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A Society of Individuals
A society of individuals is a social agreement most consistent with our human definition as defined by the universe, by our identity. It is a social order formed because individuals form agreements between each other and collectively amongst themselves. These agreements thus formed, those that express our identity and are protected from coercion, are those that allow us to express ourselves as we really are. In our communications with one another, our exchanges of goods and services, our gifts to one another all reflect a mind free to be itself in its universal order. Such a society of free individuals is that social order that is most consistent with the free mind of men and women.
Individuals are free to exchange by agreement and, by definition, are free to choose how they will exchange. They are free to choose those agreements most beneficial to themselves and to respond to their choices as these materialize in the consequences of their future. When free, they are able to choose those things that are most like them and avoid those that are most alien to their personality. If they choose wisely, consciously, then their choices will have beneficial consequences for a long period of time; if they are careless or foolish, what they manifest will be small and short lived. Thus, as they choose, they materialize their personality in their society. If it is great, mature, beautiful, then it is the mark of a great and mature people; if it is lowly, degenerate, ugly, then it is a reflection of a people not yet having reached maturity. To become mature as a society is the mark of a people with the strength to face reality and choose consciously the next step of their human development.
In our past, when individuals first learned to exchange rather than to take by force, the world changed again. They learned the value of an agreement over the impulse for a quick gain by force. In that first exchange was formed the foundation of conscious human acts that are beneficial through time, and more suited to the more conscious and more modern mind. In that first exchange was the first foundation of a society of individuals based on the principle of agreement.
To take by force, to steal, is an unconscious act. It is a primitive impulse of acquisition that, as matures the mind, is sought to be
controlled and finally overcome in a civilized society. Society cannot function in a progressive manner suitable to advanced human beings if the value of each individual is trampled by the right to steal and take by force from those individuals who are most productive and most creative. To take by force is negative and coercive and can succeed only in a servile population tyrannized by an order of unconscious minds. If it had been our past, it need no longer be our future. As conscious minds we must be conscious of the consequences, through time, of our actions.
To exchange is a conscious act that does not seek to trespass on another against agreement. In each such exchange, we become
conscious of the future consequences of our acts and strive for beneficial results that will open the door for future agreements. It does not exploit and run away like a thief with his prize. To exchange in agreement is a recognition of the value of each individual and that individual's right to property. It is an act of conscious surrender, of giving, where one surrenders what one values less in exchange for gaining that which one values more. As a mutual act, both benefit, each giving what is theirs voluntarily to the other.
An exchange goes beyond the act of giving by agreement. The goods so given transcend the immediacy of the act. They are goods that are altered in their definition in reality by their possession. They are owned, handled by a personality, and become altered again when they are transferred physically into the possession of another. An agreement, we can now know, is more than a confirmation of compatible minds; it is also an agreement of, or compatibility of, their respective greater realities. Our possessions are a part of our personal greater reality. Thus, the goods exchanged, being part of each owner's greater reality,
personal greater reality. Thus, the goods exchanged, being part of each owner's greater reality, when given over to another voluntarily, is to transfer the ownership from our reality to the reality of the recipient; in exchange, we gain a portion of the other's reality. The compatibility of realities is thus expressed at two levels: As expressed by the conscious agreement of the mind and as defined by the greater reality that is the identity of that mind. Exchange, if simple, is an agreement of minds at one level, but also a much greater agreement of the dimensions that are our consciousness out there at another level. If an act of exchange appears effortless, almost automatic, then it is only because the act is so natural to us; at the limit, at infinity, it is an act that is almost infinitely complex.
Thus, through Habeas Mentem and its Law of Agreement, we are able to condense, in principle, the initial concept of an interrelationship of space and its corresponding universal definition of a human identity into a real human definition, having a mind, as a free conscious being; the resulting concept of these universal definitions through the principle of interrelationship can then be further condensed into that principle that allows each mind to be more itself and create its identity in, and become more, its reality; it then becomes, in its final analysis, the principle of exchange by agreement.
To exchange by agreement is a simple, almost mechanical, act that enables the universe to materialize its value in our midst as its
definition of a human as a creature that exists and creates in its image. It is that simple; and yet, it is that complex. When we act simply, sincerely and innocently, when we seek to better or to please rather than to hurt and break, to seek to find agreement rather than twist by force, when we exchange or give rather than steal; then all are representations of our humanness in a way that is infinitely complex. They are an expression of that value in the human mind that is the principle of the order of our universe.
Thus, there lies our future development. We are traders rather than thieves or conquerors. We do not harm consciously and withdraw if we have harmed unconsciously. We demand, as conscious minds, that others do the same both towards themselves and towards others. In a society of conscious human beings these are natural laws that help us agree and protect us from forced disagreement. When these principles are recognized and respected, then our social environment becomes safe for the conscious mind and the social order that follows functions smoothly and progressively on a principle of exchange and agreement.
