Mind-forged Impediments to Human Liberation

Glen T. Martin

What prevents the ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth and creating an Earth Federation that can solve our most fundamental and dangerous problems on this planet?  Thinkers like Paul Raskin have declared that we need to take the next step in the coherent evolution of humanity by becoming a “planetary civilization.” If we allow things to continue in their present state of fragmentation and business as usual, we are courting the regression of humanity to what he calls “barbarism” (2016).

What is it that blocks our ascent to becoming a planetary civilization and creating a decent life for everyone on our precious planet Earth?  My argument has always been that the best instrument for actualizing a planetary civilization is ratification of the Earth Constitution. The British poet William Blake (1757-1827) wrote these lines in his poem “London”:

In every cry of every man,

In every Infant’s cry of fear,

In every voice, in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.

The nightmare of London during the early industrial revolution with its “dark Satanic Mills,” its painful cries of young harlots, chimney sweeps, and homeless youth, as described in Blake’s poetry, was a product of “mind-forg’d manacles.” The nightmare of the world today with its raging climate collapse, its increasing threat of nuclear holocaust, and its extreme poverty for some two billion of the Earth’s citizens is likewise a product of “mind-forg’d manacles.” It doesn’t have to be this way.

The capitalist system has put more than 50% of the world’s wealth in the hands of a tiny group of human beings while at least 50% of the world’s population struggles to secure their next meal. It does not have to be that way.  The deceitful economists of the dominant system speak of the “iron laws” of economics, of production, investment, and markets, all the while covering up the fact that there are no such laws, that these human relationships are designed by the human mind, and they could be different (see Martin 2021, Chaps 3, 5, and 6).

In the USA, the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations all concur on the need for a one trillion-dollar upgrade in US nuclear weapons systems in order to ensure “national security.” They speak of this as an imperative dictated by circumstances while covering up the fact that these “circumstances” have been designed by the human mind and could be different. Many people fly in airplanes around the planet and see beneath them no national boundary lines, no absolute differences between this region below and that, only one planetary sphere in orbit around our life-giving sun.  Yet it does not occur to most of these people that these boundary lines are imaginary and the militarized nightmare of “security” that they engender does not have to be that way—sovereignty is imaginary, and the division of the Earth into some 200 autonomous units reflects our “mind forg’d manacles,” not reality.

The first step in the process of human liberation is to recognize that the boundaries, the divisions, the so-called “iron laws” do not represent realities. They are collective illusions.  Human beings could design things differently.  It is more than high time that we recognize our freedom—the precious gift of freedom—which means that we can design things according to our highest and finest intuitions.  We can design the world for peace, for justice, for human rights, and for sustainability. We need not wait for some slow “evolution” in our ways of thinking. We can wake up here and now to the realization that it need not be this way and that we can change it.

Boundaries can be useful for certain purposes. They are tools to serve human well-being. But when we link them with absolute sovereignty in which nations recognize no effective laws above themselves, the boundaries become destructive of human well-being. It is similar with the concept of private property.  For purposes of privacy and democratic protection from interference by both other people and government, private property as a boundary concept can enhance human well-being.  However, when it becomes a concept of an absolute right to endless accumulation of the Earth’s resources as the private domain of superrich individuals or groups, it clearly becomes destructive of human welfare. Both national boundaries and private property are human concepts that can become “mind-forg’d manacles” destructive of human well-being.

The second step in the liberation process is to realize that the “utopian horizon” framing our human temporality is not mere subjective fantasy but rather an ontological feature of our objective human situation built into our consciousness by the cosmic evolutionary process itself.  As I wrote in my essay on http://www.Academia.edu entitled “The Utopian Horizon of Objective Human Values”: “Objective human values populate the horizon of our common human temporality. Our task is to distinguish what is merely subjective from the objective lineaments of the utopian horizon. Our task is to live toward this utopian future as faithfully as possible, to transform our broken and degraded human condition on the Earth in the direction of the perfected human community, a community of love, peace, justice, and sustainability.”

We are not helpless creatures trapped in a merely “private” subjectivity of our own minds. In fact, our minds were produced by the cosmic evolutionary process. We are the only creature we know of that consciously lives within a temporality moving from past through a dynamic present into a future that we can envision as better than the past. This is our unique freedom presented to us as a gift by the cosmos. Our limitations, our constraints, come most often from “mind-forg’d manacles that we impose upon ourselves. But our intrinsic freedom allows for metanoia, transformation. We can liberate ourselves for a truly transformed future (Martin 2018).

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is a key to this transformation. It transcends the old imaginary boundaries of militarized “sovereign” nation-states and “iron laws” of economics and places authority in the hands of a democratically elected World Parliament to actualize a world based on peace, justice, sustainability, and human dignity.  This is not a “utopian fantasy,” but an objective tool written by hundreds of world citizens working together who had liberated themselves for their own “mind-forg’d manacles.” They understood the best way to actualize our collective human potential.

William Blake, who understood in his own way what I am saying about the objective validity of our utopian horizon values, also wrote:

I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,

Till we have built Jerusalem

In England’s green & pleasant land.

The courage and energy to struggle for a transformed future arise from our objective human values and our gifts of human freedom and dignity.  For Blake, two centuries ago, the ideal city based on divine truth (Jerusalem) needed to be built in “England’s green & pleasant land,” free of its “mind-forg’d manacles” and “dark Satanic Mills.”

Today, it is global civilization that needs to be built.  Today, it is all of us or none.  Today, the very future of human existence is in danger because of these “mind forg’d manacles.”  Jerusalem today symbolizes the city of Earth, what Paul Raskin called “Earthland,” our planetary home as a cosmic city of peace and freedom. The sword of vision, the sword of criticism, the sword of struggle, the sword of justice, and the sword of freedom must not sleep in our hands.Indeed, the Earth Constitution itself is our most effective Sword, a concrete instrument for making it happen. We need to ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

Works Cited

Blake, William (1970). In The Norton Anthology of Poetry: Third Edition. Alexander W. Allison, et al., eds. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Constitution for the Federation of Earth, at www.earthconstitution.world

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

Martin, Glen T. (2020). “The Utopian Horizon of Objective Human Values,” www.academia.edu.

Martin, Glen T. (2021). The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet. Independence, VA: Peace Pentagon Press.

Raskin, Paul (2016). Journey to Earthland: The Great Transition to Planetary Civilization. Boston, MA: Tellus Institute.

What is Freedom?

Glen T. Martin

The cosmos has produced a creature both characterized by freedom and longing for freedom. We long to be free.  We are characterized by freedom because we find an astonishing quality within ourselves. The world as we find it appears to contain no freedom. It is a world conditioned by implacable laws of gravity, entropy, and causality. The other creatures inhabiting the world operative out of instinct, and they lack the self-awareness that appears requisite for freedom.

Only human beings have the self-conscious feeling of making choices between alternatives. Only human beings can envision a goal and set a course of action to achieve that goal. Only human beings can feel the laws of gravity, entropy, and causality as an impediment, a threat to freedom and imagine ways that these laws can be turned to the service of freedom. Only human beings can imagine degrees of freedom pointing toward the possibility of a higher, ultimate freedom.

Numerous thinkers and institutions have linked our intrinsic freedom with our infinite human dignity, from Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative, to the profound declaration of Vatican II entitled Dignitatis Humanae Personae, to the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights that begins with the ringing words “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.” There is something about being human that carries a special, non-quantifiable, not commodifiable quality that sets us apart from all other creatures.

Each human being is a locus of personal freedom, but each human being is also interdependent with nature and with other human beings. The two go together in mysterious ways. In addition, many thinkers and traditional religions have seen human life as a path or journey to the realization of ever-greater freedom. Can we be free as persons while at the same time being part of these integral networks?  We appear caught in the nexus of natural forces through our bodies and we appear as a mere knot in the net of social relationships that help constitute what and who we are. The problem of freedom embraces all of these dimensions.

As we emerge from childhood into adulthood, we experience a growing freedom from the child’s state of being the victim of emotions and impulses over which the child has little conscious control.  Yet we grow into a more conscious adult state within which we appear to be able to make real decisions. This is one reason why the legal framework of society holds adults to a higher standard of responsibility for their actions than it does children. The very structure of law assumes human freedom.

But as young adults we also see that freedom is not only an ontic condition allowing personal choices, but is also perhaps the very goal and meaning of one’s life-project. We see that life is about liberation, salvation, fulfillment, self-realization.  We feel that a higher freedom and even ultimate freedom are both possible as both a framework for the human quest and for my personal quest.

Traditional sages and religious traditions around the world have laid out stages, signposts, practices, and paths to enable our pilgrimages toward human perfection and the highest freedom. A human being is both characterized by ontic freedom and a pilgrim on a journey to realization of ever-greater freedom, a freedom that transcends even the necessary laws that govern our bodies and the conditioning of our social networks to which we belong. We realize as well that both these sources of unfreedom can be transformed to varying degrees to enhance our freedom. Modern technology has learned to manipulate the necessary conditions of existence to make access to food, water, shelter, and energy extraordinarily easy (for those who can afford these), freeing us in many ways to pursue our existential destiny that strives for ever-greater freedom.

Similarly, we realize that economic and political conditions of society can enhance or restrict freedom, that negative forms of institutionalization can suppress freedom and better forms can provide economic, social, and political well-being that frees us to pursue the dream of ever-greater freedom. We see that today, these social, economic, and political conditions are different. Vast political systems linked to multi-national sovereign nation-states and international struggles condition lives lived locally everywhere on our planet. The global inextricably links with the local raising the question of human freedom to our entire planet.

In today’s world we find that the technology that has enhanced our freedom has also produced weapons of mass-destruction placing our quest for freedom under the dark cloud of uncertainty and pending apocalypse. We also find that the social institutions of militarized sovereign nation-states constricts our freedom in multiple ways, from having to pay war taxes, to having to fight in their wars, to limitations on our freedom to travel through a visa system, to brutal blockades, sanctions, and other mechanisms used by one “free” portion of humanity to destroy the freedom and dignity of some other portion of the human family.

