It will not be the rational individualism, alone, to take us to the space
If we had a machine to photograph the social situation of the post-industrial societies, in an objective way, we would have more or less the following picture (forgive the schematism, that’s a must, in this case).
a) The industrial age is over. It does not mean that the industry disappeared, but that the industrial production style is no more the leading one, neither socially nor economically.
b) The electronic age is in full development, with all its social corollaries already analyzed several times.
c) The production mode is fragmented, and no more concentrated in the big factories of the past.
d) The number of the legal entities (at least in Italy, of which we have sure data) is in breathtaking increase since 40 years ago, and the enterprises/population ratio evolves in continuation.
e) The winners are the computer science technologies oriented to communication and entertainment.
f) Millions people directly operate on the stocks through the internet, without any mediation of professionals. The market is more and more similar to a sea in perennial emotional storm. The expression “to play on the stock exchange” has never been truer than now.
g) The students of the scientific faculties, all over the post-industrial world, decreased more than 10% in the last 10 years (see the january 2001 number of Le Scienze), while it is more or less steady the number of students of Biology and Informatics.
h) The ideological fences and walls are broken. The comparison between the different philosophies (premises of the ideologies that have dominated during the industrial age) is begun.
i) Once eliminated the deforming lenses of the old ideologies, they can come to the light the true differences of thought, and the bases for new ideologies, based on the present reality, can be started to build.
j) We discover therefore that there was a common ethical aim between roman catholicism and marxism, based on the sacrifice of the interest of the single in favor of the one of the community. From such philosophic steup come the ideologies of the social solidarity, the production of social assets, the protection of the weaker people. The government is paternalistic, familiar, and the citizens, more than adult and sovereign, are eternally considered under-age sons.
k) We discover also the common ethical aim between liberalism and Anglo-Saxon calvinism, based on the individual freedom and the inalienable rights of the individuals. From here derive the virtuous conception of the prize to the success, of recognizing the merits of the individuals, of giving a great weight to the individual sovereignty. The government is the organization to which the individual yields part of his/her own sovereignty, for the development of common tasks. The citizens are sovereign, to one’s own risk.
The above the photograph showed to us. In the detection of the true philosophies, bases of the industrial ideologies, we owe to recognize a great merit to ing. Luciano De Crescenzo, a Neapolitan philosopher who worked for years at IBM. But, taking acknowledge of the obsolescence of old dichotomies, we notice also the tremendous delay of the discussion about the recent ones. It would be interesting to develop a new dialectics between the ethics of the reason (the individualist rationalism) and the ethic of the heart (the social solidarism), like Dr. De Crescenzio suggested, but the urgence of the current problems already pushes us towards other dialectics. Anyone who linger in rear arguments, between ideological ghosts like liberal right-wing and collectivist left-wing, do nothing else than to increase the possibilities, for humans, to become extinct. As well as anyone keeps on demonizing the one or the other thought, indicating it as responsible of all the evils of the world, because will cut off the ones who believed in good faith, and was animated by a sincere ethical aim. Such good people, instead, would be well disposed to leave -- or they already left -- their old ideological moorings, in order to restart the ideological navigation.
In order to survive and to keep developing, the humanity of the six billions individuals needs all the best philosophies of the reason and the best ones of the heart (and obviously I mean to include also other philosophies, not European and not American, because they have many to contribute, on the spiritual and humanistic levels; as good old western white people we continue culpably to neglect them). It is enough to observe the reality to notice it. The individualistic rationalism (the roots of which stand however in the enlightenment, in the French revolution and Niccolò Machiavelli, passing through Thomas Jefferson) leaded us to the thresholds of the cosmos, and without such philosophy sure we would not have arrived end here, but I have reasons to believe that it will not take us beyond. Interesting also to notice (and 12 April 2001 it is the 40° anniversary of the first space flight, made by the Soviet Yuri Gagarin) that, however, the individualistic rationalism did not run alone, but in competition with the collectivism. And then, as the adversary ended, the liberist west is taking a lot of time to understand that, in order to continue, ethic motivations are needed, beyond to (and perhaps more than) economic motivations. Isolating the interest and the happiness of the individual here and now from any social context, the individualistic rationalism can lead Humanity in a blind alley, where the society is dominated by the economy, and economy does not select the more ethical aims, but only the ones appearently more profitable in the short term.
