This essay is one in a series of studies of Platonic Forms. We've previously seen how capitalism has from its inception destroyed--and continues to destroy-- all civilized human values and principles. It's necessary for us, therefore, in this era of capitalist decimation and degradation of human life, to examine the Forms of human civilization in order to understand how to reinstitute these values and principles that are essential to human well-being.
In this essay, we take the approach that humans overcome demonic terrestrial forces--such as injustice--by understanding and realizing the Forms of human civilization. In all historic eras, humankind has ordered its life according to specific societal archetypes: patterns of behavior and objectives. When these elements become deranged and deadly--as at present--then we can overcome these destructive patterns of behavior only by understanding the true Form of these elements and instituting them in society.
"It is necessary, in the first place, to turn our attention constantly and continuously to the higher ideal which we wish to realise; to the highest ideal we can form of truth, goodness, and beauty. In proportion as we can do this we shall find truth, goodness, and beauty becoming realised in our nature. The practical outcome of an intelligent realisation of the existence of our higher divine Self, is the opening up, as it were, of a channel of communication through which the higher can flow into, and manifest in, the lower. There is an actual structural alteration in the physical body and nerve centres. Every thought conditions a definite physiological change. We shut out the higher possibilities by thought alone, by thinking ourselves separate. Just in proportion as we think of ourselves as divine, in proportion as we realise that the divine is within us, shall we come to a conscious realisation of our divine nature and powers. Nor is there any other path by which this may be accomplished." William Kingsland, Scientific Idealism
Current societal archetypes (patterns of behavior and objectives) have become deranged and deadly. It has thus become necessary to re-define these forms or essences, including the form Commonwealth. Thus a specific, new archetype of commonwealth has been created by the author in the form of a novella. As previously explained by Plato, the form commonwealth has supersensible reality in the realm of forms within a community of supersensible (discarnate) beings who study and define commonwealth and work to bring about its incarnation in humankind's earthly life. 2
"Even though the commonwealth described does not yet exist in the terrestrial domain, there is a Form or Archetype of it in the sovereignty of the higher realm for anyone who wants to look at it and make himself its citizen on the strength of what he sees. It makes no difference whether it is or ever will be somewhere in the terrestrial realm, for he takes part in the practical affairs of that commonwealth in the higher realm and no other." Plato, Commonwealth X, 592b, (author's translation)
The author has been able to develop the basic ideas of the Cooperative Commonwealth Community through dialectical interchange with and creative inspiration from this supersensible grouping of persons which Plato refers to in the paragraph above. The author is able to make contact with this community through meditation and contemplation and in this way is able to allow for the flow-through of the Form Commonwealth into verbal and written expression. The author is most fortunate to also be able to engage in dialectical interchange with his wife in gaining understanding of the Commonwealth Archetype.
This specific commonwealth archetype gained a further degree of reality in its manifestation as a paperback and digital book and as an online book, the Preface of which is available here. It will now gain additional realization if or when persons join the specific terrestrial community.
There are general factors required for the commonwealth way of life:
Americans have difficulty in understanding what a commonwealth means because we've lived, in the past decades, in a fairly affluent era ruled by a plutocracy masked as democracy. We're only now realizing that the United States isn't a democracy after all--it is a plutocracy controled by a capitalist cabal.
- First, we must realize that a commonwealth is not an external condition or system but a way of life. As such, it must be pursued, achieved, and then continually maintained. By definition, it requires of its participants certain values, qualities of character, capacities, and actions. Those values, qualities, capacities, and actions must be central to one's whole life and being.
- This means that it is not possible to practice a commonwealth life-style in one area of life--say on the job or in a civic organization--and yet remain acquiescent to or unmindful of the fascism of a political-economic system, or remain tyrannical in one's personal relationships.
- This also means that a commonwealth, by its very nature, cannot be given to us by decree, mandate, vote, constitution, or even political revolt. It is a polity and capability for group decision-making which we must achieve for ourselves and which then requires continual effort and vigilance. A commonwealth is not an end to be achieved once-and-for-all and handed from one generation to another. It is a process used by people in ordering their lives toward common goals such as constitutional liberties. Each generation's goals change, so a commonwealth life-style is a process which is never completed or achieved, any more than the process of learning is something we get the hang of and then stop doing.
- A commonwealth can emerge only when certain persons decide to join with others in selecting and fulfilling common goals. To opt for a commonwealth must come out of the understanding that other seemingly simpler and more efficient processes of decision-making lead inevitably to the oppression of one group by another. We gain this understanding by experiencing oppressive forms of decision-making in the family, the workplace, the community, and the nation. By experiencing the oppression and life-destruction which anti-commonwealth regimes entail we gain an intense desire for the commonwealth way of life. We're presently experiencing the oppression of wealth and power under the fascistic cabal regime. Obscenely rich people are using political, economic, and military force to drive America into a society with two classes: the wealthy and the poor.
