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 Post subject: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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Here they are, in Paper 71, according to a "Melchizedek of Nebadon":

Go slowly! select carefully! for the dangers of democracy are:

1. Glorification of mediocrity.

2. Choice of base and ignorant rulers.

3. Failure to recognize the basic facts of social evolution.

4. Danger of universal suffrage in the hands of uneducated and indolent majorities.

5. Slavery to public opinion; the majority is not always right.

To me, the last four are easy to understand and agree with, but why do you think "Glorification of Mediocrity" is listed first. What do you consider mediocre, and what is not? And how does mediocrity affect democratic rule?

Quote source: 71:2.1 (801.13) https://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-standardized/paper-71-development-state

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Good question. Without treading too far in to politics, I'd say glorification of mediocrity is public acceptance that the way things are are the best they can be. People think that there is no room for improvement and accept difficulties without solutions and discourage innovative solutions.

But since we are treading on politics, one of my favorite quotes I came across when reading the papers is

Quote:
28:6:20 (317.1) The great man is not he who “takes a city” or “overthrows a nation,” but rather “he who subdues his own tongue.”


That in my opinion is a rebuke of a certain head of state whom I will not name.


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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rick warren wrote:
And how does mediocrity affect democratic rule?


Democracy is dependent upon its electorate. A mediocre electorate will produce mediocre, unexceptional and powerless leaders who weaken the nation. A mediocre nation is an uninspired nation mired in the safety of tradition and dullness of standardization. The Revelation informs us that advancing civilization is dependent upon the input of Thought Adjusters, and accepting the guidance of a Thought Adjuster is the antithesis of mediocrity.

(1094.1) 100:0.1 The experience of dynamic religious living transforms the mediocre individual into a personality of idealistic power. Religion ministers to the progress of all through fostering the progress of each individual, and the progress of each is augmented through the achievement of all.


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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I think of it as the ‘vote for the candidate you want to drink a beer with’ phenomena we’ve been seeing in the U.S. for the last few elections. Instead of voting for someone who is more intelligent or more mature etc than ourselves, we vote for someone we can feel equal to so we feel better about ourselves. If our elected leader is a liar and a cheat and a childish tantrum-thrower, we can feel fine about our own less-than-ideal behaviors.

Thus, mediocrity is glorified. We lower standards so we don’t feel pressure to attain a higher ideal.


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2018/04/24/s ... e-mediocre

Above is a link to a most interesting defense of mediocrity - The Lebowski Theorem. Entertaining and thoughtful.

Reminds me of socialization and civilization progress through the mortal epochs. The excellent leads while the inferior drags progress and the mediocre or average enjoy the most benefits and advantages with the least amount of risk and effort.

There is no excellence without great effort, great risk, and quite often, great loss. In fact, to win some battles costs you everything you have and makes victory a certain defeat (from The Art of War I believe).

A study of American democracy could never lead one to believe that mediocrity is recent or worse now than any prior 3-presidential terms in sequence. (This is not a comment on the current or past 3 presidents/administrations – it is my opinion we cannot name 3 historical Presidents/administrations in a row that were superior to the past dozen. American democracy is not getting mediocre, it remains so. Consider the Trail of Tears and runaway slave act and great compromise and Jim Crow and suffrage and so much more.) And Congress and the Supreme Court? Please!!! (Regardless of one's politics.)

Our entire democratic process is owned and operated by the power elite (the money machinery) and will not be or become excellent until ethics, service, transparency, and accountability become foundational and functional elements in the process. It's not about who votes for whom (the electorate)...its about who we are allowed to vote for!!! Who controls the candidates and candidate selection and the candidate agenda, no matter who wins the democratic vote!! Hello!!!??? PLEASE.

Perhaps what's most interesting is the progress made despite all mediocrity? Remember that which is average remains the ideal and objective of those who do not yet personally enjoy the comforts and benefits of the average. And also remember that those who achieve excellence are often rewarded for the effort and risk such striving requires.

Perhaps it is that the excellent inspire the mediocre while they inspire those who aspire even to the average? The excellent play to win, the mediocre play to stay in the game, and the below average play not to lose.

How does that combination of personal characteristics serve the whole I wonder? I am not at all convinced that our spiritization and Circle progress meaaures this in any way, shape, or form. Ambition is its own character trait and is certainly not a measure of one's spirituality. I certainly agree that personal religious experience and growth delivers key results for social progress...higher ideals and less fear in facing social and material risk. This alone delivers progress over time.

