The United World Awakening
"There is enough for everyone's need but not enough for everyone's greed." - 'Mahatma' ['Great Soul'] Mohandas Gandhi
The history of civilisation shows that our ability to secure a fair and habitable world for future generations depends on increasing levels of communication and co-operation.
Sooner or later we will all realise that we need to communicate and cooperate globally on a basis of relative equality. This is the egalitarian aim that underlies both democracy and communism. We may be of different races, sexes and nationalities but, as is clear to all who see the Earth from space, we are one people sharing one home. The central message of most of the world's great religions is to love everybody. As Westerners say, we are all fundamentally inter-connected, and Christianity teaches us to love our enemies as we love ourselves. The deep underlying meaning of Ubuntu, a traditional African philosophy recognizing the shared essence within humanity and life, puts it: "I am because you are". As the ancient Mayans put it: “In Lak'ech Ala K'in”, which means “I am another yourself”. And Buddhism teaches us that separation is an illusion.
The United World Awakening (UWA) envisions that we will all eventually awaken to the fact that we inhabit one world and that we must share its limited resources and capacities in a fair and sustainable way in order to secure a bright long-term future for all mankind. The UWA is a movement that recognises that we need to establish an internet based Direct Democracy that will enable us to agree and evolve a global morality.
Shared morality is on the decline, especially in the West. As we abandon our faiths so does gang morality and corruption abound. Morality works because we are social animals and we all care deeply about what others think of us. Other people may be hell - we suffer just as much, both psychologically and emotionally, if we are ignored by a computer-generated character as when we are 'blanked' by a human being - but they are also heaven. A morality becomes stronger the greater number of people who endorse it. So a globally shared morality, which will be known as Our Morals, will have an indirect but strong influence on the world’s governments, especially those which are democratically elected. By providing guiding principles Our Morals will transcend party politics and will continuously influence all law makers, democratically elected or otherwise (no government is able to ignore the wishes and feelings of its people). Because its influence will be indirect rather than being directly involved in the law-making process Our Morals will not be susceptible to the corruption of party politics and associated manipulation of electoral results by mass media.
By giving everyone a say in how society functions and evolves, the UWA will be the means by which the principle that all people are created equal will be implemented. This principle is central to the U.S.A.’s Declaration of Independence and underlies all democratic constitutions.
It is a very long term vision which for its full potential to be realised depends upon access to internet technology being globally established. This is already well under way as used smartphones make their way to developing countries and the big internet companies battle it out to get a share of the remaining 60% of Earth's people who aren't yet online.
Our Morals are needed for us to overcome the environmental, social and economic challenges that we face. Our Morals will be agreed at as high a level as possible. If a particular moral is not agreed globally then it will be demoted for voting by individual countries or any other sub-groups that may be added via the Direct Democracy.
The UWA IS NOT A RELIGION. Moralising religions only emerged late in human history and are now declining (in any case most people now realise that many of the things that religions had to say about morality were mistaken, also our view of what is moral changes with time so any fixed morality will become increasingly out of step with the accepted mores of the times). You don't need to be religious to be moral, and some non-religious people behave more morally than some religious people. Nor is the UWA a cult or a political party. The UWA IS A SECULAR VISION and should appeal to both the religious and the non-religious alike. As it grows so will its influence on how people, institutions and governments think and behave. It is particularly concerned to address environmental concerns such as climate change and resource depletion as these are becoming increasingly urgent.
History shows that it doesn’t take many words to change the world, just the right ones. Within the next few years this website will be enhanced to enable you to register yourself as a supporter of the UWA vision. In the meantime you may wish to learn more about its design, view the Starter Set for Our Morals, learn about its history, and how to send us your comments & suggestions.
Core Design Principles
The core design
of the UWA website has evolved considerably since its inception in 1999, as have
software development technologies. The UWA will be built on the new
best-of-breed platform for large-scale enterprises, namely the MEAN software
bundle, and will focus on delivery via smartphones and automated translation to
enable Our Morals to be read in any language.
The UWA recognises that while democracy has proven to be the most economically successful system of governance it is by no means ideal. The UWA answers two of the oldest criticisms of direct democracy. These are that direct democracy is slow and impractical, and that most people are not well enough educated to make informed judgements.
