Oct 13th 2023, originally published on X


From Nations to Nodes by Jack Butcher

I understand voicing our opinions on war from a safe place on the other side of the world seems absurd.

Still, i carry a handful thoughts i feel the urge to send into the aether. please skip ahead if of no interest...

  • Civilization is built on a common understanding of morality and virtue. without it, nothing else matters and everything is bound to fall apart. No technology or material abundance can replace it.
  • Society has developed in stages of complexity from tiny family tribes all the way to todays nation states. Looking at the last 200 years, without doubt we live in an age of unfathomable material and political transformation.
  • While it is true that the world has never been as peaceful as it has today, the angst of societal collapse that was so widespread during the cold war still very much shapes our lives today.
  • Past tragedies like WWI and WWII have forced us to come together to form institutions like the League of Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the United Nations. Incredible achievements of world history but each, obviously fell or falls short in managing the needs of our interconnected but still disunited world. Undoubtedly, current and future tragedies will result in new institutions, incrementally better equipped than the ones of the past.
  • Zooming out, the directionality is clear: human and societal development has been antifragile, meaning strengthened through hardship (see Nassim Talebs book by the same name).
  • While hard to fathom during these times, there is only one solution to this equasion: One united global people. It is either that, or the end of human consciousness, which sadly is a growing confusion amongst accelerationists and extinctionists.

We can't know what this future will look like exactly of course, but there are a few things that are obviously misaligned today. As an example, let's take todays idea of self defense. Within our societies, there is a clear distinction between the right to defend oneself and carrying out justice. The latter is abstracted out to legislative and executive institutions. Our moral understanding is clear: While i may protect myself from an intruder who is coming into my house, i can't follow him back to his and take justice into my own hands, even if say he killed parts of my family. I have to leave carrying out justice to the court of law and police force of my country. If we reflect on how we deal with these conflicts on a bigger scale today, it goes something like the following: Someones house is being intruded. Befriended neighbors and acquaintances shove in weapons and ammunition from the backside and call the intruded to defend themselves. The result: "You kill a handful of my sheep." "I kill a dozen of yours." "You kill 30 of mine." "How about 100 in response?". Preventing this millennia old story of arbitrary law is the very reason we built judiciary and executive institutions. Within our societies we have successfully applied the spiritual concept of "an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind" and built the institutions to define and enforce justice. Anything else, from todays point of view, looks incredibly unsophisticated and stupid.

Reflecting on the worlds problems and needs today, it becomes obvious we have to apply the same systems approach on greater scales. Undoubtedly, some puzzle pieces of this new world order include:

  • A World Constitution that outlines the rights and duties of all nations and individuals.
  • A World Parliament that represents all the peoples and nations of the world.
  • A World Tribunal that adjudicates disputes between nations.
  • A World Executive Power, backed by an international military and police that enforce international laws and safeguards against aggression.

These ideas are often met with cynicism, warned against, or joked upon by various viewpoints from all sides of the political spectrum. No true freedom can be achieved without law and order, and well balanced powers in service of the individual and the people. This is true on all levels of human interaction but for some reason, extending the same train of thought from the systems in place today to those of the future is unfathomable and too idealistic for most. To which i would respond: "We, the people..." seemed unrealistic not too long ago. The U.S. Constitution itself was a replacement for the Articles of Confederation, which was much less able to unite a people and build the greatest individual country the would had ever seen. The solution to its early problems wasn't its fragmentation, but a a more refined, greater system that ensures safety and justice for all its citizens. Too often the notion of forming greater bonds of unity is met with prejudice and unfound criticism that's rooted in a simplistic understanding of history, human progress and wellbeing, both spiritual and material.

If human wellbeing is our goal, what could be some of the principles the above mentioned institutions are built upon?

  • The Oneness of Humanity: The fundamental principle that all people are members of a single human family.
  • Independent Investigation of Truth: Freedom of speech and press; and the right to seek knowledge and choose ones beliefs.
  • Elimination of Prejudice: The eradication of all forms of prejudice.
  • Equality: Equal Rights and Opportunities for all members of the human family, regardless of race, gender, or class.
  • Universal Education: World wide access to education in everyones native tongue as well as a universal auxiliary language. Intellectual as well as moral and spiritual education that inspires responsibility and the fundamental worth of every individual.
  • Work as Worship and The Harmony of Science and Religion: Understanding our individual efforts as a contribution and in service the greater good of societal progress.

I very much believe that these principles are part of a new common understanding that we as people of this earth will have to grow to adopt and embody. I'm convinced that none of these principles are incompatible with any of todays major belief systems or ideologies. Yet, in as much as some are, those will have to be eradicated and fought against, mostly through words and education. No question, at the end of the day this is the stronger meme, and the stronger meme always comes out victorious. The question is how bad it has to get first...

I know that i know next to nothing about war or history, but i have some personal experiences that shape this world view...

  • my family was/is persecuted by the Iranian regime, with our possessions taken and destroyed, and members of my family imprisoned or executed for being followers of the Baha'i Faith. I think i know what religious prejudice looks like and still i believe religion, as the source of morality, is the necessary foundation of society as we know it and that all religions can coexist in peace and harmony.
  • as a child in primary school, i lived in then war torn Macedonia for 2 years. During the Yugoslav/Balkan wars, Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Slovenes, Albanians, Macedonians, Montenegrins, and others were devastatingly and violently fighting each other throughout the 90s. There was no resolution to these conflicts until the interventions of the UN and NATO, both diplomatic and military.
  • living and growing up in Germany, i've visited many concentration camps and memorial sites remembering the atrocities of the Nazi regime and the wide spread Antisemitism we've experienced and sadly still do in places here, and all over the world. As much as it hurts to see indoctrinated children in the Middle East today, i know that hate towards a race or people is a veil that education can take away within just one generation.
  • my brother has been living in Israel for the past ~8+ years and i've visited the country many times since being a young child. I've also travelled to Lebanon and many places in Syria just before the escalations that lead to the following (still ongoing) decade in crisis in 2011. I know that peaceful coexistence is not only possible but actually at the heart of all religious teachings present in this birthplace of culture.

The point i'm trying to make is, i've seen, albeit indirectly, quite some evil for the average western 30yo and while i'm often called an utopist, i very much reject that notion. To me, the points laid out earlier, while driven by an optimistic mindset is the the only realistic outcome for human civilization on this planet, and beyond.

Growth, is infinite 🏴