The threat of nuclear annihilation was to me proof of total systems failure, not of the technology, but of the culture that produced it.
Because of this and other major cultural problems, I turned my back on the culture in 1955, at age 21, and set out to design a new civilization.
“New civilization” is the best expression I could think of to mean new values, new beliefs, new ideals, new goals, a new “standard of living,” a new way of thinking, and a new way of life.
A “civilization” is not just cities and buildings and large numbers of people. A civilization is basically a set of ideas that determine what those people build and how they live their lives. The “civilization,” to me, was what had been programmed into my head as a representative product of the American upper middle class. To create a new civilization, all I had to do was change that programming.
My methods were psychotherapy, withdrawal (a la Toynbee), and dream analysis, taking advantage of the self-steering process. I discovered the psychological age of puberty, a transition point where “human nature” itself changes, from the self-interest of the child to an equally natural desire to give and share. If a majority of people reached this point, we would have a new civilization.