Since the satisfied individuals love to have fun, the circenses assure the best return of investment, thus they reach to believe (please see the already mentioned trends of registration to universities) that the telecommunication technologies can survive in an empty context, without the any industrial structural support and without any multidisciplinary scientific search. Even more absurdly, they reach to believe that the development can continue basing itself on new virtual horizons, without a real increase of physical horizons. The most advanced edges of the individualistic thought turned to not consider anymore the space a profitable transaction for the individuals, and advertise the withdrawal in the tax havens, to be hidden from the raptor eye of whichever Big Brother, like maximum expression of individual freedom!
However, if Krafft Ehricke was right, in formulating his Extraterrestrial Imperative (and we believe that he was definitively right) all the ideologies, enclosed the individualistic and the solidaristic ones, will have a chance to keep on the discussion only if it will be open, in drawn near times, the space frontier and humanity will be able to benefit of a true, great, new horizon for structural development. Now, this is not a goal for isolated pioneers, neither for Franciscans poor fellows (figures however of great dignity, in their historical ages), but it can be pursued only by means of a great coordinated engagement, of all those people who are in position to help.
Where to find, then, an enough wide thought to comprise the interest of the whole humanity, and able to mobilize the needed energies and man power, to best value the skills, the availabilities and the rights of the persons, as individuals and as social beings?
The austronautical new-humanism is a need, for us, more than an alternative. It is like a bus, a large ark, or a vector, on which we invite to come on board all the ideologies; as, on the mythical Noè ark, went on board wolves and lambs, tigers and gazelles. Obviously we do not want to embark what already widely demonstrated its invalidity. Of the individualistic thought we will gladly embark the respect for the values and rights of individuals, the concept of the sovereign citizen, the valorization of the intelligence, the freedom of enterprise and of market, the high conception of science and technology, the rational thought, and not, for sure, low grade aspects like racism, exasperated parochialism, nationalism and militarism, depreciation of weak people and loosers. Of the solidaristic thought we would want to embark love for entire humanity, help to weak people, internationalism and the conception of the person related to the society (already present in Machiavelli), the ability to think and to pursue great objectives, the love. Not sure the prize to the sacrifice, the eternal subject or under-aged citizen, the corruption, the egalitarianism as levelling of skills, the bureaucracy, the general and uncontrollable tax system, the choking of the private initiative. Please stay away also all the aspirant Big Brothers, doesn’t matter if collectivist or liberist.
With the ecologists, if they are not philosophically nihilist, nor slave of the closed-world ideological cage, with impassable boundaries, if they ethically recognize the primacy of the human interest (versus a supposed interest of the rest of nature), we would gladly discuss about the most responsible and less waster way to manage and use the natural patrimony of Solar System. Taking into account that man of the third millenium, in the context of a Solar Civilization, could not be anymore neither a Franciscan who lives according to sacrifice philosophies in an idyllic natural picture, neither an happy (?) individualist one, in some hidden haven.
As far as we are concerned, we will add our philosophical original contribution: the principles of the austronautical new-humanism. In extreme synthesis: the new conception of the open world (new weltanschauung); the understanding of the special value of the human heritage, both qualitative and quantitavive, in the current historical age; the understanding of the determining and irreplaceable role of science, for the continuation of the civilization; the conception of the intelligent life as the maximum expression of nature; the task-destiny of humanity, to disseminate the intelligent life in the cosmos. The above to limit to the values that we take as discriminating ones. During the months to come we will try, also through questionnaires online, to open the ideological ark of the austronautical new-humanism, in order to develop the search and to reach a first effective synthesis. We invite since now anyone owning a good ethical principle, and disposed to discuss it, to come on board of the new-humanist vector.
[V.TDF - TDF 1/2001 - 21/01/2001]