Ecological gain minus Ecological loss = Ecological Utility

The birth of the Ecological Age requires self-creating new ways of living – ways of living that are at least in harmony with nature on Earth and possibly even in harmony with the nature of the Sun.  However, firstly, this means self-creating a cultural and political space in which we can do this. 

The ways of living that I imagine are condusive to at least being in harmony with the Earth would, in my opinion, be those expoused by the likes of the De-Growth movement whereby human survival is dependent on building up levels of equity and equality within societies by not only including the rights and responsibilities of all humans but also including the rights and responsibilities of non-human life-beings.  

The most complicated dichotomy to unravel in order to help facilitate a transition from The Modern Age to The Ecological Age is how to resolve the dilemmas posed by the life/death relationship between all beings.  In other words which beings do we allow to be sacrificed in order that other beings may live and what conduct is permissible to reflect this. 

This, in my mind, is the most basic of relationships, the most basic of cause and effect and the most basic of karma – what do we kill in order to survive and how do we do it.  Therefore, whether it is one human or another, one animal or another, one plant or another, one insect or another, one microbe or another, one mineral or another or one granule or another, how do we decide what can be sacrificed in order to self-create harmony with all the other beings on Earth.

Unfortunately, our currerent moral and law systems give privilage to humans and place most, if not all, non-humans in at least in a secondary category with some being in a third or even fourth. 

More saddening for me is the social fact that at the moment there is a very low opportunity for humans to be able to integrate with localised natural systems across different socieities due to human-centred planning and property laws.  So for example, in the UK, planning laws that allow for a more more fully integrated lifestyle with non-human life-beings do nt really exist in our current cultural and political systems. However, planning laws that imbue deeper equity and equality would allow a greater range of humans to live closer to nature and not only the rich and the well-off due to human-centred planning laws.

By a greater range of humans and a deep level of equity and equality, I mean, that a greater range of humans in relation to their level of affluence, can choose to live cheaply on the land by being able to build their own shack on purchased land without undue hinderance. This can be easily done by only granting planning permission for a shack that is 16m2 or smaller.   This will help to differientate a shack from other types of dwellings and obviously due to the restrictive nature of the shack in terms of occupancy, the land will also not gain much in value so that planning permission would not substantially raise the value of the land. 

Other restrictive conditions can also be placed on shacks to thwart the inflation of value and capitialistic opportunism, by not allowing shacks to be rented.  Additionally, any person wishing to live in the shack must apply for planning permission and be below a pre-determined threshold of affluence.

This means that people of low means can buy a relatively cheap piece of land, gain the permission to build a relatively cheap shack (which I would have thought would by definition have a low impact on the environment) and so be able to live a more basic closer to nature lifestyle.

How ideal would that be 🙂

My current plan is to build a livable shack on my allotment or within a cheap piece of woodland.

From http://www.neweconomics.org/blog/2012/01/03/where-next-for-the-fight-against-economic-inequality

Where next for the fight against economic inequality?