Wasn't Hitler and Lenin and Mao ambitious and successful in their ambition?? They each achieved excellence in their way, success which horrified and destroyed whole societies and all classes in those societies. Consider the ambition and excellence of achievement by the industrialists. And the Romans. Results of spirituality? Hahaha.

There are worse things than mediocrity. And far worse things than mediocre democracy.

Consideration of elitism comes to mind.....social and religious.

:idea: 8)


Last edited by fanofVan on Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:39 pm +0000, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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71:2.8 (802.2) The measure of the advance of society is directly determined by the degree to which public opinion can control personal behavior and state regulation through nonviolent expression. The really civilized government had arrived when public opinion was clothed with the powers of personal franchise. Popular elections may not always decide things rightly, but they represent the right way even to do a wrong thing. Evolution does not at once produce superlative perfection but rather comparative and advancing practical adjustment.

71:2.9 (802.3) There are ten steps, or stages, to the evolution of a practical and efficient form of representative government, and these are:

71:2.10 (802.4) 1. Freedom of the person. Slavery, serfdom, and all forms of human bondage must disappear.

71:2.11 (802.5) 2. Freedom of the mind. Unless a free people are educated—taught to think intelligently and plan wisely—freedom usually does more harm than good.

71:2.12 (802.6) 3. The reign of law. Liberty can be enjoyed only when the will and whims of human rulers are replaced by legislative enactments in accordance with accepted fundamental law.

71:2.13 (802.7) 4. Freedom of speech. Representative government is unthinkable without freedom of all forms of expression for human aspirations and opinions.

71:2.14 (802.8) 5. Security of property. No government can long endure if it fails to provide for the right to enjoy personal property in some form. Man craves the right to use, control, bestow, sell, lease, and bequeath his personal property.

71:2.15 (802.9) 6. The right of petition. Representative government assumes the right of citizens to be heard. The privilege of petition is inherent in free citizenship.

71:2.16 (802.10) 7. The right to rule. It is not enough to be heard; the power of petition must progress to the actual management of the government.

71:2.17 (802.11) 8. Universal suffrage. Representative government presupposes an intelligent, efficient, and universal electorate. The character of such a government will ever be determined by the character and caliber of those who compose it. As civilization progresses, suffrage, while remaining universal for both sexes, will be effectively modified, regrouped, and otherwise differentiated.

71:2.18 (802.12) 9. Control of public servants. No civil government will be serviceable and effective unless the citizenry possess and use wise techniques of guiding and controlling officeholders and public servants.

71:2.19 (802.13) 10. Intelligent and trained representation. The survival of democracy is dependent on successful representative government; and that is conditioned upon the practice of electing to public offices only those individuals who are technically trained, intellectually competent, socially loyal, and morally fit. Only by such provisions can government of the people, by the people, and for the people be preserved.


I think these 10 can be achieved by 2 simple principles that have eluded us for 240 years...so far. Equal opportunity for all citizens and equal standing before the law. This does not mean equal outcomes for all but equal standing and equal protection encompasses all the potentials of true liberty and the democratic form of governance. The three above in italics seem to me to be the biggest obstacles to progress in our governance success today.


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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rick warren wrote:
What do you consider mediocre, and what is not? And how does mediocrity affect democratic rule?


.


i consider unthinking conformism to be mediocre...it affects democratic rule because representative democracy presumes an educated electorate.

first example of "glorification of mediocrity" that came to my mind is when you see people say the usa is the greatest/best country in the world. other than the danger of nationalism it also preserves the status quo when we know there is ample room for improvements in this country.


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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Kat offers the only answer that does not perpetuate mediocrity. 100:0.1 The experience of dynamic religious living transforms the mediocre [non-spiritually experiencing] individual into a personality of idealistic power [one who experiences the reality of God in their daily life]. Religion ministers to the progress of all through fostering the progress of each individual, and the progress of each is augmented through the achievement of all.

There isn't a non spiritual answer to this issue. Every solution offered to assuage mediocrity that avoids the truth of the necessity of a real experience with God is destined to fail. The smartest people, the ones who are most educated, those who have accumulated mountains of wealth and success are all mediocre if they don't know God and pursue his eternal values. The spirit of wisdom and the spirit of worship do not fill the individual with wisdom and selfless worship of the creator simply because someone intends to devote his time to serving mankind. He must serve God first.

