Civilization Building Part 1





Forum Foundation Seattle 2002



Back cover

As a new century dawns, this book introduces new truths about the theory and practice of civilization. It offers a fresh and imaginative analysis of the meaning of citizenship, and introduces practical tools for the empowerment of people in business, government and religion. Indeed, the authors have broken new ground in the practical definition of civilization building. It invites people everywhere to play a major role in the civilizing of their own civilization. In these pages you will find:

  • An enlightened approach to leadership in organizations and society.
  • New theories on how to develop your power as a citizen.
  • New tools to communicate more effectively through symbolic dialogue.

For decades, Dick Spady has spearheaded innovative social inventions to encourage and enable citizen participation. This latest effort describes techniques and procedures for creating fuller understanding, registering viewpoints, and communicating them to national leaders.

Graham T.T. Molitor, President, Public Policy Forecasting;

Vice President & Legal Counsel, World Future Society

The timing is right for the appearance of this work. Many are calling us, but few are offering to teach us a systematic methodology for social self-consciousness in civilization building. We can be thankful that these visionary men, Spady and Kirby, have the courage and wisdom to lead us.

August Jaccaci, Founder, Unity Scholars and Social Architect Associates

Citizen involvement in their government is the foundation of a democracy. The ideas introduced here present innovative approaches in a citizen’s ability to influence decisions that government makes in their behalf. Spady’s concept of symbolic dialogue is a significant model for government to use in eliciting citizens’ points of view.

Brian Sonntag, State Auditor, Washington State

About the authors

Richard Spady, a student and practitioner of Administrative Theory, is president of the Forum Foundation. A Seattle businessman, he co-founded Dick’s Drive-in Restaurants in 1954 and currently is its president. Spady is active in community affairs, and is a lay speaker in The United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Dr. Richard S. Kirby is executive director of the Stuart C. Dodd Institute for Social Innovation in Seattle, and currently teaches business ethics at University of Washington’s School of Business Administration. He is an international lecturer and also chair of the World Network of Religious Futurists.


Nearly all of us can reach back in memory to a teacher who had a profound impact on our own learning. As principal author of this work, I (RJS) wish first to acknowledge the contributions to this book of the scholarship of Dr. Theodore Barnowe, professor of administrative theory and organizational behavior at the University of Washington Graduate School of Business Administration.

Professor Barnowe was one of those gifted teachers who filled his students with his own enthusiasm for the potential of the discipline to make important contributions to the successful functioning of organizations. In one course Professor Barnowe in 1970 challenged students to write a term paper in which they were to “just take anything in management theory and make it sound rational.” It was from this broad challenge that first rudimentary administrative theories presented here were conceived, and it was only with significant and meaningful contributions from the following individuals that they emerged three decades later ……


Designers or architects of civilization are rare. Builders of civilization are even more rare. Thinkers about civilization do not lie thick on the ground, neither in the realms of business, not government, nor society.

Nevertheless there is a hunger within every human mind for the habitation, the safe harbor if civilization.

The notion of a civilized society or simply a state or place of civilization is one that the human mind naturally understands. It would appear, as social philosophers increasingly understand, that we are made for civilization.

Jean Jacques Rousseau in his famous book The Social Contract states that a human being is “born free but is everywhere in chains.” These chains are not merely chains of imprisonment or starvation, but chains of squalor and degradation. These chains reveal a widespread impoverishment of culture. This perhaps is also what Thomas Hobbes, the 16th-17th Century political writer had in mind in his book Leviathan. His famous words described human life as typically “nasty, brutish, horrible and short.” His words still describe what millions feel is an apparent “life-sentence.” Life is not a gift but a punishment: condemnation to living in a world whose civilization is rudimentary and sometimes altogether absent.

Likewise Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950) in his books on Philosophy and Living spoke of his desire to study the causes of the “tragic disorder in our terrestrial hive.” The social disorder of civilization’s absence seems indicative of a wider, perhaps a cosmic disorder. But builders of civilization act to reverse this grim syndrome of social entropy, deterioration, violence and the increase of misery.

In the history of culture, it has been a rare event for theorists of civilization to discover new truth about this great subject. For theorists of civilization investigate how people can live together not only in harmony and productivity, not only in brotherhood and freedom, but in a state of civilized being which harmonizes the artistic, scientific, economic and spiritual elements of social being.

Civilization exalts human social nature, and causes social being and human nature to evolve towards higher levels of consciousness and happiness. Landmarks in the history of civilization definition include St. Augustine of Hippo. This 5th Century North African bishop was one of the most eminent Christian theologians in his or any other time. It was he who wrote the City of God in the twilight of the period that we call “ancient” or “Patristic” times. This was at the dawn of the Middle Ages. Indeed he wrote his great books even as the Vandals were destroying the great empire of Rome, in the twilight of which St. Augustine lived.

With the coming of the Renaissance and the Reformation as the second Christian millennium got under way, science, religion and civilization began once again to form a harmonious triad. The founders of the modern scientific revolution, Descartes, Bacon, and their colleagues in political and scientific realms, understood the revolution of scientific thought that grew out of the Renaissance to be a civilizing influence. They were concerned with the higher truth not only of physics and astronomy but also of society.

The Industrial Revolution occupied parts of the late 18th Century, and much of the 19th Century. The emerging power of new technologies to change the world was seen as truly remarkable by many people in those eras, and the one that immediately followed. The early years of the Industrial Revolution were also the years of the birth of new political ideals and whole new countries such as the United States. To the social philosophers of the late 18th and 19th centuries, these changes were momentous advances (or so they seemed) in human affairs. They were accomplishments that seemed like signals or heralds of a triumphant new period of human history. This would be the beginning of sustained and ever-increasing “progress.” It seemed to these thinkers, and in due course to political and social leaders also, that the 20th Century would be one of unhindered progress. This would be the greatest century known to humanity.

