I finished reading a novel last week, All the Light We Cannot See, that helped inspire this article. The story is about the Germans and the French during the Second World War, especially a gifted, young German radio operator and a blind French girl whose lives intersect briefly in the chaos. The book didn’t offer many historical facts for this article, but it clearly showed, through the characters’ eyes, the utter brutality and anguish that can be wrought by our savage side in times of war. It helps illustrate the need for a strong force in this world that can keep the peace among warring countries.
Noble-Savage Implications for ITC and for Peace
“It can only work when the vibrations of those present are in complete harmony, and when their aims and intentions are pure.”
That, we were told in a radio message from the other side, is the crux of successful ITC (Instrumental Transcommunication) … the capacity of humans on Earth to resonate enough with each other so that our spirit friends can open up communication channels with us through our radios, TVs, computers, and other technical equipment.
Radio communication is inanimate. Lifeless radio waves resonate (in frequency) with lifeless technologies.
ITC is animate. Our living spirit friends have to resonate (in attitude and purpose) with us carnal researchers in order to use our equipment for communication.
That’s the challenge facing ITC. It’s also the challenge facing peace on Earth:
- We humans have a noble side or spiritual self at the center of our being that shines with good will, trust, empathy, and love. These are the qualities that allow humans to resonate with each other… qualities that make ITC (and peace) possible.
- We also have a savage side or carnal self, driven by our egos and hormones, that stirs up fears and uncertainties to cause dissonance that keeps ITC (and lasting peace) ever out of reach.
Empires (Babylon… Egypt… Rome… Nazi Germany…) were all driven by the noble urge to spread order out into the world, and they all succumbed to savage forces within them and around them as they sought a peaceful end through brutal means.
It’s all part of the timeless struggle within us humans, the noble vs the savage, that boils out into our civilizations and makes peace elusive.
Here’s a snapshot showing some of the main conflicts stirred up over the past century or so by territorial disputes among nations:
Since World War II, the most critical hotspots have moved away from that small border between France and Germany, to other parts of the world. Here’s a snapshot of world conflicts underway lately. Though a bit oversimplified, I believe it’s a fairly accurate view of where our savage side is stirring up most of the troubles at the present time.
(Incidentally, the sizes of the red dots that I put in these two illustrations are arbitrary, based only on my general sense about the destructiveness or intensity of each particular conflict.)
These unstable conditions are caused by various factors that include…
- Africa‘s high birth rate leading to famines, mass migrations and mass executions…
- USA’s imperial urge to spread its interests and influence everywhere and to maintain its position at the center of the current world order.
Then there’s the inevitable resistance to the current world order, especially by…
- Russia, which wants the USA and NATO to recognize Russia’s right to continue to govern crucial interests along its border (Ukraine, Georgia, Crimea, Moldova, Belarus, Transnistria….)…
- Mideast Islamic countries that clash with western values and oil dependencies… and
- China, which is in a century-old struggle to find solid footing as an economic power in today’s tenuous world.
Humanity at Critical Mass
Powerful fruits of progress (nuclear energy… the Internet… smart phones…) have made our path to the future more exquisite, but also more deadly as we try to sustain an uneasy peace in a turbulent world.
It’s not just our population of 7 billion but our modern technologies today that are at critical mass. Guided by our noble side they could transform civilization into a paradise, but wielded by savage hands they could turn it to cinder… following the cataclysmic legacy of our ancient ancestors in Eden and Atlantis.
Our collective challenge today, somehow, is to maximize our noble collaborations born of trust and good will, while minimizing our savage confrontations spun out of fear and doubt.
In other words, our challenge is to achieve sustained peace amid the diversities of world civilization.
Sri Chinmoy calls the United Nations ”the hope of all humanity…. The nation is an extension of the human personality, an overgrown ego that is moved by forces of nature, too subtle and profound to be understood, much less controlled, by the unillumined mind. On the mental level, my nation is supreme and the fellow on the other side of the table feels also that his nation is supreme. So in the unceasing stream of ideas, pressures, counter pressures, measures and counter measures, the world comes to a brink of disaster and then men retreat in horror after a glimpse of the abyss….” (Read more… )
Peace Through Unity
There’s one force or condition down through the ages, more than any other, that has allowed us noble-savage humans to keep the peace: unity. When humans and human groups unify under a common set of standards and values, differences become less important and conflicts diminish.
