Locke’s Glaring Assumptions

John Locke, in his A Letter Concerning Toleration, beautifully states that, “It is duty of the civil magistrate, by the impartial execution of equal laws, to secure unto all the people in general and to every one of his subjects in particular, the just possession of these things belonging to this life.” He list those possessions in the previous sentences refereeing to them as civil interests  as being “life, liberty, health, and indolency (lack of pain) of body; and the possession of outward things, such as money, lands, houses, furniture, and the like.” Good enough for the time. It can be extrapolated to fit modern time with little effort. I’m sure he would have included cellular phones, cars, and other modern things. Truth is a glaring omission.

It was probably unthinkable during Locke’s time that men would be able to deceive others on a scale such as is now possible using modern communications, travel, and computers. I think he would have written beautifully and unassailably that the magistrate has the duty to secure the truth for the people. He wrote of the various opinions and factions of man throughout his work. So, he probably would have allowed for them in the equity and justice due the public. Even so long ago the conflicts over truth were widespread and deep. Time has done much to expand agreement regarding the truth while expanding much more the depth and breadth of controversy regarding it. Many new things and thoughts have come to man. The need for equity may have never been greater.

Man has increased his ability to impact nature and one another. Locke probably foresaw the increase in man’s number, but could he have foreseen the atomic bomb or modern pollution? I see the impact man has had and is having on nature and have difficulty believing it. How much less likely would it have been for Locke? As man looks to the future he is challenged and often fails to see it. This could be right, for knowing might decrease expectation and adventure. It is not something I am prepared to assume or to expound. That Locke should be forgiven for failing to mention truth as one of the just civil interests should be obvious. He has left it to us to tackle that task.

We are each tasked with the challenge to discover the truth and the liberty to attempt it.  It is a personal function as absolute as breathing. None can breathe for another, even if machines and rescue techniques can do so. What if life is the physical manifestation of an immortal and non-physical soul set in Creation by God to discover by experience through time the truth individually until all are aligned and agreed regarding the truth? What is life is a random unintentional natural phenomenon that evolves over billions of solar orbits, and each life is a relatively brief experience that ends in nothingness? The quest for the truth is an obvious and essential factor in life. Assuming that living is desirable and a goal, the truth becomes mandatory to affect it. That there are laws in nature seems clear in such things as the result of standing in fire, to put it obtusely. Whether or not the laws of nature are absolute or not need not concern us yet if we seek to live. Mankind has come far in comprehending the laws of nature. Accord has happened in many things, including assumptions that may not be valid.  Locke made assumption that became a profound and terrible part of man’s experience. They have tormented mankind as surely as fire has caused us pain.

In a single part of a short sentence, Locke includes volumes of assumptions that one so brilliant and rational was unlikely to make. “If anyone presume to violate the laws of public justice and equity, established for the preservation of these things, his presumption is to be checked by the fear of punishment, …” I think most people miss the assumptions, and that is what is wrong. They leap from the page to accost my heart and drive me to expound from the love I feel and all it compels. A thick book of fine print would scarce be enough to fully share the assumptions with you. I am restricted to an attempt at brevity and simplification that conforms to the lowest common denominator of human consciousness, for the importance is vital to our survival. That something can be so important and vital is in itself worth of a thick book. What can I do? Exactly what I have done, write that it is too much and hope you can provide the rest for yourself, and, in so doing, join me in my effort. It is paramount in all accounts, self-serving, general welfare, and any other. The assumptions can be found and understood. In so doing, benefits ineffable will be ours. A starting place is my first decision.

The “laws of public justice” is an assumption. Locke took the “public” and “justice” to be set and obvious in the common understanding. The truth is being assumed regarding both. I don’t know where to start the explanation. What is the “public?” What is “justice?” Locke wrote many documents and expounded both subjects, but he took his expositions as truth. To appreciate his tedious attention and broad treatment one must study his work. But you can take it from me that they were deeply based on Christian ethos and doctrine. He took the tenants of the Bible as absolute and nothing resembling assumptions while acknowledging even in the title of this work that there are those who do not share his assumptions. What need is there of “toleration” where there is no disagreement or descent? Locke was writing in the document only of toleration as it pertains to the various sects of Christianity. No mention is even implied as to toleration of different religions or atheism. The whole document assumes that his opinions are stone truth, as in, written in stone and absolute. Clearly, he assumed the need for truth and assumed he had it. His motives are unassailable, but the efficacy failed him. His opinion was that Christianity gives man the truth; Christianity as he knew it was the truth, and other Christian sects are to be tolerated. There is nowhere to be found a mention of hope that toleration should become something unnecessary because the people are of one accord in truth. It is simply assumed that man would not attain such an accord and systems must be designed and implemented to cope with the discord, violence, and destruction that come from conflicts of opinion, an opinion being one’s personal thought of what is true and truth.  He speaks to tolerate the idiots who don’t agree with his and advises others to do likewise. A dialectic mission to come to the truth is not even thought needed.  It is an unspoken and unseen assumption that the truth is not possible. There is truth, and it must be found by all. This is a clear and obvious fact of life and reality. Assuming instead that man will not attain the truth conduces to the failure to attain it.

