Individual Autonomy And Transpersonal Maturity In Relation To The Constitution For The Federation Of
The age of individualism began during the Renaissance and can be said to have blossomed in the 18th century with the doctrines of individual human rights. However, psychologists across the board are today taking us beyond this individualism and pointing out that higher levels of maturity are transpersonal, world-centric, and even cosmic-centric. Nevertheless, a concept of a human being developing moral and cognitive autonomy is fundamental but not final. We need to grow into moral and cognitive autonomy to be sure, but we need to grow beyond that as well into harmony and mutual understanding with others. Immanuel Kant declared that “enlightenment is the ability to think for oneself and not take one’s opinions from another.”
Our educational systems need to bring people to autonomy to be sure. Effective democracy is impossible as long as people are responding with mass prejudices, irrational socially-induced mood-swings, or irrational impulses. Most people have very little critical ability to see the institutional and systemic nature of our problems and to think independently of national, political, or religious ideologies. Most people “take their opinions from another.”
In this age of mass-media and social-media, these failures to develop critical thinking capacity can be devasting for society and the world. But this process of development toward autonomy and independent critical thought and beyond, itself has different sublevels. Many people develop individual autonomy to the point where they can make their own way in the world, perhaps with creativity and skill in business or culture. But few develop to the point where they can critically examine their own societies or their own selfhood.
There is a common schemata for cognitive and moral development affirmed by a number of psychologists and developmental thinkers from Erich Fromm to Laurence Kohlberg to Claire Graves to Carol Gilligan to Ken Wilber. It moves from the immaturity of egocentrism to the socialized community identification called ethnocentrism to consciousness of our common humanity called worldcentrism to a harmony with the cosmos called cosmocentrism. For Kohlberg, stage three in its mature form is characterized by the capacity for independent thought, which he calls “autonomy,” in which our judgments are assessed in terms of their consistency, coherency and universality.
At this level, it appears, the individualism that was idealized during the Renaissance and institutionalized during the 18th century democratic revolutions becomes emblematic of the proper human response within a democratic framework—citizens who are able to critically assess political issues and make independent rational judgments concerning not only the conduct of their own lives but in terms of their participation as citizens within a democracy. This is surely a good that needs promoting and that is fundamental to any liberal democratic society. However, this is not the highest stage of growth according to the schemata outlined above by Ken Wilber and others.
Many of these thinkers call the higher stage “cosmocentric.” Some thinkers emphasize that development at this level now becomes “spiritual.” At these levels, people begin more and more to live from a “transpersonal” self. They no longer confuse their “I” with the individual empirical ego characterized by personal likes and dislikes. The “I” becomes experienced as an independent, transpersonal reality characterized by transpersonal (universal) values and aspirations. Psychologist Abraham Maslow calls values at this level “being-values.” These are no subjective preferences but attributes of the transpersonal being that becomes actualized in us.
It is important to see that transpersonal selfhood and values take us beyond the individualism of the renaissance and liberal democracy to a level in which motivations, ideas, and plans become universal. The common good is emphasized over personal gain. Insofar as capitalism is driven by the desire for personal gain then capitalism is also transcended. It is not that individuals need to sacrifice, nor that they do not benefit from their hard work. Rather, what becomes most important is that their hard work has contributed to the common good of persons everywhere on Earth and they themselves are valued for the unique individuals they are who are making these important contributions.
Ultimately, we need to recognize that the unity we discern at the transpersonal level complements and embraces diversity, so that the individual dignity so precious to democracy is also a universal ground of value in which each individual is permeated and embraced by the whole while at the same time remaining a unique selfhood. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is based on the principle of unity in diversity, recognizing that the only legitimate form of governance in the world is “all for one and one for all.” Diversity not grounded in authentic constitutional unity is inevitably a war-system. The oneness in diversity of humanity is more that merely “ideal” or spiritual. It must also be political, economic, biospheric, and concrete.
That is why the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is a key to unlocking human potential for growing to higher levels of cognitive and moral maturity (www.earthconstitution.world). The Constitution is premised on the common good. The sole purpose of the Earth Federation is to protect and promote the common good. The common good does not negate individuality but embraces it and raises it to its true meaning as actualized unity in diversity.
Under the current world system of militarized sovereign nation-states interfaced with globalized capitalism, people everywhere are conditioned to be partial to their own nations, their own community, their own practical benefit in business and commerce. Fragmentation breeds nothing but more fragmentation. Division breeds divided identities. The hope for world peace, or justice, or sustainability is nowhere placed front and center. Nations, groups, religions, and individuals are too busy promoting themselves.
Transpersonal values are worldcentric values. The Earth Constitution begins its Preamble with the words “aware of the interdependence of people, nations and all life.” It proceeds to the vision that “the earth’s total resources shall be equitably used for human welfare.” Every one of the 41 “specific powers” granted to the Earth Federation government under Article 4 are directed to the common good of all the people of Earth. This is even made explicit in such articles as 4.17 where financial institutions of the Earth Federation are “designed to serve human needs” or in 4.36 where the World Service Corps is “designed to serve human welfare” or in 4.41 where the mandate of the Earth Federation is to “serve the needs of humanity” in any ways that are beyond the capacity of national governments.
Qualities that develop in persons at the transpersonal level include not only cognitive and ethical universality, but also compassion, kindness, and love. These qualities are not contingent subjective factors in such persons but universal concerns that emerge at the transpersonal level. These qualities attend to the uniqueness of persons, to the individuality of each, to the precious dignity of each. Article 13.12 of the Earth Constitution assigns the full weight of a united humanity to “assure each child the right to the full realization of his or her potential.”
