John Scales Avery
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (shared 1995 award),
Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy,
John Avery’s archive on the GHA website "Peace from Harmony":
1.Personal page: Books and Articles for System Harmonious Vision of Peace:
2.John Avery (2017) We Need Their Voices Today! :
3. John Avery (2017) Languages and Classification: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=776
4. John Avery (2017) The Nuclear Weapons Convention – Letter to Danish Parliamentarians:
5. John Avery (14 ноября 2017) The Climate Emergency: Two time scales: http://www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=780
6. John Avery (2017) Nuclear Weapons: An Absolute Evil: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=800
Banner on the Home page: http://peacefromharmony.org/#top
My dearest friend Leo,
I wish you health and happiness during the new year! Let us hope that despite the very serious problems that are facing our poor world, 2018 will be a year of peace and global harmony.
Here is a link where some of my books and articles on these problems are made available.
Perhaps my dear friends in GHA would be interested in the link.
I am attaching a Christmas letter with some news about my family. With my admiration for your vitally important work, and with best hopes for a peaceful future,
Prof. John Scales Avery,
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (shared 1995 award), Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, Copenhagen, Denmark: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=672
Проф. Джон Скалес Авери,
Лауреат Нобелевской Премии Мира 1995 г., Председатель Датской Академии Мира, Копенгаген, Дания: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=672
Счастливый Новый Год, Веселое Рождество и сама Жизнь:
несовместимость с абсолютным злом ядерного оружия
Мой дорогой друг Джон!
Большое спасибо за ваши теплые поздравления, важную информацию и поддержку ГСГ миростроительных проектов и практики! Особенно восхищает ваша последняя (ноябрь 2017), воистину великая книга более 300 страниц: «Ядерное оружие: Абсолютное зло». Точнее и лапидарнее не скажешь!!! Я опубликовал ваше письмо и мой ответ здесь: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=799, и на вашей персональной странице.
Мы счастливы поздравить вас с этим беспрецедентным миротворческим достижением, с определением ядерного оружия как АБСОЛЮТНОГО ЗЛА, ГЕНОЦИДА И ПРЕСТУПЛЕНИЯ ПРОТИВ ЧЕЛОВЕЧЕСТВА, одно намерение использовать которое заслуживает незамедлительного нового НОРНБЕРГСКОГО ПРОЦЕССА!!! Человечество знает такое преступление 1945 года, в Хиросиме и Нагасаки, которое до сих пор, через 72 года, не дождется этого процесса! Его виновники не хотят даже извиняться за это преступление! Его авторы утвердили за собой «одностороннее право превентивно использовать ядерное оружие первыми». Уже это есть абсолютное зло, геноцид и преступление против человечества! КТО ОСТАНОВИТ ЕГО??? Это способна сделать только новая «ООН Гармонии» по инициативе Президента России Владимира Путина, который единственный из 9 ядерных лидеров давно выступает за ядерное разоружение. Это мы доказали в нашем соответствующем проекте ООН: http://www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=ru_c&key=736
Конечно, я буду счастлив опубликовать все ваши тексты, в первую очередь вашу книгу «Абсолютное зло», на нашем сайте, если вы позволите. Но я могу сделать это только в начале января. Могли бы вы дополнить также ваш список последних статей нашей совместной статьей:
«Лев Семашко, Джон Авери, Вера Афанасьева, Тими Экимович. Термодинамика и негэнтропия социетальной гармонии сферных классов: термодинамика глобального мира:
http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=ru_c&key=728» Это возможно сделать? Спасибо.
Веселого Рождества и счастливого Нового Года вам и вашей замечательной семье, чтобы в 2018 году исчезла возможность абсолютного зла для всех людей!
С любовью, Лев Семашко,
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Life itself:
incompatibility with the absolute evil of nuclear weapons
My dearest friend John,
Many thanks for your kind congratulations, important information and GHA support for peace-building projects and practices! Your latest (November 2017), truly great book of more than 300 pages, is especially attractive: "Nuclear Weapons: An Absolute Evil." More precisely and lapidary not say! I published your letter and my answer here: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=799, and on your personal page.
We are happy to congratulate you on this unprecedented peacemaking achievement, with the definition of nuclear weapons as ABSOLUTE EVIL, GENOCIDE AND CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, one intention to use which deserves an immediate new NORNBERG PROCESS!!!
Humanity knows such a crime in 1945, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which until now, 72 years later, will not wait for this process! His culprits do not even want to apologize for this crime! Its authors approved the "unilateral right of preventive use of nuclear weapons by the first." This is already an absolute evil, genocide and a crime against humanity! WHO STOPS IT??? only the new "UN Harmony" is able to do this on the initiative of the Russia President Vladimir Putin, who has long been advocating for nuclear disarmament the only of the nine nuclear leaders. We proved this in our UN respective project: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=769
Of course, I will be happy to publish all your texts, primarily your book "Absolute Evil", on our website, if you will permit. But I can do it in early Januaryonly. Could you also supplement your list of recent articles with our joint article: "Vera Afanasyeva, John S. Avery, Timi Ecimovic and Leo Semashko. Thermodynamics and Negentropy of Spheral Classes Societal Harmony: Global Peace Thermodynamics": http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=756 Is it possible to do? Thank you.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family, so that in 2018 the possibility of absolute evil for all people disappears!
With love, Leo,
John Avery (2017)
We Need Their Voices Today!
My dear friend Leo,
Thank you so much for your extremely kind letter! I am delighted that you like my book, "We Need Their Voices Today!". The complete book has been published on line by Countercurrents, and is also available from Lulu as a free pdf file. Here are the links:
About the GHA 57th Project on UN Reform, although I have some criticisms of this project, I fully endorse and share in its main focus on peace from social harmony that is lacking or bounded in the present UN. I wish success to this project.
With love, peace and harmony,
Prof. John Scales Avery
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (shared 1995 award),
Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy,
Global Harmony Association (GHA)
Citizens of Earth!
Unite in harmony for love, peace, freedom, justice, fraternity and happiness!
GHA since February 15, 2005 is an international NGO uniting more than 600 members in 65 countries and more than one million participants from the GHA
collective members in 80 countries.
Board: 36 GHA members from 14 countries
Office A 170, New Manglapuri, New Delhi 110045, India; Ph. 124 4266169. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
GHA Mission is:
To bring global peace from harmony and to pave a conscious way for harmonious civilization on scientifically based ‘ABC of Harmony’ and ‘Global Peace Science’ through harmonious education of SPHERONS, spontaneous harmony classes
Video. SOCIAL GENOME, SOCIONOME: https://youtu.be/hbxY5lREOeA
The internal harmony of the world
is the only true objective reality.
Global Harmony Association
confers the GHA High Honor
World Harmony Creator
Prof. John S. Avery
Nobel Peace Laureate (1995, shared)
Chairman, Danish Peace Academy, 2004-2015
One of the Greatest Living Intellectuals on Earth
For his unprecedented scientific contribution to Global Peace from World Harmony in his most outstanding scientific works:
1.Civilization’s Crisis: A Set of Linked Challenges
2.Paris: We Need System Change!
3.Information Theory and Evolution
And etc. sees on his personal page: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=672
For his leadership of the world's first Danish Peace Academy in 2004-2015,
For his initiation of the Global Peace Thermodynamics from the deep harmony,
For his great scientific idea of the thermodynamic nature of social harmony and Global Peace through the Spheral Classes (Spherons) in a fundamental collective article: "Thermodynamics and Negentropy of Spheral Classes Societal Harmony: Global Peace Thermodynamics": http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=756
His holistic systemic idea of an integral social change, together with the Albert Einstein’s aphorisms opens an unprecedented, first in the history "Global Peace Science" by 174 co-authors from 34 countries: http://peacefromharmony.org/docs/global-peace-science-2016.pdf
Professor John Avery is included in the
GHA Gallery: World Harmony Creators:
Approved by the GHA on June 13, to
June 21, 2017:
Global Harmony Day in the GHA ‘Harmonious Era Calendar’
Dear GHA members, friends,
I am happy to report that after 10 days of discussion, Prof. John S. Avery, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate was approved in the GHA Highest Honorary Title: "WORLD HARMONY CREATOR":
During this time, we received many dozens of positive comments and replies and no one objection. GHA members are happy to congratulate the outstanding scientist and peacemaker Prof. John S. Avery, "One of the Greatest Living Intellectuals on Earth", with the GHA highest honorary title for his unprecedented contribution to world harmony and global peace from it, along with other laureates of this title: President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam, Prof. Noam Chomsky, IASE University Chancellor Mr. Kanakmal Dugar, Prince of Wales and others. This recognition is dedicated to the Global Harmony Day on June 21 on the GHA “Harmonious Era Calendar”:
The next nominee for this Honorary Title will be discussed in December. We are waiting for your suggestions.
