John David Garcia
Among the small group of people who greatly changed my life was John David Garcia. In one of those quirks of synchronicity, I was looking for work while on sabbatical so that my wife (now ex-wife) could finish her degree at U. of O. The ad John posted was intriguing and short correspondence led to a telephone interview. John sent a copy of “The Moral Society” with the clear message that only those who understood his book would be considered for employment at the School of Experimental Ecology which was being built near Elkton, Oregon.
I was skeptical but read “The Moral Society” with initial interest and then enthusiasm. After another longer telephone discussion, John wanted to meet. He asked if I would stop and pick up another interviewee on my way to Elkton – and that is when I met Steve Watts (who would become a lifelong friend and business partner). Steve and I had a few hours of driving before meeting John and found that we were “bookends” who shared skepticism regarding John and his plans.
Meeting John was an experience in itself: he was an odd mix of cold bluntness with warm-heartedness. He was intellectually brilliant but pragmatically naive. His ideas were grand and expansive but his methods questionable. There were clear contradictions between his larger goals and his smaller choices. And yet, he was captivating and challenging. On our return from Elkton, Steve and I had job offers and difficult decisions. The tipping point was our desire to work together towards the shared goals stated by John. We became John’s “right hand men”, moved to Elkton, and began building an economically self-sufficient farm-resort-school on 535 acres of Oregon’s best land.
Among the most interesting aspects of the work/job was John’s progressive business model – essentially an employee owned company with great individual autonomy (guided by well-established shared goals). Steve and I were asked to choose our titles and he became the “Manager of Agricultural Development” and I was “Manager of Technical Development”. He got the better deal because his work was largely outside. I was left (stuck) in the office and became the de facto office manager. On the other hand, I got to spend more time with John and gained greater opportunities.
As an indication of how things went, our next employee was a cook. John had health/weight issues and was advancing the Pritikin diet as part of his “health resort” idea (as the primary financial source for the school). His private chef would supposedly be an essential part of the resort (which was at least a year from operational readiness). The subsequent difficulties of SEE stemmed from financial “misunderstandings” and a flawed financial structure. John kept complete control over funds and gave us a budget based upon his resources (which were vaguely exaggerated) and his promises of outside investment (which was fully his domain). Steve and I developed plans based upon the budgets offered with the clear expectation that we were to work for financial self-sufficiency as an early goal.
Over the subsequent eight months, we lived with the joy of genius and the agony of entropy. John was able to attract wonderful people and the creative opportunities were boundless. But most people in the local community were afraid of John and his anti-religious ideas. The local government fought rigidly to prevent building and John made it more difficult to move ahead. Our agricultural opportunity was hampered by bad luck and the resort was stymied by lack of permits. And, to say it as bluntly as John would, his financial management was a mess. His mixing of personal and company funds eroded the resource base and promised investment (other the Steve’s and mine) never materialized.
I put into practice one of John’s key concepts – the importance of feedback. He took it poorly – so much so that our working relationship rapidly deteriorated. He viewed my honest criticism as a personal attack and betrayal of loyalty. Over a period of several weeks, I pressed for details regarding finances and proposed a curtailment of personal expenditures from the company account. Finally, when it became clear that we would soon be unable to meet our payroll and other obligations, I proposed that Steve take over financial management.
The “feud” between us was civil and mature, but the feedback never took root and before a solution could be implemented, SEE was “broke”. Steve and I had other opportunities for income, but we couldn’t create a means to pay the huge overhead cost of the Elkton property. Thus, the property had to be sold and SEE returned to being a dream.
During this period, John and I often discussed his newest book (which would become “Creative Transformation”). I was pleased and honored to be asked to review and contribute to an early draft. Even when we were having trouble discussing business issues, we retained the ability to discuss and debate evolutionary ethics and methodologies for enhancing creativity. I thought John was moving in a mystical direction (see page 252 in the book) and challenged some of his “octet” ideas especially since they had yet to be “proven” empirically. John suggested that I would soon have evidence of success.
It was a few years later when John invited me to his shared house at Fall Creek that I was to see his “proof”. First, I participated in one of his group “Creative Transformation” sessions and had a pleasant but neutral experience. Then John showed me plans for and a prototype of his “Quantum Ark”. While it was nice to be asked for my technical advice, I also offered an opinion regarding the physics and quantum theory behind the design. Instead of the normal rational and “academic” debate, I got an unexpected reply: the idea and details had arisen in a dream (trigged by a creative transformation session) and was therefore beyond doubt or challenge. I inquired about the progress with “testing” and was again offered vague excuses for failure. I suggested that he was some distance from “proof” and that I would help if I could. However, I was far from convinced that “Creative Transformation” had produced a “creative” outcome under John’s own rigid criteria or that the Quantum Ark could or would yield anything.
