Dear Mr. Secretary General, the United Nations have done incredible things for the world with notable achievements benefiting women and children, education, health, philosophy and culture, as well as through practical applications emerging from such concepts as health for all, a society for all ages, the sustainable development goals and human security (a tool for the protection of citizens from their own governments). The set of existential challenges faced by mankind and now by the international community are enormous and of growing complexity.
Your Excellency Antonio Guterres, we are living in a moment in history with blurred vision and fearful of an unknown future, an inhospitable and hostile future, which may not be viable for our descendants. Your recent reference to "the abyss, moving in the wrong direction" bears equivalence to our social dementia. In addition to your moral indictment of the state of our world we present this appeal with confidence that philosophy will not be allowed to slip from the agenda of the United Nations. Social dementia is the shame of the civilized world and Greece holds an antidote in classical philosophy.
This appeal is made on behalf of the World Philosophical Forum (Athens, 2009). Its mission is the revival of classical philosophy and its members are greatly concerned with the predicament and problems engulfing our world, which includes a new and expanding arms race, growing nuclear arsenals and nuclear ambitions of those without such weapons of mass destruction. Along with this, the all too obvious disasters precipitated by climate change that unfold in a background of rapid technological developments, from driving the use of robot priests to eavesdropping and surveillance of individuals and groups.
The appeal is made against a background of weakening democracy by authoritarianism, where humanity is threatened and our planet is endangered. It comes to you in the aftermath of devastating forest fires, ecological disaster and deadly weather conditions from a disastrous ongoing volcanic eruption in Spain, an earthquake on Crete, flooding and many landslides. It is made in the name of scholars at risk, public servants hostilely targeted and with hope for a better future for all children and our children’s children.
We ask that the force of your good offices, its global influence and universal prestige be directed in support of the application here, and now of mitigating measures to existential problems, to establish a reflection process on dehumanization and loss of environmental diversity and to call for the reduction of the influence of scholasticism. We also ask for a deliberate return to the agenda of the United Nations and the ideas of your predecessor Ban Ki-Moon in his Education first initiative and with added incentives for global citizenship and the revitalization of UNESCO’s programme for the widespread study of philosophical knowledge. It asks that you ensure the continuation of UNESCO’s expiring Medium-Term Strategy for 2014 – 2021, through to 2028. To the best of our knowledge, expertise in classical philosophy is not present in the UN while its influence in UNESCO seems abandoned. Classical philosophy placed its seal on the cradle of civilization.
In the time of threats stemming from COVID-19, philosophy is not considered in the elaboration of the World Health Organization’s evolving committee on the origins of COVID-19.
The only road for mankind is that of classical philosophy as proposed by the World Philosophical Forum, from Athens, Greece. We ask that the United Nations climate summit (COP26) take this under advisement as a lingua franca for governments to work together to offset the disastrous course down which humanity plunges. Otherwise Dag Hammarskjold’s phrase that the United Nations was created to save humanity from hell may come true.
We believe that:
- there is only one race, the human race, which must be deconstructed and hate reduced;
- youth must be nurtured and provided with an education in non-scholastic philosophy;
- armament production must be drastically reduced and the military budget instead used for education, peace research and for the wellbeing of humanity at large and for the planet.
We contend that:
- philosophy first and for all, can have great influence on behavior, slow down or reverse negative trends within society and help in the rejuvenation of individuals and the renewal of organizations or nations;
- more active youth populations within world society can improve the chance of mankind’s survival in a hostile future as well as reduce the risk of the unraveling of millions of years of evolution and of human consciousness disintegrating over coming generations, as the natural world is lost and the built environment crumbles as physiological systems controlling homeostasis for biological survival run down.
It may collapse suddenly. The symbolic doomsday clock ticks and given current conflicts on many levels and between many actors it is advancing. We urge that you act here and now and act big. Yes to classical philosophy, no to scholasticism. Many instruments have been tried — militarism, crusades, sanctions, prayer or resurrection, commercialism, nationalism, socialism, capitalism and globalization — but not classical philosophy. Now the time has come!
Your Excellency Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations Government should be persuaded to move away from the maintenance of what they are doing — namely targeting higher efficiency with fewer damaging consequences through peaceful transformation. The transformation must be equivalent to the UN strategy 2030, confer social effectiveness by the mobilization of appropriate social movements and confer better use of socially relevant institutions such as the European Center for Peace and Development with the underpinnings of classical philosophy. Know-how yes and know-what, more yes!
We say that turning a blind eye when misplaced influence pressures can turn the land of the blind with its one-eyed king, into a much darker place.