With love, best wishes of peace from harmony,
Dr. Leo Semashko,
GHA Honorary President,
Dear Leo and all dear friends in GHA,
Please accept my heartfelt thanks for the extremely great honour that you have given to me. I will do my best to be worthy of it and I will continue to work as hard as I can for our shared goals, despite old age, serious illness and failing eyesight. I am now working on a book with the title "The Climate Emergency", which I hope will contribute to our efforts to avoid catastrophic climate change.
With my gratitude and affectionate greetings,
G20 Key Meeting and its Future
The meeting meaning of the USA and Russia Presidents is the first step towards global peace from the "arms race to a peace race" (King), which will deliver humankind and the planet from military destruction.
What will be their second step? If it will be "Global Peace Science" (GPS), then this shift will become irreversible, nonrandom and not only intuitive.
It will launch a roadmap of global peace paradigm for joint governance model of harmonious economic and democratic growth byinternational cooperation in the unique digital technologies.
It will overcome in perspective the global risks and challenges together with the decline of the 21st century population through its new quality, disclosed in the GPS.
It will ensure the "defences of peace must be constructed"in the minds of men, determined by the UNESCO Constitution that will be the most fundamental, neutral, beyond and above the transient political disagreements, which foment militarism.
The science of peace creates the deepest defense of peace in the minds of people and in the policy that the world expects from the leaders of the largest nuclear powers.
This science replaces the spontaneous age-old constant of militaristic growth with the new eternal conscious constant of "a peace race", which stimulates democratic and economic growth.
Only science is capable to promote the necessary systemic changes with the priority of preserving peace and nature, its ecology and climate.
Therefore, in "a peace race" the world expects from the second meeting these leaders similar a reasonable, scientific and fundamental step.
Mrs. Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=678
Prof. John S. Avery, Nobel Peace Laureate: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=672
Dr. Leo Semashko, editor of the GPS first version by 174 co-authors from 34 countries:
And other peacemakers and world citizens.
Banner: G20 Main Meeting and its Prospects
Dear GHA members, friends,
I am happy to present to you our vision of the G20 summit main result and its prospects in our joint banner below, which was published here: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=757 and on the website home page: http://peacefromharmony.org
The G20 main meeting banner expresses the fundamental peacemaking, environmental and systemic ideas of its authors united by the Global Peace Science (GPS) and focused on the prospect of a new, more effective meeting of the leaders of the major nuclear powers holding the keys to peace and war in our time. This banner, like its science, is open for further development. Therefore, we are happy to invite thinking and responsible peacemakers and world citizens to further edit it and ask you to send us your proposals in brief formulations within a week.
This banner was inspired by Mrs. Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate: (see below her letter), a genius peacemaker and a fearless woman who together with others stopped the brutal inter-confessional terror in Belfast in 1976, for what she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Active and courageous support of Mrs. Maguire and Prof. John S. Avery, another Nobel Peace Laureate and "one of the Greatest Living Intellectuals on Earth", is a good example for all Nobel “Peace Champions” to discuss, develop and promote peace science with its Agenda for the UN, G20 and other political summits.
The mission of the intellectual scientific "defences of peace must be constructed"in the minds of men, determined by UNESCO, is able to unite the Nobel Laureates around this common goal, to raise their peacemaking prestige very much nowadays and overcome the feeling that they do not exist, because their voices in defense of peace and new peaceful Meetings of political leaders are not audiblealmost. The Nobel Peace Summit (http://www.nobelpeacesummit.com/)could discuss and propose to the UN General Assembly Session to consider the "GPS Agenda for the UN", as well as for the future meeting of the USA and Russia leaders, on the effective peacemaking result of which all the nations and humans of the world are hope, tired with the 70-year-old ever-increasing threat of military destruction: see to the Doomsday Clock.
Friendly, best wishes for peace from harmony through science,
Dr. Leo Semashko,
GHA Honorary President,
My dear Leo,
I feel very honoured indeed to be included among the distinguished peace activists on your website. Let us all continue to work together for our common goals - world peace, abolition of nuclear weapons, and harmony, both between humans and also harmony with nature.
May I make a small correction? Holger Terp is the co-founder of the Danish Peace Academy. About me, you could say "Chairman, Danish Peace Academy, 2004-2015". I resigned as Chairman in 2015 because health problems prevented me from attending meetings.
Thank you again for your kind words, and for all the wonderful work that you do for peace!
With my warmest greetings,
Timi Ecimovic, John Avery and Leo Semashko:
THE CLIMATE CHANGE SYSTEM 2017:
Global Peace Science (2016)
By John Avery*
Today the future is darkened by the twin dangers of catastrophic climate change and thermonuclear war. We give our children and grandchildren loving care; but it makes no sense to do so and at the same time to neglect to do all that is within our power to ensure that they and their descendants will inherit a world in which they can survive. Therefore the goals of Global Peace Science are absolutely essential. We need to replace struggles for power and material goods by the ideals of harmony, human solidarity, global cooperation and peace.
Prof. Emeritus Dr. John Scales Avery,*
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (shared 1995 award),
Chairman, Danish Peace Academy, 2004-2015, Denmark
John Scales Avery:
«WE NEED SYSTEM CHANGE, NOT CLIMATE CHANGE!... We need a new economic system, a new society, a new social contract, a new way of life. Here are the great tasks that history has given to our generation: We must achieve a steady-state economic system. We must restore democracy. We must decrease economic inequality. We must break the power of corporate greed. We must leave fossil fuels in the ground. We must stabilize and ultimately reduce the global population. We must eliminate the institution of war. And finally, we must develop a more mature ethical system to match our new technology.... The future looks extremely dark because of human folly, especially the long-term future. The greatest threats are catastrophic climate change and thermonuclear war, but a large-scale global famine also has to be considered. All these threats are linked.»
Avery, John Scales (Dec. 21, 2015) Paris: We Need System Change!: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/12/paris-we-need-system-change
In more details about cinilization's crisis see his book:
John Scales Avery. Civilization's Crisis in the 21st Century. University of Copenhagen: http://www.nsz.hr/datoteke/CRISIS21.pdf
- Global Peace Science was able to propose the answer to these 'great tasks of history' in holistic system of the new, tetranet spheral harmonious thinking. - Leo Semashko
«Нам нужны системные изменения, а не только изменение климата! Нам нужна новая экономическая система, новое общество, новый социальный контракт, новый образ жизни. Вот великие задачи, которые история дала нашему поколению: Мы должны создать устойчивую экономическую систему. Мы должны возродить демократию. Мы должны сократить экономическое неравенство. Мы должны разрушить власть корпоративной жадности. Мы должны оставить ископаемое топливо в земле. Мы должны стабилизировать и в конечном итоге сократить население планеты. Мы должны ликвидировать институт войны. И, наконец, мы должны развить более зрелую этическую систему, чтобы соответствовать нашей новой технологии… Будущее выглядит очень темным из-за человеческой глупости, особенно в долгосрочной перспективе. Величайшими угрозами являются катастрофическое изменение климата и термоядерная война, но масштабный глобальный голод также должен быть рассмотрен. Все эти угрозы связаны между собой.»
Более детально о кризисе цивилизации смотреть его книгу:
John Scales Avery. Civilization's Crisis in the 21st Century. University of Copenhagen: http://www.nsz.hr/datoteke/CRISIS21.pdf
- Наука Глобального Мира способна предложить ответы на эти "великие задачи истории" в целостной системе нового, тетранет сферного гармоничного мышления. - Лев Семашко
in Counter Solutions / Editor's Picks — by Binu Mathew — March 15, 2017
I’m at the home of one of the greatest living intellectuals on earth. In the cold, windy Copenhagen weather as we ring the bell John Scales Avery opens the door and welcomes me and my friend John Graversgaard warmly into his home. He serves us coffee and we talk. I’m stunned by his humility and breadth of knowledge.
John Avery is someone who is an academician but not restrained by the rigidity of the academic community. He is a scientist but not constrained to his area of study. He is someone who connects the dots. With his deep knowledge and vast experience he surmises human destiny scientifically. No, he is someone who is worried about the fate of all life forms on earth. His book “Information Theory And Evolution” is a seminal classic. He is coming out with a book “Civilization’s Crisis: A Set of Linked Challenges” which will be published by the World Scientific.
