Introduction and Acknowledgements
As humanity nears fourth density, a spiritual context for the political mode of social interaction becomes more important. The Law of One may inform our exploration of this aspect of the Creator, helping us recognize dynamics that prefigure genuine oneness. However, it is important to distinguish between our increasing tendency towards social memory and the authoritarian collectivism of institutions. Key to achieving this discriminatory awareness in a confusing political landscape is self-knowledge and the appreciation of the special role of individual experience in third density.
In putting together this essay I am deeply indebted to the work of Butler Shaffer, whose book Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival (I reviewed it here ) established a sociological basis for much of the spirituality I had long thought was above and beyond the political realm. I cannot overstate the impact of Shaffer's approach on this essay's thesis. Of course, the continuing service of Carla Rueckert, Jim McCarty, Gary Bean, and the rest of my dear family at L/L Research was also indispensable. Their annual Homecoming events provide not only an emotional home for weary seekers like me, but they also facilitate a unique, cross-disciplinary approach to the Law of One, without which this essay would never have been conceived. Finally, a special thanks for all the guidance and friendship from David Wilcock, who introduced me to this material and helped me work through what the Law of One could mean to me in my own life.
Why Spirituality and Politics?
There is danger in attempting any analysis of political issues in the context of the Law of One. Politics is incredibly divisive and deeply tied to one's worldly identity and interests. To associate it with anything that is perceived to have transcendent, timeless truth will inevitably look like criticism of those who disagree with the author's political views. I can only hope the reader will look beyond what are, in the end, merely the opinions of one individual among many other equally valid ones. None of this is the heart of the message of the Law of One; should these ideas fail to resonate with the reader's sense of the Creator, they should feel free to discard them.
But there's also a deeper concern that students of the Law of One are wise to maintain when dealing with such topics. Those of Ra try to steer clear of topics that are peripheral to genuine spiritual growth - topics that are transient, as they put it. The reason is that the more specific the information is to a given material context, the farther away it is from the abstract universality of spiritual truth, and therefore the more distorted the information is likely to be. So above and beyond any partisan conflict this essay unintentionally engenders, there is the threat of bogging down a spiritual exploration with unessential ephemera. It is not the author's intent to cheapen such an extremely helpful body of knowledge with crass, worldly analysis. So why even attempt to bring in the political?
Politics is about how people make decisions in groups, and not simply those decisions in the context of the state or of government. There's office politics, politics in churches, politics in clubs, politics in families, etc. It is useful to be able to recognize aspects of interpersonal dynamics that trend towards unity not only in current national events but also in one's daily life, not least because these experiences are ultimately inextricable from the larger evolution towards social memory that those of Ra discuss.
The Law of One actually has important things to say about organizational theory, and there are identifiable patterns that are more likely than others to realize service to others. There may be possibilities for organizing, even under third density conditions, to bring about a more authentic and peaceful unity - to prefigure fourth density as much as possible in the third. By recognizing these patterns, we may be able to not only serve more effectively but also avoid service that fights the natural tendencies of human behavior.
Not only will this study give us insight into how we can best serve others, but it will help us identify when other people who might disagree with us on the surface are actually deeper allies in service to others. Unnecessary conflict can be avoided, and precious energy can be saved for positive work, if people possess the impulse to look deeper than superficial terms and labels that so confuse the landscape of politics and identify the undercurrents which provide spiritual context for the outwardly observable third density dramas. Many, if not most, of man's political divisions arise from contrived notions and false dichotomies, and to find the true nature of our oneness it is necessarily required that we be willing to delve deeper and look beyond seemingly insoluble differences.
We carry around a lot of value judgments, mental structures, and simple fears around about our fellow man. While present political structures may help protect us from those "otherselves," a spiritual perspective can suggest how to directly and personally achieve that "more perfect union." Bringing the unified perspective to bear on the problem of human decision making can change our attitudes towards how we interact with others, with the natural benefits of reinforcing positive interactions and a more conscious and lasting experience of the Creator in our neighbors. All that is required is mindfulness, so we can appreciate the unity that is there and any distortions that reflection uncovers.
