New Aeon: A Consideration of Astrological Symbolism
4:Governance in the Aquarian Era
The pattern of political mythology for the Aquarian era is already well-established,
and it mirrors the symbolism of the Aquarius-Leo axis. With Leo, the sign
of kings, placed on the horoscope angle that relates to human beings perceived
as a mass, it follows that the basic theme of this mythology is that the
people themselves, the human family, are the rulers in this age. The various
forms of collectivism marxist and Maoist communism, fascism, socialism
in its many flavors, majoritarianism (e.g. American democracy) - are all
variations on this theme. All contain some version of the idea that the
people rule themselves.
The midheaven generally determines the image taken on by the rulers in
a given age. As was mentioned earlier, in the Piscean age it was normal
for the ruling class to take on the image of Jupiterian superiority, of
the God-given right to rule. In the Aquarian era the image of the rulers
is similarly being influenced by the powers of the sign. Aquarius is traditionally
the sign of voluntary service, as opposed to the "karmic" or predestined
service of Virgo. It represents the person who freely relinquishes their
individual pursuits in order to serve the community. In each of the various
political systems mentioned above, those who rule are careful to cultivate
the image that they are the servants of the people, that the actions they
take are dictated by the people and are in the people's best interests.
The reality, as opposed to the image, is often far different. Governance,
for example, comes under the sign of Capricorn, and Capricorn's theme
in so far as it relates to governance -is power and control, not service.
No matter what the outward form, government attracts those who seek power;
if they serve anyone, it is not the community as a whole, but those who
help them to maintain their power. And those who gain power seek to hide
it in places where their use of it can not be controlled, and they can
not be held accountable for the consequences of its use.
At the present time the Aquarian power is at best a light overlay on
these ages-old patterns of government; even the most "Aquarian" of the
current forms of government were invented at a time when the mutable cross
and its Big Daddy mentality were still in control; a great deal of conflict
preferably verbal, not physical is still necessary before a system harmonious
with the era develops. However, the situation is still changing rapidly,
and there are factors growing in the Western societies that may eventually
serve to make government operate in accordance with the pattern of the
era. As with the world of computer networks, the key to the change lies
with the increasing speed of communication, and with the voluntary associations
that arise from it.
In prior eras, the fastest forms of communication were either under the
control of governments, or so expensive that only governments and a few
wealthy individuals could afford them. This enabled governments to keep
a degree of control over events, particularly in the area of international
relations. The relatively long period of time before distant events could
have a local effect allowed the governors to plan and prepare to control
the effects to their best advantage.
With the elimination of the time factor in communications, many events
affecting global conditions are effectively out of the control of any
government. For instance, with the major portion of the world economy's
money now in the form of computer data, private concerns routinely "ship"
money from one country to another in instants, to make use of advantageous
local conditions. The amount of capital available in a country for investment
can vary drastically in a short period of time, so short that governments
can not act in time to control it. And the governments can not introduce
delays into the process without also creating potentially fatal delays
in the delivery of vital goods and services. The economy is in fact global,
and can not be controlled by organizations limited by artificial territorial
boundaries. The speed with which transactions take place and their sheer
volume makes it unlikely that a hypothetical world government would do
any better, given the rigidity of hierarchical chains of command.
The movement of goods has also gone beyond control; if a product is desired
in a given area, it will get there regardless of the wishes of the supposed
territorial rulers. The arms and drug trades show this clearly. Efforts
to interdict the flow or enact extreme punitive measures against those
who engage in it simply raises the price without significantly reducing
the quantity, and ensures that the most ruthless types of human beings
will become involved in the business. The borders needing to be controlled
are so large, and the means of transportation so efficient, that effective
interdiction is impossible.
So in the world of commerce, we are approaching a situation where the
world economic entity is becoming governed only by the natural interactions
of its own components, along the lines of the Aquarian symbolism. If the
pattern expressed in that symbolism holds true, then the economy will
eventually become better "regulated" by its natural tendencies than it
has been through the intervention of various governments.
