Ideas Rule the World
“Hear (…) the old, old axiom that ‘Ideas rule the world’; and as men’s minds receive new ideas, laying aside the old and effete the world (will) advance; mighty revolutions (will) spring from them; institutions (aye, and even creeds and powers, they may add) – WILL crumble before their onward march crushed by their own inherent force. (…) It will be just as impossible to resist their influence when the time comes as to stay the progress of the tide, – to be sure.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 93, p. 425; emphasis added)
All Subjects Are Connected to Metaphysics and Ethics (which Transcend the World of Ordinary Science): If They Are Not True, They Inevitably Lead to Disaster
“All subjects, no matter how specialized, are connected with a centre; they are like rays emanating from a sun. The centre is constituted by our most basic convictions, by those ideas which really have the power to move us. In other words, the centre consists of metaphysics and ethics, of ideas that – whether we like it or not – transcend the world of facts. Because they transcend the world of facts, they cannot be proved or disproved by ordinary scientific method. But that does not mean that they are purely ‘subjective’ or ‘relative’ or mere arbitrary conventions. They must be true to reality, although they transcend the world of facts – an apparent paradox to our positivistic thinkers. If they are not true to reality, the adherence to such a set of ideas must inevitably lead to disaster.” (Ernst Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful, pp. 94-95; emphasis added)
XIXth-Century Great Ideas Deny or Obliterate the Hierarchy of Levels in the Universe
“While the nineteenth-century ideas deny or obliterate the hierarchy of levels in the universe, the notion of an hierarchical order is an indispensable instrument of understanding. Without the recognition of ‘Levels of Being’ or ‘Grades of Significance’ we cannot make the world intelligible (…) Maybe it is man’s task – or simply, if you like, man’s happiness – to attain a higher degree of realization of his potentialities, a higher level of being or ‘grade of significance’ than that which comes to him ‘naturally’: we cannot even study this possibility except by recognizing the existence of a hierarchical structure. To the extent that we interpret the world through the great, vital ideas of the nineteenth century, we are blind to these differences of level, because we have been blinded.” (Ernst Schumacher. Small Is Beautiful, pp. 95-96; emphasis added)
That the World Is in Such a Bad Condition Morally Is Evidence that Religions and Philosophies Are Distant from Truth
“To be true, religion and philosophy must offer the solution of every problem. That the world is in such a bad condition morally is a conclusive evidence that none of its religions and philosophies (…), have ever possessed the truth.
The right and logical explanations on the subject of the problems of the great dual principles – right and wrong, good and evil, liberty and despotism, pain and pleasure, egotism and altruism – are as impossible to them now as they were 1881 years ago. They are as far from the solution as they ever were; but to these there must be somewhere a consistent solution, and if our doctrines prove their competence to offer it, then the world will be quick to confess that must be the true philosophy, the true religion, the true light, which gives truth and nothing but truth.” (Mahachohan, letter with His visions. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 1st Series, n. 1, p. 9; emphasis added)
Exoteric Creeds Generate Oppression and Struggle. It Is Esoteric Philosophy Alone that Can Bring Mediate State and Finally Lead to the Alleviation of Human Suffering
“Under the dominion and sway of exoteric creeds, the grotesque and tortured shadows of Theosophical realities, there must ever be the same oppression of the weak and the poor and the same typhonic struggle of the wealthy and the might among themselves … It is esoteric philosophy alone, the spiritual and psychic blending of man with Nature, that, by revealing fundamental truths, can bring that much desired mediate state between the two extremes of human Egotism and divine Altruism, and finally lead to the alleviation of human suffering.” (Adept. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, n. 82, p. 157; emphasis added)
Only Object to Be Striven for: the Spread of Truth Suited to the Various Stages of His Development and of the Country He Inhabits and Belongs to
“The only object to be striven for is the amelioration of the condition of MAN by the spread of truth suited to the various stages of his development and of the country he inhabits and belongs to. TRUTH has no ear-mark and does not suffer from the name under which it is promulgated – if the said object is attained.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 85, p. 399; emphasis added)
Purpose We Have All at Heart: Dissemination of TRUTH Conveyed by Whatever Religious Channel
“This is not the desire alone of either of us two, known to Mr. Sinnett, or of both, but the express wish of the Chohan Himself. Mrs. Kingsford’s (Dr Anna Kingsford) election is not a matter of personal feeling between ourselves and that lady but rests entirely on the advisability of having at the head of the Society, in a place like London, a person well suited to the standard and aspirations of the (so far) ignorant (of esoteric truths) and therefore, malicious public. (…) a question whether the said lady is fitted for the purpose we have all at heart, namely the dissemination of TRUTH through Esoteric doctrines, conveyed by whatever religious channel, and the effacement of crass materialism and blind prejudices and skepticism. (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 85, p 398; emphasis added)
Secret of the Spiritual Failure and Unconscious Egotism of this Age: Lack of a Universal Moral Law or Principle
“The philantropy (…) having no character of universality; i.e. never having been established on the firm footing of a moral, universal principle; never having risen higher than theorethical talk; (…) is but a mere accidental manifestation but no recognised LAW. (…) This, I think is, the secret of the spiritual failure and unconscious egotism of this age.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 28, p. 215; emphasis added)
Universal Brotherhood Is a Law in Nature, Not Only an Aspiration
“And has not your own Emerson taught you the same lesson? Can you remember in one of those marvelous essays of his he taught the great truth that Nature only looks cruel while we oppose her; she is our strongest helper when we join ourselves to her. For every law that crushes you while you oppose it lifts you when you are united to it. Every force that is against you while you are lawless, is on your side when you make yourself one with law. He tells you to hitch your wagon on to a star, for then the wagon shall move with all the force of the planet above you; and is it not a greater destiny even to suffer until we learn the law, than to escape it and remain in ignorance when the law is that which brings us ultimately to triumph? Nature is conquered by obedience, and the divine is found in a unity of justice and of love.