There is also the potential that study in this area will help us understand these principles from a different angle that may assist their application in other, more personal areas. Where the Ra material is unclear or silent on certain crucial questions of the nature of this unified creation, there is a role for interpolation and an ever so mindful "filling in the blanks" by observing the nascent social memory complex around us. Indeed, if we take the unified perspective seriously, we can't help but integrate their philosophy into our daily experience. The question is whether we'll "fill in the blanks" consciously and carefully, or whether we'll tack on unexamined biases without thought or reflection.
We can learn about this unified creation and its principles, both those discrete concepts and an appreciation for its transcendent unity, by studying issues of organization and decision making - indeed, we are uniquely privileged to study these things as third density beings. There may be aspects of the Law of One that we can better learn through the study of our own social memory complex, however primitive it may be. In other words, those lessons might be able to be mapped to our more general understanding of the unified creation - indeed, they might turn out to be themselves more spiritual in nature than we at first recognized.
My intent is not to suggest that it is desirable to superimpose our political preferences on the message of Ra. There is a tendency among political types to universalize their opinions of the good or the true, and to then demand that others recognize the moral authority that an individual has discovered for himself. When dealing with the concept of political authority, the sharpest of distinctions must be drawn between personal political conclusions and actual universal truths. In an equally important sense, I do not argue that we should seek to force Ra's message into our political interests where it seems unfitting - we shouldn't be the carpenter who sees everything as a nail on which to use our Law of One hammer. The real goal here is to see if we can find a spiritual context in which to understand political dynamics, and to carefully assess the potential for new, actionable strategies for lightening the planetary vibrations and understanding ourselves as we approach fourth density.
The trust, brotherhood, and harmony necessary to realize fourth density will not come about within the current paradigm. We are going to need to release a lot of suspicions and fears about our fellow man and fundamentally (though not uncritically) open up to new mental and emotional configurations. But just as we go through huge changes in personality and habits in our continuing spiritual development, the evolution of the "body politic" is another experience of knowing the Creator and knowing ourselves.
Individualism, Collectivism, and the Institution
To speak of politics as merely the way groups of people make decisions is a very general way of approaching the dynamics of collective will. Yet, if we want to tie a beginning point in third density human nature to some end in sixth density social memory, we should be able to begin to articulate common principles. The raw materials for such an evolution must surely be present in our reality, however dormant. Ideally, we should see evidence of these indicators as we near the end of third density.
Indeed, we feel this pull towards unity, as the entire planet communicates and trades in a truly unprecedented manner. But as all things in our density, this experience of unity is heavily distorted. There is a long history of forcible unification of peoples through various forms of collectivism, whether by tribe, ethnicity, nation, class, or other superficial characteristic. Conversely, a reactionary individualism champions the indispensable nature of the individual without realizing that much of our independence is artificial or illusory. Our interdependence has not been eliminated; it is simply mediated by authorities and systems, all of which promote individualism as a choice among available brands and formal institutions rather than authentic self-expression and community.
The tension between individualism and collectivism drives much of the political debate in modern times. It serves as a crucial context for understanding the emergence of social memory. While the individual is a reasonably well-defined construct in our society, the concept that best reflects the dynamic towards social memory is the institution. For understanding the transcendent nature of group identity and collective volition, study of the institution throughout history and in our present experience is invaluable to discovering the nature of social memory in its infant form.
Note that my use of the term "institution" is somewhat particular; I am not using the sense of the term that refers to mere social conventions (like marriage). Likewise, I'm referring to a construct more involved than people simply getting together, say to go to a movie or play bridge. Certainly, most institutions start out as informal gatherings of some sort, where people find it convenient to associate for a shared purpose. These informal associations can be as natural as a nuclear family, or as unserious as a conversation struck up between strangers at a bar.
In other words, these groups begin spontaneously. They are not the product of some overarching agenda or extensive coordination. Instead, these groups result from individuals cooperating in an immediate, personally defined sense with other individuals. The group is nothing in and of itself, but rather an instrument; a convenient way of referring to the individuals who associate with one another for their own, individual purposes. Should the association cease to meet those individual needs, the group is disbanded without much thought; people meeting spontaneously for their own purposes have no particular need to perpetuate the group for its own sake. The association is instrumental to individual interests and is judged by no other standard.
