequate guidance and inspiration impelling people to reach toward a higher vision of the good, the beautiful, and the possible; and whereas increasing numbers of people in this day are turning away from traditional sources of leadership, finding them provincial, common, corrupt, spent of their spirit and purpose, or unsuited to the modern world, and seeking a worthy replacement to set their hearts aflame, unite them, and inspire them to a sacrificial and heroic life; – therefore, The Center for Human Conscience is established…”

“Be it recognized and affirmed that the human species is one; that divisions of race, nation, and religion are impermanent and pale in significance to the essential oneness of humanity; that a culture of consciousness of this oneness, and of the glorious diversity that comprises the common human experience, should be fostered and spread until it transforms or supplants all ways of thinking and living that emphasize separation of people into groups in struggle against others…”

  • A new human institution must be based on recognition of universal human rights and dignity.

“Be it recognized and affirmed that every human being possesses inherent worth and dignity and must be treated accordingly; that no one may be regarded as possessing greater worth or dignity than another on account of one’s gender, ethnicity, or other accidents of birth, but all are essentially equal in their humanity and should be considered as individuals; that no one may be regarded as a means to an end, but each person’s life and wellbeing are an end in itself; that all people are endowed with inalienable rights, among them the right to sustain one’s life until natural death, the right to receive appropriate care in childhood and old age, the right to receive appropriate medical treatment in illness, the right to be educated, the right to work, the right to keep the majority of the fruits of one’s labor, the right to rest and enjoy leisure, the right to express oneself and one’s opinions, the right to vote for one’s government and its leaders, the right to practice and promote one’s chosen faith unless it would violate or seek to diminish the rights of nonbelievers, the right to communicate in one’s preferred language with fellow speakers, the right to move without unjust and unnecessary restrictions, the right to associate and assemble for peaceful purposes, the right to privacy in one’s activities and communications unless it would put people’s lives in danger, the right to security in one’s person and lawfully obtained property and to defend oneself from unlawful assault and trespass, the right to a fair and speedy trial when accused of a crime, the right to be free from barbarous punishments and inflictions of cruelty, the right to refuse to take up arms against another human being, and the right to pursue happiness in any way that does not infringe upon the rights of others.”

  • One of the most important purposes of a new human institution should be to serve as a check and balance on the economic power and media influence of amoral corporations.

“Whereas ownership of the means of material sustenance and production and of the formation of consciousness of the masses of society has, in large part, fallen into the hands of amoral entities concerned primarily with their own immediate profit; and whereas this condition is undesirable, potentially unjust, and likely hazardous to humanity’s future; it is vitally necessary that an institution representing the best intentions of the people of the world, centered in a conscientious and beneficent vision, imbued with high values and universal principles and regarding their advancement and implementation as its very reason for existence, should gain economic power and the ability to exert influence through the channels of education, public information and discourse.”

“To enable the launch, growth, and success of companies whose principles and practices, visions and plans, and products or services are or would be of exceptional benefit to the world and its people, let the Center for Human Conscience identify and invest in such companies.”

  • We need to create a global common culture that highlights the best of humanity, not the lowest common denominator or the biased perspective of one imperialistic culture.

“Whereas people who are doing especially good work for good ends deserve to be acclaimed and supported, let the Center for Human Conscience give annual awards, including financial gifts, to recognize and encourage achievement by individuals and groups in six fields: Government, Law, and Diplomacy; Economics, Commerce, and Labor; Science and Technology; Health, Education, and Social Services; Philosophy, Spirituality, and Religion; and the Arts and Humanities.”

“… whereas familiarity with the greatest achievements in every field and the best contributions of every culture to humanity is an antidote to prejudice and short-sightedness and the foundation of broad-mindedness, holistic thinking, mutual understanding and peace; and in order that the people of the world may come to feel a closer kinship through the common reference points they might share, not through the effects of cultural imperialism but by the organic emergence of a global consciousness deriving from the discoveries and creations acclaimed freely by people everywhere, that the Earth might be perceived as but one home for all, undivided; let there be a Common Canon of what all well-informed people should know, including facts, theories, belief systems, creative works, and historical figures.”

  • Global decision making needs to be balanced between a mass democracy of all well-informed people and the role of highly educated and accomplished people.

“Whereas an educated and informed citizenry is essential to a well-functioning democracy…”

“Whereas visionaries have dreamed of the day when a multitude of the world’s people will meet for ongoing dialogue in global parliament assembled; and whereas today, with the advent of the internet, it is practical for the first time in human history to make this enlightened vision a reality; let there be a vast, all-embracing assembly, The People’s Assembly of the World, comprised of ten thousand men and women from all nations and places on Earth, representing the great diversity of humankind in common knowledge, spirit and purpose: that the members of this Assembly may take counsel together and strive to reach consensus on matters of public importance; that it may inspire people to live better lives by eloquently expressing the guidance of humanity’s shared wisdom and collective conscience; and that it may address itself to powers and authorities with the boldness that its inherent legitimacy affords, that they may hear and heed the mighty and united voice of the informed citizens of the world, knowing that the wisdom and conscience of the people are a higher authority with greater power than them who might use wealth or weapons to attempt to enforce unwise and unjust decisions.”

