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Individual differences |
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John David Garcia (ca. 1936 - November 23, 2001 in Springfield, Oregon, USA) - founder of the Society for Evolutionary Ethics (SEE), taught an enlightened vision of ethics and human purpose via four books, dozens of articles, lectures, seminars and attempts to found schools based on his ideas. He did these things mainly in the US, then in Chile and Mexico.
A self-described moral protagonist and scientific generalist, he sought to advance human evolution through increased moral awareness and creativity. (Creativity = Intelligence * ethics). He viewed the evolutionary ethic as a "rational alternative to death" and devoted his life to learning, teaching and creating. He once described his main intellectual contribution as having synthesized the ethical visions of Spinoza and Teilhard de Chardin.
His first book, The Moral Society (1971), presented the fundamental theories and scientific basis for the evolutionary ethic and then detailed alternative applications, the "Moral Society" being the rational alternative to death of the species. He re-structered his evolutionary ethic theories and re-applied them in his best-selling "PsychoFraud and Ethical Therapy", a condemnation of contemporary psychotherapy based upon its failure to begin with moral purpose.
Students and admirers of Garcia generally consider his third book, Creative Transformation (1991), his finest work; a logical extrapolation of evolution in general and autopoiesis in particular. After offering a review of human evolution and awareness, he offered a practical guide for those seeking to expand their creative potential. For Garcia, creativity was the measure of, the key process within, and the ultimate purpose for morality. He advocated creativity as a motivator of human action and a teachable process with the potential to increase forever (a Teilhardian idea). Garcia's work stands out as one of the great integrations of scientific and philosophical thought.
Garcia believed that specialization in one area of study was a mistake; a poor compromise made because most need to maximize their employability in the short term. He preferred to earn his living filing for and licensing patents, starting companies and offering his often stunning intellectual talents.
Garcia's formal education ended when he had earned his second master's degree because he felt that academia is generally comprised of people who are too specialized and who focus more on impressing others with their own mastery and intelligence rather than helping increase the mastery and intelligence of their students. As a teacher, Garcia was a master of the dialectic method and the scope and breadth of his knowledge never failed to impress.
According to Garcia, in the past people were seldom confronted by a need to choose between happiness and creativity because the environment that people found themselves in was "forgiving" enough that actions that maximized happiness tended also to increase creativity (e.g., as an unintended side-effect). As the human environment has changed (via, eg, progress in technology and communications and, eg, population growth), happiness has become less and less acceptable as a guide to human action, with the result that if most people continue to pursue happiness as their ultimate goal in life, the outcome is likely to be disaster for the human species.
Garcia's response to this observation was to spend the last 30 years of his life trying to persuade as many people as possible to devote their lives to maximizing creativity instead of happiness. Garcia defined creativity (Total creativity) as the ability to predict and control the "total environment" -- namely, the physical, biological and "psychosocial" (human mind and human culture) environments. In 1983 he organized the School of Experimental Ecology in Oregon and thereafter assembled various groups (favoring octets) to experiment with his creativity enhancement techniques.
Later, he subscribed to the theory that the human brain is a quantum device that can receive information from beyond spacetime, namely, from David Bohm's Implicate Order. He designed and experimented with a "Quantum Ark" to act as an interface between mind and "higher order information systems".
Garcia's inventions included the "Electronic Signature Lock" (and related biometric techniques) for security applications, a real-time computer system for expedited dispatch of taxis, and an automated electronic vehicle localizer (used extensively in cities and ports). He co-founded the Teknekron Corporation.
Garcia was fluent in English, Castilian, French, Portuguese, Italian, and German. He also spoke passable Chinese and read other languages, including Hebrew.
see On-Line Books
- The Moral Society
- Psychofraud and Ethical Therapy
- Creative Transformation
- The Ethical State: An Essay on Political Ethics
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