The quest for freedom that characterizes the nature of every human being and constitutes the dignity of every human being is undermined and destroyed today by global economics and political systems that place over a billion people in the slavery of extreme poverty and that fragment our planet into a hell of endless conflict and denial of freedom. That is why the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is the key to continuing our common human quest for freedom. It ends both he war-system and the poverty-system for all humanity.

Our common human quest for ever-greater freedom and ever-enhanced dignity, that is, for the true fulfillment of our ontological vocation, cannot continue until we have established the unity in diversity of our common human project. Our common human project is about freedom. It requires uniting humanity in the recognition that the world is one family (as the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, quoted above, declares). Our human destiny includes a deep coherence and synergy with one another globally so that the institutional frameworks of our lives enhance our ontological vocation rather than defeat it.

Lawlessness is not freedom, operating out of impulses, greed, blind instincts, or power-lust is not freedom but inner slavery.  Lawfulness needs to be imposed upon not only our personal lusts and impulses but on civilization as a whole. Beyond the level of nation-states there is little lawfulness. It is democratic laws, empowering everyone equally and justly, that bring civilizational freedom. Power-struggles are immature, childlike drives and impulses. That is why children are not held responsible to the law.  The nation-states on the international level are like children confusing their drives, their irrational impulses for power, competition, and domination, with lawful freedom.

The Earth Constitution not only unites humanity under the rule of democratic laws empowering the freedom of everyone, it prohibits the uses of technology for destructive purposes, demilitarizes the world, and directs all institutions toward the use of technology to protect the environment and enhance the quality of every human life. Those today who happen to live in favorable circumstances who pursue their personal liberation in isolation from the revolutionary imperative to transform our planetary institutions to serve everyone on the Earth thereby betray our common humanity and our common human destiny.

Our common human quest for perfect freedom finds that the individual human drive for freedom is inextricably bound up with our common humanity, our common ontological vocation, and with the cosmos as a whole. Perfect freedom, as all the great traditional religious paths have confirmed both transcends and completes our individual selves. We become free when we transcend our immature egoisms and ascend to transpersonal levels of conscious and intuitive relationship with others and with the whole of existence. We experience both freedom-from suffering, as Buddhism emphasizes, and freedom-for a positive relationship with the ground of being, with the very foundations of existence. At this level we realize the profound truth that the world is one family, and that “nothing and no one is a stranger to me.”

We cannot realize this higher level of freedom within today’s world of fragmentation and incoherence. Revolutionary solidarity in the name of human freedom and dignity is the only legitimate moral response to the horror of our current world disorder. Those who make personal liberation central to their life-activity apart from the rest abdicate their responsibility and betray our common humanity. Ratification of the Earth Constitution is the single great moral imperative of our day.

This imperative involves revolutionary solidarity in the service of human freedom and dignity. Freedom and the struggle for freedom are not two different things. The path embodies the goal and the goal encompasses the path. Ends and means cannot be separated. All human beings are pilgrims in the quest for freedom. Let us work together to ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

Bibliography

Jonas, Hans (1984). The Imperative of Responsibility: In Search of an Ethics for the Technological Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kant, Immanuel (1964). Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals. Norman Kemp Smith, Trans. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Kirchhoffer, David (2013). Human Dignity in Contemporary Ethics. Amherst, NY: Teneco Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2008). Ascent to Freedom: Practical and Philosophical Implications of Democratic World Law. 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. London: Cambridge Scholars.

Panikkar, Raimon (1979). Myth, Faith, and Hermeneutics: Cross-Cultural Studies. New York: Paulist Press.

A Drowning Civilization Oblivious to the Life-Raft of the Earth Constitution

Glen T. Martin

www.earthconstitution.world

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is our life-raft, our practical tool and lifeboat for bringing humanity out of the hellish ocean of self-destruction in which we are now drowning. Human beings today are feeling “cut off from the future,” as Albert Camus expressed this. We do not see a way forward. We cling, instead, to irrational hates and fears, to irrational religious ideologies, to militaristic national pride. We are not willing, as Camus put it, to commit to a “new social contract” that abolishes nation-state murder once and for all (1986, 27, 48). We are drowning, gasping for air. We are sinking in an ocean of despair in at least four fundamental ways.

First, we are facing apocalyptic nuclear holocaust.  The nuclear weapons powers continue to upgrade the speed and usability of these horrific weapons. As many writers since the later 1950s have pointed out, these weapons point not only to a suicidal whirlpool of crises in which the world appears struggling, but to a fundamental insanity that infests the governments and leaders of our world for the past three-quarters of a century. Daniel Ellsberg, in his book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner calls it “institutionalized madness” (2017, 332).

Second, we are facing cascading climate collapse. A planet whose climate stability that has supported human civilization for the past 12,000 years, has become fundamentally destabilized, and whose instability is cascading toward deep ecological system changes inimical to human survival. David Wallace-Wells, for example, describes this cascading effect in detail in his book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming (2019).

These first two dimensions of the seething ocean in which we struggle are familiar to most thoughtful people. Our best thinkers have been speaking about these consequences of our planetary system since at least the 1960s. These aspects of the horror in which we are caught are integral consequences of the system itself, a system inexorably leading to climate collapse and/or nuclear war. This system has two dimensions, both together comprising the writhing turmoil within which we are gasping for breath as the waves break over our heads.

Third, a global economic ideology and exploitation system called capitalism, a system in which the imperative of endless growth is built directly into its very foundations. It is a system in which money is not merely a means of exchange but a commodity that multiplies itself indefinitely (for whose possessing it as their “private property”), based on the principle of interest accruing on debt. It is a “closed system” in which the profit for a few means deprivation for the many. Today this system, begun some four centuries ago, has led to less than 1% of the Earth’s population owning 50% of its wealth, while at least 50% of humanity lives in the hell of extreme poverty and deprivation. As many environmental thinkers and economists are declaring today: “you cannot have endless growth on a finite planet” (e.g., Daly 1996; Speth 2008; Raworth 2020).

Capitalism is a failed system and a fundamental cause of both the climate crisis and the threat of nuclear holocaust, the former because the system of interest accruing to money is debt-driven and requires endless growth, and the latter because capitalism funds anything, no matter how evil, that makes the most profits. In Nazi Germany the big corporations and banks welcomed slave labor, poison gas for the concentration camps, and the war system that gave them enormous profits, and in the USA, the big corporations and banks welcome the astronomical military machine, including nuclear weapons, along with world-wide weapons sales, and the endless profits these generate.

Fourth, the system of militarized sovereign nation-states is a failed system. It is a system that institutionalizes competition among nations, competition for markets, resources, ascendency, military superiority, and ultimately war. As thinker after thinker since the 17th century has pointed out the system of sovereign nation-states in inherently a war-system, as Immanuel Kant in the 18th century, for example, definitively underlines. It is therefore inherently immoral, generating the moral imperative for democratic world law to end this war-system (1957, orig. pub. 1795).

Renowned philosopher Raimon Panikkar points out that all these four dimensions of the ocean in which we are drowning are rooted in a mode of consciousness that is strictly temporalized—we think exclusively in terms of linear time (1993, 108 ff.).For several centuries we have believed that we can take control of the present (and dominate nature) in order to determine a better future for ourselves. And that “better future” has been defined in quantitative terms only—more money, more possessions, more experiences, more pleasure, more social status, more power, more “security,” et cetera, without end.

This writhing ocean in which we are drowning has discoverable depths that transcend these four dimensions of this hell in which we appear to be trapped. Since the time of Max Planck in 1900 and Einstein in 1905, science has been revealing for us the holism of our universe and the interdependence of all things with one another and with the whole. And science writers like Gary Zukav (1979) or Fritjof Capra (1975) have shown the connections between the new scientific insights and Eastern wisdom concerning the whole. The universe has also been revealed as an evolving whole, and thinkers like Teilhard de Chardin (1959) and Alfred North Whitehead (1979) have extrapolated the immense implications of this. Ervin Laszlo (2014) and others have shown that this evolving holism, including time and space, is rooted in a quantum plenum in which the fulness of the present generates endless potentialities that become realized through the dynamism of the whole.

These four dimensions of the ocean threatening our survival all draw on a linear concept of history and time, eventuating in the linear concept of powerful nation-states dominating in the world-historical struggle for ascendency and in the linear concept of endless economic growth that somehow (magically, through an “invisible hand”) will end poverty and create a decent planetary civilization. These linear concepts harken back to Newtonian physics: mechanistic, causally determined, and radically anachronistic. Holism supersedes linear time, linear history, linear mechanisms for exploiting nature, and linear economic systems. As economist Kate Raworth points out, proper economics is not linear, but should be doughnut shaped (2020).  As philosopher Errol E. Harris points out, if we want to survive on this planet, “holism should be the dominating concept in all our thinking” (2000, 90).

Many thoughtful people today, of course, espouse holism as not only derived from science but also as affirmed by mystics and wisdom seekers from every major religion and many independent spiritual questers. But clearly this won’t do much good unless we have the courage and the insight to change the linear system on which both the sovereign nation-states and the global capitalist economic system are based. This means that a “green capitalism” is a contradiction in terms. This means that the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), premised on the system of militarized sovereign nation-states, is a prescription for planetary suicide, for willfully drowning in the seething ocean rather than reaching for the life-raft of the Earth Constitution

The Earth Constitution is holistic from beginning to end. It does not, of course, express the philosophical concepts I am reviewing here. Rather, it unites humanity under the principle of unity in diversity. Unlike both capitalism and the militarized sovereign state system, the Constitution does not look for the ascendency of some part (some nation or religion or ideology). Nor does it imagine that ever-increasing economic growth can somehow magically address global poverty, nor that the key to the climate crisis is some “green capitalism,” initiating a carbon-tax or whatever (such as the carbon-tax proposed by Al Gore in his recent Ted Talk).

This holistic structure, permeating the Earth Constitution from top to bottom, results in a fundamentally non-historical view of our human situation. If human history is the record of struggles, wars, quests for power, and endless bloodshed, then the Earth Constitution represents the end of all that—the end of history. The Constitution is premised on qualitative, nor quantitative principles. The dignity of humanity (its foundational assumption), for example, is non-historical and cannot be quantified (cf. Martin 2021, 132 ff.).  The need for food, education, clean water, and economic security are not predicated on some principle of endless growth under the Constitution, but are treated as non-quantifiable inalienable rights. The need for planetary peace, disarmament, and a healthy planetary environment are not predicated on the victory of this or that coalition of militarized nation-states, but are treated as non-quantifiable universal rights commensurate with human dignity.