The reason mediocrity is first is the same as Jesus' command to seek first the kingdom.

Jim


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Excellent thoughwork everyone, very much appreciate you input. There's another list in the UB on governance, on it mediocrity is number 4:

70:12.6 (798.5) If men would maintain their freedom, they must, after having chosen their charter of liberty, provide for its wise, intelligent, and fearless interpretation to the end that there may be prevented:

1. Usurpation of unwarranted power by either the executive or legislative branches.

2. Machinations of ignorant and superstitious agitators.

3. Retardation of scientific progress.

4. Stalemate of the dominance of mediocrity.

5. Domination by vicious minorities.

6. Control by ambitious and clever would-be dictators.

7. Disastrous disruption of panics.

8. Exploitation by the unscrupulous.

9. Taxation enslavement of the citizenry by the state.

10. Failure of social and economic fairness.

11. Union of church and state.

12. Loss of personal liberty.

These are the purposes and aims of constitutional tribunals acting as governors upon the engines of representative government on an evolutionary world.

.

Stalemate seems to be the state of many of Urantia's nations just now, and maybe it's always been that way. Stalemate may be inevitable where God is not.

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Jim George wrote:
Kat offers the only answer that does not perpetuate mediocrity. 100:0.1 The experience of dynamic religious living transforms the mediocre [non-spiritually experiencing] individual into a personality of idealistic power [one who experiences the reality of God in their daily life]. Religion ministers to the progress of all through fostering the progress of each individual, and the progress of each is augmented through the achievement of all.

There isn't a non spiritual answer to this issue. Every solution offered to assuage mediocrity that avoids the truth of the necessity of a real experience with God is destined to fail. The smartest people, the ones who are most educated, those who have accumulated mountains of wealth and success are all mediocre if they don't know God and pursue his eternal values. The spirit of wisdom and the spirit of worship do not fill the individual with wisdom and selfless worship of the creator simply because someone intends to devote his time to serving mankind. He must serve God first.

The reason mediocrity is first is the same as Jesus' command to seek first the kingdom.

Jim


searching the papers for an adjective while neglecting the noun it's being used with is just mediocre thinking too....


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Jim George wrote:
The spirit of wisdom and the spirit of worship do not fill the individual with wisdom and selfless worship of the creator simply because someone intends to devote his time to serving mankind. He must serve God first.

The reason mediocrity is first is the same as Jesus' command to seek first the kingdom.


That's exactly right. "When man loses sight of the love of a personal God, the Kingdom of God becomes merely the kingdom of good." (40:04) 2:5.12 The kingdom of good is humanism, the foundation for secularism.

Quote:
(2084.1) 195:10.1 Religion is only an exalted humanism until it is made divine by the discovery of the reality of the presence of God in personal experience.

(1126.4) 102:7.4 True, many apparently religious traits can grow out of nonreligious roots. Man can, intellectually, deny God and yet be morally good, loyal, filial, honest, and even idealistic. Man may graft many purely humanistic branches onto his basic spiritual nature and thus apparently prove his contentions in behalf of a godless religion, but such an experience is devoid of survival values, God-knowingness and God-ascension. In such a mortal experience only social fruits are forthcoming, not spiritual. The graft determines the nature of the fruit, notwithstanding that the living sustenance is drawn from the roots of original divine endowment of both mind and spirit.


Democracy is dependent upon the vote of every citizen. When citizens lose sight of the Father, how can they vote wisely? How can an elected official serve and lead wisely? True social service is the result of first having true religion, a personal relationship with the Father.

Quote:
(1769:10) 159:5.8 Jesus' religion consisted not merely in believing, but in actually doing, those things which the gospel required. He did not teach that the essence of his religion consisted in social service, but rather that social service was one of the certain effects of the possession of the spirit of true religion.

(1930:01) 178:1.4 Sonship in the kingdom, from the standpoint of advancing civilization, should assist you in becoming the ideal citizens of the kingdoms of this world since brotherhood and service are the cornerstones of the gospel of the kingdom. The love call of the spiritual kingdom should prove to be the effective destroyer of the hate urge of the unbelieving and war-minded citizens of the earthly kingdoms.

