A PERSONAL NOTE ABOUT THE ORGANIZER : That’s me, Walter Szykitka. If you really want to know, I was born in Millville, New Jersey, in 1931. I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, thrown out of school for two years for refusing to salute the flag in 1941 and 1942, returned to school in 1943 when the Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision and said such a punishment was unconstitutional. My formal education ended upon graduation from Millville Memorial High School in 1948. I worked as a truck driver’s helper until 1951 when I took up residence at Bethel, the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn, New York. By the time I left after seven years, I had worked my way up to important administrative duties while simultaneously losing my faith in the religion, its leaders, its teachings, and eventually god himself, herself, itself, whatever. Before departing Bethel, I co-organized all domestic and international group travel to the largest religious convention ever held in New York City, in 1958, when a quarter million Jehovah’s Witnesses filled the seats and overflowed onto the outfields of both Yankee Stadium and the then Polo Grounds across the East River from one another. The highlight of the convention was a one-hour lecture by the president of Jehovah’s Witnesses on the subject: “Can You Live Forever in Happiness on Earth?” He said the answer was, Yes! In any event, it was my introduction into the travel industry. In 1963 I organized the first travel agency ever to be owned by a department store, Dayton’s in Minneapolis, the company that eventually morphed into Target. Many other travel positions took me to at least 45 countries organizing special-interest group tours and conferences for museums, zoological societies, psychiatrists, medical doctors, teachers, students, etc. Along the way, I also produced several books, including “PUBLIC WORKS, A Handbook for Self-Reliant Living” that made the New York Times best-seller list. In 1973 I promoted the book on the Mike Douglas Show. Give yourself a laugh by watching that 9-minute appearance on YouTube. Subsequently, I received an informal education in economics while working for twenty years as a researcher and writer with economist Walter H. Diamond, and for nine years I wrote a monthly newsletter on international trade and investment. Today, I describe myself as an 87-year-old unreconstructed Sixties liberal Utopian who was radicalized when I landed in Greenwich Village in 1967 amidst the counterculture revolution. I am still living in Manhattan, looking forward to taking advantage of the communications revolution to spread ideas I have long held about the inevitability of the continued positive evolution of human society.
THE BOOK: THE COMING GLOBAL COALESCENCE represents the culmination of a challenge I set for myself in the late Fifties. It was while I was living and working as a member of the headquarters staff of Jehovah’s Witnesses that I experienced a crisis of faith. Having spent the first 25 years of my life as a true believer, it had been my expectation that during the imminent Battle of Armageddon, the wicked, that is, non-Jehovah’s Witnesses, would be destroyed, and the righteous, that is, Jehovah’s Witnesses, would survive and go on to live forever in a paradise earth, where we would realize the Biblical promise that the lion would lie down peacefully with the lamb. Looking back now, fifty years later, I am amazed that such a scenario could form a central promise of a religious organization with millions of adherents worldwide. Nevertheless, at the time, I also did believe. However, my faith was being challenged on two fronts: the doctrines and the leaders. The idea that people (including children?) will die at Armageddon simply because they’re not Jehovah’s Witnesses made no sense. And as I became personally acquainted with the leadership, it became impossible for me to believe that god had chosen these guys to represent him on Earth as they claimed. So it was inevitable that there would be a tipping point. I don’t remember the date, but I do remember the moment lightning struck. I happened to be bending down to return a file folder to its proper resting place in the lower drawer of a file cabinet when – BLAM! – out of nowhere came the realization that it was all a sham, and most importantly, that I WAS NOT GOING TO LIVE FOREVER! What a shock! Now what? My first source of inspiration — don’t laugh — was Frank Sinatra: “I’m going to fill my cup until my number’s up; I’m going to live, live, live until I die.” But what did that mean? Adventure? Physical adventure? Not for me. I’m not a mountain climber, or scuba diver, or downhill racer. What then? How about intellectual adventure? Now that’s more like it. So I set for myself the challenge of writing the most consequential book I could come up with, and that meant a book that would change the world for the better. I’ve been working on that book, on and off, ever since, and after fifty-plus years of false starts, revisions, rewrites, etc., in 2011 I finally felt that I had succeeded in putting on paper what I had been striving to say all those years and was now ready to share it with others. THE COMING GLOBAL COALESCENCE is the result.
