The Eight Dignities

The grand spiritual project of self-actualization through the merging of individual and system into a single self begins with a question we ask ourselves many times. What is necessary to provide every individual access and agency within the world? We define access as the ability to leverage the resources necessary to individually actualize. Agency is the ability to direct our divinity in the moment, unimpeded by systems we had no say in crafting. An individual with access and agency is secure in their being independent of any specific system or network. We always consider this question from the perspective of the immediate present, understanding that the answer will vary over time. The difficult journey toward individual and systemic actualization is further complicated by an omnidirectional crisis looming on the horizon. Considering the gravity of the moment, there are no acceptable alternatives but to imagine boldly. To this end, we will explore the eight dignities, a framework for reimagining the human system experience so as to empower self-actualization in the age of crisis.

The eight dignities are food and water, housing, health, education, information, communication, transportation, and energy. Together they make up the core components of systemic actualization. The eight dignities are a path to infusing our core values into the universe so as to align ourselves with the single truth. When the individual has access to these resources and the agency to use them, their capacity to direct their focus and energy within the time experience is limited only by their imagination. They are free to create in the directions and images of their own choosing, secure and able to develop themselves and others through their commitments. The eight dignities ensure that each is born into a vision of humanity that prioritizes life, providing the opportunity for all to live unburdened by the fear of death. They are in no way complete and should be expanded by and for the collective when the moment arrives. In our immediate present, they provide us with a set of systemic rights necessary to transcend the crisis. They represent a promise to ourselves and others that every human deserves dignity by default. 

The intent of our exploration of the eight dignities isn’t to develop a structural blueprint. Plenty already exist. Instead, we focus on the frameworks necessary to guide us toward their realization. The crisis of information, truth, and trust ensures that we must be as vigilant about spreading the message of systemic actualization as we will be in creating it. The work toward collective transcendence can only ever begin now, only ever happen through the individual's choice. The eight dignities are not utopian in their nature or promise; they are simply more advanced legal, economic, and organizational technologies than we presently possess the power to create. At the root of the age of crisis is a failure of imagination, a consequence of the systems surrounding us reinforcing a single form of being, and our crisis of elected misrepresentation. The present institutions provide no alternative to the crisis, but we demand more. The eight dignities are a network of systems encouraging a more expansive humanity for all.

Incorporating systems into spiritual philosophy may create confusion surrounding the relationship between spirit and state. Popularized by enlightenment philosophers such as John Locke, the separation of church and state is a foundation to empower the secular state, a vehicle for supporting human grouping around specific ways of life unimpeded by the dictation of norms and practice of a particular spiritual philosophy. Protecting others from the enforcement of spiritual beliefs and practices they do not choose is vitally important to the self-actualizer. The single truth requires no believers; it just is. Individuals who embrace it are messengers but bear no personal responsibility for or accountability to others embracing it. At the same time, we recognize that everything is political. Politics is the governing of relationships between individuals. The eight dignities are new frameworks for governing our relationships with each other that better support our revised core values. There has never been a moment in human history where the systems of meaning and value of the powerful few have not been projected onto the collective. Our spiritual journey toward the unification of individual and system into a harmonious self is rooted in the development of real-world structural change. Our efforts to shift eight verticals of global society into the public domain will be met with resistance and conflict, primarily by small groups of private owners, politicos, and leaders of outmoded historical religions whose power rests in the maintenance of the present hierarchical global orders. Critics will claim that imposition of our spiritual philosophy conflicts with their definitions of prosperity and responsibilities to others. 

It is accurate to claim that there is an inherent conflict between the maintenance of existing order and the transformational journey of systemic actualization. Our embrace of the single truth and the relational universe is as much an understanding of being as it is a responsibility to the other. Self-actualization in the age of crisis is a process of diminishing the stranglehold that hierarchical spiritual philosophies and organizations possess over us. It is inaccurate to claim that any spiritual, political, or economic philosophy that prioritizes birth lottery and the preservation of individual power at the expense of the dignity of others bears any legitimacy in the face of the crisis. We will not march into oblivion quietly; we demand more for ourselves and others. We will realize the eight dignities as we do all else: by directing our focus and energy within the moment. 

Creating the eight dignities requires us to overcome our fears regarding the public control of social verticals. For some, it is an attempt to avoid the responsibilities to the other we inherit by inhabiting a relational universe. For others, it is a knee-jerk response drawing from a lifetime of indoctrination. In reality, the socialization of economic verticals has been a common and prosperous path for many nations, including the United States. In the early 1900s, private railroad companies of the time acted like many companies today, prioritizing shareholder earnings over the well-being of their stakeholders. Given that rail transport was vital to war efforts, the US federal government founded the Railway War Board to increase cooperation between the independent organizations. 