John Avery is not just an academician and scientist. He is also an active peace activist who campaigns vigorously against nuclear proliferation. Since 1990 he has been the Contact Person in Denmark for Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. In 1995, this group received the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts. He was the Member of the Danish Peace Commission of 1998. Technical Advisor, World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe (1988- 1997). He was also Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy. More than everything else he is an intellectual who sees through the miasma that clouds our vision by ideological rigidity and mass media obfuscation.
I have a fascination to know how life evolved on this earth, and what’s it’s future. Your wonderful book, “Information Theory and Evolution” answers almost all these questions. What prompted you to write the book?
During the summers of 1960 and 1961, while I was still a postgraduate student in theoretical physics at the University of Chicago, I had the privilege of spending two summers working in the laboratory of the great Hungarian-American physiologist and biochemist, Albert Szent-Györgyi. He was famous for isolating vitamin C and for discovering the molecular mechanism of muscle contraction. But more importantly, he founded a new field of study: Bioenergetics.
Szent-Györgyi wondered how the chemical energy from food is harnessed to do mechanical work or to drive our metabolisms. He reasoned that there must be structures in living organisms which are analogous to the structures of engines. If you pour gasoline onto the street and set fire to it, no useful work results, only heat, but if you burn it inside an engine, the chemical energy of the gasoline can be converted into useful mechanical work. Following this line of thought, Szent-Györgyi looked for energy-transducing structures in the tissues of living organisms.
Among the structures that caught Szent-Gtörgyi’s attention were mitochondria, which power the metabolism of all animals, and he also studied the microscopic photosynthetic unit (thylakoids) in plants. After some years of work, he became convinced that quantum theory was needed in order to gain a complete understanding of how these microscopic engines work. Therefore he spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where he learned quite a lot of quantum theory.
Although he knew enough quantum theory to understand what physicists were talking about, he nevertheless thought that for the research which he wanted to undertake, he needed to collaborate with people whose whole education was in that field, and he brought some theoretical physicists (including me) to his laboratory. During the time that I was there, we worked to obtain a quantum theoretical understanding of the mechanism of the primary process in photosynthesis, where the energy of a photon is stabilized and trapped, ready to drive the synthests of sugars.
In 1969, after I had obtained a Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from Imperial College, University of London, and was teaching there, Plenum Press invited me to start a new journal and to become its first Managing Editor: It was called “The Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes”. (I think that Szent-Györgyi must have recommended me for this task). I served as editor until 1980. During that time, I am proud to say, our authors included Peter Mitchell and Jens C. Skou, whose papers were being refused by other journals at the time, but who each later won a Nobel Prize.
In 1973, for family reasons, I moved permanently to the University of Copenhagen, one of the courses I helped to teach there was on “Statistical Mechanics from the Standpoint of Information Theory”. What a title! My Copenhagen colleague, Dr. Knud Andersen, who had initiated this course, was really ahead of his time! I learned a great deal from helping him to teach the course.
Also, for many years, I taught physical chemistry to biologists. In this field, the concept of Gibbs free energy is very central. In a chemical reaction, the entropy (i.e. disorder) of the universe must always increase, as is required by the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy is a measure of disorder, and the universe always moves towards a state of greater disorder. To say this is the same as saying that the universe always moves from less probable configurations to states of greater and greater probability. We can create local order, but only by exporting disorder to the universe as a whole. In chemical thermodynamics, the requirement that Gibbs free energy must always decrease in a spontaneous chemical reaction is equivalent to saying that the entropy of the universe must always increase, but it allows us to take into account the fact that chemical reactions usually occur at constant temperature and pressure.
In addition to teaching courses in chemistry and physics, I also taught a course on “Science and Society”. This was a history of science and its enormous social impact. An enlarged and updated version of the book that I wrote for this course has recently been published by World Scientific. one of the features of my Science and Society course was that we had many exciting guest lecturers. Among these were Dr. Claus Emmeche and Dr. Luis Emilio Bruni, both of whom were experts in the new field of Biosemiotics, which regards information as the central feature of living organisms. Listening to their wonderful lectures, I found a criticism forming in my mind: They did not distinguish between cybernetic information and thermodynamic information. In other words, they did not distinguish between the information contained in messages, and the information content of Gibbs free energy. I decided that I would try to write a book which would make this distinction clear, but the project was left “on the back burner”, and I too no steps towards starting it.
However, a few years later, when I was visiting the Harvard laboratory of the famous chemical physicist Professor Dudley R. Herschbach, he took me to lunch with his postgraduate student, Anita Goel. She was in a special Harvard-MIT program where she was simultaneously obtaining both her Ph.D. in chemical physics and her M.D.
After lunch, I spent the afternoon talking with Anita, and I told her about the information theory book that I was vaguely planning to write. Listening to her reaction, I realized that this was an extremely hot topic. Anita told me that there were many other people working hard on these questions, although they perhaps did not have exactly my angle of approach. I decided to start writing immediately.
Anita was very good at asking questions, and during the whole afternoon she asked me more and more about how my planned book would be organized. How would I explain this, and how that? Which topics should come first and which afterwards? Her excellent questions forced me to find answers. At the end of the afternoon, I returned to my lodgings and wrote down in detail my whole conversation with Anita.
By a coincidence, when I returned to Copenhagen, I found on my desk a letter from the World Scientific Publishing Company asking whether I had any writing plans in which they might be interested. I immediately formalized the outline that I had written at Harvard, and sent it to them; but I did not think that they could find a reviewer who had a background both in information theory and in biology.
To my amazement, World Scientific found a Swedish professor with a background in both fields. He wrote an extremely long review of my book proposal, many times the usual length, criticizing some aspects of my proposed outline, suggesting improvements, and finally recommending publication.
When the book came out, I expected some harsh criticism from the Biosemiotics experts like Claus and Luis, but in fact they liked what I had written. Recently World Scientific asked me to produce a new edition, incorporating the latest research. Today, if one includes topics like artificial life and computer technology inspired by mechanisms of the brain, the field is developing with great speed. MIT, where I graduated with a B.Sc. in 1954, now has a Department of Cognitive Science, in which half the researchers are looking more and more deeply at how the brain works, while the other half are producing hardware and software that mimic the functions of the brain, including learning and intuition.
I also have a fascination for the second law of thermodynamics, and how it affects every aspect of our life. You’ve wonderfully connected the evolution of life and the second law of thermodynamics. Can you explain briefly for CC readers how both these phenomena are connected?
The second law of thermodynamics states the the entropy (disorder) of the universe constantly increases. This follows from the fact that disorder is more statistically probable than order. For example, if we put a completed jigsaw puzzle into the bottom of a box, and shake the box, a disordered jumble of pieces results. The reverse process is virtually impossible. We could never, or almost never, put disordered pieces of a puzzle into a box, shake it, and then to find the completed puzzle in the bottom,
Since disorder (entropy) always increases, how is it possible that the world we see around us so highly ordered? How is life possible? How is the Taj Mahal possible? How is the internet possible?
The answer is that the earth is not a closed system. A flood of information-containing free energy reaches the earth’s biosphere in the form of sunlight. Passing through the metabolic pathways of living organisms, this information keeps the organisms far away from thermodynamic equilibrium, which is death. As the thermodynamic information flows through the biosphere, much of it is degraded to heat, but part is converted into cybernetic information and preserved in the intricate structures which are characteristic of life. The principle of natural selection ensures that when this happens, the configurations of matter in living organisms constantly increase in complexity, refinement and statistical improbability. This is the process which we call evolution, or in the case of human society, progress.
In his 1944 book “What is Life” Erwin Schrödinger (one of the main founders of quantum theory) showed that, even at that early date, he was already aware of how life and entropy are related. He wrote: “What is that precious something contained in our food which keeps us from death? That is easily answered. Every process, event, happening, call it what you will; in a word, everything that is going on in Nature means an increase of the entropy of the part of the world where it is going on. Thus a living organism continually increases its entropy, or if you will, produces positive entropy., which is death. It can only keep aloof from it, i.e. alive, by continually drawing from its environment negative entropy…”
“Entropy, taken with a negative sign, is itself a measure of order. Thus the device by which an organism maintains itself at a fairly high level of orderliness (= a fairly low level of entropy) really consists in sucking orderliness from its environment.”
The information revolution has made life easier for many of us humans, even helping us to be born. But it has also destroyed our ecosystems, putting our own life, and the life of our fellow species into peril. Can we use the information revolution to our advantage to save the planet?
Cultural evolution depends on the non-genetic storage and transmission, diffusion and utilization of information. The development of human speech, the invention of writing, the development of paper and printing, and finally in modern times, mass media, computers and the Internet: all these have been crucial steps in society’s explosive accumulation of information and knowledge. Human cultural evolution proceeds at a constantly accelerating speed; so great in fact that it threatens to shake society to pieces.