THE WEBSITE: So I finally finished my book. But why the website? First, to provide a place where anyone who is interested can read it free of charge. Second, to provide a place where those who care to do so can discuss and debate the issues it raises. And third, to promote the concept of the Coalescence and especially the proposal for a Whole Earth Design Project. As you are reading this now, this website is not much more than a place where the conversation can begin. It’s future will depend entirely on whether the ideas explored herein gain traction and attract support. If they do, then the collective contribution of ideas, suggestions, resources, and energy will lead to directions and efforts impossible to predict, but positive and constructive in their effect. Those who may wish to play an active role in advancing the spirit of the Coalescence and in furthering the development of this website are invited to volunteer. There is no doubt that world conditions represent a tinderbox of misery and discontent. My hope is that this website and the vision it projects will strike a spark that will unleash the energy simmering beneath that discontent and help direct it toward a positive world-wide social transformation. I believe the coming global Coalescence cannot be averted. This website may not be crucial to its success, but it could, however, make an important contribution – with your support. I invite you to join me in that effort.
The WHOLE EARTH DESIGN PROJECT: The ultimate objective of the WEDP is to design, in cyberspace, an ecologically and environmentally sustainable economic system capable of providing every individual on the planet with all of life’s essentials as a template for the reorganization of the economic system in the real world. In organizing this project, we have identified ten economic sectors as essential: Clean and safe air, water, food, clothing, and shelter, as well as access to communication, information, transportation, health care, and energy. We have also identified the individuals and organizations worldwide who are most knowledgeable and experienced in these sectors. We will be contacting these experts to develop a consensus opinion regarding the work that needs to be done to meet the project’s objective. This massive research project is being organized on the assumption that the objective is feasible, that we do have the necessary human and natural resources, along with the appropriate scientific knowledge and technological expertise, to provide universal access to all of life’s essentials. As planned, this promises to be a game-changer by demonstrating how easily this can be accomplished when the economic system is freed from the constraints of the financial system. We will need the help of an army of volunteers in putting the pieces of this puzzle together. If you have as little as a few hours to spare, there are many ways in which you can help. Are you interested? [VOLUNTEER]
My present focus is on the widespread circultion of my essay, MONEYISM – THE CANCER RAVAGING EARTH – and How to Defeat It.” In writing it I was feeling a bit like Copernicus, about to announce to the world that the concept that saturated and ruled their lives was a made-up Ponzi scheme. I came to that conclusion while engaged in the following experiences and activities, beginning with my written words.
PUBLIC WORKS, A Handbook for Self-Reliant Living
Published by Links Books, 1974 (200,000 copies in print;
a NY Times best-seller)*
PURSUING THE UNEXPLAINED, with co-author Robert J. Durant
A 12-part series distributed worldwide by The New York Times
Syndicated Features, 1977 (published in 35 countries)
HOW TO BE YOUR OWN BOSS, The Complete Handbook for Starting
and Running a Small Business
Published by New American Library, 1978
WITHOUT A LAWYER, with co-author Steven Sarshik
Published by New American Library, 1980
THE BIG BOOK OF SELF-RELIANT LIVING, Advice and Information on Just About
Everything You Need to Know to Live on Planet Earth
Published by The Globe Pequot Press, 2004
Second edition released October, 2009
THE COMING GLOBAL COALESCENCE – How Powerful Evolutionary Forces Are
Transforming Seven Billion Individual Humans Into a Single Harmonious Social Organism (Read online or download at www.thecoalescence.net)
Self–published through Amazon’s CreateSpace, March, 2011
Second edition, June, 2012
THANKSGIVING AT CABLE HUNTING CAMP – 1961
Self-published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, September, 2019
* Give yourself a good laugh with my 9-minute appearance to plug the book on the Mike Douglas Show 45 years ago. It ended with Mike Douglas, Tony (Tie a Yellow Ribbon) Orlando, and me carrying the comedienne Totie Fields out of a “burning building.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwPWiyRFDzk
I also worked with economist Walter H. Diamond for twenty years and until his recent death (See NY Times obit.) as researcher and contributing editor on the following financial subscription services:
CAPITAL FORMATION AND INVESTMENT INCENTIVES AROUND THE
WORLD, published by Oceana Publications
TAX-FREE TRADE ZONES OF THE WORLD,
Published by Matthew Bender
FOREIGN TAX AND TRADE BRIEFS,
Published by Matthew Bender
INTERNATIONAL DOUBLE TAXATION TREATIES,
Published by Oxford University Press
For nine years (1991-1999) I wrote a monthly column on international trade and investments for Syracuse University’s School of Management and for the Offshore Institute, as well as for the semi-monthly newsletter International Trade and Finance published by Informa UK Ltd. For several years I also annotated international double-taxation treaties for Oxford University Press.
