The Ai Sakai

Summary: World peace or “peace on Earth” can be thought of as either a vision for humanity or a goal for humanity. We believe it’s a beautiful vision, but an awful goal. It falls short for many reasons, mainly it does not motivate most people because it’s too absolute and perfectionist. It’s also likely to lead to disagreements between people because different religions have different visions of world peace. Group Genie has come up with a new goal for humanity, the Ai Sakai, that has many advantages over “world peace” and “peace on Earth.” The simplified version of the Ai Sakai is that it’s a hundredfold decrease in preventable suffering and premature death before the end of this century.This translates into about a 1.1% decrease each year — something that’s attainable.

We consider the Ai Sakai to be a major upgrade for humanity.

The current yardstick for humanity is the idea of world peace or “Peace on Earth.” Unfortunately, as a goal it has several shortcomings:

1. It’s too perfectionist. Too absolute. – Most people can’t take it seriously.

2. It’s vague. Does it mean no war or no conflict at all? Would that include environmental balance or not?

3. It causes conflict because various religions have different visions. If there were world peace would it be a Christian world peace? A Muslim world peace? A Buddhist world peace? An atheist world peace?

4. There’s no time-frame. World peace by when?

5. There’s little personal incentive to take action. The “world” seems too huge to have any significant impact.

6. Total peace seems unnatural, since some conflict in life is natural. It somehow seems sterile or unreal. People will always have different values and so their will always be some conflict.

7. World peace has negative connotations of being boring, un-dramatic or no fun at all.

8. People tend to forget that even if armed conflicts were to end, there would always be people who are still immature and who need to learn life’s lessons. The problems, suffering and damage that they cause in the process of growing up would be an additional obstacle to the harmonious, peaceful world that most people envision. So even if you believe that people can learn to control the natural aggressiveness and territoriality that we share with many other mammals, humanity would still fall short of the goal, because a certain percentage of the population is still maturing emotionally and ethically.

Overall, having world peace as a goal produces a sense of inferiority—never being able to measure up. It’s like being a first-grader whose parents tell him or her that they expect straight A’s all the way through school. The parental expectation would cause low self-esteem each time the child got a B or worse. Or else the child would learn to have contempt for the goal and the parents who had those unrealistic expectations. The vision of world peace causes similar feelings — either a sense of never being good enough, or a contemptuous rejection of the goal of world peace as being unrealistic.

Here’s an alternative vision: The Ai Sakai. (In Japanese, Ai means harmony or love. Sakai means frontier or limit. So they Ai Sakai can be translated as Harmony Frontier. Ai Sakai rhymes, and it can be shortened to Sakai since by happy coincidence “Sakai” has “ai” in it.)

The Ai Sakai has three parts:

  • A hundredfold decrease in preventable suffering and premature death before the year 2100. (Take the year 2000 as the baseline. Pick 40 major indicators, such as deaths from war, deaths from disease, hunger, political imprisonment, child abuse, violent crime, etc.)
  • A 90% return to environmental balance by 2100. Again, pick 40 major indicators, such as fresh water contaminants, fresh water availability, ocean pollution, output of carbon dioxide, output of methane, amount of forests, amount of desertification, species diversity and preservation, population growth rate and so on. [Currently, we are not as confident of this 90% return to balance, as we are of the hundredfold reduction in suffering concept. But though it might not be realistically achievable, it’s still useful to track major indicators. Having a goal and a direction is still useful. We welcome comments.]
  • A significant annual increase in the happiness of active participants because they’re using superprogram support to learn at least one or two major beneficial habits, skills or attitudes each year.

Advantages of the Ai Sakai

1. Decreasing human suffering is a goal that everyone can emotionally connect with. It can promote a widespread sense of unity, solidarity and common purpose.

2. It’s a (theoretically) achievable goal: By definition, preventable suffering is preventable.

3. It has a time frame. Many of the people being born this year may live to see 2100.

4. It’s just as lofty a goal. A world with 99% less suffering would be a breathtaking achievement.

5. Progress is measurable. Rather than feeling bad because we haven’t achieved total peace, we can celebrate progress along the way. Every little bit counts.

6. While “world peace” often leads to religious or philosophical arguments about the final state of the world, the Ai Sakai will more likely lead to practical discussions about methods and steps along the way.

7. It can create drama and interest in two ways. First, each year the dramatic question becomes whether or not we got closer to the Ai Sakai, and by how much? Second, we can create multiple dramas by setting goals to achieve a small part of the Ai Sakai. In other words, on a personal level we can create goals to contribute to some kind of decrease in suffering, such as a decrease in hunger. On a global level, a group of organizations can create drama by creating a plan to decrease a particular form of suffering. For instance, can humanity achieve a 2% reduction in deaths from war this year? Several related nonprofits can track this, and promote this goal.

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We had the idea of “recycling” the peace sign. We also have a story concept that contrasts a cold, austere “Miss World Peace” with a more approachable female “Ai Sakai” to help people think about which is more beautiful, a too perfect ideal, or an approachable one. It could be the basis for a video story. Plans and Needs: The following ideas and projects are envisioned:

1. Creating a website (aisakai.org) that explains the concept. It would eventually be the home of the following projects:

2. One or more videos that announce the Ai Sakai and its advantages to the world.

3. Statistics on progress toward the Ai Sakai benchmark indicators.

4. A viral educational campaign to replace end-of-year holiday “peace on Earth” language with “Sakai on Earth” language. It would help to recruit artists to make inspiring visuals.

5. A viral campaign to ask peace groups and religious leaders to endorse and help spread the concept.

6. To count the number of people who endorse the Ai Sakai.

7. To use the money donated to fund a small team to: a) research and publish progress toward the Ai Sakai and b) continue to promote the concept.

Also, more work needs to be done to refine the three-part definition. While the hundredfold reduction in suffering is clear and theoretically possible, the 90% return to environmental balance is less certain. It’s also unclear that it can be reached as “easily” by the end of the century.

Potential Impact: The Ai Sakai can have a huge background influence. By giving humanity a believable goal, it can turn the century into a drama to see how quickly the vision could be achieved.

 


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