Reflections on Ken Wilber's The Religion of Tomorrow (2017) - Parts I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII - PDF
INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber



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ANOTHER POSSIBLE EUROPE

Anders Erkéus

This is a criticism of the proposed EU constitution and a presentation of an alternative approach. The alternative is a model for co-operation for an effective exchange of ideas, stimulating competition between democracies and co-ordinated action on common problems. An alternative based on the idea that diversity and democracy is both efficient and necessary for a good life in the long run.

Good things

The good idea to revise the collected old treaties for the EG/EU and adapt them to today's situation and to the minds of their peoples has been put forward, and an effort to do that has been made.

Problems

The proposed constitution has been worked out too fast by too few in a too centralist way, the discussion among people have not been taking place, and the result has no major new directions implemented, but rather basically more of the same that has met the criticism of “democratic deficiency”. Further centralisation as a response to enlargement seems an inappropriate road unless the basic aim is more suppression of differences.

Solutions

Let's start over and have a real broad discussion on the future of Europe in the world.

Basic values

Good things

The proposed constitutional treaty has an impressive catalogue of good values in its beginning.

Problems

These values are so general that the possible ways to implement them are open to discussion, and some of them can be said to have been violated in reality and in the details of the document. Some of them seem to be of more importance than others. The most problematic of the stated values when it comes to implementation are probably the values democracy and diversity.

Some important ideas seem to govern the document without being mentioned in the beginning, or even being clearly related to the basic values. These are ideas such as the pursuit of large-scale advantages, the belief in the “invisible hand”, eternal economic growth as the basis for increased well being etc. This is problematic especially at a time when post-modern and post-industrial currents are prominent in western culture.

Solutions

Efforts must be laid down to further discuss basic values, and how they can be implemented, and the actual ideas of the citizens must be the base for that – as is in fact somewhat prematurely stated in the constitutional proposal. In the meantime – as an illustration, here is another possible way to co-operate in Europe.

RECYCLING THE INSTITUTIONS—in another Europe

The national parliaments

Good things

These work according to reasonably democratic principles—members, parties and mixed groups of members can make proposals. People elected by people will have the exclusive final word in decision-making.

Problems

National parliaments might get lost in national perspectives, not being able to understand or cope with European and global issues that call for action.

Solutions

Build an integrated European co-operative structure for information, exchange, research, and developing common initiatives and common implementation. Possibly with right to delegate some decision power to common level. See the following.

The EU parliament

Good things

Elected by people. Provides a forum for open debate on European matters, and has some, but limited influence on politics.

Problems

As a parliament, it is uniquely weak. Parliamentarians cannot make formal proposals for decision, and the whole parliament cannot either. It is also too far away from home – delegates can lose contact with national level reality, they tend to represent internal EU regimentation instead of real integration, which keeps the uniqueness of the parts. (Integration here means when parts come together to create a whole where their respective differences are preserved, as organs in a body)

Solutions

Let common European views develop from below. Establish an inter-national parliament (IP), with people in close co-operation with national parliaments. These people will bring nationally successful ideas to an international testing, and if the ideas gain enough support in the inter-national parliament (IP), they will have to be put before and debated in all the national parliaments. Representatives of such a successful proposal can also visit the other national parliaments to present and debate it. In the case of government proposals, of course relevant ministers can do the job.

A possible amendment here is to allow a proposal that has favourably passed the IP pass through the national parliaments easier. Such a regulation must be taken with a qualified majority by all national parliaments or by referendums. This can be implemented for matters considered crucial for common action, a definition that will have to be accepted by the national parliaments, and that has to be regularly renewed.

The council of ministers

Good things

Meetings between very informed people on their subject can create synergies

Problems

Government people in the present and proposed structure are detached from their parliaments and constitute a body who makes decisions through negotiations among themselves. Special democratic problems are that ministers commonly don´t have to be elected people, and that this independent right of action also is given minority governments.

Solutions

Let the council of ministers do here what they do at home—shape proposals for the parliament, in this case the inter-national parliament. Their efforts to achieve harmonisation will be tested through the IP before it is sent “home” to all the parliaments.

The commission

Good things

An advanced administrative body for research, investigations, statistics, and various other tasks.

Problems

Non elected people should not have the right to initiate legislation. The same body should not create laws and look after their abiding. Its lack of transparency creates various problems that become worse when it concerns a body that alone can make laws for hundreds of millions.

Solutions

Let the Commission be the great administrative resource it is, but let it be ruled by elected people. For example: Proposals approved by the IP will be sent to the commission, for investigation of the current status of the matter in different countries, and other necessary investigations – for the aid of shaping a final proposition, to be sent to all countries for possible adoption. It can also administrate various co-operation projects in research education etc, as it is doing now.