Steve Gwynne
Heterarchical as opposed to hierarchical systems which equalise the value of different constituent parts would be a good way forward
Joe Taylor 
Agreed! How do we get to that situation Steve?
Steve Gwynne
Hi Joe .. I think education will be a key player foremost.  Not everybody knows about the concept of heterarchy and how it pretty much describes the sort of system which does facilitate greater democracy, greater equality and a greater sense of inclusion.  As you know hierarchical systems dominate religion, politics, economics and our social life.  So on an individual level people can transform their own hierarchical tendencies and thinking into more heterarchical perspectives.  Obviously consensus-based thinking is an integral part of this process, as are people’s assemblies, co-operative economic models, networked partnerships and the de-centralisation and localisation of economies.  In addition there are the deep green ecological perspectives which broadens the scope of heterarchy to include non-human-life-forms.
So on a social institutional level it would be imperative for left-leaning organisations to adopt heterarchical systems into their practices. In fact it could be a stipulation so if an organisation does not adopt heterarchical practices then they could not be considered left-wing since they obviously do not have equality and equity at the heart of their own organisations.  Ultimately this would be a matter of left-leaning intellectuals to convey in their own political philosophies.  In this respect, the left would be synonymous with heterarchy and the right would be synonymous with hierarchy.  At the moment, as you know, there is no clear distinction between left and right politics.  If there was this clear distinction then our parliamentary democracy would allow the people to decide for themselves. Even better as far as I am concerned would be to decentralise national politics and allow regions to decide what sort of political philosophy they wish to be governed by. 
Beyond these early stages of the strategy to transform the definition of left-wing politics and for left-wing organisations to adopt heterarchical practices (which in itself would help develop heterarchical thinking) there might be a need to rely upon human rights and in particular the deeper application of economic and social rights with the likes of The Social Charter which as you know successive UK governments have refused to ratify.
Human rights are probably the key ethical tool to ensure that heterarchical practices are adopted and again can be promoted by left-wing organisations as a consolidated and joint effort to create greater equality, greater equity and greater democracy in our social, political and economic systems.  For example, if we – UK society – were to adopt International Human Rights into UK legislation then effectively we would be forced to create more heterarchy in our lives. Such is the nature of International human rights despite efforts by intellectuals to view human rights as hierarchically ranked in one way or another.  The fact of the matter is that the human rights framework is itself based on a heterarchical model. As such left-leaning organisations fail to see the power of the rights framework and are either simply rhetorical in their convictions or plainly stubborn.  Either way I suspect many so-called lefties secretly desire to sustain the status quo.  For example, too many left activists enjoy the power of hierarchy in their own organisations when their main deployment and main objective is to shout down and critique the opposition.  Even the Occupy movement is guilty of this to some extent, in my experience at least, as are so-called left leaning activist within various environmental organisations. Simply put, too many lefties are as frightened by heterarchy as are the right.  Often they like to talk equality but are only able to walk a weak version of equality.  All too often and this applies to many Socialists, all sorts of excuses are promoted to refrain from supporting human rights by arguing they are bourgeoisie. In my mind they are actually right-wingers in disguise.   Another example of this sort of hypocrisy is a Socialist I know who bemoans capitalism and the inequality it creates at every opportunity but has around £250,000 held in shares and stock investment.  
So your question is in a sense easily answered but in reality more problematic than it appears and I am sure this is what you may have been inferring.  But the answer remains the same but it applies to both the left and the right and not just the latter.

From http://ifdarwinprayed.com/i-believe-in-god/#comment-5326

I have thought a great deal about God and whilst I am not fully conversant with all ideas about God I tend to think that most people see God as separate to themselves with even modern day proponents of Oneness making the same subtle distinction between themselves and The Creator.  This seems to be the prevailing view in one form or another whereby everything and everyone is ultimately reducible to God so that God is Everything. The subtle but distinct alternative is not that God is Everything but that Everything is God. 

To clarify, if God is the originator or pure consciousness behind Everything then everything else can only be material consciousness embued with a life-giving spark of pure consciousness.  (I use pure and material to simply convey a distinction rather than use them as accurate descriptors.)  If this is the case then we humans as material consciousness with free will to do as we please in our God created material bubble exist distinct from the pure consciousness world that God resides in except for a thread of pure consciousness which enables us to survive.  This then makes the three faces of God or the Holy Trinity, one being our material existence (the son), another being our awareness of the thread of pure consciousness that gives us life (the holy spirit) and the other being God itself as pure consciousness (the holy father). 

The alternative is that these different worlds do not exist as separate fields of existence with the material bubble being separate from the pure but are all part of one singularity or one field of energy that is inherently and intrinsically creative so that each one of us together is this field of creative energy.  In this paradigm, there is no distinct source for we are it, there is no distinct originator for we are it, there is no distinct God for we are it.  So in this paradigm,  when we use the word God we are referring to everyone including ourselves so that everything can both be simultanously personal and impersonal at the same time. 