The internet provides the solution to the first criticism by providing a means by which agreement can be relatively quickly reached no matter how large or distributed is the electorate.
The solution to the problem that democracy allows everyone an equal say but not everyone is equally qualified to govern is currently that the UWA will give everyone who registers at least two votes:
- A vote that can only be used by you (many people don't bother to vote and those that don't are probably doing the right thing: if they don't use their hard-won right to vote then they plainly don't think very clearly about politics/morals).
- A vote that can only be used if
you transfer the vote to another person (we all know somebody we think is better
qualified than us and we are usually correct in this judgement).
Also, if you actively participate in helping the web site and/or the ongoing evolution of Our Morals, you will gain a third vote [this idea was inspired by the VLC media player open source software project's notion of gaining a 'reputation'] so that your opinion will carry twice the weight of those who do not actively participate :-)
Further, the UWA will promote education that does not only prepare our children to become cogs in the industrial machine but also teaches morality as agreed by the UWA: thus the UWA itself could well become a core subject.
The UWA will be more like
a republic than a democracy because it will enable morals to be agreed at
different levels, some will be global and others will be country/culture/group specific. Our Morals will be a combination of morals and ethics
(i.e. personal moral codes) and will be regarded as
guidelines rather than rules because there are always some circumstances which a
particular rule, such as 'Do not steal', might be rightly broken.
A detailed description of the website design will be published before the end of 2016, by which time this page will at least have been broken down into multiple pages so as to encourage people other than the intelligentsia to actually read it ;-) Please send any comments &/or suggestions regarding UWA design to Design@UWA.Org
Our Morals Starter Set
To realise its vision the UWA needs a starting point for the moral guidelines. Please send any comments &/or suggestions to OurMorals@UWA.Org
This is a reduced
version of the
original Starter Set for Our Morals unanimously
agreed at a meeting of nine founder members in 1999.
The Starter Set expresses highly generalised principles of behaviour. When the UWA website is live it is anticipated that increasingly specific guidelines will be proposed, and that eventually it will replace petitions as the most effective way for your voice to be heard even concerning specific local issues.
As was made abundantly clear to the initial founder, who in 2013 was deprived of a lot of money mostly by people he hoped would help develop the UWA, the original Starter Set has glaring omissions such as 'Do not lie', 'Do not steal' & 'Be kind'.
The UWA does not want everybody to be the same. The UWA encourages people to celebrate and enjoy each other's individual and cultural differences. Consequently, It is a fundamental principle of Our Morals that people should be free to pursue their desires and express their creativity, sexuality and spirituality, while respecting others' basic rights, without fear of condemnation or other harm. "Do what thou wilt, but none harm", as pagans say. We will make moral assessments on the basis of actions only, and accept that how people look, think and behave is generally a matter for themselves only unless their behaviour affects the achievement of our shared aims. Unlike many moral codes of the past, ours is founded on the application of reason to empirical facts about our situation, and consequently we will not generally proscribe drugs or sexual activities other than those which lead to harmful actions. For example, we would not proscribe alcohol, even though it is responsible for a great deal of harm. If a person finds that they are unable to control their use of alcohol, and overindulge and become violent, then Our Morals would argue that, in order to protect those around them, they should be required to attend a treatment programme. If they refuse to attend or fail to make progress, then we should consider marking the recidivist with an unhideable [OK, it's not in the dictionary: it's a neologism ;-)] indication that you should not under any circumstances give this person an alcoholic drink.
Because people differ in their physical and mental capability, commitment and drive, we should accept differences in achievement and reward. Individuals will be able to work harder and either keep the extra benefit for themselves' and their families/friends, or they may choose to contribute more to society's well-being (in which case they may be entitled to greater reward if such a proposal is made & voted in/implemented). Those who prefer a simpler life will have that choice also.
Accepting diversity reduces conflict, thereby fostering unity and co-operation. Society will gain by maximising input from its members, leading to a greater motivation to work for the good of the community.