The private companies resisted cooperation. In response, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order taking control of all railroads (except local city lines) under the authority given to him by the Army Appropriations Act of 1916. The action would have also been legal under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. A few months later, Congress passed legislation affirming the nationalization of the railroads and operation guidelines and setting out how the railroads would be operated. The legislation also allowed for the railroads to remain under federal control for up to twenty-one months after a peace treaty was signed but ultimately put the transfer back to private ownership at the president's discretion. 

At the time of their nationalization, railroads accounted for about one-twelfth of the entire US economy. By contrast, taking over the twenty-five largest publicly traded oil and gas energy companies in the United States as well as all the remaining coal companies (at their current, inflated valuations of around $1.5 trillion total) would be approximately one-fourteenth of the present-day US economy.16 Railroads were just the tip of the iceberg. World War I also saw the nationalization of communications industries, radio, enameling, and arms industries.17,18 World War II shares a similar story of public capture of specific private verticals to serve the collective good and remains the most productive era in the history of the United States. Our past illustrates how quickly the laws governing our productive verticals may change when necessary. With a stroke of a pen, the United States assumed state control of the means of production only to gradually return it to the hands of private interests after the wars ended. These examples illustrate that our challenge is not one of technical knowledge or methods of execution. It is a matter of courage and will, which is why the eight dignities are central to journeys toward self-actualization in the age of crisis

 

The mobilization of the wartime economy has proven to be one of the most successful catalysts for transformation. Innovative fervency couples with a shared vision of bigness beyond any single individual empowered by a culture of cooperation. Systemic actualization seeks to channel the same intensity of directed focus and energy as a wartime economy, without the threat of war and violence. It is an act of decoupling our transformative potential from perpetual crisis. Accomplishing this will require mass adoption of new frameworks of meaning and value outside of hierarchical philosophies presently dominating our social organization. Part of our role in embracing self-actualizing in the age of crisis is to spread this vision of expansive humanity to others. By intertwining the individual and system as a greater self, we lay a foundation for scaled organization. 

The wartime economy also provides insights into what will be the most common rebuttal against the eight dignities. How will we pay for them? The question lacks a basis in the actual economics of currency-producing nation-states. As previously explored, capital is presently created at the point of contract. We need only to decide to move toward a direction to generate the capital to fund and support it. Investments in public works spending often return economic outcomes in multiples of initial funds. All DAOs are stakeholder driven, so each of the eight dignities might come to be through the combination of individual, group, and state funding to seed the initial work.

The intention is that each provides goods and services that can generate surpluses. The purpose of a public works program is not to cut costs, corners, and customer satisfaction in the name of creating slightly more profit as is common in the private sector. The difference is all surpluses are funneled back into the community, facilitating the expansion and depth of the DAOs purpose and functions. Our development of the eight dignities begins with a specific focus, building a membership base around that intention until expansion becomes an option. Our exploration is boldly imagined but does not discount the incrementalism of progress. It challenges our conventional notion of the degrees of intensity progress can take within these increments. Our realization of the eight dignities begins with an emergent expression of divinity within the moment. We embrace a new vision and direction for humanity and immediately begin the work toward this expansion of ourselves and our systems.

Our present legal, economic, and political systems will resist the eight dignities. They are designed to further and maintain the hierarchical order of meaning and value that has invited the crisis to our doorstep. We reject our historical inheritance entirely and instead focus on creating new networks of shared systems that will extend far beyond personal expirations. The eight dignities are not socialism, communism, capitalism, anarchism, or any other form of political and economic technology that the critic may hate without context. No presently available state or governmental philosophy offers an ideal path toward enacting the eight dignities because they are stateless in nature. The systems we develop to materialize the eight dignities must lay beyond any single state or syndicate; they are collectively owned by humanity. 

The eight dignities are structured as global public works DAOs. The work toward the eight dignities has already begun. DAOs focusing on the public good are an active and growing group of changemakers. What they lack is a coherent philosophy of meaning and value that can intertwine similar groups focusing on shared visions of the good, a base from which to draw talent and treasure. Self-actualization in the age of crisis is as much a responsibility toward the other as it is a journey in individual transcendence. We must be willing to direct our focus and energy toward furthering the eight dignities while we still have time. The only requirement for individual access to the eight dignities is to be alive. They are a form of social inheritance that recognizes our oneness with the relational universe, freeing the individual and collective from the binds of birth lottery to express a form of organization that empowers them to align themselves with the single truth.

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