Tag Archives: Declaration of Independence

Divine Law Sets the Boundaries Between the Social Contract and Natural Law

220px-Thomas_Hobbes_(portrait)The limits of human interaction are bounded by the state of nature and the state of the social contract. Each of these limits, however, is further limited by Divine Law.

In the state of nature, there are no rights of man and no laws to govern him, only freedoms to take what he can by force to enable him to extend the longevity and happiness of his life. In the state of nature, man has boundless freedom to take from others what he can, but the ensuing chaos leaves all but the strongest few with less happiness, less safety, and less life.

To improve the likelihood of achieving most men’s divine and natural goals, over time they entered into social contracts with others to establish societies. Through social contracts, man gave up natural freedoms that allowed him to take whatsoever he desired by force, but in giving up his natural freedoms, he gained the structure through which he could increase safety from having his happiness and life taken from others. The essence of the social contract became law, and the process of creating law was embodied in political society.

An uneasy balance between the social contract and natural rights has been our struggle of human existence ever since. Power struggles within tribes for dominance have shifted this balance through the many political systems to which we have subjected each other. And between tribes, the social contract was neglected and wars pitted tribe against tribe, executing organized natural law to shed blood for profit.

Within tribes, the struggle between social contracts and natural rights is bounded by the limits of authoritarianism and anarchy. Kings and priests shared authoritarianism in early societies. Today, most society’s powers are divided amongst representative governments and the “new kings” of the international, powerful, financial elite. Yet whether by kings, priests or financial elite, power is still bounded by the opposite limits of totalitarianism and the threat of revolution or devolution into anarchy.

Within the realm bounded by these firm human limits are the limits required by Divine Law. Divine Law suggests that neither of the limits of authoritarian control or of the natural state provide optimum communion with God. Both extremes take away from man’s divine purpose on Earth.

The Declaration of Independence recognized that Divine Law should govern man well before he ever is subjected to the extremes of human law. The founders agreed by signature that men are:

“endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”

Declaration of Independence, 1776

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The Declaration of Independence Holds Keys to Life Purpose

Image“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are ….. endowed by their Creator with …… Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

These are the attributes determined by America’s founders to be worthy of individual acclamation.

 

Life

Liberty

And the pursuit of happiness

 

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”

 

These then, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are the attributes worthy of casting off the yoke of governance if, in its current form, they cannot be achieved.

 

“and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

 

So the founders of America deemed Government and affecter of safety and happiness.  Not only was government an instrument of these two attributes, the form of government was deemed so important as to exercise their right and duty to

 

“throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards”

 

To ensure success in ultimately obtaining such safety and happiness.

 

 I am often perplexed at how America came to be the most powerful country on the planet, yet our nation’s quality of life, as given weight in our cherished Declaration, does not correlate with our dominant position in the world.  America has achieved the both power and fortune, yet in that pursuit, our people don’t seem to have reached their uber-goal of happiness.

 

A prescription for individual happiness is to achieve abundant connectedness, producing purpose and meaning, in the following areas of one’s life.

 

1) Connection to God: Spiritual development

2) Connection to self: Health – physical/mental/emotional/self esteem

3) Connection to others: Spousal intimacy/Family/Friends

4) Connection to your inner child: Recreation/Leisure /personal development

5) Connection to purpose: Giving/helping others, purposeful career

6) Connected to one’s future: Personal and community planning /Work progression/ Financial and physical security

 

Balance is the key.  Striving for any one attribute while allowing others to suffer is a gross imbalance that like a cancer blots out one’s long-term happiness.  If this balance is true for the individual, it must be collectively true for the nation. 

 

Yet is this balance and connection pursued by our communities or our government and industry leaders?  Is balance achievable by a polarized legislature whose agenda is set by the 1%?  If what is measured is treasured, it is high time America falls away from emphasizing GDP  to begin to measure our Declaration of Independence Index.                                           

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