12- Steps



The very survival of the human race is at stake in contemporary times, given the possibilities of nuclear warfare and climate change. As a result of the growing power of computers, a new threat has also emerged: AI, or Artificial Intelligence.

The power of computers was demonstrated in May of 1997, when IBM’s “Deep Blue,” able to analyze 200 million chess positions per second, beat the current world chess champion. A more challenging demonstration took place in February, 2011, when the computer Watson, in the game of Jeopardy, trounced two of the most successful players of the game.

Currently, applications of Artificial Intelligence have been limited to highly specialized tasks, such as facial recognition. Yet a great many experts in this area believe that super intelligent machines which can re-program themselves for continuing improvement will be developed in the not too distant future. And they are convinced that this further development of AI poses a threat to human survival no less than nuclear warfare or climate change.

Yet all of the threats to human existence fail to take into account the further development of human intelligence. The foregoing chapters pointed exactly in this direction by contrasting a bureaucratic with an evolutionary way of life. Indeed, we might see the latter societies as fostering nothing less than super intelligent human beings with the ability to solve our threatening problems.

Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) developed an analysis that can point exactly in this direction. He documented the necessity of changing the “paradigm” within a given science, or its absolutely fundamental assumptions, in order to achieve a scientific revolution. He illustrated this by the change from Newton’s to Einstein’s theories.

We can extend Kuhn’s idea to changing the paradigm embodied by society as a whole, such as moving from bureaucratic toward evolutionary assumptions with respect to hierarchy, specialization, and conformity. The result can be our envisioning a cultural, as distinct from a scientific, revolution.

What we’re proposing and accomplishing here is becoming more systematic about our previous discussions with respect to changing our way of life by adding the results of Kuhn’s research. In this final chapter we shall move even further in this systematic direction as we point toward achieving an evolutionary way of life.

We have developed a 12-step program that addresses the problem of our deep addiction to a bureaucratic way of life. It is quite different from the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are similar only in that both have to do with addiction, and that both involve 12 steps.

Our own program integrates key scientific findings presented in the foregoing chapters. They may be best organized around the Japanese proverb you might recall: “Vision without action is a daydream; action without vision is a nightmare.” The first six steps center on vision, with the last six focusing on action

Further, each pair of steps follows the basic approach of the scientific method.  For example, step 1 points toward a problematic situation, with step 2 indicating a solution.

As we proceed with each step, we shall simply cite several examples of the basic ideas discussed in the book with their page numbers.



Step 1.
Gain awareness  of your conforming to a bureaucratic way of life centering on hierarchy (“head”), narrow specialization (“heart”), and conformity (“hand”).

*Tom Savage’s Sunday school experience of bureaucracy at age 7 (pp. 3-4),


*Specialized information by the CIA, FBI, State Department and FBI of the impending 9/11 catastrophe was not shared (p. 7).


*The failure of NASA employees to emphasize the O-ring problem to management, based on limited communications up their hierarchy, was largely responsible for the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger (p. 7),


Step 2.
Envision an evolutionary way of life centered on equality (“head”), broad understanding (“heart”), and actions for personal development (“hand”).


*Tom Savage’s reaction to his Sunday school teacher, including the questioning of his authority, not accepting the simplicity of the biblical story, and daring to stand up and face up to being kicked out of Sunday school (p. 4).


*Biologically, following Stephen Jay Gould, humans are “learning animals.” We are the only organisms throughout the entire known universe with the capacity to continue to evolve, based in part on our complex languages, within our own lifetimes (p. 12).


*Physically, following the interactive nature of the entire universe along our languages, we are the most interactive entities throughout the known universe (pp. 15-16). By contrast with a see-saw that depicts bureaucracy, we can envision a stairway with steps wide enough for the entire human race. It does not narrow as it moves upward infinitely, and it includes horizontal paths to create interaction among people in the many specialized areas (pp. 39-40).


Step 3.
Develop awareness of your addiction to a static and dichotomous orientation, following the nature of almost all language.

*Following Alfred Korzybski, the Polish engineer who founded General Semantics and wrote Science and Sanity (1933), we are all very deeply addicted to an either-or static or dichotomous way of thinking, by contrast with a dynamic and gradational orientation pointing toward human development (p. 46).


*Samuel Hayakawa, a former Senator from California, wrote Language in Thought and Action (1949), furthering Korzybski’s ideas. He saw all language on a ladder of linguistic abstraction taking one from concrete phenomena like “cow” to abstract entities like “the human race.” Staying on one rung of that  ladder reinforces a static and dichotomous orientation (p. 46).


