(Politics and the Human Spirit – Installment 9)
How best to manage the world?
That’s the big question.
The right answer will be a lot different today than it was a thousand years ago… or even 50 years ago. It’s a different world, thanks to modern realities like burgeoning population (7 billion mouths to feed), energy use (especially the exhausted supplies of fossil fuels), environmental breakdown (especially global warming), globalizing technologies (including the Internet and wireless phones), and malignant technologies (including designer drugs, harmful pharmaceuticals, nuclear, chemical, biological products and weapons).
Only one thing hasn’t changed much across the centuries… human nature. We’re still the same noble-savage creatures we were long, long ago. As I explained in the introduction to this series, our noble side operates on love, trust, and good will… but it’s constantly undermined by our savage side, which gives in to fear, suspicion, hunger, desire, and aggression.
Our noble side bubbles up from the finer spirit deep within us, while our savage side is stirred up by the hormones, egos, and carnal compositions that were hardwired into our physical bodies long ago.
Maybe the best way to answer the bold question above, in a single article, is to take a snapshot of humanity, and then come up with a few basic guidelines for managing the world based on what we know today about ourselves, our societies, and our world.
A “snapshot” of today’s world reveals a nested, overlapping structure of mankind.
Nested. Humanity is one big living system spread over the Earth… made up of human beings and human groups that are nested like boxes inside boxes inside boxes—individuals within families within communities, within states or provinces, within nations….
Overlapping. Human groups also cross-cut and overlap each other. Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and other mighty world religions have all spread around the world without geographic borders… so they overlap each other, and they crosscut many nations’ borders. Transnational businesses, industries, and nonprofit groups also overlap each other and crosscut national boundaries.
Embedded in ecosystems. At the same time, all of our human groups live within, around, and among the various planetary ecosystems—forests, oceans, mountain ranges, savannahs, river systems, deserts… and we tend to build our cities and congregate near the water.
With that snapshot of humanity, we can start thinking about the behavior of people and groups… specifically how the activity is managed or regulated across the levels and borders of world society.
As I mentioned in Part 7, good regulation generally starts with insightful decisions that are made at all levels, from personal choices to United Nations resolutions. I listed four basic guidelines for good regulation:
• Every decision should be made at the lowest possible level, but high enough to take into the account the well-being of everyone affected by the decision.
• Decision-making bodies should reflect the diversity of the people they represent.
• In most groups, especially nations, there should be a balance between the rights of individuals to be free and the rights of groups to be stable… which suggests that for modern nations, social democracy is the optimum political system… as it is evolving in most European countries today.
• For decisions with the best possible outcomes, the individuals involved in decision-making have honed their intuition over time through inner reflection or meditation, to be in touch with their finer spirit within.
I’d like to add several more guidelines to that list:
- Efforts should be made at all levels to cultivate our noble side and to tame our savage side.
- Every individual and every group should be free to make decisions… within the framework that’s been set up by higher levels.
- A small world government, with a few basic responsibilities for keeping peace and safeguarding the planet, is overdue. The UN in its present incarnation isn’t suitable, but could be with a few changes.
These last three guidelines are the main focus below—1) nurturing humanity’s noble qualities and taming the savage, 2) aligning our self or our group to the standards and values of the larger group(s) to which we belong, and 3) empowering the United Nations with clear and undisputed authority on a few key issues of global peace, compatibility, and stability.
Cultivate the Noble, Tame the Savage
It’s normal for us humans to exert our noble and savage qualities intermittently… depending on the situation we’re in at the moment. We might be inspired by a drive through the countryside then suddenly stunned by a pothole or irritated by a thoughtless driver who cuts us off. We might enjoy decades of peace with a neighboring community, or an adjacent nation, then escalate a land-use dispute over a vast, beautiful, resource-rich forest that spans the borders. Should we exploit the resources or protect the beauty?
In the grand scheme of things, the noble qualities of humanity always win out because they are timeless. Love, trust and decency shine forever at the core of our being. As qualities of our innermost god-self, they live on, untarnished, perpetually, as the central part of us, throughout our lives and even long after the death of our physical body.
The savage qualities flare up frequently, and they are typically short-lived.
We need to rethink the age-old concept of two all-powerful, opposing forces: Good vs evil, God vs Satan, noble vs savage, light vs dark….
Only one force is all-powerful and omnipresent—the light… the good… the god-source at the center of our being… and at the center of all that is.
The physical realm lies far out in the fringes of multidimensional reality, where the light vibrations from the source are so dim and dense and slow that pockets of darkness and chaos form. It’s these dark, illusory little pockets, which exist only out here on the material frontiers, that we equate with evil and spiritual darkness.
Translating that reality to human lives, we could describe ourselves as forever-noble creatures with fleeting savage inclinations.
So… at the very heart of world management is the need for us humans to cultivate our noble core and to tame our savage tendencies in all human relationships at all levels… from friendships and marriages to multinational treaties and alliances.
At the personal level we can cultivate our noble side over time with practiced meditation, prayer and mind control… in which we clear the cluttered channels between our carnal mind and our higher self, or god center. Self-discipline also comes into play… getting into the habit of making rational decisions… noble choices.
At the group level we cultivate the noble side with household rules, social mores, business ethics, laws and law enforcement, and other tools of management.
The emphasis in the future needs to be 1) to draw a clear delineation between the noble and the savage in human affairs, 2) to cultivate the noble at all levels, and 3) to specify how best to tame the savage, again, at all levels.
Examples of noble motivations: Unconditional love, trust, good will, cooperation, empathy, protection, support, education, truth, sincerity, negotiation….
Examples of savage motivations: profit, competition, conquest, punishment, lying, cheating, deception, assault, murder, lust, indulging and exploiting human weaknesses for addictive substances….
Even our most basic biological behaviors are savage by nature—eating and excreting… mating and procreating… even breathing.
These are not qualities of our finer spiritual (noble) make-up; they are things we have to do to survive in a rugged carnal world. They’re savage needs.
So… the intent of world management is not to eliminate the savage side of mankind—which would destroy the noble-savage human being—but to tame and direct it.
(to be continued….)
Politics and the Human Spirit series:
1 Introduction 2 Privatization and the public good 3 Military 4 Information 5 Spirit of Society 6 Education 7 Regulation 8 Economics 9 Managing the World in the 21st Century – 10 The carnal line between noble and savage – 11 Embrace the divine; it’s where we shine – 12 Who decides what? – 13 Finally… good politics
Best and worst countries to be born – Election fraud 2012 – Best and worst US presidents – Humor in politics – Biggest political news – End of the American dream – Blown to bits in the computer age – Standards, the key to peace – What Obama and Stalin really have in common – Bad counsel and a short leash – Capital punishment & the human spirit