World Self-Actualization will occur when every person in every country has an equal opportunity to realize their fullest potential, and a majority of world citizens attain the highest expression of individual achievement, which in this new modified version of Maslow's Hierarchy is defined as compassionately working for world peace, global justice, ecological wisdom, and the happiness of every person on the planet. To achieve World Self-Actualization, we will have to make political changes and be spiritually transformed. Let us begin by discussing the political changes needed in the United States; other nations will need to make similar changes.
This article focuses primarily on political theory. Every world citizen must carefully consider what are the highest ideals worth striving for, even if it will take several generations to accomplish them. The world will significantly improve when enough people with a common dream fight for what is right.
Representative democracy has turned out to be not the wonderful thing many of us were led to believe. Representative democracy is still needed for national and state governments because face-to-face direct democracy --such as what the citizens of ancient Athens practiced--is impossible at the national and state levels. The current problem with representative democracy is our representatives do not represent us. They represent the corporations which give them the most money to get elected and re-elected with all the fringe benefits and perks of the job; obviously our representatives are not true public servants because they largely represent the interests of the richest one percent. Currently we have representative democracy at city and county levels too, but now we should consider direct democracy at those levels to let the people, all the people, share their voices when they desire it.
Direct democracy could work even in a large city because only the individuals most concerned about particular issues would show up, possibly at the local stadium, to voice their opinions in face-to-face discussions before voting on an issue after several days of deliberation. It is time to start exploring ways to make direct democracy at each municipality a reality.
Representative democracy is still needed at national and state levels as stated above. But we must change the system so that our national and state representatives represent us, the 99 percent, instead of representing the Deep State, the military-industrial complex, the Shadow Government, and the transnational corporations. The Deep State involves people in government, and the Shadow Government includes those who pull strings from behind the scenes in support of the Deep State. Christian conservative, ex-CIA member, Kevin Shipp, in youtube videos has revealed amazing things about how the secret government is organized. Kevin Shipp, seemingly a Trump supporter, argues there is a Deep State plot against Donald Trump. Trump may not represent the Deep State, but then many on the left would say Trump still represents the interests of the one percent.
If we have direct democracy at township, city, and county levels--political parties would be less significant at those levels. However, at the national level, equally empowering multiple political parties, at least the 7 largest national political parties, with proportional representation of the legislature, is the most democratic way to create the ideal national government. The 50 state legislatures could be chosen through proportional representation as well.
Instead of working for the self-actualization of every person in every nation, the one percent have worked for the self-aggrandizement of themselves. If they continue to get their way, they will not be able to escape the world as the whole world unravels and our sacred earth is destroyed.
We can implement proportional representation in national and state legislatures, have Ranked Choice Voting, and we can abolish the Electoral College System for electing a president--without creating a new federal constitution. Ideally we should eliminate the U.S. Senate altogether because it is very undemocratic: California's population is much greater than Wyoming's, yet they both have the same number of senators. To abolish the U.S. Senate would require a new constitution. Eliminating the U.S Senate would create a unicameral legislature. But if we cannot immediately abolish the U.S. Senate altogether, we can start working to equally empower the 7 largest national political parties and use Ranked-Choice Voting to elect members of the U.S Senate.
Direct democracy can prevent the influence of money in local politics. But also, the proportional representation of national and state legislatures, accompanied by the equal empowerment of national and state political parties that garner at least one percent of the vote, could eliminate the influence of money in politics at higher levels too.
If we had maximized democracy throughout the history of our nation, the following 9 social sins might not have manifested so perniciously: imperialism, nationalism, corporate capitalism, anti-environmentalism, racism, speciesism , materialistic lifestyle, patriarchy, and the discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
If the rich and powerful keep getting more control, they will create a hierarchical, fascist-type of new world order that the first George Bush glamorized. But what a lot of people do not realize is that it is possible and necessary to create a democratic world government. Now more than ever we must think globally with an international focus. To start, we could empower the General Assembly of United Nations, as we eliminate the unfair control that the Security Council has over the United Nations. There are other models for a democratic world government: The Earth Federation , The World Federalist Movement , The Earth Charter, World Citizen , and Garry Davis . If a world government is created democratically, it can be dismantled democratically if that is what the majority of world citizens desire.
