|| CHAPTER 2: LESSONS FROM GREAT PEACE ACTIVISTS
Six Steps of Consciousness Development
Each new stage of history demands a new psychology - one that can explain and support the psychological development of the people who must undertake the most important tasks on the historical agenda.
In our time, a new task has risen to the top of the historical agenda - the abolition of war and the replacement of its culture by a culture of peace. This has occurred as a result of great historical changes as foreseen in the famous 1932 correspondence between Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, in which Freud wrote:
These two factors - man's cultural disposition and a well-founded fear of the form that future wars will take - may serve to put an end to war...But by what ways or byways this will come about we cannot guess.
Although the process is still not clear, we may be sure that it will involve the mobilization of people at every level, of peace movements composed of individual peace activist, for whom the question of their consciousness is crucial.
History demands a new psychology. But history does not act in the abstract. Since peace will be achieved by movements composed of individual peace activists, it is for you, the peace activist, that the new psychology is needed, and it is to you that this book is dedicated.
To begin the development of the new psychology, I have sought in the first section to gain lessons from the lives of our fore-runners, the great U.S. peace activists of the 20th Century. In their autobiographies we find the steps of their consciousness development and the psychological difficulties that they faced at each step. Six steps - and corresponding sets of difficulties - may be distinguished, and we will consider each one of them in turn: values and purpose vs. alienation; anger vs. fear and pessimism; action vs. armchair theorizing; affiliation vs. anarchism; integration vs. burnout; and world-historic consciousness vs. sectarianism.
To foresee the questions that will be asked of the new psychology, in the second section I have sought its root causes in the economic and political changes that have brought peace to the top of the historical agenda.
The concluding section of the book outlines the tasks of the new psychology. The new psychology can develop only through the efforts of many people including activists, psychologists and, most especially, psychologists who are activists. Therefore the final section of this book is addressed not only to peace activists, but also to professional psychologists and young people who will become the psychologists of the future. All of us must work together to create the new psychology and carry out its great historical tasks.
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