Sometimes, however, the group begins to assume an identity all it's own - an identity that transcends the individual members and their individual agendas. The group begins to have interests of its own, above and beyond even the sum of members' purposes. It is this kind of entity, this abstraction that nevertheless assumes an identity superior to that of the flesh-and-blood humans comprising it, which I'm addressing by using the term "institution". It is this transcendent concept of identity that can be tied to the phenomenon of social memory.
In an institution, you begin to have an articulation of collective will that is bigger and demonstrably separate from those of its members. While individuals may join the institution for their own reasons, the successful institution convinces the member that the institution's own existence, and therefore its rules and interests, are the best means to the individual pursuing his own interests. The problem with this in third density is that, at a certain point, the institution's preservation and perpetuation becomes more important than the purposes for which it was assembled. At that point, it becomes vital to this artificial entity's survival that the members serve the institution and its interests rather than vice versa.
Humans, after all, are fickle creatures, whose needs and interests change often throughout a lifetime. They have varied interests and encounter unpredictable events. The have emotions, personal lives, families, and other cares that all matter at least as much as any collective interest. To put it another way, human beings are ends in themselves. But an abstraction like an institution has no existence without disciplining the member humans to act in ways that further its own interests - with the most important interest being its own perpetuation.
For the institution, the human members are means to achieving their collective, organizational purposes. Accordingly, the institution will promote a mindset among its members that subordinates their unique, personal interests to its overarching but ultimately abstract interests. Of course, it will attempt to foster a sense by which the individual identifies with the institution, so that the human member believes that his interests are the institution's interests, and vice versa. The goal is to make the human constituent a more predictable and reliable pillar on which to build this organization which, after all, cannot exist without humans acting on its behalf.
As this process continues, the human needs which the organization was designed to address become secondary (if not completely irrelevant). In many cases, it is even in the institution's interest to refrain from solving the problem that prompted its earlier founding - at least, not in any way that would jeopardize the continued need for the institution. Also, because the organization cannot prosecute an agenda different than those of its members, it usually takes a very mechanistic, rule-based approach to keep the entire machine of humans on task - hence, the appearance of "policy," or even "law".
Agreed upon norms of conduct and contracting for the performance of actions is something individuals do all the time among each other. But the dictates of institutions are special because they don't arise from an independent, interested entity with a conscience and with judgment about the varied situations or contexts into which they enter - in other words, they don't arise from a human being. Instead, these prerogatives arise from committees and people who depend on the existence of an abstraction to realize their individual interests - indeed, these people may begin to simply substitute the institutional agenda for their own, personal agenda. Because of this need for rigidity, conformity, and explicit coordination and planning, the manner in which institutions apprehend present conditions is always based on past experiences, which are easily channeled into codes and policies. Contrast this with the individual human being, who has the innate ability and coherent will to ascertain the unique situation and respond in such a way that honors that particular moment of Creation. While individuals are flexible and open to change when conditions demand, institutions rely so much on mechanistic policies, explicit agendas, and future planning that change disrupts the integrity of the organization. They and the people who identify with them are inevitably conservative, in the sense that they tend to resist change.
The most unfortunate part of this is the patterns of decision making that so often prevail in business, political, and military institutions. Because these organizations are not composed of any one person, they don't have any one person's conscience. Committees have a hard time factoring uniquely personal values like compassion, beauty, and virtue into their decision making processes. And often when they do act in altruistic or socially responsible ways it is for "the bottom line" and not out of the same sense of participatory community.
The Institution and the Social Memory Complex
If the above description of the height of social memory on our planet is disturbing, one should keep in mind how young it is. There is hard work ahead, to be sure - but in an infinite creation, time is not a limiting factor. And indeed, Ra took millions of years to achieve their harmonious integration of individual with the collective. That is why it is important to look for where the false collectivism of institutions can provide clues to the authentic collectivism of the social memory complex: we can start not only contrasting them, but comparing them and identifying telltale signs of progress.
