Exploring the Divine and Distorted Natures of Three Classic Political Systems
On this double-sided plane of duality, is it even possible to make peace? Or is it inevitable that a two-party democratic system must devolve into a lopsided situation of “haves” and “have nots.” Are clashes drawn along party lines unavoidable? Must it always come to this—belligerence, belittling and battles? Could there be another way?
All around the world, throughout our global evolution, societies have been collectively rising up, transitioning from monarchies and feudalism through communism and socialism, to arrive at the more advanced—and therefore also the most challenging—political system: capitalistic democracy. Which of these is truly the best? In truth, each of these political systems has a divine origin and each can also be distorted.
So what’s the best way forward? Do we need to now go backward in order to make peace? Actually, what we need to do is learn to access the divine nature of each of these systems within ourselves, and then work to surface the essence of each in our governing bodies.
Finding Our Inner Monarch and Serf
The best thing about being a monarch, or leader, are the privileges that come with the territory. For there are two things in this world that are rightly linked: responsibility and privilege. In short, this means that if we’re willing to shoulder our responsibilities, we’ll get the privileges that match our level of commitment. For in life, we have to earn our right to enjoy the goodies.
When we see this kind of fair balance in our leaders, we will find no need to rebel against them. If they have paid the appropriate price for their position of authority, we’ll have no reason to envy them or try to tear them down. Afterall, done right, leadership is demanding, and when someone steps up for that task it helps no one for us to retaliate. That assumes, of course, we are all accepting adequate responsibility for ourselves.
If, on the other hand, we have a rebellious streak and won’t accept our fair share of effort, then we are going to want to cheat our way to getting the good stuff and destroy those who are not cutting corners. So if this is us, we’ll point our fingers at the ones who actually did make the effort to earn their position and say that those people are abusive and unfair.
In life, we have to earn our right to enjoy the goodies.
A good and true leader accesses inspiration from within and uses their power for the good of all. But when a selfish person who is irresponsible sits at the helm, they will abuse their position and use it for their own material gain. Such a distorted leader will obstruct justice and block fairness. They will act from their own ego to shore up their own personal power, abusing both the system and people living in their society.
Our personal work is to search inside to find both our own inner monarch and serf. We can do this by cultivating our talents, whatever they may be, so that we discover where the world needs us to lead. This will require us to develop a certain amount of self-discipline and firmness, and oblige us to not always seek the easy way out.
But being a follower has its own value too. Because we can’t be a good leader if we aren’t capable of also being a good follower. The key is to know which one we are choosing. For if we are being a follower because we resist our talent to become a leader in our own right—whether that means becoming a school teacher, an office manager, or any other kind of leader or “monarch”—we are being as dishonest as the ruler who abuses their power.
Finding a Place for Socialism
When we think of justice, equality and fairness for all, the idea of socialism comes to mind, along with the notion that all people are created equal. But if we stop there, we miss half the story. For is it true we’re all equal in every way? Do we all put in the same amount of effort? Do we all express ourselves the same way? Do we make the same choices every hour of every day about developing ourselves? Of course not.
So then even if it’s true that we are all created equal, we’re not equal in our thinking, our decision-making, our actions or how we feel. We could liken this to an adult and a child: They may have the same inherent value, but they are not equal in how they show up in life.
Distortion is what happens any time we see one truth as a contradiction to another truth.
What has happened historically is that over the course of many centuries, people started reacting to the abuses of power by the rulers of monarchies or feudal systems. And so another form of government emerged that attempted to treat everyone equally. But distortion once again set in. For this is what happens any time we see one truth as a contradiction to another truth. And here, on this plane of duality, we do that a lot.
Were we to wake up and make our way to the unitive plane, we would see how the two sides of any opposites actually complement one another. Opposites, in fact, can easily co-exist because they are two halves of one whole. Instead, we destroy unity—inside and out—by siding with one truth and rejecting another.
In the case of socialism, it is by clinging to equality without recognizing the truth of how we’re also not equal that we create a new abuse: uniformity. We no longer honor the vitality of each life as it unfolds, embracing the diversity of our expressions and our individual achievements. Instead of valuing free expression of choice and the development of unique talents, we claim conformity, uniformity and fairness are what rules. As though one size could ever really fit all.
So if we want to find true fairness, where should we look? We must start inside. Because only by building on a deep, inner knowing that we are all equal will our common sense and loving nature automatically allow us to gracefully pick up on our outer differences. Then we can work together to find fair and helpful solutions.
Finding Harmony Within Democracy
In a democratic society, there is room for covering all the important bases. For in its divine form, democracy allows people total freedom of expression. Individuals can therefore take responsibility for their lives, and through their personal investment they can create abundance. At the same time, there is room in this system to care for those who need assistance, either because they won’t be fully responsible for themselves or for some reason can’t be.