So began the social philosophy of the 20th Century, in a mood of vast hope, eager expectation of benevolent scientific-technological breakthrough, and the lively believe in – at last! – sustained progress for humanity and human society.

Shortly after the century began (with wars in parts of the world such as South Africa), the Titanic, the “unsinkable,” the sign of triumphant technology and human unconquerable ingenuity, sank on its maiden voyage. Perhaps progress was not inevitable. Perhaps science did have its limits.

Then came the apocalyptic event of the First World War. Nations were bled almost to death, genocide appeared, new forms of weaponry such as mustard gas were deployed, and unnumbered millions of the youth of humanity were killed in a futile, horrific war. This led to the great economic depressions of the 20’s and 30’s, and then the Second World War, followed by the Cold War. Once again, it turned out science was not only not inevitably progressive, but not even inevitably benign. The appearance of atomic and hydrogen bombs left mid-century humanity with a chronic subliminal fear of science at its worst as a threat, not as an angelic presence.

Science-technology had made the 20th Century into the cruellest and most murderous in all known history.

It was as if the idea of “progress,” sadly, was a philosophy of evolution that perished on the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars. As Bryan Appleyard says in his book, Understanding the Present, science was humbled and its humbling needs to continue.

But philosophers and theologians studying the theory of science are reasoning that the picture is not wholly gloomy. For what is generally known as ‘science’ is only one of many possible social endeavors leading to knowledge and technological applications. Perhaps the spiritual core of science was lost during the time of the Industrial Revolution, but it is now being regained. We can still believe in ‘progress,’ but in a more humble and gentle way, and with the hope of a better, wiser science and a healing technology.

Richard J. Spady and Richard S. Kirby are introducing new truth about the theory and practice of civilization. As the new century dawns, this book, The Leadership of Civilization Building, offers an enlightened approach to leadership. This innovative text in civic innovation offers the students, the teachers and the citizens of the 21st Century practical tools of understanding civilization, including civic action. The authors present a curriculum that will allow persons all over the world to develop their own power as citizens. As a result all citizens are shown how to become architects and builders of the civilization of tomorrow.

In Section One, Theory Building, Spady and Kirby present new administrative and civilization theories. They dethrone hierarchical, authoritarian approaches to all kinds of management or administration in society, in business, in government and in churches. They install in their place a “democracy of the intellect” and a democracy of leadership. Their theories imply a resultant quantum leap in the efficiency and financial potency of all organizations and citizens. Their theories constitute an empowerment of employees, administrators and CEOs, elected and “duly appointed” government officials, teachers, artists, scientists, pastors, and all those whose work in groups.

In Section Two, namely Technology Building, the authors have announced a breakthrough in social science with a description and utilization of the Fast Forum Technique, Symbolic Dialogue, Social Audits, Opinionnaire, Viewspaper, and the Future Molding Game. They are building on contemporary realizations that human being is radically, intrinsically, and necessarily interpersonal being. These realizations are based partly on insights drawn from such varied fields as anthropology, philosophy, socio-biology, religion, and quantum mechanics.

Spady and Kirby also present the necessary social technology for multiple simultaneous human communications to take place effectively. In this way, they are enabling leaders, governors, managers, and citizens of tomorrow to be able to communicate more and more intelligently and effectively with one another through symbolic dialogue. Their work makes it possible for collective intelligence of communication systems to become more and more potent, financially productive, and progressively intelligent leading toward wisdom.

There is special value in the work of the authors in empowering young people. New administrative theory supports an early and exciting civic role for young people. The authors offer groupware and socialware application models that implement Eric Erikson’s work on “psycho-social education.” This approach is a potential landmark for pedagogy and youth leadership approaches to democracy in schools and among young people in all nations. New administrative theory supports an early and exciting civic role for young people. Today’s and tomorrow’s teachers can use the social technologies presented by Spady and Kirby. For what? To call youth to high service and to summon them to moral and emotional maturity! Young people can be encouraged to exercise their energies in the service of an idealism that will not fail.

Youth leaders, their teachers, and their groups are being “called up” now. They can be enrolled in the service of a great cause. They too are among the leaders of the building of the civilization of tomorrow. For that is a civilization, a culture, a way of being human in societies, which they must inhabit. Spady and Kirby provide instruments of communication and inspiration with which young people can be designers, as well as recipients, of the culture of the near future.

Likewise, at the other end of life’s journey, the book provides fuel for the more gentle energies of senior citizens to awaken their wisdom and rally together to support each other in refashioning and reconceiving the philosophy and the story of old age.

In this book the authors gather up their thinking about the civilization of tomorrow and present key elements of what must be called civilization theory. These theories include the definition of civilization and an explanation of its implication for citizens everywhere. Indeed one of the great tasks of the book is to equip persons everywhere to understand their responsibilities, their rights, and their powers as citizens.

For it is not only officials who are architects of the civilization of tomorrow, but also civilized people everywhere. It is the achievement of this work that it invites persons everywhere to play a major and ever growing part in the civilizing of their own civilization, and in advancing everywhere the theory of the citizen. They offer a fresh and imaginative analysis of the meaning of citizenship in a high-tech (but high touch), multi-media, global-scientific world. The authors have thus broken new ground in achieving a new definition of democracy in a world of Many-To-Many Communication. They help us imagine and construct together a world where government can indeed be ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’

Rev. William D. Ellington, Ph.D.

Co-Founder/Board Member,

Forum Foundation

Rev. William B. Cate. Ph.D.

Board member, Forum Foundation



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