In the American political context, "special interests" has become synonymous
with minorities who openly or secretly use monetary power to influence
the decisions of legislators and executives. While such groups are indeed
special interest groups, they are far from being the only such groups
active today. Every group of people who seek to influence government to
what they perceive to be their own benefit is a special interest group,
regardless of their methods. Under this definition, political SIGs are
ubiquitous. Environmentalists, pro- and anti-abortionists, human-rights,
civil-rights, and animal-rights organizations, down to the people looking
for a new street light for their street; all are special interest groups.
Every level of government is being subjected to the pressures of these
groups, and many of them are successful in getting their points taken
into consideration in legislation. The problem is that the success is
based on factors having nothing to do with the merits and demerits of
their causes, or of the number of people who share a view. Success seems
to be primarily a function of funding and the amount of noise they can
make. Small and relatively poor groups can not make themselves heard by
their supposed representatives. The free, unrestrained and unforced participation
present in the computer SIGs is not yet a part of the political process.
In a sane individual many relatively uninfluential parts of the mind,
combining their influence, can together cause a veto of a course of action
proposed by a stronger portion. When a few parts of the mind do manage
to take up an excessive portion of the person's awareness, time, and resources,
suppressing the weaker (but still important) parts, we say that person
has a mental illness. Even in these instances, the uninfluential parts
of the mind are not truly suppressed; they simply begin to express themselves
in ways that are not normal to them, often in ways that have the effect
of sabotaging the intent of the part of the mind that is trying to suppress
The situation in western government today, particularly American government
is a correspondence to this sort of unbalance in the individual. The flaw
expressed in all of the forms of government mentioned above lies in the
assumption that it is possible for individuals or groups within a social
aggregation to accurately determine the needs of the whole and regulate
the interactions of other individuals and groups to serve those needs.
From our examination of the pattern of the fixed cross it should be clear
that this is not possible in reality; the development of an inclusive
whole out of the interaction of smaller individualities is always accompanied
by the development of abilities and functionality that the component individuals
are not capable of duplicating or even perceiving, in many instances.
The continual active participation of all the smaller individualities
is necessary if the larger entity is to remain stable.
The fallacy that responsive and perceptive government is possible opens
the way for individuals and relatively small groups to usurp the role
that is properly the place of a higher order entity, and to force their
own particular prejudices and preferences on the population as a whole.
The laws created by such governments inevitably fail to reflect the conditions
in their societies; they unduly restrict the activities of certain portions
of the society, and give undue emphasis to other portions. The maintenance
of such an unbalanced state through the government's claimed right to
use force delays the adjustments that would take place naturally if the
society had a truly organic structure. But the adjustments can not be
delayed forever; eventually the imbalance goes beyond the point where
the use of government coercion can maintain it, at which point the balancing
takes place in a catastrophic manner, as it does in the analogous example
of the mentally ill individual. The process of governance becomes a movement
from crisis to crisis, with sections of the population superficially benefiting
from special attention in the interim periods, and everyone suffering
as the unavoidable adjustment takes place.
The biological and quasi-biological entities that make up most of the
universe rarely exhibit the crisis-symptomatology of human governments.
In most cases, adjustments occur automatically as they are necessary,
and are thereby limited in severity. When major crises do occur in a biological
entity, they are normally signs of death, of a complete breakdown of the
interaction of its parts. Constant minor adjustments or homeostasis, not
crisis adjustment, is the norm in the universe.
Making governance follow a homeostatic pattern requires that we severely
limit the ability of governments to interfere in the activities of individuals,
and the way they interact to produce a society. In particular, absolute
limits must be placed on government's right to use force or coercion against
its citizens; its ability to control the distribution of wealth and the
allocation of resources (which both are based on the use of force) must
also be curtailed.
If a nation is the sort of higher-order entity that grows out of the
interactions of individuals, then all of the individuals involved must
be given the opportunity to participate in the decisions of its government.
Our so-called "representative" democracy does not do this; in fact, every
election acts to automatically exclude a portion of the populace, those
who did not vote for the winner from participation in the process of governance.
In practice, other factors make the situation even worse. The parties
in power, having established a balance between themselves, have set restrictions
on the election process such that no third group can gain sufficient power
to upset their arrangement. Voters are prevented from having creative
alternatives to "business as usual"; a substantial portion of the population
dislikes all the candidates, and does not vote. There is not a single
elected representative in the federal government who was voted for by
a majority of the adults, not "registered voters", he allegedly represents.