I never heard from John again.
Simply put, I believe that John David Garcia possessed one of the great minds in human history and that his ideas have the potential to save humanity from itself. His ability to recall vast amounts of information in a variety of fields combined synergistically with his ability to integrate ideas and find connections in highly creative ways. His personal ethics and deep rooted morality created personal, social, and intellectual conflict while guiding him to profound insights. Knowing and working with him was a highlight in my life and I will always cherish our times together and his creative ideas.
Note "A Summary and Review of “Creative Transformation” by John David Garcia"
I have submitted a new article draft (pretty much as below) to Wikipedia since John’s prior article was deleted due to lack of “notability”. It is unfortunate that Wikipedia’s standards over-emphasize “peer review” and content from newspapers, magazines, or books (see here). John’s work is rarely cited and his life/death was not well noted in the print media. While I understand the need for inclusion criteria within Wikipedia, so long as Jeffrey Dahmer has a Wikipedia article and John David Garcia does not, we have clear proof of John’s concerns.
John David Garcia
John David Garcia (March 25, 1935, San Francisco, CA, USA – November 23, 2001): American inventor, entrepreneur, author, and founder of the Society for Evolutionary Ethics (“SEE”). His best-selling book, “Psychofraud” (1974), followed “The Moral Society: A Rational Alternative to Death” (1971). John was a self-described “Moral Protagonist” who integrated science and ethics into a philosophical system intended to advance awareness and promote moral evolution. He was the co-founder and former President and Chairman of the Teknekron Corporation. As holder of numerous patents, including the “Electronic Signature Lock” (and related biometric security applications under NSF Sponsorship and Grants)  and the “Automated Localizer System” (used extensively for vehicle positioning in cities and ports), John has had lasting impact on several industries .
Education: BA degrees in Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology; MA in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, University of California, Berkeley. Graduate studies in Mathematics and Physics, University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins. John was a gifted linguist and spoke fluent English, Castilian, French, Portuguese, Italian, and German (along with passable Chinese and Hebrew).
Military and Government: Worked in the Office of Scientific and Professional Personnel of the U.S. Army. John designed computer and mathematical simulations for chemical, biological, and radiological warfare and created early mathematical modeling and designs for nuclear missile defense systems (SDI). Because many of these systems remain classified, his impact is uncertain.
Writings and Teachings: John wrote and published four books (discussed briefly below), numerous essays, and over one hundred technical monographs. He designed and taught university courses in integrated sciences (unifying physical, biological, and social sciences), applied mathematics, and general theories of evolution and ethics .
Philosophical Contributions: As a scientific generalist, John was inspired by Spinoza and Teilhard de Chardin in the creation of the “evolutionary ethic” as a “rational alternative to death”. He devoted his life to learning, teaching and creating and taught them as measures of an ethical life. He sought to advance human moral evolution by increasing absolute moral awareness and creativity (where Creativity = Intelligence * Ethics) .
John proposed that earlier humans rarely needed to choose between happiness and creativity because their environment was “forgiving” enough that actions which maximized happiness also tended to increase creativity. However, through advancement in technology and with population growth, happiness became a destructive choice which will ultimately lead to death of the human species. The alternative that John proposed is the choice to maximize physical, biological and “psychosocial” (human mind and human culture) awareness so that creativity is sufficiently enhanced that a moral society emerges.
John’s key ethical and moral teachings included :
• There is a moral order to the Universe.
• There is a greater source of truth in the Universe than humanity; it produces, at least in part, the moral order of the Universe.
• Humanity can communicate with the common source of moral order and greater truth.
• Being ethical facilitates, and may be essential to, this communication.
• An ethical act is any act that increases the creativity of at least one person without decreasing the creativity of any person.
• It is unethical to be certain.
• One should choose creativity.
• Creativity should be measured objectively as the qualities of the human mind which enable people to discover new scientific laws, invent new machines or create new works of inspirational art (or enable others in achieving those things).
• We must always do our best to maximize creativity for everybody, without ever decreasing anyone's creativity, including our own.
• We should always do our best to love our neighbor as ourselves. We love persons if, and only if, we behave ethically toward them.