As villagers adopt the customs of the village… as cities, states, provinces, and businesses adopt the laws of the nation… only then do we humans find ourselves living in a relatively peaceful environment.
But it’s a tenuous peace at best. Our savage side is always lurking in the shadows, looking for an advantage here, seeking protection there, simply trying to survive and prevail.
World Peace Through World Unity
Today we live amid powerful, clashing nations; sprawling, incompatible religions; and competing, profit-motivated, transnational corporations… and the only way to achieve world peace is to unify all of humanity under a single umbrella of global standards and values. Enter…
The United Nations
The unprecedented brutality of the First World War (1914-18) compelled most world leaders to agree… enough is enough! To achieve peace, they formed the League of Nations in 1920, which wasn’t really an attempt to unify all nations, but a loose agreement to respect each other’s rights (to political independence and territorial integrity).
As such, it wasn’t strong enough to do the job of forging peace. Joining the League was like seeking shelter in a tent during a typhoon. The stormy momentum and residual animosities among the browbeaten winners and losers of “the Great War” soon swept them into an even greater one… the Second World War (1939-45), which caused even greater devastation.
Again, the world leaders agreed, enough is enough! They transformed the League of Nations into the United Nations in 1945.
Mission and Motivation
The mission of the UN is to promote peace, prosperity, progress, dignity, and mutual respect in human affairs throughout the world. That’s a summary of the UN’s preamble, which in turn is a summary of its entire charter… and it is probably the noblest mission (and among the most challenging) of any human group since the days of Babylon.
Just about everyone today is under the umbrella of the UN, as seen in the world membership map below.
So if the UN mission is so noble (and I’m totally convinced that it is), then why aren’t we all enjoying lives of peace, prosperity, and dignity? What’s wrong with this picture?
What’s wrong with the umbrella?
A couple of things jump out:
No authority. First and foremost, the UN has never been given the authority to create world laws that would enforce peace among unruly nations and big businesses. Instead, it facilitates autonomous nations making agreements amongst themselves… and so the UN is subject to whims of its member nations. Case in point, the Law of the Sea, which is about as close to a world law as we humans have ever gotten. Individual members (such as the USA) can and do reject certain parts of the law that they feel might interfere with their economic and security interests.
As long as national interests take precedence over planetary interests, the Law of the Sea is not really a law. It’s more of an emphatic suggestion among peers.
To be an effective umbrella for world peace and stability, the UN would first have to become a world government with capacity to enact and to enforce a few basic world laws, and with authority over national governments on a few key issues related to the “global commons” and international conflicts.
Disorderly structure. The UN is like the only football in the neighborhood. It’s been kicked around and patched up over and over. It’s still functional and everyone relies on it, but it’s grown unwieldy.
Since the Second World War, humanity has relied on the UN to discourage noble-savage nations from flying out of control and destroying the planet. It’s had only moderate success, partly because it lacks the authority to regulate its member states, but also because of its disorganization, which is shrouded in secrecy. (More about that below, under Management and Direction.)
As critical situations in world affairs are recognized, new organs are created within the UN structure to address them. As a result, there are many groups within the UN, each with its own purpose and mission statement, many with offices scattered across the globe. They include:
- DPKO (peacekeeping)
- DESA (economic and social affairs)
- OHCHR (human rights))
- UNICEF (children’s well-being)
- WPF (food)
- UNHCR (refugees)
- UNESCO (education, science, and culture)
- UNEP (environment)
- DELC (environmental law)
- IAEA (atomic energy)
- UNGEI (girls’ education)
So the UN is like the only football in the neighborhood… old and functional with lots of patches holding it together. It’ll be necessary, at some point, to rebuild the ball completely. Get a panel of bright, global thinkers together (people who’ve transcended religious dogma and nationalistic ideologies) to revamp the UN according to what we’re learning about the real, living structure of humanity on Planet Earth. And that should include real spiritual understanding once humanity is ready for that… which I’ll address in a moment.
