Human Spirituality and the Earth Constitution

Every generation inherits a more sophisticated technology and a more pervasive system of domination and social control. But can every new generation inherit an awareness of existence and transformative freedom? Can every new generation inherit awareness of the deep, redeeming silence that encompasses our lives and the universe? Max Picard declares that “Nothing has changed the nature of man so much as the loss of silence” (The World of Silence, p. 41). For Picard, “technics” and the “noise” of radio, etc., have brought human beings spiritually lower, not higher. Similarly, Thomas Merton writes: “No amount of technological progress will cure the hatred that eats away the vitals of materialistic society like a spiritual cancer. The only cure is….a certain interior solitude and silence” (Thoughts in Solitude, p. xi).

This disjunction between the socialization process that impacts people worldwide through the world’s dominant institutions and human awakening may be one of the great dilemmas within the quest for human liberation. The young become socialized within the domination system and within the system of commercialized “noise” that covers up awareness of the depth dimension of silence. Under this system, the chances of awakening to the mysterious depths of existence and transformative freedom are severely diminished. Does this mean the death of what Paulo Freire calls our “ontological vocation to become more fully human”? At the moment, the commodification of existence through the global system of capitalism and the dehumanization of our existence through the savagery of militarized nation-states forces upon the people of Earth two forms of spiritually devastating idolatry: worship of materialism and worship of the nation-state. Both are disastrous for human growth toward planetary maturity.

Both of these systems fragment and deaden human awareness, forcing people’s lives into empty, idolatrous practices and diverting them from their ontological vocation to grow to spiritual, intellectual, and cultural maturity. This is one reason why the people of Earth must take control of technology as well as the dominant social system of the Earth under the Earth Federation. Of course, no social system nor system of law can force spirituality, nor can any system of law legitimately promote a particular religion, but world law can provide the conditions that make spiritual, intellectual, and cultural growth possible. The current perverse world non-system of run-away technology, nationalism, and competitive greed defeats the transformation of human consciousness. But if fragmentation and false materialism are overcome through the ascent to democratic world law under the Earth Constitution, then the new holism of a world-system based on peace, justice, and sustainability will foster a new spirituality.

We do not necessarily need a large number of people aware of the depths of existence and transformative freedom in order to establish the Earth Federation. There are many practical reasons for establishing an Earth Federation under the Earth Constitution that can be readily understood by everyone. However, the ascent to the holism of unity in diversity, along with the ascent to a universal consciousness of world citizenship, along with the beginnings of a world-system concerned to promote the common good of the entire planet and its citizens cannot but have a profound impact on human spirituality. People will no longer be diverted from the unity of our common human ontological project by the false fragmentations of capitalism and militarized nation-states. We can easily envision the military bases everywhere around the world being converted into meditation centers, retreat centers, and conflict resolution centers. The historical imperative for democracy and sustainability on our Earth may well be sufficient for establishing the Earth Federation. But establishing the Federation itself may also well be a necessary condition for further human spiritual development— without which humanity will not be able to survive.