By presenting us with a holistic world-system design, the Earth Constitution establishes a practical plan for a deep transformation of our relation to the ocean itself, within which we are drowning. It recognizes that the ocean in which we are struggling is not the enemy. It is we who are our own worst enemy.  The life-boat within today’s hurricane does not sail us into some other hurricane of the future, but calms the stormy waters of the ocean. For the transition to non-quantifiable values within a practical planetary governance system means that this constitutional framework helps transition us to a transhistorical consciousness (cf. Panikkar 1993, 120 ff.). We will never actualize such a transhistorical consciousness as long as we fail to transform the very system that defeats its actualization.

The Constitution is neither “top-down” or “bottom-up.” It is holistic, a vehicle for making human thought and consciousness also holistic. As philosopher Nicholas Berdyaev rightly declared, we must first solve our most fundamental problems of war, disarmament, human rights, social inequality, and climate collapse if we ever want to expect a new revelation of the “spirit” (1961, 130-31), a new relation with the depths of the ocean in which we flounder. Through uniting humanity under a system designed to address all our interdependent problems simultaneously (“giving the Earth a brain” as I put it in my newest book, The Earth Constitution Solution, 2021) we bring humanity to a new stage of maturity in which we become capable of a new, redeeming openness to the depths of existence.

Solving our most fundamental problems on planet Earth—war, human rights, poverty, inequality, and climate collapse—will free us to be open to the transformative depths of being. The Earth Constitution¸ can and must serve as a life-raft carrying us toward a transhistorical consciousness, a consciousness in which the point of life is seen in the depths of life, in the joy of living itself, not in the historical and quantitative movement away from the present into a future of more—more power, more wealth, more consumer junk filling our lives, our households, and our minds.

As Panikkar expresses this: “The meaning of life does not lie in the future…, but in life itself, lived in its present and actual depth” (1993, 119). When we are in harmony with the depths of the ocean, we will not drown, but gently float within its awesome cosmic intelligence, resonating with the fulness of life and the bliss of being. The Earth Constitution, by addressing the most lethal yet practical problems of our common life on this planet, is the life-boat to carry us toward that cosmic realization—that harmony with the ocean of life.

Works Cited

Berdyaev, Nicholas (1961). The Fate of Man in the Modern World. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Camus, Albert (1986). Neither Victims nor Executioners. Trans. Dwight Macdonald. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.

Capra, Fritjof (1975). The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism. Berkeley: Shambhala Press.

Daly, Herman E. (1996). Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development. Boston: Beacon Press.

Ellsberg, Daniel (2017). The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. New York: Bloomsbury Press.

Harris, Errol E. (2000). Apocalypse and Paradigm: Science and Everyday Thinking. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Kant, Immanuel (1957, orig. pub. 1795). Perpetual Peace. Louis White Beck, trans. New York: Macmillan:

Laszlo, Ervin (2014). The Self-Actualizing Cosmos: The Akasha Revolution in Science and Human Consciousness. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Martin, Glen T. (2010). Constitution for the Federation of Earth: With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2021). The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet. Independence, VA: Peace Pentagon Press.

Panikkar, Raimon (1993). The Cosmotheandric Experience: Emerging Religious Consciousness. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Raworth, Kate (2017). Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.

Speth, James Gustav (2008). The Bridge at the Edge of the World. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1959). The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.

Wallace-Wells, David (2019). The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. New York: Penguin/Random House.

Whitehead, Alfred North (1978). Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology. New York: The Free Press.

Zukov, Gary (1979). The Dancing WuLi Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. New York: William Morrow and Company.

Our Cosmic Journey and the Earth Constitution

Sages from all the great world’s traditions,

Have pondered the profound mystery,

Of being human,

The deep mystery of being alive,

Of being aware,

Of being part of this astonishing cosmos–

The primal miracle of existence,

Flared forth in this vast cosmic process,

For 14 billion years—evolving,

And blossoming into awareness,  

On our beautiful planet Earth,

Our home made for life,

Made for joy,

Made for the fullness of existence.

* * * * * * * * * *

All things evolve,

Cosmos, planets, and all persons,

Change with time,

And we emerged as human beings,

From primordial roots,

Only yesterday on this cosmic scale.

Yet a miracle was born with us,

Awareness of the mystery was born with us–

God, humanity, cosmos,

A wonderous trio intertwined,

From the very foundations of the world.

Ancient sacred texts declared,

“Let us make man in our image and likeness,”

Ancient texts declared, “The world is one family,”

And ancient sages declared that we should love one another.

* * * * * * * * * *

But human freedom included power,

Power to enslave, dominate, exploit,

Power to divide you from me.

Kings and conquerors grasped at power,

Rivers of blood flowed through,

The corridors of history,

To satisfy the lust for power and division–

Your culture verses my culture,

Your religion versus my religion,

Your race versus my race,

Your nation versus my nation.

They created boundaries on the Earth

And boundaries in the minds,

Of peoples everywhere.

Confusing boundaries with reality,

Rivers of blood flowed forth,

From the boundaries,

With their lust for power and division.

* * * * * * * * * *

Boundary people ignored the ancient sacred text declaring–

“The nameless is the beginning of the ten thousand things.”

They confused the finger pointing at the moon for the moon,

Imprisoned in boxes of their own making,

They went to war defending their boxes.

Their religious boxes, their racial boxes, their national boxes.

Today we see our precious Earth from space–

No boundary lines shining on that jewel–

No divisions, no boxes, no mine and thine,

Only a blue sphere floating in empty space,

One planet, one humanity, one divine mystery,

One beautiful oasis of for all of life.

A planet evolved from the darkness of cold space,

Into warmth and beauty and life and hope.

* * * * * * * * * *

Many men and women joined in this awareness,

To write the Constitution for the Federation of Earth

To place the boxes and the boundaries,

In proper perspective,

To love the Earth as our cosmic home,

To respect the dignity of all persons,

And other living creatures,

On our precious Earth that belongs to all.

The Earth Constitution,

Gives us back our home,

Restores the human family,

And points to peace on Earth.

With freedom for the fulness of life,

With a peace that embraces justice for all peoples,

With a holism of ecological wisdom and concern,

The Earth Constitution gives back to all,

for the first time on a planetary scale,

A planet filled with hope and love.

The dream of the ancient sacred texts,

That the world is one family,

Made in one image,

An unspeakable mystery beyond the boxes and the boundaries,

Asks for all of us today,

To evolve beyond our boxes and our boundaries,

Into the unity in diversity,

Of the Earth constitution solution.

Human Destiny Is in Our Hands

Glen T. Martin

www.earthconstitution.world       www.oneworldrenaissance.com  

Our age is called the “Anthropocene.”  Geologists, who deal in millions of evolutionary years, call it that. The name has also taken on common usage.  It means that the ecosystem of the planet is in our hands.  It means that the capacity to make the war to end all wars through universal extinction is in our hands.  It means that the fate of the Earth and all its living creatures is in our hands.  How can we, as seemingly powerless individuals, deal with this magnified level of responsibility?

This brief essay explores the latest insights into our human situation arising from quantum theory indicating a paradigm-shift in the way we understand our ability to transform our selves and our world. We possess a very real capacity for influencing the future of our planet. It shows the relevance of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth to these insights, pointing the way toward a truly peaceful, just, and sustainable world system.

Contemporary science has, of course, much to tell us about our human situation. Scientific cosmology has revealed that all things are rooted in a “quantum plenum” within which space and time do not appear to exist. Evolutionary cosmologist Ervin Laszlo calls this plenum “the Akashic Field” after the similar idea of a plenum described in the Upanishads of ancient India (2007). The world appears rooted in the quantum plenum and arises from this field as a vast manifold of galaxies, stars, planets, force fields, evolutionary processes, planets, and living creatures.

Our minds, including our physical brains, emerge from this quantum plenum, as contemporary physicist, Henry Stapp, makes clear (2011, Chap.1). We are not mechanical cogs in a vast causally determined universe of impersonal forces as Newtonian physics supposed. Stapp reasons that our selfhood emerges as an expression of this “interconnected whole.”  We are expressions of the whole and our responsibilities are connected to it:  “With our physically efficacious minds now integrated into the unfolding of the uncharted and yet-to-be-plumbed potentialities of an intricately interconnected whole, the responsibility that accompanies the power to decide things on the basis of one’s own thoughts, ideas, and judgments is laid upon us” (ibid., 117).

In a universe of fields within fields, wholes within wholes, the whole with which we are most intimately connected is humanity—our common anthropological, civilizational, and ethical wholeness. Our thoughts, ideas, and judgments influence human destiny. In our day of on-going climate collapse and ever-possible nuclear war, our thoughts and ideas may even determine whether humanity will survive and flourish or whether we will end in self-extinction.  What and how should we be thinking?

When we critically examine our human situation, we find that there are patterns of thought and social institutions that continue to mirror the Newtonian assumptions that contemporary science has long since abandoned.  The dominant economic institutions still require us to think and act in terms of competitive self-interest, rather than in terms of our collective human destiny.  The dominant political institutions (a global system of militarized sovereign nation-states) requires us to think and act in terms of national self-interest, rather than in terms of our common human destiny.

Our thoughts, ideas, and judgments lead us inexorably to conclude that all war should end, and that peace should prevail on our planet.  They lead us to conclude that universal human rights and dignity should be honored and respected everywhere on Earth.  They lead us to conclude that humanity should be united to combat climate destruction and to restore the health of the Earth as a happy home for future generations. None of these appear possible without a united world.

We see that major thinkers have pointed to the possibility and necessity for a united humanity. Albert Einstein declared that we must have “one world or none” (1968, 421).  Albert Camus affirmed that only a world parliament could move us beyond a world in which we are forced to be either victims or executioners (1986, orig. pub. 1946).  Ervin Laszlo shows that we need to attain a common human “harmony and coherence” in which we cooperate for a planetary common good (2020, 19-20). Buckminster Fuller writes that as we achieve an “Earth planet-based humanity,” we will “be free in the sense that [we] will not struggle for survival on a “you” or “me” basis, and will therefore be able to trust one another and be free to co-operate in spontaneous and logical ways” (1972, 95).