Confused, let me try and explain. In the former paradigm it is possible to speak of an impersonal God because to identify with the thread of pure consciousness that sustains us is to relinquish the attachment to our material existence.  In a sense it is the same with the latter paradigm except rather than moving into different distinct worlds, when we move into a higher consciousness towards pure consciousness we are actually traversing a continuum of consciousness so in truth we are the material and the pure at the same time, or we are the personal and the impersonal at the same time, it just depends where our awareness is at the time.  Being more aware of one thing at any one time does not mean that the other ceases to exist – although some philosphers would try make us believe that.  

This is where the subtle difference between God is Everything and Everything is God becomes more apparent since in the former we believe in a separate identity between the material and the pure, upon which we can create hierarchical tendencies leading to value judgements about the different levels of consciousness we may inhabit at any one time, such as ego and egoless, and use these judgements to create behavioural status such as a person being closer to God or in Donald Walsh’s language to be able to converse with God. 

Obviously in the latter paradigm, being closer to God or conversing God is nonsense since Everything is God but when God is Everything then that incorporates a subtle hierarchy in which God is the top and everything is below which leaves those below fighting over who can move upwards to be closer to God or who can have a more personal relationship with God.  Obviously, in this paradigm, a creation of God can only communicate with God via the sustaining thread of pure consciousness since something that is only material consciousness cannot ever truly be God.  We can try to be the image of God, we can try to emulate God but we can never be God otherwise this paradigm becomes meaningless as does the values and judgements that this hierarchical paradigm supports. 

Obviously in the latter, if Everything is God then we are the absolute and the relative, we are the living breathing cosmic heterarchy of divine creative energy – we are pure consciousness as is everything else. So we are not simply expressions of the Divine Creator, We are the Divine Creator.  And in our capacity as Divine Creator, together we create Everything as we will, together we create Everything that we are, together we evolve everything that we are and together we make everything that we are.  There is no mysterious source since although we have no idea what we truly are, the mystery is not something distinct from ourselves because we are the mystery.  Paradoxes I love em.  So whilst we can be frightened of a seperate mysterious God, if in truth we are it, then there is no need to fear God, no need to please God, or no need to worship God but We are God. 

So as you can see these two paradigms are different and whilst they might have subtle overlaps when trying to understand the difference between material and pure consciousness, the only way of knowing the truth of one from the other is to be able to connect with pure consciousness and in that space feel for yourself whether God as the descriptive embodiment of pure consciousness is separate to yourselves or whether God as the descriptive embodiment of pure consciousness is integral to yourselves.  In the words of some other mystic, when you find yourself in pure consciousness do you feel like saying ‘I am that I am’.

 For myself, my deepest experienced truth is that Everything is God if the word God is to be used and have any deep meaning.  A truth that I believe should be mirrored in our social, economic and political lives compared to the truth of many many others who believe that God is Everything and consequently our social, economic and political lives tend to be dominated by hierarchies to reflect their deepest spiritual truth of themselves.

I think the shift we are looking for is a transition from predominantly hierarchical models of social organization to more and more heterarchical models.

We need to change our social, economic and political systems to mirror the heterarchy of Oneness rather than mirror the hierarchy of God/man. We are not distinct from our creator, we are the creator. This is the same as saying we are not distinct from pure consciousness, we are pure consciousness. The former sets up beliefs in the spiritual legitimacy of hierarchies whilst the latter sets up beliefs in the spiritual legitimacy of heterarchies.

Presently for me, it is my deepest truth that Everything is Consciousness including God whether it exists or not. This is not shared by many of our fellow humans who still feel that their deepest truth is that God is Everything, not consciousness.

Therefore any transition will also need a new view of religion and we know how attached many people feel to their belief in a hierarchical relationship between God and everything else. Even our use of language has adapted to it.

