Human Dignity and Our Global Social Contract

Glen T. Martin

Radford University


  1. Defining dignity


A human being lives temporally within a dynamic present continuously integrating her relationships between a remembered past and a projected future. The past is ‘already’, but is subject to an on-going reinterpretation of the meaning and coherence of its events. The future is ‘not yet’, and is similarly subject to an on-going reinterpretation of its relation to past and present.

A human being lives in relationships with other persons and within an infinite number of relationships that ultimately signify the environing universe as a whole. Because the openness to the future and the wholeness of the universe transcend all possible relationships and experience, a human being moves perpetually within a field of transcendence. Human existence is “multidimensional.” Both our experience and relationships continually move into a beyond, an ‘evermore’, that cannot be reduced to those experiences or relationships themselves [1]

A human being makes choices and acts as a will that pursues some perceived good.  I go to lunch because I perceive this as good for me. Similarly, I create a life-plan that embraces many smaller willed actions because I perceive that being a doctor, or a lawyer, or serving humanity as a good to be willed and pursued. Each willed action that I take includes both actual and ideal dimensions, because each willed action is not only a fact of my life but pursues some good that transcends the facts in pursuit of its ideal. I go to lunch because I envision satisfying my hunger, taking a break from my work, and enjoying the pleasure of eating.

I may also categorize this simple act of self-maintenance under a larger ideal that it serves, perhaps as part of serving my family, or community, or God. I may orient my life to serving humanity perhaps because I sense the transcendent value of humanity, or wish to obey the commands of God, or want to ease human suffering. In each case my concrete willed actions contain both factual and ideal dimensions.

These ideal dimensions are part of the field of transcendence that arises from my temporal existence in which I move into a future characterized a multiplicity of relationships always opening into new experiences and meanings and always inviting a possible reinterpretation of my past and present. The willed actions of each person are not merely a random collection of idealized strivings but integrate within an “intentional wholeness” that characterizes this life as ‘my life,’ my meaning and purpose and quest for self-worth and fulfillment [2].

No other living creature that we know of lives within this dynamic of perpetual transcendence. No other creature that we know of lives perpetually within the domain of the ideal, always choosing actions that strive to actualize some ideally envisioned state of affairs. In addition, human history mirrors human temporal anthropology. Humanity operates within this same dynamic of perpetual transcendence.

The concept of human dignity attributes a transcendent value to human beings.  As Immanuel Kant famously puts it, a human being is an end in his or herself. We have “dignity,” Kant says, that is, an infinite worth beyond all price. He attributes this dignity of our transcendent moral capacity to will what is right regardless of our inclinations. In this capacity human beings are seen to transcend the empirical world though their free ability to legislate universal moral laws under which our particular actions are bound. Kant’s rendering of the foundations of human dignity fit within the multidimensional temporal dynamic of human existence described above.

Inherent in our transcendent moral capacity to do what is right “regardless of our inclinations” is the ideal of a “kingdom of ends”:

If we abstract from the personal differences between rational beings, and also from all the content of their private ends – to conceive a whole of all ends in systematic conjunction…we shall be able to conceive a kingdom of ends which is possible in accordance with the above principles. For rational beings all stand under the law that each of them should treat himself and all others, never merely as a means, but always at the same time as an end in himself…. Thus morality consists in the relation of all action to the making of laws whereby alone a kingdom of ends is possible. [3]

The dynamic of human self-transcendence is clearly visible in Kant’s thought. Our capacity to envision and act upon what we believe is right, regardless of inclinations, brings all of our actions under the ideal of a world transformed by moral relationships, a world in which justice, goodness, truth, and freedom inform human existence. For Kant, these ideals inherent in our common humanity place a constant pressure on existing societies to transform in the direction of this rational ideal.

Human dignity arises from the reality of our perpetual transcendence, from our participation in the field of transcendence in which we are always more than this collection of facts and this concrete existence. No other life-form that we know of participates in this dignity arising from perpetual transcendence. Contemporary thinker David Kirchhoffer names this perpetual transcendence the “eschatological proviso.” Human beings continuously rise higher in dignity through their pursuit of ideals. Our capacity for self-transcendence appears at once as an inherent human dignity and as the ability to acquire ever-greater dignity:

The eschatological proviso, then, always challenges one to consider not so much whether a particular behavior affirms human dignity, but whether it is the best way to affirm human dignity…. The eschatological proviso holds the fullness of human dignity out in front of us and asks us to live in a way that seeks to realize it for everyone, for in doing so we realize it in ourselves. [4]

For contemporary philosopher John Finnis, “Will is simply the capacity to act in order to preserve or respect, realize or participate in, goods which may at the time of action be apparent only to intelligence” [5]. My will that inevitably pursues some ideal though my actions, therefore, is not ‘merely subjective’, as David Hume and others have claimed. Intelligence can discern the difference between impulses, cravings, or irrational decisions that may attract my will and those ideals that intelligence discerns as objectively valuable. Our intelligence, human reason, is a central component in our bottomless, multidimensional human dignity.

