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Peace as the Integration of Harmony, Freedom, and Justice

The mandala of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth symbolizes the harmony of the whole that emerges from ratification and implementation of the Constitution for humankind.

The mandala of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth symbolizes the harmony of the whole that emerges from ratification and implementation of the Constitution for humankind.

The mandala of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth symbolizes the harmony of the whole that emerges from ratification and implementation of the Constitution for humankind.

This Constitution functions as a model or vision of who and what humanity can become, that is, it represents a potential for self-realization that is there in all of us, a potential that is defeated by our present world system premised on war, violence, domination, and exploitation. The Constitution, by contrast, offers peace: a world substantially free of war, violence, domination and exploitation.

Transformative world thinker Raimon Panikkar investigates “peace” as a symbol of our higher human potential in his 1995 book, Cultural Disarmament: The Way to Peace. We will examine his thought further below. But right at the outset he brings us to what may be the most fundamental point: we have to recognize and concretely realize the reality of our human situation as citizens of this mysterious cosmos in all its dimensions that we call “reality.” Panikkar writes:

A fundamental human act consists in one’s self-recognition has a living reality. This recognition leads to a kind of cosmic confidence, in which reality is real. Where, beyond the real, could we place our trust? We have neither the duty nor the power either to create or to justify reality. We have to live reality, and by living it, transform it. Reality is simply there. It becomes, of course, and we cooperate in the endeavor…. Our only point: cosmic confidence…is an ontic necessity superior to the logical principle of non-contradiction. Peace is based on it. (1995, 74-5) 

At present we are not living the reality that has been given to us because we refuse to actualize our higher potential as human beings for peace, that is, for a harmony, freedom, and justice that we know exist at what I call (in my new book Human Dignity and World Order) our “utopian horizon.”  We know that things do not have to be the way we find them, characterized by war, violence, exploitation, and domination. The Earth Constitution provides a means as well as a symbol of this higher human potential for peace that we need to actualize. We need to let “reality sink in” to our lives to the point where the “cosmic confidence” in our own capabilities and higher human potential begins to well-up within us. Let us begin by examining the meanings of the Earth Constitution Mandala represented above.

The comprehensive peace offered by the Earth Constitution is first identified in the outer ring of the mandala which expresses this inclusively as “world peace, global justice, human rights, reasonable prosperity for all, and ecological sustainability.” These broad consequences follow directly from the foundational integrated harmony arising from the actualization of our common human potential that coincides with ratification and implementation. The Constitution designs an integrated system of parliamentary houses, agencies, and institutions with the purpose of not only initiating the “rule of law” on planet Earth but for the purpose of releasing our higher human potential for harmony, freedom, and justice. It is not simply the new world system that brings us to world peace and human fulfillment, it is the actualization of our higher human potential that this new world system makes possible.

The elements of this world system design are nested in the mandala in ways that evoke a synergistic, transformative energy bringing humanity to a higher level of self-actualization. The outer ring of the mandala represents the House of Peoples. This House is composed of 1000 representatives from 1000 electoral districts evenly distributed around the globe. It is the largest of the three houses and it embraces the whole because under the Constitution the people of Earth are Sovereign. This is the truest meaning of a “federation” in that what must be federated are the community of sovereign persons (i.e., free and morally responsible human beings).  Territorial entities can never have this status. The world is made up first and foremost of human persons who manifest self-awareness, dignity, and inviolability, and it is therefore only human persons whose uniting within this Earth Federation constitutes an authentic global democratic framework. Our higher human potential begins to actualize itself at this point.

The second embracing ring of the mandala is formed by the House of Nations. If by “nations” we mean the wonderful diversity of cultures, languages, races, ethnicities, and ways of being on the Earth, then the second embracing ring must necessarily be the House of Nations.  These territorial entities and others that might be created (no longer militarized, and now with limited sovereignty) form a community of the nations and cultures of the Earth who work together within this branch of Parliament for mutual understanding, mutual self-determination, and authentic cooperation directed to the common good of all.  As the Preamble to the Earth Constitution states, “the principle of unity in diversity is the basis of a new age when war shall be outlawed and peace prevail.” This principle is the second embracing ring of the Earth Federation design. Both the first and second rings foster our higher human potential and a new flourishing life for humanity.

