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New Aeon: A Consideration of Astrological Symbolism
4:Governance in the Aquarian Era

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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 them.

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.

- continue -



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