Quantum science has not only shown the significance of human thought in the scheme of things, it has revealed the power and freedom of the emerging human coherence when we drop the superficial divisions of race, religion, nationality, and culture and see one another in terms of our common humanity. Physics has experienced a complete paradigm-shift, Stapp affirms, in which “a purported theory of matter alone is converted into a theory of the relationship between matter and mind” (ibid., 20). We can transform our Earth and our human condition through what I have called our “objective utopian values,” values that embrace the unity in diversity of our human condition (2021).

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth begins with the declaration that we are “conscious that humanity is one” and that this very consciousness is “the basis for a new age when war shall be outlawed and peace prevail” (2016, 70). The insights of the above thinkers can be actualized only when we transcend the artificial divisions imposed by the outdated global economic system and its partner the system of militarized sovereign nation-states, both of which originated in the pre-quantum Newtonian era. Human destiny depends on our collective human decisions, on our consciousness “that humanity is one,” and the Constitution—like a laser beam—concentrates our capacity for making universal, life-affirming decisions.

The Newtonian era tended to view human beings as isolated atoms disconnected from the natural world and from one another. Capitalism and the system of militarized sovereign nations think in this way. Today we understand that all things are interconnected and interdependent and that our human minds connect directly with the quantum plenum in which the entire natural world is rooted. Many advanced thinkers, such as Errol E. Harris (1992, 12), have concluded that the universe has become conscious of itself in us. Philosopher Raimon Panikkar declares: “I am the connecting link between the past and the future, between myself and others, and this on a cosmic and universal level from which not a single being is excluded” (1979, 379).

The thinking of each of us can influence others, and the thinking of each of us can foster the coherence and cooperation of the whole. Yet in order to save ourselves we need to magnify this power dramatically. We must be united in our vision. The Earth Constitution offers a brilliantly designed system for converting our planet to coherence and evolutionary synergy. It is a practical tool for planetary cooperation, extending democratic governance to our planet as a whole. Human destiny is in our hands as individuals, but our ability to guide human destiny is magnified immensely when we unite humanity under a common economic and political system designed to allow us to work together and “cooperate in spontaneous and logical ways.”

If each of us is concerned with our common human destiny, the most effective thing that we can do to promote this is work for the ratification of the Earth Constitution. Alone we can do little, especially as we remain fragmented within militarized rival nation-states and global competitive economics.  By working for ratification of this Constitution, we simultaneously work toward uniting humanity within a dialogue-promoting and unity-promoting system that can transform our chaotic and broken world into wholeness and harmony.

Developing our spiritual awareness (our sense of the whole) is not enough unless this eventuates in real structural transformation of our broken world system.  Cooperation requires a global perspective: all of us. As planetary thinker Mortimer Adler expressed this: “’All’ – when what is meant is all without exception – is the most radical and perhaps the most revolutionary term in the lexicon of political thought…. That we are now for the first time in history beginning to mean all without exception when we say ‘all’ is another indication of the newness of the emerging ideal of the best society, the institutions of which will benefit all men everywhere” (1991, 90).

This is precisely the role of the Earth Constitution. It provides the institutional arrangements necessary to make this “all” a reality.  It requires not only that we think in terms of the wholeness of humanity but that we act to bring about institutions premised on the wholeness of humanity, on the wholeness of human civilization, and on the wholeness of our planetary ecosystem. 

My forthcoming book The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet spells out and elaborates the points made in this essay, and it also shows in detail why the UN system must be integrated under the Earth Constitution. Human destiny is indeed within our hands. We must unite humanity under the banner of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, transforming our world system to one of genuine peace, justice, and sustainability.

Works Cited

Adler, Mortimer (1991). Haves Without Have-Nots. Essays for the 21st Century on Democracy and Socialism. New York: Macmillan.

Camus, Albert (1986, orig. pub. 1946). Neither Victims Nor Executioners. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.

Einstein, Albert (1968). Einstein on Peace. Eds. Otto Nathan and Heinz Norden. New York: Schocken Books.

Fuller, Buckminster (1972). Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. New York: Pocket Books.

Harris, Errol E. (1992). Cosmos and Theos: Biblical and Theological Implications of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. London: Humanities Press.

Laszlo, Ervin (2007). Science and the Akashic Field. An Integral Theory of Everything. Second Edition. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Laszlo, Ervin (2020). Reconnecting to the Source. New  York: St. Martins Press.

Martin, Glen T., ed. (2016). The Constitution for the Federation of the Earth: with an introduction by Glen T. Martin. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2021). “Utopian Horizon Value Theory: A Transformative Power at the Heart of Human Futurity,” article in the American International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. Vol. 7, No. 1, February, 2021: aijhss.cgrd.org/index.php/54-contact/115-vol-7-no-1-february-2021

Martin, Glen T. (2021). The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet. Independence, VA: Peace Pentagon Press.

Panikkar, Raimon (1979). Myth, Faith, and Hermeneutics. New York: Paulist Press.

Stapp, Henry (2011). Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer. Second Edition. London: Springer Publisher.

Our Common Human Future and the Earth Constitution

Glen T. Martin

www.earthconstitution.world      www.oneworldrenaissance.com

It is only since the 20th century that a widespread conception of our world as a unified whole made up of diverse cultures, languages, nations, religions, and traditions has dawned upon many people.  This multiplicity moves into an unknown future—involving what each nation, religion, or tradition does as contributing to the fate of the whole.  Humanity lurches forward, a chaos of initiatives and perspectives, ultimately creating a future that is out of control, unplanned, unthought out, because it is a product of uncoordinated multiple thrusts forward.

With the advent of weapons of mass destruction and scientific awareness of on-going climate collapse, humanity is becoming aware that we face perdition and possible self-extinction.  Science shows us that we are wiping out other forms of life with great rapidity because we are destroying the ecosystems necessary for their survival. This unraveling of the planetary ecosystem encompassing many smaller ecosystems points to a continued unraveling that will lead to human extinction as well.

Meanwhile the United States and Russia are investing billions of dollars into upgrading their nuclear weapons war-fighting capacities, for fighting a war that will be the last war for all of humankind, and the new Biden administration in the US, from its chronic imperial arrogance, has renewed a cold war against Russia and China.  Around our planet human rights and dignity continue to be ignored, as for example, the crushing of the Palestinians by the Israeli apartheid system of oppression, supported and condoned by the US government.

Many at the United Nations are aware of this pending human and planetary apocalypse, but the “United Nations is not united” as evolutionary leader Ervin Laszlo pointed out in a recent podcast conversation that I had with him.  The UN charter is founded on the supposition of a world divided into absolute sovereign nation-states with the “right” of each to militarize itself and operate according to its own perceived self-interests.  The UN has attempted to unite the nations to combat climate change through its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) program, but, as with previous UN initiatives, this is doomed to failure because the fragmentation of humanity is institutionalized within the UN system. The SDGs are not binding, and each nation is largely on its own in achieving these.

This is why the UN Charter must be replaced by the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. The Constitution is explicitly designed to unite humanity to deal with the suicidal problems of war, climate destruction, human rights abuses, and vast planetary social inequality. Only a united humanity can effectively deal with these global crises precisely because they are global and no nation-state or loose confederation of nations (like the UN) can possibly deal with the coming apocalyptic future determined by a chaos of social systems all pursing their own perceived best interests.

As with any document, there are cultural assumptions behind the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Perhaps the three most fundamental assumptions in the document are (1) the necessity for democratic governance of our planet at the world level premised on the principle of unity in diversity, (2) the dignity and universal rights of all persons on Earth, and (3) the need for respecting science and devising science-based responses to global problems such as climate destruction.  The Constitution was not written by westerners alone, and it attempts to embrace all humanity under these democratic principles.

The Constitution was written by hundreds of world citizens working together through four Constituent Assemblies between 1968 and 1991.  It was personally signed by people from countries around the world and from every continent.  Its five primary authors were from both east and west, four of whom were recognized legal experts:  (1) Dr. Max Habicht from Switzerland, (2) Dr. Terence Amerasinge from Sri Lanka, (3) Dr. S.M. Hussain from Bangladesh, (4) Dr. D.M. Spenser from India, and (5) Prof. Philip Isely from USA.  It was edited, reviewed, and examined paragraph by paragraph by people from many countries and every continent.

As Albert Einstein pointed out, human survival requires world government, and this can take the form of world tyranny under one nation or it can take the form of global democracy with the participation of all nations and peoples.  What cannot continue is the fragmentation and chaos of some 200 self-interested militarized sovereign nations lurching into the future without real direction or coordination, many possessing weapons of mass destruction.  The Constitution, therefore, is our best tool for uniting humanity on the basis of a minimal set of universal assumptions: universal democracy, universal dignity, and universal reliance on scientific evidence.

The Constitution is not a “western” document.  Nor is it an “eastern” document. It is not of the north, nor of the south.  It does its best to be a universal document encompassing all humanity within the framework of “unity in diversity.”  It therefore embodies the historical understanding that I mentioned above in which humankind is today understood as a civilizational and anthropological whole made up of diverse languages, cultures, religions, nations, and traditions. 

The Constitution does not solve the problem of a diversity of perspectives, religions, and nations in one fell swoop, so to speak. But it makes possible genuine dialogue directed toward mutual understanding for perhaps the first time. Under the sovereign nation-state system, interaction among governments is largely formal, diplomatic, and strategic.  It is rarely genuine dialogue directed toward mutual understanding. By contrast, under the authority of the Earth Constitution, the Provisional World Parliament at its 13th session passed World Legislative Act number 57 establishing a “Collegium of World Legislators” for all members of the World Parliament in which each will be required to have training in authentic dialogue directed toward mutual understanding.

We must embrace our diversity while at the same time uniting as a planetary civilization to create a viable future for all humanity and other living creatures.  We must recognize and embrace our wholeness as well, promoting dialogue, cooperation, and coherence. The Earth Constitution is the best tool available for making this happen. My forthcoming book Designed for a Living Planet: The Earth Constitution Solution goes deeply into the nature of the crises facing humanity and explains how and why the Constitution allows us to effectively address these crises. We need to be acting now, tomorrow will simply be too late.

