Episode:Civilization—Modern Development (Part 5)

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September 20, 2016 (Paper 81:6)

The continent richest in natural deposits and the most advanced mechanical equipment will make little progress if the intelligence of its people is on the decline. Knowledge can be had by education, but wisdom, which is indispensable to true culture, can be secured only through experience and by men and women who are innately intelligent.


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Summary by Kermit

Commentary on Review

Before picking up our reading of the fifteen factors out of which grew and on which are predicated current evolving Urantian civilization, we briefly discussed how science provides an anchor point of genuine facts on which to base a modern worldview free from superstition. Unfortunately many current day religionists regard science with suspicion as a threat to faith. Genuine religion has nothing to do with the credulity which passes for faith. The etymology of superstition, standing above, ungrounded evokes the idea of the unstable and flighty mind that is most unsuitable in fostering progressing civilization.

81:6.11 (Continued)

4. Human resources. Sufficient numbers of people are indispensable to the spread of civilization. The rate and extent of actualization of human potentials depends upon maximizing the differentials in a population. Yet, numbers beyond an optimum man-land ratio create pressures that reduce standards of living or induce territorial expansion, peaceful or otherwise. We further explored the relationship between overpopulation and war, noting that an oversimplified response of population reduction as a prevention for war may have unintended consequences á la China and the one child policy. This underscores the need for wisdom in such matters. Philosophic faculties accrue as the superadditive consequence of the relationship of science and religion. While our encircuitment in the Holy Spirit by grace enables access to this philosophic realm, man must cultivate this access through persistent personal choice.

Abundant natural resources and advanced mechanical equipment is not enough to ensure progressive civilization without innate and applied intelligence. The wisdom indispensable to true culture is secured only through experience and troublous experience at that.

5. Effectiveness of material resources. This factor represents a restatement of the first four factors in this list. However, recognizing the re-ordering in which they are listed by the revelators gives us additional insight. The quality of civilization depends on the wisdom displayed in the utilization of the outer life factors of natural resources via scientific knowledge, leading to the development of inner life activities enabled by capital goods providing the leisure necessary to actualize human potentials.

The revelator comments that might does not make right, but might does make what is and what has been highlight a problem we are currently experiencing in interpreting the necessity of the force exerted by wise social masters without which civilization would not have progressed. Such force will certainly not be needed in light and life, but those times are in the distant future.

6. Effectiveness of language. We discussed the importance of language in the expansion of civilized thinking and planning. Frequent listeners to our SoS broadcasts notice the emphasis we put on the precision of the meanings of the words used by the authors of the revelation. We discussed a case in point as we examined the statement “A universal language promotes peace, insures culture, and augments happiness.” Focusing on the word happiness we illustrated the challenge of discerning its true meaning, and the implications for translating the revelation into other languages. The revelation can’t enlighten students to its advanced truths in the context of the old wineskins of our unexamined linguistic usage.

7. Effectiveness of mechanical devices. In the struggle between contending groups in the arena of advancing civilization he who has the best tools wins. Increasing mechanization, when guided by wisdom does become man’s great social liberator for the accomplishment of more valuable tasks. The concomitant challenge of adjusting to the difficulties arising from the displacement of large numbers of people from the workforce requires, again, considerable wisdom.

8. Character of torchbearers. Not everyone must inhabit the leading edge of objective philosophic perspective in order to foster and maintain the civilization we already have. It is however essential that our leaders acquire such an elevated viewpoint. Our author reminds us of the indispensability, in order of importance of: the home, play and social life, and school in maintaining a complex and highly organized society. As far as the greatest twentieth-century influences contributing to furtherance of civilization we get high marks for the increase in world travel and improved communications. However we are told that education has not kept pace, nor has the modern appreciation of ethics developed in consonance with our intellectual and scientific advances. Further, we are soberly told that modern civilization is at a standstill in spiritual development and the safeguarding of the home.

9. The racial ideals. The inner life momentum determines outer life velocity. Homes, churches and schools predetermine the character trend of the succeeding generation. A cursory look at the life of our inner cities should serve prick our recognition of the current state of our civilization. Spiritual idealism is the energy which really uplifts and advances culture from one level of attainment to another.

Our reading concluded with this, “At first life was a struggle for existence; now, for a standard of living; next it will be for quality of thinking, the coming earthly goal of human existence.”


Notes by Brad

  • See [68:5]. A good section to re-read about the man-land ratio.
  • The spread of civilization is not the same as the progress of civilization.
  • Evolution is the actualization of a potential across a differential.
  • "Urantia is perhaps a trifle undersized" is describing the size of the physical planet, not the size of the human population.
  • Be philosophic in your thinking. Get up & out of the horizontal plane using philosophy. Philosophy is the superadditive consequence of science and religion.
    • We aren't philosophic (an adult of God) by grace. You are a child of God by grace.
    • If you cultivate favorable conditions for growth, you can be grown into being more philosophic. You can then see things that are self-evident.
    • Genuine human thinking: objective consciousness, looking down from above. And using the 3 cosmic intuitions.
  • Philosophy gives you the why, science gives you the how.
  • Wisdom, insight, and foresight. Truly human potentials.
  • Wisdom can be gained only through experience, and tribulation at that. And intelligence also is needed to gain wisdom.
  • The planet is by no means genetically hopeless. If it was, the 5th epochal revelation wouldn't have been given to us.
  • Item 5 in this list is a summation of items 1 through 4.
  • "I choose to refuse to believe that I am a helpless collection of inanimate molecules." Truly and deeply choose this, and see what starts to happen.
  • Language is a thinking tool.
  • Happiness is a pleasure you experience in the wake of choosing that which is artificial instead of what is natural.
    • Art (artificiality) is oriented upward toward the morontia. Hence the famous quote in The Urantia Book about art.
  • Use of the word "machinery" in The Urantia Book could include the Internet, if thinking objectively.
  • Insects only have the first mind adjutant: the energy of instinct. We are so much more.
  • Gravitational analogies abound here: uplift, water flowing down from a source, etc. The hint through it all is the reality of spirit gravity.
  • The quest for knowledge and wisdom: for this you need a strong philosophic context. You cannot get there through just science or just religion.