Humans need to be taught morality. In a famous experiment a group of children was raised without any form of moral guidance and they rapidly developed a 'pecking order' and bullied each other mercilessly. If a child is carefully raised and taught to share and care, as happens with most of us, it becomes a civilised moral being. Consequently, children need to be taught morality. The best way to teach is by example, and the importance of love, respect and communication to encourage socially benign behaviour needs to be instilled in people from an early age.
Psychological surveys show that in 1998 around 4 percent of the population have no moral conscience. These are the people who can kill in wartime without experiencing remorse, and who in peacetime will use any measures to get what they want. Such people are clearly extremely damaging to the achievement of our shared vision, and emphasising the importance of instilling a moral sense from an early age is most likely the best way to reduce their number in future.
As it stands, we each get what we settle for in this world, and we can only assert ourselves by using either force or communication. So communication is the basis for how a civilised moral being develops, and it is the means by which the civilised moral being ensures that his rights are respected.
Education is the basis of communication, and so everyone is entitled to a basic standard of education that enables them to contribute to and benefit from the society in which they live. As well as vocational training, it is important that people are equipped to achieve their potential, both within their careers and in their personal lives. Education should teach us to know our own rights, as well as how to respect others' and should be available throughout our lives.
We should engender a universal respect for the sanctity of life. We should not kill for pleasure and should treat all people and animals with compassion and respect. We are opposed to intensive animal husbandry techniques because of the associated cruelty.
Cruelty begets more cruelty; we want to create a social climate in which all forms of cruelty are unacceptable
5 Protect children from abuse
We believe children should not be abused or exploited. Regarding sexuality, children are not equipped to make that choice and cannot therefore give consent. Any sexual relations between adult and child are an abuse of power on the part of the adult, even if it appears to the adult that the child has "consented".
People resort to violence when the normal channels of communication, for one
reason or another, have not worked. With improved communication there should be
no need for violence. It is extremely immoral to kill another human being. The
only time that violence can be justified is when to take no action would cause
greater harm, such as in the case of a gunman threatening others.
There is usually no justification for individuals to own guns other than bee-bee or water guns etc. for fun, those held at gun clubs, or as part of a moral job such as managing wildlife populations. An exception is when you live in a part of the world where violence is a way of life and the only way to survive is to be armed. In such circumstances, you should none the less recognise the basic immorality of weapons and work within your community towards disarmament.
Similarly, the UWA is generally opposed to all military activity. Again, the current circumstances may make it impossible for countries to simply dismantle their military forces, but everywhere people should work towards the reduction of the military. We should work towards world peace and divert money from the military for peaceful purposes. No nation-state has a sovereign right to attack another. Only a global United Nations that fairly represents the interests and beliefs of all countries would have the right to sanction intervention to avoid tragedies in other countries.
As regards particular types of military weapon, the UWA is unequivocally opposed to chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons and calls for the destruction of all stockpiles of such weapons worldwide.
We should work towards providing for people's basic needs as a matter of right. While we recognise that we have a corresponding duty to contribute to society, we also recognise that the only way forward is to enable all people to rise above the struggle to meet their basic needs. Basic needs include: food, clothing, shelter, warmth, access to society, and access to nature. The UWA supports the Green Party core manifesto policy of implementing a Basic Income for all as first endorsed by J.K. Galbraith and others in a declaration made in 1968.
Every individual, regardless of gender, race, class or ethnic origin, should have access to a rewarding life. Opportunities need to be truly equal; people should be motivated so that their aspirations match their capabilities and they do not feel excluded from benefits or achievements because of their situation. Only then will we have motivated, dedicated individuals, willing to work for the good of all in a fair society, wherever they live.
We should reduce the disparity between rich and poor to eliminate the shameful levels of poverty that now exist. In 1998, the income differential between the richest and poorest 20% of all the world's people was a completely unacceptable 150 to 1 and there has been no significant improvement since then. And in most economies the gap between rich and poor is actually widening.
Apart from the appalling cost in human suffering, economic deprivation has devastating social consequences: it ruins people's physical and mental well-being, brings social disruption and crime, causes disaffection amongst a nation's people, and vast resources to be spent on policing and prisons.