In some cases, the number is as low as ten percent, or even less.
We might solve this problem by instituting "no-loser" elections for at
least one of the houses of congress. That is, anyone can run for a congressional
seat, and everyone who runs gets a congressional seat with one vote in
congress for every person who voted for them. A better alternative would
be to allow any group of people, regardless of their place of residence,
to join together and appoint their own representative to congress. The
majority of people might continue to appoint representatives based on
local interests, but groups that are in the minority in any particular
geographic area would gain a representation they would not otherwise have.
In order to ensure that laws are representative, this change in structure
would require a corresponding change in the quorum requirements of congress
and in the number of votes necessary to pass legislation. Congress could
not be considered to be in session unless representatives for a large
portion of the population, say eighty-percent, were in attendance. Passage
of laws would require favorable votes of equal a similar percentage of
the total votes of those present. This would make it much more difficult
to pass laws, but would ensure that laws that did pass were acceptable
to the views of a large majority of the population, something which is
not the case at present. Such a system would make the process of governance
more accurately reflect the homeostatic internal activities of naturally
occurring entities. Also, with the inevitable delays involved in passing
laws acceptable to such large majorities, the natural homeostasis of the
national entity would have time to produce appropriate adjustments to
changes without inappropriate intervention.
Another aspect of the fixed cross pattern, individualized "components"
interacting to create larger individualized wholes - is the fact that
despite their participation in the group interactions, each "component"
remains almost totally free to act according to its own nature. This comes
from the influence of Aquarius' ruler Uranus. For a society to come into
a truly Aquarian pattern of governance, it must ensure that the individuals
who make up that society retain the greatest possible freedom to express
their nature and goals.
This could be done by placing restrictions on the circumstances under
which laws could be applied. Each person must be acknowledged to have
a complete right to dispose of their self and their property as they see
fit. No civil or criminal penalties could be applied against an individual
if the individual's acts did not in themselves cause involuntary damage
to another individual or that individual's property, and did not interfere
with the other person's equal right to act according to their own nature.
Individual freedom should be balanced by individual responsibility. Acts
which cause damage to others must be paid for by the person performing
the acts. Avoidance of responsibility through claims of insanity, social
deprivation, or other special status should not be allowed. More important,
the principle of sovereign immunity must be firmly rejected; neither individuals
nor groups can be allowed to shield themselves behind the mask of government
power, nor within the diffusive cover of a bureaucracy or corporation.
A third necessary component is the elimination of secrecy, in line with
the exaltation of the planet Mercury in Aquarius. Earlier sections have
shown that free exchange of information is necessary to the existence
of group-created entities, and it is as necessary for healthy societies
as for any other such entity.
The ability to restrict access to information about its activities enables
governments to prosecute policies that, were they known, would be judged
to not be in the interests of the populace, and to engage in acts which
the government itself would consider criminal if performed by a private
individual. Past experience shows that secrecy in the name of "national
security" is often instead secrecy in the interests of no one but the
governors and those who support them. Elimination of secrecy helps to
prevent abuses of government power by subjecting them to public scrutiny.
The increasing use of computers in government may eventually help to
eliminate secrecy from government activities. The American government
has grown so huge that it would be impossible for it to accomplish its
arrogated tasks without using computers; the resources for doing the same
tasks manually are beyond even a government's ability to steal. They are
simply not available. Computers are essentially an unsecured means of
record-keeping; any form of computer security that a human being can invent
another human being can circumvent, much more easily than with paper records
of the same volume of information. Computers are meant to make the job
of managing information easier, and the degree of security necessary to
reliably protect the information they contain would destroy their utility.
Today's young "hackers", who break into computers for the fun of it, may
one day find themselves acting to more serious purpose by making public
secrets pried from government computers.
In order to save space, I will not go into the many other social and
political manifestations that demonstrate that the Aquarian era has established
itself. Instead we will go on and look at how this era's energies relate
to the process of initiation and participation in the Great Work.