I was wondering about the fact that during these last decades the consciousness of humans, concerning their own rights and well-being, seems to be fading out: we consider as (possibly more and more) unavoidable the economical, social and physical (sanitary and medical) problems that are bothering us.
We think that wars are an ineradicable part of our world, that economic crises are recurring and endemic even without any particular reason, that pollution and climate change are unstoppable because these events are “mightier than us”.
I was recently leafing through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, approved by the United Nations in Paris on December 10th 1948. Since it was a subject during my school years, I was well aware about the existence of this document: yet I didn’t read it entirely until today, when, due to my mature age, I don’t attend school lessons anymore.
So I discovered that the Declaration also refers to the contents of another previous document: the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, released in Versailles on August 26th 1789 (at the beginning of the French Revolution) and, moreover, that, in its turn, it echoes back to the Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen United States of America: by undersigning it in Philadelphia on July 4th 1776, those States came off from Great Britain’s dominance.
Perhaps, as we consider as inescapable all our human problems in the social, migrant, economical and environmental field, so we are taking for granted these three charters too, mainly because we do not remember them or because we didn’t read (or re-read) them entirely.
But whenever we do it, instead, we discover that Humanity even since a few centuries has been feeling the need, found strength, occasion and way to compile in written form its own awareness about itself in connection with its rights.
Not just this. There are at least two earlier documents, that give shape to the will of establishing its own capacity to interact with the power (executive and, above all, military). Here I am firstly referring to the Bill of Rights or Declaration of Rights, undersigned in London on February 13th 1689 (one of the cornerstones of the United Kingdom’s constitutional system, since it declares people’s rights and liberties towards the monarchy). I am secondly referring to the Magna Charta Libertatum (“of Liberties”) that came to the light in Runnymede, near Windsor in Britain, on June 15th 1215. This charter has been reestablished several times after its issue, until it became part of the English common law.
We have here five well-structured enterprises, by means of which some groups of humans, facing those who detain and exert power, intended to make their own rights clear and progressively those of other people too, who didn’t get the chance or weren’t able to do the same. I say “progressively” because, contrary to the previous four ones, the 1948 Declaration is specifically “universal”: it applies to every single human being, with no exception.
These charters are the result of an ongoing awareness about one’s own dignity: they have grounded a very transparent foundation, even if not a completely steady one, yet a starting point for our actions, aiming at bettering our condition as human beings. But these documents have been quite taken for granted: this, not because they have been reinforced and worked through, but because they not rarely were ignored by both their beneficiaries (large masses of people) and by those stakeholders of the economic, political, judicial, military and social power who should put them in place.
By looking at some analogies between these five solemn commitments of our humanity towards itself, we can gain some remakable results. First of all: these are all “Declarations”. A declaration is different from a simple “statement”, since it doesn’t just restrict itself to registering a state of affairs, albeit a shared one and hence potentially “objective”: it is expression of a will, committing the behaviour of those who are involved and consequently generating future possibilities that would otherwise not exist. It opens doors that, differently, might stay closed.
Open doors mean a real respect for a set of principles that we have declared to be major guidelines to our everyday conduct.
We are indeed talking about rights that are violated, ignored or hardly ever considered in many places of our planet, in western countries as well: they are scantly recognized by the majority of Human Beings who, after all, are also the main characters of those five declaring Manifestos.
Besides that, all five Charters are stating the right to elect their own delegates in assembly, making the principle of representation worthwhile: a principle that is being hindered today by those who would favour the so called direct democracy. They do not consider that the difference between freedom and manipulation does not consist of decisions “directed” or “mediated” by parliamentary gatherings, but that they rather consist of whether or not these decisions are taken by well informed parts. In fact, what really makes the difference is being able to be acquainted before deciding, in accordance with the guidelines inherited from our former and first President of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi.
We find in the UN Declaration the recognition of a legal status for every human being, that is for someone who is a subject, not less and not more than ALL his/her other counterparts. This subject is the owner of both Natural Rights (peculiar to his/her Essence) that are unalienable (not transferable, not amenable to be turned down) and of corresponding Duties: these latters are quoted both in the introduction to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and in the Article n. 10 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights as well.
It is worth of interest to observe that not just Nature has been made a source of such declaration:
- The Charter of Versailles holds its validity “under the guidance of the Supreme Being”, whereas:
- the American Declaration of Independence appeals to both “the Supreme Judge of the world” and to “the rectitude of our intentions in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies” and for the support of this Declaration “mutually pledges to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honour”.
The couple “Liberty and Rights”, occurring more times in the documents, gets strengthened by a Scale of Values (Honour, rectitude of intentions, Authority of the good people) rooting in a reality that is at the same time transcendent (supreme) and immanent (the judge of the World).
Both the Versailles and the American Declaration mention happiness (explicitly defined “of everyone” in the first one). In a time like ours, when we still are resigning ourself to “inevitably” suffering, it may be of some help to deal with definitions that were considered as axiomatic already more than two centuries ago in Philadelphia, when the United States were about to be born:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”.