Anyway, these two things—the UN’s somewhat unwieldy bureaucracy and its lack of real authority to regulate world affairs—are what I regard as two of the main challenges facing the UN. Until they’re solved (which is no easy task) they prevent the UN from being the effective umbrella for world peace that it was envisioned to be.
Still, That Pesky Noble-Savage….
But beneath those organizational flaws rests an even bigger challenge: our noble-savage nature as human beings. As long as we humans have a savage side to our nature—the side of us that’s inherently wrapped up in our carnal impulses, in our egos and hormones and personalities—there will never be an umbrella that can give us peace as a species. We’ll rebel against umbrellas of any kind and rip holes in them. It’s our savage nature.
Rising Above the Savage….
The only peace that we can really hope to find on Earth is personal peace… and that can only be achieved through spiritual practices in which we routinely connect our carnal mind with our higher mind at the center of our being… for example, through meditation. It involves slowing our busy brain so that it can access that place of perfect peace within us that has never been disturbed, and then absorb light and wisdom from that sacred source.
Only through a conscious connection with the source can we realize that the dramas going on around us are just an illusion. The only truth is there, at the center of everything, where there is only love, light, pure wisdom and total knowledge. When we bring that eternal truth into our relaxed carnal mind, only then do we find true and lasting peace amid the dramas of life on Earth. It’s a very personal experience, involving just you and God… and maybe a zillion ethereal beings smiling down on you. 🙂
Carrying that a step further, it’s safe to say that a true and lasting world peace will only happen when most of humanity has a basic spiritual understanding. Not an acceptance of religious dogma, which they already have, but real spiritual understanding that comes from forging a conscious, personal connection to the eternal source. Billions of people fostering personal connections between their carnal minds and their soul… that is the condition that will bring a oneness among humans… true unity… true peace.
But that is a scenario for the future. Most people today don’t even acknowledge and understand that eternal presence at the center of their being.
For now, we have the United Nations, which will work better as an umbrella for world peace once it can correct those two little flaws. 1) If nations give the UN the authority it needs to be a limited world government, and 2) if the UN can restructure itself into a more cohesive organization that more accurately represents our worldly (and other-worldly) reality, then the UN should be equipped to sustain a tenuous peace in this noble-savage world throughout this century and into the next.
Where the UN shines brightly during the past 75 years is in the area of global standards. UN standards have been quietly erasing many of the incompatibilities among human groups that have caused misunderstandings, mistrust and conflict down through the ages.
The UN develops voluntary standards in many areas of its expertise…
- Economic activities,
- Businesses in developing countries,
- Sex education,
- Drugs and crime…
… and also works with independent, consultative organizations (such as ISO) that develop technical industry standards beyond UN expertise.
So what could an ITC group like INIT learn from the experience of the United Nations in terms of its mission and motivation? One important lesson is to make it global… multilingual… multicultural.
That wouldn’t require expensive buildings in New York, Geneva, or anywhere else. It could be done today through modern technologies, especially a multilingual website with automatic translations.
Today there are various places on the Internet to get a general picture of the complex structure of the UN. Two examples:
- There are controlled websites with organized lists of links to United Nations councils and commissions and committees and agencies and physical offices, such as the unsceb.org directory.
- There’s also a Wikipedia page that lists divisions and subdivisions within the UN structure. The beauty (and beast) of Wikipedia is that it’s an open platform that allows just about anyone to edit most pages. It appears that various people have gone onto that wikipedia page to add names of UN employees to the bulleted lists of UN agencies. The result looks like a strange mix of major organizations with a sprinkling of selected personalities who didn’t want to be left out.
Personalities and Egos
The United Nations is far too big and complex and cloaked in secrecy to take a close look at all of the diverse characters who work behind the scenes to keep it operating. Instead, we’ll take a look at two fellows with powerful personalities and egos, who have been very important to the UN’s role as global peacemaker.
They’re like two opposite poles on the personality spectrum, and they both, interestingly, grew up in the Alsace-Lorraine region between France and Germany. Both emerged from the carnage of the western front of both world wars.
Mere coincidence? I doubt it.