As conscious minds, we are possessive by nature. What we own is ours, consciously ours. What we fashion from raw matter, how we
create, what we gather or grow, are all a part of how our mind fashions itself in reality. Our possessions, provided they were not torn from another by force, are all creations of our identity's self expression. What we gain through trade, through agreed upon exchange, is an expression of an acquisition gained by agreement. What we make, if we do not surrender it in exchange for something other, is part of that which surrounds us. What we hold, own, what we cherish in our reality, all are our possessions because reality has entrusted itself, then and there, to us. It is our real property to be claimed by none other than the owner and to be separated from by none other than agreement. We have a natural right to own what is ours.
Because we are conscious, we are more complex. We cannot surrender by force. To be forced to surrender that which is ours, what we cherish and care for, is to force pain that transcends the present. We adorn our reality with what is entrusted to us, what we handle and create in our image. To have it taken by force is to sheer the bond that connects us to our greater reality; it sheers that which we love. We cannot abandon them mindlessly, for they are our responsibility and our trust; they are part of that value that infinity has ascribed to us. We are physical beings in a physical universe condensed in our mind as the value of infinity that is the identity of the spirit, of our being. How we possess things then is how we lend that spirit into the things that we possess.
But not all things possessed are so intimately ours. We do not possess all things at the limit, so deeply. Assets and property can be held for trade rather than for intrinsic possession. We do not always possess for the sake of possession; some possessions are held in trust only until they are exchanged for another, more desirable possessions. These are decisions that can be determined only by the person in whose trust they are held; none other can make that value judgement for them. Regardless of how a property or asset or right to such property is held, it is always left to the judgement of the individual in whose possession it is with regards to its value as a possession. Some property may be held only for the purpose of exchange because, if for no other reason, one cannot exchange what one does not own. Exchange can usually be realized best if the property so exchanged is not tied to a strong emotional possessiveness. Otherwise, the price of exchange might be very high and transfer of such goods may be impracticle and occur only when a very high price is met, sincewhat is being exchanged has a strong personal value and can be surrendered only at great sacrifice. However, in most cases of exchange of an economic type, the subjective attachment to the assets being exchanged is minimal, oftentimes to the point of being negligible. Then, exchange can be a simple and beneficial social act with economic value.
In a society of free individuals, the act of exchange is a mechanical social process that works because it is natural to us. The more
sophisticated is the exchange, the simpler is the mechanism of exchange that effects an impersonal transfer of goods and its assessment of value. What results is an economic system of market exchanges where trade is taken from the level of interpersonal barter, where the likes and dislikes of personalities may affect the outcome of exchange, to an efficient and impersonal market place. Market exchanges are where those personal decisions that each person decides in response to those conditions that face us at each moment of time are translated into the decision of whether to buy or to sell. What we need, or what we are able to offer, are translated into actions we take in response to the reality from which we must choose; on a market exchange, such choices are translated into economic activity. Markets do not work because people know one another; rather they work best when they do not know one another and are able to carry out in a businesslike and impassioned manner the needs of exchange. A pure market system works without biases and personal prejudices; it is a forum of buyers and sellers basing their decisions on economic value and circumstances. It is exchange and agreement brought to its simplest principle. It works because it is a most direct and empirical expression of how individuals succeed in expressing themselves in relation to their personal economic conditions. Market exchange if simple and unbiased, and if protected from coercion, is the closest empirical expression we can find that can be made to measure our human action.
There are many levels of exchange, and each individual so participating should be allowed to seek that level of agreement that is most beneficial to his or her needs. If the exchange is a complex agreement that will tie personalities together over a prolonged period of time, such as in a mutual business venture, then it would benefit the parties involved to at least have some personal compatibility. It then becomes as much an exchange of personalities as of skills and assets and should function at that level of agreement. But even if the exchange is one that is relatively simple, such as that of an employee of a company or organization who exchanges his or her labor and skills for a wage or some other renumeration, the agreement that exists between employer and employee is basic and less influenced by personality. If it is foremost an exchange of skills, then the role of personality should be a lesser influence of the agreement of exchange that exists between them.
In conclusion, a system that allows us the freedom to trade and to find agreement amongst ourselves in relation to our needs and to our ability naturally materializes into a market system. That system, when brought to its basic function as an impersonal mechanism of exchange, and when protected from potential coercion of its participants, will materialize as an economic mechanism which easily and accurately transfers goods and services from where they are needed less to where they are needed more. It works because each individual has the freedom to seek agreements within the system and, because each decision is made in response to the state of things as they are in that economic system, is in response to a natural and undistorted expression of economic values. Each value so stated is in response to how things are and to how individuals assess them to be, and then choose to act. Whether their actions are correct or not then are not the judgement of others, or of the social system, but of how their uncoerced personal choices materialize in their reality. Then, the resulting economic system most resembles the human reality it is serving, and the resulting market exchange system is a social mechanism that is most consistent with our definition as free and conscious human beings.
In the final analysis, we can see that the social mechanism of market exchange is the system of interhuman action that is most consistent with our human definition. It functions on a simple principle of agreement and exchange that is consistent with how we materialize our being in our reality. When brought to its simplest denominator, the values of our interhuman activity are made most evident in a market exchange environment that is free from coercion and that respects the Law of Agreement. In this will be the future directions that we will need to explore to bring the principle of universal order into our social reality, into a society of a free and conscious people made up of individual human beings.
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