If the true Tao is lost, then morality takes its place.
If that fails, we have "conscience".
When that fades, we get "justice".
When that disappears, we have the status quo.
For some time now, ever since the possibility was revealed to me, I have held a vision of an Internet community which would bring together those from across the world who are curious, who are willing to examine what is generally taken for granted, who are willing to accept the responsibility of discovering reasons behind what appears senseless rather than simply dismissing, who sense some or all of the current status quo as a splinter in the mind and are willing to accept the responsibility for understanding the nature of that splinter (and thus redefine personal ability to influence and to change).
It would have to be a discussion board, not simply a webpage: for this is a community, never a declamatory monologue. This is not an area of academic final answers nor of keynote speaker lectures. What we gain, here, we gain from ourselves, from our active participation; not from passive reception of the light of knowledge. In a sense this board picks up where the public school and university system seems to have shifted in emphasis. Where pedagogy asks How can we fit students into society?, I suggest that this board asks Who are we? What is society? How does understanding our self lead to greater understanding of who we are as human beings? Can the current shape of our self, of our society, continue without leading to extinction? What elements work and do not work? How can we act to reshape? The board would encourage statement and opinion, but would also encourage challenge of statement and opinion: a place where all the preconceptions of our society and of our self (in which all society, fundamentally, must be rooted) which are commonly taken for granted can be examined, torn apart, accepted, rejected, revised.
Yet, also because this is a community and because the aim is inclusion and examination, a core value would have to be mutual respect - which is also self-respect. If its existence is not to become a parody of itself, the first point must be to accept each and every persons contribution as innately of no less validity than anothers. The community can only ever be the gestalt of its constituents interaction. Since the community exists around the idea of questioning, it has no agenda; and so there is no need for defence. Where there is no need to defend, there is also no need to attack.
To follow these paths will require autonomy. Since to encourage questioning and challenge it would have to be somewhat independent of other Internet political bodies, this board can never link to one or even several other discussion groups, since that would necessarily exclude yet others, and thus imply an innate value in some but not others. It would therefore necessarily grow slowly, very slowly. Long-term (years), I hope for it to evolve its own identity, independent of Internet preconception and clique but always, always tolerance but beyond that cannot begin to predict what that identity will be: for to do so again narrows possibility.
In short, I hope here for a virtual community open to challenge and questioning, which will in turn build a healthier 'real' world society.