Building the City of Man: Outlines of a World Civilization by W. Warren Wagar
W. Warren Wagar, who first sounded the call for a world revolution in his book Building the City of Man: Outlines of a World Civilization, explained the need for a large-scale movement in his chapter entitled “The Policy of the Whole Hog”:
Unfortunately master strategists of world revolution are in chronically short supply. It is easier to attend to selected small problems ready at hand. The general public, and most intellectuals as well, dither from one issue to another. Now it is Korea, now Algeria, now Vietnam. Petitions for world government are followed by civil-rights demonstrations, which in turn give way to bomb-shelter building and emigration to New Zealand. Everyone rallies around the Common Market; next the Peace Corps; then campus revolution. Every year brings its new approved activity: marches on nuclear installations, silent vigils, ghetto riots, draft-card burnings, ecology crusades. The current persuasion or obsession of every man, woman, and child over the age of nine is readily identifiable by his dress, hair, ornamentation, and insignia, which undergo complete stylistic metamorphoses at least wice a decade. But nothing every really changes. We do not give one hour or one dollar in a thousand to the solving of world problems, and only one of every thousand that we do give is dissipated in haphazard, uncoordinated, miscellaneous philanthropy.
All the movements taken to task in this chapter have something to contribute to the search for a new world. I lament only their lack of broader visions and more versatile strategies. We must pull ourselves together, in spite of everything. Developing a master strategy for world revolution means a drastic simplification of purpose, and at the same time a drastic complexification of effort.
Our goal must be, quite simply, a new organic world civilization, a new sociocultural, economic, and political environment for the species Homo sapiens, with a new organic relationship to the larger environment of earth and cosmos. Such a goal simplifies our world view, but it does not make our task any easier or smaller. Just the opposite. The search for social justice, personal freedom, truth and meaning, peace, well-being, and the good life are not superseded by the search for a new civilization, but are assimilated directly into it. Civilization building requires disciplined attention to all the needs of progressive mankind. In coming chapters, therefore, we shall have to discuss politics, law, religion, philosophy, culture, human rights, economics, education, ecology, the universe itself–all in relationship to our vision of the desirable future of mankind.
Nothing can be left out, because everything is collapsing. Proposals to repair the old civilizations, or replace them piece by piece, are madness in reason’s mask. H. G. Wells relates an appropriate parable in one of his last books on world order. The survivors of a vessel lost at sea have found refuge on a desert island, where the most likely source of food is a wild pig. The pig, of course, objects. Despite their great hunger, the survivors put forward reasonable suggestions for satisfying their needs without causing too much discomfort to the pig. One man will be content with a loin chop, another with the left ham, a third will settle for chitterlings. The cabin boy, however, points out that the animal is unlikely to agree to any diminution of himself whatsoever. In such a situation, the only policy that makes sense is to kill the whole hog and be done with it.
(Photo by salama)