Human intelligence and imagination are deeply linked, as philosopher of hope, Ernst Bloch insists:

The main thing is that the utopian conscience-and-knowledge, through the pain it suffers in facts, grows wise, yet does not grow to full wisdom. It is rectified—but never refuted by the mere power of that which, at any particular time, is. On the contrary it confutes and judges the existent if it is failing, and failing inhumanly; indeed, first and foremost it provides the standard to measure such facticity precisely as departure from the Right; and above all to measure it immanently: that is, by ideas which have resounded and informed from time immemorial before such a departure, and which are still displayed and proposed in the face of it. [6]

The ideal goods discerned by human intelligence, goods such as justice, freedom, truth, beauty, and goodness, can be characterized as the ideals inherent in our “utopian conscience-and-knowledge” that forever judges the “is” (our factually defined present circumstances) as lacking, as “departure from the Right.” Similarly, integral thinker Ken Wilber writes that “Beauty, Truth, and Goodness are very real dimensions of reality to which language has adapted” [7].

The perpetually transcending quality of our human existence places us above the circumstances of our lives and the contemporary world and allows us to judge these circumstances precisely as departure from what should be. In producing human beings, the cosmos has created a creature capable of perpetual transcendence, that is, capable of continuously transforming existence under the ever-transcendent ideals of the true, the good, and the beautiful. Our dignity lies both in these inherent capacities and in the ever-greater actualization of the true, the good, and the beautiful that results from the temporalized human journey.

  1. A few examples from Western Thought

Plato exemplified the ideal of human dignity through his depiction of his teacher, Socrates, especially in his early dialogues.  In the Apology, our human dignity arises through our common capacity to actively care for “wisdom, truth, and the improvement of the soul.”  That is, our dignity inheres within our capacity for a philosophical life of reflection and action. Such a life results in the Socratic principle that it is better to suffer harm than to do it to others. The life of Socrates, even to his acceptance of death, illustrates this principle.

Human beings are capable of moving up the “ladder of love” described in the Symposium. Like eros itself, we are the link between earth and heaven, between the everyday realities of ignorance and death and the ideal truths of beauty and immortality. Through sublimating our love into the things known by the mind, such as truth, beauty, goodness, and justice, a person becomes “a friend to God and immortal.” The perfection of the divine is implicit in our human capacity for perpetual self-transcendence.

For many of the ancient Greek and Roman thinkers, the capacity for this reasoning revealed human beings as microcosms of the macrocosm: the logos in us was capable of reflecting the logos that informed the cosmos. For Cicero, all human beings are part of the great city of humankind on the Earth: all equal, all potentially free and rational. Human dignity is here again asserted with great force. To the Platonic and Aristotelian presentation of the law as a vehicle for fostering virtue and happiness, the Stoics added that of the law as a vehicle for fostering human equality and dignity. And as with Plato and Aristotle, their thought exhibited a telos for the whole and an affirmation of human law as consequent upon natural law. Cicero writes: “There is only one justice, which constitutes the bond among humans, and which was established by one law, which is right reason in commands and prohibitions. The person who does not know it is unjust, whether the law has been written anywhere or not” [8].

The 14th century thought of Meister Eckhart can serve as representative of all the great mystics in every religion of the world who experience union with the sacred One at the heart of the cosmos. In this respect our immense human dignity that arises from our capacity for perpetual transcendence may culminate in identity with the divine ground of existence itself. Our dignity is revealed as identical with the miracle of existence itelf, and with the divine ground of all being. In Sermon 83 Eckhart declares:

