To What End? After COVID, What should be Our Political, Economic, and Cultural Goals?

For centuries, each culture within our world of multiple cultures has pursued its own elaboration of wisdom and its own internal economic and political affairs.  Since the 20th century, it has been different.  Not only have these cultures clashed with one another on the world scene, but humankind has become aware of an impending end, a possibility of extinction of the human project through nuclear holocaust or ecological destruction.

Today, the clash of the world’s cultures needs resolution and redemption. We need to ask one another if there is some meaning to the entire development of civilization. Is there some end or goal implicit in all our cultures, nations, races, and particularities that can unite us before it is too late?

As Ervin Laszlo points out in his new book Global Shift Now!  A Call to Evolution, the coronavirus pandemic has “disrupted the power of the center,” making “system-wide” change possible. “For the first time in history,” he says, “we can consciously and purposefully choose our own destiny” (2020, 2). To ask this question itself puts the terrorist wars, our nation-state rivalries, economic calamities around the globe, the political contests, and the many self-interested economic ventures into perspective. To bury our heads in the sand and focus myopically on our emotionally-charged local problems and issues is today suicidal behavior, suicide not only for our nation with its local issues, but this myopic behavior also invites suicide for our planet as a whole as well.

Today, our very survival on this planet requires that we think and act globally. We need to “consciously and purposefully choose our own destiny.”  Yet choosing this destiny will require a synthetic vision. It will require, as the title of Laszlo’s book suggests, “a call to evolution.”  We must decide not only who and what we are as human beings but who and what we want to become. The destiny that we choose or recognize must synthetically unite global politics, economics, culture, ethics, and spirituality.

These five dimensions of human existence are not separate compartments. They are all linked. Our politics is always also about economics, as any politically-aware person knows. And both of these are about culture. Do we want a world-culture of war, the proliferation of weapons, and violent confrontations between nations, political groups, religions, or ideologies, or do we want a world-culture of peace, justice, and cooperative collaboration for the common good of humanity and future generations?

And ultimately all three of these dimensions (politics, economics, and culture) are about ethics and spirituality. They are about our inner attitude, about our awareness and compassion and rationality. Do we want an economics that ignores ethics in the endeavor to maximize private profit causing immense poverty, exploitation, and environmental degradation?  Or do we want an economics concerned with a reasonable prosperity for everyone along with a sustainable, healthy environment?

Ethics and spirituality involve our sense that we are all the same within: all free, rational, sensing-feeling, beings who desire the fullness of life, who desire the joy and fulfillment of being alive and prospering on this magnificent, astonishing, beautiful planet—the sense that we share a common fate as we hurtle through space in our orbit around the sun. Is it possible for economics to be founded on love, justice, and synergistic cooperation rather than on raw individualism, unconcern for others, and brutal competition?

To synthesize politics, economics, culture, ethics, and spirituality within a workable framework for humanity means to embrace ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. This Earth Constitution establishes a democratic political framework for our planet that allows all persons to participate in the evolutionary development of our common destiny. Ervin Laszlo’s assertion that we need consciously to choose our own destiny remains relatively meaningless unless human beings establish a political-economic framework for making this happen.

To recognize a common destiny cannot remain just some vague wish that we all somehow get on the same page.  If we have a common destiny, how do we make and implement decisions based on this destiny?  Vague demands for “choosing” do little without the concrete apparatus for making and implementing our choices.  The Constitution provides not only for human beings uniting as a political, economic, cultural, ethical, and spiritual whole.  It provides the framework for making this holism effective across all these dimensions.

The Constitution is based on the ethical and spiritual principle of unity in diversity, and it is based on the premise of human dignity.  Article 13 recognizes as a fundamental human right that the Earth Federation provide the conditions that allow “each child the full realization of his or her potential.” This stipulation, along with the entire design of the Constitution, points to the effective end or goal of human civilizational life: to provide each child opportunities for the full realization of his or her potential. Such a vision presupposes love, respect for all others, and cooperative synergy. The Constitution offers us a truly transformed world-system.

Some writers have argued that human beings cannot unite in this way until they have ethically and spiritually matured to a certain level. But human life is a whole.  The institutions that we establish to govern ourselves and guide our economies influence our consciousness. Capitalism and the system of warring nation-states distort our consciousness into malicious, hate- and fear-filled, forms.  We will not mature ethically and spiritually under these systems. Institutions are part of the wholeness of human life.

Changing the institutions helps change the consciousness.  Just as consciousness perpetuates institutions, so institutions influence consciousness. The common human destiny that we need to envision and act upon as the coronavirus disrupts the old, dominant world powers is to embrace the holism of ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

Global democracy puts the destiny of the Earth for the first time in history into the hands of the people of Earth. It takes the power away from warring imperial nation-states, super-rich oligarchs, and multinational corporations. Unless the people of Earth take responsibility for their own future, we will have no future. The warring nations, the super-rich, and the multinational corporations do not care about that future.  They are in the process of destroying it.

Uniting humanity under the principle of unity in diversity through the Earth Constitution will not diminish the wonderful diversity of human cultures, races, or religious forms.  In fact, it will serve to protect these and transform them from conflicting, warring fragments into cooperating units of the whole recognizing and respecting their legitimate, profound differences. Some religions insist that there is no future without God, but unity under the Earth Constitution will only enhance the possibility of a future with God, since our present endless wars of religious fragmentation only diminish the presence of God in the world.

In nearly all cultural and religious traditions we find comprehension of our cosmic situation in terms of the three great principles of existence: God, human beings, and world.  These three principles are not the same and need to be understood in their distinctiveness. Yet there is only one universe embraced by these three principles. They are also profoundly related. God and Man and World must be kept conceptually separate. Yet they are also inseparably related to one another, interpenetrating and interacting. The traditional word for this mutual interpenetration without assimilation is love.

The Earth Constitution itself, as a determinant document for uniting humanity and making possible awareness and effective decision-making for the common good does not specifically talk about God, or spirit, or ethics.  But it takes these aspects of our historically fragmented cultures and religions and brings them forward into the framework of a united humanity who can work out its differences with love and mutual understanding rather than with hate, fear, and acrimony.

In his great book, The Experience of God: Icons of the Mystery, Raimon Panikkar elucidates the holism of our human situation and the interrelationships of “God, Man, and World.”  We need to bring ethics and spirituality forward within the framework of the Earth Constitution so that the profundities of our human situation can become evident to all people and so that our institutions can become attuned with these profundities to promote the fullness of life for all people.

Working on behalf of the Earth Constitution means working on behalf of a world-system in the service of all human beings living with equality and the fullness of life. It means bridging the present gap between political and economic institutions and the ethical and spiritual dimensions of human life. It means that the true end or goal of human existence can emerge into common view for the first time in history. It means that we have chosen, after the devastation of the coronavirus, to take the next necessary step in the conscious evolution toward our true human ends.


Constitution for the Federation of Earth is found on-line in many places, especially at

Laszlo, Ervin (2020). Global Shift Now! A Call to Evolution. Cardiff, CA: Waterside Productions.

Martin, Glen T., ed. (2013). Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence. The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation.

Panikkar, Raimon (2006). The Experience of God: Icons of the Mystery. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.