It's of importance to recognize the extent to which intelligent independence and self-direction in any realm are an achievement. The ability to be an independent, self-directing personality is present in possibility in original nature; but this possibility is made an actuality only through the proper kind of self-development. The same is true of a group.
"Independent, self-directing group conduct is . . . an achievement. Merely to offer democracy to a group does not mean that the group is able to conduct itself democratically. Just as individual independence comes gradually, first in more restricted and then in wider areas of life, so independence in a group comes gradually, first in more restricted and then in ever and ever widening areas of conduct. Whether the group be a family, a gang, a class in school, or a nation, it cannot change suddenly with any success from complete autocratic control to entirely independent self-direction."
Harrison S. Elliott, The Process of Group Thinking, (1938)
Now that the conditions of widespread affluence and freedom of mobility are no longer profitable for the American plutocracy, the more unpleasant and inevitable features of their oppressive order are beginning to affect American citizens directly. Perhaps the harsh realities of unemployment, slave wages, tax-slavery, and government harassment will provide the kind of incentive we need to consider deeper values in life beyond mindless, superficial, addictive entertainment and sports--the "circuses" provided by the present rulers. Perhaps now we can begin to ask what a commonwealth is and how we can train for it.
We must first realize just what led to our present enslavement under a fascist plutocracy, what characteristics in us allowed for our self-delusion, our being controlled by lust for possessions and social acceptance, our willingness to let others rule us as long as we feel we are getting our share. If we can understand what personal qualities lead to enslavement we can then begin to understand their opposite: the positive qualities that make commonwealth self-rule possible.
The Commonwealth Way of Life
The commonwealth way of life is possible only with people who desire to work toward full human potential. A commonwealth cannot exist in a context where some always say: "I can't do that or I can't understand that, let someone else decide who can do more or who understands more."
A commonwealth is very difficult to initiate because at almost any moment in time a ruling group is faced with people who've been trained to be and feel incompetent. The ruling group's temptation at that point is to say: "Since the people clearly can't rule themselves, we'll rule them now and continue to rule them."
A commonwealth can only begin when a small group of persons - having suffered under an oppressive form of rule and having prepared themselves for self-rule - take over the direction of a group or community. This preparation involves, among other things, the close examination of real, as opposed to assumed or imagined capacities, and the development of real competence. Even then there will be some persons in the community who can't yet participate effectively in decision-making. This is one of the major challenges of commonwealth self-rule. Will the leaders of commonwealth reform activate a process whereby others can learn to participate effectively in group decision-making or will they use the undeniable incompetence of others as an excuse for taking more absolute and final control?
It's hard for persons to realize that they lack certain mental and behavioral skills required for a commonwealth way of life. Persons must train themselves in the skills and understanding which a commonwealth requires.
A commonwealth can only come to those who are willing to work for the best and highest in human development for all. At almost any point in a nation's history it can be said: "Yes, there are problems here, but it could be worse. Instead of being a malcontent working for unnecessary change, be thankful for what you have." That has been said to every enslaved or oppressed group in human history. That's what the white owner said to his black slave, the British trying to mollify the oppressed colonists in America and India in the 1770s. The good is often enemy to the best. Today we hear: "What oppression? We never had it so good. Don't rock the boat." For many people, life under this present fascistic plutocracy, which they have been fully programmed to experience as a democracy, appears rewarding and complete.
A Specific Archetype of Commonwealth
As a specific model of commonwealth is coming into more complete realization in the terrestrial realm, it's necessary to indicate in detail what constitutes membership in this Commonwealth Community.
A person proves himself or herself to be a viable candidate for (full or auxiliary) membership in the Cooperative Commonwealth Community:
- By having achieved a specific level of awareness, including awareness of the evil of capitalist fascism
- Through commitment to the specific commonwealth archetype as outlined in the book, The New Commonwealth as the only viable solution to the present capitalist scourge.
In another essay, I have explicated how both communism and socialism, as implemented, have failed, leaving commonwealth as the only viable replacement for kleptocratic capitalism.
Most persons at present are so intellectually deficient that they're unable to recognize that the current political-economic-social world created by the capitalist cabal is NOT normal or acceptable: it has deliberately been debased into a capitalist fascist, imperialist, militarist world dictatorship. Persons who fail to recognize this fact no longer partake of the true essence of humans, since part of the essence of genuine human beings is true comprehension of themselves and their world. In relation to persons' complicity with and culpability for the present evil that capitalist fascism is perpetrating worldwide, we lose our human essence. We are complicit with and culpable for the systematic murder of workers by the capitalist thugs in direct ratio to our refusal to realize our divine essence as human beings.
