For Native Americans the whole culture - religious, economic, social, technological and political - is based on the concept of a community of beings, or more correctly a community of Being. Each individual - human, animal. plant, and even the forces of nature - are parts of a single living cosmos. Each has its purpose and its proper niche as part of the whole. The individual, the person, is not bent on mastering nature, controlling others, or competing to win respect or property.
Each strives to perfect his or her own being in harmony with, and as part of, the whole. Human rights are not a matter of law bestowed by government. They are arts of one's duty, and his obligation to Being. Each being, human and on-human, is responsible for developing not only his own creative powers but those of all others of the universe of which he has part (15).The Native American economic-political system designed itself from this metaphysical understanding.
One could not own property for property had its own being. Even tools, clothes and utensils had a being and purpose to be fulfilled. One's own future and the welfare of his family were not assured by an accumulation of material wealth but by one's service to Being. Elaborate ceremonies were developed to provide for the broad distribution of food, shelter and the other necessities of life, particularly to the aged and weak.
The dignity of the individual was gained not by what he owned but by what he was able to give away - his contribution to society. The great hunter, or craftsman had no concept of selling the product of his work. His duty to being was to create for the benefit of the community. The natural system was one of cooperation, consensus and confederation rather one of competition, confrontation and struggle for power.
Variations on this theme were well known in Africa and Asia as well as the Americas. They were the rule rather then the exception before the advent of European expansion. They are perhaps, too idyllic to be copied without change in the over populated, under resourced, and stressful world we know today. But by envisioning ourselves in the framework of alternative governmental systems we may be able to break the bonds which tie us to the dying paradigms of the passing age.
Governance for the New Age cannot be based on the narrow concepts of government through bureaucratic nation-state hierarchies. The current transformation is wholistic and multidimensional. in keeping with this transformation, world government should be holistic and multidimensional. We must recognize the many forces of human governance and construct a world which reflects, promotes, and takes advantage of the emerging spiritual and ethical affirmation of human rights and human dignity.
A future world government can be pictured as a multidimensional network or networks which provide each individual with many optional paths through which he can provide for his own well being and can participate in controlling world affairs.A multidimensional system of world governance is, in fact, nothing new. World religions have never completely surrendered their power of governance to the nation-states. New systems of supranational control have been created by multinational corporations which have not only been able to avoid the meddlesome interference of national governments but have probably been a positive force in avoiding destructive wars between nations in which their financial interests were involved.
The oil producing countries, through OPEC, added another dimension to world governance which goes well beyond the boundaries of nation-state. Such examples prove the world order has many dimensions; they also show that grass roots participation has not yet been provided for in global decision making.These beginnings must be extended to provide a system of optional ways in which planetary citizen can express his preferences for the world of the future. A World Council of Ethnic Groups could provide on channel for each individual to reach up from his local village to the highest echelons of world government. A World Council of Craftsmen could be another. A world Council of Communities; a World Council of Laborers; a World Council of Homeowners; a World Council of Religion; a World Council of Nations; a World council of Business and other world councils would provide other equal voices for expressing the needs of the grass roots.
A council of World Councils could assure coordination, guarantee balanced representation, and provide over-all direction in world affairs.Such a world representing more than the territorial rights of nation-states could reduce the tensions which lead to wars and could give people new agents to which to declare their loyalties and allegiances. But, merely substituting many parallel hierarchies for one would not necessarily assure human rights, equity, democracy, peace or self realization. Each vertical hierarchy might still remain open to dominance and elitism. New Age governance calls for a more fundamental reordering of our channels of communication and governance.
It calls for horizontal linking at the level of individual and their communities as well as multiple vertical linking to the seats of world direction.It is not even necessary to destroy or replace the current world government system in order to put into effect a system of world government which gives more voice and more power to the people. As has been stressed throughout this article formal government is only one element of world order.
Non-formal, informal, non- governmental, and voluntary agencies already play significant roles even within the very hazardous and faulty U.N./nation-state system. The existing, or any, governmental form could provide a more stable, humane, and equitable future for all if the people's values replaced those of the competitive ruling elites.The primary need is for transitional people-to-people networks in which the grass roots can build solidarity based on an understanding of one another's desires. The strategy for this is to build horizontal networks as complementary alternatives to the existing order.
This "second level of world governance" could grow to take over many, if not all, of the function, now performed by the association of nation- states.The embryos for such a New Age governance are slowly taking shape. Sister Cities International (16)is a transitional twinning of cities which provide technical assistance to one another to solve urban problems; Action Aid from London (17) has helped small communities nd small industries provide mutual assistance. The Experiment in International Living (18) helps students learn about one another's culture by living in one anthers homes; TRANET (19) promotes bilateral links between groups developing appropriate technologies; the International Communities Exchange (20) provides information for groups wishing to exchange experiences in new lifestyles; and, many other transitional networks are helping to promote a non-governmental world system of cooperative self-reliance (21).To date few of these non-governmental networks have given serious attention to their potential participation in world governance.
Those which have the official NGOs association with the U.N. agencies, have spent many fruitless days reacting to empty proposals and hackneyed propositions advanced by U.N. committees and bureaucraticies. They have spent little effort in creating their own initiative to bring peace and understanding among people or among nations.
Notable exceptions to this general rule have been the Pugwash Conferences (22). Initiated by Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and her leading scientists at the height of the Cod War, the Pugwash Conferences bring together leading scientist formal parts of the world, irrespective of the relationships of their respective nations, to discuss world problems without the hindrance of official national positions. Although elitist and confined to the problems of science and society Pugwash provides a model on which other people-to-people networks might be built as the harbingers for New Age world governance.As transitional networks mature and coverage there is a growing realization that self renewal, local community action, alternative technology, human rights, ecological concern and other transformational activities must be linked with developing concepts for a just world order.
It is nor enough to "rearrange the chairs on the Titanic". A just world order can only be built by recognizing the radical reformation human thought now taking place throughout the planet.There are many New Age networks. Some have their heads in the esoteric clouds. Others keep their hands and feet mired in the too real land of development aid. Others have locked Themselves in their academic ivory towers.
The millenium is a time of coming out and coming together. New Age governance must have many elements; the spiritual, the technical, the social, the economic, and the political. They must be harmonious and unified, and they must be rooted in the minds, hearts and souls of all people. As stronger transnational people-to-people networks are built, and as bridges between the many new age movements grow stronger a New Age Governance will emerge for the fuller devlopment of human potential.
Click Here for Part 1 of this 2 part article..William N. Ellis
PO POX 567, Rangeley, Maine, 04970, USA.
By: Bill Ellis