The Society of HumanKind


The concept of human equality has a history and an application in the era of the Society. Both are discussed. It is concluded that all earlier uses of the concept were flawed or mistaken in that it is difference, rather than equality, that is the essential unifying characteristic of humankind.

Many past and existing human societies have listed equality either as a fundamental aspiration or as an achievement. However, no such claim is free of detractors or critics, and the lack of demonstrable progress toward equality among humankind is truly remarkable. Even as these founding books of the Society are being written, the debate about whether it is possible for equality between individuals to exist at all, let alone whether or not it has ever been achieved in any form of human society, remains open. In the light of that long lack of success, no discussion of the views of the Society of HumanKind on the subject can be either simple or short.

On this issue the Society of HumanKind rests on the Axioms and Dogma. The First Axiom says that chance accounts for the origin of our species. The Treatise on Knowledge extends the application of that Axiom to include the range and nature of the characteristics and attributes of humanity. Such absolute uncertainty about both our origins as a species and our attributes as individuals leaves the Society with no basis for any assumption that mere common membership of the human species implies, or gives rise to, equality between individuals. The Society must therefore find its ground or justification for equality elsewhere.

The First Axiom gives rise to the Principle of Unity which states that, during our mortal lives, we can have no independent standard or measure of the relative worth of individuals. However, the Second and Third Axioms and the Principle of Peace derived from them give us the prospect of being able to make just such judgements, if only in retrospect, in the immortal era that will follow the achievement of the Aim of the Society. Achievement of the Objective of the Dogma will put humanity in possession of an ability to review and assess the value and worth of every individual with the comprehensive insight available as a consequence of our reunification in our immortal era. The measure of relative worth used in that immortal era will be the contribution made by each individual to our escape from the constraints of death and, if the Aim of the Society is then realised, to the subsequent salvation of the whole of humankind.

These necessarily complex ideas and their implications for the Society of HumanKind are first set out in the Treatise on the Individual. There it is concluded that an assessment of the worth or value of the contribution of any individual to the achievement of the Objective of the Dogma and Aim of the Society can properly extend to a comparison of the value of each of the separate attributes they possess or display. The Treatise then reminds us however, of the conclusion now reached in this Essay. That measure cannot be used during our mortal epoch, nor can we base wider comparisons of the value of the contribution of each individual to our history on it.

Drawing these threads together, the first conclusion to be reached on the issue of equality as it is understood by the Society of HumanKind is that, prior to the achievement of its Aim, the Society must accept that every individual, and all and any of their abilities or characteristics, must be regarded as of equal value and worth. In the judgement of the Society the best to be found amongst all individuals, and in any of their attributes, will always be equal in value to the worst in any other. There can be no losers or winners, and no prize list, in that contest. The careful reader should now realise that this important proposition is summarised in the Principle 2.2.

The problem with this definition of equality is however, that it leaves the Society in some difficulty if it tries to apply its concept of equality during its mortal era, particularly if it seeks to promote or apply its views on that issue in human communities other than those composed of its own members. The earlier discussion of this Essay has shown that the equality arising from the Axioms depends on the choice of the Objective of the Dogma as the purpose of our lives. The definition and criterion of an equal society advocated by the Society is therefore neither available nor applicable to individuals unless they make that choice.

Where no such choice has been made, any action by the Society to foster or encourage the adoption of its view of equality in any human community, other than those composed of its own members, will amount to an attempt to impose its belief in the Objective of the Dogma on others. And that course of action is forbidden for the reasons set out in the Treatise on Tolerance, confirmed by the Principle of Progress at 3.3 and further discussed in these Essays under the title 'Essay on Evangelism'. It would seem therefore, that, prior to the achievement of the Objective of the Dogma, the Society may be required to tolerate the existence of the grossest of inequalities and accept the most oppressive of hierarchical tyrannies.

