Bertalanffy, convinced that human behavior depends significantly on human values, conceived a new image of man for emphasising the role that our species can play in shaping its own destiny, as humans have always created an environment of their own out of symbols which become human values after being cultivated; they may develop new abilities to direct their own evolution on ethical values determined according to emergent realities created by an interdependent global community.
Symbolic systems (language, beliefs, law, customs, values, morality,…) are the most important subject for researching in GST. These kind of systems may lead groups of humans to raise their consciousness about the need of organizing consistently their means (ideas) — choosing and implementing them according to their ends (goals). It implies to avoid either to use immoral means for moral ends or to sacrifice the ideals on the organization’s altar of expediency or to be in the position of a man who fills a hole in his backyard by acquiring soil that is obtained by digging another nearby or to be a model head of a family who brings home bacon that has been stolen from another family or to maintain in operation a polluting factory arguing that it provides prosperity to local workers or to introduce automatic machines in an industrial plant in order to increase efficiency and quality in the production line but causing unemployment or to organize legal but unfair commercial activities, …
The healthy, then moral evolvement of human relations, being necessary for pushing ahead frankly and effectively the development of any particular community, makes necessary to create, maintain and improve the kind of cultural values that may help and lead people, children comprised, to develop individually and collectively their gregarious and cooperative features inherent in human nature which combined with sense of responsibility and free decision would support altogether the manifestation of humanitarian societies aware of the role of human beings on the planet Earth.
Human ideals should not be restricted by any social, economic, political and/or cultural system on the grounds that one or another system is temporarily needed for allowing some more intelligent fellows to create in every society what were necessary, which eventually will cause unavoidably the progress of humanity. The history of civilization that started around 6,000 years ago show evidently that the fragmentation of human idealism is after all against the humanitarian perspective of humankind.
Bertalanffy was even more specific against the behaviorists’ declarations of idealism as he noticed and denounced that Frederic Skinner’s humanitarian motives and his utopian world were not moral at all as they were a danger against a real human development “… it is more than probable that methods used for inconsequential advertising can and will be employed for the deification of the state, the nation, its leader, or for global war, as those in charge desire. The enormous threat contained in Skinner’s latest book is that his is not a program or project to undo freedom and dignity but a description of what is [already] widely realized in the thought control exerted by the mass media, commercial society, and politics”. LvB also denounce the amoral intentions of Ernest Dichter the dean of motivational research and behavioral engineer, who sold advice to corporations on how “to manipulate human motivations and desires”. “The motivation research founded by Dr. Dichter is developing into a science of mass persuasion [that] can make the human animal buy everything and anything, from detergents to cigarettes, from cars to American presidents, up to wars and atomic self-destruction …”
It has been commented that some people argued that Bertalanffy had become an alarmist, being seriously involved in reading the advances of motivational research technology. But he continue striving “to integrate all aspect of experience”, comprised the amoral subliminal communication that had been very efficiently organized in the form of radio, television, film messages transmitted beneath the receiver’s level of conscious awareness and judgement, as he could realize the effects of modern mass persuasion “… amount to functional decerebralization … exclusion of higher cerebral centres and mental faculties almost as efficiently as if they were removed by surgical operation … [Such psychological genocide] is highly successful and potentially irreversible …” Mass persuasion has been always used supported by the latest technology, but the modern behavioral engineering in the 20th century was (and still is) a serious threat against an humanitarian perspective for humankind.
“… values are things or acts which are chosen by, and are desirable to, an individual or to society within a certain frame of reference — cultural, historical, social, religious, etc.” “In the last resort, it is always a system of values, of ideas or ideologies, that is decisive … Military hardware, including the most advanced superbombs, will not save us when the will to live, the guiding ideas or values of life, have subsided”. The realm of values as enduring beliefs about desirable goals and behavior are not irrelevant in an age of scientific “objectivity”. Neither can be substituted by traditions or dogmas. “A new symbolic universe of values must be found … if humankind is to be saved from the pit of meaninglessness, suicide and atomic fire”.