Architecture of Survival: Lessons from the Jewish Experiece
Architecture of Survival: Lessons from the Jewish Experiece
All species on earth are currently endangered, including us. It's high time we learn how to get along and create a Society of Dignity.
All species on earth are currently endangered, including us. It's high time we learn how to get along and create a Society of Dignity. Read more
At my age it isn’t necessary to cultivate a feeling of responsibility for posterity. The feeling blooms quite naturally each time I look into the faces of my grandchildren. What kind of world will they live in? Will they know peace and security? Will they have a real chance at achieving the American Dream? Will their grandchildren even have the chance to exist? This book is for them, and their children’s children, and all generations to come all around the world.
It isn’t headline news that the earth is facing an environmental crisis. What may be news to some is that the human species faces the same extinction scenario as every other species on the planet. It requires some imagination and abstract thought, but consider the very real possibility that 4 to 10 generations (100 to 250 years) from now the human species may not exist. And what of the quality of life in the nearer future?
The sheer scale of the problem is daunting! In fact, so daunting that I have become convinced that the well-intentioned day-to-day environmentalism of a large segment of the population in the Western/First world is not nearly enough. Very simply put, if we are to live through this crisis, it’s going to take all of us working together. As a species, we’ve got to learn to get along.
That is where the Jewish experience comes in. What more graphic example is there of a people surviving extreme adversity? Throughout history and around the world Jewish communities have found themselves in exceptionally precarious positions, politically, socially, economically. With a flourish of innovation, compromise and adjustment, these imperiled communities so often found ways not just to survive, but to thrive. After the horrors of the Holocaust, we find the thriving modern state of Israel—which I believe has the potential to be a shining example of survival to all people around the world. But that potential can be realized only when there is a fair and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I am pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace; in short, I am pro-people.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most complex, and the most visible, problem in global human relations today. Both sides of this conflict have serious historical accounts to be added up and made to balance. It is my contention that a genuinely fair resolution to that conflict is the first step—and a huge one—to bringing about what I call the Society of Dignity.
In my search for solutions in this book I have built upon Sir Henry Maine’s formula for how societies progress from “Societies of Status” to “Societies of Contract.” I have added a third stage: the Society of Dignity. While the Society of Contract preaches merit and ability, the Society of Dignity would expand on that to include the worth and dignity of every individual. Historically, not everyone is successful in the Society of Contract—those born into poverty, the disabled, minorities, the luckless.
A Society of Dignity is a Society of Contract with purpose. It represents affirmative rights for all, including a minimum standard of living—dignified and humane work to do, healthcare, education, freedom from hunger, freedom from discrimination—and these rights are for all, regardless of merit and ability. The Society of Dignity is one that takes seriously the notion that “I am my brother’s keeper,” one that takes seriously the notion that “as you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.”
It is my belief that such a society in as many parts of the world as possible is the necessary first step in seriously dealing with our species' survival crisis.
We have only a few generations to achieve this! To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The arc of the moral universe bends slow but always toward justice.” We need to hurry the bending of that arc! That is what I hope this book will help to do. There is a need for a Dr. King, or a Nelson Mandela, in both Israel and among the Palestinians. In this book I hope to lay out an architecture for both to find such a figure, and thereby not only to resolve the ongoing conflict fairly, but open the road for cooperative solutions to the global environmental challenge.
If you would like to read the Introduction and Chapter One of this book please visit our blog: http://architectureofsurvival.blogspot.com/p/introduction-and-ch-1.html
With your contributions we will publish and market this book to as wide an audience as possible. We also hope to be able to send free copies to opinion-makers (newspaper and magazine editors, influential journalists, Rabbis, pastors etc.). Also, with your support I hope to have this book translated into Hebrew and Arabic (an expensive process) in order to better reach the people directly involved in the conflict.
If you like the book but cannot contribute financially, no worries. There is another way to help. Please spread the word by reposting our campaign on Twitter and Facebook to your friends and followers. Also, if you know of news agencies or publishers who might be interested in writing about this book, please email us at email@example.com. Finally, we sincerely thank you for your time and kind attention.
Risks and challenges
I have a team of talented research, writing, and technical assistants, and our ambitions are bigger than this one book—and also bigger than our wallets. It is my hope that this book might be a springboard. I would like to found an "Institute for Survival Strategies," a kind of think-tank, to generate and promote ideas and initiatives focused around creating the Society of Dignity, and solving the ongoing environmental crisis. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel is leading the world in cutting-edge environmental research. One thing I’d like to see this potential "Institute" do is sponsor students from around the world to attend Ben-Gurion, and thus spread this knowledge and innovation widely.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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