Ethereal beings monitor with great interest the most noble and most savage activities going on in our world and work tirelessly and gently behind the scenes to guide humanity toward the noble. Maybe it’s part of “the plan” to cultivate peacemakers from the destruction and decay of war-torn regions.
I suspect that finer beings had a hand in the birth, karma, and destiny of these two fellows, just as, I’m sure, they had a hand in the miracles and wisdom and the lives of Jesus, Mohammed, Gautama Buddha, Krishna, and the other great prophets of yore.
Born of world war, these two diverse personalities ultimately found a place in the United Nations and committed their lives to world peace.
Who are they?
- You may have heard of Robert Muller, an assistant secretary-general during the UN’s first 40 years, who wrote many books and gave countless speeches and seminars around the world about the United Nations and world peace.
- You may not have heard of Jacques Paul Klein, a retired diplomat and UN under-secretary-general who headed three difficult peacekeeping missions on behalf of the UN.
Robert Muller (1923-2010) was a positive force at the UN, usually behind the scenes. He was sometimes called Philosopher of the UN, Prophet of Hope, and Optimist-in-Residence.
I collected most of Robert Muller’s books in the 1980s when I was steeped in peace and world affairs, and they still take up a shelf in my library. He helped me with some of my own book projects (here… and here… ) in the late 1980s and was a major inspiration for me. I was never sure exactly what his UN duties were as “assistant secretary-general”… a title that suggests being the right-hand man to the fellow in charge of the UN, the secretary-general. In fact, a number of people at the UN used to be appointed to an assistant secretary-general position for one of many issues or projects at the UN, and the title of “assistant secretary-general” was eventually replaced with “under-secretary”… maybe to help reduce misunderstandings like mine.
Actually, all three of those people in the picture on the left are in the small circle of my personal heroes in this lifetime. The Dalai Lama has always been an inspiration to Regina and me, and Juliet Hollister wielded miracles in her personal relationships. She became a close friend of mine in the early 1990s, and I can honestly say that our INIT group for ITC research probably would not have come together without her presence in my life. She was one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known. (Read more about dear Juliet… )
After Robert Muller’s 40-year service to the UN, he created the World Core Curriculum, which is taught at many schools around the world, giving kids a sense of planetary appreciation and the need for peace. He accepted the job as chancellor at the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica, where he spent the last years of his life.
Robert Muller embodied the spirit of the United Nations and was a living example of “planetary citizen,” a man who’d transcended the limitations and prejudices of nationality while working tirelessly for world peace. (Read more… )
Paul Klein (1939- ) was among the negotiators appointed as Special Representatives of the Secretary-General for peacekeeping missions. The most successful SRSGs are said to be able to “walk on water, swim with the piranhas, and fly with the angels.” Peacekeeping often involves negotiations between two or three national leaders with big egos and powerful personalities, and it requires a UN representative with similar attributes. That’s Paul Klein, a no-nonsense, cigar-chomping man of peace who got things done. (Read more… )
Paul Klein is well known among those working along the front lines of international affairs, holding many titles in the areas of peacekeeping and diplomacy and earning many awards for his many successes at brokering peace in bristling international situations. (Read more… )
However… we’ve all got a savage side that drags us off course from time to time.
When the Bush-Cheney administration sought to weaken and tarnish the United Nations in order to push an aggressive US international agenda that included usurping Mideast oil, they dug up dirt on the UN and made it public. They gathered some 500 documents from confidential UN scandal investigations that involved various UN officials over a period of five years and posted the documents on a website. Paul Klein was one of the officials mentioned in the confidential audits. (Read more… )
One thing an ITC group could learn from the personalities and egos in the UN is that everyone doesn’t have to be of the same personality type to resonate together effectively enough to sustain a coherent contact field.
You can have inspired men and women of peace working together with brusque, efficient, sometimes confrontational characters who know how to deal with troubled egos around them and how to keep them in line.
The vital qualities that they all need is a sense of purpose and commitment to the mission, and a basic trust in each other’s sincerity and dedication… a purity of intention motivating each member. In the case of the UN, the mission is world peace. For ITC, the mission is to sustain a contact field to support reliable communication bridges with finer levels of spirit.