There is no doubt in my mind that over time, heterarchical cultures would be more inclusive, more open-hearted, more compassionate and so would facilitate more trust. Hierarchies tend to create selfishness, self-absorption, narcissism and dysfunctional individualism. In hierarchies, people, our fellow creatures and our resources simply become pawns in a bid to climb higher up the hierarchy in order that one feels more empowered, even to be closer to God if the protestant work ethic or other pious behavior has anything to go by.

Ecologically speaking, our fellow creatures have already got heterarchy. They can use hierarchies but they appreciate the heterarchical context in which these hierarchies are situated. All we humans largely know is hierarchies but without the heterarchical context.

Heterarchies are built upon principles of inter-connectedness, inter-dependency and mutual reliance and manifest as independent and inter-connected nodes within a unified network, each part playing its role in maintaining the sustainability of the network as a whole so all are valued as equal since without one there cannot be the other. An emphasis on hierarchy distorts this picture of the ecological and cosmological world in which we truly live and instead the different nodes are valued inequally on factors such as class, ethnicity, status etc.

This is effectively the psycho-spiritual grid of our present experience which leaves us free to choose to what extent we create heterarchies and to what extent we create hierarchies both in our minds and in the world around us and in so doing determine the cultural systems we together create.

Our present usage of hierarchies is causing a burden not only upon ourselves but on all life. People only feel secure if they are high up the hierarchy, from where they can control and dominate others. So hierarchies also exaggerate insecurities and individual strengths and weaknesses. We look up and we look down, making sure we have got what our little ‘we’ needs without much awareness of what the big ‘WE’ needs. Our minds become preoccupied with how to get what we think is our rightful share.

Heterarchies would look like meetings where all concerned can meet, share perspectives and together make decisions rather than the dressed up consultations we get now. In heterarchies, we feel we can change the rules for the better, using common sense rather than rhetoric. In heterarchies, if we need to adapt we allow ourselves to adapt and change the rules accordingly rather than remaining attached to convention and tradition. In heterarchies, we look to the future with a good understanding of our past rather than ignore what we would rather not know.  And finally in heterarchies, we acknowledge our equal value, our independence, our inter-dependence and our inter-connectedness in our social, political and economic affairs.

So I think heterarchy is the key principle of the next evolutionary phase of our human experience. From a perspective of heterarchy, potential comes alive, creating the spaces in our minds in which we can envisage a better more adapted future.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR article 28[1]) We, the peoples, have the right to a world in which all our political, civic, social, cultural and economic rights are fully realised.

This means a world in which we all have equitable access to all the goods and services that we create.

A world in which there is no discrimination against the poor.


Currently we construct a world in which individuals are stratified hierarchically which then determines the way in which we distribute our goods and services; that is to say, our present systems of stratification tend to utilise hierarchical, rather than heterarchical, frameworks which directly determines how the goods and services we collectively create are distributed within and across societies.  In this regard, individuals higher up in the hierarchy tend to have a higher degree of access to the goods and services we collectively create compared to those lower in the hierarchy.  Therefore, within hierarchical systems of organisation, those perceived as being of higher value have more of their human rights realised compared to those perceived to be of lower value. 

Our socially constructed systems create hierarchies of value which in turn creates hierarchies of access to the goods and services we create.  In essence this means that we actively or passively construct a world in which we assign inequal values on different individuals and then use that inequality to determine the degree of access to the goods and services that are collectively produced. 

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone is to be valued equally but despite Article 25[2] stating that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate to the health and well-being of himself and his family, this is simply not the case, whether within or across societies.  The truth is that out of the 7 billion humans presently alive, I billion live in sub-standard conditions and this is directly due the hierarchical ordering of individuals according to their perceived value.  Does this mean that we are not yet evolved to the ideal of heterarchical systems of organisation or does this mean that human rights have very limited potential in being able to create an equitable distribution of goods and services between humans? 


