Textbook Reform and Ideal History (of Everything)

Language constructs culture, and thus civilization.  It is easy to see that different languages (say, Hispanic tongues v. English) yield widely different cultures (e.g. South American and North A.).  Over time, overlapped sharing brings them closer together (via trade and mass communication forms, etc.), rendering them more homogeneous.

Here, I am recommending a two-fold change, a deliberate altering of our language and it primary intellectual capital for teaching across generations — books (more generally) and textbooks (more particularly).

We should write and perfect the multi-topical history (and sciences, as with the other disciplines) textbooks that aim at the ideal.  Consider the following:

1) If you had a biographer writing your history After you had died, you would want them to omit the details that would paint you in a bad light, and include just the ones that would leave the best impressio of you — like your resume that you distribute in the marketplace.  We should do the same for humanity and for our predecessors.  Do to others (ancestors) what you would have others do for you — some day you just might BE (among) the ancestors.

2)  The challenge that this cast too favorable a light upon the past (is too selective so as to portray the past falsely is misguided on two counts — historical (or scientific) writing is ALWAYS highly selective. Two, we do not sacrifice accuracy by following the golden rule.  Rather, we favor it by avoiding “defamation of [the] character” of those about whom we write. Here, truth requires charity.

3) Our writing should neither make any mention of death, use death language, or else any form of conflict or damage language.  It is only necessary to give the birth date and a flourit date for any given historical actor.  We should omit (remove) all death dates.  Ockham’s razor.  The accomplishments and contributions of different persons requires no ref. to their deaths at all.

4) We should omit all languages that does not contribute to the display of the development of progress (rather the point of education and training) of humanity.  The texts should center around value system regarded as universal, based on our design, centrally one of:  Wisdom, love, beauty, value, life, honor, joy and success — the things that make humans flourish.  Here, science, math and other disciplines are regarded as (wisdom) “traditions,” following Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962).

Comments: Rewriting our history and sciences as a virtuous, progressive (sometimes, or often by replacement of paradigms) has something of an ancient precedent.  But historians such as Cornelius Tacitus, although properly (some would say) moralistic, and fairly critical, did not have the hindsight we now have to estimate a more universal set of values based on the light of nature and the critical reflections of the postmodern era that make more clear to us our design by the nature of what Kant called the transcendental categories.  And we also have the philosophy of language to aid the cause.

Perhaps Tacitus would laud our efforts to start over.  Rewriting these texts amounts to reconstructing our whole human history — multi-topically, by interweaving and referring one set of innovations and ideas with others from varying disciplines to create a more monolithic (wholist) picture of human development — no apocalypse included.  We could and should give ourselves a fresh start, and a new identity, that is ideal — our best foot forward, and all that sort of thing.

Leave out the rap sheet (bad reports), and include the best resume we could submit to our beloved divine parents.  Our self-concept rules our destiny.  Let’s make it the best that we can, and get it right this time.