Harmony   Equality   Acceptance   Respect   Tolerance

Our Mission

The Golden Heart Society is a nonprofit, nonpartisan volunteer organization operated by its founder, John Bickford, Jr. Our mission is to further the ideals of helpfulness, cooperation, social responsibility, and respect for human dignity.

We feel that undue competition, aggression, hostility, and status-seeking are pervasively pernicious elements of modern society, and that the information explosion is exacerbating a situation of growing social fragmentation and bifurcation, isolationism, and hostile competition. We feel that such antisocial behavior is frequently and unfortunately rewarded and reinforced, and that cooperative, harmonious ideals are slighted.

The World Wide Web (The Web) is an unusual medium in that it is a highly cooperative, communal, and indeed a surprisingly functional subculture existing within a highly conflicted macroenvironment. The Web is self-policing, largely self-regulating, and highly dependant upon honorable, good faith interaction within its community. Within the Web there is a great deal of interdependency and trust; for example, you are probably using Netscape Navigator to read this page, a fully functional copy of which program anyone can download free of charge from Netscape directly. That company trusts us to pay for the program if we like it. A wealth of other shareware software is available on the same "honor system" basis.

Many sites such as search engines (Yahoo, Lycos, etc.) offer their services free of charge to the consumer. The Golden Heart Society's Web site is maintained free of charge by GeoCities, whose own mission is to help expand the cyber-community. Nearly every Web site provides helpful links to other sites, creating a system of mutual exchange intended to maximally provide for the needs of the information-seekers. Most Web denizens offer something of value to their visitors, whether it is software, an image file, information, entertainment, or just a helpful link to another site (in real life, how many businesses would provide their customers with directions to their competitors' locations?). The Web therefore simulates an ideal society with unity of purpose and a spirit of cooperation and helpfulness. Most importantly, unlike the macrosociety, the Web community reinforces cooperation and other-oriented behavior, while competition and self-serving behavior are dysfunctional.

We recognize this unique quality of the World Wide Web and strive to encourage it. We believe the Web has the potential to be a strong, positive, unifying force that stimulates greater social harmony by its example. To this end, we hope to recognize and encourage Web sites that clearly promote these ideals while making the point clear that Harmony, Equality, Acceptance, Respect, and Tolerance are desirable, functional, and achievable qualities in a community and in society.

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Copyright 1996 by John H. Bickford, Jr.