Much of my professional life has been in the travel industry: in 1958 I co-organized all the domestic and international group travel (8 special trains, 500 chartered buses, 18,000 car pools, 2 chartered ships, and 65 chartered planes) to the largest religious convention ever held in New York City when 250,000 attended the main event. (See NYT front-page story) organized the first travel agency chain to be owned by a department store (Dayton’s in Minneapolis/St. Paul, now Target); organized and marketed special-interest group tours to Europe, the UK, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Swaziland, India, Egypt, Hawaii, Mexico, and Thailand for medical doctors, nurses, psychiatrists, zoologists, students, unionists, photographers, teachers, firemen, and art collectors; and organized and personally escorted a group of 60 on a luxury tour of the Mediterranean in 1967 and escorted another group of 60 on one of the first group visits to China in 1973. I have traveled to more than 45 countries.
In 1990, as President of the Association for World Free Trade Zones, I led an official delegation to Japan (that included Dr. Frank Owarish of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and John daPont of the U.S. Department of Commerce) that succeeded in persuading the Japanese government to authorize 31 Foreign Access Zones throughout the country as a way of addressing the troubling trade imbalance by facilitating imports. I then traveled the length of Japan, lecturing business leaders and government officials on the benefits of trade zones. I conducted a seminar and organized a conference on free trade zones at the UN, and hosted several luncheons at the UN for groups visiting from overseas. I organized and escorted a group of Japanese businessmen on a tour of U.S. trade zones in New Jersey, Brooklyn, Baltimore, Dallas, and San Francisco. In behalf of Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, I visited and reported on trade zones in Hamburg, Germany; Le Havre, France; Barcelona, Spain; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and Kingston, Jamaica.
As the president of the Japan-based World Watching Society, I was instrumental in obtaining the financing for the conversion of an ancient family-owned castle in Tibet into a school for homeless children who are being taught the traditional arts and crafts of Tibet, a project organized by Dr. Hans Guggenheim.
Dr. Hans Guggenheim and I organized a reverse trade mission for the island of Mauritius, that included an exhibition of Mauritian arts and crafts, as well as other products, in Boston, while the Mauritian deputy prime minister, the minister of finance, and other officials were busy attending four days of meetings with government officials, academics, and business leaders in Boston and New York.
As a consultant, I have worked with clients in Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Japan, Mauritius, Peru, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Switzerland, Kenya, Greece, Comoros, and the U.S.
I append this summary of some of my experiences as a way of compensation for the brevity of my formal education, which ended with high school. However, the educational system and its certification process has nothing to do with my message. It just so happens that an ordinary curious self-educated person happens to be the one who has stumbled upon a profound social truth missed by everyone else, so far. A formal education is not required to see the obvious.
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Dear Walter: In 1976 I was suddenly and unexpectedly a single mom with no saleable skills, no job, and no hope. I couldn’t even get a job as a waitress, because I had no experience, and I hadn’t even enough “experience” to lie about it. With my last “spare change”, I bought “Public Works”. The article on women’s consciousness-raising opened my eyes, and I used a few other how-to articles to try to put together a life ~ although, essentially, it was your philosophy that saved my sanity, and helped me through the night.
Thank you. I have now looked to see if your name appears on Google, and I have “discovered” Whole Earth. I anticipate a long (if, indeed, the world lasts as long as I hope to!) association. Thank you for all you have done and all you do. Christine Bennett
Christine, I am delighted to hear from you and to hear your story. Wow. That was 40 years ago! I’m curious to know how it all turned out for you after all these years. As for the Coalescence and the Whole Earth Design Project, I have been working on the website and am almost ready to launch it wit a promotional campaign of some kind. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you so much for your kind words.
BAASANA is holding its academic conference this year August 4 and 5 for now online via zoom but this may change with re-opening going on; I am hosting Day at The New York Times on August 6 similar to what I did at the UN in 2019 this time in hybrid format partly in person at the NYT building on the west side of Manhattan and partly via Zoom. I hope that you will join in and talk about progress with your projects plus be a speaker for the Day at the NYT essentially the NYT as an educational tool. Send me an email
The Day at The New York Times will also be online via Zoom on August 6
About Moneyism, I wish to repeat some thoughts: we need a medium to price goods and services and for exchange purposes. We have to think of developed economies and those that are less developed. In advanced economies, more and more payments are made electronically by credit and debit cards and with chip often you just tap. Goods and services are paid for by electronic transactions. Economic inequities should be addressed whether in economies hinged on capitalism or socialism. Economic extremism should be addressed. I personally think that with all the due respect, Walter is pushing the wheel too far.
At the academic conference of BAASANA 2021, during my presentation I stated that we need to do some thinking about re-inventing economics. It is all right to keep on pushing the wheel of technological progress forward, at the same time we should explore new ways of living so that economics ia about various ways of living; here is a clip to show possibilities https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/realestate/einstein-helped-form-this-n-j-town-where-most-houses-look-the-same/ar-AANnNjW?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531
also, we should explore new monetary economics with digital form of payment, using crypto currency, crystalls and bitcoin
the dialogue is open thanks to Walter