Hierarchies of value are usually legitimised in the minds of many by creating a world view that hierarchically divides life-forms according to species, class, status, ethnicity, nationality, political affiliations and philosophical beliefs, amongst others.  The more an individual is prepared to sustain both subjective and objective beliefs in hierarchical stratification, the more that individual feels legitimised in having a society in which there is inequal access to socially created goods and services.  Unfortunately, if a society is constructed on hierarchical values with a concomitant belief that this higher value deserves a higher degree of access to goods and services, then the distribution of goods and services will always concentrate at the top of the hierarchy in a type of compression effect as social power and capital moves upwards.  This occurs because hierarchies operate on linear rather than circular formations, so when value, power and capital reaches the top, they have nowhere to go so they condense and concentrate unless those at the top decide to re-direct them downwards.  Thus, rather than a trickle-down effect, hierarchies actually rely on a trickle-up effect whereby the availability of goods and services moves upwards rather than downwards. 

Compare this with heterarchies which operate on circular networked formations.  In this case, value, power and capital are always being re-cycled throughout the system in order to maintain the integrity of the network.  Obviously then, an international order based on hierarchical systems does not promote the full realisation of everyone’s human rights, since this can only be achieved by heterarchical systems.  Therefore, there is a strong argument that hierarchical stratifications within and across societies are in themselves human rights violations, in that hierarchical systems do not provide equitable access to goods and services, equitable realisation of human rights nor an equitable international order in which the dignity of all human beings is maintained.  


If it is the case that it is only heterarchically organised societies  that will enable the full realisation of human rights, then the most pressing concern for the full realisation of human rights is to re-structure societies on the basis of circular rather than linear formations.  In the first instance this would require assigning equal rather than inequal value to humans and their activity and so rather than a reliance on more vertical stratifications we would instead create societies based on more horizontal stratifications.  Hence, the different parts of a system would have just as much worth and value as the next no matter the type of existence or activity.  Consequently, rather than formations based on dependency and co-dependency in which the different parts exist in mutually exclusive separation, we would live in formations based on independency and inter-dependency in which the different parts co-exist in mutual reliance.  This does not mean that hierarchies are to be completely abandoned since hierarchies can be useful in coalescing priorities, especially when faced with very limited availability of goods and services, time or energy but they only retain their usefulness as long as it is remembered that they are situated within a greater heterarchical network.  Thus, if we wish to create an international order that acknowledges equal value between and amongst all life-forms and an international order that gives all life-forms dignity whether in birth, life or death, then it is necessary to reform societies so that they are primarily based on circular and more horizontal networks of organisation rather than on primarily linear and more vertical formations, that is heterarchical rather than hierarchical systems of organisation. 


Adopting heterarchical societies would also reflect the independent and inter-dependent nature of Life as can be seen in the ecological world of Nature.  Like in Nature, in order to be successful, humans depend on independence and inter-dependence for survival and evolution. When dependent and co-dependent relations are primarily utilised, and inequalities set in, relationships break-down and become dysfunctional. In addition, compared to independent and inter-dependent heterarchical relations, when humans utilise dependent and co-dependent hierarchical relations, the tendency is to continually strive to dominate and control their environment and others through fear and want.  From these perspectives, heterarchy perceives all life-forms to be equal in value and engenders loving relations whilst hierarchy perceives all life-forms to be inequal in value and in turn engenders fearful relations.  The former is natural law and supports the underlying principles of human rights, that being respect and dignity; the latter is human law and support the underlying principles of barbarism and neglect.


Within heterarchical frameworks of perception, we all in different ways, independently and inter-dependently, contribute to everything we create.  This is self-evident since in order to create any good or service, one different activity is always reliant on another.  This means that the value of one activity is equal to another since without one there cannot be the other. Therefore, the principles of independence and inter-dependence should not only govern how we survive and evolve but should also govern how we share with one another.

