5. Self-Image

Let us recall one of Busch’s seven requirements for a successful image of the future: “All successful images of the future are structured.” The Constitution of the United States is a structure in that it continues to persist over time in the form of writing as well as in the minds of individuals. It is also a social structure in that its content is widely shared among individuals. Other examples of social structures are religious rituals, the fundamental values or goals of a society, and the laws of etiquette.
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Polak and Busch emphasized the importance of such social structures because of their power to shape human behavior. The social sciences, based on innumerable studies, have emphasized the same idea. An entire way of life—like our bureaucratic patterns of hierarchy, conformity and narrow specialization—is also a social structure in its persistence from one moment to the next,
There are also physical structures, such as cars, buildings, the sun and moon. And we have in addition biological structures, like animals and plants.
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Still further, there are personality structures that vary from one individual to the next. For example, there are one’s habits of sleeping, eating, working, and learning. There is also the structure of one’s self-image, which is no less of a habit.  One’s self-image, which is simply how one sees oneself, is the product of the experiences of the individual throughout his or her entire life.
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We have learned, as the result of our present emphasis on conformity, hierarchy and narrow specialization, to see ourselves as very limited beings. We pose this basic question: How can we learn to change what we might call our bureaucratic self-images, the product of what societies emphasize and what we’ve all experienced from one day to the next?
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How can we come to see ourselves as having incredible possibilities for continuing to develop intellectually, emotionally, and in our ability to solve problems throughout our lives, with no limit as to how far we might go? How can that vision of ourselves become a structure, a habit of self-perception? If that were to occur, then our movement toward continuing development accompanied by the solution of personal and world problems would become quite rapid.
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The foregoing sections on ways of life, vision, action and emotions have provided a partial answer. They point a direction for the development of an evolutionary self-image. What must be added to that direction is based on the very definition of structure: persistence over time. 
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This is the essential ingredient we add to the above sections pointing to an evolutionary way of life. For it is such persistence, yielding EVOLUTIONARY SELF-IMAGES among some individuals, that will demonstrate to the rest of us our own possibilities for moving in the same direction.
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Let us recall what Busch wrote after listing his seven conditions for a successful image of the future: “a crisis must be widely perceived in the existing order. The crisis is the catalyst that makes the new image of the future meaningful as an alternative.”
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This quote from Albert Einstein’s writings sums up our central crisis: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”
Yet Einstein was also most optimistic about the power of human knowledge when he wrote these words: “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility. The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.” Although his focus was on the physical universe, our own is on the human being. We share his view about comprehensibility, applying that idea to our potential for understanding human behavior and applying those insights to solving our problems.
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We are optimistic about meeting that challenge partly because our overall approach follows and carries forward the very nature of the universe: interaction. Within the entire universe it is impossible to completely isolate any given part of it. Since the Big Bang some 13.8 billion years ago, it was the interaction among infinitesimal particles that resulted in the elements that were basic for the origin of life forms. And it has been the interaction between living things and their environments that has been the basis for the pattern of biological evolution that finally produced us humans.
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Still further, it is not just social interaction, which yields social structures, that is fundamental for human development. It is equally the interaction among “head,” “heart” and “hand” within the individual, as well as the interaction among the bits and pieces of specialized knowledge, that is central to our understanding of human behavior.
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At the risk of repetition, we invite visitors to this website to write berniephillips@worldvisionsolutions.com with their ideas. We need your help in learning how to solve the full range of our problems, and how to develop self and world. We are all in this together.

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