Structures of Contest
With the understanding that the human being is a potential instrument for the expression of spiritual powers and capacities within social realty, just as a lump of iron has the potential for the expression of magnetic forces within the physical world, then how do we conceive of social structures and their role in fostering human nature?
Our current models of society have normalized a contest of power. They are based on the assumptions that human beings are only competitive, egoistic, and selfish by nature; thus the role of social institutions are to mitigate and regulate selfishness in an equal playing field in order to maximize utility – much like the role of a referee in a competitive sports game. We have deluded ourselves into believing that the mythical free market, driven by some “invisible hand”, will bring about well-being; we have fooled ourselves into thinking that a tug-of-war will result in movement. So it is seen today, not only in sports, but in the economic, political, legal, and educational systems of society the results of acting on these assumptions – the disintegration and breakdown of academia, the collapse of economic vitality, mistrust and apathy towards governance, extreme moral relativism in law, and utter and irreparable ecological disaster.
There are other assumptions about human nature and society, including those being advanced here – that human beings have a spiritual nature, with spiritual capacities and powers; that the nature of human beings is cooperative, reciprocal, and selfless. The culture of contest that is normalized in prevailing thought is severely constraining the developing of our latent potentialities. In our age of interdependence and imminent maturity, collective prosperity can only be achieved through creating systems, environments, and communities that cultivate our spiritual sources of power. It is an evolutionary imperative. Otherwise, we will continue to have ruinous consequences.