And you must also wear a golden ring on each of the superior powers. There are, too, three superior powers. The first is called a retentive power: “memory.” This power one compares with the Father in the Trinity, and on it you should have a golden ring, that is, a retention so that you hold on to everything that is eternal. The second power is called “intellectual,” understanding. This power one compares with the Son, and you ought to wear on it a golden ring, that is, an understanding so that you should always perceive God. “And how?” You should perceive him without images, without a medium, and without comparisons. But if I am to perceive God so, without a medium, then I must become him, and he must become me…. The third power is called “voluntary,” the will, and one compares it with the Holy Spirit. On it, you should wear a golden ring, that is, love. You should love God…. You should love him as he is a non-God, a nonspirit, a nonperson, a nonimage, but as he is a pure unmixed, bright “One,” separated from all duality; and in that One we should eternally sink down, out of “something” into “nothing.” [9]

Here Eckhart underlines our immense transcending capacities of memory, intellect, and will. These capacities can carry us all the way to the eternal ground of existence, separated from all duality, in union with that which is “non-God, nonspirit, nonperson, and nonimage.”  Human dignity arising through the capacity for self-transcendence allows us to participate directly in the transcendent foundations of existence.

In the Renaissance of the 15th century, Pico della Mirandola issued his famous “Oration on the Dignity of Man” in which he identifies precisely the capacity for human self-transcendence and participation in the deeper dimensions of existence that I have been illustrating. God’s speech to Adam states that all other creatures are limited by the laws of their own natures, but only human beings have “free will” to create for ourselves the outlines of our own nature. We are blessed with “seeds pregnant with all possibilities” from which we can rise to participation in the higher dimensions of reality, eternal and divine, or we can freely descend into brutishness and animal existence. Our dignity lies in this immense freedom. Our ability to will intelligible ideals itself raises us closer to those ideals (as Plato had already stated in his Symposium). Our dignity is both inherent in our freedom and includes the eschatological proviso that we can move to higher levels of ever-increasing dignity.

In the 17th century, Blaise Pascal, in his Pensées, famously reflects on the simultaneous wretchedness and greatness of human existence. Yet even awareness of our wretchedness points to human transcendence and greatness:

Man is only a reed, the feeblest thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed (un Roseau pensant). There is no need for the entire universe to crush him by arming itself; a single vapor, one drop of water, is enough to kill him. But when the universe does crush him, man is still nobler than that which kills him, for he knows that he dies and knows the advantage the universe has over him, while the universe knows nothing of this. [10]

As Roger Hazelton affirms: “Man’s greatness is undeniable, for Pascal, and it consists in the fact that man was made for infinity…. Man, alone in the universe, is a self-surpassing being who concerns himself with matters that take him out of himself and seeks his good beyond and above himself” [11]. Human self-awareness gives us the freedom to transcend our circumstances in a process without end. Again our dignity is both intrinsic to this capacity and actualizable through self-surpassing.

For Jean-Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century, civil society provides a matrix of moral relationships that raise human beings to the level of truly free beings.  We rise to our full human dignity through a social contract based on human freedom empowered and protected through the synergy of moral relationships that constitute the foundation of civil society. Within the framework of the social contract, in which we pledge our mutual security and affirmation of freedom to one another, we are raised to a higher level of existence. This act of collective will has transformed us from “a stupid and unimaginative animal” to “an intelligent creature and a man” [12]. Again, we see the innate capacity for self-transcendence linked to human dignity.

For Karl Marx in the 19th century, it is self-conscious activity that characterizes human beings and make us capable of freely satisfying our needs and of living together in mutually empowering communities.  Marx writes:

Conscious life-activity directly distinguishes man from animal life-activity. It is just because of this that he is a species being. Or it is only because he is a species being that he is a Conscious Being, i.e., that his own life is an object for him. Only because of that is his activity free activity. Estranged labour reverses this relationship, so that it is just because man is a conscious being that he makes his life-activity, his essential being, a mere means to his existence. [13]

Human beings move from the past into the future within a present of self-conscious activity. Our activity as such allows us to freely envision a future in which our labor is not estranged but rather fulfilling of both ourselves and others:

Only in community (with others) has each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible…. The illusory community, in which individuals have up till now combined, always took on an independent existence in relation to them, and was at the same time, since it was the combination of one class over against another, not only a completely illusory community, but a new fetter as well. In the real community the individuals obtain their freedom in and through their association. [14]

The dignity of human beings lies in our capacity for transcendence through self-conscious activity raising us from estranged labor to fulfilling labor and from illusory communities to real communities of freedom, justice, and mutual recognition.