Transitioning to a Sustainable, Post-Growth World By way of the Earth Constitution

Glen T. Martin

www.oneworldrenaissance.com

The entire cosmos has evolved over 13.8 billion years and has actualized each one of us in the present moment as a synthesis of body, mind, and spirit.  The “Being” of the cosmos is there in the depths of the present moment, a depth that permeates body as well as mind, and awareness of these depths gives life in the present moment infinite meaning, richness, and fulfillment. Each of us is capable of finding joy in the act of living itself, independently of our having, consuming, or achieving temporal objectives.

Each one of us at every moment is a synthesis of these atemporal depths and the dynamic of temporality that characterizes human consciousness.  We live not only in relation to eternity but also in a perpetual present, moving between past and future. We draw upon the memory of our past within a dynamic present and project our lives into a future that we want to be better than the past. On the horizon of that future are images of bliss, truth, beauty, fulfillment, perfection, freedom, etc. I have called this horizon our “utopian horizon” and argued, in agreement with Heidegger, that the future in human temporality carries an ontological priority over both past and present (Martin 2021)

Yet this futurity needs to be inseparably connected with the depths of the present moment. Each child lives as a developing human person in the process of actualizing his or her potential, as Aristotle first pointed out some 2500 years ago. The actualizing of our potential is a temporal process, yet at the same time that potential includes becoming evermore aware of the atemporal depths of the present moment.  To access the depths of existence in the process of living and growing brings meaning and fulfillment into life. This process does not terminate in some static condition called “maturity.” It is an ever-renewed reawakening, a perpetual process of living in the fullness of the present moment that continues throughout life. We become ever more fully aware within such a lifetime journey of self-discovery and self-actualization.

Hence, time and eternity are deeply interconnected within our human condition. This is what spiritual philosopher Ramon Panikkar calls “tempiternity,” an integral mode of existing in the world that embraces both dimensions (1993, 121 ff.). To focus on either aspect to the exclusion of the other involves a fundamental distortion of our human condition that can lead to disaster.

For at least the past three to four hundred years, human civilization by and large has focused on temporality to the exclusion of eternity. This focus by humans as a species and as individuals in particular has assumed that we are exclusively temporal creatures and that we can manipulate factors in the present to determine a positive outcome in the future. In addition, this focus on temporality has coincided with the adoption of a quantitative yardstick for measuring the world and all its processes.  Modern science since the 17th century reduces everything to quantitative descriptors, and whatever is not so measurable is by that token ignored or dismissed.

This scientific reductionism assuming what is real about the world is what is quantifiable has coincided with the growth of capitalism that orients human economic exchanges according to this same principle.  The purpose of exchange is the quantitative increase in one’s own wealth vis-à-vis that of another.  What is not quantifiable (for example, human values) find no place in the calculation, and becomes marginalized. How can we quantify the mysterious depths of reality, or human love, or human dignity?  The capitalist economic system ignores these fundamental realities while at the same time structurally encouraging the quantification of all life and all things.

Capitalism is inherently expansionistic. The increase in quantities is built into the system (increase in profits, economic growth, etc.). To reduce the meaning of life to what can be quantifiably measured (my economic wealth, my possessions, etc.) was a fundamental historical misdirection, and to make this false meaning of life into an ever-growing economic system ultimately encompassing the entire planet has resulted in today’s gigantic human and ecological catastrophe.  We are at the end of the line. You cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet, and the false meaning of life in consumption and possessions has become “a god that failed” for millions.

The planetary ecological crisis means that the global economy will necessarily experience massive contraction, and that human life will necessarily result in either nihilism (the failure of all meaning and purpose) or in a way of life that finds meaning in the process of living itself, not in some quantifiable future of accumulation, wealth, and prestige. Under the current world system of fragmentation among militarized sovereign nation-states, the contraction of the global economy (as we are forced by nature either to contract to a sustainable level or die) may result in endless wars or even in the final war that will end all wars (because nuclear war will wipe out human beings).

How can we make a transition to a sustainable and regenerative economy and way of living that is peaceful, just, and the least disruptive possible?  The answer lies in the ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. The Constitution first and foremost takes the one step most fundamental to the transition to a sustainable world system—it unites humanity under the principle of unity in diversity (Martin 2010). It eliminates war and militarism and establishes a democratic World Parliament whose mandate is ensuring peace, sustainability, eliminating poverty, and protecting human rights.

Without ratifying the Earth Constitution, the great contraction and disintegration of global capitalism will likely result in endless conflicts, wars, and injustice. Without uniting humanity to deal with the crisis, hundreds of millions will starve or die in social chaos and misery.  Without uniting humanity, the emerging world society (beyond the obsession with quantification and growth) will not have an organizing principle to maintain order, continuity, sustainability, and justice. The Constitution is our fundamental tool for transitioning to a post-growth, ecologically sustainable global society.

The digital revolution is replacing millions of jobs with robotics.  The environmental collapse is forcing the closure of millions of enterprises and contraction of the global economy. Together these mean that society needs to find sources of income for people independent of the traditional work requirement. Under the capitalist system with its private, for-profit banking that now dominates in the world, a system that is interfaced with the militarized sovereign nation-states each pursuing its national “self-interest,” there is absolutely no way such income can be generated. 

The Earth Constitution is predicated on the common good of the whole and the rights and welfare of each person within that whole. It is premised on global public banking, global public insurance, free worldwide healthcare, education, and social security.  Hence, it does away with the insane competitions of capitalism and also those of sovereign nation-states. The trillions of dollars wasted on militarism can and must be converted to dealing with climate crisis.

 The Earth Constitution establishes not only a peace-system for the world but global public banking that places the economic well-being of every person ahead of private profit and the abstractions of “economic growth.” It also mandates voluntary population reduction to a sustainable level, making possible a world that transcends its current scarcity for billions of persons to a planet in which there is “enough for everyone’s need but not for everyone’s greed.”

Such a world will make possible a transition for people from finding the meaning of life in endless consumption, possessions, and economic striving to a world in which the fullness of life replaces endless wanting.  The temporal aspect of our being human then becomes self-actualization and self-wisdom, not private consumption and accumulation. The economic and political conditions of our planet can foster or hinder the process of self-realization and the transition to a post-growth society. 

Yet the Earth Constitution is immeasurably more than a mere tool for fostering the transition to a post-growth, sustainable civilization. By creating a peace-system for the world, a justice-system, and a dignity-system, we act as the microcosms that we truly are—participating in the self-realization of the ground of Being in a world manifesting the fullness of life and freedom. It both makes possible and fulfills the transition to the fullness and beauty of life living in peace upon our precious Earth and in harmony with the living ecological wholeness of our planet.

That is why the Earth Constitution is not only our essential tool for making this happen but a symbol of the fullness of life that results from its actualization. It is ready to go and can be easily ratified by the people and nations of Earth. If we want to effectively save the planet for our children and grandchildren, and if we want a peaceful and orderly transition to a post-growth world, then we need to ratify this Constitution. My forthcoming book Design for a Living Planet: The Earth Constitution Solution (2021) describes this process in substantial detail.

Temporal movement into the future by ratifying this Constitution will not alone suffice unless we simultaneously discover the “tempiternal” fullness that will complete the transition. However, the bridge is there—it is a necessary structure for crossing to a sustainable, meaningful, and redeemed world system.  It is a bridge embracing both sides of the abyss over which it crosses and uniting them within the transformed holism of a fulfilled and joyful human civilization.

Works Cited

Martin, Glen T. (2010). Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press. 

Martin, Glen T. (2021). “Utopian Horizon Value Theory: A Transformative Power at the Heart of Human Futurity,” in the American International Journal of Humanities and Social Science. Vol. 7, No. 1, February, 2021: aijhss.cgrd.org/index.php/54-contact/115-vol-7-no-1-february-2021   

Martin, Glen T. (2021b). Design for a Living Planet: The Earth Constitution Solution. Independence, VA: Peace Pentagon Press.

Panikkar, Raimon (1993). The Cosmotheandric Experience: Emerging Religious Consciousness. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

A Holistic Process of Planetary Transformation: The Constitution for the Federation of Earth

Glen T. Martin

www.earthconstitution.world

One of the most basic problems encountered by people trying to envision an Earth Federation is the problem of transition.  How do militarized countries move from a state of fragmentation, fear, and mistrust to a transformed condition of trust and confidence embraced by a principle of unity in diversity? Another way of asking the same question is to ask how can we transform an international “war-system” to a federated peace-system?

Related to these thoughts is the psychological question: how do human beings move from a state of hate, fear, and distrust to a condition of love, compassion, mutual security, and trust?  A planetary civilization of peace, justice, and sustainability under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, of course, is our goal  (Martin 2010). But how do we get there?

If we want to survive and flourish on our precious planet Earth we will have to actualize our harmony and coherence with one another (Laszlo 2021). We need a planetary civilization of harmony, justice, peace, freedom, and love. This alone with give us the synergy to deal with the climate disasters that will continue to descend upon us. It will give us the synergy to overcome militarism and weapons of mass destruction, to cooperate rather than compete, to love rather than hate.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth as a whole signifies a tool for this transition. It also sets up a process for this transition, most notably in its Articles, 17, 18, and 19. No process into an unknown future is, of course, fool-proof or entirely without risk. We in the Earth Constitution Movement, after all, are the vanguard and catalyst for the most fundamental and important transformation in human history (Martin 2018).

We are attempting nothing less than to bring human beings from barbarism and perdition to civilization and redemption before it is too late. In doing this, the process integral to the Earth Constitution is utterly fundamental, deeply wise, and concretely practical. It is very likely our best hope for a redeemed and decent future for humanity and the world’s other living creatures (of which we are the custodians).

I describe this process set up by the Earth Constitution as a five-phase process, with each stage adding crucial transformative elements.  The five phases together constitute the most practical and commonsense transition process for what may be the most difficult and demanding of all transitions the world has ever known. It begins from a divided and fractured war-system threatening to wipe-out humanity.  The process ends in a world united within a peace, justice, and sustainability system. Here I will name the five phases of the conversion process and then proceed to discuss each one in turn.