Many cultures already appreciate the value of a friendly touch or warm embrace. We are social animals who need to demonstrate and reciprocate love. When we appreciate the value of non-sexual contact, we stop fearing physical affection from others. It is the intention that matters. A child that receives enough hugs and affection grows in self-confidence and learns to demonstrate their love for those around them. It is a great shame that many people find it easier to show physical affection to animals than to their fellow humans.
We recognise that many people will find it very difficult or even impossible to become more tactile. Accordingly, we should try to gauge whether a person is comfortable with displays of physical affection, and avoid physical contact with those who are not. Equally, people who are uncomfortable with physical contact should recognise that it is generally a beneficial form of interaction and therefore make their discomfort known as politely as possible.
Well-intentioned physical contact promotes individual well-being and breaks down the barriers between people, thereby fostering unity and co-operation.
Loving is not merely a matter of saying "I love you" and showing physical affection. It is also a matter of action, or working for the benefit of others. This guideline is sometimes expressed as "do unto others as you would be done by". However, because we want to accept diversity, we recognise that how we would be done by is not necessarily how others would be done by. We should therefore reciprocate in terms of effort but not necessarily in kind. We should behave towards others as we believe they would like to be treated: 'Do unto others as they would be done by'.
This guideline is relevant to your relationship with both individuals and with society in general. Whatever we think about the society we live in we are, with very few exceptions, part of society: it provides for our needs and comforts, and we therefore have a corresponding duty to repay society. Society is not some faceless unreal entity; it is all of us together, and people who, without good reason such as disability, age, or disease, deliberately take significantly more than they give are doing a real harm to others.
We should care for those who are unable to contribute as much as they would like, and where possible help them overcome the obstacles to fulfilling themselves.
Individuals should not make large sums of money through practices that are socially indefensible or intrinsically damaging to the economy. We must distinguish between enrichment that is socially benign and that which has adverse social consequences. For example, the parasitic behaviour associated with unethical city dealings - insider trading, asset-stripping, corporate raids - leaches vast sums of money from the economy and threatens job security.
The promotion of excessively materialistic aspirations through the manufacture
of needs (especially advertising) is socially destructive. It is a sign of our
spiritual paucity that shopping is our number one leisure activity. The
UWA proposes that:
- Advertising should be honest and promote sustainability through encouraging the sale of goods designed for long-term use. The DD may be used to agree desirable consumption levels [Note: to simplify the initial design the Global Sustainability Model concept has been removed for the time being]
- Non-materialistic recreation be encouraged. We can celebrate and have fun without using large amounts of energy, such as in jet travel (which in 1998 accounts for 30% of CO2 emissions and the airlines expect to double traffic within 10 years), or in excessive car journeys. A walk in the countryside is more effective and cheaper than therapy: spending time in natural surroundings encourages spirituality and a sense of harmony with the Earth, as well as bringing pleasure through all the seasons. Music & dance promote harmony and co-operation and cost the earth little.
Current agreements favour more powerful trading nations, permitting the rigging of prices by the developed world to the detriment of the growers, and allow them to dictate crops to be grown ('cash crops'). We should end the use of child labour and ensure that everyone earns at least a living wage. Governments should have a far bigger say in our common future than multi-national corporations (as of 2016 of the 100 most powerful economic entities on the planet only 49 are countries and the rest are multi-nationals: banks now rule the world, and they are motivated by the short term financial interests of their share-holders rather than the long term interests of humanity). Currently the leaders of the major Western economies are negotiating what reads like a wish-list for multi-nationals. This is known as TTIP and should be resisted by all right-thinking people.
15 Penalise excessive energy consumption and pollution
Companies, institutions and individuals should be accountable for the energy they consume and the pollution they cause through penalties &/or appropriate taxation. Specific moral guidelines, based on scientific analysis or derived from international treaties, will be proposed to set acceptable levels of energy consumption and pollution/waste for different industries, countries & individuals.
Products should not be manufactured for short-term use. Components need to be reusable or recyclable as much as possible; goods should be repairable, permitting the creation of locally-based, fulfilling and skilful work diagnosing and repairing faults.