As long as everyone remains committed to the mission and to each other, many different egos and personality types can work together to get things done.
Another lesson we could learn from the UN is that we’re all noble-savage human beings. When one researcher’s envy or fear or doubt disrupts the group, deal with it quickly and appropriately. Knowing how to deal with these ego issues appropriately would be a vital skill or talent for any ITC group.
Management and Direction
Some of the biggest complaints against the UN have to do with its management. Operating largely in secrecy behind a cloak of diplomatic immunity and a “culture of impunity” (the UN doesn’t have to answer to anyone), its management is hard to assess.
Despite internal and external audits and investigations, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of just how many people are employed and how effectively (or not) they spend their money… or even how much money the UN has at its disposal. There are too many organs in the body of the UN that act independently of each other, sometimes counteracting or duplicating the work of other organs.
On one hand, you have harsh critics who see the UN rife with “bid-rigging, conflicts of interest, bribery, theft, nepotism, and sexual harassment.” (Read more… )
On the other hand, you have a massive organization spread around the world that is trying hard to reform itself through better management, transparency, accountability, and honest procurement processes. (Read more… )
As I see it, the role of the UN is absolutely crucial in today’s world of powerful nations, religions, and transnational businesses. We need a world force authorized to keep the peace among powerful, noble-savage contenders.
If the current UN has grown unwieldy and overly susceptible to savage human motivations among its workforce (as many, many human groups tend to do!), then it may need to be rebuilt into a more cohesive organization… not scrapped… not disparaged… not ignored.
It probably needs to be modernized and reconsolidated. Trying to polish and tweak an inherently flawed system often wastes time, energy and money. I suspect a complete overhaul is in order… at some point.
So, what could an ITC group learn about management and direction from the UN?
Start out with a viable organization… a sound game plan. There are ways to set up a global organization with modern technologies so that members can interact instantly and electronically. They don’t have to build expensive offices and have in-room meetings that require international travel and lodging.
But again, it’s important to understand the noble-savage nature of human beings and to manage the organization in a way that maximizes the noble and deals appropriately with the savage while keeping an eye on the mission.
Not an easy job… being human.
Funding and Support
The United Nations gets most of its funding from member nations through assessed dues and voluntary contributions. Member nations are assessed dues based on the strength of their economies… their GNPs.
Assessed dues cover the general operating costs of the UN… both its regular budget and its peacekeeping budget. The USA pays the maximum assessment (22% of the total), while poorest nations are assessed just 0.001%.
Nations can also make voluntary contributions that fund the UN’s humanitarian work, such as UNICEF (children) and WPF (food), and UNHCR (refugees).
As you might imagine, member nations such as the USA who pay the most money to the UN often insist on (and are granted) the assurance that a lot of the UN’s efforts will support the economic and security interests of those member nations. (Read more… )
Private donors such as Ted Turner and Bill Gates also donate money to the UN, usually for specific purposes.
Most of the UN budget is kept secret to a large extent, so it’s difficult to determine exactly how much money the UN uses for what specific purposes, stirring rebuke especially among critics whose national interests outweigh their global concerns. (Read more… )
What an ITC group could learn from funding of the United Nations is that we, unlike the UN, will have to deal with the fact that we have no reliable source of income. No governments or businesses can be assessed fees to cover our research. Instead, we rely on donations from generous sponsors. So… it’ll be important for ITC groups in the future to set up networks as inexpensively as possible. Again, that can be done with modern technologies such as multilingual websites and videoconferencing.
So far in this series I’ve compared ITC groups with a couple of worldly groups with mostly noble missions… the Saturday Night Live TV show (which fosters laughter) and the United Nations (which fosters peace). For the next article I hope to look at groups that are savage by nature and definition. Clandestine groups such as the CIA and MI6 and the Nazi SS were formed by nations to protect themselves from hostile national forces around them, and as such they’re compelled to operate with a degree of savage intent. Same with military organizations. So that will probably be the subject of my next article in this series.
But first, it’s that time to start compiling my end-of-year news summary, and that’ll take some time to complete.
Also in this series (What an ITC Group Could Learn From Other Groups)…