  1. Provisional World Government: jump starting, laying foundations, spreading awareness.
  2. First Operative Stage: legitimizing and activating the transformational infrastructure.
  3. Progressive Constitutional Amendments: refining the transformational instrument.
  4. Second Operative Stage: demilitarization and planetary conversion.
  5. Final Operative Stage: actualizing the new world system premised on Peace, Justice, and Sustainability.

Phase 1: Provisional World Government: jumpstarting the transformational infrastructure (Article 19)

Philosophers of law have long pointed out the paradox of beginnings. Where does the sovereign authority of government originate?  There must be a beginning somewhere (a revolution of one sort or another) in which what was previously not legally legitimate becomes recognized as legitimate (Ingram 2006, Chap. 3).  At present what is recognized as legitimate is a fragmented world order consisting of militarized sovereign nation-states acknowledging no binding authority above themselves (Harris 2008, Chap. 7).

If the transition from this morally and conceptually illegitimate war-system to a morally and legally legitimate peace-system requires democratic decision-making by some power or group recognized to make these decisions, there is simply no such legitimate democratic framework existing to make this transition legitimate and binding. Indeed, if there were such a framework, then the transition itself would likely be unnecessary. The necessary global democratic framework would already be in place.

Article 19 empowers concerned world citizens to act now to jumpstart the Earth Federation through establishing provisional World Government.  Under the paradox of beginnings, there is no way to move beyond the limiting framework of what is now considered legitimately sovereign to a new level of sovereignty without some people just doing it. All possible beginnings are arbitrary beginnings, at least in some senses. Of course, the for the Earth Constitution to become fully operative requires democratic ratification by the people of Earth under Article 17. Indeed, but setting up the mechanisms for this ratification process again must be “arbitrary” in some senses.

After the Fourth Constituent Assembly approved the finalized version of the Earth Constitution in Troia, Portugal in 1991, they initiated a campaign for ratification (see Martin 2010). They understood the deep crises that humanity was and is experiencing with regard to pollution, climate destruction, diminishing resources, endless wars, threat of nuclear holocaust, political corruption among the politicians of many nations, and diminishing human prospects for the future. Whether the planet had a “legitimate” government to address these problems yet or not, the present collection of global NGOs (so-called “global civil society”) could not possibly give us a solution. The urgency of the problems required initiating Provisional World Government to deal with the problems from as an authoritative position as possible given these circumstances.

At the same time, the mandate of the Provisional World Government, most specifically the Provisional World Parliament, was to accelerate the democratic ratification process of the Earth Constitution, for this was clearly the only coherent system from which the multiplicity of lethal world problems could be effectively addressed. Hence, the clear duty of Provisional World Government centering on the Provisional World Parliament was first, to jumpstart the process in full awareness of the paradox of beginnings. Second, to begin dealing with the nexus of lethal planetary problems as effectively as possible. Third, to serve as model and paradigm for humanity to recognize and follow. Fourth to set up the World Electoral Districts (WEDs) and direct voting procedures for the citizens of Earth.

In line with this strategy, and sponsored by the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), the Provisional World Parliament has met some 14 times to date and has produced some 67 World Legislative Acts covering a broad range of topics that (1) elaborate the spirit and letter of the Earth Constitution, (2) address crucial global problems with comprehensive and targeted legislation, and (3) for both the Parliament itself and its quality legislation to serve as models and paradigms for the beginnings of the actualized World Parliament in the first operative stage of the emerging Earth Federation (see https://oneworldrenaissance.com/world-legislative-acts-to-date/).

These features are concretely illustrated in the steps specified in Article 19 of the Constitution, the very first of which is: “issue a call to the nations, communities and people of Earth to ratify this Constitution. Second, to set up “preparatory commissions” on key issues such as ratification, organizing elections, world disarmament, world problems, financing, and peace education. Third, Article 19 outlines the setting up of the Provisional World Parliament itself, and from this electing a “Provisional World Executive” to spearhead and focus the process. Finally, Article 19 outlines the “first actions” of the Provisional World Government to deal with the range of lethal “world problems” confronting humanity.

Phase 2. First Operative Stage: legitimizing and activating the transformational infrastructure (Article 17.3)

Article 17 outlines a progression of “three operative stages” in the ratification and implementation of democratic world government.  Each stage allows for a range of three possible democratic legitimating options. For the first operative stage to commence: (1) 25 or more nations can initially ratify and then confirm this through a referendum of their citizens; or (2) 10 or more nations can so ratify in combination with elections held in 50 World Electoral Districts; or (3) people can ratify directly from some 100 WEDs. (The Constitution, as is well-known, organizes several central governance features of the Earth Federation around some 1000 WEDs, roughly equal by population. These WEDs are organized independently of the nation-states, during Phase 1, while still conforming with national borders as much as possible.)

Upon activating the first operative stage, the Constitution specifies an action agenda to deal with the range of lethal global problems facing humanity (Article 17.3). It specifies reduction and elimination of weapons of mass destruction, setting up the key agencies specified by the Constitution for dealing with these problems and initiating the action agenda to address them: founding the “Emergency Earth Rescue Administration,” creating a legitimate finance system for the Earth, expediting a global energy system, regenerative agricultural production, establishing free and fair trade, promoting a global moratorium on nuclear weapons development, expediting clean water for the planet, protecting the resources of the planet, and bringing planetary population growth under control.

Note how legitimacy and action go together here. Not only is the initial Earth Federation government legitimated by democratic referendum, but its actions are not partial to the 25 or more nations or WEDs comprising the Federation.  It is not another power-block like the European Union or the federation called the USA. All its actions are addressing global problems and the initial Earth Federation will therefore function as a global transformative catalyst. Article 17.3.12 specifically reads that the First Operative Stage “in particular will take certain decisive actions for the welfare of all people on earth, applicable throughout the world.”

It will function, therefore, as radiant energy to the rest of the world to wake-up to the seriousness of the lethal global problems that we all face and a communicative force leading the way in eliminating nuclear weapons everywhere, establishing global public banking everywhere, controlling the population crisis everywhere, integrating global clean energy everywhere, promoting clean water and air everywhere, preserving the Earth’s resources, and rescuing the endangered agricultural capacity of our planet as a whole. This precious core of a redeemed humanity will radiate the transformative synergy spoken of by Buckminster Fuller (1972; 1981) and others. They will rapidly awaken the rest of humanity to the dignity, sacredness, and beauty of human beings living together within peaceful, just, and sustainable world system.

Rather than a new power-block, the Constitution mandates a transformative core of humanity in the form of the initial Earth Federation energizing planetary transformation regarding our immense global problems. The entire planet will likely be energized and inspired by this beacon announcing and leading the way toward a transformed world system that can alone effectively deal with our problems. The first operative stage of the Earth Federation does not separate humanity into yet another fragmentated unit but represents cohesiveness, cooperation, synergy, and love in action for all of humanity.

The world is already globalized, integrated and interdependent to such a degree that the portion of humanity comprising the initial Earth Federation will necessarily be transforming not only of their internal system but the world system simultaneously. Even the global public banking system alone (set up under Article 8.7) will have this transformative effect. Once people see banking as the global public infrastructure that it rightfully is, premised on the common good rather than private wealth and domination of the bankers, they will very likely clamor to become participants worldwide.

Critics sometimes point out that the first operative stage does not require the nations to demilitarize but only to decommission their weapons of mass destruction. However, we see now that the action agenda of the initial Earth Federation will be reaching out globally regarding the problems of war and weapons. The “World Disarmament Commission” initiated under the first phase becomes the “World Disarmament Agency” in the second phase, working with all nations worldwide to set up the proper protocols to continue this process. The first operative stage will be speaking to humankind from a truly global, universal, and coherent point of view, thereby appealing to what is highest and noblest in the rest of humanity and inspiring them to transformative action by becoming part of the emerging Earth Federation community.

Phase 3: Progressive Constitutional Amendments: refining the transformational instrument (Article 18)

This is where Article 18 enters both the legitimation and transformational processes. Today those who believe that this or that provision of the Earth Constitution might be better worded, or that this or that provision should be eliminated or improved, or those who claim that we need a consortium of thinkers to put together many good ideas and create a more excellent model constitution for the Earth, are fundamentally missing the legitimacy, brilliance, and transformative vision behind the Earth Constitution. 

The Earth Constitution is already in substance a powerfully appropriate tool for planetary transformation to a harmonious and synergistic global civilization. Whatever small flaws or secondary passages it might contain that should be changed are minimal in importance in comparison with its crucial function as a tool for human survival and flourishing. That is where Article 18 comes in.  The initial Earth Federation is required to do a complete constitutional review within its first 10 years and at least every 20 years after that in perpetuity.

Humanity is facing truly lethal problems that become worse with every day that we do not take effective action. Even well-meaning ideas emphasizing the need to “wait” and write a “better” constitution serve as a reactionary drag on a coherent human future. It is madness to quibble over this or that secondary provision when we have an effective tool for making a coherent transition happen. Article 17.3.10 reads “The World Parliament and the World Executive shall continue to develop the organs, departments, agencies, and activities originated under the Provisional World Government with such amendments as deemed necessary.”

If there are procedures of the PWP, or clauses in the Constitution that need to be changed or strengthened, that is the time to do it.  The tool of the Earth Constitution needs to be used now, and once there is a legitimate World Parliament operating under Article 17.3, changes to the Constitution can be made as necessary to carry forward the process of bringing the world to coherence, synergy, peace, justice, and sustainability.  The Earth Constitution is designed as a living document able to provide a stable and continuous legitimate government for the human community while at the same time providing for reasonable, nonviolent change as needed to fulfill this transformative mission.

The World Parliament in the first operative stage will undoubtedly make changes to the Constitution as needed to empower its integrative function and to bring the rest of humanity into the transformative process itself. Article 18, therefore, supplies a crucial and necessary phase of this process. The tool, brilliant as it is, will be able to adapt to changing historical circumstances and critical examination without changing its mission of providing humanity and future generations with a world-system based on genuine peace, justice, freedom, and sustainability. If we start the process under Article 19, this can happen quite rapidly. If we remain paralyzed at the theoretical stage by the paradox of beginnings, unable to act under Article 19 to make it happen now, we are not being helpful, only contributing to the potential demise of the human project and extinction of all higher forms of life (Harris 2014, 170-71).