The trend towards centralisation of government and industry has led to a sense of alienation from the powerbase and decision-making processes which works against creating a climate of co-operation. Although there is a need for worldwide controls regarding resource use and pollution controls, centralised decision making in other areas can lead to gross waste and inequitable distribution. We believe in devolving decision-making as far as possible so that the people affected by decisions are those that make them.
Even without agreeing exactly what redistribution should occur via the GSM and the DD, it is clear that Western countries in particular need to dramatically reduce their use of resources and energy if we are to achieve sustainability. We should therefore take some obvious steps to do so, and this is one of the simplest ways of reducing consumption.
Deleted Contentious Guidelines
Two highly contentious guidelines from the original Starter Set have been removed because they put a lot of people off. They will now only become part of Our Morals if they are proposed and decided by the Direct Democracy after the UWA website is live. They were:
Individual people should use their wealth beyond agreed limits to help those most in need.
A Brief History of the United World Awakening
The founders of the UWA are those who in 1999 put significant voluntary effort into reaching agreement for a starter set for Our Morals, registering the UWA domain, coding and providing a platform for an early version of a working system (which became unfounded, i.e. lacked funding), providing artwork and/or promoting the vision on party flyers. They are based in various cities and in the UK and as far as possible they would like to remain anonymous.
The concept was given to a person in a series of three dreams over three consecutive nights whilst he was attending a festival called Tribe of Doris in 1999 to which he had been introduced by other founders-to-be.
Our name was inspired by the plight of the U'Wa, a peaceful and enlightened tribe which lives in South America. At the time this web site was first created (in 1999) they were threatening to commit mass suicide. Thankfully they didn't. The U'Wa believe in the interconnectedness of all things. They believe that their way of life and rituals are keeping the planet alive and say that unless we come to our senses soon we are all doomed. Let us hope that the UWA is successful in sending the U'Wa a message of hope so that they do not despair of us.
The UWA.Org domain was registered in 1999 by the< Magician since when several statements describing its design were published. The design statement has been removed pending major revisions and will be reinstated by end 2016.
Another supporter developed a rudimentary working system in 1999, but it lacked important features such as automated registration, sub-groups below 'global' (such as countries), and transferable votes. After a short time the author was unable to maintain it and the website reverted to a read-only description of the concept and the Our Morals Starter Set.
Over its 17 year history the UWA concept was advertised by flyers for, and distribution of leaflets at, social events throughout the early ‘noughties’. It is now promoted via social networking and the incipient YouTube UWA Channel. The vision continues to be well received and to spread by word of mouth. During its history much feedback has been received resulting in a simplified designand reduced scope (including the elimination of a Global Sustainability Model). Very many thousands of people now hope that the UWA will become one of the most significant sites in the world.
The design overview above raises many questions which will be answered when the new detailed design specification is published by the end of 2016 after the draft has been reviewed and revised through consultation using social networking.
Sections Removed Pending Revision
These sections were once included and have since been removed pending revision:
· Systems Design (a new detailed design will be published by end 2016)
· An Introduction to Moral Philosophy
· UWA Vision
Some Food for Thought
"I believe deeply that we must find, all of us together, a new spirituality. This new concept ought to be elaborated alongside the religions, in such a way that all people of goodwill can adhere to it. We need a new concept, a lay spirituality. We ought to promote this concept with the help of scientists. It can lead us to set up what we are all looking for - a secular morality" - The Dalai Lama
Although the Dalai Lama is not associated with the United World Awakening and we formed our vision before hearing these words, they perfectly describe what we hope to achieve.
The growing gap between rich and poor, the degradation of the environment (including Global Warming/Climate Change), and the declining diversity and populations of flora and non-human fauna is like watching a black comedy. If we don't act to stop these trends then we are heading towards either police-states or violent revolutions. These scenarios do not appeal to anyone, not even the "ruling elite" if there is such a thing. The UWA offers the best way to ensure a bright future for all mankind for all time.
To begin with, Our Morals will not carry much force. For those of us that join in the early stages, we will at least be happy in the knowledge that we are very moral beings and that we are doing our part to change the world. Eventually we hope the UWA will grow so strong that Our Morals and the measures agreed via the Global Sustainability Model will have a force greater than that of law although we will not have even attempted to establish a global police force.