*Jack Levin’s doctoral dissertation under Phillips at Boston University replicated many social science studies by finding that the results of severe frustration was aggression, as illustrated by increased prejudice against a minority group. He learned that this occurred only among those of his student subjects who were outward oriented, following the nature of addiction. They compared their grades to the grades of other students, or to the class average (pp. 114-116).


Step 4.
Move toward a gradational orientation, following the scientific method’s number system, and its unlimited potential.


*Korzybski had some success in teaching his students a gradational approach. This is illustrated by the emergence of the journal ETC, devoted to developing general semantics (p. 46).

*Hayakawa found that by moving up and down the ladder of linguistic abstraction not only illustrates a gradational orientation but also enables one to take into account an increasing range of knowledge (p. 46). C. Wright Mills, in his famous book, The Sociological Imagination (1959/2000), stated: “The capacity to shuttle between levels of abstraction, with ease and with clarity, is a signal mark of the imaginative and systematic thinker” (p. 34 of his book).


*By contrast with the outward-oriented students in Levin’s experiment, a minority of the students were less outward oriented, for they compared their grades with their own previous grades. Lo and behold, they didn’t increase prejudice against a minority group when they were deeply frustrated (pp. 114-16).


Step 5.
Achieve awareness of your victimization by the revolution of rising expectations and your increasing aspirations-fulfillment gap.


For the Buddha, the central problem of the human race is one’s negative feelings tied to the gap between one’s wants and actual achievements. This aspirations-fulfillment gap is his First Noble Truth   (p. 67). Emile Durkheim wrote about this same gap in his book, Suicide (1897), at a time when the industrial revolution was gathering speed: “From top to bottom of the ladder, greed is aroused without knowing where to find ultimate foothold. Nothing can calm it, since its goal is far beyond all it can attain” (p. 69).

In his book with Louis C. Johnston, The Invisible Crisis of Contemporary Society (2007), Phillips concluded: “The gap between aspirations and their fulfillment is in fact increasing in contemporary society.” This is very largely a result of what Harlan Cleveland called ”a revolution of rising expectations” accompanying the industrial revolution ( p. 69).

In Value-Free Science? Ideals and Illusions (2007), Harold Kincaid and eleven other philosophers of social science documented the misleading and often harmful idea of “value neutrality” that continues to dominate scientific research. There is absolutely no way that scientists can somehow expunge their own basic goals from having an impact on their research. Kincaid and his colleagues free researchers to include their feelings, such as happiness, within the research process. (p. 88).


Step 6.
Follow the East-West Strategy to close that gap, and then continue to increase your aspirations and their fulfillment with the aid of an interdisciplinary scientific method.

Following the conclusions of the psychologist George A. Kelly in his A Theory of Personality (1963), “Might not the individual man [and woman] . . . assume more of the stature of a scientist, ever seeking to predict and control the course of events with which he is involved? Would he not have his theories, test his hypotheses, and weight his experimental evidence?” (p. 14).

The East-West strategy begins with the Buddha’s Eastern strategy of lowering one’s unrealistic aspirations until they become realistic. Then one continues to raise both aspirations and their fulfillment in tandem, given that one can make use of the powerful scientific method developed in Western society (pp. 84, 86, 88).

Following the analysis of the idea of value neutrality by Kincaid and his colleagues, it is important for scientists to assess the impact of their values on their research. That assessment of “investigator effects,” which adds to the validity of their research, follows Alvin W. Gouldner’s call for a “reflexive sociology” in his The Coming Crisis of Western Sociology (1970) (p. 44).




Step 7,
Use Turner’s Law of Negative Emotional Energy to gain awareness of your receiving negative sanctions from yourself and others for your failure to fulfill your expectations (p. 93).


Retain awareness of your vision, which includes Steps 1-6: bureaucratic conformity, challenging authority, addiction, scientific method, victimization, and closing gap.

Use your vision to help you gain awareness of your encounters of negative sanctions from yourself.

Use your vision to help you gain awareness of your encounters of negative sanctions from others.


Step 8.
Transform those negatives into positives by turning them into learning experiences with the aid of your vision, making lemons into lemonade.


Retain awareness of your vision, which includes Steps 1-6.

Use your vision to transform those negative sanctions from yourself into learning experiences that then become positive reinforcements.

