[Editor’s Note: Well, there they go again! And God bless ’em for try’in! The philosophical arguments for pursuing Something Deeperism get a little boggy. That’s probably dealt with better in the Something Deeperism Institute. But starting with
The individual human has no choice but to seek to grow in the Love that (supposing It exists) Knows we are all in this together and that alone has the ability to help one feel/think/act more aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, loving-kind, and joyfully-sharing.
this attempt becomes a blessedly short and fairly readable argument for the spiritual value of liberal, representative democracy. It might also help to read the first paragraph (right below us here) so that you know what they mean when they say “universal values”. Unless you’ve ever met our author and editor before, in which case, you already know exactly what they mean as once again pace back and forth over the same ground, muttering the same soliloquy. In conclusion: Be that as it may, and God bless them for trying!]
We humans share universal values. We need to think/feel/act aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, kind, and joyful-sharing, seeking always what is truly best for everyone. Nothing we humans say or do is meaningful to us except to the degree we follow these values. We do not experience these values as relative; we do not feel that we should seek what is “’truly best for everyone’ – insofar as I understand the terms”; we feel that we should seek what is “truly best for everyone”, which implies an Absolute sense, and thus an underlying spiritual commitment. We don’t know from the outset if there is such a thing as “truly best”, but we do know that we can only be meaningful to ourselves to the degree that we succeed in discovering that and in what sense “truly best” exists. This implies a direction: We need to seek what is “truly best”.
But what is “truly best”? Either “truly best” is what we feel deep inside it must be, or what is “truly best” is not something that can mean anything to our feelings and ideas. And since feelings and ideas are a large part of how we interface with our lives, if what is “truly best” cannot mean anything to our feelings and ideas, we cannot meaningfully grow in wisdom. That is to say: we need the Absolute to ratify and explicate the universal values; otherwise, all is lost because we will never be able to relate meaningfully to the Absolute, and thus we will not be able to grow in wisdom. Once again, we cannot conclude anything from this except a direction: We need to seek wisdom, and we need our inner sense about wisdom to be right: we need wisdom to require kindness to everyone; otherwise, wisdom cannot make any sense to our hearts/minds. Our only hope is that by developing our inner sense about a Love that is “truly wisest and best” we can gain more and more insight into what is really going on and what really matters. Otherwise, we have no way to meaningfully relate to what is really going on and what really matters – we’d lack the tools for recognizing and meaningfully relating to the Absolute.
But what is Love? What is “truly wisest and best”? Humans are not Absolute. Our feeling/thinking/acting is limited. Human ideas and feelings about things what is “truly best” could never be identical with what is “truly best”. And pretending our ideas and feelings about “truly best” are identical with “truly best” causes a great deal of evil. However, we know that we don’t really understand literal ideas anyway: we just use them as tools to solve certain types of problems. Same for feelings: we don’t understand them enough to truly believe or disbelieve in them. We feelingly use ideas and feelings to interact with human-sized life; but we don’t really understand any of it. So how could we expect to understand ideas and feelings about what must be larger and wider than human-sized life (note that the Absolute loses Its Absoluteness if we make it fit our ideas and feelings)?
Without a meaningful relationship to the Absolute (which alone would be capable of providing non-relative validation and explication of the universal values and their underlying spiritual sense), our feeling/thinking/acting cannot be meaningful to itself. But what is it for a limited creature to have a meaningful relationship with the Absolute? The relationship we seek cannot possibly be an Absolute one. The knowledge we seek cannot possibly be literal/definitive/1:1. What can our relationship with the Truth be? What can our knowledge of the Truth be like?
Supposing wisdom exists, it must be like this:
Wisdom is growing deeper and deeper in the kind of insight that is possible for humans: it is a self-critiquing/-improving organization of our feeling/thinking/acting around the Love within that alone Knows that and in what sense it is True to say, “We are all in this together.”
We don’t know at the outset that such a Love exists or that meaningfully relating to It is possible for us.
But we do know that that is our only hope. (Because we are limited creatures who do not understand our own feelings and ideas in an Absolute way, but who do need an Absolute foundation in order to understand, believe in, and care about our own feeling/thinking/acting. [Note the distinction between understanding ideas and/or feelings versus understanding an overall gist of one’s feeling/thinking/acting as it organizes itself better and better around a Love that Knows that and in what sense it is True to say we are all in this together: Picture adequate wisdom as a tipping point where one’s feeling/thinking/acting as a whole has enough experience of Love so as to possess an inside-out, experimental proof for the Reality of Love.])
And we also know that what we’ve just sketched here is a standard non-fundamentalist spiritual path. It is the path that puts our inner faith in the Love that choose everyone ahead of our faith in our ability to literally / definitively understand what is going on and what should be done.
[Note that even if xyz religious dogma were True, that Truth would have to be interpreted by human feeling/thinking/acting. That is why true religion has to be founded in spiritual Love, rather than literal believe in dogmas. Dogmas are only useful insofar as they lead to and from a true connection to spiritual Love; and trying to force literal concepts onto feelings of certainty distracts one from engagement in the Love that is prior to human concepts and feelings.]
The individual human has no choice but to seek to grow in the Love that (supposing It exists) Knows we are all in this together and that alone has the ability to help one feel/think/act more aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, loving-kind, and joyfully-sharing. Growing in spiritual Love is the only direction that could possibly lead to more rather than less internal coherency (ie: meaningfulness to one’s self).
And groups of humans? Since individuals can only be meaningful to themselves insofar as they meaningfully engage with and follow the universal values and the concomitant spiritual sense of the brother/sisterhood of all people, groups of humans can only work together meaningfully insofar as they together embrace, engage with, and abide by the universal values. From this it follows that we should seek to form and keep governments that help us together embrace, engage with, and abide by the universal values.
A well-functioning liberal representative democracy allows the people to serve as a final check on madness and corruption in government without spending all their time on the business of government.
The less insane / corrupt (these two evils feed into, exacerbate and eventually merge into one another) a government is, the easier it is to get and maintain power, prestige, and success while being true to the universal values; the more insane / corrupt a government, the harder it is to get and maintain power, prestige, and success while being true to the universal values.
Since goods like “power”, “prestige”, and “success” become more and more linked to goods like “my children have safe drinking water and food” as governments become more and more insane / corrupt, a well-functioning liberal representative democracy – open, honest, equal under the law, with free speech, and shared power and responsibility – is a spiritual good: the more you lose it, the more you force people to choose between their children and their truest, best selves; the more you gain it, the more people are free to be their truest selves alone and together, collaborating on neat and fun and wonderful works while staying true to the Love within that says we are all in this together and should treat one another well.
It is a spiritual duty to protect, nourish, and grow good government practices like openness, transparency, honesty and clarity in debate, equality under the law, freedom of speech and press, and fair elections.
Author: B. Willard
Editor: A. Whistletown
Copyright: A. Watson