Chapter Seventeen: Cooperative Commonwealth Culture
"The development of culture is a necessary condition for human development." Erich Fromm, The Sane Society
As the CCC enterprise began the independent stage 1 of its development, they found it necessary to create a new conception of a sane society, 2 based on the understanding that most current and historical cultures have been insane in the sense of being destructive of human life and fulfillment.
The Outlook Oversight Committee began its deliberations on the values and structures of an enlightened, cooperative culture by agreeing on specific concepts:
- The American capitalist society is intrinsically insane: 3
destructive of human life and fulfillment.
Living in and being conditioned by an insane society, ordinary Americans do not recognize their personal psychoses
or the pathology of their leaders and
the entire culture. 4
- The cooperative commonwealth community enterprise is being
developed as a sub-culture within the American capitalist society.
- CCC members have been and are being influenced by the pathology of the American capitalist society.
- The CCC enterprise must gain expanding understanding of the negative effects of the American capitalist society on the world and on their sub-culture.
- CCC members are responsible for ridding themselves, on an ongoing basis, of the negative effects of capitalist "infection."
- "There are universal criteria for mental health which are valid for the human race as such, and according to which the state of health of each society can be judged." 5
- We must work to gain an understanding of the normal as well as the pathological core elements common to the whole human race from the innumerable manifestations of human nature in different individuals and cultures, to recognize the laws inherent in human nature 6 and the inherent goals for its development and unfolding.
- The core passions and drives in humankind are definite and ascertainable, some of them conducive to health and happiness, others to sickness and unhappiness. No social order creates these fundamental elements but it determines which of the limited number of potential passions and drives are to become manifest, inhibited, or dominant.
| "A new society is possible only if, in the process of developing it, a new human being also develops, or in more modest terms, if a fundamental change occurs in contemporary Man's character structure."|
Erich Fromm, To Have Or To Be?
- Once we determine that freedom 7 and spontaneity are the objective goals to be attained by every human being, if such goals are not attained by the majority of members of any given society, we know that we're dealing with the phenomenon of socially patterned defect. Because the individual shares it with all the others in his class, he's not even aware of it as a defect. He feels secure in fitting in with the rest of the members of his society--as he knows them. Actually, his very defects, such as greed and corruption, are raised to virtues by his culture, and give him an enhanced feeling of achievement.
- We are creating a new cooperative culture:
- For the realization and fulfillment of all its members
- To enhance the mental health 8 of its members
- Which will contribute to human evolution 9
- That can be used as a touchstone to determine if a society is sane or not, contributory to human realization and fulfillment or not 10
Comparisons and Analyses of Conceptual Cultural Patterns
"The need for profound human change emerges not only as an ethical or religious demand, not only as a psychological demand arising from the pathogenic nature of our present social character, but also as a condition for the sheer survival of the human race. Right living is no longer only the fulfillment of an ethical or religious demand. For the first time in history the physical survival of the human race depends on a radical change of the human heart. However, a change of the human heart is possible only to the extent that drastic economic and social changes occur that give the human heart the chance for change and the courage and vision to achieve it." 15
- To serve as an Ideal for all empirical societies, the pattern of a Legal State and a conceptual realization of the Form, Justice
- For the realization of a new cooperative human type 11 diametrically opposite to the egomaniacal, capitalist personality 12
- Many of the personal characteristics that we desire in our members are fostered by our use of dialectical interchange: spontaneity, thoughtfulness, coordination, and harmony. 13
- Our creating a new kind of person in a new culture is, in part, in answer to our awareness of how people in the American capitalist society have become literally suicidal: allowing themselves to be destroyed by imperialist wars, economic terrorist looting, unemployment, loss of homes, and destruction of their minds. 14
- We're designing and implementing a new culture, not just because we want a better life for our present and future generations of members, but because, in the last analysis, we see it as absolutely essential that we reconstitute our interpersonal and economic-political relationship patterns because our very lives--and the life of global human existence--depend on it.
The Outlook Oversight Committee studied and examined a number of conceptual cultural patterns (beyond those referenced in chapter twelve: Damanhur and Earthhaven) in deciding on the operating principles and structures for its expanded, independent community site.