Major Works: In his first book, “The Moral Society” (1971), John offered his fundamental theories and detailed a scientific basis for the evolutionary ethic and then outlined alternative applications of the evolutionary ethic in hopes of avoiding death of the species. Then, in “Psychhofraud and Ethical Therapy” (1974) John showed how his evolutionary ethic (with moral purpose) could be applied in pragmatic ways to the realm of psychotherapy (which he criticized extensively). Psychofraud is defined as "an ideology about human behavior." It includes any method, device, or process which changes our behavior only because of our belief in it and not because of its intrinsic merit. Ethical therapy is the counter to psychofraud. It is based on helping each person see himself in a scientific, evolutionary perspective and to value objective truth above all things. It is based, not on belief, but on doubt. Finally, in “Creative Transformation” (1991), John detailed the process whereby individuals practicing the evolutionary ethic might take purposeful control of evolution through autopoiesis. As a practical guide, “Creative Transformation” offers a review of human evolution and awareness and then provides specific methods for those seeking to expand their creative potential.
S.E.E.: After leaving Teknekron in the late 70s, John founded the “Society for Evolutionary Ethics” in Maryland. Then, in 1983, he moved to Oregon and founded the School of Experimental Ecology (near Elkton) intending to create a self-sufficient community where other moral protagonists could gather, create, and work synergistically to apply the evolutionary ethic. The school failed because local politicians ignorantly feared that John would follow the same course as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (in north-central Oregon). S.E.E. continued as an educational organization and now offers John’s books (for free) through their website (see.org).
Later Years: After the bitter experience with local politics, John remained in Oregon (near Eugene) where he organized a variety of small groups (favoring mixed -gender octets) which experimented with his creativity enhancement techniques. He hoped to persuade as many people as possible to devote their lives to maximizing creativity instead of happiness. Later, he proposed and experimented with a theory in which the human brain is a quantum device that can receive information from beyond spacetime (e.g. David Bohm’s “Implicate Order”). He designed and tested a “Quantum Ark” intended to act as an interface between mind and “higher order information systems”. John died on November 23, 2001 in Springfield, Oregon after battling illness for several years.
1. The Moral Society: A Rational Alternative to Death (1971), Whitmore Pub. Co. (English Paperback (2005), 378 pages). “…an original and penetrating book written by a man of strangely heroic cast of mind. I have found much in the remarkable work by John David Garcia which gives philosophical direction to our times.” Humberto Fernandez-Moran, Venezuelan Minister of Science.
2. Psychofraud and Ethical Therapy (1974), Whitmore Pub. Co. (English Paperback: 234 pages).”It's sobering and threatening, but necessary. I would like to see it on every therapist's shelf, in every clergyman's study, in every educational curriculum." Dr. Anthony R. Stone, Professor of Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
3. Creative Transformation: A Practical Guide for Maximizing Creativity (1991), Whitmore Pub. Co. (English Paperback: 462 pages). “Garcia’s ideas, based upon a bold new vision of reality, offer a new hope and vision of peace for a truly quantum ethical society.” Fred Allen Wolf, Ph.D.
4. The Ethical State: An Essay on Political Ethics (2001), Wexford College Press (English Paperback: 276 pages). “…has more relevance and significance to the future of our species than any single contribution made by any human being who has lived to date.” J. P. Gutweniger (Amazon.com review).
1. A starting source for this bio was http://www.see.org/garcia/jdg3.htm. It is largely based upon first-hand recollections of an associate of John.
2. See, for example, “United States Patent 4621334″. US Patent office. 11/04/1986.
3. “Ethical Intelligence”. Ethical Intelligence Group. Yahoo Group Description. See also https://groups.yahoo.com/group/ethicalintelligence/info.
4. “Garcia, John David”. WorldCat Identities @ http://www.worldcat.org/identities/lccn-n88189216/.
5. Restated in “The Ethical State: An Essay on Political Ethics (2001), Chapter One (Introduction).
6. “Creative Transformation” by John David Garcia (1991). “Introduction”, et seq.
• Society for Evolutionary Ethics
1. John’s work for the military Included mathematical modeling and simulations for the Weapon Systems Evaluation Group (DoD) on nuclear war, warhead testing, anti-missile missiles, and electronic warfare.
2. John defined creativity as the ability to predict and control one’s total environment (“truth”). A creative act is any act that increases truth for anyone without decreasing truth for anyone else. “Psychofraud”, Ch.5.
“We have forgotten how to love if we do not value our own creativity and love ourselves.” JDG
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