Brotherhood, then, in its full meaning, is a law in nature. Stress has more than once been laid on this in our meetings, but not too much stress has thereon been laid. For it is the very object, the desire, of our work that brotherhood shall become practical in society, and it will never become practical until men understand that it is a law, and not only an aspiration. It is a common experience that when men have discovered a law of nature they no longer fight against it. They at once accomodate themselves to the new knowledge. They at once adapt themselves to the newly understood conditions, and in that very way we have preached brotherhood. And yet brotherhood is but so little known in our world.” (Annie Besant. The Spiritual Life, Vol. II, p. 160; emphasis added)
Universal Brotherhood: It Is the Only Secure Foundation for Universal Morality
“The term “Universal Brotherhood” is no idle phrase. (…) It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind: and it is the aspiration of the true adept.” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 4, p. 17; emphasis added)
The Principle or Law of Universal Brotherhood is Very Little Understood: It Is the One Essential of Doctrine and of Life of Both Buddhism and Christianity
“How little this principle of Universal Brotherhood is understood by the masses of mankind, how seldom its transcendent importance is recognized, may be seen in the diversity of opinions and fictitious interpretations regarding the Theosophical Society. This Society was organized on this one principle, the essential Brotherhood of Man, as herein briefly outlined and imperfectly set forth. It has been assailed as Buddhistic and anti-Christian, as though it could be both these together, when both Buddhism and Christianity, as set forth by their inspired founders, make brotherhood the one essential of doctrine and of life.” (Helena Blavatsky, quoting J.D. Buck, in The Key to Theosophy, p. 18; emphasis added)
Only by Comparing the Great Religions and Philosophers that Men Can Hope to Arrive at the Truth
“It is only by studying the various great religions and philosophers of humanity, by comparing them dispassionately and with an unbiased mind, that men can hope to arrive at the truth. It is especially by finding out and noting their various points of agreement that we may achieve this result. For the sooner do we arrive – either by study, or by being taught by someone who knows – at their inner meaning, than we find, almost in every case, that it expresses some great truth in Nature.” (Helena Blavatsky. The Key to Theosophy, p. 58; emphasis added)
Faith That Is Without Understanding Is Credulity
“True it is ‘faith that saves,’ but the faith that is without understanding is not faith, but credulity.” (Edward Maitland. Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)
The Interpretation of Your Bibles
“That which you need on Earth is the interpretation of your Bibles, and of all the Scriptures which contain the hidden wisdom, the mystery of which St. Paul so often speaks as existing from the foundation of the world. [As in Romans 16:25]” (A Message to Earth. Edited by Edward Maitland, p. 69. Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)
Two Things About the Christian Religion
“At the present moment there are two things about the Christian religion which must be obvious to every percipient person; one, that men cannot do without it; the other, that they cannot do with it as it is.” (Matthew Arnold, quoted in The Perfect Way. See Selected Texts, Quotes and Glossary; emphasis added)
Christianity and Buddhism Are Parts of One Continuous, Harmonious Whole
“Christianity, then, was introduced into the world with a special relation to the great religions of the East, and under the same divine control. And so far from being intended as a rival and supplanter of Buddhism, it was the direct and necessary sequel to that system; and the two are but parts of one continuous, harmonious whole, whereof the later division is but the indispensable supplement and complement of the earlier.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way, pp. 250-251; emphasis added)
Of the Union of Buddha and Christ Will Be Born the World’s Coming Redemption
“Of the spiritual union in the one faith of Buddha and Christ, will be born the world’s coming redemption.” (Anna Kingsford and Edward Maitland. The Perfect Way, p. 252; emphasis added)
Only the Laws of Karma and Reincarnation and a Belief in the Spiritual Unity May Reverse the Drift Towards Materialism
“Student – Are there any causes, (…) which may operate to reverse the present drift towards materialism?