(67:01) 5:4.3 God is not only the determiner of destiny; he isman's eternal destination. All nonreligious human activities seek to bend the universe to the distorting service of self; the truly religious individual seeks to identify the self with the universe and then to dedicate the activities of this unified self to the service of the universe family of fellow beings, human and superhuman.

(196:04) 16:9.8 Unselfish social consciousness must be, at bottom, a religious consciousness; that is, if it is objective; otherwise it is a purely subjective philosophic abstraction and therefore devoid of love. Only a God-knowing individual can love another person as he loves himself.


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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rick warren wrote:
Stalemate seems to be the state of many of Urantia's nations just now, and maybe it's always been that way. Stalemate may be inevitable where God is not.


Doesn't it depend upon the issue which has become stalemated? If the nations are at a stalemate in regards to waging war upon one another, then that is a good stalemate to have.

Conversely, I think the dominance of mediocrity produces a deleterious cultural stalemate. Cultural expansion of civilization is determined by the ability to accept new and advanced ideas. When the ideologies of the world are mired in mediocrity it is difficult for advanced ideas to take hold. Mediocrity is primarily backward looking.

(749.3) 66:6.1 The degree of a world’s culture is measured by the social heritage of its native beings, and the rate of cultural expansion is wholly determined by the ability of its inhabitants to comprehend new and advanced ideas.

(782.5) 69:9.18 The present social order is not necessarily right — not divine or sacred — but mankind will do well to move slowly in making changes. That which you have is vastly better than any system known to your ancestors. Make certain that when you change the social order you change for the better. Do not be persuaded to experiment with the discarded formulas of your forefathers. Go forward, not backward! Let evolution proceed! Do not take a backward step.


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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Jim George wrote:
Kat offers the only answer that does not perpetuate mediocrity.

100:0.1 The experience of dynamic religious living transforms the mediocre [non-spiritually experiencing] individual into a personality of idealistic power [one who experiences the reality of God in their daily life]. Religion ministers to the progress of all through fostering the progress of each individual, and the progress of each is augmented through the achievement of all.

There isn't a non spiritual answer to this issue. Every solution offered to assuage mediocrity that avoids the truth of the necessity of a real experience with God is destined to fail. The smartest people, the ones who are most educated, those who have accumulated mountains of wealth and success are all mediocre if they don't know God and pursue his eternal values. The spirit of wisdom and the spirit of worship do not fill the individual with wisdom and selfless worship of the creator simply because someone intends to devote his time to serving mankind. He must serve God first.

The reason mediocrity is first is the same as Jesus' command to seek first the kingdom.

Jim


To begin with, I agree completely with the quote posted, if not the conclusion provided by Jim (and kat?)...and I am not here to squabble, but to seek understanding. 100:0.1 describes the effects of "dynamic" personal religious experience on societal progress and evolution through the Mortal Epochs. The fundamental and profound effect of evolutionary religion and personal revelation and epochal revelation, all combined into its universal effects upon humanity over time and through the progressive evolution of secular and social transformation generation after generation. But we must remember just how slowly this transformation was. The UB says that the Spirit of Truth and flood of TA's and the printing press were the great accelerants of social transformation.

I'm having trouble now with the definition of mediocre. Jim claims that mediocre is that and those without God and those who are not spiritualized. No matter how brilliant or successful, all without God focused centeredness is mediocre. Hmmmmmm……. I don't think the UB (or I) agree with this claim and conclusion. I think spirituality is indeed an individual experience and agree that as more and more people of a population are spiritualized that civilizing effects and progress occur and aggregate over time. But I think there is more to it than that. Are there spiritual or spiritualized GROUPS of people OR are there groups of people who are each spiritualized?? This is an important distinction.

As a student of the UB, have you ever wondered why the UB is so insistent that religious congregations should not be engaged in politics, industry, economics, or any secular endeavors? Why not? Why should individual religionists be very secularly engaged and productive citizens but not GROUPS of organized religionists? So I tend now to disagree with the claim and conclusion proffered here that mediocrity presented in the topic of political systems and democracy is not the same as that presented in 100:0.1. Systems and science are not religious but are material and secular. Even recognizing and choosing that which is for the greatest good for the greatest number is merely a reasoned and logical conclusion that is self serving - and not religious or spiritual. It is a pragmatic realization that what serves others also serves me.

