In the article, “The Real Problem is in the Hearts of Man” by Michael Amrine, New York Times Magazine (23 June 1946) Einstein expanded somewhat on the original quote from the 25 May article in the Atlantic:
” Many persons have inquired concerning a recent message of mine that “a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels.”
Often in evolutionary processes a species must adapt to new conditions in order to survive. Today the atomic bomb has altered profoundly the nature of the world as we knew it, and the human race consequently finds itself in a new habitat to which it must adapt its thinking.
In the light of new knowledge, a world authority and an eventual world state are not just desirable in the name of brotherhood, they are necessary for survival. In previous ages a nation’s life and culture could be protected to some extent by the growth of armies in national competition. Today we must abandon competition and secure cooperation. This must be the central fact in all our considerations of international affairs; otherwise we face certain disaster. Past thinking and methods did not prevent world wars. Future thinking must prevent wars.” source wikiquotes
Flora Stormer Michaels provokes our thinking in her 2011 book: “Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything” a Precious Jewel, Uncomfortable Knowledge perhaps, but a splendid gift for all those who want to better understand the cause of our present predicament.
I believe this book has to be read by all people who want to become more aware of how microcosmic thinking has brought about the intractable problems of our time. I am using Microcosmic thinking here in the sense developed by Mary Douglas and Steven Ney in their 1998 book: “Missing Persons: A Critique of Personhood in the Social Sciences” – another precious jewel, another splendid gift, yet other uncomfortable knowledge.
I believe also we are at crossroads, at a juncture, with “path dependent” characteristics:
Einstein’s questions remain, I rephrase them as follows:
How will we “develop that higher level of thinking, that will allow us to adapt to new conditions in order to survive and move at higher levels”?
What kind of “Institutions” will be needed to “abandon competition and secure cooperation”?
Hurry and read these two books, the former should revive the prior, uncomfortable knowledge cannot not remain hidden forever.
The governing pattern a culture obeys is a master story– one narrative in society that takes over the others, shrinking diversity and forming a monoculture. When you’re inside a master story at a particular time in history, you tend to accept its definition of reality. You unconsciously believe and act on certain things, and disbelieve and fail to act on other things. That’s the power of the monoculture; it’s able to direct us without us knowing too much about it.” ~ F. S. Michaels
A monoculture doesn’t mean that everyone believes exactly the same thing or acts in exactly the same way, but that we end up sharing key beliefs and assumptions that direct our lives. Because a monoculture is mostly left unarticulated until it has been displaced years later, we learn its boundaries by trial and error. We somehow come to know how the mater story goes, though no one tells us exactly what the story is or what its rules are. We develop a strong sense of what’s expected of us at work, in our families and communities — even if we sometimes choose not to meet those expectations. We usually don’t ask ourselves where those expectations came from in the first place. They just exist — or they do until we find ourselves wishing things were different somehow, though we can’t say exactly what we would change, or how.” ~ F. S. Michaels
The independent life begins with discovering what it means to live alongside the monoculture, given your particular circumstances, in your particular life and time, which will not be duplicated for anyone else. Out of your own struggle to live an independent life, a parallel structure may eventually be birthed. But the development and visibility of that parallel structure is not the goal — the goal is to live many stories, within a wider spectrum of human values.” ~ F. S. Michaels
Once we’ve thrown off our habitual paths, we think all is lost; but it’s only here that the new and the good begins.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
Monoculture: How One Story Is Changing Everything — a provocative investigation of the dominant story of our time and how it’s shaping six key areas of our lives: our work, our relationships with others and the natural world, our education, our physical and mental health, our communities, and our creativity.
What Galileo has to do with the economy, or how Wall Street is moulding your taste in art.