|The Laymanís Petition/Preface 2017 US Federal Election|
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In February 2017 the author of The Layman’s Petition (Copyright 2002) contacted a lawyer who had publically indicated a concern with the shifting political environment in both the USA and Canada. In their brief discussion, the lawyer recommended two titles of pertinent interest: EMPIRE OF ILLUSION— THE END OF LITERACY AND THE TRIUMPH OF SPECTACLE by Chris Hedges and THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE—WHY VIOLENCE HAS DECLINED by Steven Pinker. Inspired by these two diverse books and a lifelong interest in social/political issues, the author of The Layman’s Petition wrote to the lawyer providing the following context in relation to his own earlier work:
“...Given the US President’s 2017 electoral success, a lot of people are asking ‘does this help or does this hurt me’? People are expressing surprise at the election’s outcome and are examining their thinking with regard to how consciously society is—or is not governing itself. I was caught off guard myself. Has the US President’s 2017 electoral success underscored the imperative for a human context beyond the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
I have not done anything with The Layman’s Petition for years owing to the fact that its what-is-thought theme seemed to remain a mystery to the general public and its social equivalency tone apparently too great an affront for civilized discussion. In society, so long as one’s livelihood feels secure, there is of course no appetite for uncomfortable questions which might impact the illusion of that security (EMPIRE OF ILLUSION). Everything is viewed through the hardwired and culturally conditioned reactionary filter of ‘does this help or does this hurt me’. The question, ‘does this help or does this hurt me’ naturally depends on a clear and accurate understanding of who and what you think you are, which in turn naturally depends on a clear and accurate understanding of what ‘thought itself’ is. If you do not have a clear and accurate understanding of who and what you think you are (what thought is), then how can you know what actually ‘helps’ and what actually ‘hurts you’—and therefore then what is the outcome and nature of our subsequent unknowing actions, if we do not know who and what we are (what thought is). How, more to today’s unsettling political point, does one participate productively in a democratic election, if one does not know who and what one actually is (...if one does not actually know what thought is).
We seem to have forgotten or never really understood why we require individuals to reach a certain age before becoming eligible to vote. The objective must relate to the concept of an adult as opposed to the concept of a child—the realization that policies and legislation must originate from a larger view of society than the initial/subjective and oversimplified desires of a chronologically conditioned and socially inexperienced individual (child/adolescent). In The Layman’s Petition, I am trying to point out that our defining policy statements, (Universal Declaration of Human Rights etc.) are flawed in their failure to define what an ‘adult’ human being is—what a “Universal” adult human being is. What we have inadvertently done, in the absence of that, is to enshrine the rights of what is essentially a childhood perspective into international law and therefore into the publics’ palette of general, oversimplified and short sighted expectations at large. Given the recent US federal election, and that the question ‘does this help or does this hurt me’ just got a lot more pertinent to a lot more people, I have been encouraged to make another attempt to publish The Layman’s Petition.