Of course, the material brought through by L/L Research, as extensive as it is, simply cannot give us the full picture of what social memory is like. There are, however, clues. Those of Ra speak of the integration that full social memory represents:
A mind/body/spirit social complex becomes a social memory complex when its entire group of entities are of one orientation or seeking. The group memory lost to the individuals in the roots of the tree of mind then becomes known to the social complex, thus creating a social memory complex. The advantages of this complex are the relative lack of distortion in understanding the social beingness and the relative lack of distortion in pursuing the direction of seeking, for all understanding/distortions are available to the entities of the society. ( 11.17 )
The political relevance of the social memory complex of which those of Ra speak lies not so much in the group mind phenomenon, which they seem to regard as a second-order result of a much more fundamental dynamic: the single will of all involved. This desire of all member entities to be integrated into one complex is never described in terms that would make it appear compulsory; instead, it is implied that the social memory complex is a voluntary association. As such, the complex serves not to subordinate the individual's interests to that of the group, but rather as a way for the individual to continue his or her spiritual development beyond what is possible in the individual experience. In other words, the unity achieved in social memory is not forced, or contrived, or planned, but instead it is a spontaneous phenomenon.
It appears that in this social memory complex, a harmony is achieved between the individual identity and the collective identity. So harmonious is it, in fact, that the conflict we experience in the distortions of the third density no longer apply. It is not simply that the individual can participate in the collective without sublimating his uniqueness; it is natural for the individual to do so. There is a perfect alignment between individual's expression of his or her own truth and the collective will that is divined from all individual wills; indeed, for all intents and purposes they are indistinguishable at the level of social memory.
The crucial point about the social memory complex is its achievement of collective will and identity without compulsion, discipline, or regimentation of the constituent members. The collective identity blossoms out of individuals associating as themselves, not by conforming an overarching, separate agenda of the complex itself. The individual is the collective, and vice versa, without any subordination or loss of unique identity involved. If this seems paradoxical, it is merely because it defies reality as we've always known it, but surely we are not conceited enough to think we've identified all the possibilities of future human development!
Even so, the reader can be forgiven for finding this study of metaphysics irrelevant to politics, for it is an incontrovertible fact that we don't share a group mind in third density. Whatever political forms we can cobble together will fall short of the effortless coordination and camaraderie available to sixth density entities. This lack of transparency in third density also leads to frequent deceptions, placing natural limits on the effectiveness of uniting for service to others.
Also, keep in mind that Ra's path to social memory is not the only one available. There is also the negative path to social memory, which Ra describes in terms that are very similar to many of our most ambitious and power-hungry organizations. Because the negative polarity relies on the power of the illusion of separation, their organizations tend to resemble earthly institutions: fractious, hierarchical, winner-takes-all, and above all domineering:
...in negative thinking there is always the pecking order, shall we say, and the power against power in separation. ( 62.16 )
Questioner : By creating as large a harvest as possible of negatively oriented entities from Earth, then, the social memory complex of the Orion group gains in strength. Am I correct in assuming that this strength then is in the total strength of the complex, the pecking order remaining approximately the same, and those at the top gaining in strength with respect to the total strength of the social memory complex? Is this correct?
Ra : I am Ra. This is correct. To the stronger go the greater shares of polarity. ( 62.17 )
The moral of the story is simply that collectivism is not, in and of itself, the way towards peace. As positive seekers, we long for oneness with the Creator and our brothers and sisters. Yet, this drive for unity can be twisted and manipulated. We simply are living under slightly different rules than Ra - we cannot experience any true, outwardly lasting material collectivism in this density without being controlled, ordered around, manipulated, or ruled.
So where do institutions fit into this analysis of social memory complexes? Perhaps the institution is nothing more than a distorted form of social memory. It is a false group identity that can be easily picked up in a superficial manner, and it can exert pressure on members to subordinate their own identities to the institutional identity. The institution can also be seen as a way in which an institution's founders or leaders, through the formulation of policy and executive direction, impress their own identities on the organization and by transmission onto the members as a way to aggrandize and amplify their own personality, agenda, and control.
Ultimately, the ability of the institution to enable the control of the many by the few is its chief negative characteristic. The need to regiment members' attitudes and activities, the hostility to change, the divergence of the institution's administration from the core interests of the members - all of these things indicate a desire to realize a very typically negative impulse: to reorder the Creation. Implicit in the institution's raison de etre is the assumption that the spontaneous order of people associating is insufficient, and that something must be done to convince or compel people to act in different ways than they would otherwise choose. The service to others path, in contrast, thrives on accepting oneself, others, and the Creation, respecting the free will and spiritual utility of our experiences.