The third embracing ring of the mandala is formed by the House of Counselors. This third ring also fosters the growth of our higher human potential. The Constitution recognizes that we need to seek out wisdom (the wise, thoughtful, and more insightful among us) to help guide the actualization of our higher potential. The House of Counselors works democratically with the other two houses (the world system is a dynamic unity in diversity), but they have a special role which is to wisely nominate a range of competent persons into key positions for subsequent election by the whole Parliament. Together these three outer rights signal a new and higher mode of being for humanity as a whole.

The fourth ring of the mandala depicts the seven agencies of the Integrative Complex. These agencies form the knowledge, research, and institutional foundations for the Earth Federation as a whole. They serve the people of Earth through ensuring democratic “boundaries and elections,” researching technology in relation to the environment, instructing world parliamentarians on global problems, defining the qualifications for world civil service, and organizing the financial affairs of the Earth Federation government. Our higher human potential is served through the pursuit of genuine knowledge and fundamental organizational fairness that is built into institutions of the Integrative Complex. These four rings of transformative empowerment encompass a nexus of four dynamic agencies at the center of the mandala. Each agency is represented as a pentagon to signify that no authority in the Earth Federation is run by any one person.  Each is run by a presidium of five persons, one from each continental division of the planet.

The World Executive implements the budget approved by the World Parliament for the transformation of our degraded and broken world into one of wholeness, prosperity, and freedom. The World Judiciary brings the rule of law (fairness and authoritative justice) to our planet and its authority encompasses the persons and agencies of the democratic world government itself.  The World Police and Attorneys-General enforce the democratic laws legislated by Parliament (with a mandate to reduce violence in enforcement and to emphasize just “conflict resolution”), and the World Ombudsmus serves as a watchdog on the government as a whole and as both a defender and promoter of human rights for every person or group on Earth.  The dynamism of these four key agencies working together, empowered by the embrace of the outer four rings of the mandala, effectively actualizes our human potential for peace, that is for a world of harmony, freedom, justice, and sustainability.

In his book Cultural Disarmament, Panikkar elucidates the concept of peace through elaboration of its three necessary components: harmony, freedom, and justice. I take it that he is essentially correct in his description of the dynamics of peace. First and foremost, he insists, peace is a relationship, a state of being of the whole (of humanity) when the relationship is characterized by harmony, authentic freedom, and fundamental justice. The diagram that he presents looks something like the one below. I have added the arrows encircling the figure to indicate the dynamism of the three relational components of peace. Peace arises from the dynamic interrelation of harmony, freedom, and justice.

Peace is built first on harmony. This means, as the title of Panikkar’s book suggests, “cultural disarmament.” People on Earth truly affirm the unity in diversity of human civilization and we no longer “weaponize” our religions, cultures, or nations against other religions, cultures, or nations. Harmony, he affirms, includes not only our harmony with one another, but also our harmony with nature and the ecosystems of the Earth, and ultimately, with the cosmos itself. Human beings are a “microcosm” of the “macrocosm” (the cosmos as a whole). The cosmos gave birth to us, and we must live from the harmony and balance at its heart. Many of us are aware of today’s extensive literature in which scientific cosmologists testify to the intrinsic harmony and coherence at the heart of the cosmos in all its dimensions.

The Earth Constitution does this in principle, even though it does not mention cosmic harmony. Article 12 on universal human rights mandates true diversity, which includes “no discrimination on the grounds of race, color, caste, nationality, sex, religious, political affiliation, property, or social status.”  All the integrated, embracing features depicted in the above mandala testify to this grounding in the principle of harmony.  But harmony alone is insufficient, both freedom and justice are also necessary components of peace.

