Social interactions have evolved from personal habits and family traditions to a complex array of national and global-level social institutions like religions, states, banks, and corporations. As with individual human beings, social institutions can be focused and productive, or dysfunctional, abused, and misused. To serve society as a whole, the institutional consciousness that guides institutional action needs to be focused on the institutional purpose and limited on its goals. Like the organs of a human body, they need to work together for the health of society. Institutional Value Transmission (IVT) is an emerging field of study related to institutional consciousness.1See, Don Trubshaw, “Institutional Resilience and Ecological Threats as Factors in Societal Peace and Conflict,” International Journal on World Peace, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 4 (December 2021), pp. 11-37.
The Wilber AQAL Model
In A Theory of Everything,2Ken Wilber, A Theory of Everything, An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science, and Spirituality (Boston: Shambhala, 2001) Ken Wilber outlined the evolution of the consciousness of individuals and society in his All Quadrant, All Level (AQAL) model. It captures the broad wholeness of human reality, with consciousness and activities at both the individual and collective aspects of human life.
Wilber’s diagram contains four quadrants, with the upper two quadrants related to individuals and the lower two quadrants related to collectives. The left two quadrants describe consciousness, values, and ideas, while the right two quadrants refer to structures and actions. Traditional religions, spirituality, and psychology have focused on the relationship of individual consciousness (Upper Left Quadrant) to functionality (Upper Right Quadrant). Rules such as the Ten Commandments have evolved to guide and limit individual behavior.
An important part of modern culture wars is the unresolved conflict between the idea of the individual’s sovereignty and the state’s sovereignty. The United States was founded on the principle of the sovereignty of the individual: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The United Nations, on the other hand, was founded on the principle of the sovereignty of the state: “The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.”1UN Charter, Article 2, Section 1. While the preamble to the UN Charter recognizes “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and nations large and small,” it begins “We the peoples…,” indicating groups of people, not individuals, are the foundation of the organization. Historically, sovereign states have been ruled by force, by kings and dictators, while democracies are based on the concept of the sovereignty of individuals.2Many early democracies, as in Ancient Greece, were heads of “households” and not individual persons.
The difference between the sovereignty of the individual and the sovereignty of the state can be seen between the individual liberty promoted by the US Declaration of Independence and the lack of freedom in Soviet-style communism. The sovereignty of the individual stems from the protestant idea that all individuals are “temples of God.” Individuals are accountable to a transcendent Being before any other human being or social institution. The sovereignty of the state was promoted by the German philosopher Hegel, who argued:
The state is absolutely rational inasmuch as it is the actuality of the substantial will which it possesses in the particular self-consciousness once that consciousness has been raised to consciousness of its universality. This substantial unity is an absolute unmoved end in itself, in which freedom comes into its supreme right. On the other hand this final end has supreme right against the individual, whose supreme duty is to be a member of the state.3G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right, Part 3: The Ethical Life, Section iii: The State, No. 258 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 155.
For Hegel, the state was the embodiment of the march of the Absolute (God) in history. Hegel was writing 200 years after the rise of the modern nation-state in Europe. The state was viewed by many as a panacea for saving the world, replacing the ideas of salvation in traditional religion. Unfortunately, uncontrolled state leaders do not usually behave ethically towards their people, nor towards each other. Millions of individuals have been killed by states asserting uncontrolled power and by groups within states attempting to seize the power of the state to play a god and control others.
While the idea of the state is an evolutionary advance over the concept of empire, It should not be seen as a god that will save people. If a state is to serve its citizens and not pursue war, its sovereignty needs to be limited by definition and mission.
The primary purpose of government is to provide security for citizens and serve as a referee when there are disputes between them. It is a legal operating system to allow citizens to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. It does this by protecting, policing, and adjudicating disputes when a citizen or group interferes in another citizen’s pursuit of happiness. The powers of government, especially in states, should be limited to these purposes.
The primary evils of government involve the use of the government for other purposes. These include using government force or law for (1) economic taking, (2) cultural indoctrination, and (3) territorial expansion. It is also wrong for governments to operate at an improper level. In other words, states should not impose their will on counties or federations impose their will on states. In the case this happens, the lower levels of governance should be guaranteed the right to secede. A peaceful society is based on voluntary cooperation, not force.
A state is a territorial unit, but a nation is a cultural identity unit. The coupling of the nation-with state is a holdover from feudalism, in which the cultural and economic values of the king or prince were imposed on everyone residing in a territory by its ruler. This caused a common “national” identity to develop. However, national identity, while formed on a territory, can be separated from that territory. German-Americans, Chinese-Americans, and Iranian-Americans retain cultural and economic values that shaped their identities in other territories, even though they move to a different territory.
