The Contract with Humanity
by Garry Davis
"World history occupies a higher ground than that on which morality has properly its position, which is personal character and the conscience of individuals…Moral claims which are irrelevant must not be brought into collision with world-historical deeds and their accomplishment. The litany of private virtues - modesty, humility, philanthropy and forbearance- must not be raised against them.
So mighty a form must trample down many an innocent flower, crush to pieces many an object in its path."
--G. W. F. Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy if History
My final article in the printed WCN of June 1997 considered the individual's dynamic and "vertical" relationship with humanity. Hegel's 18th century assertion that world history and the individual had no direct and immediate linkage, no dynamic connection where morality played a role was shattered by the time/space implosion of technology beginning in the late 19th century.
World history to that period was "horizontal," a we-and-they national political complex.
But the real breakthrough came after World War II when the theretofore concept of world citizenship became literally conceived, indeed "born"into the individual human. Till then, personal morality was either local or heavenly, that is, in the multitudinous holy sites throughout the world all alluding to a direct connection to heaven or the deity. The individual had no moral outlet , no direct relationahip to global events. Hence, Wars continued apace…and were even "morally" justified.
The political global "space" was invisible, therefore unthinkable just as a two-dimensional creature cannot imagine a three-dimensional world. Can the silkworm constructing and entering its cocoon imagine that one day it will metamorphosize into a butterfly free of the restrictions of the two-dimensional world? Contrarily, can the butterfly viewing the silkworm from the air imagine that it once was irrevocably bound to the earth?
The politics of world history through the 20th century was two-dimensional, horizontal, relations between earth-bound social units: city-states, empires, nations, religions. But as of August 5, 1945, all that changed. The Nuclear Age metamorphosis arrived. Humanity was "born." And immediately threatened. And as each individual human had and has direct and immediate contact with the whole, humanity itself was revealed as "vertical" as opposed to nationstatehood.
What is the political significance of this revolutionary fact? First, it redefines the concept of sovereignty.
"There is not the slightest hope that we can change the course into which we are rapidly being driven by the conflicting nation-states so long as we recognize them as the supreme and final expression of the sovereignty of the people. At ever-increasing speed we shall be hurled toward greater insecurity, greater destruction, greater hatred, greater barbarism, greater misery, until we resolve to destroy the political system of nation-feudalism and establish a social order based on the sovereignty of the community, as conceived by the founders of democracy and as it applies to the reality of today."
--Emery Reves, Anatomy of Peace
Second, it adds the indispensable virtue of morality to human affairs. The vertical "space" connecting humanity to the individual was "opened" or revealed as real on September 11, 1948 when this writer, a stateless self-declared World Citizen, entered the fictional "international territory" of the United Nations at Place Trocadero in Paris! The eyes and ears of the world via the 7000 plus journalists assembled there rendered that historic spot a "world moment" from which the human catalyst, a declared World Citizen, was projected instantly onto a world canvas as real and no longer fictional or merely symbolic. Not only was the nation-state horizontal order vividly and dramatically exposed as artificial, defective therefore inherently lethal but at that precise historical moment, the status of world citizenship became a legitimate political reality. True sovereignty was not only instantly revealed to one and all but exposed the lie of nationality itself.
In short, the connection between the individual and humanity was joined just as the butterfly emerging from the cocoon stretched its wings and soared into the freedom of the atmosphere.
Once the global political "space" was revealed, others by the hundreds of thousands emerged from their suffocating national "cocoons," claimed the "wings" of world citizenship and began "populating" the new, vertical and ubiquitous "territory." The diversity of definition of the territory by these new citizens also revealed its vastness much as cyberspace today. Once freed from the horizontal restraints of national history, space travel for humanity became the self-evident next giant step.
But like with all new-borns. a new language had to be developed to understand the modalities and requirement of life on the new global vertical level. "One world, world citizenship, world law, world government" were only vague and often controversial battle-cries without structure or definition. Ironically, the United Nations itself first fulfilled the need in the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights December 10 of that same year.
From that historic 1948 breakthrough into the vertical "global political space" by this writer, an overarching "architecture" was then possible for public habitation. The International Registry of World Citizens was the first attempt to build its foundations. Individuals by the tens of thousands claimed their inalianable right of global political choice. But the new "meta" citizenship lacked a "roof," i.e. its representative governing or legislative body. While the language of world citizenship had technological and communicative relevance in practical terms, the political strategies and tactics were still primitive and, of course, denied bitterly by the existant national power structure.
A major step to complete the global structure was taken on September 4, 1953 from the City Hall of Ellsworth, Maine: the declaration of the World Government (of World Citizens) by the writer. From that date, world citizenship and world government became corollaries. Each declared World Citizen could claim allegiance to and protection from his/her counterpart in standard governmental "structure" however fictional. This "fiction" nonetheless conformed to the reality of global unity and humanity's essential oneness, not to mention, the prophecies of perenniel sages, and so could only evolve in harmony with both the individual human's claims of sovereignty allied with that of humanity itself.
The political "contract" with humanity by each and every individual human was thus firmly established.
Individual morality and world history could now be joined through world citizenship