Sage – The spread of the knowledge of the laws of Karma and Reincarnation and a belief in the absolute spiritual unity of all beings will alone prevent this drift.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. IX, p. 103; emphasis added)
With the Ancient (Man’s Higher Ego) Is Wisdom, Understanding Is in the Length of Days (Number of Its Reincarnations)
“Esoterically then, Job’s statement (28:12 and 12:12) must read: ‘With the Ancient (man’s Higher Ego) is Wisdom, and in the length of days (or the number of its reincarnations) is understanding.’ No man can learn true and final Wisdom in one birth; and every new rebirth, whether we be reincarnated for weal or for woe, is one more lesson we receive at the hands of the stern yet ever just schoolmaster – KARMIC LIFE.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol XII, p. 313; emphasis added)
Reincarnation and Karma, in Other Words, Hope and Responsibility, Will Bring Better Days
“(…) if the doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope and Responsibility, find a home in the lives of new generations, then, indeed, will dawn the day of joy and gladness for all who now suffer and are outcast.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. XI, p. 202; emphasis added)
Universal Brotherhood Under the Law of Reincarnation and Karma Will Solve Many of the Problems
“But to understand Brotherhood, we must remember that evolution proceeds by reincarnation under the law of the karma.(…) Now most of you believe these two great teachings and in your individual lives they play a mighty part. Why do you not apply them to nations as well as to individuals, to social problems as well as to the helping of your own personal development? As the ideas of reincarnation and karma make their way in the western world, which has the habit of applying principles to practice, I think we shall find this Principle of Universal Brotherhood under the law of reincarnation and karma will solve many of the problems under which the western world is groaning, in our time.” (Annie Besant. The Ideals of Theosophy, p. 21; emphasis added)
Brotherhood of All Souls Is Like to the Relation Within a Family
“It is necessary to understand that this Brotherhood of all souls is like the relation of brotherhood within a family; brothers are not all of the same age, though they are of the same parents.” (C. Jinarajadasa. Practical Theosophy, p. 63; emphasis added)
Idea That Will Guide State Administration, Above All, Will Be the Principle or Law of Universal Brotherhood
“Since a man is a unit of a social organization, the value which any ethical teaching may have for the individual is inseparable from its application to the community of which he is a part. Just as an understanding of certain simple truths modifies a man’s conception of himself, so too the conception of what constitutes the true state, when viewed in the light of the Esoteric [or Perennial] Philosophy, profoundly modifies a man’s attitude to his life among his fellow men. (…)
The individuals who compose the state are Souls, immortal egos in earthly bodies; they are the members of the State in order to evolve to an ideal of perfection. As souls, and as all partaking of one Divine Nature, all within the State are brothers; whether rich or poor, cultured or ignorant, law-abiding or law-breaking, all are brothers, and nothing one soul does can modify that fact of nature.
The educated or the proud may refuse to see an identity of nature with the ignorant and the lowly; the weak and the criminally minded may show more attributes of the brute than that of the God. Yet is there in high and low alike the one nature of the Divine Life, and nothing a man does can weaken the bond of brotherhood between him and all the others.
But this Brotherhood of all souls is like the relation of brotherhood within a family; brothers are not all of the same age, though they are of the same parents. So too, among the souls that compose a state, there are elder souls and younger souls; it is just this difference of spiritual age and capacity which makes possible the functions of the real State.
The age of the soul is seen in the response to ideals of altruism and co-operation; he is the elder soul who springs forward to help in the welfare of others, and that soul is the younger who thinks of self-interest first and follows its needs in preference to self-sacrifice on behalf of others.
The divisions which we now have in a state’s life of rank and of wealth are no true distinctions which divide the elder souls from the younger souls; one man born into a high class or caste may yet be a very young soul, while another whose birth is ignoble, according to the world’s conventions, may be far advanced as a soul.
There being in each state elder souls and younger souls, the Law of Brotherhood requires that the elder shall be more self-sacrificing, on behalf of the younger, than the younger should be towards the elder. Since life through long ages has given more to the elder souls than to the younger, more is required from the elder, both of self-sacrifice and of responsibility.
By the natural order of events, the direction of a state’s affairs will fall inevitably on the elder souls. (…) when the state begins to perform its true functions, the direction of its affairs is by an aristocracy, by the best souls, that is, the elder and more capable souls. (…)
The great principle to guide them in their administration is that in all the state’s affairs the principle of Brotherhood shall dominate in all things. This will mean the clear recognition that any preventable suffering or ignorance or backwardness of even one citizen is to the detriment of the welfare of all citizens; since the destiny of each is inseparable from the destiny of all, as rises one so rise all, and as falls one so fall all; that there must be no shadow of exploitation of one man by another, of one class or caste by another. Since, too, all men are souls and, even the least developed, Gods in the making, it becomes the duty of the administrator in all laws and institutions continually to appeal to the hidden Divinity in man. (…)
When there comes in the state the recognition of this hidden God in man, a complete revolution will take place in our attitude to and in our treatment of the criminal. First and foremost, whatever he does, he is our brother. He is a younger brother truly to those of us who are the elders and give implicit and willing obedience to the laws of the state; but though he falls a thousand times, he is our brother even after the thousandth time.” (C. Jinarajadasa, Practical Theosophy, pp. 61-66)
Note from the website’s manager: This quote by C. Jinarajadasa evidences the relevance of the aspects of Unity and Diversity within the principle or Law of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity, as well as reveals some of its most important practical applications. Unfortunately, as already mentioned and quoted, the importance of the Unity and Diversity aspects are not well recognized both in theoretical terms and in practical terms.