Within rapidly-moving cultural evolution, we can observe that technical change now moves with such astonishing rapidity that neither social institutions, nor political structures, nor education, nor public opinion can keep pace. The lightning-like pace of technical progress has made many of our ideas and institutions obsolete. For example, the absolutely sovereign nation-state and the institution of war have both become dangerous anachronisms in an era of instantaneous communication, global interdependence and all-destroying weapons.
In many respects, human cultural evolution can be regarded as an enormous success. However, at the start of the 21st century, most thoughtful observers agree that civilization is entering a period of crisis. As all curves move exponentially upward, population, production, consumption, rates of scientific discovery, and so on, one can observe signs of increasing environmental stress, while the continued existence and spread of nuclear weapons threaten civilization with destruction. Thus, while the explosive growth of knowledge has brought many benefits, the problem of achieving a stable, peaceful and sustainable world remains serious, challenging and unsolved.
The achievements of modern society are achievements of cooperation. We can fly, but no one builds an airplane alone. We can cure diseases, but only through the cooperative efforts of researchers, doctors and medicinal firms. We can photograph and understand distant galaxies, but the ability to do so is built on the efforts of many cooperating individuals.
Looking at human nature, both from the standpoint of evolution and from that of everyday experience, we see the two faces of Janus: one face shines radiantly; the other is dark and menacing. Two souls occupy the human breast, one warm and friendly, the other, murderous. Humans have developed a genius for cooperation, the basis for culture and civilization; but they are also capable of genocide; they were capable of massacres during the Crusades, capable of genocidal wars against the Amerinds, capable of the Holocaust, of Hiroshima, of the killing-fields of Cambodia, of Rwanda, and of Darfur.
This being so, there are strong reasons to enlist the help of education and religion to make the bright side of human nature win over the dark side. Today, the mass media are an important component of education, and thus the mass media have a great responsibility for encouraging the cooperative and constructive side of human nature rather than the dark and destructive side. Our almost miraculous means of communication, if properly used, offer us the possibility of welding humanity into a single cooperative society.
Like every activity on earth, economic activity also is a dissipative form of energy flow. Why is so much income disparity taking place? According to a recent Oxfam report, eight people own as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity. How do you explain it? Do you think that the second law of thermodynamics should be made an essential part of our educational system, especially in economics?
With your permission, I will try to answer your last question first. I absolutely agree with you that the concept of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics ought to be made an essential part of our educational system, especially in economics. Although classical economic theory leaves it out entirely, a few pioneers of economic thought have realized that entropy and dissipation need play a central role in any correct theory.
One of the first people to call attention to the relationship between entropy and economics was the English radiochemist Frederick Soddy (1877-1956). Soddy won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1926 for his work with Ernest Rutherford, demonstrating the transmutation of elements in radioactive decay processes. His concern for social problems then led him to a critical study of the assumptions of classical economics. Soddy believed that there is a close connection between free energy and wealth, but only a very tenuous connection between wealth and money.
He was working on these problems during the period after World War I, when England left the gold standard, and he advocated an index system to replace it. In this system, the Bank of England would print more money and lend it to private banks whenever the cost of standard items indicated that too little money was in circulation, or conversely destroy printed money if the index showed the money supply to be too large.
Soddy was extremely critical of the system of “fractional reserve banking” whereby private banks keep only a small fraction of the money that is entrusted to them by their depositors and lend out the remaining amount. He pointed out that, in this system, the money supply is controlled by the private banks rather than by the government, and that profits made from any expansion of the money supply go to private corporations instead of being used to provide social services. When the economy is expanding, this system is unjust but not disastrous. However, when the economy contracts, depositors ask for their money; but it is not there, having been lent out; and the banks crash. Fractional reserve banking exists today, not only in England but also in many other countries. Soddy’s criticisms of this practice cast light on the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 and the debt crisis of 2011.
As Soddy pointed out, real wealth is subject to the second law of thermodynamics. As entropy increases, real wealth decays. He contrasted this with the behavior of debt at compound interest, which increases exponentially without any limit, and he remarked: “You cannot permanently pit an absurd human convention, such as the spontaneous increment of debt [compound interest] against the natural law of the spontaneous decrement of wealth [entropy]”. Thus, in Soddy’s view, it is a fiction to maintain that being owed a large amount of money is a form of real wealth.
Frederick Soddy’s book, Wealth, virtual wealth and debt: The solution of the economic paradox, published in 1926 by Allen and Unwin, was received by the professional economists of the time as the quixotic work of an outsider. Today, however, Soddy’s common-sense economic analysis is increasingly valued for the light that it throws on the instability of our fractional reserve banking system as economic growth falters.
The incorporation of the idea of entropy into economic thought also owes much to the mathematician and economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1906- 1994), the son of a Romanian army officer. Georgescu-Roegen’s talents were soon recognized by the Romanian school system, and he was given an outstanding education in Mathematics, which later contributed to his success and originality as an economist.
In Georgescu-Roegen’s words, “The idea that the economic process is not a mechanical analogue, but an entropic, unidirectional transformation began to turn over in my mind long ago, as I witnessed the oil wells of the Plosti field of both World Wars’ fame becoming dry one by one, and as I grew aware of the Romanian peasants’ struggle against the deterioration of their farming soil by continuous use and by rains as well. However it was the new representation of a process that enabled me to crystallize my thoughts in describing the economic process as the entropic transformation of valuable natural resources (low entropy) into valueless waste (high entropy).”
After making many technical contributions to economic theory, Georgescu-Roegen returned to this insight in his important 1971 book, The Entropy Law and the Economic Process (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1971), where he outlines his concept of bioeconomics.
Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s influence continues to be felt today, not only through his own books and papers but also through those of his student, the distinguished economist Herman E. Daly, who for many years has been advocating a steady-state economy. As Daly points out in his books and papers, it is becoming increasingly apparent that unlimited economic growth on a finite planet is a logical impossibility. However, it is important to distinguish between knowledge, wisdom and culture, which can and should continue to grow, and growth in the sense of an increase in the volume of material goods produced, which is reaching its limits.
Daly describes our current situation as follows: “The most important change in recent times has been the growth of one subsystem of the Earth, namely the economy, relative to the total system, the ecosphere. This huge shift from an “empty” to a “full” world is truly ‘something new under the sun’… The closer the economy approaches the scale of the whole Earth, the more it will have to conform to the physical behavior mode of the Earth… The remaining natural world is no longer able to provide the sources and sinks for the metabolic throughput necessary to sustain the existing oversized economy ・ much less a growing one. Economists have focused too much on the economy’s circulatory system and have neglected to study its digestive tract.”
Let me now turn to your question about enormous economic inequality. This exists today both within nations and between nations. Part of the explanation for this intolerable economic inequality can be found in the remarkable properties of exponential growth. If any quantity, for example indebtedness, is growing at the rate of 3% per year, it will double in 23.1 years; if it is growing at the rate of 4% per year, the doubling time is 17.3 years. For a 5% growth rate, the doubling time is 13.9 years, if the growth rate is 7%, the doubling time is only 9.9 years. It follows that if a debt remains unpaid for a few years, most of the repayments will go for interest, rather than for reducing the amount of the debt.
In the case of the debts of third world countries to private banks in the industrialized parts of the world and to the IMF, many of the debts were incurred in the 1970’s for purposes which were of no benefit to local populations, for example purchase of military hardware. Today the debts remain, although the amount paid over the years by the developing countries is very many times the amount originally borrowed. Third world debt can be regarded as a means by which the industrialized nations extract raw materials from developing countries without any repayment whatever. In fact, besides extracting raw materials, they extract money. The injustice of this arrangement was emphasized recently by Pope Francis in his wonderful encyclical “Laudato Si’ ”
Another part of the explanation lies in “resource wars”, conducted by militarily powerful countries to put in place or maintain unfair trade relationships with resource-rich nations in the third world.
Finally, our present economic system favors concentration of wealth. “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer”, or “To him who hath, it shall be given, but from him who hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away”. At present, powerful oligarchs use their wealth to control governments. Democracy decays, tax loopholes are found for the rich, and inequality increases. This situation, and the impossibility of perpetual growth on a finite planet, point to the need for a new economic system, a system where cooperation plays a greater role; a system with both a social conscience and an ecological conscience.
The nuclear bomb is the greatest concentration of man-made energy on earth. Why peace is the only software capable of diffusing this dangerous concentration of energy?
