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Selling a Vision of Hope: A Refreshing Alternative to Armageddon

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Vision of Hope
Archive >> January 2008
file under: common sense 21 Jan 2008 11:28 AM
Believing In What Makes Sense Posted by Nissim Dahan
This post is dedicated to Mohammad Memarian, who rightfully questions whether it is possible to discern a universally shared ideology based on notions of common sense, which would find widespread agreement throughout humanity at large.


As some of you may already know, I believe that the answer to world peace is Selling a Vision of Hope, which consists of five parts, like the five fingers of a hand:


The thumb is for Ideology: Use an Ideology of Common Sense to speak to one another with Common Sense and with a sense of personal dignity.


The index finger is for Investment: Invest in one another with projects that resonate with hope, that create jobs, and that protect the environment.


The middle finger is for Hope: Use Ideology and Investment to Sell a Vision of Hope-a Vision of Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom-on the Arab street, in the Muslim world, and in the world as a whole.


The ring finger if for Diplomacy: Sustain the Hope with Public Diplomacy Programs which are specifically designed to bolster a Vision of Hope, and to carry it forward, such as: Empowering Women, Student and Cultural Exchanges, Media Campaigns, Expanding the Peace Corps, and International Conferences.


The pinky is for the Fight: When absolutely necessary, fight, and fight hard, but position the fight within a Vision of Hope. Raise the fight on the ground to a higher moral plain, by giving the fight a moral clarity of purpose.


As you can see, Selling a Vision of Hope has many aspects to it, but it begins with a new ideological perspective, a new framework for rational discourse, a new way of thinking and speaking called an Ideology of Common Sense. So what exactly is this new ideology all about, and is it something that people the world over are likely to buy into?


Let's start with a few questions. Do you believe that a lot of what we believe just doesn't make any sense? And do you believe that the world is moving to a place where we have to begin making sense of our lives, if we are to survive as a species? Do you believe that some of the ideological nonsense we hold on to so tightly is holding us back from taking the steps that are needed to solve the problems we face? And if so, is there an ideological framework which is better suited to the requirements of our current realities? And is it just possible that this new ideological framework is not new at all, but was given to us as a gift, in the very beginning of our stay here on this good earth?


What is Common Sense? We use it every day of the week; except when we're drunk. But what exactly is it? Try defining "common sense" in one sentence. Not that easy, is it?


For me, Common Sense is the intuitive wisdom to conform our thoughts and actions to universally shared truths and values. Don't blow a circuit; it's not all that complicated. The "intuitive wisdom" is the wisdom that comes from within. It's inside you. "Thoughts and actions" because it's not enough to think straight; you have to act on what you know to be true. "Truths and values:" Truths are the realities we perceive. Values are the realities we aspire to. And why are these truths and values "universal?" Certain truths and values are so logical, so fundamental, and so self-evident, that they are universally perceived as true, and therefore universally accepted.


Let me suggest, with your kind indulgence, three such universal principles: The Golden Rule, The Golden Mean, and The Greatest Good. I call them the 3-G's for short.


The Golden Rule: "Treat others as you would have them treat you," is found in every major religion on earth. Why? Because it makes sense. That's why. You don't kill me, and I don't kill you, and we can both continue on our merry way. It's that simple, and therefore, true. What if The Golden Rule would have us treat each other well, by Investing in one another, especially as part and parcel of a truly Global Economy?


The Golden Mean: "The truth is usually somewhere in the middle between two extremes." In other words, truth is not an extremist position, but is rather sitting somewhere in the middle. Aristotle first introduced the idea, but the Prophet Muhammad and the Jewish scholar Maimonides subscribed to it as well. What if the Golden Mean would have us moderate our views by using notions of Common Sense as our Ideology?


The Greatest Good: "Do what brings the greatest happiness to the greatest numbers." First enunciated by Jeremy Bentham as part of his philosophy of Utilitarianism, this principle is reminiscent of the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya, a Muslim scholar. What if The Greatest Good would have us maximize justice by organizing ourselves around a vision of Hope?


Putting it all together, the formula for world peace is not all that complicated. As Thomas Jefferson might have put it: "We find this truth to be self-evident: Ideology plus Investment equals Hope." And with Hope, all things are possible, even the impossible dream of peace.


This gives you a feel, all be it incomplete at best, for how an Ideology of Common Sense could help to bring us together, and to give us the language to be used in solving some of the big ticket problems we face, like: Global Warming, Poverty, Disease, Ideological Extremism, Nuclear Proliferation, Violence, and the like.


In a better world, Common Sense, as opposed to ideological extremism, will inspire our thinking, and inform our speech. The collective wisdom of humanity-wisdom borne of years of hard won experience-will help repair this fractured world, and will focus our collective energies with common purpose. In our fractured world, Common Sense is the Common Denominator!


Just as mathematics and music share a recognized universality, so too can our ability to decipher what is right from what is wrong be conferred a certain sense of universality, by viewing such issues through the prism of what makes sense. Only then will we be truly ready for the next stage of human development. Only then will the potential for peace, prosperity, and freedom, be truly realized. Only then will we come to know the true destiny we were meant to share.