Esoteric Truths Are of the Highest Spiritual Importance, at Once Profound and Practical: They Have to Prove Both Destructive and Constructive – Destructive in the Pernicious Errors of the Past; But Constructive of New Institutions of a Genuine, Practical Brotherhood of Humanity
“The truths and mysteries of occultism [esoteric philosophy] constitute, indeed, a body of the highest spiritual importance, at once profound and practical for the world at large. Yet, it is not as a mere addition to the tangled mass of theory or speculation in the world of science that they are being given to you, but for their practical bearing on the interests of mankind. (…) They have to prove both destructive and constructive — destructive in the pernicious errors of the past, in the old creeds and superstitions which suffocate in their poisonous embrace like the Mexican weed nigh all mankind; but constructive of new institutions of a genuine, practical Brotherhood of Humanity where all will become co-workers of nature (…).” (K.H. The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, n. 6, p. 23; emphasis added)
Influence and Responsibility of the Leaders of Thought
“(…) this our generation seems to evince but a very rudimentary spiritual grasp while apparently developed in intellect to the utmost extent possible. It is, indeed, a hard, materialistic age: a fragment of sparkling quartz is its appropriate symbol. And yet of what ‘age’ and ‘generation’ do we speak? Not of that of the masses, for they change but little from generation to generation: no, but of the educated class, the leaders of thought, the controllers and stimulators of the opinions of that great middle social group lying between the highly cultured and the brutishly ignorant. They are the sceptics of today who are as incapable of rising to the sublimity of Vedantic or Buddhistic philosophy as a tortoise to soar like an eagle.” (Helena Blavatsky. Collected Writings, Vol. III, p. 104; emphasis added)
Great Mission of True Altruism (Theosophy): Working Out of Clear Ethic Ideas and Duties, and Modelling of Their Institutions
“The problem of true Theosophy [Altruism or Divine Wisdom] and its great mission is the working out of clear, unequivocal conceptions of ethic ideas and duties which would satisfy most and best the altruistic and right feelings in us; and the modelling of these conceptions for their adaptation into such forms of daily life where they may be applied with most equitableness . . . Such is the common work in view for all who are willing to act on these principles. It is a laborious task and will require strenuous and persevering exertion, but it must lead you insensibly to progress and leave no room for any selfish aspiration outside the limits traced.” (Adept. Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, 2nd Series, n. 82, p. 158; emphasis added)
Fundamental Principles of Humanitarianism
“As a doctrine, or as a social-political philosophy, Humanitarianism is based on only five great principles that, despite its apparent simplicity, encompass a whole metaphysical vision that, synthetically and allegorically, is supported by two master columns that are the motto of Humanitarianism: UNITY IN DIVERSITY. These two central aspects constitute the essence of the Universal Brotherhood Law which, applied to humanity, is the first and most important principle of Humanitarianism. As we will try to demonstrate in this work, this metaphysical perspective and these principles are of fundamental importance for the welfare of humanity. These five principles are:
1 – All human beings constitute an UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD.
2 – All human beings have the same origin and the same essential nature and, therefore, the SAME ESSENTIAL VALUE.
3 – Notwithstanding the original unity, and the same essential value, the human beings present DIFFERENT CAPABILITIES.
4 – As a consequence of these first three principles, the rule that should guide the justice and the harmony which is possible among the human beings is the EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITIES, in order to better promote the development of the different levels and types of individual capacities.
5 – The ethical principle of ELITE RESPONSIBILITY, from which also depends the advent of the new social institutions.” [Arnaldo Sisson Filho. What Is Wrong with Politics? Bases for a True Democracy (O Que Há de Errado com a Política? Fundamentos para uma Verdadeira Democracia)]
The Universal Brotherhood As a Law: the Only Object
The principle or law of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity actually encompasses the other four principles presented above. These additional principles are important because they specify the fundamental aspects of the great principle or law of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity. Therefore, in reality, the sole objective of HUMANITARISM as a social movement, is the dissemination and practical application of the principle or law of the Brotherhood of all human beings, as long as it is properly understood.” [Arnaldo Sisson Filho. What Is Wrong with Politics? Bases for a True Democracy(O Que Há de Errado com a Política? Fundamentos para uma Verdadeira Democracia); Chapter 1, Introduction]
Chapter 8 of the book: What Is Wrong with Politics? Bases for a True Democracy (O Que Há de Errado com a Política? Fundamentos para uma Verdadeira Democracia)
THE DEMOCRACY OF THE FUTURE
– Requirements for a Competent Alternative Model
– Democracy of the Future: Cascade or Inverted Tree Representation
– Freedom Is Guaranteed
– A Process with Equal Opportunities
– The Harmony Between Functions and Capabilities
– The Creation of the Necessary Power
– An Example for the Nations Is Needed
– Complementary Quotations
Requirements for a Competent Alternative Model
In the previous chapters we made it clear the failure of the currently dominant models and why they will never be able to ensure a just and competent social order, especially with regard to the problem of the huge wealth difference existing between rich and poor countries (where two thirds of the world’s population live). In other words, we seek to clarify that such models (which today are generally seen as successful examples to be followed) will never be able to solve the challenge of overcoming the situation of exclusion and extreme poverty of so many millions that we see today. Therefore, we have now reached the moment when we must point out at least some general guidelines as to what an alternative political model would look like, which at least had the chance to substantially change this scenario.
We have already seen that the premise, that is, the vision of human being and humanity that underlies this new model, must be that which shows humanity as a universal brotherhood, which implies the recognition of the essential unity of human beings, as well as of large differences in capabilities.