In the 20th century Jürgen Habermas linked these extraordinary capacities of a human being to our nature as language-constituted beings. It is not that we have a ‘mind’ that uses language as a tool of communication, but rather that mind, self, and all other transcendent capacities of our humanity are integral to language and constituted by language. All human beings are language constituted, and communicative language, in which we engage in real dialogue directed toward mutual understanding is the fundamental presupposition of the possibility of any and all uses of language. The strategic and instrumental languages of power, manipulation, and domination are secondary and parasitic on the communicative core of language.

In The Future of Human Nature, Habermas writes:

Kant’s “formula of ends” already provides the bridge to the “formula of laws.” The idea that a valid norm must be of a kind that can be generally accepted is suggested by the remarkable provision enjoining us to respect “humanity” in every single person by treating her as an end in itself: “Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.” The concept of humanity obliges us to take up the “we” perspective from which we perceive one another as members of an inclusive community no person is excluded from. [15]

Habermas links the linguistic capacities of the human community closely with the relation implied by the two formulations of Kant’s categorical imperative that he cites in this quotation. My relation to the other person is a function of the fact that we are members of the “inclusive” human community defined, in a fundamental way, by the fact that we are linguistic beings for whom all languages are translatable into one another and in which all languages share the same presuppositions that make communication possible.

This important analysis of language has also helped illuminate the meaning and significance of community for human life. As we have seen, a person is guaranteed an inviolable respect due to his or her ability to participate in communicative discourse, which, he argues, is the only source of valid norms. In terms of this source of our dignity (through our ability to communicate with one another in a discussion of possibly valid norms), we recognize that the moral (communicative) community is of extraordinary importance. Habermas writes:

A universalistic understanding of law and morality rests on the assumption that there is no definite obstacle to egalitarian interpersonal relations. Of course, our societies are marked by manifest as well as structural violence. They are impregnated by the micropower of silent repression disfigured by despotic suppression, deprivation of political rights, social disempowerment, and economic exploitation. However, we could not be scandalized by this if we did not know that these shameful conditions might also be different. The conviction that all actors, as persons, obtain the same normative status and are held to deal with one another in mutual and symmetrical recognition rests on the assumption that there is, in principle, a reversibility to interpersonal relationships. No dependence on another person must be irreversible. [16]

Just as human dignity embraces simultaneously the ‘I’ of an individual and our common humanity, so the way is open to a global human community grounded in communicative discourse and mutual respect. Implicit in our self-aware use and analysis of language is a ‘critical social theory’ in which the egalitarian human community is implied free from structural violence, repression, and economic exploitation. Both individual and species possess this self-transcending capacity. We are ‘scandalized’ by present conditions precisely because we have this ‘eschatological’ or ‘utopian’ dimension built into our common, linguistically mediated human temporality.

There are, of course, many other thinkers who could and should be mentioned in a survey of the thought of human dignity, but I will cite just one more that brings our overview into the 21st century. Swami Agnivesh, who has worked for many years worldwide as an activist on behalf of a transformed human situation, published his book Practical Spirituality in 2013. The book contains a powerful critique of the current world system as well as an incisive critique of the world religions in relation to our global condition of exploitation, domination, war, dehumanization, and injustice. Swami Agnivesh writes:

Every human being needs to be empowered to attain the fullness of his/her hidden human scope. And conditions conducive to the full unfolding of the human potential in all people must be created. History bears witness to the fact that such a goal cannot be achieved within the current paradigm of power. The business of true spirituality, in the end, is for love to supersede power as the shaping paradigm for the human species. The essence of the spiritual light that all great religious seers have brought is the need for the human species to shift from the love of power to the power of love. Compassion, fellow feeling, selfless commitment to an altruistic cause, the spirit of sacrificial service, social justice, and respect for human worth and human equality are all authentic expressions of the power of love—whereas the love of power sees them either as superfluous or as liabilities. [17]

Swami Agnivesh urges us to actualize our common human potential for love in such a way that we transform our world system from a power-based system to one arising from the power of love. The dynamic of dignity is the same.  Every person has inherent dignity in the capacity to “attain the fullness of his/her hidden human scope.” Yet the current paradigm of power creates a system that defeats and distorts our capacity to actualize our common human potential, the actualization of which would mean the realization of a yet higher human dignity. The eschatological proviso operates in this and every other honest vision of our human situation such as those I have cited above. We are capable of rising to a higher level of dignity through the temporalized actualization of our inherent dignity.