In its essential nature, democracy doesn’t claim that everyone reaps the same rewards, regardless of effort. It also doesn’t exploit underprivileged people to satisfy the power drive of a ruler. As such, democracy has the potential to offer a fusion of duality—to bring about a state of unity—and this makes it the most mature form of government.
Of course, since humans are involved, distortions set in here as well. One way this happens is when there is an abuse of power by those who are stronger. Such willful individuals impose disadvantages on the ones who can’t or won’t stand up for themselves. In truth, if people refuse to fend for themselves, they will already create disadvantages for themselves. But unfair leadership adds to their burden causing them to pull even harder on others for support.
Democracy is the most mature form of government.
In a democracy, then, abuse can be a two-way street. While there will be some people who weigh on society, those with more power will exploit such people and effectively become parasites on them. For the greedy will create unfair policies and practices that validate the excuses of those who say it is an unfair world, seemingly justifying their behavior. Instead of working to help people adopt a more fair and appropriate way of being, they feed off the less fortunate and then turn around and claim they are a victim of those who are lazy and want to cheat life.
Here’s the funny thing about freedom: The more freedom we have, the more possibility there is for abuse. And democracy is the form of government that offers the highest possibility for freedom. But when it’s in distortion, it causes us to swing from living under an authoritarian ruler to wanting an overly permissive system that will give the weak a sentimental advantage.
The same thing happens inside ourselves. When our abuse of our own inner truth reaches a tipping point, we swing from being a doormat to becoming a raging rebel.
We must open up an inner channel to our true divine nature.
The fundamental problem that keeps a democracy burdened by duality is the unwillingness of individuals to wake up and live from a deeper place within themselves. For if a democracy is heartlessly run by only the ego mind, the possibility for abuses will go on.
What needs to happen is this: We must open up an inner channel to our true divine nature so that we develop a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We must develop a collective will to live in unity by transcending the boundaries of our very limited egos.
The truth is, it takes a lot of maturity to resist the temptation to abuse freedom when we have it. As we grow stronger, we’ll each need all the self-discipline we can muster to stay on a true course. It can also be tempting to coast and let others make all the effort. But when we do this, we create a tight fence around ourselves, crippling ourselves until we no longer feel free. When that happens, we are actually the ones who are destroying our freedom to build and guide our own ship.
Building Something Better
Knowing that each of these three political systems has a divine nature which can also be abused—just as each person on Earth has a divine nature that gets distorted into destructive ways—how do we move ahead?
First off, we must wake up to the realization that we want to be led by people who are capable of being divinely inspired. Trouble is, if we don’t possess such an inner channel ourselves, we’ll have a hard time telling when someone else does. We might even have a stake in remaining naïve or ignorant about what we see in our potential leaders, because we don’t want to make the effort to meet our inner selves. Over time, though, we must come to realize that it’s important how we choose our leaders.
Truth be told, it takes a lot of courage for a leader to claim to have created a channel of communication with their inner divine self. It’s harder yet to own up to how hard it is to put one’s self-interest aside. But nothing destroys a connection with our Higher Self faster than having a self-serving, ego-driven agenda.
It’s important how we choose our leaders.
In the end, if we are willing and able to put selflessness at the top of the docket, our political landscape could blend together the best of these three political systems. Their divine strengths could be harmonized so that the apparent contradictions work together as part of a united whole. In other words, it could be possible to create a government that brings out the best of a monarchy, socialism and democracy. That’s the way to make peace.
For each contains a truth and wisdom. Indeed, their fundamental principles are living inside each one of us right now. And just as a person needs to find inner harmony in order to enjoy inner peace, so must our world governments operate harmoniously if we are to make peace throughout and across our nations.
Put another way, if we don’t find a way to wisely contain the positive aspects of each of these systems, we will not achieve the balance needed to maintain peace. The result? Our governing bodies will collapse, as history has shown.
As citizens, we need to take notice when we favor only one aspect of a democracy and rebel against another. Our work then is to search within for where this rebelliousness lives inside us. Is it the lazy part that resents authority and doesn’t want to have to pay a price for anything? Could it be the envious part that refuses to step up to the plate and earn what it envies? Or maybe it’s the powerful part that secretly wishes to abuse power?
The way to create harmony in our governing bodies follows the same approach we must use to find inner unity: We must seek out “both/and” instead of getting stuck in “either/or.” What is the highest good in this or that specific issue? How open are we to finding the truth? What holds us back from surrendering our position?
For how can we ask our leaders to be willing to surrender when we refuse to do it ourselves? The work of clearing away destructiveness always begins in our own house.
When we are caught in duality—which is the only level of reality the ego knows—we are lost in black-or-white thinking. Unity, on the other hand, reconciles all opposites and therefore holds bigger truths than our ego minds can dream of. But until we let go of our one-sided positions, these truths can’t reveal themselves to us.
We will need to shift to this broader perspective if we hope to build a better world together.
Adapted from Pearls, Chapter 3: Exploring the Spiritual Nature of Political Systems (Read original Pathwork lecture.)