What, then, would be the main characteristics of a new model of political organization, which would meet the needs previously exposed for a just and competent process for the selection of government officials, as well as the need to provide these rulers with sufficient coercive power?
As we saw earlier, the essential requirements that must exist simultaneously for a competent process of choosing leaders are: 1) freedom; 2) equal opportunities (or conditions) in political disputes; and 3) a good match between responsibility (which is always linked to the degree of difficulty of the functions) and the characteristics of the different levels of consciousness of the population (of different levels of capability, or of conceptual grasp). With regard to the generation of the necessary coercive power by the system (so that the governors can regulate and harmonize the actions of big organizations), the necessary requirement is that the political model promotes a cohesive organization of the entire population.
In view, above all, of the characteristics of the different levels of consciousness of the population and of the simultaneous need for the freedom of choice to be preserved, as well as for the guarantee of equal opportunities in the political dispute, the first conclusion is that of the total unfeasibility of direct elections involving large populations.
It is a total unfeasibility because these large mass elections, while preserving freedom, always result in a preservation of a kind of freedom like “fox in the henhouse”. In other words, a freedom in which there is no equality of conditions in the political dispute, neither a harmony between the levels of conceptual grasp and the levels of responsibility in selection process. The consequence of this is a total surrender of the process (so fundamental and decisive) of the choices of the most responsible positions in the hands of the economic-financial power (pluto), and in the hands of demagogy. In fact, the current so-called democratic models – centrally characterized by the elections of big populations (masses) – are not true democracies, but pluto-demagogicracies. A truly democratic system means the government of the people, by the people and to the people, while in the present forms of Liberal democracies the government is of the people, by the people, but it never arrives to become to the people; the present forms of Liberal democracies are always in favor of economic power and demagogy.
Democracy of the Future: Cascade or Inverted Tree Representation
At first sight, apparently, we find ourselves in a blind alley, that is, how to preserve freedom without direct elections by large populations (mass), together with equal opportunities in political-electoral disputes, and still maintaining harmony between levels of consciousness and levels of responsibility at different levels of political representation?
In reality, a little more reflection shows us that there is a consistent solution to this apparent paradox. It is a model that contemplates elections that are much less direct, and that ensures that these elections never imply processes of selection directly involving large masses, while preserving freedom and a strict proportionality between the various small, medium, and large electoral circumscriptions (districts).
Thus, this system would be based on small electoral districts (circumscriptions), such as small towns (villages), neighborhoods, small districts or small municipalities, preferably never exceeding a very human dimension, in which personal knowledge among individuals was not impossible or even very difficult to occur.
What number of people would we be approximately (roughly) referring to? This number may vary significantly in the case of rural or urban areas, since in urban areas of high population concentration the physical distances between a significant number of people are relatively small. In urban areas there may be large buildings, etc., and in these conditions of easier interpersonal communication, the number of voters in this first political-electoral circumscription could be significantly greater than in rural areas of great population dispersion, where people have much greater difficulties in establishing face-to-face contacts.
These differences of number of people at this first electoral level are of no great importance, since there will always be a rigorous proportionality between representatives and represented. If, for example, the coefficient is 50 to 1 at that first level, then, if there are 1,000 voters in a circumscription, there would be twenty (20) representatives of the first level. If another base district has only 200 voters, it will elect only four (4) representatives of the first level, and so on. The rigorous proportionality being an obvious requirement for equal opportunities.
The model of successive representations would gradually narrow like a pyramid, through the levels of Base Districts, Municipalities, Micro-regions, States (or Provinces), and from there to the National Congress, which would choose a cabinet with an executive chief, such as a Prime Minister in a parliamentary system. It should be noted, however, that this system resembles the traditional parliamentary system only at the top of the pyramid, the whole process of choice and selection being completely different from the direct suffrage of large populations, since the different electoral districts (circumscriptions) are articulated at various levels until it reaches the level of the National Congress.
If we consider the enormous advantages of this system in relation to the current ones, it becomes difficult to accept that such a system has not been seriously tried anywhere, as far as we have knowledge. Let us examine these advantages a little more in comparison with the present dominant systems: Liberal democracies and Marxist one party systems.
Freedom Is Guaranteed
In relation to Marxist totalitarian regimes, the great advantage of this new model of participatory democracy is that freedom is absolutely preserved, whereas in so-called dictatorships of the proletariat, freedom is sacrificed. In this context, there is only equal opportunities for party members. In other words, there is no full freedom and, therefore, there is no equal opportunity in Marxist totalitarian systems, while in the democracy of the future this essential requirement is preserved.
As for the other aspects, participatory democracy does not lose anything to the Marxist model. Marxist systems have their strength in the balance between functions and capabilities and in the cohesive organization of a large part of the population. Now, these points are equally strong in the participatory democracy of the future, since it is similar in these particular aspect to the Marxist models, being, in reality, superior to the Marxist totalitarian systems, since these exclude many intelligent and capable people from the selection (electoral) process, only because they do not belong to the communist party or similar (as we can see, for example, in the model currently existing in continental China).
A Process with Equal Opportunities
What about, then, the comparison of the democracy of the future with the system that is hegemonic in the world today, which is called Liberal democracy? The freedom that is the strong point of Liberal democracies is also fully preserved in this participatory democracy of the future.