Let me begin to try to answer your question by quoting Albert Szent Györgyi: I have always found these words very enlightening and inspiring:
“The story of man consists of two parts, divided by the appearance of modern science…In the first period, man lived in the world in which his species was born and to which his senses were adapted. In the second, man stepped into a new, cosmic world to which he was a complete stranger…. The forces at man’s disposal were no longer terrestrial forces, of human dimension, but were cosmic forces, the forces which shaped the universe. The few hundred Fahrenheit degrees of our flimsy terrestrial fires were exchanged for the ten million degrees of the atomic reactions which heat the sun.”
“This is but a beginning, with endless possibilities in both directions; a building of a human life of undreamt of wealth and dignity, or a sudden end in utmost misery. Man lives in a new cosmic world for which he was not made. His survival depends on how well and how fast he can adapt himself to it, rebuilding all his ideas, all his social and political institutions.”
“…Modern science has abolished time and distance as factors separating nations. on our shrunken globe today, there is room for one group only: the family of man.”
I would also like to quote from the Russell-Einstein Manifesto of 1955, the founding document of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. The Manifesto ends with the words, “Here, then, is the problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable. Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war?… There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge and wisdom. Shall we instead choose death because we cannot forget our quarrels? .. We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity and forget the rest. If you can do so, there lies before you a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the threat of universal death.”
The human tendency towards tribalism evolved when our remote ancestors lived in small, genetically homogeneous tribes, competing for territory on the grasslands of Africa. Because marriage within a tribe was much more common than marriage outside it, genes were shared within the tribe. The tribe as a whole either survived or perished. The tribe, rather than the individual was the unit upon which the Darwinian forces of natural selection acted.
Although it was a survival trait 100,000 years ago, tribalism threatens our human civilization of today with thermonuclear annihilation. As Konrad Lorenz put it, “An impartial visitor from another planet, looking at man as he is today, in his hand the atom bomb, the product of his intelligence, in his heart the aggression drive, inherited from his anthropoid ancestors, which the same intelligence cannot control, such a visitor would not give mankind much chance of survival.”
Today, at the start of the 21st century, we live in nation-states to which we feel emotions of loyalty very similar to the tribal emotions of our ancestors. The enlargement of the fundamental political and social unit has been made necessary and possible by improved transportation and communication, and by changes in the techniques of warfare.
The tragedy of our present situation is that the same forces that made the nation-state replace the tribe as the fundamental political and social unit have continued to operate with constantly increasing intensity. For this reason, the totally sovereign nation-state has become a dangerous anachronism.
Although the world now functions as a single unit because of modern technology, its political structure is based on fragments, on absolutely sovereign nation-states . They are large compared to tribes, but too small for present-day technology, since they do not include all of mankind.
The elimination of war, and the elimination of the threat of nuclear annihilation, will require effective governance at the global level. In 1995 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs and to its leader, Sir Joseph Rotblat. In his acceptance speech, Sir Joseph said, “We have to extend our loyalty to the whole of the human race… A war-free world will be seen by many as Utopian. It is not Utopian. There already exist in the world large regions, for example the European Union, within which war is inconceivable. What is needed is to extend these.”
How can information theory play a role in peace politics?
Biosemiotics regards information as being the central feature of living organisms- Societies can be regarded as super-organizme. one might think of extending Biosemiotics to the study of the way in which information is the central feature of the development and function of societies. Such a field of study might be called Sociosemiotics. Information theory is certainly essential to an understanding of history and to an understanding of the crisis of civilization that has been produced by the information explosion.
Do you see any connection between the rise of populist and even fascist leaders around the world and information theory and thermodynamics?
When the earth’s human population is plotted as a function of time over a period of 10,000 years, the simple mathematical function that best fits the data is not an exponentially increasing curve but a hyperbola, P=C/(2025-t), where P is the population, C is a constant, and t is the time, measured in years. If population continued to follow this curve, it would become infinite in the year 2025, which, of course, is impossible. In fact, global population has already begun to fall below the curve.
Why is the empirical curve a hyperbola rather than an exponential? We can understand this if we see the growth of population as being driven by the information explosion. According to Malthus, population always presses against its food supply. As human knowledge and control of nature increased, the food supply also increased, leading to an increase in population. But today, we are facing a crisis. Our global food supply may be hit severely by the end of the fossil fuel era, and by climate change. These factors have already produced a flood of refugees fleeing environmental catastrophes in Africa. Added to this are millions of refugees from wars in the Middle East.
The result of the refugee crisis has been a loss of human solidarity, and the rise of fascism. In this difficult situation, we need to regain our human solidarity. We need to fight against fascism, and to regain democratic government. We need to end the wars, which are producing many millions of refugees. We need to avoid catastrophic climate change.
“Post-truth” was the word of the year of 2016. Why such a word now? Was there a “pre-truth “ or “truth” era? Or is there ever truth?
Let me again quote Albert Szent-Györgyi. one of his remarks that I remember from the time that I worked in his laboratory was this: “The human mind was not designed by evolutionary forces for finding truth. It was designed for finding advantage”.
Napoleon Bonaparte, quoting Fontanelle, said “History is a set of agreed-upon lies”.
Members of tribe like groups throughout history have marked their identity by adhering to irrational systems of belief. Like the ritual scarification which is sometimes used by primitive tribes as a mark of identity, irrational systems of belief also mark the boundaries of groups. We parade these beliefs to demonstrate that we belong to a special group and that we are proud of it. The more irrational the belief is, the better it serves this purpose. When people tell each other that they believe the same nonsense, a bond is forged between them. The worse the nonsense, the stronger the bond.
Sometimes motives of advantage are mixed in. As Szent-Györgyi observed, evolution designed the human mind, not for finding truth, but for finding advantage. Within the Orwellian framework of many modern nations, it is extremely disadvantageous to hold the wrong opinions. The wire tappers know what you are thinking.
But truth has the great virtue that it allows us to accurately predict the future. If we ignore truth because it is unfashionable, or painful, or heretical, the future will catch us unprepared.
What do you think of fake news, and the discussions going on the mechanisms to control it?
Throughout history, art was commissioned by rulers to communicate, and exaggerate their power, glory, absolute rightness, etc. to the population. Modern power holders are also aware of the importance of propaganda. Thus the media are a battleground, where reformers struggle for attention, but are defeated with great regularity by the wealth and power of the establishment. This is a tragedy, because today, there is an urgent need to make public opinion aware of the serious threats that are facing civilization, and the steps that are needed to solve these problems. The mass media could potentially be a great force for public education, but in general, their role is not only unhelpful: it is often negative.
Today we are faced with the task of creating a new global ethic in which loyalty to family, religion and nation will be supplemented by a higher loyalty to humanity as a whole. In addition, our present culture of violence must be replaced by a culture of peace. To achieve these essential goals, we urgently need the cooperation of the mass media.
How do the media fulfill this life-or-death responsibility? Do they give us insight? No, they give us pop music. Do they give us an understanding of the sweep of evolution and history? No, they give us sport. Do they give us an understanding of need for strengthening the United Nations, and the ways that it could be strengthened? No, they give us sit-coms and soap operas. Do they give us unbiased news? No, they give us news that has been edited to conform with the interests of the military-industrial complex and other powerful lobbies. Do they present us with the need for a just system of international law that acts on individuals? on the whole, the subject is neglected. Do they tell of the essentially genocidal nature of nuclear weapons, and the need for their complete abolition? No, they give us programs about gardening and making food.
In general, the mass media behave as though their role is to prevent the peoples of the world from joining hands and working to save the world from thermonuclear and environmental catastrophes. The television viewer sits slumped in a chair, passive, isolated, disempowered and stupefied. The future of the world hangs in the balance, the fate of children and grandchildren hang in the balance, but the television viewer feels no impulse to work actively to change the world or to save it. The Roman emperors gave their people bread and circuses to numb them into political inactivity. The modern mass media seem to be playing a similar role.
Because the mass media have failed us completely, the work of independent editors like yourself has become enormously important for the future of humanity and the biosphere.
Do you think that humanity can tackle climate change? Do you have any suggestions?
Solar power and wind energy are already much cheaper than fossil fuels if the enormous subsidies given to fossil fuel corporations are discounted. The main thing that the world needs to do is to abolish these subsidies, or, better yet, shift them to the support of renewable energy infrastructure. If this is done, then economic forces alone will produce the rapid transition to renewable energy which we so urgently need to save the planet.
Oil Change International, an organization devoted to exposing the true costs of fossil fuels, states that “Internationally governments provide at least $775 billion to $1 trillion annually in subsidies, not including other costs of fossil fuels related to climate change, environmental impacts, military conflicts and spending, and health impacts.”