Should immigrants from one nation-state be forced to drop their previous national identity and adopt a new one? Should they have the right to impose their national values on their new country and demand all the previous residents follow them? Or, should the cultural and economic values of a “nation” be decoupled from the domain of the state where pluralism exists on a territory?
Is the achievement of “e pluribis unum,” from many one, the motto of the United States, possible using the traditional definition of a nation-state? Or, is it only possible if many of the cultural and economic activities associated with a traditional nation-state are decoupled from the state? Under conditions of pluralism, the only viable national (territorial) values undergirding a state have to respect a plurality of identities.
A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of years in exchange for publishing disclosure of the invention.1The article includes material that I published on Patent in New World Encyclopedia, some of which was imported from Wikipedia with history document by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution.. This gives the patent holder a monopoly on a product. The patent holder can choose whether to produce the product and, if it is produced, set any price on the product.
The primary purpose of granting a patent is to enhance social good by encouraging the invention of new products beneficial to members of society. This is accomplished by providing legal protection that enables the inventor to profit from selling the invention without market competition. Patents have greatly served this purpose and are responsible for the creation of many industries and jobs that produce desirable products.
Patents were originally assigned to natural persons and later also assigned to corporations. The compounded the complexity of patent law and also the opportunities for abuse and corruption by the patent holder. Inventors may be required to assign inventions to their employers under an employment contract if they produce the invention while working for pay. The ability to assign ownership rights increases the liquidity of a patent as property. Third parties then own the patents and have the same rights as if they had originally invented the product.
The Importance of Balancing Elites and Masses in Two Legislative Bodies
Sustainable societies need to both be intelligently led and serve the needs of all people, “the masses,” without creating second-class citizens. Only a small percentage of the population makes up the political class. But, without proper checks and balances, this political class will inevitably use its power to become lords and masters and treat the masses as second-class citizens, exploiting them as slaves, serfs, and expendables. This includes racial and ethnic cleansing.
Traditionally this was true of kings, princes, and feudal lords. Today, in more complex institutional and bureaucratic societies, this elitism is characterized by political parties, administrative officials, and those with enough wealth to buy political influence. This problem should be constitutionally fixed with the upper house of government representing elite expertise and a lower house representing the rights and will of the population. With each house having the power to veto one another. This allows only legislation that is deemed functional by the elites and deemed just and unoppressive to the populace.
Despite the efforts of the US founders to create a system of governance in which the wider population directed elites through their representatives, today’s legislation is crafted in omnibus bills by government officials, party elites, and special interest organizations. The majority of the population has been paying the bills these elites pass and slipping from independent middle-class citizens to lower-class voters who are becoming serfs in an industrial society. This is analogous to the agrarian serfs of the feudal societies that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire.
The idea of a state school educating children is inimical to the idea of democracy. At the base is a conflict of interest between a government’s natural inclination to control or manage the citizens, and the democratic idea that citizens should control the government. The sphere of government is rooted in power and physical force, whereas education is in the cultural sphere, which is rooted in knowledge and love. When a state educates with power, the result is indoctrination. Whereas culture has the ability to teach the science of governance and equip its citizens to rule the government.
The founders of the United States recognized this principle. Ben Franklin is quoted as saying, “We gave you a republic if you can keep it.”1https://constitutioncenter.org/learn/educational-resources/historical-documents/perspectives-on-the-constitution-a-republic-if-you-can-keep-it President Thomas Jefferson argued that “a bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth.”2https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-12-02-0454 President John Adams stated that “our democracy is only for a moral and religious people,”3https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Adams/99-02-02-3102 indicating that the cultural sphere had to hold the government in check. George Washington advocated training all youth in the science of government.4https://millercenter.org/the-presidency/presidential-speeches/december-7-1796-eighth-annual-message-congress
Early Americans Taught Citizenship
Many early Americans understood the need to educate citizens in democratic governance. They had either experienced government tyranny in the colonies or later fled government tyrannies in other countries. In one-room schoolhouses run by local communities, students learned the Constitution, the way the American government was set up, and George Washington’s analysis of its strengths and weaknesses in his Farewell Address. In this address he warned
Integral society is a principled relationship between culture, governance, and economy. These are the three primary social spheres and are rooted in the principles of love, law, and ownership respectively. Integral society has evolved from hunter-gatherer societies to large complex states with many social institutions in each sphere.
The improper relationships of these spheres can lead to oppression, poverty, environmental destruction, and other harms. Social institutions in each sphere should contribute to the whole society according to their function while being checked from asserting themselves in other spheres. Failed states, poverty, and human rights violations are symptoms of an improperly integrated society