Categories
- Governance Power

Alternative Elections

The idea of humanity as one, interconnected, interdependent, social body implies that each person is born into this world as a trust of the whole.  The role of governance, then, comes as an exercise of the power of collective trusteeship.  This idea of governance is irreconcilable with its current characteristics of competitive groups struggling for power to advance their own interests.  As our world has become highly socially, ecologically, and economically interdependent, the well-being of each part is dependent on the well-being of the whole.  The conception of government that is modeled after a contest for power – susceptible to economic corruption, diminishing the voice of the marginalized, and disregarding the interest of non-constituents including those unborn – has ceased to promote prosperity, has failed to address the needs of an evolving humanity, has served to oppress and divide.  Why continue?  Why cling?  Why allow humankind to suffer to keep an obsolescent system built on an anachronistic assumption?

One example of an alternate system is presented here, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that systems of governance don’t have to be contests of power.  The Baha’i community is developing a system that has proven effective in every culture, geographic location, and level of government.  It has an electoral process that is purely democratic yet free of competition – every adult is responsible to vote, is eligible for election, and has the duty to serve if elected.  There are no nominations, no campaigns, no parties; no manipulation, no slander, no economic influence.  Voters have the complete freedom to choose those who they think will serve the role the best – and these names are cast with secret ballot.  Those who are named most frequently on the ballot are then elected to serve on consultative institutions – and it is in these bodies where decision-making authority resides, and not with any individual elected member.  Of course, this system is evolving within a learning mode, and only works when certain conditions are met – for instance, that it is adopted in a voluntary manner and that certain values and commitments are cultivated in those participating (such as truthfulness, detachment, selflessness, and support of majority vote in decisions, just to name a few).

Where have you seen alternative models of governance that employ mature conceptions of power?  

What are ideas of how governance can be unifying?  How is power exercised in unifying and cooperative systems?

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Categories
- Prevailing Conceptions Human Nature Power

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.