If individual freedom relies on self-expression, then truly positive social memory relies on a society of people expressing themselves fully and freely, without fear or repression. Comprised of members all exercising their full potential and complete free wills, it is almost a totally different phenomenon than our meager, top down, centrally controlled political structures. The natural impulse of liberty and justice sometimes moves people into conflict and to discard outdated associations or unneeded organizations, but it is never the people who must justify their agendas to institutions. It is important to remember who created whom; we created institutions, and our interests trump theirs.
In a Creation where we are all equally the Creator, there can be no such thing as a leader or follower in any permanent sense; we may lead or follow at times, but there is no set "role" to play of the kind that institutions would assign us. Political authority is, at best, a temporary acknowledgment that somebody has superior information or skills at the moment and might be worth listening to; at worst, it is a perpetual entitlement to domination. Organizations need authorities to direct us and subordinates to obey, but this is obviously an attempt to substitute a rigid structure of hierarchical control to cover up the reality of our lives: nobody has "the plan" that can coordinate all those synchronistic meetings, fortuitous opportunities, and sudden needs for action. Only individuals who know themselves have the wherewithal to act in the moment to make their lives and actions the testament to our oneness, instead of relying on an institutional identity to serve as a cheap approximation of our unity.
So what do we do about the institutions in which we currently participate? Obviously, they cannot all be simply chucked aside; in some cases, they coordinate vital activities. Other institutions compel us to recognize their primacy, sometimes through threats or acts of violence, sometimes through monopolizing control of the means of our survival. How can we move institutional politics in a less institutional and more human direction?
First of all, we should take personal responsibility for living lives of service to others, and not count on institutions to do that work for us. The government may patrol your streets and feed your homeless, but that is no substitute for your reaching out and personally expressing that portion of the Creator that only you can. The more we think of ourselves as part of a collective that is not reducible to national, ideological, ethnic, or other arbitrary characteristics, the more we will start to see that "service to others" is merely a matter of choosing from a wide variety of work those tasks that best fulfill our unique and irreplaceable concept of the Creator, as we each understand it individually.
When we do have to work within institutions, we should try and shake up their rigidity and demand they become flexible to serve our needs. If your interests in the organization are pursued through representative assemblies or committees, try to bring the group to a more direct participation from members. Instead of giving representatives broad mandates, demand that they restrict the prerogative of their office to only those matters that need attention. If they don't perform, throw them out, early and often (it is not a rejection of them personally, but of their location in an abstract, ultimately meaningless organization). There is also something to be said for keeping these organizations small, where individual consciences and personal relationships have the greatest potency and are not diluted by mass indifference and institutional inertia.
Above all, we should reject the notion that any of these abstractions are justified in using force or threats of force against people. Introducing violence into any collective decision making situation is practically inviting negative greeting. Frustration when dealing with others is natural; it is catalyst to be processed but never an excuse to violate another's free will. Ultimately, violence and the fear thereof props up the false permanence of our institutional society, and when we start saying no to those who wield weapons in others' names we will do a great deal to bring about a more peaceful planet. Too many die and live in fear because a politician, CEO, or bureaucrat somewhere made a decision disconnected from the reality of human life.
Politics Within and Without
While some personalities may revel in surrendering their conscience and sense of moral responsibility to higher authorities, the service to others entity understands that it is only though discovering the Creator within the self that one can achieve the clarity and context for realizing truly positive political unity. The most effective experience of unity lies in recognizing our true oneness with the Creator - even in an illusion of seeming separation. Our third density experiences are exercises in keeping this faith, not by joining organizations and working for any collective purpose, but in realizing that in the spontaneous, mindful life one can always find opportunities to show others that we are all truly one.
Indeed, it appears that whatever we have come here to experience, our individuality is a very key component to the lessons of third density. While those of Ra demonstrate that we will move beyond this particular experience of individuated consciousness eventually, that only highlights how crucial this stage is. If that's true, then it follows that we can attain an awareness of self as Creator and others as Creator through our experience of self as individual. Whatever collective experiences we have, they must flow from our own knowledge of ourselves.
