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40.3 Some Fundamental Characteristics of a Modern World State

The attainment of the world state may be impeded and may be opposed to-day by many apparently vast forces; but it has, urging it on, a much more powerful force, that of the free and growing common intelligence of mankind. To-day there is in the world a small but increasing number of men, historians, archaeologists, ethnologists, economists, sociologists, psychologists, educationists, and the like, who, are doing for human institutions that same task of creative analysis which the scientific men, of the seventeenth and eighteenth century did for the materials and mechanism of human life; and just as these latter, almost unaware of what they were doing, made telegraphy, swift transit on sea and land, flying and a thousand hitherto impossible: things possible, so the former may be doing more than the world suspects, or than they themselves suspect, to clear-up and make plain the thing to do and the way to do it, in the greater and more urgent human affairs.

Let us ape Roger Bacon in his prophetic mood, and set down what we believe will be the broad fundamentals of the coming world state.

(i) It will be based upon a common world religion, very much simplified and universalized and better understood. This will not be Christianity nor Islam nor Buddhism nor any such specialized form of religion, but religion itself pure and undefiled; the Eightfold Way, the Kingdom of Heaven, brotherhood, creative service, and self-forgetfulness. Throughout the world, men’s thoughts and motives will be turned by education, example, and the circle of ideas about them, from the obsession of self to the cheerful service of human knowledge, human power, and human unity.

(ii) And this world state will be sustained by a universal education, organized upon a scale and of a penetration and quality beyond all present experience. The whole race, and not simply classes and peoples, will be educated. Most parents will have a technical knowledge of teaching. Quite apart from the duties of parentage, perhaps ten per cent or more of the adult population will, at some time or other in their lives, be workers in the world’s educational organization. And education, as the new age will conceive it, will go on throughout life; it will not cease at any particular age. Men and women will simply become self-educators and individual students and student teachers as they grow older.

(iii) There will be no armies, no navies, and no classes of unemployed people either wealthy or poor.

(iv) The world state’s organization of scientific research and record compared with that of to-day will be like an ocean liner beside the dug-out canoe of some early heliolithic wanderer.

(v) There will be a vast free literature of criticism and discussion.

(vi) The world’s political organization will be democratic, that is to say, the government and direction of affairs will be in immediate touch with and responsive to the general thought of the educated whole population.

(vii) Its economic organization will be an exploitation of all natural wealth and every fresh possibility science reveals, by the agents and servants of the common government for the common good. Private enterprise will be the servant—a useful, valued, and well-rewarded servant—and no longer the robber master of the commonweal.

(viii) And this implies two achievements that seem very difficult to us to-day. They are matters of mechanism, but they are as essential to the world’s well-being as it is to a soldier’s, no matter how brave he may be, that his machine gun should not jam, and to an aeronaut’s that his steering-gear should not fail him in mid-air. Political well-being demands that electoral methods shall be used, and economic well-being requires that a currency shall be used, safeguarded or proof against the contrivances and manipulations of clever, dishonest men.[1]

[1]See Wells, The Salvaging of Civilization

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