A belief in our heterarchical rather than hierarchical nature makes it difficult to determine the true value of one economic activity compared with another when deciding the extent to which different activities contribute towards the creation of any particular good or service.  This is because when perceived from a heterarchical and so circular perspective, the reliance of one activity of another continues ad infinitum and so this fact is then incorporated into our value systems.  Compare this with a hierarchical and linear perspective.  Instead, finite limits (starting from zero) are set within which one activity is valued as inequal to the value of another; values which accord directly with the hierarchical positioning of the person doing the activity. 

In Nature on the other hand we see the opposite.  In Nature it is unusual to see life-beings forced to live a life of poverty and deprivation because their activity is somehow seen as inferior or of less value and worth.  In Nature we might see some hierarchical organisation within heterarchical networks but this is usually to establish better conditions for the survival and evolution of others within the context of limited available resources.  Therefore, hierarchies in this context are used to establish localised food territories in relation to others.  Compare this to our current human value systems whereby hierarchies are not used to promote the survival and evolution of others within the context of localised food territories but are used to dominate and control others in order to try and establish globalised food territories.


It is widely acknowledged that more equal societies are more healthy societies, so much so that when people are asked, they prefer more egalitarian societies compared to ones in which gross inequalities concentrate power and wealth at the top of hierarchical formations in order to form elites.  The reason for this is clear.  More equal societies reflect more equal value amongst its citizens.  These types of societies recognise and acknowledge the independent and inter-dependent role that everybody plays in creating the goods and services that society produces.  Accordingly, goods and services are shared collectively since it is perceived that they are produced collectively. In effect, they are already utilising heterarchical systems of organisations, systems that are more horizontal and more circular so that everyone feels that they contribute towards the final product and are rewarded accordingly.

Compare this to more hierarchical societies with elites who amass huge wealth and power whilst everybody else is treated as inferior in value.  These societies rely on dependency and co-dependency in order to maintain and sustain artificial hierarchical systems which are protected by the organised forces of state violence.  In these inequal societies, there tends to be a self-evident difference in value between different individuals and the sense of a collective is very much diminished so rather than integrated wholes, hierarchical societies tend to work as fragmented parts hence the perceived need for a strong and powerful elite.


On the basis of the heterarchical systems that make up Nature, we arrive at principles of equity that enable the survival and evolution of others.  It is therefore apparent that any independent and inter-dependent contribution towards any particular good or service can only be given equal value in relation to another.  To reflect the equal value of every contribution, everyone should have equal access to everything that we socially produce so that our rights according to articles 25 and 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be fully realised?  This is not a right of access that is based on a dependent and co-dependent linear hierarchical stratification within society but a right of access based on an independent and inter-dependent circular heterarchical stratification within society. Consequently, rather than all the goods and services that we socially create being distributed on the basis of hierarchical stratification, all the goods and services we socially create should be distributed on the basis of heterarchical stratification.  Politically speaking, this means the distribution of our collectively produced goods and services on the basis of need rather than on the basis of want.  This means more equality and less inequality, more heterarchy and less hierarchy, more equity and less inequity and more circularity and less linearity in order to demonstrate our natural equal worth and our natural equal dignity as reflected in the principles of independency and inter-dependency which are self-evident in the heterarchical organisation of Nature.


Evidence shows that our underlying meta-physical realities are self-constructed.  This is only possible if we have the power to create our own beliefs and so create our own mentalities.  Historically, it has been customary to create meta-physical realities based on hierarchical stratification which in turn incorporated hierarchies of value and hierarchies of rights.  Typically these meta-physical hierarchies were then transposed on to human societies and determined the organisational structures of these societies as opposed to what was self-evident in Nature.

By and large, although it was argued that these beliefs were descended from ancient knowledge or passed to humans by divine entities, the truth as it is being slowly revealed, makes apparent that the existence of meta-physical hierarchies are human-constructed beliefs which in turn impact on the way in which we perceive the environment around us.  Similar to hierarchical systems present in our social, economic and political spheres, meta-physical hierarchies rely on dependency and co-dependency.  Unfortunately much of religion has entrenched dependent and co-dependent ways of relating to the point that we believe hierarchies are real and not figments of our imagination made into matter.

