Episode:Civilization—The State (Part 1)

From Symmetry of Soul

The modern state is the institution which survived in the long struggle for group power, and its superior power produced the moral myth of the absolute obligation of the citizen to live and die for the state. But the state is not of divine genesis; it is purely an evolutionary institution.

Listen to the broadcast

Keywords: Urantia, Statecraft, Iroquois Federation, Roman Civilization, Feudalism

Summary by Kermit

Commentary on Review

In the final paragraph of the previous week’s reading, our author admonishes us in our struggle to perfect government on our world to select administrative leaders who are truly wise, not merely wise. The extra measure of wisdom invoked refers to cosmic wisdom. Genuine maturing cosmic citizenship naturally leads to an enhanced earthly citizenship. Concerning our nation’s origins it used to be recognized and taught that exceptional and even providential influences came together in the formation of our foundational concepts and structures of government. As we are told, the development of a state is evolutionary and the “phase change” suddenlies of evolution are sometimes difficult to distinguish from intervention and insertion activities of our celestial benefactors.

Paper 71. The Development of the State

We lingered on the preface to this paper where our author establishes the framework for what follows. We are reminded that war is indispensable to the development of the state, as it propelled forward the growth of group power from the clan to the tribe, and nation. This progression finds a parallel in the growth of man’s capacity for abstract thought and his ability to transition from a group of individuals with loyalties to mores to a people with loyalties to laws. As the earlier group identification with tribes gave way to identification with a people and later the identification of that people with the land came the idea of the territorial state. These ever-widening loyalties and identification eventually lead to recognition of the brotherhood of cosmic citizens. But before reaching that exalted level the state may come to be seen as of divine origin instead of a stage in the evolutionary process. Further, the state is not even produced by volitionally intelligent human action, but is purely evolutionary and wholly automatic in origin. The meaning of this curious statement is worthy of a review of the archive of the broadcast, and requires the distinction between the choice for civilization tied to eternity and mind activity in time. To choose civilization is to bring eternity into relationship to the entire social structure of the state.

71:1. The Embryonic State

“The state is a territorial social regulative organization, and the strongest, most efficient, and enduring state is composed of a single nation whose people have a common language, mores, and institutions.” We briefly touched on the significant difference between a society encompassing ethnic diversity and a multi-cultural society.

The early states because they were primarily the result of conquest were characterized by class stratification.

The failure of the North American red man to attain real statehood was contrasted with the elements which contributed to the successful statehood reached by the Romans. The Amerinds’ society lacked a number features crucial to establishing a successful state (see the list of eight in the text), among which were provision for private property, persistence of the mother-family, and failure to take slaves. Another list of eight features of Roman civilization that enabled them to establish a successful state is given, which is parallel to the deficiencies of the Amerinds, to wit, father-family, private property and land, and conquest and reorganization of weak and backward peoples.

We explored some of the Sangik and Andite genetic considerations leading to the manner in which social evolution played out in North America.

An important point was made in discussing the fall of Rome, that the rapidity of social change is as or more important than the nature of change in determining the viability of a civilization. The collapse of Rome indicates what may be expected when a state undergoes too rapid extension associated with internal degeneration.

Failure of state integration results in retrogression to prestate conditions of governmental techniques, as illustrated by in the European Middle Ages. Such retrogression leaves certain features of statehood in place albeit in corrupted form, as seen in the retention of territorial features of the feudal states of the Middle Ages.

And as we’ve many times mentioned these issues are of more than historical interest given the current national and global state of affairs.