Material, scientific, and secular progress cannot be spiritualized I do not think. But they can be organized and applied by people who are more or less spiritualized...and the more spiritualized are the more people then the better the systems and outcomes of the secular. But to dismiss the secular or to think it the same as the religious is an error I think. I am curious as to what exactly religion had to do with the following: language, fire, tools, tribes, horses, wheel, agriculture, towns, trade, math, machines, engineering, steel, printing press, electricity, etc. Were these insights and inventions reserved for the most spiritualized people on Urantia? Is it really true that no person can be exceptional and successful secularly but only religiously?

While I believe religiosity serves the individual and the group, I do not believe that all of our social progress is unimportant or only provided by dynamic religionists. I think the Mortal Epochs are traversed by the bipedalism of the material/scientific/secular and the religious/spiritual experiences provided by mind and reason and logic and the observation of reality. There is material wisdom we are taught. There certainly is a material universe, subject to material laws and patterns. Jim's oversimplification of reality ignores half of reality it seems to me. Secularism is not irrelevant and culture and society depend upon secular progress. Democracy is one such secular improvement over other forms political organization. The topic here is that mediocrity which endangers this secular institution. Is the ONLY answer to secular and material difficulties religious solutions? Hmmmmm…..

If Jim's perspective is correct, then does our secular success testify to our social and personal spiritual success and progress? Are they one thing or two things connected by co-dependence but not the same? The UB says they are not the same thing at all.

99:1.6 (1087.3) Religion must not become organically involved in the secular work of social reconstruction and economic reorganization. But it must actively keep pace with all these advances in civilization by making clear-cut and vigorous restatements of its moral mandates and spiritual precepts, its progressive philosophy of human living and transcendent survival. The spirit of religion is eternal, but the form of its expression must be restated every time the dictionary of human language is revised.

99:7.1 (1092.5) Though churches and all other religious groups should stand aloof from all secular activities, at the same time religion must do nothing to hinder or retard the social co-ordination of human institutions. Life must continue to grow in meaningfulness; man must go on with his reformation of philosophy and his clarification of religion.

99:7.2 (1092.6) Political science must effect the reconstruction of economics and industry by the techniques it learns from the social sciences and by the insights and motives supplied by religious living. In all social reconstruction religion provides a stabilizing loyalty to a transcendent object, a steadying goal beyond and above the immediate and temporal objective. In the midst of the confusions of a rapidly changing environment mortal man needs the sustenance of a far-flung cosmic perspective.

In my own humble opinion, in my own country today, the mediocrity of the religionists and the congregations and their political agendas are completely choking our democracy into a state that is far worse than mediocrity. As was proven in the 90's and is even more true today...The Moral Majority is neither of those. Pulpit politics is leading to a choking conformity and homogenization and polarity that prevents any progress and any compromise. The religionist IS the source of mediocrity. And the danger to democracy...both.

Evidently there can be some real mediocre believers and religionists who prevent progress by their fears and traditions. Dynamic religious living is not the same thing as religious belief or faith....obviously. Are the religious less mediocre than the secular today? Hmmmm….I wonder.

Keyword search for secular/secularism: https://truthbook.com/search/UBParagrap ... &start=all


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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I agree entirely with Bradly’s post, above. Spiritual development is no guarantee against secular mediocrity. And democracy is a secular endeavor.


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 Post subject: Re: DANGERS OF DEMOCRACY
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katroofjebus wrote:
rick warren wrote:
Stalemate seems to be the state of many of Urantia's nations just now, and maybe it's always been that way. Stalemate may be inevitable where God is not.

Doesn't it depend upon the issue which has become stalemated? If the nations are at a stalemate in regards to waging war upon one another, then that is a good stalemate to have.

Conversely, I think the dominance of mediocrity produces a deleterious cultural stalemate. Cultural expansion of civilization is determined by the ability to accept new and advanced ideas. When the ideologies of the world are mired in mediocrity it is difficult for advanced ideas to take hold. Mediocrity is primarily backward looking.


Point taken Katro, but permanent stalemates aren't natural or good solutions. N Korea seems to be such a case. That stalemate festers on and still demands resolution, which could be more war. Stalemate may only delay the inevitable, eh?

.


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