The Mass Media Division of UNESCO

UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy Part 5

“Public opinion is no phenomenon sui generic. It is in part the result of government policies and by definition politicians cannot hide behind their own creation. If some sectors of public opinion in the industrialized countries are immersed in the rhetoric and slogans associated with misunderstanding, then much of this may be inherited from their political leaders. And if these leaders are in part responsible for a situation which impedes acceptance of the need for change, then they themselves must be held responsible for changing this situation.” – RIO: Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome, 1976 [1]

As the first Director of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation), Sir Julian Sorell Huxley (1887-1975) wrote a paper entitled UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy (1946) [2] in which he outlined his vision for the newly created international organisation (which grew out of the League of Nations’ Institute of Intellectual Co-operation). According to Huxley, the guiding philosophy of UNESCO should be what he termed, World Evolutionary Humanism. Part 1 in this series described this philosophy and its relation to eugenics. The second article outlined the purpose of UNESCO, which is to mentally prepare the world for global political unification under a single world government. Part 3 described the use of education by UNESCO, as an essential technique of forming the minds of the young as well as the old. The previous article examined the importance of the creative arts and sciences in guiding society towards predetermined goals. This final article will examine UNESCO’s use of the mass media and other forms of communication towards obtaining its goals.

Julian Huxley, an evolutionary biologist, humanist, and ardent internationalist held many titles including: Secretary of the Zoological Society of London (1935-42), first president of the British Humanist Association (1963), Vice-President (1937-44) and President (1959-62) of the British Eugenics Society. He was also a founding member of the World Wild Life Fund, coined the term “transhumanism” (as a means of disguising eugenics) and gave two Galton memorial lectures (1936, 1962). Huxley also received many awards including the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society (1956), UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize (1953) and the Special Award of the Lasker Foundation in the category Planned Parenthood – World Population (1959) to name but a few. He is also the Grandson of Thomas Huxley (Darwin’s Bulldog) and brother of author Aldous Huxley.

Creating A Creed with the Techniques of Persuasion and Propaganda

From UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy:

[Italicised text is original emphasis and bolded text is added by author.]

“Taking the techniques of persuasion and information and true propaganda that we have learnt to apply nationally in war, and deliberately bending them to the international tasks of peace, if necessary utilising them, as Lenin envisaged, to “overcome the resistance of millions” to desirable change. Using drama to reveal reality and art as the method by which, in Sir Stephen Tallent’s words, “truth becomes impressive and living principle of action,” and aiming to produce that concerted effort which, to quote Grierson once more, needs a background of faith and a sense of destiny. This must be a mass philosophy, a mass creed, and it can never be achieved without the use of the media of mass communication. Unesco, in the press of its detailed work, must never forget this enormous fact.” – 60

The mass creed that Huxley called world evolutionary humanism, is the same eugenics based creed that Charles Galton Darwin outlined in his book The Next Million Years (1952) [3]. Among other things, C. G. Darwin was president of the Eugenics Society (1953-59) before handing over responsibilities to Julian Huxley (1959-62).

From The Next Million Years:

“The detailed march of history will depend a great deal on the creeds held by the various branches of the human race. It cannot be presumed with any confidence that purely superstitious creeds will always be rejected by civilized communities, in view of the extraordinary credulity shown even now by many reputedly educated people. It is true that there may not be many at the present time, whose actions are guided by an inspection of the entrails of a sacrificial bull, but the progress has not been very great, for there are still many believers in palmistry and astrology. It is to be expected then that in the future, as in the past, there will be superstitions which will notably affect the course of history, and some of them, such as ancestor-worship, will have direct effects on the development of the human species. But superstitious creeds will hardly be held by the highly intelligent, and it is precisely the creed of these that matters. Is it possible that there should arise a eugenic creed, which – perhaps working through what I have called the method of unconscious selection – should concern itself with the improvement of the inherent nature of man, instead of resting content with merely giving him good but impermanent acquired characters? Without such a creed man’s nature will only be changed through the blind operation of natural selection; with it he might aspire to do something towards really changing his destiny.” – 202

For more on the importance of creeds in shaping the future please read this article about C. G. Darwin’s The Next Million Years.

Mass Media Created Common Creed

This common creed, or philosophy referred to by Huxley and C. G. Darwin is described in detail in part 1 of this series (World Evolutionary Humanism, Eugenics and UNESCO). Below Huxley describes the use of the Mass Media division of UNESCO to create this common world philosophy and how it is necessity to “enlist the press and the radio and the cinema to the fullest extent”.

“What are the main effects of these innovations [in mass communication], of which Unesco must take account? First, the possibility of a much wider dissemination of information of every sort, both within and across national boundaries. This means that public opinion can be built up more rapidly and can be better informed than ever before. […]

Above and beyond all other interests and needs at the moment is the need for peace and the interest of large groups in every country in achieving peace. Merely by preaching peace we shall not achieve much. We can achieve much by indirect methods – by demonstrating the fact that interests and needs transcend national boundaries, and by building a world in which international co-operation is actually operative, and operates to promote better health, and full employment, and the provision of adequate food for all, and safety and ease of travel, and the spread of knowledge. Finally, however, we can achieve a good deal more if we can give people the world over some simple philosophy of existence of a positive nature which will spur them the act in place of the apathy, pessimism or cynicism which is so prevalent to-day, and to act in common instead of in separate groups.” – 58

“There are thus two tasks for the Mass Media division of Unesco, the one general, the other special. The special one is to enlist the press and the radio and the cinema to the fullest extent in the service of formal and adult education, of science and learning, of art and culture. The general one is to see that these agencies are used both to contribute to mutual comprehension between different nations and cultures, and also to promote the growth of a common outlook shared by all nations and cultures.” – 60

Other Form of Information Dissemination

“[…] documentary film as a form of public relations service” – 60

“As libraries grow, and as they become internationally more linked up, the need for a highly developed and uniform standard system of classification and cataloguing becomes urgent. Unesco must facilitate the search for such a system, and its international adoption.” – 56

“There is already in existence a trend away from the old conception of a library as just a place to house books and other materials to the new conception of a library as part of a public service. Unesco must seek to promote this trend, must help in exploring ways by which librarians can anticipate the demands of the most varied groups, must help the movement towards popular and travelling libraries, and in general must help in discovering the right ways of making people use the library service in their everyday lives.

Unesco must seek to find new fields in which the technique of the museum can be useful. The Scandinavians have successfully developed the Folk Museum. But there are many other specialised types of museum possible – the local museum, the museum of history, of prehistory, of health, of education, of agriculture, of natural resources; a beginning has been made with some of these, but the principle needs developing in a comprehensive way, and with the latest techniques.” – 56


[1] Quote from page 110 of Jan Tinbergen, RIO: Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome (1976). ISBN 0-525-04340-3

[2] Quotes from Julian Huxley, UNESCO Its Purpose and Its Philosophy (1946). Preparatory Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. pdf from UNESCO.

[3] Quote from Charles Galton Darwin, The Next Million Years (1952).

Articles by: Brent Jessop

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