Thus, the decision to create heterarchical belief systems and heterarchical societies is foremost a spiritual practice.  Not because creating heterarchical systems produces a greater sense of well-being within societies but because it acknowledges that we are the creators of our own realities.  So the choice of whether we live in hierarchical societies or heterarchical societies is our choice and our choice alone inter-dependently with everyone and everything else.  Most of Nature has already decided which system they prefer to ensure their well-being, now it is up to us humans to decide which system we prefer; one based on need and equal value or one based on want and inequal value.  


In conclusion, naturally occurring heterarchical systems of organisation demonstrate the independent and inter-dependent relationships that exist in order to successfully create the goods and services we create. Heterarchical systems acknowledge stratification but places equal value across the different fields of activity.  Compare this with predominantly hierarchical systems which place inequal value across the different fields of activity.  Presently human systems of organisation are predominantly hierarchical in nature and subsequently hierarchies of value are constructed which are then used as the basis of determining how the goods and services we collectively create are distributed, that being inequally.  Research shows that equalisation in societies tends to produce an improved sense of well-being with the physical, mental and emotional health benefits that greater well-being produces.  Research also shows that equalisation motivates and stimulates greater economic activity and growth as a result of more equal access to resources as a result of a greater re-distribution of wealth.  Evidence shows that more equal access to resources facilitates greater entrepreneurship and mitigates against the ineffectual investments which tend to occur when access to resources is more inequal.  It is obvious that these factors rely on the greater sense of value that equalisation brings and the greater sense of worth that heterarchical systems facilitate.  It is for this reason alone why one can conclude that Nature has chosen to adopt heterarchical organisations as opposed to hierarchical organisations as the preferred choice of systems to ensure its survival and evolution and why therefore we must adopt them in order to help fully realise human rights within our global society. 

[1]Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

[2] Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing,  housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability,  widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

When ‘we’ as individual ecological life-forms have the ability to share one another without trying to own each other, is when we will have heart-centred enlightened societies.

There is always going to be limited ‘available’ environmental resources, limited ‘available’ wage-labour hours, limited ‘available’ money and limited ‘available’ land. How we choose to organise and distribute these limits to our survival and these limits to the enhancement of our well-being will directly determine the structures, patterns and processes of freedom, fairness and responsibility within both the State and the Big Society.

The Big Question is, how are we going to use our freedom to create structures, patterns and processes of fairness that reflect both responsibility to ourselves and responsibility to each other.  This obviously includes non-human-life-forms, since to neglect non-human-life-forms does not reflect a fair and responsible expression of freedom but an expression of freedom that reflects irresponsibility and unfairness.

In order to answer this question and so create a sustainable and perhaps even enlightened Big Society we need to correctly understand Freedom, Fairness and Responsibility.

We need FREEDOM in order to pursue the fulfilment of ourselves and others within the Big Society;

We need FAIRNESS in order to make available through sharing and exchange the necessary resources, labour and money to pursue fulfilment;

And We need RESPONSIBILITY in order that we ensure fairness is applied across the broadest spectrum of life-forms within the Big Society.

 This means we need to more evenly distribute OUR social, economic and political capital in order to achieve the highest degree of freedom and the highest level of fairness and thus allow the greatest amount of responsibility that can be experienced by everyone and everything.

To do this means unlocking the social, economic and political capital reserves that are held by the rich and the powerful and distributing this capital more evenly across the Big Society so that the poor and the weak can have the available resources to educate, train and empower themselves.

It also means unlocking how wage-capital is presently distributed and organised in order that the time, space and energy becomes available for the greatest amount of people to engage and participate in the democratic organisation of the Big Society.  In particular, this means reducing the working week to 30 hours and so allowing the greatest number of people access to paid employment as well as allowing the greatest number of people to empower themselves and their communities by having the time, space and energy to actually engage with the on-going creation of the Big Society.

