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Reinforcing and Solidifying Foundational Principles of Civil Society

Reinforcing and Solidifying Foundational Principles of Civil Society

September 17th, 2020

The seemingly disparate attacks on our lives, those with us for decades and those of recent development (the virus panic and its fallout, the riots, arson, electoral sabotage, normalization of tremendous depravity, “divide and conquer” group tactics, mass media deception, social media manipulation, race-baiting, medical and economic corruption, etc.), ultimately coalesce into a full frontal assault on the foundational principles of civil society, in the United States and across the world.

In this essay, we will examine, reinforce, solidify, and provide fresh perspective on these foundational principles.

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With “Foundational Principles”, you have the bedrock from which complex human society and critical thinking springs. They are the foundation, akin to building a house. Of what shall it be made? Where will you build it? As Jesus said in his “Sermon on the Mount”, place it upon something solid:

Matthew 7:24-25, “Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them will be likened to a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain poured down and the floods came and the wind blew and lashed against the house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock.”

“Foundational Principles” or “First Principles” are as such. From these principles, we derive or deduce further laws of behavior or interpersonal morality. Two very influential derivations of the primary moral and political principles are the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights. They are concrete examples of personal guidance and respect for others. The Bill of Rights (and The Constitution, in general) is a counter-balance to the unjust law, in that by following them, groups or organizations shall be duty-bound to respect the individual. (This is why they must be respected. Period.)

So, what are the principles from which we derive these Codes of Law?

It all begins with “Natural Law”, or as the medical profession once called it, the “Hippocratic Oath”, simply expressed as, “Do no harm.” This phrase is simple enough from our present perspective, but it does not ask one to define “harm”, which can leave a assumptive blindspot. It is therefore important that we think about and define “harm”. Who gets to define it? Some great sage or authority, some far-flung ivory tower organization? No. The answer is: You. Thus, considering that there are other “yous” around, where do you get when you think deeper?

Eventually, you arrive at the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is a derivation of that more primal Natural Law, as it provides clarity, by pressing the individual to think critically, to manifest themselves as the authority on fresh concepts like fairness, equality, justice, and sovereignty, and then ask themselves to respect these same concepts regarding others. This one rule has had an immense influence upon human society, in these ways: the individual is pressed to think critically, to define “how you would like to be treated”, to draw a direct causal connection between themselves and others, to adhere to a personal moral code, and by doing so, to ultimately manifest themselves into an “authority” responsible for defining the very rules by which we all live. The perpetuation of the phrase and our individual adherence to it, is, of itself, a miracle. The social, psychological, political, and economic effects of this philosophy still reverberate through all aspects of our lives, and they have yet to even reach a conclusive end. There is much, much more we have yet to learn and codify from this simple phrase, and even more, from the derivations follow it.

The phrase promotes personal responsibility by causing ourselves to reach deep into our subconscious, examine how we really want to live, and manifest that dream in reality. The operative here, is “as within, so without”, or “as above, so below,” or “the kingdom of heaven is within you,” so to speak. God, his prophets, philosophers and sages of all sort, have, for all history, regardless of “who writes it,” been forwarding this sequence of examination and enlightened action, then examination and enlightened action, this feedback loop, for as long as we have been around and able to articulate it. What has been called our “adolescence as a species” can be directly measured by our understanding of this very concept and its derivations. This is the true trajectory of “history”, and the true path to enlightenment.

[A tangential note: these concepts of self-determined interpersonal morality can be seen to operate akin to Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion, whereby “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” That is to say, how one treats others is eventually reflected back upon them, like karmic justice. Anyone who personally interprets the principles and acts upon them, can therefore be seen as the moral equivalent of the quintessential “Prime Mover”. Every one of us, therefore, has the power to strike this divine lightning. “Made in God’s image”, indeed…]

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Looking at it from another angle, the Golden Rule, and its real-world application, is much less related to “learning from specific incidents in order to act better in specific incidents”, as I can attest from efforts at that experimentation. Every incidence is fundamentally different from every other. There are too many variables that make every moment absolutely unique.

Such that, unlike in a game, like chess, where the pieces could be arranged in the same way, in different matches, and you could make a better move this time around; enlightenment, personal and societal development, etc., are most dependent upon valid, foundational philosophy. To get back to the game analogy: it is less about making a particular move at a particular time, than it is about the general strategy. Based on your foundational principles, what will you do now? Based on the general strategy, what’s the best move to make?

[Another tangential note: This foundational/derivational sequence can be replicated in just about any educational arena, and can be used, by anyone, to maximize their potential mastery of any and all forms of art and science, because every art and science has their own “foundational principles”. Gaining foundational principles behind any subject is like having a multi-tool instead of five separate implements. I will explore similar first principles as they relate to subjects of personal proficiency in future works.]

In many ways, we humans are limited. There is only so much a capacity of memory, so much that we can consciously perceive each moment, that it behooves us to utilize these limited resources most efficiently. This is a useful primer to clear one’s mind of psychological and spiritual garbage that can lead one astray, certainly within interpersonal morality and civics. Too much useless information can clog the pipes. It works like this, using a simple mathematical example.