This individuated experience has two aspects, however. On the one hand, we have the outer world in which we interact with autonomous and seemingly separate entities. We practice seeing them as the Creator, and we treat them as parts of "ourself" in the lessons of our daily lives. There's a certain mystery to our interactions with these otherselves if you insist on viewing them through a spiritual lens. Through these lessons we learn more about ourselves and about the Creator.
On the other hand, we have an inner experience that can seem just as mysterious as the outer. We often simply do not know our own minds, let alone our spirit. Going within through meditation introduces us to a chattering crowd of different thoughts and aspects of personality. They all flit through the mind, sometimes occupying the seat of control over our actions, sometimes being suppressed. But all of these inner phenomena are inescapably us - and yet, they seem to sometimes be foreign personalities, competing among themselves for attention and control.
If we encounter otherselves outside ourselves, and we encounter otherselves within ourselves as well, then that suggests an interesting dynamic. The utility of individuated consciousness seems to lie in the juxtaposition of our sense of self with a mysterious, hierarchical, seemingly separate Creation without and a mysterious, hierarchical, seemingly separate Creation within. It may be that just as we can accept others in the outside world as the Creator and self in the interests of achieving integration, we can apply the lessons of politics that normally apply to entities outside ourselves to those entities within ourselves!
Indeed, there may be interesting corollaries here. Perhaps discovering the self is not about forcing those parts of the self to fall into line as if the self is an institution, but to know the self well enough to allow one's personality and will to spontaneously emerge. It may be that good decision makers are simply entities with well integrated inner selves, where most of the parts of the self inside are not at odds with each other but each express their full nature while blending together into an influence that is usable by the conscious mind. What if moral rules are just shortcuts that we use because we're afraid of the decisions we'll make as truly freed individuals?
It also suggests that there are lessons learned in the course of plumbing our inner depths of consciousness which can be applied to the interpersonal, political realm. As much as we dislike it, the experience of domination and control by others that is so typical to third density may actually be part of the reason we're here. There's a difference between accepting a reality of totalitarian government and legitimating it by giving it your consent. Reality doesn't need our stamp of approval; we simply need to see it with minimally distorted eyes, and in doing so we will see the Creator more and more clearly. The need to overcome evil without should not be yielded to without reflection.
The important point is that we begin to see the world outside ourselves and within ourselves as mirror images of an infinite Creation. As entities with free will, we can learn from our experiences without identifying with them. By seeking out opportunities for spontaneously manifesting the Creator in the unique way that only we can, and by giving ourselves permission to let all the parts of ourselves manifest that Creator, we make the most of our third density experience.
The individual, located at the fulcrum of experience, positioned between two infinite expanses of a unified Creation, is of central importance to the lessons of this density. The more we live as that entity, however mysterious or seemingly unacceptable it is, the more we can dispense with manufactured identities from without or artificial ones from within and simply learn to be who we are. Those of Ra summarize it perfectly:
The proper role of the entity is in this density to experience all things desired, to then analyze, understand, and accept these experiences, distilling from them the love/light within them. Nothing shall be overcome. That which is not needed falls away.
The orientation develops due to analysis of desire. These desires become more and more distorted towards conscious application of love/light as the entity furnishes itself with distilled experience. We have found it to be inappropriate in the extreme to encourage the overcoming of any desires, except to suggest the imagination rather than the carrying out in the physical plane, as you call it, of those desires not consonant with the Law of One, thus preserving the primal distortion of free will.
The reason it is unwise to overcome is that overcoming is an unbalanced action creating difficulties in balancing in the time/space continuum. Overcoming, thus, creates the further environment for holding on to that which apparently has been overcome.
All things are acceptable in the proper time for each entity, and in experiencing, in understanding, in accepting, in then sharing with other-selves, the appropriate distortion shall be moving away from distortions of one kind to distortions of another which may be more consonant with the Law of One.
It is, shall we say, a shortcut to simply ignore or overcome any desire. It must instead be understood and accepted. This takes patience and experience which can be analyzed with care, with compassion for self and for other-self. ( 18.5 )