The very process of working to ratify the Earth Constitution helps raise a person to the worldcentric and more compassionate mode of being, actualizing itself in the unity in diversity of all nations, all religions, all persons, and all of nature. And, once ratified, people will be embraced by a global political and economic system that will naturally and inevitably enhance their growth toward worldcentric and cosmocentric maturity.
We see that the very wording of the Earth Constitution promotes a transpersonal consciousness of justice, equality, and peace. Every person elected to major office in the World Administration and the World Parliament must take an “oath of service to humanity.” All agencies and departments will have as their mission “service to humanity,” even the Enforcement System described in Article 10. Consider, for example, the mission of the World Police as this is expressed in section 10.4.4 under Article 10: A basic condition for preventing outbreaks of violence which the enforcement system shall facilitate in every way possible, shall be to assure a fair hearing under non-violent circumstances for any person or group having a grievance, and likewise to assure a fair opportunity for a just settlement of any grievance with due regard for the rights and welfare of all concerned.
This paragraph exemplifies the spirit of the entire Earth Constitution. Only from such a worldcentric level could this pronouncement be made. The enforcement systems of much of the world today are in place to protect the grossly unequal distribution of wealth within today’s nation-states. The poor are policed and harassed while the rich do very much as they please. Under the Earth Constitution law enforcement will be based on transpersonal justice and equal dignity of all persons on Earth, as this quotation indicates.
No government existing on Earth today, nor any organization, including the UN, is truly dedicated to the common welfare of every person on Earth because the fragmentation of the world into militarized sovereign nation-states (on which the UN Charter is based) destroys all universality and encourages partisan self-promotion and fragmented collective identities in citizens. By contrast, not only will the framework of the Earth Constitution dramatically change this situation, the Provisional World Parliament (PWP) has passed Provisional World Legislation that explicitly promotes growth toward worldcentric maturity in all members of the legislature (World Parliament). The PWP has created the “Collegium of World Legislators” as World Legislative Act # 57 to which all members of the World Parliament will automatically belong.
The Collegium will be a major resource for Legislators providing information of specific legislation, training in communication skills, and encouragement for cognitive and moral growth. The Act states: The Collegium of World Legislators shall be designed to, first, facilitate interaction, communication, and mutual understanding among the members of the World Parliament. Second, the Collegium shall be designed to inform legislators with respect to the goals, ideals, values, and mechanisms for actualizing these, embodied in the Constitution for the Federation of Earth and the Earth Federation Government. Third, the Collegium shall be designed to help legislators understand specific issues of concern to the Earth Federation government.
The Collegium will require training in communication skills directed to promote mutual understanding rather than misunderstanding, miscommunication, and mutual alienation. This legislation was written and passed very much within the letter and spirit of the Earth Constitution. If we want peace on Earth and an end to all weapons of war and mass destruction, then we will need not only a Constitution like this one that creates a “peace system” to replace the current “war system” of the world. We will also need human cognitive, moral, and spiritual growth to worldcentric maturity and beyond. Such maturity includes dialogue directed toward mutual understanding.
The essence of a human being is evoked through love and trust, never through objectifying the other person, viewing them form outside, as it were, as an object independently of love and trust. In today’s fragmented world of militarized sovereign nation-states and lethally competitive corporations, the pressure to objectify the other is overwhelming. Spying upon others, mistrusting them, framing them as potential enemies, and focusing on their external characteristics or their behavior alone kills love, trust, and compassion. It fosters a disintegration of our common human reality. It denies the Vedic truth of vasudhaiva kutumbakam, that all people are brothers and sisters.
learly, ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth will foster the sense among all peoples that we are all brothers and sisters. It will overcome the mistrust and rivalry between nations, peoples, and corporations and encourage community and cooperation everywhere. In this spirit the Provisional Word Parliament has passed World Legislative Act 46, the Clandestine Operations Prohibitions Act, WLA 55, the Surveillance Limitations Bill, and WLA 59, the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Act.
From the titles alone of these World Legislative Acts it is clear that the letter and spirit of the Earth Constitution as enacted here directs human beings to overcome the present world system of suspicion, mistrust, and objectivation of the “other” as threat or enemy. The reformed world under the Earth Constitution will not be characterized by clandestine spies nor spy agencies like the CIA, KGB, or Mossad. Surveillance will be strictly limited to what is necessary for practical safety, like traffic control, and truth and reconciliation commissions will work worldwide to heal our objectifications of one another and to cultivate a world of love, trust, and mutual understanding in which our human reality can truly flourish.
In this short article I have tried to indicate how such cognitive and spiritual growth are directly and intimately connected with both the quest to ratify the Earth Constitution and to organize our planet under its wisdom and authority. We need both individual intellectual and moral autonomy and transpersonal growth to higher levels of self-actualization. This Constitution is the key to any credible future for humanity. It is a key to human growth as well as to a design of the world system premised on peace rather than war, on justice rather than injustice, and on sustainability rather than environmental and biospheric destruction.
Design and growth go hand in hand. By designing a world in which every person is first and foremost a citizen under the Earth Federation with universal rights and duties; by designing a world to be a peace system, justice system, and sustainability system, we are simultaneously designing a world that empowers and fosters human cognitive, moral, and spiritual growth. Human beings must actualize their potential to become both independent critical thinkers as well as transpersonal bearers of universal values such as love, compassion, and justice. Let us all join hands in this work of conscious evolution through ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.