Another obvious parallel is that between the designer and the Great Leader. History is littered with men (though interestingly, not women) who believe or believed themselves to be living gods. Their aim is to redesign the world, and they nurture their own image even to the extent of erecting statues and inventing divine names for themselves. Other humans are there only for their benefit.

Of course, not all leaders are of that ilk. Some may even start out with genuine hopes and plans for the betterment of humankind. But in order to enter politics, one must first have the desire to change the world, and secondly have the belief that one can and should do so. These characteristics are already dangerous, since the desire and the belief are no guarantee of intelligence or human understanding. The arrogance of political, religious and philosophical fanatics who claim to “know” the truth is a massive threat to the wellbeing of anyone who comes under their influence.

So too is the blinkered vision of those who destroy the balance of nature for the sake of short-term profit. Whether that balance is the product of natural evolution or deliberate design is immaterial, since the result will be the same. Those who lead the processes of destruction (and it is humans who take these decisions, even if they hide themselves behind the façades of the corporations) impose lines of thought that are based either on “knowing” or on deliberately brushing aside those ideas that run counter to their “knowledge”.

It may be argued by those who are committed to a thought system that without such commitment there can be no decisions and no actions. However, it is precisely the lack of commitment that promotes open-mindedness and tolerance, which have to be the hallmark of any fair and balanced society. Conflict arises from commitment; it is only when we acknowledge the possibility that there are at least two sides to an argument that co-existence becomes possible. Decisions and actions will then be based on consideration for all points of view instead of one, to the exclusion (and consequent resentment) of others. We are talking here, though, of a very limited field of decision. The basic direction of all religious and non-religious systems is the betterment of the human condition, and an agnostic is just as capable as a Christian or an atheist when it comes to determining the need for food, shelter, healthcare, etc. There will certainly be differences, however, in the approach to education, and this is probably the one political field in which dangerous seeds may be sown by committed teachers.

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15. What should be taught in schools

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