Another thick book is demanded to expound the effects of experience on human psychology and, therefrom, behavior. For now, let it be said simply that assuming that all individual humans cannot attain truth together, prevents it. I fight my own tendencies to go too far into the topic, but I must since it is too large to include here, plus too difficult for my feeble mind and articulation. It seems to me that man is only recently coming into rudimentary comprehension of human behavior making it difficult to find examples to share regarding the effects of assumptions and experiences. So, I must offer you the thought that we develop over time in accord with our innate characteristics and our experiences. When all of mankind lives in tacit agreement that man cannot attain agreement in truth, mankind is averted from and delayed in the attainment. James Madison, in The Federalist Papers No. 51, is the best I have yet found to assist the elucidation of the assumptions so common that are unnoticed. “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” He likely came to those words by reading John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Toleration where he said, “For if men could live peaceably and quietly together without uniting under certain laws and entering into a commonwealth, there would be no need at of magistrates or polities,…” In both, assumptions held are being overlooked, but the relevance of the words to this topic are simply that Madison, Locke, and evidently all of mankind, assumes that mankind is not and cannot be “angels” nor live in peace without laws and polities.  No definition or expounding the word angel is intimated. It is assumed that everyone automatically knows and agrees to the word’s meaning and the character of angels. Man has a terrible predilection, an intrinsic tendency, to make assumptions of fantastic scope and importance without realizing they are doing it. Madison and Locke being no exception. We are more likely to become as angels such as they assumed them to be where we are certain that we will, if not right now, eventually at least.

The assumptions that man needs government, laws, deterrents, and punishment, even capital punishment, arises from a long history of the assumption. Men such as Locke, Madison, and, evidently, even the wisdom of ancient scholars have advanced their thoughts on a basic assumption that probably has no basis in truth. They assume that man has always had a tendency to be bad. In such an assumption is another assumption, that all history is known. This type of failure to attain the truth due to unrecognized assumptions and tacit acceptance of some things seems to dominate our time.

One need venture not far to see that people, to generalize, are conflicted over the concept I am presenting, Truth. The truth is relative, some say. There is no Truth, is said. A popular concept of our time is that there are multiple universes, time is not real, and existence is a fantasy of perception. Such ideas are numerous. That the past is not absolute and inviolable is a popular theme brought to life in movies and books. All those and countless other such things conspire to prevent to attainment of truth. It may or may not be something intended. It matters little. It is vital, even if it is nothing more than an assumption, to realize that all of them are counter to the attainment of truth, to becoming as angels, to ending the need for government, and to reaching the beginning of the adventure that is not even an imaginary story line for man yet. We can attain the truth. Let it become the most popular assumption of all. We have instead an assumption unspoken because it is unnoticed that says man cannot live in peace together and laws are the only way to help us do so to any extent. Also, we are doomed and the best we can do is to have some peace and joy before we die. Believe me, and I hope you can, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, both are unquestioned assumptions that compel us to verify them by experience rather than see them as self-fulfilling assumption. This and countless other assumptions ingrained in the minds and hearts of mankind are working to defeat our chances of peace and life. When Locke expounds tolerance, he gives huge assumptions the quality of truth.

Locke’s little sentence full of unnoticed and unconsidered assumptions that negate his entire body of work is a bullet shot into the hearts and minds of all mankind. No mention is made, and none expected that life need not be a short period that results in senescence and death. It might be a universal assumption if it were not for me. I am an exception to the whole thing proclaiming it to be nonsense perpetuating itself. I suffer the disapprobations of mankind for simply presenting the idea. But I am certain that the truth is that senescence and death are only failings and not a universal law. It is my assumption and not like that of all the other people I know. I cannot think of any reason to have the assumptions all others hold. Unless I want it to be true that decrepitude and death are inevitable, how could it serve me? If I don’t want to die, I must believe it is not inevitable. Make it an assumption and proud of it. Stand to all ridicule and know that it comes from those who reap what they sow.

In the infinity of possible assumptions, chose the one that relieves you of falling apart in time and dying if you don’t desire it to happen. It conduces to its advent. The opposite conduces to the opposite, which we all see is the one being chosen. It will be said that it is not an assumption. I invite any new understanding I need. I have little patience with repetitions of the same old stuff people have given me during this life. I have even grown weary of those more obscure insights that some come by which have become old for me. I would embrace a new perspective, relish a new insight, and welcome original thought. It has been a long time since such things have come to me. Instead, I am constantly on the other end. I bring people concepts they have never entertained and many that evoke negative reactions. It is not something that I came easily to, but my beginning to it was a fortuitous event that stands behind me now fifty years.

I have written many documents about the experience that happened fifty years ago, 1971. There is no point in rehashing it here except to say it came to me by becoming a person who manifests unconditional love beyond self-love. My assumptions became glaring in my consciousness. I become unlike all I know including my previous self. I credit fifty years of seeing through the eyes of love with writing this document. I gained a new perspective and insights flooded me for many years. I became a blissful person devoted to saving the world. When I read things I love like the writings of John Locke and others, the assumptions present in them hit me like lightening with thunder. Love is an overwhelming guide. Just as parents are overwhelmed to care for their children and love them unconditionally, I love all of mankind, all living things, and even love all of reality. Yes! That means I love God with all my heart. No doubt and it fills me with tears to write about it. Tears of joy. The most rare kind. They are the most common for me, though. As parents hope and strive to help their offspring find joy and security, love compels me to help all in the same way. It gives me joy to write because it feels like something that might do just that. I want company. I am surrounded by people and I know no loneliness, but I know there is no one here with me. I “live alone in a paradise that makes me think of two” (Neil Young) You never know when you have planted a seed even though you can do it willfully. I have been watching the garden grow for quite a while. Back to Eden, I say.

I feel compelled and approve willfully to list some books and websites here. Locke wrote as I quoted that possessions are money, land, houses, furniture and the like. Please read Henry George’s books. They will help us all.

The Fruits of Graft by Wayne Jett will not fail to help you.

The Money Free Party notice it does not say free money.

The Venus Project

There is a huge library of stuff that could help us. “But for lack of study.” (Locke)

Thank you.

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