In conclusion, We need to create greater social, economic and political equality, because whether we like it or not, we do live in a world of scarce resources.  Not so scarce that we rarely see them, but scarce because at any given time, social, economic and political capital has limited availability.  Therefore, is it fair to have to fight to have the best of what we collectively create and produce whether it be social, economic, political or cultural goods and services?  Of course it isn’t since this type of fairness – fairness as competition – does not allow the greatest amount of freedom. Similarly, is it responsible to allow limited capital reserves to be owned or managed by a select few?  Of course it isn’t since this type of responsibility – responsibility as selfishness – does not allow for the greatest amount of fairness or freedom either.

The type of responsibility that would give the greatest amount of fairness and freedom is responsibility as sharing.  And the type of fairness that would give the greatest amount of freedom is fairness as fulfilment.  Therefore, responsibility as sharing and fairness as fulfilment is the only way in which We in the Big Society will experience true Freedom – freedom as empowerment.

Long live freedom as empowerment, fairness as fulfilment and responsibility as sharing.

The Enlightened Society


The Good Society


The Bad Society


The Sickened Society


 I have been contemplating and thinking deeply this year about the state of the world.  Most recently I been considering to what extent human behaviour is determined by natural processes beyond human control.  

In particular, I have been considering the course human activity is presently taking in relation to climate change and our wider environment and what elements of human destruction and arrogance might be determined by nature as opposed to nurture..  

This took me into the depths of the nature/nurture debate during which I examined the extent to which we can actually transform ourselves from what is considered bad to what is considered good..   

I concluded that we can transform ourselves but in order to do it we have to be very truthful with ourselves.  This lead to an interesting set of ideas concerning the concept of what I call The Enlightened Society.   

As a result of knowing how my mind works to some degree and how it ’somehow’ contributes to the creation of my reality, I thought that in order to create The Enlightened Society we need to be able to imagine one. This is aided by constructing the concept of  The Enlightened Society in relation to the concept of The Sickened Society.  This will help us visualize and know what it is that we wish to create.  

In a way the imagining is the easy part.  The difficult bit is to acknowledge that there are different people and different parts of ourselves that are embedded or attached to The Sickened Society.  This is either because different people or different parts of ourselves are unable or unwilling to change or because it is believed that it is not possible to change what is generally considered to be human nature into human nurture.   

However, I think we know different and we know that we can consciously transform ourselves from The Sickened Society into The Enlightened Society.  

Therefore, how do we do it.  How do we create The Enlightened Society we so desire.   

I propose that in order to create The Enlightened Society, firstly, it is essential that we know that we can change our human nature and that we can do this by seeking the truth of ourselves.   

We find the truth of ourselves by becoming aware of every part of ourselves that are embedded within the Sickened Society and which parts within the Enlightened Society.   

It is by this process of becoming aware of the truth of ourselves that we are able to realise more and more that we can infact choose between The Sickened Society and The Enlightened Society.    

So the all important question is whether we actually want to detach from the moral, political, social and economic dictates of the Sickened Society and attach to the moral, political, social and economic dictates of The Enlightened Society.  

I for one hope the choice will continue being for the latter. So in order to help this process of conscious evolution and help frame and resolve the differences that stop our efforts from being thwarted, why not help each other by sharing our experiences, ideas, thoughts and visions of both The Enlightened Society and The Sickened Society in a specially made blog, that being


Hopefully this might help to consolidate our differences whilst at the same time strengthen a sense of Unity between us and so help us transform into the ways necessary to create The Enlightened Society.  

ALL IS ONE – Love, Peace, Equality, Generosity, Nourishment, Compassion and Justice to Every Thing.   

 Steve Gwynne  

We Already Know The Enlightened Society.  The Question is When We Live It.