I am for you

the Prime Directive

dreams of a better future

At some point our legal system got way, way, way out of control. It got so huge and complicated that even most lawyers and police officers as well as the general public all believe that the laws have become more trouble than they are worth, and now the legal system has gotten so harmful that it sucks up far too many of our most precious resources, including human lives, with almost no one truly benefiting, except in very superficial and unsustainable ways.

Instead of the current failing legal system, I propose a simple three-fold constitution – a real Prime Directive for a very living planet Earth. I propose three laws, based on the three basic active processes of relationships – receiving, giving, and conflicting.

Seriously, in this real version of the Prime Directive, we have just three laws, and that’s it!

Law 1. Unconditional Basic Needs Input – You have a right to all the basic physiological needs for health: nutritious food, pure water, fresh air, comfortable warmth, and access to daylight, and if you cannot get enough of these needs on your own to be physically healthy, then the government is responsible for helping you obtain them, starting with the most local level of government, and progressing up through the next levels of government if necessary.

Law 2. Conditional Basic Freedoms Output – You have a right to express yourself physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, and the government is responsible for helping create three designated arenas for self-expression that are the most agreeable to the local community.

Law 3. Mutually Beneficial Conflict Resolution – If you ever have a conflict with another individual or group of any kind, and if you and they can’t come to a mutually agreeable solution to your conflict, then the government is responsible for providing you with mediation services that have the goal of a mutually agreeable solution. The mediation services are to be provided starting at the most local level of government, and progressing up through the next levels of government if necessary.

Basically, in this real Prime Directive, just like the later version in Star Trek, the idea is for government to stay out of the way unless specifically asked for help, which they are expected to provide whenever possible, and it’s the local government that is in charge of helping the locals. It’s only when the local government needs help that the higher levels of government are expected to get involved and offer whatever assistance it can. (The one addition to this real Prime Directive is that higher levels of government are allowed, and even expected to get involved even in the case of civil conflicts within and between local governments, if they are asked to do so.) All other government functions and problem solving approaches are done on a case by case basis, and not by any overarching laws.

This simple solution already works really well in many groups (think: good schools, healthy families, and successful teams), and is the approach that humans most often seek out when groups are allowed to evolve naturally, even if we aren’t consciously aware of these instinctive rules. We naturally thrive when the rules are simple and flexible and appropriate for our own needs, and when we are allowed the freedom to either try to solve our own problems, or to seek out compassionate, efficient, fair, and wise advisers to help us problem solve, because when we notice that we have been taken good care of by our environment, we are naturally driven to return the favor, by taking good care of our environment.

From what I can tell, this is a government and legal system that a healthy Living Economy naturally evolves into. And the way we leaders and activists can help transition the whole world into this healthy and sustainable Prime Directive, in the most logical and effective way, is by starting with our own groups, clearly defining these standards as our own most important directive wherever we are in a position to do so. And then we continue the transition by promoting law number one – the right to basic physiological needs, unconditionally – at the very top level of government. Then, once that is in place, we promote law number two – the right to express oneself, conditionally – at the very top level of government. And then once that is in place, we promote the option for using the mediation system in addition to the option for using the established legal system, as we allow people to see the value of law number three.

Using this double-ended strategy of working for both bottom up and top down change uses the least amount of resources to get the most effect because the fewest number of individuals are at the extremes of society. That means that fewer individuals need to be convinced because once convinced those individuals will naturally take over the role of the change agents as they begin to spread the good ideas to the masses in the middle, eventually bringing the healthy Prime Directive to all levels of society.




  moonraven222 wrote @

I like these three rules–I could go for this.

I am all about getting our basic needs met–in fact, if we were getting our real needs met, I don’t think there would be so much consumerism (ie, trying to get false/artificial/manufacture needs met).

I support having freedom for self-expression. We need a diversity of self-expression and I think (or at least I hope) this would unleash a lot of creativity.

And I definitely think having a lot of mediation available for people as they need it would be incredibly useful.

Unfortunately, I suspect this wouldn’t be the only laws we need, but I would strongly support getting these three ‘directives’ into law. Just tell me where I can sign up.

(Incidentally, I was a major Trekker for years, but now I am committed to putting my energy into creating a real future instead of playing with a fantasy future, no matter how appealing.)

  turil wrote @

You sign up with yourself! :-) Wherever you are a leader, you can make it clear what your prime directive is, so that others can learn how useful these basic rules – for having the intention to give others what they need, for finding a welcoming outlet for what others need to give away, and for resolving conflict by seeking win-win solutions – are. Right now, I’m working with my young friends to create a book with these laws in it to share with others as a starting point.

And as for other ideas for laws, I believe that it’s far better to approach other interactions and relationships on an individual level, just like nature does. But I’m curious to hear any other universal laws that you believe are important that you don’t think are covered by the laws about giving, receiving, and conflict…

  moonraven222 wrote @

I was thinking about laws limiting harmful behavior. Unfortunately, there are a lot of hurt people out in the world and many of them end up hurting others.

The closest I can think of is the Buddhist five precepts (I’m spending a lot of time hanging out with Buddhists these days): Refrain from harming others, refrain from stealing, refrain from sexual misconduct, refrain from false speech, and refrain from intoxicants. (Notice this is half the size of the ten commandments.)
At the very least I think that we need to have laws against hurting others, stealing, and sexual abuse–it would be great if people could stop lying and using things that harm themselves as well, but that may be more than we could legislate.

I like Thich Nat Hanh’s positive rephrasing of the precepts: Practice loving-kindness, practice generosity, practice contentment, practice truthful communication, and practice mindfulness. (I’ve been playing with a shorter version of this: we need to take care of ourselves and others through love and compassion, generosity, responsibility, honesty, and clear awareness.) But this is a direction people need to take on, again, not something that can be a law.

I appreciate all your clear thinking about this. I will take this into my day–having the intention to give others what they need, finding a welcoming outlet for what others need to give away, and resolving conflict by seeking win-win solutions. Well put, indeed.

  turil wrote @

Law number 3 already covers all situations where people feel that they’ve been harmed. And the reason that it doesn’t make sense to make a law saying that someone else can’t cause harm is because living itself causes harm. Entropy is a necessary part of the universe, and we humans would not exist without it We need destruction. Things must be destroyed in order to create new things. We need to kill and steal life to eat, and we need to die and have our stuff taken from us so that others can live and grow in return. We are really only borrowing stuff from the universe for a short time, but ultimately, everything we have belongs to the universe, not us. :-)

So the best we can do is to do something great with what we’ve been loaned while we’ve got it, and as you say that’s a direction that people have to take on for themselves, not something that can be forced.

And from what I’ve seen one of the best things that we can do with this stuff we’ve been loaned is to learn how to collaborate with others so that we can all enjoy our time here even more.

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