Phase 4: Second Operative Stage: demilitarization and planetary conversion

All the way back in Phase One we saw that the Provisional World Government is required to have a “World Disarmament Commission.”  The framers of the Constitution understood that war and the world’s current “war-system” constitute a blight and scourge upon our common humanity and common human dignity.  In Phase Two, that is, in the first operative stage of the Earth Federation Government, the World Disarmament Commission is not abandoned but is developed and strengthened as the “World Disarmament Agency” (17.3.7). Its work under Article 17 does indeed bring forward the emphasis on eliminating nuclear weapons (because these, of course, could terminate our entire human civilization at any moment), but at the same time the infrastructure is being developed to progressively and carefully reduce, then eliminate, all weapons of war within a worldwide program.

The first operative stage establishes the World Supreme Court as well as World Enforcement, World Ombudsmus, World Civil Service, etc. Please note again that these are for the world, not only for the 25 or so nations in the initial Earth Federation. It is the “World Ombudsmus” working to protect human rights for the world, etc., and will undoubtedly have global influence. This again indicates the transformative trajectory of the Earth Constitution. It is laying the infrastructure for universal protections of human rights, universal enforcement, and universal disarmament. It will clearly be working with non-federation nations and non-federation World Electoral Districts to bring these global institutions to reality.

In the same spirit, the World Parliament, as well as the organs of the initial Earth Federation will be empowering agencies and institutions such as: the “Emergency Earth Rescue Administration,” the “Integrated Global Energy System,” and a “World Oceans and Seabeds Authority.”  The entire planet will be benefiting from these transformative initiatives and the people in the non-federation countries will rapidly see that a way out of the war, injustice, and climate destruction nightmare is actually happening. Again, for the Second Operative Stage, the Constitution says in Article 17.4.11 that the World Parliament and World Executive: “in particular shall take certain decisive actions for the welfare of all people on Earth.”

It is difficult to conceive of the people of Earth not flocking to join the Earth Federation. One beauty of the Earth Constitution is that it makes possible ratification of the Constitution by people directly through its World Electoral Districts, hence not contingent on the cooperation of national governments. People in non-federation countries will be able to directly vote from their electoral districts by secure, digital voting established for all citizens by the emerging Earth Federation. Human beings (currently disempowered at the global level by their fragmented system of militarized sovereign nations) are, by the Earth Constitution, empowered  to take control of their own planetary destiny.

The second operative stage begins when 50% of the people and/or nations of the Earth have ratified. As with the first operative stage this can happen by nations alone ratifying, or a combination of nations and WEDs, or from WEDs alone as long as the total in each case is 50% of the Earth’s population. The disarmament process and disarmament protocols will have been highly developed by this stage and it will be most likely a simple matter of completing the process and bringing both the federated half of humanity and the as yet un-federated half together in a global process of demilitarization.

The Constitution is about the “unity in diversity” of humanity, as it states in its Preamble.  There is no whole without parts, there is no true unity without diversity. In fact, only true unity can protect diversity because in a fragmented non-system the core principle is not democracy or justice, but power—the bigger and more powerful dominate the weaker and thereby diminish respect for diversity. The Earth Constitution affirms the legitimate power of nations over their internal affairs but removes the illegitimate power relations between militarized sovereign fragments. In the transformative process summarized by these five phases, the power of today’s economic and political domination systems will be transmuted into the legitimate democratic authority of the people of Earth premised on human dignity and the common good of all.

Phase 4 is when the whole of the UN will be widely understood as no longer necessary and will be integrated into the Earth Federation government (Article 17.4.8). It is here that the truly global scope of the transitional movement will become a reality for the entire Earth. Article 17.4.9 and 10 asserts:

Near the beginning of the second operative stage, the Presidium in consultation with the Executive Cabinet, shall formulate and put forward a proposed program for solving the most urgent world problems currently confronting the people of Earth. The World Parliament shall proceed with legislation necessary for implementing a complete program for solving the current urgent world problems.

The oceans of the Earth and its polar caps now become the global commons of the people of Earth no longer subject to uncontrolled exploitation as they are today under the failed UN “Convention on the Law of the Seas” and other toothless treaties. Legislation and programs of disarmament and regeneration must be clearly planetary in scope. 

Phase 5. Final Operative Stage: Actualizing the new world system premised on Peace, Justice, and Sustainability

It is highly probable that the 50% of humanity remaining outside the emergent Earth Federation will want to immediately become part of this peace, justice, and sustainability system. People everywhere today are waking up to a globalized planetary consciousness. It is very unlikely that the second stage will be anything but a passing moment on the way to the full operative stage.   From the first operative stage on, it will become clear to people that the entire world system is being transformed from within, and the full operative stage will likely come about very rapidly.

Article 17.5 on the full operative stage (that is reached when 80% of the world’s nations comprising 90% of its population have ratified) is primarily directed to adjusting the numbers and arrangements of elected officials to conform to the full operation of the Parliament and Agencies in the Earth Federation.  It repeats the directive about the UN from the second operative stage and it reaffirms the work of the World Disarmament Agency to complete the process of converting or dismantling all military weapons.

As we have seen, the process of disarmament will have been developing and formalizing from the very beginnings under Provisional World Government and, by the time the full operative stage is reached, there may be little left to accomplish.  It is not a matter of 50% of humanity suddenly demilitarizing itself and being at the mercy of the other 50%.  To think this way is to miss the entire transformative process envisioned by the Constitution.

Science has revealed a universe founded on the principles of coherence, holism, and unity in diversity.  All forms of life are part of evermore encompassing ecosystems founded on these same principles. Similarly, to survive and flourish on this planet requires that human beings become coherent, holistic, and unified under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.  Our political and economic systems must achieve coherence and harmony, just as our consciousness must become global and holistic. These two growth movements are interrelated. By ratifying the Earth Constitution, we strongly promote consciousness transformation and, as our consciousness becomes more holistic, we evermore strongly affirm the unity in diversity of the Earth Constitution.

This Constitution is the best tool for making this possible and practical that we possess. We can start it now, and, in fact phase one has already long since begun. The 15th session of the Provisional World Parliament is scheduled for New Delhi, India, in December 2021. (The first session took place in Brighton, England in 1982.)  The Provisional World Parliament has a permanent office in New Delhi that will be working hard to activate Phase Two of turning the Provisional World Parliament into the first operative stage of the emergent World Parliament. 

We are working today on defining the 1000 World Electoral Districts and establishing secure digital voting IDs for the people of Earth, the necessary prerequisites for initiating Phase Two. It is happening, but it needs to happen rapidly as the framers of the Earth Constitution were so well aware. Now is not the time to try to edit the Earth Constitution, as we have seen, because that editing is part of the transformative process itself.  Now is not the time to be paralyzed by the paradox of beginnings, because the more we hesitate the more catastrophic climate crisis will become.

Let us enter into the process—all together, modeling the coherence and harmony envisioned by the Earth Constitution.  The process transforms the world from within, as we have seen; it does not falter on the issue of demilitarizing the world as some critics have imagined. Rather, it breaks the famous (horrific) “cycle of violence” through the progressive transformational process itself.

The entire process through its five phases is itself complete and holistic and models the holism that will be the result. Ends and means are in harmony and allows people to “be the change they want to see in the world.” When we see Articles 17, 18 and 19 of the Earth Constitution as the transformational process that they truly represent, then both our hope and our duty become clear. Let us join as one human family in the joyful project of ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth andbringing the dream of a transformed world system into being.

Works Cited

Fuller, R. Buckminster (1972). Operating Manuel for Spaceship Earth. New York: Pocket Books.

Fuller, R. Buckminster (1981). Critical Path. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Harris, Errol E. (2008). Twenty-first Century Democratic Renaissance. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Harris, Errol E. (2014). Earth Federation Now! Tomorrow is Too Late. Second Edition. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Ingram, David (2006). Law: Key Concepts in Philosophy. London: Continuum Publishing Group.

Laszlo, Ervin (2021). The Immutable Laws of the Akashic Field. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2010). Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With Historical Introduction, Commentary and Conclusion. 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. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Poetry – A Contention

26 July 2003

                                     (1)

“This is no country for old men,”

       sings my friend,

              that greatest of poets,

All the summer long they sing,

       the young in one another’s arms

              whatever is begotten, born, and dies,

So my friend the poet,

       with an eye upon eternity,

             sets ship to sail for the holy city of Byzantium.

I have harkened not his call,

       to board that ship,

              to where the gold-wrought artifice,

Of poetry, art, and literature reside,

       to where the collective memory of the past,

              is anthologized for drowsy students,

Or bought to decorate the halls of power,

       between the Renaissance and the Blue Period,

              where stolen wealth craves blessings on its deeds.

This country of fish, flesh, and fowl,

       in this respect is also not my country,

              friend poet,

But it is the country of your widening gyre,

       where the center does not hold,

              and the blood-dimmed tied is loosed upon the world,

It is the country of widening hunger,

       of planetary misery, unnatural death,

              of weapons, and endless war.

                                 (2)

Who will encounter that rough beast?

       that slinks through town and village,

              the young in one another’s arms oblivious,

Who will mount a crusade to Bethlehem,

       confront the infidel in his lair,

              and retrieve the holy grail of history?

Do you too, friend poet, lack all conviction,

       that you wish to escape,

              to the holy city of Byzantium?

Does the hour of the beast,

       come round at last,

              portent a fatalism beyond hope?

Where are you, friend poet,

       when there is need of vehicles,

               for the word and hope of God?

Surely you have read your Blake,

       surely you know that God exists

              and lives only through the human heart.

This is no country for old men,

       for the ceremony of innocence is downed,

               by the Lords of the Earth,

Who summon that rough beast,

       with greed, injustice,

              and endless war.

                               (3)

Does a poet have no role to play,

       in this summer land of birth and death,

              where the innocent in one another’s arms,

Are inundated by the blood-dimmed tide,

       digested by the Lords of Earth,

              and severed from the God of history?

Who is the voice of hope,

       in this land of birth and death,

              which is the land of history?

