UNESCO:  Its purpose and Its Philosophy

by Julian Huxley, First Director-General of UNESCO

(Washington DC: Public Affairs Press, 1947)

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Quotes and Excerpt

"Unesco [UN Educational, Social and Scientific Organization] also can and should promote the growth of international contacts, international organizations, and actual international achievements, which will offer increasing resistance to the forces making for division....

"Further, since the world today is in process of becoming one, and since a major aim of Unesco must be to help in the speedy and satisfactory realization of this process... Unesco must pay special attention to international education - to education as a function of a world society...

"...peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind."

"...it has been possible to develop an extended or general theory of evolution which can prove the necessary intellectual scaffolding for humanism...."

"This last point immediately recalls the thesis, antithesis and synthesis of Hegelian philosophy, and the Marxist 'reconciliation of opposites' based on it. Indeed, dialectical materialism was the first radical attempt at an evolutionary philosophy.....

"...taking the techniques of persuasion and information and true propaganda that we have learnt to apply nationally in war, and deliberately bending them to the international tasks of peace, if necessary utilizing them -- as Lenin envisaged - to 'overcome the resistance of millions' to desirable change.


"Using drama to reveal reality and art as the method by which, in Sir Stephen Tallent's works, 'truth becomes impressive and a living principle of action.... This must be a mass philosophy, a mass creed, and it can never be achieved without the use of the media and of mass communication.

"Conclusion: ...The task before UNESCO... is single. The task is to help the emergence of a single world culture with its own philosophy and background of ideas and with its own broad purpose. This is opportune, since this the first time in history that the scaffolding and the mechanisms for world unification have become available...

"You may categorize the two philosophies as two super-nationalisms, or as individualism versus collectivism; or as the American versus the Russian way of life, or as capitalism versus communism, or as Christianity versus Marxism.  Can these opposites be reconciled, this antithesis be resolved in a higher synthesis? I believe not only that this can happen, but that, through the inexorable dialectic of evolution, it must happen....

"East and West will not agree on a basis of the future if they merely hurl at each other the fixed ideas of the past. For that is what dogma's are -- the crystallizations of some dominant system of thought.... but if it be dogma, it does so in a way which is rigid, uncompromising and intolerant.... If we are to achieve progress, we must learn to uncrystalize our dogmas."

"...society as such embodies no values comparable to those embodied in individuals; but individuals are meaningless except in relation to the community."