In some ways, in fact, there is even more freedom in this participatory democracy than in the current models of Liberal democracies. First, because in democratic-liberal systems sometimes voting is mandatory, while in this participatory democracy of the future, voting is free. Second, because in Liberal systems candidates generally must be affiliated with some party, while in the democracy of the future candidates may or may not be affiliated with any party, depending on their free choices. In Liberal systems to be a candidate, the individual almost always depends on the choice of parties, but in this democracy of the future it depends only on his own decision. We see, therefore, that even under this aspect that is the strength of Liberal democracies, this new model of democracy owes nothing to it.
As for all other aspects, this participatory democracy of the future is far superior to Liberal systems. It guarantees immense equality of opportunity in electoral processes, while in Liberal pseudo-democracies only the materially privileged, the communicators and those who have professions linked to mass communication, in addition to demagogues in general, are the ones who have a chance to be elected to the positions of greater responsibility.
The Harmony Between Functions and Capabilities
As for the adequacy between functions and capabilities, there is almost no need for comments, such are the advantages of the suggested model in relation to the mass suffrage of Liberal systems.
In this participatory democracy of the future there is a gradual qualification of the voters, who are those who were elected at the level immediately below. At each level of representation, a qualification occurs naturally (as to the increase in conceptual levels, or levels of social awareness), as these are those who were freely chosen as the most qualified representatives to defend the interests of their respective area or electoral circumscription.
The comparison is almost ridiculous, but what would be the percentage of those who would elect representatives to the National Congress in this new model who would not even be able to say what a Constituent Assembly is? Certainly this percentage would be practically zero, that is, none of the representatives of this high level would be unaware of such an elementary issue! Compare this with the 70.5% who, as we saw earlier, in Rio Grande do Sul did not know how to answer this very basic question, but who composed the very electorate to choose the constituents in 1986! Would there be a need for other comparisons? Is there any doubt that in this participatory democracy of the future we would have an extraordinarily more qualified National Congress?
The Creation of the Necessary Power
Finally, also in terms of the ability to generate enough power in the hands of the freely chosen leaders, the model advocated here is far superior to Liberal systems. The proposed model organizes the population in a much more cohesive way, not in a loose and atomized way as in Liberal pseudo-democracies.
It is almost impossible to violently repress such a system. If, by chance, a military force prevented the National Congress from functioning, the entire population would remain politically organized, in a cascade (or inverted tree) of small assemblies, in most cases so small that they could meet in a large living room. How to suppress such an organization? It is an almost impossible mission.
All of this without mentioning the evident fact that perhaps the greatest political force in this participatory democracy of the future is the great, or at least much greater, qualification of its highest leaders (in comparison with those elected in the Liberal pseudo-democracies), which would guarantee, only considering this aspect, a much greater popular support than that devoted to the current rulers.
How different would be the qualification of these leaders when compared to recent examples of Brazilian politics, where we see cases and more cases of corruption, incompetence, demagogy, generalized unpreparedness for the exercise of the highest positions, of the terrible example for the population who has a very low concept as to the character of politicians. This was demonstrated in data previously presented, but in view of its immense importance we will repeat here:
“The table below, regarding the credibility of politicians, is very clear about the results of this process of selecting political leaders in the present forms of Liberal democracies. These data are about the credibility deserved by those who should be the best that a nation has, as they occupy the positions of the greatest responsibility. The survey is by Ibope (institute) and was published in Zero Hora, (newspaper) on 08/09/87. Needless to say, the Brazilian situation in 2020 does not look any better, with so many corruption scandals in the nation’s highest offices! The question asked was as follows:
– “Do you agree or disagree with the statements below used to describe the actions of politicians?” The tabulation presents percentages.
|Does not know/
did not answer
|They are in politics only due to personal interests
|They are concerned with the people well-being
|Even the most honest end being corrupted
|They do not act as they promised
|They only defend who helped them to be elected
|They enjoy too much benefits
|They only remember voters before elections
This disheartening picture is already a clear statement about the incompetence, injustice and corruption that characterizes this system of selecting political leaders.”
An Example for Nations Is Needed
The country that first succeeds in adopting the model of political organization of this participatory democracy of the future will thus be serving the highest interests of its own people and will also be setting an example that will certainly help and inspire other countries. Especially those countries that are today poorer, generally subject to a neocolonialist dependency and with a past of centuries of colonial exploitation. This is because in this system there will be, in fact, a real chance for the necessary wisdom (intellectual and technical qualification, along with altruistic character) to reach the most powerful positions, and of the greatest responsibility.
In fact, this organizational change will only reach its truly democratic character (of the people, by the people and for the people), if it is preceded by a genuine great ideational reform at the level of the elites, that is, that part of the population possessing the minds of greater conceptual grasp. This aspect is not that easy to understand and, for this reason, it will be addressed in the set of quotations added at the end of this chapter, as well as in the texts that we will add, as annexes, to this book.