That however, would be to ignore the proviso attached to the Principle of Progress. That caveat on the Principle makes any tolerance shown by the Society toward other communities dependent on their presenting no threat to the maintenance of the Conditions of the Dogma. The overall effect is therefore, that while the Principle of Progress requires the Society to tolerate any present or proposed set of social relationships even if their individual or combined effect is to generate injustice or inequality as between individuals, such indulgence is strictly limited. Indifference by the Society will not extend to human communities whose establishment or continuance presents any substantial threat to the maintenance of either of the Conditions of the Dogma.

The important principle that emerges from this discussion is that, during its mortal era, the Society will not take it upon itself to demand or create equality in human society, nor will it attempt to design or construct systems of social relationships intended have that effect. Rather the Society will pursue equality by publicising, and drawing attention to, its Axioms and Dogma, so that the commonalty and interdependence of all humanity set out in the Principle of Unity is more widely recognised and accepted, and with it a greater acknowledgement of the essential equality of all humankind. Such an approach fully accords with the general prohibition on proselytising by the Society described in the Essay on Evangelism.

That strategy is also compatible with the Axiomatic uncertainty of human knowledge and skills, described in the Treatise on Knowledge. For the reasons set out in that Treatise the Society will accept that it may not be possible to eliminate inequalities and injustices from human society even if the Society of HumanKind and its Principles and prescriptions is universally accepted. In addition, such are the Axiomatic imperfections and inadequacies of our species that the Society itself may be unable to create and maintain equal relationships, even among and between its own members. Indeed, the Society may, at times, judge that inequality is necessary to the maintenance of the Conditions of the Dogma in the circumstances then obtaining. That proposition is more fully explored elsewhere in these Essays, particularly in the Essay on the Poor.

Drawing together now, the whole of the discussion of this Essay, the general conclusion must be that acceptance of the Axioms and choice of the Dogma destroys all previous definitions of equality without offering any guarantee that it will be re-created in human society as a result of the establishment, or even the universal acceptance of, the Society of HumanKind. The Society itself may have to accept and tolerate inequality among its own membership where that remains essential to the maintenance of the Conditions of the Dogma. Is there therefore, any fragment of the earlier concepts of universal equality to be salvaged from the wreckage wrought by this Essay? In particular, is there any aspect of the attributes of our species that the Society can regard as being inherently or unalterably the birthright of all humanity, as was the status of equality in much earlier thinking?

The reader may be thankful to find that just such a possibility is discoverable by bringing together three seemingly disparate parts of its founding literature. First, the discussions and conclusions of this Essay. Second, the discussion in the Treatise on Peace on the application of 3.1 of the Principle of Progress to the problems of our infinite survival, where the conclusion was reached that no single member of humanity can ensure their own survival; the perpetuation of the human species; or the continuous growth of human skills and knowledge. And third, the discussion in the Essay on Race, where the range and diversity of human society is identified as its chief strength, and our best hope of meeting and overcoming the unforeseeable hazards that threaten our infinite survival.

Put together, these three sources lay the foundation of the view of the Society of HumanKind on the question of equality. It is that our value and worth as individuals is only realised when we comply with the Principle of Progress and combine our individual and unique set of qualities, characteristics and abilities with those of others in a stable social order. By so doing we create the society on which the survival of the whole of humanity, and therefore an achievement of both the objective of the Dogma and the Aim of the Society, ultimately depend. In short, the Society will hold that both our value as individuals and our equality arise solely and only from our being unique examples of humanity. From that new perspective the Society of HumanKind will recognise that the principal duty of human society is to preserve and encourage difference between individuals, and will identify our individuality as the characteristic that makes us valuable to each other, as well as all that we are.

In this new light the record of failure in our search for equality in the past, and the lack of success in all our attempts to create it in human society have been due, at least in part, to a fundamental misunderstanding. Difference creates, justifies and unites human society, not equality.

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©Lawrence Thornton Roach
2000-2002 AD