… it is quite normal to refuse to believe that you are about to be engulfed by a cataclysm that will change your life forever — or kill you.
As citizens, we must prevent our politicians from pursuing this insane brinksmanship.
(John Scales Avery)
On the threshold of 2022 as Doomsday loomed, the World Philosophical Forum (WPF) made an appeal to world leaders for the application of classical philosophy to world affairs. Kicking the can of concern further down the road is a dead-end strategy. Our appeal stressed the need to reimagine the future and for a re-imagining of life, and a redefining of its purpose at every stage of development, as viewed and activated through the prism of ancient Greece and classical philosophy. The wages of scholasticism were paid for at the expense of Greek classical philosophy. Its revitalization over the long term may just stem the ongoing madness.
The dire predicament of our existence and the horrors to come, scientifically extrapolated together with already witnessed outcomes from Hiroshima to Chernobyl to Fukushima, may give momentum to our disregarded and unexamined solution. We see no other way! For one brief and fast retreating moment, the international community touched upon classical philosophy by upholding the Socratic concept of world citizenship. It was made in the name of Ban-Ki Moon but not one world leader responded.
What we are about to propose may seem overly romantic or vague to some, unrealistic and meaningless to others in a dismal reality of bombs falling on Ukraine and the elected Prime Minister of Myanmar in prison, protestors and activists like Navalny trapped in the dungeons of state and democracy assaulted by state leaders. What we re-propose is a small step in the right and only direction. We do so knowing that all mitigating solutions have left little light at the end of the misery-filled tunnel. This is a world of depleted empathy ruled by social dementia. Yet others will see beauty and talent in the world, as we do.
The war again in Ukraine is a continuation of a consolidated world order where shaming of nations to take a stand is in small print on the menu of strategies. In a multi-pronged attack, a boy was killed when a residential complex was bombed, a neonatal intensive care unit shifted into a bomb-shelter cellar and half the members of a small company in the Ukraine praised Russian aggression while the other half shamed them. In Russia, two young protesters worried for grandparents and friends and relatives under threat in Ukraine, respectively. China says that such military action does not constitute an ‘invasion’. Only some things seem certain, an ‘invasion’ is not an ‘invasion’, and the people of Ukraine will go it alone.
Ukraine is neither a member-state of the EU nor of NATO. And, in America, elections are on the horizon.
A small step in the wrong direction and social dementia will pale into significance with eons of evolution unraveling and the failure of complex systems that prop up human consciousness. The clock can only be turned back by ridding the world of nuclear weapons and by politics that recognize the true dimensions of climate change. In our current world, no one can predict with digital-era accuracy which system will collapse next: a city in response to flooding or an earthquake, the environment as a result of climate change, health from another global pandemic, nuclear ignition as a mishap of war, or the collapse of an economic or banking network. or some other unexpected disaster. No one can say whether authoritarianism will prevail over democracy or if governance by politics controlled by a level of consciousness and behavior well below that of the higher and finer levels of brain function will win.
What happens next, no one really knows, but it will happen! Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is placing Russia's nuclear deterrent forces on alert in what is a special regime of combat duty.
Once again, the World Philosophical Forum, Athens, Greece, raises its small voice in a note of grave concern that Homo sapiens are on a fast track to extinction. We do so in the belief that classical philosophy is a vital and unused universal instrument for solving the existential problems facing our world; and that an investment in future philosophy is a step in the right direction of active listening, a more worthwhile way of living and a better route to reduced social dementia through improved civic education. We do believe in a World Philosophical Region, on all continents, by reinforcing the concepts of a culture of peace, a society for all ages, a health-for-all strategy and the principles of human security. It does need listeners!
The words of the Russell-Einstein Manifesto (1955) on nuclear disarmament put out a lifeline with a powerful sentiment as “human beings to human beings: remember your humanity, and forget the rest.” Words more relevant than ever, but words lost in scholasticism. As we face global destruction, these words should be our universal guide. Since then, so much has been said by individuals with enormous prestige, which conclude that mankind runs the risk of an earth-shattering moment while change for the better requires a revolution in human consciousness and a socio-political transformation. We have to ask: has anyone ever really listened? Thomas Jefferson was unsure whether, in the course of human events, raised voices were ever heard. We have to reiterate that question once again and underscore that to help forestall crises is the best we can hope to do.
The Forum’s stubborn, persistent, hitherto unheard of and regularly ditched appeals resulting from what it perceives to be dark overwhelming and exceedingly complex processes that are driving our world towards biological annihilation and the dominance of social dementia in our societies, believes that pulling humanity back from extinction and the planet away from collapse demands enormous sacrifice and a colossal effort to stem the pandemic and bring it to an end.
Not to make coordinated sacrifices today is akin to sacrificing our children’s ‘tomorrow’ and their children’s ‘the day after’ to a sudden or slow demise. Concrete actions are needed to promote global civic education and the sincere emergence of a culture of peace through global citizenship. Surely, this is better than mutually assured destruction.
But it is not happening! It is very much touch-and-go whether social dementia can be held in check in our extremely interactive and market-oriented world. Unfortunately, Geneva, a fantastic chance to avoid the dangers that threaten humanity, left no signposts to the future. In the absence of a miracle, our proposal will drown in a sea of appeals or be lost in the pounding noise of deceit. In the short shadow of a nuclear nightmare and the long shadow of global warming, doing nothing is not an option. As recklessness outweighs diplomacy and the higher brain cortex of politics is squeezed out by lower centers, the WPF cannot just stand by.
Who is the World Philosophical Forum?
The World Philosophical Forum is an independent international (supranational), non governmental, non-profit organization, founded in Athens, Greece, in 2009 with widely distributed branches around the globe. It was established by Russian Philosopher Igor Kondrashin and built on Greek traditions of the Olympic Games and the Dialectical Symposia. Its mission supports global citizenship and the rejuvenation of Greek classical philosophy to help shape the global agenda. It is concerned with the predicament and the problems engulfing our world, which includes a new and expanding arms race, growing nuclear arsenals and nuclear ambitions of those without such weapons of mass destruction. The Forum closely follows the disasters precipitated by climate change and rapid technological developments, from driving the use of robot priests to eavesdropping and surveillance of individuals and groups. With genuine support, it can help move our world away from doom, towards a brighter future. It has appealed to the Greek world and the international community for a revival of classical philosophy.
In 2018, the WPF was honored with a laurel leaf by the Greek authorities by the person of the Minister of Tourism who is now a member of the European Parliament In 2019. The WPF appealed to the Greek Members of the European Parliament, to Members of all member states and candidates of all political parties asking for their full support as well as the support of the UN, WHO, EU, and the Council of Europe to help stop the growing social dementia, through the immediate act of reviving Classical Greek Philosophy in lieu of the predominant Scholasticism. On 20th January 2022, the 75th anniversary Doomsday Clock announcement was made, remaining at 100 seconds to midnight. My setting in 2021 was 90 seconds. This year 2022, my setting is 60 seconds to midnight.