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3. Harmonism

Intelligent governance’s chief aim is to seek a harmonious equilibrium in human affairs – between responsibility and personal choice, community and the individual, freedom and stability, well-being and well-having, humankind and nature, present and future – based on the wisdom of what has worked best when faced with the circum­stances at hand.

It is a given that any universal approach that arises from new global conditions must pragmatically accom­modate diversity and varying levels of development. Cooperation, which implies different paths to the same end, not the lock-step uniformity of one model, is the means to achieve harmonious collaboration. From the shattering of the Tower of Babel to the collapse of the Soviet Union, history has taught us that diversity is the way of human nature.

Such mutually beneficial cooperation is more poss­ible today than at any previous point in human history. Some scientists argue that the capacity to share knowl­edge across cultures enabled by the “global thinking circuit” of our wired world and the planetary reach of the media is akin to “horizontal gene transfer.” This suggests that rule by more intelligence sharing instead of competitive differentiation might mark an “evolution of evolution.”

When joined with the knowledge explosion in sci­ence and the information revolution, the necessity for all of humanity to work together for survival raises the hope that our species will graduate from the primitive, competitive mode of human evolution – “survival of the fittest” – to a less conflictive, more intelligent, and more cooperative mode – “survival of the wisest.” Intelligent governance is, in this sense, the practical application of an evolved worldview.

Bowing to the historical seniority of the East, that worldview might be called harmonism. It is perhaps the 21st-century alternative to a narrow notion of “pro­gress” that, while achieving fantastic leaps forward, has also brought much damage in the wake of its ambitions – extinguished cultural diversity, sacrificed lives, and a degraded environment. While harmonism doesn’t regret the future, neither does it imagine a utopia at some end­point in history. Rather, it constantly strives for a state of equilibrium.