A New Paradigm

on . Posted in Articles by Brent Johnson

by Brent Johnson

We need a change.

I do not mean a political change. I do not mean that we need a new President or Prime Minister or that the current United States and British regimes need to be replaced (even though they do). I do not mean that there needs to be a change in the political leanings of the House or Senate or Parliament.

I also do not mean that there needs to be a change in the political nature of any given society, including among others, the United States and Britain.

No, the kind of change to which I am referring is foundational and systemic, and will affect the entire social structure of the modern world. I believe that a change must be made in the foundational structure of society, if future generations and we are to survive, and it must be made now!

The Two Social Foundations

There are two basic social foundations that are humanly possible: a society based on economic values and a society based on spiritual values.

Perhaps the entire modern western world has its societies based on economic values. Further, the eastern world (i.e. China and India) is rapidly pursuing a similar course.

A society based on economic values sets its priorities accordingly. The most important thing with respect to the health of such a society is that its economic structure be maintained. In other words, a society based on economic values will sacrifice anyone and anything in order to improve its bottom line.

This is because its priorities place economic health above all other values, and so other values will be sacrificed in the name of economic health. In other words, such a society will do anything for money.

But what exactly does “society” mean? A society is made up of component parts, in this case, individuals. In order for a society to develop characteristics it is therefore necessary that the individuals who make up that society display those same characteristics in general, and individually to a greater or lesser degree. The society’s character is a direct reflection of the gestalt formed by the characteristics of the individuals who make up that society.

The Economic Paradigm

In an economically based societal structure, the objectives of life for the individual are to make as much money as he or she can, live in the most expensive house in the most exclusive  neighborhood, have the most powerful position, and enjoy the greatest conveniences.

That is not say that everyone or even most people in such a society enjoys these… only that in general, each individual aspires to these and lives his or her life in such a way as to maximize the likelihood of achieving some progress toward these goals. This is what drives the individual components of society and thereby the society itself.

For example, in the United States today, anything and everything is justified by the economic benefits it provides. Do you remember how the federal government was going to sell to the emirate of Dubai, the rights to manage nine of its key ports? After public outcry Congress stopped the deal. But did you know that within a month the Congress had made another different deal with Dubai, to sell 15 of the United States’ other sensitive facilities? That deal didn’t make it to the public, so there was no resulting outcry. Arguably, the security of the United States has been compromised by the sale, but it made the country a lot of money! An economically based society thinks that makes it worthwhile; personally, I do not.

The illegal war in Iraq is another example of economics dictating policy. If you have half a brain and care to know, you are probably aware that the reason for this illegal invasion by the United States and Britain was to secure for themselves the Iraqi oil fields and subsequent revenues. Never mind the death and destruction along the way, or the fact that there was no constitutionally required declaration of war by Congress, as long as the economic benefits are secured.

In an economic society, if you do not have money then you are basically on your own, or have to surrender your liberty in order to obtain help from the government (as a representative of the society).

The Second Social Paradigm

The second type of society is one based on spiritual values, or principles.

By “spiritual values”, I absolutely do not mean a religious society, though it is possible that a spiritually based society could evolve out of a religious foundation.

What I mean by spiritual society is one in which moral values and a code of ethics and social behavior are a top priority, both for the society as a whole and for its individual components.

In a spiritually based society, people follow a code of ethics through which a natural limit is established on economics, creativity, science and technology.

For example, in such a society it is not acceptable to make money by harming your brethren. Even though you might devise a way to make a great deal of money by lying to, cheating, stealing from, or otherwise violating your fellow citizens’ rights to life, liberty and property, implementing such a scheme would be unacceptable to a spiritually based society. It would violate the fundamental principles on which the society was based. It wouldn’t be worth it.

Let’s look at science in a spiritual society. I happen to believe that it is God’s exclusive purview to create life. In a society governed by such a principle, scientists would not pursue cloning, since the economic and health reasons for doing so would be less important to the society than the higher priority of preserving a system of values in which certain things are left to God.

While the example I just gave is based on my own value system, it does provide a good demonstration of how a spiritually based society prioritizes its values differently from those of an economically based society. Science and technology, art and creativity, business and marketing, all conform to the principles of Right and Wrong that rest on the foundation of a spiritual and principled society. In other words, there are certain things you just don’t do, regardless of their perceived benefits, because they are inherently wrong.

Of course, Right and Wrong are determined by the individuals who make up a society, but regardless of the system of principles that a given society embraces, if it is a society based on those principles then its people will not compromise those same principles, no matter what reasons are given for doing so.

Morals and values dictate the direction of a spiritual society, not money, possessions, or convenience. It is this to which I am referring when I say that we need a change, and we need it now!

A New Paradigm

For thousands of years humans have run this world from an economic perspective, always jockeying for power and control and using money, possessions, and position to achieve those ends.

The result has been untold destruction and countless deaths by the order of tyrants of many different styles: communist, fascist, totalitarian, military, etc. Today, Democracy is the buzzword used to garner support for the same kind of oppressive tactics designed to establish the same kind of control through an economic paradigm. I believe it is time for a new paradigm. The old one just hasn’t worked.

We need to commit our individual selves to a new way of living, one in which spiritual values are more important than economic ones. Commitment means that we live our lives as examples of this social paradigm. When enough individuals do this, then society will transform, for that is the way of things.

Are you really content with the direction that your country is taking?  Do you really think that perceived security, a healthy economy, and modern conveniences are more important than your natural rights to life, liberty and property?  Is the condition of modern society in America, England, and other First World countries really something you want to pass on to your children and future generations?

If not, then what are you willing to do to effect a change in society?  What are you willing to do to preserve the principles enshrined in the Magna Charta and on which the united States of America was founded?  What are you not willing to do?

If you care about your spiritual growth, if you believe as I do, that the purpose of life is to evolve in spirit, if you are dissatisfied with the economic paradigm that has governed western society for generations, then it is now time for you to do something different!

Today, commit to a new paradigm, one in which principles are more important than anything else.  Then begin to live your life accordingly.  When you are confronted with choices between your principles and money, convenience, or personal benefits, choose principle… always.

Remember Yashua’s admonition to … “Leave all your possessions, leave everything behind and follow Me.”  Therein lies great wisdom.

Leave behind the old paradigm and start to live in a new way.  Spiritual salvation awaits those who display the courage to pursue such a path.  It is the path along which I will travel.  I hope to meet you along the way.


Eulogy for an Angel
1992-Dec. 20, 2005


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