This book is dedicated to all my teachers and fellow students who have helped make my stay on planet Earth such an educational experience. Special thanks to Dr. Robert Muller, who provided the context in which this book was written.
Copyright, © 1995 by Larry L. Barnhart
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Table of Contents
Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vii Introduction: What is Necessary for Human Survival?. . . . .. . . .1 Chapter 1: The Role of the Mind as a Survival Tool . . . . . .. . 13 Chapter 2: The Process of Wealth Creation . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Chapter 3: An Overview of Ethics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Chapter 4: Economics 101 Reviewed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Chapter 5: The Role of Government in Society . . . . . . . . . . 103 Chapter 6: Legal and Constitutional Concepts . . . . . . . . . . 135 Chapter 7: Religion, Spirituality and World Peace . . . . . . . 161 Chapter 8: Environmental Issues Considered . . . . . . . . . . . 181 Chapter 9: Inner Peace Precedes World Peace . . . . . . . . . . .207 Chapter 10: Philosophical Antecedents to Peace and Prosperity . 239 Chapter 11: A Relatively Uninformed View of the United Nations . 263 Chapter 12: Some Thoughts on World Cooperation and World Governance . . . . . . . . . . . 293 Concluding Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .321
On a pleasant Denver September evening in 1992, I went with a couple of friends to a lecture by a famous speaker from the United Nations. I had never heard of the speaker before, but my friends' enthusiasm was such that I made it a point to join them. I didn't know it then, but that evening was to become a turning point in my life.
The speaker was Dr. Robert Muller, Chancellor for the University for Peace in Costa Rica, and former assistant to Secretary Generals Dag Hammarskjold and U Thant.1 He spoke passionately and freely, following his heart rather than using notes. It quickly became apparent why he was so popular.
Before an audience of about 300 people, he spoke about his long years with the United Nations. He spoke about the successes and the disappointments of the past, and he shared his hopes and concerns for the future. While I didnt agree with everything he said, I didn't for one moment doubt his sincerity.
Later I wrote a letter to Dr. Muller, not with any expectation of receiving a reply, but as an exercise in clarifying my thoughts. Much to my surprise, I received a very nice and encouraging reply back from him. In that letter he offered a suggestion that proved to be a great opportunity.
This opportunity was the name and address of a think tank called the New Independent Commission on World Cooperation and Governance in Switzerland which was preparing for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations by bringing together "30 of the world's greatest minds" for solving the world's problems. He suggested I consider what I would do were I in the position of the founders of the United States of America, write down my ideas, and submit them to the above think tank. His question was, "namely what and how world cooperation and governance should be? Suppose you were given the task and free hand, like those in Philadelphia around Washington, to come up with the ways of the human species on this planet, and how it should achieve its fulfillment and be governed without impairing its planetary home?" 2
For me, this was an exciting question to ponder. I have been studying psychology, philosophy and economics for over 20 years, and have discovered some ideas that have been very liberating for me. If I went to the grave being the only person familiar with them, the effort to learn them would still have been worth it. Of course, if someone else can benefit, so much the better.
Of course, like everyone else, I would like to be able to put forth a thesis that would settle all debate. But, putting personal vanity aside, I shall consider myself successful if I introduce a few ideas that might add new dimension to the present debate.
As I said earlier, I wrote my letter to Dr. Muller primarily to clarify my thoughts. That he replied at all was a happy surprise for me. Now I have written this book to further clarify my thoughts. What a growth experience it has been. It has been just the context I needed for joining together seemingly disconnected topics into a more inter-related whole.
To an extent, writing this book has also been an exercise in vanity. Robert Muller writes: "I would not have dared to present my views in a systematic fashion or to write a book about the United Nations, as so many people do after having attended a few sessions."3 Having lived my whole life on the lowest level of society, I cannot even claim the distinction of having sat in on one session. Oh well, farm boys have been known to rush in where geniuses fear to tread.
In this book I will attempt to bridge the gap between the common person and the intellectual. Having been a common person doing primarily blue-collar labor most of my life, and having been dogged by an uncommon penchant for study, I believe I have a unique perspective worth considering. This book was not titled A Farm Boy's Testament to the United Nations because I spent my entire childhood on the farm or because I loved farming. It has been given this title because in spite of my dislike for farming during the five years I was on the farm,4 I learned some important truths about converting raw materials into life sustaining commodities. Now that almost twenty-five years have passed, I find it necessary to temporarily put my straw hat back on and begin with a review of the basics.
Of course, the basics of converting raw materials into usable commodities will not be the only topic explored within these pages. When addressing issues as important as world cooperation and governance, nothing should be assumed or taken for granted. Recently I heard a quote that sums up our challenge: "The fate of individuals and nations [and planets] is determined by the values that guide their decisions."
This means that we must be prepared to address diverse issues such as economics, epistemology, ethics, government, philosophy, psychology, religion, and spirituality in their most basic terms. It has been said that we are all philosophers -- either conscious or unconscious. Therefore, if we cannot avoid being philosophers, we might as well become aware of the assumptions that guide us (or drive us, as the case may be).
A wise person once said, "A society that esteems philosophy no matter how poorly conceived and disdains plumbing no matter how well performed will soon discover that neither their pipes nor their theories will hold water." No doubt your commission is not lacking for philosophers -- therefore I submit this testament on behalf of the plumbers.
Larry Barnhart, March 1995
Footnotes for Forward:
Dr. Robert Muller's speech at University of Denver College of Law, Sept., 24, 1992.
Letter from Dr. Muller dated November 21, 1992.
Robert Muller, Most of All, They Taught Me Happiness (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1978), p. 183.
My parents purchased the farm when I was twelve and I left home when I was seventeen.