  1. Our Global Social Contract

Establishing a global social contract means that we choose to unite behind our common human dignity. What better foundation could there be for a united humanity?  Our human dignity is there inherent in our universal self-conscious temporality which is also the foundation for human history. It is recognized in dozens of major 20th century documents such as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

Yet the UN itself is a treaty of sovereign nation-states, not an organization based on human dignity. In affirming the primacy of sovereign nation-states (as its power and arbitrary authority basis), the UN in practice denies our universal human dignity. A true global social contract can only be founded upon our common human dignity. A true social contract would necessarily be worldwide, people-oriented, and human dignity oriented, first and foremost.

The perpetual temporal transcendence for each person is relatively easy, since the “I” remains relatively stable and consistent as we grow toward the future. With humanity, temporal transcendence is more haphazard and difficult because we are fragmented into a multiplicity of competing cultures, religions, and nation-states. Our entire future is endangered and our higher human possibilities degraded because of this fragmentation. We can only coherently begin to appropriate our ability for historical transcendence toward a truly transformed future if we unite together within a global social contract. The contract does not bind or limit our freedom, it allows us to work together to more fully actualize our freedom and dignity.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is by far the best model for this unity in diversity and serves as both a blueprint and ideal for a liberated human future [18]. The Preamble to the Constitution places it within a temporal dynamic of a needed paradigm shift: “aware that humanity has come to a turning point in history.” The reasons cited for this are identified in the next several paragraphs: “the interdependence of all peoples,” reaching “the brink of ecological and social catastrophe,” recognizing the “illusion” of “security through military defense,” facing the “ever increasing disparity between the rich and the poor” and consciousness of “our obligation to posterity.”

We are obliged to posterity to turn the world around from its present disastrous course to a world of “unity in diversity”:  “when war shall be outlawed and peace prevail” and “when the earth’s total resources shall be used for human welfare.” The Earth Constitution is based directly on our human dignity: our inherent dignity to self-consciously discern the horrible conditions in the present and our potential dignity for actualizing our higher human capacities embodied in the intelligible goods discerned by what Block calls “our utopian conscience and knowledge.”

The “broad functions” of the Earth Federation under the Constitution outlined in Article 1 present us with intelligible ideals that must be realized if we are to survive much longer on this planet [19]. Our dignity demands that we form a federation that ends war, protects universal human rights, creates reasonable economic equity, regulates world commerce for the common good, protects the planetary environment, and addresses all problems beyond the scope of nation-states. To create a federation that addresses these global issues would be, in the words of Swami Agnivesh, to effect a paradigm shift from a power-dominated system to a love-orientated system.

Every one of the above thinkers understood human dignity as universal and as demanding universal actualization.  Plato identified this with our rational capacity to move dialectically by means of the logos within to the logos that informs the cosmos.  Cicero understood it as rational discernment of one law for all. Meister Eckhart recognizes our universal human capacity for God-realization and awakening. Pico della Mirandola identifies our dignity with our freedom to move to a higher level of existence, which is exactly what the ratification of the Earth Constitution would accomplish.

For Pascal, thought inherently and continuously moves us toward transcendence of our unsatisfactory human condition. Rousseau declares that the social contract moves us to become more fully human. Marx understood that we need to eliminate systems of exploitation and alienation and move toward a just economic system and a self-aware human community. Habermas demonstrated that language presupposes human equality and the duty to eliminate systems of structural violence in favor of democratic dialogue directed toward mutual understanding. Agnivesh understands that we must transform the world system from its present institutions based on power to institutions based on love.

The concept of dignity in all these thinkers demands that we unite together as a species to address our lethal problems and establish the world as a peace system, justice system, and sustainability system. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth brings human dignity to a higher level. It actualizes the ideal inherent in our self-aware temporality, bringing us closer to Kant’s vision of a world community of ends in themselves. Through the creation of a World Parliament, it brings to humanity an “intentional wholeness” similar to that which characterizes each individual human project. With the World Parliament and other features under the Earth Constitution, humanity as a whole can for the first time be said to have a brain.

Articles 12 and 13 of the Constitution give us details of political, economic, and social rights that need to be actualized as the corollary of true human dignity. The Constitution also gives us the rights to peace and a protected planetary environment, rights that no sovereign nation-state can dream of offering to its citizens, since the very structure of a world divided into some 193 such nation-states defeats these rights. An authentic social contract would move us from the power orientation identified by Swami Agnivesh, in which fragments of humanity kill and destroy one another in pursuit of control and domination, to a love orientation, in which the welfare of all and the common good become the focus of the world system.