In view of the previous analysis, it seems unnecessary to further compare this model with those presently dominant worldwide. In all aspects analyzed, it is a much more efficient and fair model than the current ones, both in terms of the competence of the process of selecting the governors, and in terms of generating a much greater power in the hands of the leaders, so that they can regulate and harmonize the activities of the gigantic organizations. This is because, as we have seen, this new model, in addition to enabling much more qualified leaders to exercise their immense responsibilities, organizes the entire population of any society in a much more cohesive way.
Both the difference in the qualification of the governors, and in the organizational cohesion of the entire population, should substantially change the situation of conflicts and permanent injustices of all kinds that we have today. And this is something whose importance is difficult to exaggerate, especially for poor nations, which today have no hope, within the current models, whether Liberal or Marxist, of overcoming the vicious circle of extreme poverty and the so-called underdevelopment, in the same way that makes possible consistent solutions to the great problems that today afflict humanity as a whole, as in the concrete example previously chosen linked to the destruction of the natural environment.
In conclusion, there follows a set of quotations that aim to corroborate the ideational perspective presented in this work, above all to assist in understanding the decisive role of elites and their corresponding responsibility for the general well-being, not only of the human family (either organized in national societies, or in the collectivity of the world as a whole), but of all life and the natural environment of the planet:
Politics Involves the Welfare of All and Demands the Best Heads With Disinterested Spirit
“Politics, which involves the welfare and progress of all who constitute the State and affects other States, is a serious business which calls for the best heads with a disinterested spirit, and should not be a game of power played with the stakes of personal and group interests.” (N. Sri Ram. On the Watch Tower, p. 82)
Universal Brotherhood Is a Law in Nature, Not Only an Aspiration
“Brotherhood, then, in its full meaning, is a law in nature. Stress has more than once been laid on this in our meetings, but not too much stress has thereon been laid. For it is the very object, the desire, of our work that brotherhood shall become practical in society, and it will never become practical until men understand that it is a law, and not only an aspiration. It is a common experience that when men have discovered a law of nature they no longer fight against it. They at once accommodate themselves to the new knowledge. They at once adapt themselves to the newly understood conditions, and in that very way we have preached brotherhood. And yet brotherhood is but so little known in our world.” (Annie Besant. The Spiritual Life, Vol. II, p. 160; emphasis added)
Out of these Differences Grows Up All the Possibilities of an Ordered Society
“That great principle (or Law) of Reincarnation must ever go hand in hand with the principle (or Law) of Brotherhood if Brotherhood is to be applied, if it is to be made a working principle of ordinary life. For it is out of these differences of age that grows up all the possibilities of an ordered and happy society amongst ourselves.” (Annie Besant. The Changing World, p. 80; emphasis added)
How to Find the Best, That Is the Problem: To Solve It We Must Realise the Hopelessness of the Present Systems of Government
“The Ideal is that the best should rule; but how to find them, that is the problem. Every one of us who studies must try to solve this problem, and the suggestions I am here making may perhaps give some hints for the solving. But you will not try to solve it, until you realise the hopelessness of the present line of ruling – or not ruling – and accept the Ideal that the best should govern.” (Annie Besant. The Ideals of Theosophy, p. 30; emphasis added)
The Fetish of Mass Suffrage Without Any Qualification Whatsoever
“Undoubtedly each man is competent in his own sphere, to say what he wants for his town or village and who will serve best it among those he knows. But when it comes to a question of deciding intricate issues of national and international import, it is but common sense that only those should exercise a vote who have some knowledge of what the issues are. Therefore it was that Dr. Annie Besant urged consistently, while she was concerned with these matters in Indian politics, that India should not, in shaping her Constitution, adhere to the fetish of mass suffrage without any qualification whatsoever. (…)
She did not think that the rule ‘one man, one vote’ was good for any country, at least of all did she favour it for India.” (N. Sri Ram. On the Watch Tower, p. 81; emphasis added)
There Has to Be Skill and Wisdom in Dealing with the Outer Differences
“It is not enough to realize our underlying brotherhood, but there has to be skill and wisdom in dealing with the outer differences, the inequalities of development and circumstances.” (N. Sri Ram. Thoughts for Aspirants, 2nd Series, p. 122)
India Should Evolve a New Model of Democracy
“If India can evolve a form of democracy in which there is some chance for the needed wisdom to come to the top, she will thereby be serving the best interests of her own people, as well as setting an example that might help and inspire other peoples.” (N. Sri Ram. On the Watch Tower, p. 82)
Proposal of a System in Harmony with the Law of the Universal Brotherhood (Annie Besant, N. Sri Ram and Jai Prakash Narain)
“Some time ago Pandit Nehru, in one of his speeches, threw out rather vaguely the idea that some day, instead of the present manner of elections to the Indian Parliament, some system, less direct and more suited to conditions in India, might be considered.
Since then, Mr. Jai Prakash Narain (…) has more definitely proposed, in the place of the present form of Democracy in India, a system somewhat similar to that proposed by Dr. Annie Besant in the days of her agitation for India’s Freedom. She did not think that the rule ‘one man, one vote’ was good for any country, and least of all did she favour it for India. Therefore she outlined, in her The Commonwealth of India Bill , a system which would be broad-based at the village (and corresponding town) level, with adult suffrage and a very large measure of autonomy, and then gradually taper like a pyramid through the District and State (or Province) levels, up to the Central Government. The franchise for the Councils at these higher levels was to be based on increasingly higher qualifications of service, experience, education, etc.