Of struggle and hope,

       of reflection and redemption,

              of miracle and ecstatic life,

You should have read your Lawrence,

       for whatever the dead or unborn may know,

              they cannot know this miracle,

Of being alive and potent in the flesh,

       this once only, the impact,

              of this miraculous, shining cosmos!

The rough beast slouches toward Bethlehem,

       but it need not be born,

              for the great hope of history,

Exists and lives,

       through the human heart,

              thy kingdom come!

This is precisely the country for old men,

       my poet friend,

              for we are not in one another’s arms,

And we are freed,

       like the prophets of old,

              to listen, and to speak,

We can hear the crawling of the beast,

       moving toward Bethlehem,

              and discern the blood-dimmed tide,

We can hear the call of God,

       and like the navi of old,

              we speak because we hear,

We must not set sail,

       for the holy city of Byzantium,

              we belong here.

                                 (4)

This is our country,

       for deeper than whatever is begotten, born, or dies,

              lie the depths of history,

We are the voice of the kingdom,

        the voice of the great hope,

               for mercy, justice, and redemption,

Do poets have no function,

       but to keep a drowsy emperor awake,

              in the holy city of Byzantium?

Set your sails for battle, friend poet,

       in the storms and squalls of history,

              forget that gold-wrought eternity,

Our ship must fly the banner,

       of eternity breaking into history,

              in action for a transformed world,

Old men must wield the helm,

       who hear that voice and heed that call,

              to write the poems of history,

Our ship must sail beneath the banner,

       abreast this blood-dimmed tide,

              of the holy city of Jerusalem.

*     *     *     *     *

The Cosmic Problem of the Nation-State

Glen T. Martin

www.earthconstitution.world       www.oneworldrenaissance.com  

The nation-state is not just a political problem. It is one of the most fundamental human problems of our era. Sovereign nation-states constitute a system by which human beings have organized themselves that goes back, most scholars agree, at least to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.  Why is this a problem, and a deeply human problem?   Because it has derailed and subverted the quest for understanding of our common human project. It has derailed and subverted reflection on who we really are and what is emerging through us on behalf of the evolutionary process. In this short article, I argue that the reflection on who and what we really are can be restored by ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

The sovereign nation-state has colonized our identities as human beings. Most people around the world identify first and foremost with their sovereign nation-state. Governments often obsessively cultivate nationalism, patriotism, and “service to the nation.”  They identify disloyal people as “traitors.” These very identities also cause us to see people in other nations as potential rivals, as potential enemies. Foreign interactions become “relations between nations,” that is, falsely constructed ideological relations very different from the give and take of real human relationships. Real communication among human beings is derailed and distorted into propaganda, accusation, manipulation, and distrust. Today, nations even engage in “cyber-wars.”

Serious thinkers concerned with the environmental crisis have understood that addressing this crisis requires addressing who and what we are as human beings. In their book Break Through: Why We Can’t Leave Saving the Planet to Environmentalists, Nordhaus and Shallenberger correctly state that “the problem is so great that before answering What is to be done? we must first ask What kind of beings are we? and What can we become?” (2007, 8). Environmentalist leader Bill McKibben in his book Falter: Is the Human Game Beginning to Play Itself Out? (2019) affirms a similar idea. We must ask who and what we are, McKibben declares, in order to understand why we have not even begun to address the overwhelming threat of climate crisis.

In previous articles, I have often pointed out the fact that philosophers from the 17th century to the present have understood that the system of “sovereign” nations, recognizing no effective laws above themselves, constitutes an inherent “war system.” This was pointed out by Thomas Hobbes and Baruch Spinoza in the 17th century, John Locke and Immanuel Kant in the 18th century, G.W.F. Hegel in the 19th century and Emery Reves, Errol E. Harris, and Albert Einstein in the 20th century. In his book The Anatomy of Peace, Reves writes: “War takes place whenever and wherever non-integrated social units of equal sovereignty come into contact (1946, 121, emphasis in original). This is what they have all understood. When there is no enforceable law on behalf of a common good, it becomes “everybody for himself,” a condition of defacto war even when people are not actually fighting at the moment.

Innumerable thinkers going back to Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoic philosophers have reflected on our common humanity and on the fact that human beings appear to be a microcosm of the macrocosm—because the dimensions of the cosmos all appear integrated within us. Many, like Kant in the 18th century, emphasized our common human dignity, that every person “is an end in themselves” and can never be morally treated as a “mere means.” Rabindranath Tagore, the great 19th to 20th century Indian sage, also emphasized our common humanity and one human civilization spanning the globe.

On the other hand, the sovereign nation-state system has fragmented and derailed this awareness of our common identity. It has given us a false diversity. Our wonderful diversity of cultures, races, backgrounds, and histories is not the same as nation-state sovereignty, and it is not what we are and who we are.  True unity under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth will give us true affirmation of our wonderful diversity.

One of the most fundamental insights that we can have is that the universe has somehow “intentionally” produced us. A chorus of scientists have pointed out that the delicately balanced initial conditions in the Big Bang were such that self-aware creatures would eventually arise from this universe (cf. Harris 1991). Conditions just a hair different and human beings would never have evolved. Ervin Laszlo reaffirms this conclusion in his latest book The Immutable Laws of the Akashic Field (2021, 11).

Physicist Henry Stapp points out that the human mind is directly anchored in the quantum dimension, the dimension beyond space and time that gives the entire universe its intrinsic unity and holographic quality in which the fundamental principle of everything (the All) is there in each individual element of the vast cosmos. He declares that this insight from contemporary physics constitutes for human beings “a seismic event of potentially momentous proportions” (2011,140). We are microcosms of the macrocosm. Kafatos and Nadeau point out something very similar in their book The Conscious Universe where they declare that all our values need to be rethought in the light of these discoveries (1990, 179).

In traditional language, human beings are body, mind, and spirit. Body (which like all matter is today understood as “in-formed energy”) is essential. We are not disembodied souls stuck in a body. Mind is also essential. And science has discovered that “mind” permeates the universe and that our minds are this universal mind become conscious of itself.  Many of the most advanced thinkers have said this, such as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Sri Aurobindo, and Errol E. Harris. Aurobindo writes: “The universe and the individual are necessary to each other in their assent…. [The Universe] creates in itself a self-conscious concentration of the All through which it can aspire” (1973, 49).

The “All” is embodied in us. The All “aspires” through us. Science has revealed that we are microcosms as the ancients declared. And this includes our third dimension of “spirit.” We are coming more and more to realize what the ancient mystics of all the world’s great religions declared all along: that there is something absolutely incomprehensible and unsayable about existence. This “unspeakable presence” of things can be termed “spirit” and associated (like body and mind) with the cosmos having become aware of itself in us. 

We are self-aware of our bodily existence, and our minds are self-aware, and we are also subtly aware of the depth of things in which body and mind are rooted, which is also the depth of the cosmos itself. In traditional language, a finite mind cannot comprehend the infinite, but we can experience the infinite depth of things on every side. The Infinite is truly everywhere and nowhere as Hegel also pointed out in the 19th century (cf. Lauer 1982). In the 15th century Nicholas of Cusa called this insight de docta ignorantia (learned ignorance).

Why is the nation-state more than just a political problem?  It derails us from our right and duty to actualize our potential as human beings.  It distracts us from the task implicit in our trinitarian existence: to actualize the fullness of existence and cosmic destiny implicit in our reality. We are cosmic creatures with immense capacity for love, compassion, kindness, justice, truth, and beauty. Yet we have made of our world this ugly thing of conflict, suspicion, untruth, and war. The sovereign nation-state is fundamental to this ugliness. It is inherently a war-system, inherently an environmental destruction system, and inherently a destroyer of our universal human unity and dignity.

People confuse the beauty of their culture, their history, and their identity with having a “sovereign nation-state.”  But this diversity will only continue to grow to perfection and beauty if it is decoupled from the war, suspicion, and violence system. The beauty of culture and history can only flourish if we are truly united, truly recognizing our oneness and our common destiny (which includes the marvel, beauty, and dignity of our diversity).

This is why ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is absolutely imperative. The threat of war and on-going environmental collapse are symptoms of a deeper pathology of a distorted and unhealthy set of institutions and identifications, fundamental among which is the dogma of the sovereign nation-state.  By uniting humanity under the common banner of human dignity and by abolishing false nation-state sovereignty in favor of the sovereignty of all humanity, the Earth Constitution frees us from the self-destructive fixation on national sovereignties. It frees us to affirm our authentic diversity within the framework of genuine political, economic, and civilizational unity. It frees us to continue our common human quest for self-realization in harmony with the ground of being (Tao, Brahmin, Buddha Nature, Allah, God).

The Constitution brings us to a new level, beyond the nearly four-century old fixation on national autonomy, independence, imperialism, and the right to make war. It frees us to reaffirm and reconsider the meaning of being human. It frees us to affirm our common human dignity as superseding smaller regional differences and disputes that can be handled by impartial courts and not by violence and war.

That is why ratification of the Earth Constitution carries with it such immense implications. It not only saves a human project threatened with its own self-extinction, but it makes possible the further growth and realization of our deeply cosmic destiny. The great task of becoming who and what we are meant to be can only be continued within the framework of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

Works Cited

Aurobindo, Sri (1973). The Essential Aurobindo. Robert A. McDermott, ed. New York: Schocken Books.

Harris, Errol E. (1991). Cosmos and Anthropos: A Philosophical Interpretation of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. London: Humanities Press International.

Kafatos, Menas and Robert Nadeau (1990). The Conscious Universe: Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Laszlo, Ervin (2021). The Immutable Laws of the Akashic Field. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Lauer, Quentin, S.J. (1982). Hegel’s Concept of God. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2010). The Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press. The Constitution is on-line at http://www.earthconstitution.world.

McKibben, Bill (2019). Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? New York: Henry Holt Publisher.

Nordhaus, Ted and Michael Shellenberger (2007). Break Through: Why We Can’t Leave Saving the Planet to Environmentalists. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Reves, Emery (1946). The Anatomy of Peace.  New York: Harper & Brothers.

Stapp, Henry P. (2011). Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer (2nd Ed.). Berlin: Springer Publishers.