The Earth Constitution is itself temporalized under that aspect of dignity that governs change through the pursuit of intelligible goods and the “utopian conscience.”  Peace is an intelligible good; war is not.  Protecting human rights is an intelligible good, violating rights (which happens worldwide today) is not. Reasonable economic equity is an intelligible good; vast disparities in wealth are not.  Ecological sustainability is an intelligible good; environmental destruction (currently happening worldwide) is not. By ratifying the Earth Constitution, we are simply fulfilling our human existential telos for ideal intelligible goods, thereby actualizing our human dignity.

The Constitution itself is a temporalized document predicating perpetual change into a transformed future for humanity. Not only do its democratic processes promote rational change toward actualizing intelligible goods, but Article 18 calls for periodic constituent assemblies in which the Constitution itself is examined for improvements and modifications. The Constitution is predicated on human dignity, rather than arbitrary sovereign power centers, because the eschatological proviso is built into its very structure, evident throughout, including Articles 13 (“Directive Principles”) and 18 (“Amendments”).

Today, human beings bow down like slaves before the power-dominated global economic and political systems. We cower like slaves before the irrational might of the national security states. We tremble before the huge banking cartels and centers of exploitation and domination. Perhaps we secretly admire unmitigated power and wealth and refuse to unite together to actualize our common human community. Yet there is a transcendent-utopian dimension built into the very structure of our lives, and we deny our own human dignity when we fail to recognize and act on this.

Indeed, today more and more people are also recognizing that we need to found a rational world community based truly on human dignity and temporality.  More and more people realize that the present world disorder is lethal and is rapidly destroying a credible future for the next generations.  What has made us so cowardly that we must bow and scrape before irrational and unjust world power systems, not the least of which are the so-called sovereign nations themselves?  We hide our lack of self-respect, our unwillingness to affirm our true dignity as human beings, behind the façade of ‘realism’.

We claim we are being realistic. But there is nothing small, or cowardly, or gingerly about human dignity.  Daily it confronts us with the eschatological proviso; daily it confronts us with the demands of our “utopian intelligence.” We may demean ourselves by ignoring these demands in favor of a ‘realism’ that is really cowardice, but our dignity remains intact because it is fundament to our temporalized human structure.  Our dignity demands transformation; it demands a redeemed and committed human community, and it demands that we ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.







[1] David G. Kirchhoffer, Human Dignity in Contemporary Ethics, Teneo Press, 2013, p. 178. See also, Alan Gewirth, Human Rights: Essays on Justification and Applications, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1982, p. 29.

[2] Ibid. pp. 170-71.

[3] Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, H.J. Paton, trans., Harper Torchbooks, 1964, pp. 100-101.

[4] Kirchhoffer, 2013, pp. 280-81.

[5]  John Finnis, Fundamentals of Ethics, Georgetown University Press, 1983, p. 74.

[6]  Ernst Bloch, Philosophy of the Future, Herder and Herder, 1970, p. 91.

[7]  Ken Wilber, Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World, Integral Books, 2007, p. 19.

[8] Marcus Tullius Cicero, On the Commonwealth and On the Laws, James E.G. Zetzel, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 120-121.

[9] Bernard McGinn, Ed., Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense, Paulist Press, 1981, p. 208.

[10] In Roger Hazelton, Blaise Pascal: the Genius of His Thought, The Westminster Press, 1974 p. 95.

[11] Ibid., p. 105.

[12] Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and Discourses, G.D.H. Cole, trans., E.P. Dutton & CO., p. 16.

[13] Robert C. Tucker, Ed., The Marx-Engels Reader, Second Edition, W.W. Norton & CO, 1978, p. 76.

[14] Ibid.,  p. 197.

[15]  Jürgen Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, William Rehg, et. al., trans., Polity Press, 2003, pp. 54-56.

[16] Ibid., p. 63. The above remarks on Marx and Habermas draw on my book Ascent to Freedom: Practical and Philosophical Foundations of Democratic World Law, Institute for Democracy Press, 2008.

[17] Swami Agnivesh, Practical Spirituality, Harper Element Books, 2015, p. 68.

[18] The Constitution can be found on-line at and many other places. It is available in paperback forms as well, such as Glen T. Martin, Ed., A Constitution for the Federation of Earth: With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion, Institute for Democracy Press, 2010.

[19] For an extended account, see Glen T. Martin, One World Renaissance: Holistic Planetary Transformation through a Global Social Contract, Institute for Economic Democracy Press, 2016.

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