As Panikkar points out, freedom does not mean “individualism.”  We are all “persons,” and not merely individuals, and persons exist only in relationship. It is our “personhood’ that carries dignity and inviolability, not our individuality apart from all relationships. In Human Dignity and World Order, I show that the present idea of the “self-determination of nations” is entirely mistaken.  Under today’s broken and war-based world system, nations often passionately embrace their “sovereignty” and repel “interference” by other nations in the name of “self-determination.” But in an interdependent world system, not only economically, but one of wars, intrigue, terrorism, and multiple forms of destructive rivalry, there can be no real self-determination.  Such fragmentation leads to despair, neo-colonialism, forced IMF austerity programs, imperial interference, and many other violations of national self-determination.

Freedom as a component of peace does not mean individual autonomy (whether of persons or nations) in a world system designed to diminish and destroy autonomy.  Human beings, like nations, are intrinsically social, interdependent, and connected.  Human beings, like nations, become free when the community empowers their freedom through affirming their diversity with its uniqueness, while simultaneously enabling their growth and development toward ever-greater autonomy: thoughtfulness, maturity, lovingness, and justice. The self-determination of nations and persons arises from the world-system-design found in the Earth Constitution. We are free when we think and feel for ourselves within a supportive environment that respects and enables our free thinking and feeling.  The present world system defeats these qualities. The Earth Constitution, defining freedom extensively in both Article 12 and Article 13, alone makes it possible “to assure to each child the right to the full realization of his or her potential” (Article 13.12). This is freedom, one of the three necessary components of peace, along with harmony and justice.

Like harmony and freedom, justice is not a final condition of any sort, but a relationship. It involves a proper relationship with other people, with government, and with the cosmos itself, as well as with the other two components of peace: freedom and harmony. Peace can never be an internal private spiritual solution excluding the rest of humanity and the cosmos: it necessarily embraces justice as an intrinsically social phenomenon. Under the Earth Constitution, people will recognize injustice easily, and will seek to address it in such ways that do not exclude others through absolute condemnations or alienations. Justice means “all,” and relationships, including institutional relationships, must be established that embrace all. This is precisely what the Earth Constitution does for humanity; it embraces all within a set of relationships that continuously decrease violence and empower healthy relationships among nations, persons, races, genders, and religions (see Article 10.4.4).

Panikkar points out that peace (comprised of harmony, freedom, and justice) also necessarily means military disarmament.  All militarism violates these several components of peace. Only a disarmed world can find peace, and the Earth Constitution sets this as the number one priority of the entire Earth Federation government— “to prevent war, secure disarmament, and resolve territorial and other disputes which endanger peace and human rights” (Article 1.1). This goal is set up as number one, but its realization is contingent on the full actualization of the Earth Constitution for the entire planet. At the full operative stage of implementation, the Earth Federation government will “outlaw the possession stockpiling, sale, and use of all nuclear weapons, all weapons of mass destruction, and all other military weapons and equipment.” 

The central goal of the Earth Federation government is peace, and this peace is actualized concretely through the steps for ratification and implementation provided in articles 17, 18, and 19. I have tried to show in this essay that peace is not simply a function of enforceable laws. Peace emerges through the design of the Earth Constitution that enables and empowers human beings to actualize themselves in harmony, freedom, and justice.  The Earth Constitution Mandala symbolically represents this process with its tripartite World Parliament and dynamic federation agencies. The tripartite nature of peace that we have been discussing corresponds directly to the structure and functions of the Earth Constitution’s tripartite World Parliament, giving us a harmony-system, a freedom-system, a justice-system, and ultimately also a sustainability system.  In the final analysis these four system-consequences indicate the way to peace on planet Earth. 

We must transcend the present war and exploitation system with a dignity-based system such as that designed within the Earth Constitution. As the diagram above shows, these three elements of peace perpetually interact and are capable of open-ended growth toward ever greater fullness. This is not utopia, but concrete human self-actualization empowered by living more fully the life that has been given to us, that is, by cosmic confidence in the reality that we embody. This dynamic conception of peace constitutes our goal, our praxis, and our vision. It is embodied in the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Together we can actualize our immense human potential for peace, harmony, justice, and freedom. The time is now. Won’t you please join us?