The European Council

Problems

The cultural and political differences between different countries become forced into a “One and only way” the things go today. This “all the eggs in one basket” – idea is not democratic and not effective for flexible adaptation to different realities. The only motivation for the existing and proposed extended powers of the group of prime ministers is to create such a common European policy., independent of the political majority changes in the different countries. Further, the processes of this policy making, with this group of leaders trying to think alike in meetings behind closed doors, mobilising group pressure to achieve results —creates vast distances to the citizens. Wise steps towards the future are hardly the outcome of such compromises. New ideas will have enormous difficulties.

Solutions

As was recognised at earlier stages in the EU, this body, a meeting of the chiefs of state —should not make policies. Proposals for common legislation will be negotiated through the council of ministers and the IP. The prime ministers should join the council of ministers and work through that body.

The court of justice

The court's role in this type of co-operation is hard to find. It may have to be abolished. However, the international court system dealing with human rights (European Court), international criminal offence (ICC) etc, including an environmental court is badly needed, to guard international conventions that countries have agreed on.

The central bank

As long as a common currency is in place, the bank will fulfil it's duties, however under democratic control, and it can be given different tasks by the International Parliament, confirmed by national parliaments. The rights of national economies to act independently when needed must be restored , possibly can the proposal for parallel currencies be revived.

The treaties and the constitutional proposal

Good things

The treaties have strengthened the relations between the leaders of the involved nations over the years and have contributed to the keeping of peace after the Second World War.

Problems

Today the situation has changed, war between the EU states is not likely, and a further “harmonisation” above the heads of the citizens tends in the long run to create new tensions. The part that describes the decision procedures is discussed above. The great problem apart from that is that the old treaties and the new constitution proposal consist of a political program that cannot be described as neutral. It is more like a party program and in some parts even a scheduled program for implementation of further specific policies.

Solutions

It is time for a co-operation based on the power of good ideas and democratic consent. All the controversial politics that is debated in society should be taken out of a treaty for democratic European co-operation. Only the actual decision procedures should be in the treaty. The legislation will rest with the different countries, after it has passed the procedure. Today's mass of EU directives and regulations will live on in their implemented versions in the countries but can be changed by the national parliaments. Every such proposed change should be brought to the IP for a negotiation of a possible simultaneous change in other countries.

OTHER ACTORS AND VIEWS

Civil society

Good things

Civil society interest groups are today heard at some extent by the commission. Their cooperation is growing and a global network is emerging.

Problems

The consultations within the EU are not transparent to the public and can easily be ignored—or when it comes to powerful corporate groups—be too much listened too.

Solutions

Representatives of civil society interest groups should have a say in future politics – a transparent informational power based on the power of ideas. They should be heard formally and openly at both national parliaments and the IP. Their respective space will depend on their support among the citizens, a support that can be measured in regular democratic processes.

Media

Good things

A quick spread of information is provided through many channels in modern society.

Problems

The power of the big mass media is huge. Information tend to emerge from the great centres of political and economic power, and tends at times to be shaped to fit interests such as getting many readers/viewers or satisfying the owners interests. Sources are sometimes interpreted and commented on, without the primary message being heard. As for the European perspective, there are very few common media to cover common issues and promote a common popular debate among Europeans – as the cultures and languages vary.

Solutions

At least media that get money from taxpayers should have to give an amount of free room for political and civil society sources to express their views and proposals unchanged by the media. Analyses and criticisms by media experts can then take place on that basis. Resources should be given for promoting a common European debate in this vein.

Building the GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

Good things

The building of the EU has made people aware of that international perspectives are important, and have, at least to some extent created an acceptance of the idea that international concerns might have to influence their lives. Among many people, the idea of international co-operation as such has taken roots as a good thing.

Problems

Many of the EU:s regulations of details in society have been considered superfluous and their necessity have been questioned, and the narrowing of the envisioned future path has frustrated many. The Fortress Europe, that seems to turn against the rest of the world, has also raised criticism. EU has been seen as more of a tool serving the questioned corporate globalisation than a means to curb its negative effects.

Solutions

The European co-operation should be open to the rest of the world, and actively work to bridge information—and poverty gaps in the world. The forms for that should be decided according to the decision methods described above. The Commission can do much administrative work in that vein, for example keep track of and announce global consequences of various decisions, before they are made. It can also take interregional contacts with other organisations (American, Asian, African etc) to convey and pick up ideas and proposals that promote the world at large. A success for this model can be stimulation for development of the UN and can be an inclusive part of a coming world governance.


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