Monday, April 27, 2015

The Canon of Proper Human Relations

What is the right way to live amongst one's fellows?  What are the behaviors in which men are entitled to engage and which are those rightly prohibited or otherwise restricted?  To answer these questions, we must know how to make the determination.  Equally importantly, we must have a way of knowing that the means by which we arrive at our assessments reliably produces the correct result when properly applied.

These are questions with which human beings have been wrestling for an age, and yet it seems we never get any closer to the truth, judging by some of the practical choices we routinely make pursuant to the ostensible goal of living properly with our fellows.  Is this because the answers are too difficult for us to understand?  I say no.  The answers are surprisingly simple and, in fact, arrived upon through the most direct and intuitively obvious logic imaginable.

What is difficult, then, is not the path to the answers but the acceptance of the truths they carry.  The fact is that these simple answers often lead one to results that they find unpalatable, which then impels them to cast about for another, more amiable "truth"; one that does not chafe, but rather satisfies one's perhaps unstated, tacit, and even subconscious desires.

It is sad to observe the seemingly overwhelming proclivity of the average human creature to resort to all manner of mental gymnastics to justify the wanting of what they want, no matter how obviously ridiculous or even criminal those things may be, not to mention their efforts in attaining them.  We could speculate endlessly as to why so many people, I am sure a very vast majority, behave in this manner. I am not, however, interested in such expenditures of effort at this time.  Rather, I am interested in uncovering those simple and obvious truths that define the metes and bounds of proper human relations.

Beginning at the beginning, there must be a postulate - an assumption - whose innate truth is so obvious as to be acceptable to all sane, rational, and honest men.  Likewise, its self-evident nature must be such that those refusing to accept it are put to the sword of logic such that they are unable to credibly support their refusal of such a base assumption.  This postulate, once accepted, serves as the basis for all that follows and which is built upon its bedrock.

As such, the postulate must be not only intuitively self-evident, but irreducible such that it cannot be further subdivided, conceptually.  The notion to which we will refer to as the Cardinal Postulate (CP) and which I would like to now offer as the basis of a set of principles of proper human relations is as follows:

"All men are equally endowed with life"

At first blush this may seem odd, even silly or of questionable relevance.  This is perhaps so precisely because it is so absurdly obvious as to not merit mention.  After all, is this not a deeply tacit assumption held by most of us?  That is the precise quality for which one should always seek when establishing a foundational assumption upon which to base a line of reasoning.  It is especially true of those philosophical treatises, the tenets of which purport as mandates upon free men.  Such fiats must be based upon foundational assertions that are precisely so obvious that no man deemed to be in his right mind could possibly reject them, the burden to which he would be put in supporting his rejection being perforce monumental in order that the correctness of the requirement may be relied upon with supreme confidence.

From this simple, self-evident observation, one may now proceed to derive the sequiturs that issue therefrom.

It helps to note specifically that one is either alive or not alive.  It is of no import as to the character of one's specific state of being alive at any given moment with respect to the question of whether the person in question is, in fact, alive.  It is useless to speak of degrees of being alive, though people are in the unfortunate habit of thinking in such terms.  For example, one might say of a man clinging to life in the wake of a terrible automobile crash that he is "barely alive".  While emotionally compelling, in point of fact the degree to which the man is alive is not really relevant to the question of whether he is alive.  He is and remains so until he dies, regardless of the quality of the life.  In other words, life is life and all life is equivalent as life.

It is here is that things become interesting.  The status of being alive is bivalent.  One is alive or is not.  If one is alive, his status as such is perfectly equal with that of all other men.  This is what it means to be "equal" in philosophical terms.  From this point on, each individual begins to rapidly depart from his fellows in terms of the specific qualities of his life, which are largely the everyday characteristics of the individual in all of its manifestations.  It is this distinction between the most fundamental fact of being alive and the superimposed characteristics of that life that must be understood in order to come to clear apprehension of the nature of men and of the proper order of human relations.

There is a fundamental difference between raw, undifferentiated life and the characteristics a given life may assume.

Let it be also pointed out that the ways in which any given human being regards a specific "quality" or "characteristic" of a life in question is often determined by the various cultural influences that shape one's perceptions of the observed attributes.  What for one man may appear a wondrous quality  in life for another may be ultimately hateful.  There is no single standard of judgment for the qualities of life, but there is an objective standard for judging whether human life exists in a specific case.