Hope that catastrophic climate change can be avoided comes from the exponentially growing world-wide use of renewable energy, and from the fact prominent public figures, such as Pope Francis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elon Musk, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and Al Gore, are making the public increasingly aware of the long-term dangers. This awareness is needed to counter the climate change denial propaganda sponsored by politicians subservient to the fossil fuel industry.
Short-term disasters due to climate change may also be sufficiently severe to wake us up. We can already see severe effects of global warming in Africa, in parts of India and in island nations threatened by rising sea levels.
What do you think of the attitude of people like James Lovelock, who say “enjoy life while you can”?
I believe that this is a betrayal of our responsibility to our children and grandchildren and to all future generations of humans. It is also a betrayal of all the other species with which we share our beautiful planet.
We give our children loving care, but it makes no sense do so and at the same time to neglect to do all that is within our power to ensure that they and their descendants will inherit an earth in which they can survive.
Inaction is not an option. We have to act with courage and dedication, even if the odds are against success, because the stakes are so high.
The mass media could mobilize us to action, but they have failed in their duty. Our educational system could also wake us up and make us act, but it too has failed us. The battle to save the earth from human greed and folly has to be fought in the alternative media.
We need a new economic system, a new society, a new social contract, a new way of life. Here are the great tasks that history has given to our generation: We must achieve a steady-state economic system. We must restore democracy. We must decrease economic inequality. We must break the power of corporate greed. We must leave fossil fuels in the ground. We must stabilize and ultimately reduce the global population. We must eliminate the institution of war. And finally, we must develop a more mature ethical system to match our new technology.
What do you think of a world 50 years from now?
The future looks extremely dark because of human folly, especially the long-term future. The greatest threats are catastrophic climate change and thermonuclear war, but a large-scale global famine also has to be considered. Nevertheless, I hope for the best, and I think that it is our collective duty to work for the best. The problems that we face today are severe, but they all have rational solutions.
It is often said that ethical principles cannot be derived from science, and that they must come from somewhere else. However, when nature is viewed through the eyes of modern science, we obtain some insights which seem almost ethical in character. Biology at the molecular level has shown us the complexity and beauty of even the most humble living organisms, and the interrelatedness of all life on earth. Looking through the eyes of contemporary biochemistry, we can see that even the single cell of an amoeba is a structure of miraculous complexity and precision, worthy of our respect and wonder.
Knowledge of the second law of thermodynamics, the statistical law favoring disorder over order, reminds us that life is always balanced like a tight-rope walker over an abyss of chaos and destruction. Living organisms distill their order and complexity from the flood of thermodynamic information which reaches the earth from the sun. In this way, they create local order; but life remains a fugitive from the second law of thermodynamics. Disorder, chaos, and destruction remain statistically favored over order, construction, and complexity.
It is easier to burn down a house than to build one, easier to kill a human than to raise and educate one, easier to force a species into extinction than to replace it once it is gone, easier to burn the Great Library of Alexandria than to accumulate the knowledge that once filled it, and easier to destroy a civilization in a thermonuclear war than to rebuild it from the radioactive ashes.
Knowing this, we can use the second law of thermodynamics to form an almost ethical insight: To be on the side of order, construction, and complexity, is to be on the side of life. To be on the side of destruction, disorder, chaos and war is to be against life, a traitor to life, an ally of death. Knowing the precariousness of life, knowing the statistical laws that favor disorder and chaos, we should resolve to be loyal to the principle of long-continued construction upon which life depends.
Binu Mathew is the editor of www.countercurrents.org. He can be reached at email@example.com
John Scales Avery, CV
1933 born, Beirut Lebanon, of American parents
1950 graduated, Phillips Academy, Andover Mass.
1954 B.Sc., physics, MIT
1955 M.Sc., physics, University of Chicago
1957-1958 Research Student, Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University
1965 Ph.D., theoretical chemistry, Imperial College, London
1951-1959 Physicist, (summers) National Bureau of Standards, Washington D.C.
1961-1962 Reaearch Associate, (summers) Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole
1961-1962 Temporary Lecturer, Tait Institute for Mathematical Physics, Edinburgh
1963-1973 Lecturer, Imperial College, University of London
1969 Founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
1969-1980 Managing Editor, Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
1973-2003 Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry, U. of Copenhagen
2003- Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Copenhagen
Fellowships and memberships in societies etc.
Royal Institution of Great Britain
New York Academy of Sciences
Royal Society European Programme Fellowship, 1967-1968
Danish Chemical Society, Theoretical Setion, Chairman, 1975-1979
Foreign Member, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
Technical Advisor, World Health Organization, 1988-1997
Contact Person for Denmark and Chairman of the Danish National Group,
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World A
airs, 1990-, shared in Nobel Peace Prize, 1995
Chairman, Danish Peace Academy, 2004-2015
Heyrovsky Medal, Czech Academy of Sciences
Fellow, World Academy of Art and Science
Fellow, Learning Development Institute
Editorial Board, Nuclear Abolition Forum
Advisory Board, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Associate, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
21 books and chapters in books, and more than 250 articles both on scientic topics and on broader social questions. The most recent books include \Space-Age Science and Stone-Age Politics", published by Irene Publishing, Sweden, Urdu translation published by Maschal Books, Pakistan; \Information Theory and Evolution", 2nd Edition, published by World Scientic, \Energy, Resources and the Long-Term Future", published by World Scientic, \Symmetry-Adapted Basis Sets", published by World Scientic, \Crisis 21: Civilization's Crisis in the 21st Century", published by the Danish Peace Academy, "Science, Religion and War", published by the Danish Peace Academy, \Collected Essays, Volumes 1-4", published by the Danish Peace Academy, \Generalized Sturmians and Atomic Spectra", published by World Scientic, \Physical Applications of Hyperspherical Harmonics", to be published by World Scientic, "The Need for a New Economic System", published by Irene Publishing, Sweden, Urdu Translation to be published by Mashal Books, "Science and Society", to be published by World Scientic, "Memories of Beirut and Tehran", published by the Danish Peace Academy.
John Scales Avery was born in 1933 in Lebanon, where his father was Professor of Anatomy at the American University of Beirut. He received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles, both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. In 1969 he founded the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, and he served as its Managing Editor until 1980. He also served as Technical Advisor to the World Health Organization between 1988 and 1997, and as Chairman of the Danish National Group of Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs between 1990 and the present.
GHA AND THE CONCEPT OF HARMONY
The Global Harmony Association (GHA) advocates the concept of harmony as a road to global peace. This choice of harmony as a guiding principle is in keeping with many centuries-old philosophical traditions.
In the ancient world, the concept of harmony was developed to a high level by the Pythagoreans. The Pythagoreans used the idea of harmony to understand medicine, music, mathematics and ethics.
In China, Taoist and Confucian teachings each emphasized a particular aspect of harmony. Taoism emphasized harmony with nature, while Confucianism taught harmonious relationships between humans. Thus in China, harmony became an ideal advocated by both traditions. The Chinese respect for harmony as an ideal can be seen, for example, in the beautiful Temple of Divine Harmony in Beijing.
Both Hindu and Buddhist traditions of India emphasize the unity of all life on earth. (The Hindu and Buddhist picture of the relatedness of all life on earth has been confirmed by modern biological science. We now know that all living organisms have the same fundamental biochemistry, based on DNA, RNA, proteins and polysaccharides, and we know that our own human genomes are more similar to than different from the genomes of our close relations in the animal world.)
The original peoples ofNorth American had a tradition os harmony with nature. The Lakota (Western
Sioux) chief, Standing Bear (ca. 1834 ¨C 1908) expressed this in the following words: “The Lakota could despise no creature, for all were one blood, made by the same hand, and filled with the essence of the Great Mystery. A similar attitude towards nature can be found in traditional Inuit cultures.”
The peoples of the industrialized nations urgently need to acquire a non-anthropocentric element in their ethics, similar to reverence for all life found in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, as well as in the
teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi and Albert Schweitzer. We need to learn to value other species for their own sakes, and not because we expect to use them for our own economic goals.
Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) and Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) also showed respect for the unity of all life. There are similarities between the doctrines of these two great ethical teachers. Both came from wealthy families, but during the course of their lives they acquired strong sympathy with the poor and rejected excessive attachment to worldly goods. Both dressed in the simplest possible rough homespun clothes. (Gandhi said, “Live simply that others may simply live.”) Both taught peace between humans and kindness to all life. St. Francis is said to have preached sermons to the birds; Gandhi personally took care of sick animals in his ashram.
Respect for nature can also be found in African cultures: In some parts of Africa, a man who plans to cut down a tree offers a prayer of apology, telling the tree why necessity has forced him to harm it. This pre-industrial attitude is something from which the industrialized North could learn. In industrial societies, land “belongs” to some one, and the owner has the “right” to ruin the land or to kill the communities of creatures living on it if this happens to give some economic advantage, in much the same way that a Roman slave-owner was thought to have the “right” to kill his slaves. Pre-industrial societies have a much less rapacious and much more custodial attitude towards the land and towards its
The pre-industrial societies and ethical teachers mentioned above have much to tell us about how to achieve harmony with ourselves, harmony with nature, and harmony with other members of our own species. Of course it is necessary to learn from the best aspects of each culture and not the worst. Also we must remember that the population of the world is now so large that a complete return to a pre-industrial way of life would not be possible. However, some of the values and attitudes of pre-industrial cultures can help us to an awareness of what it will take to achieve a truly sustainable global society.
The advertising-driven orgies of consumerism that characterize modern market economies cannot be extended into the distant future because of limitations that will be imposed by exhaustion of non-renewable resources and by the limited carrying capacity of the global environment. Therefore we need to stop using material goods as a measure of merit. Gandhi deliberately reduced his possessions to a minimum in order to demonstrate that merit and goods are not synonymous. St. Francis did the same. We can learn from them, and from the values of pre-industrial societies, to stop worshiping the false ideals, power, dominance, growth, and profit. Instead we must learn to live in harmony.
The Global Harmony Association is completely correct in advocating harmony as the guiding ideal for our efforts to achieve world peace.
We Must Not Demonize and Threaten Russia
BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 23 January 2017
John Scales Avery – TRANSCEND Media Service
In his famous farewell address, US President Dwight Eisenhower eloquently described the terrible effects of an overgrown military-industrial complex. Here are his words:
“We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions…. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence, economic, political, even spiritual, is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government…[and] we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
In another speech, he said: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. “
The Devil’s Dynamo
The military-industrial complex involves a circular flow of money. The cash flows like the electrical current in a dynamo, driving a diabolical machine. Money from immensely rich corporate oligarchs buys the votes of politicians and the propaganda of the mainstream media. Numbed by the propaganda, citizens allow the politicians to vote for obscenely bloated military budgets, which further enrich the corporate oligarchs, and the circular flow continues.
Today the world spends more than 1.7 trillion dollars ( $1,700,000,000,000) every year on armaments. This vast river of money, almost too large to be imagined, is the “devil’s dynamo” driving the institution of war. Politicians notoriously can be bought with a tiny fraction of this enormous amount; hence the decay of democracy. It is also plain that if the almost unbelievable sums now wasted on armaments were used constructively, most of the pressing problems now facing humanity could be solved.
Because the world spends almost two thousand billion dollars each year on armaments, it follows that very many people make their living from war. This is the reason why it is correct to speak of war as an institution, and why war persists, although we know that it is the cause of much of the suffering that inflicts humanity.
We know that war is madness, but it persists. We know that it threatens the survival of civilization, but it persists, entrenched in the attitudes of historians, newspaper editors and television producers, entrenched in the methods by which politicians finance their campaigns, and entrenched in the financial power of arms manufacturers, entrenched also in the ponderous and costly hardware of war, the fleets of warships, bombers, tanks, nuclear missiles and so on.
The Military-Industrial Complex Needs Enemies
The military-industrial complex needs enemies. Without them it would wither. Thus at the end of the Second World War, this vast power complex was faced with a crisis. It was saved by the discovery of a new enemy: Communism.
This new enemy saved the military-industrial complex for a long time, but at the end of the Cold War, there was another crisis: the threat that arms profits would be converted into a “peace dividend”. Would this be the end of unlimited corporate greed? Heaven forbid! There was a desperate search for a new enemy. What about Islam? The Crusades could be revived, and all would be well. This seemed, for a long time to be a good solution.
But recently, with the Middle East in flames, Islam no longer seemed to be a sufficiently strong enemy justify the colossal budgets of armaments industries. A new enemy was urgently needed. one look at our mass media tells us the solution that our military-industrial complex has come up with: Revival of the Cold War!
Nuclear War by Accident or Miscalculation
As a consequence of our oligarchy’s decision to revive the Cold War, we are witnessing increasing demonization of Russia as well as flagrant provocations, such as the recent massive NATO maneuvers on Russia’s borders.
With unbelievable hubris and irresponsibility, western politicians are risking the destruction of human civilization and much of the biosphere through a thermonuclear war. Such a cataclysmic war could occur through technical or human error, or through escalation. This possibility is made greater by the fact that despite the end of the Cold War, thousands of missiles carrying nuclear warheads are still kept on a “hair-trigger” state of alert with a quasi-automatic reaction time measured in minutes.
A number of prominent political and military figures (many of whom have ample knowledge of the system of deterrence, having been part of it) have expressed concern about the danger of accidental nuclear war.
Colin S. Grey, Chairman of the US Institute for Public Policy, expressed this concern as follows: “The problem, indeed the enduring problem, is that we are resting our future upon a nuclear deterrence system concerning which we cannot tolerate even a single malfunction.”
General Curtis E. LeMay has written, “In my opinion a general war will grow through a series of political miscalculations and accidents rather than through any deliberate attack by either side.”
Bruce G. Blair of the Brookings Institute has remarked that “It is obvious that the rushed nature of the process, from warning to decision to action, risks causing a catastrophic mistake.”… “This system is an accident waiting to happen.”
The Duty of Civil Society
Civil society must make its will felt. A thermonuclear war today would be not only genocidal but also omnicidal. It would kill people of all ages, babies, children, young people, mothers, fathers and grandparents, without any regard whatever for guilt or innocence. Such a war would be the ultimate ecological catastrophe, destroying not only human civilization but also much of the biosphere. Each of us has a duty to work with courage and dedication to prevent it.
Some suggestions for further reading:
John Scales Avery, Ph.D., who was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in organizing the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, is a member of the TRANSCEND Network and Associate Professor Emeritus at the H.C. Ørsted Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is chairman of both the Danish National Pugwash Group and the Danish Peace Academy and received his training in theoretical physics and theoretical chemistry at M.I.T., the University of Chicago and the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles both on scientific topics and on broader social questions. His most recent book is Civilization’s Crisis in the 21st Century (pdf).
Bibliography of my works for peace
Here is a link to a review of my new book, "The Need for a New Economic System"::
Then, on the Danish Peace Academy website, there are the following links:
Finally, here are links to articles in two journals of the World Academy of Art and Science:
and to the Learning Development Institute
Please forgive me. I did not realize that your eyes are giving you problems. I hope that the print on this letter is large enough to be comfortable for you.
I am absolutely delighted to have a personal page on your distinguished GHA website. What an honour and privilege it is to be able to speak to your many readers. As you know, my great hope is to make a contribution to the search for solutions to the urgent problems that are facing the world today. It is wonderful to be able to reach your readers, and I hope that many of them will join me in the search for solutions. Many, many thanks!
You mention that it will be possible for me to develop my page. If I am allowed to do so, I would very much like to add the following list of links:
SOME ARTICLES on PEACE THROUGH HARMONY,
by John Scales Avery
Against the institution of war
We need your voice today
Values for the future
Reformed teaching of history
Blood for oil
Back to child labor and slavery?
Using material goods for social competition
Making a game of killing
Construction versus destruction
The Nuremberg Princoples and individual responsibility
Benefits of equality
Adverse effects of globalization
Optimum population in the future
Reciprocity and karma
Limits to growth and fractional reserve banking
Attacks on Iran, past and present
Limits to growth and climate change
The future of international law
One step backward taken
Facing a set of linked problems
The Titanic as an allegory
Nobody had the slightest idea of what it would be like
Israel, Iran and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
Dangers of nuclear power generation
Iran: automatic escallation to World War III?
Perpetual war against terrorism?
Poverty and war
Collective punishment and the blockade of Gaza
Economic predictions for 2013
Destroying the world for profit
The protection racket
Sanctions as collective punishment
The Mayan apocalypse and Gell-Mann's curve
Restoring democracy in the United States
Just staying alive
Do the people have a right to know what their governments are doing?
A threatened global catastrophe
Cancer threat from radioactive leaks at Hanford, USA
A golden age?
The training of soldiers
Tribalism and agreed-upon lies
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Northeast India
Kill or be killed (or both)
Thou shalt not kill
Science changes the character of war
Ethics for the future
“Humanitarian” missile strikes against Syria?
Syria, democracy and international law
Nobel Peace Prize winner and war criminal?
Some peace education initiatives in Denmark
A government with many secrets is not a democracy
The social responsibility of scientists
The task before us
Secrecy versus democracy
The arrogance of power
Racism, colonialism and exceptionalism
The case for economic reform
An attack on Iran could escalate into a global nuclear war
The humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons
Mandela and Gandhi
Some examples of genocide
Nuclear warfare as genocide
Are we being driven like cattle?
Does the American Jewish Community really want a general war in the Middle East?
The fragility of our complex civilization
An accident waiting to happen
Atoms for peace?
Truth versus power
Lessons from World War I
Adam Smith's invisible hand is at our throats
Unfulfilled responsibilities of the media
Europe needs to be independent
The long-term future
Geological extinction events and runaway climate change
Preventing a human-initiated 6th geological extinction event
Our duty to future generations
The illegality of NATO
The urgent need for renewable energy
An Arctic nuclear weapons free zone; Scandinavia as a first step
Saving threatened species
The devil's dynamo
The court of world public opinion
Climate change: will a disaster wake us up?
Book review: “Hiroshima, August 6, 1945”
The Marshall Islands sue all nuclear nations
Science, religion and war
60 years in the peace movement
Climate change means lifestyle change
The agony of Iraq
The United Nations Climate Summit
Interrelated threats to humans and to the biosphere
Birgitta Jonsdottir, democracy, and freedom of information
Institutional and cultural inertia
Politeness in multi-ethnic societies
Some contributions of Islamic culture
Quick action is needed to save the long-term future
Remember your humanity
Gandhi as an economist
Secrecy and democracy are incompatible
Europe muust not be pushed into a nuclear war with Russia
The future of international law
Millay's “Epitaph for the Race of Man”
Book review: “The Path to Zero”
Albert Einstein, scientist and pacifist
New hope for avoiding catastrophic climate change
Will the real issues be discussed in 2016?
Greed is driving us toward disaster
A nuclear weapons convention by majority vote at the UN
The Need for a New Economic System: Part 9 (see the end of the article for the other parts)
Book review: “Before it is Too Late”
Paris: The urgent need for a sense of proportion
Paris: We need system change
The United States drifts towards political irresponsibility
Culture, education and human solidarity
Who is my neighbor?
The world as it is, and the world as it could be
With my gratitude, admiration and warmest greetings,
On Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 3:13 PM, Leo Semashko <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Excuse my delay: I am very busy with the GHA reorganization now.
Many thanks for your contributions, especially your short but wonderful article about harmony, which I was happy to publish on your personal page: John Scales Avery: Books and Articles for System Harmonious Vision of Peace:
http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=672. This is only a draft and just the beginning, where you could make changes.
I began to study your links starting with your Academy. It is a long and difficult process, because of my poor eyesight does not allow me to read the small print font of your website. But without acquaintance with your texts, I cannot recommend them to the GHA members. I must underline their particularly important details for our GPS.
The main conclusion to which I came, is as follows. I will do my best in my power to publish and promote your wonderful peace works, because they complement and develop the ideas of Global Peace Science (GPS), and vice versa. The best way to promote your works would be your banner with your portrait on the Home page (http://peacefromharmony.org), the number of visits which reaches 8-15 thousand daily.
But for this banner requires your bright and strong review of GPS, about its importance and preferences for world peace, about the key role in this peace paradigm the deep social structure of universal harmonious classes SPHERONS (GPS, Chapter 1) unlike private antagonistic classes of Marxism and similar bellicose theories. Would you like to write a short review of 1-2 pages, not more, so that I can publish it and choose from it some the most profound phrases for your banner that will link to your personal page? Is it possible for you? Your similar review together with your peace works will allow us to recognize you as one of the GPS founders and etc.
I have accumulated a lot of other questions for you, but now I will limit with this major issue. on the other, I will write in the next letter.
Cordially your, with the best wishes of peace from harmony through science,
Dr. Leo Semashko,
----- Original Message -----
From: John Avery, email@example.com
Sent: 7 марта 2016 г., 9:51:44
Subject: Congratulations on your important work.+++ Our peace cooperation
Thank you so much for your very kind and encouraging letter! Let me try to answer some of the questions that you ask:
Thank you so much for your interest in my scientific work! I remember a lecture to the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. I called it "Music of the Hyperspheres", and the lecture covered the history of the concept of harmonics, starting with the ideas of Pythagoras.
I would be delighted and honoured to have a personal page on your GHA website "Peace from Harmony". The title could be "Articles and Books About Peace by John Scales Avery". I'm attaching a CV and three photos.
I am attaching a short article about harmony as an ideal and the GHA. I will ask Holger Terp, who is the Editor of the Danish Peace Academy's website, whether he will publish some discussion of the Global Harmony Association.
It would be an extremely great honour to be nominated for the title "World Harmony Creator". Thank you so much for this very kind thought.
Please include my e-mail address in your mailing list.
With very many thanks and warmest greetings,
On Sun, Mar 6, 2016 at 1:03 PM, Leo Semashko <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Dear John, (please, let us be by our names, OK?)
I am very happy your response, because I've been trying long to contact you but find your email I could not.
Many thanks for your warm letter, kind congrats and appreciation of our (Global Harmony Association, GHA) peacemaking work and our website!
We have long admired your scientific and peacemaking activity. On the first page of our "Global Peace Science" (GPS), we published your brilliant quote about the need of system change not only in the climate field (see: Http://peacefromharmony.org/docs/global-peace-science-2016.pdf).
We will be republishing this book next year and would be happy to publish in it your article about the scientific knowledge of global peace.
We are also very interested in your physical researches in quantum theory related with spheral harmony of 'Generalized Sturmians' (Hyperspherical Harmonics and Generalized Sturmians (2000) Hyperspherical Harmonics; Applications in Quantum Theory (1989)), which are consonant with the spheral social harmony as the foundation of our GPS. This is a very deep philosophical question of harmonious similarity of the physical and social worlds, which we leave for the future to focus on the critical issue of global peace of humanity standing on the edge of the military (nuclear) self-destruction.
Your contribution to this global problem is indisputable and we will be happy to open on our GHA website "Peace from Harmony" your personal page with about title: "John Avery: Great System Peacemaker of the 21st century." You could edit this title. We will publish on this page your most important peacemaking works, their bibliography, your bio and 3-5 of your photos, if you want, and will send them to me. This work associated with the study of your many links, require 2-4 weeks.
Particularly important would your short (1-2 pages maximum) review of GPS with your opinion about the importance of a new social science to understand (Einstein) and conscious system building global peace, spanning all social spheres, as you write: the economy, ecology, politics (democracy), equality, elimination of the war institute, etc. (The GPS Resume is attached). It would be great! We would also be very happy the first public discussion of GPS in your wonderful and unique "Danish Peace Academy", the first in the world! Is it possible?
In the future, we would be happy to nominate you to the GHA Honorary title: "World Harmony Creator" (in 2016/17), which the gallery you could see here: http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=513. You have long deserved this title.
GHA members, well-known scholars and peacemakers will be happy to participate in your conferences and peaceful actions. To allow you to more closely acquainted with our peace-making work, could we include your email to our mailing list: email@example.com? Thank you.
With a lot of appreciations for you and best wishes for peace from harmony via science,
Dr. Leo Semashko, GHA President
Dr Leo Semashko: State Councillor of St. Petersburg, Russia;
Philosopher, Sociologist and Peacemaker from Harmony; Director:
Tetrasociology Public Institute; Founding President, Global Harmony
Association (GHA) since 2005; Director, GHA Website "Peace from
Harmony": www.peacefromharmony.org Global Peace Science from Harmony:
www.peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=585; Peace Science Video:
http://youtu.be/hbxY5lREOeA; NO TO USA WAR WITH RUSSIA:
----- Original Message -----
From: John Avery, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: 6 марта 2016 г., 10:47:40
Subject: Congratulations on your important work.
Dear Dr. Leo Semashko,
I would like to congratulate you on your dedicated and effective work for global peace and harmony!
Here are a few links to my own work for peace, which you might perhaps post on your excellent website:
Here is a link to a review of my new book, "The Need for a New Economic System"::
Then, on the Danish Peace Academy website, there are the following links:
Finally, here are links to articles in two journals of the World Academy of Art and Science:
and to the Learning Development Institute
I would be enormously grateful if you could make any or all of these links available.
With many thanks and best wishes for the continued success of your important work for peace,
(John Scales Avery)
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Chairman of the Danish Peace Academy, Denmark