Use your vision to transform those negative sanctions from others into learning experiences that then become positive reinforcements.


Step 9.
Use Turner’s Law of Positive Emotional Energy to gain awareness of your receiving positive sanctions from yourself and others for fulfilling your expectations (p. 930.


Retain awareness of your vision, which includes Steps 1-6.

Use your vision to transform those positive sanctions from yourself into learning to make progress on personal evolution.

Use your vision to transform those positive sanctions from others into learning to make progress on personal evolution


Step 10.
Learn to see your mundane procedures for achieving positive emotional energy as part of your vision of a 12-step program for personal evolution.


Retain awareness of your vision, which includes Steps 1-6.

Use your vision to transform those positive sanctions from yourself into learning to make progress on world problems.

Use your vision to transform those positive sanctions from others into learning to make progress on world problems.


Step 11.
Gain awareness that your everyday habits point you in a bureaucratic direction.


Retain awareness of your vision, which includes Steps 1-6.

Use your vision to gain awareness of the existence of your everyday habits that point you in a bureaucratic direction.

Use your vision to transform your awareness of the existence of your bureaucratic habits into learning experiences that then become positive reinforcements.


Step 12.
Develop evolutionary habits that include an evolutionary self-image, based on commitment to the entire 12-step program.


Retain awareness of your vision, which includes Steps 1-6.

Retain awareness of your actions, which include Steps 7-11.

Use your vision and actions to develop an evolutionary self-image, illustrating EI or Evolutionary Intelligence which points toward continuing evolution.




Given the enormous complexity of human behavior, the many huge problems that presently exist, and our deep addiction to a bureaucratic way of life, I will not make specific predictions about how our many institutions will change over time.

But I will claim that the above 12 steps are the basis for a cultural revolution that will, over time, move us away from our bureaucratic way of life and toward an evolutionary pattern of behavior. For those steps include a vision that will fulfill our present extraordinary potentials. We now have the knowledge for achieving this nonviolent change in societies that the students of the 1960s did not have in their revolt against bureaucracy.

The 12 steps will yield nothing less than evolutionary self-images among those seeking a direction for solving our threatening world problems along with their own personal problems. As a result of their demonstrating such new abilities, they will encourage more and more and more people to follow their lead, yielding an accelerating process.

Initially they will of necessity focus on addressing those problems that threaten human existence, such as nuclear warfare and climate change. For example, the Levin experiment opens a road map for reducing our many kinds of aggression, including war. The experiences of kaizen in Japan that totally transformed the economy, paralleling the European Marshall Plan, can be carried much further with the aid of this 12-step program.

Knowledge of physical, biological, social and personality structures clearly shows that the human being is the jewel of the universe. My own understanding is that the human race will not only survive, but will go on to achieve a future that will exceed our wildest dreams.

The following is a vision that I developed in my co-authored Revolution in the Social Sciences (2012):

There will be a future for our children, our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren, and their great-grandchildren.


One day we will all learn to see ourselves as children who are only just beginning to understand ourselves and our world, and we will also learn to dream about our infinite possibilities and move toward those visions one step at a time.


One day we will all learn to pay close attention to the accomplishments of all peoples throughout history as well as to our own personal accomplishments, and we will also pay close attention to the failures of the human race and to our own personal failures.


One day we will be able to bring to the surface and reduce our stratified emotions like fear, shame, guilt, hate, envy, and greed, and we will learn to express ever more our evolutionary emotions like confidence, enthusiasm, happiness, joy, love, and empathy.


One day we will see peace on earth and fellowship among all humans.


One day we will no longer look down on any other human being.


One day we all will learn to be poets, philosophers, and scientists.

The first six chapters of Creating Life Before Death  

(to access the book click the link)

in Parts 1, 2 and 3
presented the interdisciplinary knowledge of human behavior that is essential for unlimited human evolution. This final chapter presents a 12-step program anyone can employ, based on key elements of that knowledge, to actually embark on an unlimited evolutionary journey. By contrast with AI, or Artificial Intelligence, we can all develop EI, or Evolutionary Intelligence.  As a result, our EI will not only trump AI, and not only enable us to solve the problems threatening our very existence. Our Evolutionary Intelligence will enable us to create a future that will exceed our wildest dreams.

Part 4: From Existential Threats toward Solutions 

Chapter 7: Developing EI (Evolutionary Intelligence)