Cooperative Commonwealth Community
- Screening and training of community applicants for membership, not indiscriminate acceptance of all applicants
- Community ownership of the means of production by members
- Democratic control: policies and actions decided by democratic, dialectical consensus of all community members
- Production solely for use, not profit: community-regulated production of goods and services relative to need without the intervention of a buying and selling market mechanism
- Replacement of capitalism by a commonwealth polity one community at a time, not nationally as a whole
We must realize that a commonwealth is not an external condition or system but a way of life. As such, it must be pursued, achieved, and then continually maintained. By definition, it requires of its participants certain values, qualities of character, capacities, and actions. Those values, qualities, capacities, and actions must be central to one's whole life and being. This means that it is not possible to practice a commonwealth life-style in one area of life--say on the job or in a civic organization--and yet remain acquiescent to or unmindful of the fascism of a political-economic system, or remain tyrannical in one's personal relationships.
Adepts within or influenced by the Perennial Tradition have created close-knit coalitions of seekers and initiates which embody the Form Commonwealth:
- Egyptian hierophant temples
- Pythagoras' community at Krotona
- Plato's Academy in Athens
- Esoteric Christian communities
- Neo-Platonic academies in Alexandria and Athens
- Plotinus' attempt to set up a new Academy called Platonopolis
- Gothic Cathedral schools
- Bernard of Clairvaux's Cistercian Order
- Cambridge Platonist group
As we've seen above, there is a commonwealth community in the supersensible realm, which a person becomes a member of, as Plato indicates, by attaining the capability to commune with Higher Beings who are members of this commonwealth community.
A cooperative commonwealth community in the terrestrial realm, as explicated in the novella, The New Commonwealth, and in this and several other essays concerning the commonwealth community, is now in existence, comprised of two members. Its essence can be understood to be a close-knit group who are:
Over a number of years, several persons have evinced an interest in joining this cooperative commonwealth community and have temporarily engaged in ongoing dialectical converse concerning this possibility. However, none of these persons ultimately proved to possess the necessary personal qualities, intellectual and moral, required for effective membership in the community.
- Committed to each other completely, willing and able to care for each of the other's ongoing needs and desires, no matter what the situation or the challenge throughout the other person's life
- Totally committed to creating such a caring community as the best means of living within the modern world
To become a member of this community a person must see this community as his or her highest possible good and goal and want to relocate to become a member of the community and assist in every possible way to bring the community to full realization. Persons must have developed the ability to overcome whatever challenges face the group or individuals within the group, no matter of what kind. Viable candidates must possess the ability not only to make a verbal commitment to the community, but to have the intellectual and moral qualities required to carry through in practice on such a commitment over time. They must possess the capability to engage in dialectical interchange, which requires thoughtful, unhurried reflection on crucial issues and remaining steadfast when the interchange becomes challenging.
One of the closest approximations to the Form Commonwealth was explicated by the Perennialist savant Jesus of Nazareth. In his teaching of a Higher Realm in which all humankind were brethren, Jesus taught about an Empyreal Commonwealth which he said is not visible because its essence is "within us." The Greek words referring to this Empyreal Commonwealth in the New Testament have been mistranslated "Kingdom of heaven" or "Kingdom of God."
- basileia: commonwealth, fellowship, brotherhood, governance, sovereignty, dominion, a rule or reign
- ouranos: the realm of Higher Being--the Empyrean, HeavenInstead, it should be translated as: Commonwealth of Higher Being.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray:
"Thy Commonwealth of Higher Being come.
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in the Higher Realm."
At present, the main effort toward actualizing the Form Commonwealth is in developing personal union with the Supreme Force or Intelligence by calling for this Force and uniting with it in such a manner as to transmute this Power into an available earth force through which persons can begin to build a New Commonwealth within present society.
1 In linguistics, a calque or loan translation is a word or phrase borrowed from another language by literal word-for-word translation.
2 At the end of The Commonwealth, Socrates tells Glaucon that the commonwealth moral principles of virtue and order, applying to both the soul and the society, are already realized in a higher realm of supersensible communion. Only seekers of wisdom (philosophers) gain awareness of and participation in this supersensible commonwealth, because only they possess the spiritual qualities which make this possible. The supersensible community has been created by the lives and teachings of the varied Perennialist teachers.
See the author's book The Perennial Tradition