Her scheme, if it had been backed up by the other political leaders of the time, particularly by the Congress party, would have been acceptable to the people of India as a whole. The principle of a reasonable qualification for the vote and for membership of the Councils would have been firmly established. But her pleadings went in vain. Mr. Gandhi stood for mass suffrage, and that decided the question.
Mr. Jai Prakash Narain also envisages a strong and practically self-sufficient village base to consist of Village Councils, village meaning also a town, ward or borough, but indirect elections from these Councils to District Councils, from the latter to State or Provincial Legislatures, and from these to the Parliament of all India.
Mr. Jai Prakash Narain’s is as yet a lonely voice in the wilderness of the present political conditions in India. The description of them as a wilderness may seem an exaggeration but when one looks at the various sectional interests which are so clamant and the variety of councils on different matters to which it utterance is given, one cannot but feel the truth of Dr. Besant’s description of democracy in its present form as government by multi-headed ignorance.” (N. Sri Ram. On the Watch Tower, p. 86; emphasis added)
Participatory Democracy (or Democracy of the Future), in the Vision of Professor C.B. Macpherson
“Let me turn finally to the question of how a participatory democracy might be run if we did achieve the prerequisites. How participatory could it be, given that at any level beyond the neighborhood it would have to be an indirect or representative system rather than face-do-face direct democracy?
If one looks at the question first in general terms, setting aside for the present both the weight of tradition and the actual circumstances that might prevail in any country when the prerequisites had been sufficiently met, the simplest model that could properly be called a participatory democracy would be a pyramidal system with direct democracy at the base and delegate democracy at every level above that. Thus one would start with direct democracy at the neighborhood (…) – actual face-to-face discussion and decision by consensus or majority, and election of delegates who would make up a council at the next more inclusive level, say a city borough or a ward or township. (…)
So it would go on up to the top level, which would be a national council for matters of national concern, and local and regional councils for matters of less than national concern. At whatever level beyond the smallest primary one the final decisions on different matters were made, the issues would certainly have to be formulated by a committee of the council. (…)
This may seem a far cry from democratic control. But I think it is the best we can do. What is needed at every stage, to make the system democratic, is that the decision-makers and issue-formulators elected from below be held responsible to those below subject to re-election or even recall. (pp. 108-109) (…)
To sum up the discussion so far of the process of a pyramidal councils system as a model of participatory democracy, we may say that in the measure that the prerequisite conditions for transition to a participatory system had been achieved in any Western country, the most obvious impediments to a pyramidal councils scheme being genuinely democratic would not be present, and, therefore, a pyramidal system might work. (…)
It is much more likely that any such move will be made under the leadership of a popular front or a coalition of social-democratic and socialist parties. (…) The real question then is, whether there is some way of combining a pyramidal council structure with a competitive party system.
The combination of pyramidal direct/indirect democratic machinery with a continuing party system seems essential. Nothing but a pyramidal system will incorporate any direct democracy into a nation-wide structure of government, and some significant amount of direct democracy is required for anything that can be called participatory democracy. At the same time, competitive political parties must be assumed to be in existence, parties whose claims cannot, consistently with anything that could be called Liberal democracy, be overridden.
Not only is the combination of pyramid and parties probably unavoidable: it may be positively desirable. (pp. 111-112) (…)
One question remains: can this model of participatory democracy be called a model of Liberal democracy? I think it can. It is clearly not dictatorial or totalitarian. The guarantee of this is not the existence of alternative parties (…). The guarantee is rather in the presumption that no version of the model of participatory democracy could come into existence or remain in existence without a strong and widespread sense of the value of that liberal-democratic ethical principle (which is the heart of its main models): – the equal right of every man and woman to the full development and use of his or her capabilities. (…)
As long as there remained a strong sense of the high value of the equal right of self-development, the model of participatory democracy would be in the best tradition of Liberal democracy.” (C.B. Macpherson. The Life and Times of Liberal Democracy, pp. 108-115)
Vegetarian Movement: Redeemer of the World
“I consider the vegetarian movement to be the most important movement of our age. I believe this because I see in it the beginning of true civilization. My opinion is that up to the present moment we do not know what civilization means. When we look at the dead bodies of animals, whether entire or cut up, which with sauces and condiments are served at our table, we do not reflect on the horrible deed that has preceded these dishes; and yet it is something terrible to know that every meal to which we sit down has cost a life. I hold that we owe it to civilization to elevate the whole of that deeply demoralized and barbarized class of people – butchers, cattle-drovers, and all others who are connected with the deplorable business. Thousands of persons are degraded by the slaughter-house in their neighbourhood, which condemns whole classes to a debasing and inhuman occupation. I await the time when the consummation of the vegetarian movement shall have created perfect men, for I see in this movement the foundations of perfection. When I perceive the possibilities of vegetarianism and the heights to which it can raise us, I feel convinced that it will prove the redeemer of the world.” (Anna Kingsford. Quoted by Samuel H. Hart: In Memoriam Anna Kingsford. Booklet containing the full text, with some additions by the author, of a Lecture given to the Leeds Vegetarian Society on September 15th, 1946, to commemorate the Centenary of the birth of Anna Kingsford; emphasis added)