“Whereas higher education is vital to the progress of civilization and can be a means to speed the evolution of a global society based on noble and universal principles…”

“Whereas wise decision making relies in large part on expert knowledge and opinion; and whereas greater decision-making authority should be given by the people at large to the few among them who have earned the highest respect and admiration for their wisdom, conscience, vision, intelligence, accomplishments and abilities; let there be a Council of Wisdom…”

  • The goals of justice and peacemaking may be better served independent of government, business and religious interests.

“Whereas justice is among the essential foundations of peace among people and nations; and whereas true justice is founded in truth discovered and embraced by people of conscience in mutual consultation; and whereas institutions independent of government, commerce, and religion may be better suited to pursue an objective search for truth and to serve as impartial arbiters and peacemakers; let the Center for Human Conscience establish a House of Justice in every part of the world and for the world as a whole, which shall investigate matters of conflict and disagreement and provide well-informed guidance and opinions.”

“Let the Global House of Justice pursue cases on matters of world importance, such as investigation of accused war criminals and crimes against humanity, allegations of corruption and misconduct by major public and private institutions, and peaceful resolution of disputes between peoples and nations…”

  • We should honor the great achievements of the past, but we have to keep changing whenever necessary in order to keep progressing.

“To the leaders, the luminaries among our ancestors who brought forth such visions of progress, those which have already been accomplished and those yet unrealized, we pay homage and give gratitude, realizing that our own accomplishments must inevitably rest on a foundation so often taken for granted – a foundation whose every part was put into place only through determined and concerted effort by them who had the courage to question and surpass the ways and standards of their time, reaching for an uncertain future with uncanny conviction borne of inner knowledge that impelled them to action at any price.”

“… whereas people must change how they organize themselves and their affairs as new times bring different circumstances and conditions; and whereas ideas that may once have seemed progressive may, in time, become an impediment to further progress in new and better directions; let the Charter of the Center for Human Conscience be amended whenever deemed necessary by the members of this organization.”

  • Following through on these principles and ideas is a fulfillment of age-old visions and the vision of our time.

“… at last all shall be as one, even as envisioned by the prophets of old, when weapons of war shall rust from disuse and fires of hatred die without fuel, in a world reborn in the light of peace universal and unending.”

“So let this be a call to all who envision close at hand the coming of age of the human race; who would stand on the side of peace and prosperity, justice and equity, harmony among humanity and with nature – in short, a global civilization in conformity with all that is good; which nurtures its people and never exploits them; which respects the land, the water and the air, and all the creatures therein; and which consciously and conscientiously seeks to reflect a higher ideal in all things…”

“We, the people of conscience of the world united, hereby call into being this ageless vision of our time.”

Click here to read the whole Charter.

Posted in The Charter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Announcing the Charter of the Center for Human Conscience

Revolutionary ideas call for eloquently written documents to communicate them. The Center for Human Conscience is such an idea, and therefore a Charter has been written and published on this website to express — as clearly and beautifully as its author was capable of — the essence of the idea, its meaning and purposes.

The Charter of the Center for Human Conscience: Laying the Foundation for a New World Civilization is not a long document, but it weaves together a rich tapestry of philosophical concepts, inspiring rhetoric, and pragmatic suggestions for how we can build a better world in the pivotal era in which we live.

The overall spirit of the Charter may be summed up by the last paragraph of its Preamble:

Whereas human beings are ever in need of informed and inspired leadership, that they may rise to their full potential; and whereas the light of civilization tends to be diminished or even extinguished, replaced by the darkness of cynicism leading to barbarism, when bereft of adequate guidance and inspiration impelling people to reach toward a higher vision of the good, the beautiful, and the possible; and whereas increasing numbers of people in this day are turning away from traditional sources of leadership, finding them provincial, common, corrupt, spent of their spirit and purpose, or unsuited to the modern world, and seeking a worthy replacement to set their hearts aflame, unite them, and inspire them to a sacrificial and heroic life; – therefore, The Center for Human Conscience is established: in an age in which advancements in transportation and communication empower and challenge people everywhere on Earth to come together as never before: to embody and give voice to the highest vision, deepest conscience, and noblest aspirations of all humankind; to speak for the collective soul of humanity, commanding, not by force of law or arms but through manifest wisdom and moral authority, the people of the world, bringing the mighty to their knees, uplifting the weak and the victims of injustice, spreading understanding, reconciliation, and peace, promoting the best of culture of the nations, inspiring progressive improvements in the physical, mental, and spiritual condition of average men and women, and compelling the exceptional to extraordinary deeds of courage and principle; to become the next great, world-changing institution in the evolution of human civilization at the dawn of the third millennium of the Common Era; – may it endure as a majestic source of light and hope for centuries to come.

The author of the Charter of the Center for Human Conscience and its supporters invite all people to read the whole document, think about it, sign it, discuss it, share it far and wide, and take action to help make its vision and goals a reality.

We also invite you to connect with us by email, Twitter, and Facebook.

Posted in Announcements, The Charter | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment