PROLOG FOR THE FUTURE
The International Publishing Project: Multicultural dialog of languages, communications, beliefs, and worldviews (LCBW). Conception
Leo Semashko, Russia
The need for multicultural dialog in a new age of Enlightenment
The past century has witnessed an enormous accumulation of theoretical and cultural riches, inaccessible for easy review, scattered among the social and humanitarian sciences, in many nations and regions, representing different religions, languages, and worldviews. A new age of globalization requires selection of the most perceptive elements of this vast and diverse theoretical and cultural heritage. It requires a search for new ways of their synthesis, to facilitate the construction of global patterns of language, worldview, belief and communication. These patterns should be clear, accessible, and acceptable to all or most of the people and nations of the world. They should be simultaneously new and integrative, uniting the spiritual purposes of all, yet retaining cultural diversity. In short, global patterns of language, communication, belief, and worldview, should be multicultural, as should the processes and technology of their social construction.
This twofold multicultural task of globalization with diversity is implemented by a broad cultural and informational exchange, by means of the Internet, information technologies, and the mass media. It marks the coming of new age of Enlightenment. Globalization is inevitable in the age of a new Enlightenment, which will assume, during the coming decades, the task of constructing multicultural/global patterns of language, worldview, belief and communications. The construction of these patterns is not possible using coercive military, legal, religious, ideological or psychological strategies initiated by the state, party, church, local leaders, etc. The construction of these patterns, in the new age of Enlightenment, is possible only through interactive methods of multicultural dialog, the recurrence of which creates a “polylog.” (This methodology is developed in Govorov's dialog, in Part 3.) The new age of Enlightenment requires a dialog/polylog of different languages, religions, communications, and worldviews. Hence, it is an inter-disciplinary, inter-linguistic, inter-ideological dialog that is also multicultural. Each language and worldview, each religion and community, should be given equal rights of participation in multicultural dialog. Equal rights neither exclude activity and initiative, nor suppress claims on issues of priority, thereby promoting consideration of all priorities in the face of constructive competition. Multicultural dialog can be generated only by such initiatives.
At present we see processes of multicultural dialog respond to pre-existing sources of initiative, and only pretend to allow equality in selecting issues of priority.
It would seem that among the world religions, only the Bahai Faith - the youngest (approximately 1.5 centuries) but conceptually the most progressive and democratic - enunciates religious unity, yet preserves the variety and originality of all religions.
The Esperanto language, on a par with the English language, has a number of advantages, proven by more than a century of practice as a language of international discourse that does not reject national languages.
Communications such as the Internet, the press, and TV complement each other.
From a worldview perspective, the most adequate orientation is a pluralistic/interactive worldview, consistent with Mills' "sociological imagination," which is also supported by the authors of this project. In our opinion, the most helpful social worldviews of the globalization age will be formed from this orientation.
The International Publishing Project will seek to be one of the elements of a multicultural dialog, and to be one of the new forms of communication contributing to a new age of Enlightenment. This assumes an expansion into the Internet and TV. We hope that our project will find support from other social scientists, and from artists, organized religions, national and international organizations, and others who are interested in similar dialog, consider it timely and necessary, and are ready to become participants.
Our project, as well as the new age of Enlightenment, is targeted, as a first priority, toward children and youth, to enhance and revitalize cultural and spiritual values for the new century. Children and youth are the key force for this in the future, and will become the new public actors of social harmony and solidarity.
Future plans of the project
The International Publishing Project has been created to publish low cost editions of books of dialogs in volumes of 150-350 pages, written in 3 or 4 languages under one cover, in editions of 3 to 10 thousand copies. It is committed to the discovery of new ways of communicating ideas across cultures, and to developing worldviews and beliefs that are sensitive to the humanitarian-moral requirements of the new century. A current subject of interest to the project is the preparation of similar editions of books of dialogs for world-wide distribution. We are currently a non profit enterprise that relies entirely on sales and contributions.
Aims of the project
This publishing project has multiple aims. It is organized within a social science framework, of global information, means, languages, and methods of communication, from a global perspective:
1. To promote mutual understanding, cooperation, peace, nonviolence, tolerance, and harmony of people and cultures.
2. To further humanitarianism, justice, and harmonization of globalization processes, while preserving and strengthening multiculturalism.
3. To develop a global/multicultural social imagination in nations, within the framework of social science.
4. To strengthen interdisciplinary communications among the various social sciences, to overcome their isolation, fragmentation, narrowness of perspective, bureaucratic character, and alienation from the problems of globalization and the problems of everyday life.
5. To form comprehensive, interactive worldviews, on which to base harmonious decisions about global and individual problems.
6. To collaborate in the formulation of worldwide communications, for a non-professional audience in general, and for students in particular.
Name of the Project
The International Publishing Project title: "Global social imagination: Toward a dialog of multicultural languages of communication, belief and worldview (LCBW) ", or briefly “Multicultural dialog of LCBW”, reflects its basic aims, source and direction. The source of all the innovative means/languages/methods is a global social imagination. This social imagination is an expansion of C. Wright Mills (1959) concept " The Sociological imagination ". The expansion of this concept is connected to a synthesis of social sciences, which by necessity develops from the conception of I. Wallerstein (2000). The concept "global" expresses a connection of social imagination with the process of globalization. The social imagination is global, is inherent for all nations and persons, is not limited by the separate groups and continents, and stands beyond the framework of elitism, bureaucracy, and hierarchy.
The term "multicultural languages" expresses a pluralism of the languages of dialog and information exchange among different cultures in various spheres. These languages are capable of serving a significant number of cultures in the world. Languages of the humanitarian and social sciences, English, Esperanto and information languages are all of concern to them. In this sense, "multicultural" may be read as "global". Languages are constructed by social imagination as different mirrors within different cultures. Language is understood as a varied means for communication of information and scientific methods.
The term " languages of communication, belief and worldview " outlines four basic areas of culture - language, communication, belief and worldview (LCBW) - which limits the project and dialog. The worldview is represented by the different philosophical, sociological, etc. theories. The project is not connected with the spheres of economy and politics. It allocates only areas of language, communication, worldview and belief, which makes a nucleus of the humanitarian and informational-cultural spheres. In these areas are formed the humanitarian-moral values and the priorities of modernity. The most general and daily environment is language: in language and through language communications of worldviews and beliefs are accomplished. There are many languages, both national and specific, being peculiar to the various forms of communications. The age of globalization and the increasing challenges that come with it require new, adequate languages for communications, worldviews and beliefs that are capable of enabling effective decisions within a framework of cooperation, peace, nonviolence, tolerance, justice and humanitarianism.
Features of the project
The features of the International Publishing Project of LCBW consists of its contents, structure, and the form of its editions (books-dialogs) to personify globalism, multiculturalism and pluralism. This will be achieved by the following means:
1.The editions (books-dialogs) will be published in 3 or 4 languages as one: in English, in Esperanto and in 1 or 2 national languages. The multi-linguistic approach embodies a spirit of multiculturalism, and provides a dialog of different cultures, languages, worldviews, and beliefs.
2.The dialogic groups of co-authors, of 4 to 10 scientists, are selected on the initiative of the Editorial Council, or on the basis of personal initiative, which will be encouraged. Such groups will stimulate interdisciplinary and intercultural communications.
3.The books-dialogs have a unified structure that includes basic and dialogic parts. The basic part is a brief (25-35 page) statement of the primary author's approach, worldview, or beliefs based on previous publications. The second part includes (3 to 10) brief (3 to 6 page) “review-dialogs” of other, contributing authors, holding different approaches, worldviews, or beliefs. Each review-dialog includes a brief statement of an approach, worldview, or belief of the contributor and a critical comparison with the views of the primary author.
Such structuration of the books-dialogs will allow the reader not only to get acquainted simultaneously with 4 to 6 approaches, worldviews, or beliefs, but also to compare them, to understand their constructive - critical mutual relations, and to join in discussion, debate (or narrative) between them. Each reader will have a right to join in the dialog, to write their own review, and to direct it to the consideration of the Editorial staff. The most substantial of these, together with the replies from the original authors, will be published in new book-dialogs. The number of such book-dialogs will be decided by demand. Over time there will be a natural selection of the best, most effective languages, worldviews and beliefs. Various international and national organizations, parties, and governments can choose the most effective languages for solving of their civic problems. With the help of these languages, universal priorities and humanitarian-moral values of the globalization age will be constructed.
Ideology of the project
The Project initially is based on C.W.Mills’ conception of sociological imagination as a basic source of all valuable spiritual and informational innovations, stated in "The Sociological imagination" (1959), and until now an authority primarily among other professionals, who have named this book second in importance among sociological works of the last century. Other theoretical bases of the Project are:
M. McLuhan’s (1967, 1968) conception of global communication.
B. Phillips’ (2001, 2002) conception of interactive, dialogic and web worldview, based on C. W. Mills’ theory and idea of transition from a narrow, bureaucratic worldview to a broad, interdisciplinary worldview, and appropriate scientific method.
I.Wallerstein’s (2000) conception of unity of the social sciences
R.Siebert’s (1985, 2001) conception (Critical Theory) about unity and tolerance of different religions.
M. Ross DeWitt’s (2000) theory of interactive social action and social transformation.
Bahai Faith’s conception about unity of religions of the world.
The conception of Esperanto as a language of international dialog, not excluding, but supplementing national languages.
B.Hornung’s (1997, German sociologist) and B.Scott’s (2001, English sociologist) Sociocybernetics as an interdisciplinary social science.
R. Bachika’s (2000, Japanese sociologist) theory of spiritual values.
H. Roseman’s (1985, Australian sociologist) theory of the cultural communications.
A.I.Yuriev’s (1992, Russian psychologist) conception of social - political psychology.
N.S.Govorov’s (1998, Russian psychologist) conception of a scientific-social polylog.
M.M.Reshetnikov’s (2002, Russian psychologist) conception of a humanitarian-moral strategy.
L.M.Semashko’s (1992, 2002, Russian sociologist) conception of tetrasociology developing an idea of social harmony, and one of the variants of synthesis of social sciences on the basis of the theory of social space - time.
Organization and financing of the project
The International Publishing Project can be really global and successful only under the aegis of UNESCO. The initiators of the Project see their own mission in preparing the necessary documents and arguments for entering them in UNESCO. The major argument offered by the Project is its support from various cultural, international, and national organizations. However, at an early stage in its formation, this Project can be under the aegis of the American and/or International Sociological Associations, or The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, etc.
The International Publishing Project of LCBW is headed by the International Editorial Board (Council)), which includes managers, editors from the countries of various national languages, and publishers in those countries. Preliminary staff of the Board:
Bernard Phillips, USA,
Immanuel Wallerstein, USA,
Rudolf Siebert, USA,
Martha Ross DeWitt, USA,
Jonathan Turner, USA,
Jon Alexander, Canada,
Martin Albrow , UK,
Bernard Scott, UK,
Max Travers, UK,
Bernd Hornung, Germany,
Reimon Bachika, Japan,
Hilarie Roseman, Australia,
Alexander Urjev, Russia,
Vladimir Kavtorin, Russia,
Vladimir Zaharov, Russia,
Nicholas Gudskov, Russia,
Elena Pavlova, Russia,
Henry Skvortcov, Russia,
Alexander Ivanov, Russia
Dimity Baranov, Russia
Tatiana Potashevsky, Russia
Leo Semashko, Russia,
The staff of the Board will be considerably extended. It is hoped that, with their consent, representatives of the Bahai Faith and other beliefs, the international organization of Esperanto, international associations of sociologists, philosophers, linguists, psychologists, etc. will also be included.
The Board decides all organizational and financial questions: asserts the Charter of the International Publishing Project, chooses the President, Honorable President and Chief Editor, the Executive and Financial directors, organizes a publishing and trade network, defines basic publishing houses in the various countries, creates an International Advisory Board, provides the financing of the Project from different sources, defines publishing policy, creates regional departments in continents etc. The Board is headquartered in the USA.
It is supposed that financing of the Project will be carried out at the expense of various American funds: Social Science Research Council (President is Prof. Craig Calhoun), Fulbright, Ford, Carnegie, MacArthur, etc.; by funds from UNESCO, and donations of this or that the billionaire, for example, Bill Gates; or any TNC, for example, "McDonalds." Further, as a result of wide advertising of the books-dialogs and their mass sale, part of the Project can be self funding. It is unlikely that this project will become self supporting, although such an opportunity is not seen to be excluded under especially favorable conditions (taxes, customs etc.), or effective advertising in the MASS-MEDIA and in national /international social journals, etc. The question of financing requires additional study.
I.Wallerstein and C.Calhoun (the SSRC President) or other well known scientific, public or financial figures could become the Project’s Honorary President and President, who would be responsible only for financing the Project, for communication with UNESCO, Banks, Funding bodies, TNCs and Governments.
The organizational and personnel basis of the Project can become the separate Research Committees (with their consent) of the American Sociological Association and International Sociological Association (for example, RC07 - Futures Research, RC25 - Sociolinguistics, RC51 - Sociocybernetics and others), and also a group of American sociologists (about 50) members of the "Sociological Imagination" group founded and coordinated by Bernard Phillips, and an International group of sociologists, "The Future of Religion," organized by Rudolf Siebert. one of basic points of the Project is the theoretical seminar of Vladimir Zaharov in St.-Petersburg, uniting a group of social scientists, which, during almost three years studied the activity of the dialog/polylog of various worldviews and social theories within the framework of the Russian spectrum.
This given, the preliminary conception variant of the International Publishing Project of LCBW, after it’s correction by the initiative group (joined by all interested organizations and persons), will be dispatched as the official document to the possible participants and to other interested international and national organizations, in particular, the International and American Sociological Associations, the International Association of Esperanto, the House of Justice of Bahai Faith, the International Parliament of Churches, the International Philosophical Society, the International Association of Publishers, etc.
It will be expected from each organization that accepts the Project: (1) remarks and amendments to the Project’s conception, (2) letter of a managing body with expressions of support for the Project, readiness to participate in it and recognition of its importance both for the given organization, and for the statement of global multicultural dialog. These letters will provide a basis for legal registration of the International Publishing Project, and for representation in UNESCO.