Let us briefly summarize our findings thus far.

Life is life, regardless of its shape, flavor, and other specific features.  Poor or wealthy, tall or short, handsome or homely, healthy or sickly, in all such cases one is alive and that status of being alive is perfectly equal to that of every other individual.  As such, all lives are equal though they may manifest different outward characteristics.  Therefore, all lives merit equal respect as lives regardless of the differing superimposed attributes to be found with each individual.

This may seem as the splitting of semantic hairs, but in fact the idea is important and should be understood by all people because if we are all equally alive then our lives are, in sé, perfectly equivalent between any and all individuals.  This means that one life as a life per sé s neither inferior nor superior to any other in any true sense when such comparative assertions are subjected to the withering light of competent analysis.  If one's status as being alive is perfectly equal to every other's, those statuses must thereby be perfectly equal.

From the Cardinal postulate follow a small body of consequents that include principles and their corollaries.  Let us now examine them directly.

This is what we have thus far:

Cardinal Postulate:

0 - All men are equally endowed with life.

For the time being, let us assume the truth of the CP.  Demonstrations shall come at a later date.

Because all men are so endowed, we find the Prime Corollaries:

0.1 - All men hold equal claims to life
0.2 - No man's claim to life is superior or inferior to that of another
0.3 - A man is born the sole owner of his life, that life being his first property.

The equal rights of men imply the Cardinal Principle:

1 - All men are equal in their authority with respect to one another.

From this, the Fourth Corollary:

1.1 - All men are free with respect to one another

By virtue of the equal authority that the universally equal claim to life bestows upon and between all men, we now have basis for the Cardinal Proscription:

-1 - No man may trespass upon or otherwise violate the rightful claims of another.

From these, the following derive and are sustained:

Primary Derivatives:

Absolute Nature Of Human Rights With Respect to the Cardinal Postulate et seq.

2 - The fundamental nature of a Human Right is that of a claim to property.
2.1 - A man's right is just and valid if and only if it does not violate the Cardinal Proscription.
2.2 - The Just and Valid Rights of men are absolute because there exists no valid basis for denying them.

Relative Nature Of Rights Between Men

3 - The rights of all men have equal effect as such between them.
3.1 - Taken in groups, the rightful validity and power of the rights of men do not exceed those of the individual man, regardless of size, composition, or purport.
3.2 - The just and valid will of a single man may countervail that of any number of others, taken individually or as a group.

Human Rights Are Property Rights

4.2 - All men are free to acquire property unto their possession to the degree that rightful acts may provide them.
4.3 - The rightful acquisition of property establishes a rightful claim, or "right" to that property.
4.4 - All men are free to keep, use, and dispose of their rightful property as they see fit.
4.5 - No man may assert or exercise a property right over a Free Man without the other's free and perfect consent.
4.6 - All men hold the absolute right and authority to defend their just and valid claims against violation.
4.7 - No man or group thereof may act against the rightful acts of another.

The Right to Contracts and Consensual Agreements

6 - All Free Men retain the right to enter into contracts and other agreements with one another, singly and severally.

Crime and Criminality

7 - Any Man violating the Cardinal Proscription where an articulated and demonstrable loss to another is proven is guilty of having committed a Crime.
7.1 - Any Man having committed a crime loses his status as a Free Man and assumes that of Criminal until such time as he has made his victim whole.
7.2 - Criminals may forfeit some or all of their rights including proprietorship of his life.

This methinks is the Canon, more or less. It may require tuning, but I do believe that what we have here has more or less captured the essence of what it means to live properly among one's fellows.

I invite and challenge anyone and everyone to examine it and attempt to punch holes in the logic it employs and the truth is conveys.

We have described the fundamental nature of men's rights and how they relate one to the other. We have captured the single circumscription that exists to limit men's prerogatives and what it means in the most general terms when they violate those limits.

The rest, so far as I can tell, are matters of a secondary and perhaps changeable nature addressing the proper formal responses to criminal acts.  Once codified, I do believe that the entire and correct basis for all human law will have been established in a form that has perhaps never been before presented to the world.

Please do give this some thought. Play with it; take it apart; try to drill holes in it, smash it even.  It is the only way to better ensure that what one has at hand is what he thinks it is, and is not something else.

Thanks for you time, and in advance for any thoughts you may share.

Until next time, please accept my best wishes.

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