Knowing the correct answer to a multiplication problem may be done in two ways: by memorizing a whole table of specific equations, or by understanding the concept of multiplication, and using that, in the moment, to determine the correct answer. The concept need only occupy a small amount of memory, or limited cognitive space, rather than the great messy mass of memorizing the entire table. This expresses not only the great value of gaining conceptual knowledge and using it to determine solutions, but also the potential peril of focusing on “rote learning”, exemplified by the proliferation of standardized testing. Far too much of our public education has become mere “trivia”. It’s called that because it is “trivial”. And much of that, when first principles are ignored, can easily be fabricated by coordinated, malicious efforts.

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Another general foundational philosophic principle that has had an impact on our lives and underpins some of my own derived philosophies, is that of the “Categorical Imperative”, attributed to Immanuel Kant, that generally states, “Accept only those principles that, were everyone to adopt them, would improve your life and that of others.” And also, “Act in a manner that were everyone to do so, it would improve your life and that of others.” This is much easier said than done, behavior-wise, of course. However, like the principles that precede it, that lay its foundation, Natural Law and the Golden Rule, there are times in all of our lives where following them is difficult. So long as one learns from mistakes and checks oneself by referring back to the principles, the principles become more deeply-set, the foundation further solidified.

[Yet another tangential note: The Categorical Imperative was particularly instrumental for my economic propositions, in that recreating an economy from the ground up could only be justified if it not only benefited everyone, but that anyone could do it: any nation, city, or community that chose to do so. There is a “voluntary” aspect that would further qualify this axiom, as well, to avoid potential pitfalls, outlined below. Ultimately, a more proper formulation of this concept is in order.]

The trajectory here is the establishment of agreement, considering the foundational principles of Natural Law, the Golden Rule, and Categorical Imperative, and their successive particular derivations, e.g. the Ten Commandments, and Bill of Rights, for the formation of a better social contract. Striving toward these ideals creates, and re-creates, over time, and quite organically, literally, Liberty and Justice for All.

“Wait a minute,” you say, “Hold on there, who is this “all” you’re talking about?” Well, that’s anyone who agrees to it. That’s what the “social contract” means. If the argument for any policy has not convinced you, and you don’t agree to it, based on your interpretation and expression of the foundational principles preceding it, then it need not have validity for you. If it does, go ahead and sign on.

This places a certain amount of responsibility for our shared lives upon ourselves. Would you like to be responsible for the state of worldly affairs? That is the power that the “social contract”, exemplified by the Golden Rule, gives us all.

The true history of “The Ascent of Man” and our trajectory further, can then become much clearer to us: establishment of foundational principles, exploring derivations, then establishing a more sophisticated principle, based on what worked, and what did not.

The essence of the social contract comes from these foundational principles. It is those very principles upon which we agree that define our interactions, our interpersonal morality.

Law (big “L”) in its particularities, exemplified by the Ten Commandments and the Bill of Rights, must necessarily extend from the principles that underwrite them. If a proposed “law” or “legislation” or “emergency mandate” goes against those foundational principles, you can be assured that it is unjust. Adhering to deeply-set principles is the very essence of justice, concerning actions taken by the individual and “the state”.

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The “Categorical Imperative”, as mentioned earlier, is, theoretically, a logical extension of the Golden Rule. It has its pitfalls, however, when ideologies that come to be based upon it, e.g. socialism or communism, are warped and twisted to provide a mere vehicle for violent acquisition of power. For the message that “if everyone did it, life would be better,” can, and has been, used to impose tremendous tyranny, as people know, in ways that range from the level of a family unit to entire societies.

The imposition here of “collectivism” is the primary angle that is presently at war with the very concept of “the individual”, across the Western world and everywhere that the current crop of uber-wealthy, psychotic criminals have sunk their claws.

The ways in which “the individual” is being attacked are myriad and endless, though they all boil down to this. I had never thought this could happen in America, but here we are. It now rests upon us all, regardless of political alignment or ideology or physical characteristics, to disregard our minor differences and unite against this common assault, this demoralization and delegitimization of our personal responsibility to greater society.

The crux of the assault on the individual, that we Americans, and others around the world, are experiencing, is an attack on the very basics of the social contract from which all of our other laws and legislation are based.

Removing “the individual”, and replacing him with an abstract, foreign, compartmentalized, vague, collective ocean of mob mentality, demanding that anyone and everyone “do it for the good of all” (“It” gets worse for every level of excruciatingly minute specificity), divorces ourselves from the very origins of thousands of years of civil society: foundational principles of interpersonal morality, rooted in individual authority to define them.

For without these foundational principles, you do not have a civil society, regardless of governmental arrangement. You may have, at one level, the chaos of the proverbial jungle (though Natural Law would still apply), or at another, a totalitarian control grid, where no principles necessarily apply. I think we can agree to avoid these scenarios at all costs.

We need to maintain our social contract (and social contact), to act positively upon each of our self-determined interpretations of these foundational principles, use them to think deeply, and dispel from our minds, our spirits, the mountain of lies and manipulation that have waged such war upon civil society.

Nothing less than our (YOUR) future depends on it.

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