The University of the New World consists of the directed energies of its Members-students, faculty, and friends. It faces toward the world of the future. Its mission is to design and activate beneficial world forms. It organizes and studies its many fields of knowledge with this mission in mind. All disciplines are construed broadly as applied disciplines, oriented toward a future world that enjoys a peaceful order; there, organization is decentralized and autonomous, people have equal opportunities and the goods of life are produced in relation to humanistic and ecological needs.
Emphasis is placed upon learning methods of decision in social affairs, regardless of the field of learning in which a person is principally involved. Thus we may increase the intelligence and effectiveness of Members in the larger environment.
Membership in the University, a concept that embraces both faculty and students, is open to persons of all ages and [educational levels, and to those who may wish part-time as well as full-time involvement.
The University is open year-around. A person may join or leave in any month of the year. The University will seek to establish itself in other countries. This will be done through membership groups and through the formation of associated Universities.
Most Members (faculty and students) will be from the USA at the start. Actual forms and substance will depart sharply from conventional American and European academia; still, Europeans will probably call it "American" and Americans will call it "something new", "a departure", "radical", "a real alternative."
Students, faculty, and friends of the University, having passed through families, universities, governments, businesses and churches, can agree on the reality: the institutions of the world are generally failing; the future of man is bleak.
The University of the New World seeks to reverse present failures in favor of the future. A university is the best instrument available to man for this purpose. It can bring to bear on world problems every discipline, every skill, every kind of person. It can live on little and travel far.
In an age when universities are failing and closing down, it is nevertheless logical and necessary to start up a new one. For, though cries of anguish and defeat arise from hundreds of institutions of higher learning, we have yet to see a glad surrender to the inevitable, a great reorientation promised and achieved. It is not contempt for the accomplishments of the past, but rather a confidence engendered from having experienced its successes that bespeaks a new university as the means to an authentic futurism.
A university is universal because of its comprehensive identification and mission. We speak both of the greater morality of universal sympathy and of its inevitability. The Aswan Dam, an immense international feat of engineering, is too local and partial; its productivity is already cancelled by a high Egyptian birth rate, and its effect in salinizing the Eastern Mediterranean has already destroyed one industry, the sardine, and threatens many species of marine life. The dustiness of the air above some Swiss mountains has doubled in a decade. The gene has been artificially created in Illinois by a largely foreign-born team of scientists, led by an East Indian, Har Gobind Khorana.
In outlook, in purpose, in concerns, in faculty, in students, and in services, a university should know no boundaries of nationality and place. The physical abode of the university may be a dear thing. But it should not determine the fate of the university, which should be to move out, both physically and spiritually, until it is at home in every culture.
The world is increasingly ravaged by a pestilence of impersonality and alienation. Man cannot perceive his tasks; he works like a blinded mule at the mill wheel. His workplace and abode are separated. He is ruled by remote powers. His pleasures and knowledge are more indirect.
In the face of this pestilence, so acutely perceived by youth, the university! with all its disciplines, has a gigantic task of preventive social medicine. It must invent, practice, and teach a new kind of science and society that restore man to a healthful sociability in all phases of his life.
The University must respect specialization. A procession of happy shell collectors on the beach is no substitute for a conchologist. But the very teaching of specialized fields of science, as well as the methodology of science, depends upon the teachings of many other fields, upon philosophical method, and upon the ultimate goals of knowledge. Each and every subject in the University shares in the qualifications and criteria of all the other subjects. Each subject, not to mention each discipline, is a specialized microcosm of the total curriculum of man; it peculiarly expresses its lately derived genetic code.
Studies should express their own kind of humanics. The scientific act is exquisitely human. Each tap of a geologist's hammer on a far mountainside is special: with hundreds of taps, a map of the subsoil emerges. Each tap is at once blessed and cursed by all the difficulties and successes of an act of love, art, politics, or worship; like its sound, its meaning emerges from an immense social atmosphere and falls back into it.
Everywhere, and in every institution, those who hold power are being asked: "Who authorizes you to influence our minds and behavior? Who tells you what methods you may use to rule? Who gives you the goals that you impress upon us?"
The Authorities respond variously. Some resort to naked power, believing that, in a contest of wills, their wills can prevail. Some claim that the seismic condition does not exist; it is only "apparent;" if they can only get the agitated people to admit that revolution is an illusion, the revolution will disappear. But it is useless to force people to agree that the social world is unmoving; they will turn around afterward and say, like Galileo, "eppure si muove."
Other authorities, whether of the state or of the schools, believe that they can control the present through a strengthened emphasis upon the past. "What has worked before will work again. It needs only to be tried more energetically." But the nation-state cannot be vitalized by increased dosages of elections or by strict economies of budget and spending; nor can the university be preserved simply by more funds, more courses, more students--more of everything.
Futurist man believes in an authority that is basically universal, egalitarian, flexible, and intelligent. The University is a community whose members exchange, in a setting fully rationalized for the exchange, what they can of the elements of a complete vision of the future. They precipitate inside and outside their community those kinds of action that realize the vision. Whatever is determined to be truly incompatible with the vision, whether it be internal form, faculty, students, and curriculum, is criticized and corrected. Whatever can maximize the diffusion of the university's behavior to society is strengthened and projected forward in time.
In general, the more education continues throughout life, as a pleasant and elevating experience adapted to one's daily life, the better it is for student and community. The futurist university rejects the uniformity and artificiality of the concept of a full-time institution for persons between 18 and 26. It is open to persons of all ages, of every social level and at all avenues of individual character.
Sixteen might well be the future age for collegians to join a university community, for independence and maturity begin hesitatingly around this year and an imprisoning educational regime may do much harm to persons at this stage, causing them from apathy or rebellion to be incompatible with the university to come.
Many universities are recognizing the need for "adult education", "extension programs", and "refresher courses", all of them evidencing, in their titles and organization, the begrudging acknowledgment which academic establishments have accorded them. The future university will make little distinction among its member programs. Its task is to organize itself so that its structure is hardly noticeable and its students, whatever their standing or age, may move in and out of "school" readily.