Ethical, compassionate capitalism has not expressed itself yet in a world approaching ecological suicide. If not through a democratic form of socialism, we need to implement radical egalitarianism some other way, so that every person in every country has an equal opportunity to realize their fullest potential. That must be our longing and deepest desire. When every person has the opportunity to achieve self-actualization, we can create world peace, nurtured by love.
At the neighborhood block club and at city and county levels--we can encourage face-to-face, participatory, direct democracy. Today in many state and local elections, we have people just voting a straight ticket for many individuals whom they know nothing about. Instead, we could select our national and state legislators through a new system of proportional representation and then empower those legislators to, not only make laws, but make some appointments for executive and judicial branch government positions. This method makes the legislative branch more democratic and then gives it more power than the other two branches of government.
If we let all national political parties that capture at least one percent of the national vote be represented through proportional representation at a Constitutional Convention, we could create a much better national or federal constitution. One hundred delegates could meet for a maximum of 3 months, and if they create a new document approved by 51 percent of the delegates, it could be ratified later if a 51-percent majority of the American people approve the new constitution. Each of the 50 states can create new constitutions this way too.
Direct democracy at the township, city, and county levels is my preference now, and you will soon see why it is better than the following bottom-up system of local government that I advocated in the past. Here is how that system works: To begin, we should encourage voluntary neighborhood block clubs because neighbors should get to know one another well. Each voting precinct could send one representative to its township legislature. The township legislature could make township laws, but it could also make some executive and judicial branch government appointments at the township level. Legislators from each township could vote among themselves to send one representative to the county legislature. The county legislature would make county laws, but it could also make some executive and judicial appointments at the county level. Legislators from each county would vote among themselves to send one representative to the state legislature. The state legislature would make state laws, but it could also make some executive and judicial appointments at the state level.
This method (described in the above paragraph) is certainly a bottom-up approach, but if each county sends one representative to the state legislature, this is not completely democratic because some counties of a state have large populations and others have very low populations: It is comparable to Wyoming and California having the same number of U.S. senators. However, certain features of this method, such as the greater empowerment of the legislature, can work well on a national level because each federal legislator would represent the same number of people.
As stated above, proportional representation would make the federal legislature more democratic, and the federal legislature could be given more power to make some executive and judicial branch appointments. But the people could still vote for a president, and they could even vote for members of the Supreme Court under a new constitution. For all of the above stated reasons, this is why I now believe face-to face direct democracy at the township, city, and county levels is the ideal.
To summarize, local direct democracy at lower levels of government could be combined with using proportional representation in the selection of national and state legislatures, after at least 7 of the largest national and state political parties are equally empowered as much as the Republicans and Democrats, which are corporate-controlled capitalist political parties.
Since one third of our lives is spent in the workplace, perhaps workplace democracy--letting the workers participate in the decision making of their companies--is perhaps the most important way to maximize democracy. Workers would not choose to pollute the communities where they live and work, and they would not choose to move the corporation overseas.
With all the problems we have had with the public schools, why not consider something that has never been tried before: neighborhood control of public elementary schools. This radical decentralization of public elementary schools would encourage neighbors to get to know one another very well, and they would then form a self-determined, close-knit community. The neighbors could choose their own school board which would then use public funds to implement an educational philosophy and school curriculum that reflects the collective values of the neighborhood. Middle schools and high schools could be organized this way too. All employees of a school should be allowed to participate in workplace democracy.
Even if every nation could maximize democracy and not commit the 9 social sins as described above, it is still not enough if people are not also transformed on the inside. Though the world is seemingly on a fast-track path to self-destruction, there is an indescribable love at the core, in the deepest part of each of us, that we can access--even right now. Even people who are spiritual but not religious are able to discover this ground of being that yogis, Buddhists, and Christian mystics have discovered by doing meditation.
Meditation as a discipline can open the heart and calm the mind. Some people, however, just focus on giving loving-kindness to themselves and all others. These two approaches can enhance each other. Being close to nature can also enable one to experience the interconnectedness of all life. Moreover, some individuals have expanded their insight through the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic plants.
When every person in every country has an equal opportunity to realize their fullest potential, we will start approaching World Self-Actualization as defined in the first paragraph. This is how we can create world peace nurtured by love. But politically-oriented individuals must become spiritual, and all the religious people and spiritual seekers must become political with an international and ecological focus.
Roger Copple retired from teaching high school special education and elementary general education (third grade) in Indianapolis in 2010 at age 60. His website is www.NowSaveTheWorld.com