Happiness is quoted twice; it calls back to the “safety”, which is granted by the UN Declaration and also finds its quote in the Bill of Rights of 1689, a century before the French Revolution.
It is hardly necessary to mention that the five Documents have been issued in England, in France and in the United States: three countries whose solid democratic grounds, as represented by their Charters, do not exactly seem to be honoured by the conduct of their rulers during the last decades: and this only apparently is another story.
The five Declarations, as a complex in itself and in a form of completion and reinforcement towards each other, are aiming at the acknowledgment and at the practical fulfillment of those principles bringing about development and physical, social, economical and cultural respect of the person.
They are stating:
- the Habeas Corpus.
- the prohibition of unjustified detention, torture, cruel treatments or cruel, merciless or degrading punishments,
- equity of penalties,
- economic dignified treatment.
They declare apparently obvious guidelines, if it weren’t for the reason that they are often neither applied nor known:
- the division of powers,
- the public force, established “for the advantage of everybody and not for particular interest of those in charge of it” that furthermore is payed by the collectivity (Declaration of Versailles),
- the equity of taxation in agreement with the people’s representants (as already stated by the 1215 Magna Charta Libertatum),
- the complete freedom to express one’s own thought,
- the guarantee against any prosecution due to religious principles (core of the 1689 English Declaration),
- the security, the property, the resistance to oppression,
- the faculty to claim and to request satisfaction of one’s due rights by public authority.
All this has a name coupled to the terms “Liberty” and “Rights”, and this name is “Dignity”: it is defined in the introduction of the UN Declaration as “pertinent to all members of the human kinship” where the article number one states that “All human beings have been born as free and equal in dignity and rights. They are provided with reason and consciousness and must act towards each other in spirit of brotherhood”.
Individuals of the human species are definined as “brothers”, basing upon different philosophical, religious and political traditions, included the masonic one. They are conceived as part of one family and provided with reason and consciousness. It is remarkable that the Declaration speaks of dignity and rights in the introduction and, taking back that association in the first article, it in the same time introduces the concept of “duty”.
That the couple “Dignity-Duty” be potentially the main entrance towards an evolutionary path and a way to initiation, it can be guessed when reading the 1496 “Oration on the Dignity of Man” by Pico della Mirandola.
Pico writes that “God the Father, the Mightiest Architect” (typical expression later used by Masonry), after having already raised this world we see, “a temple most august, according to the precepts of His hidden wisdom (…) still longed for some creature which might comprehend the meaning of so vast an achievement, which might be moved with love at its beauty and smitten with awe at its grandeur”.
He hence created Man and set him in the middle of the world and thus spoke to him:
“We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may have and possess through your own judgement and decision. The nature of all other creatures is defined and restricted within laws which We have laid down; you, by contrast, impeded by no such restrictions, may, by your own free will, to whose custody We have assigned you, trace for yourself the lineaments of your own nature. I have placed you at the very center of the world, so that from that vantage point you may with greater ease glance round about you on all that the world contains. We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, in order that you may, as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through your own decision, to rise again to the superior orders whose life is divine“.
I believe that when speaking about the faculty of Observing, Rising oneself up or Descending to the lowest, Pico describes the human Consciousness facing the thresholds of perception and elevation, which are controlled by the respective esoteric guardians. Our Consciousness is able to internalize the awareness of its own Dignity and to defend it. Or it may forget of this, inevitably making itself a slave of those who can exploit ignorance or lack of memory.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen proclaims, in the first sentence of its introduction, that “ignorance, forgetfulness or contempt of the rights of man [are] the only causes of public misfortunes and the corruption of Governments”.
Therefore Consciousness and Memory (that is absence of ignorance and forgetfulness) give shape to every people’s dignity (and, consequently, to the entire human people); yet without any memory Consciousness gets itself lost, because it is neither everlasting nor unchangeable. Its has to be constantly nourished and regenerated by means of knowledge and by making use of any results it yields, thanks to its trail of experience.
A conscious practice is the core of our Honour and Dignity.
Why does memory get lost? What does step in, cutting the thread of the human progress? We need to make a step forward and to remember that other rights are available and functional to the maintenance of our well aware presence:
- The Right to know more about ourselves and to recognize our multidimensional being (body, mind, spirit),
- The Right to preserve memory of our lives and of our past and parallel dimensions, since we are souls that bear in themselves the layering of what we were been and still are right now, elsewhere,
- The Right to know that in the multi-dimension in which we are living, our genetic mind is there: it means to us a stack of experiences lying below our level of consciousness and yet affecting and restricting our free will,
- The Right to know about what laws of mental energy are shaping this multi-dimension, every part of which has its own mechanics,
- The Right to make use of Arts and Creativity when bringing about all these knowledges,
- The Right, paradoxically, to the oblivion of what aforementioned: yet only after having recalled it, in a way that taking no account of it would result as a free choice and not as an obligation of the culture and civilization (especially the western ones) we are living in.
How can we fulfill our Duties and shape our Rights if, at the moment of a new incarnation into a human body, are we forgetting every gained acquaintance, every attained result, every reflection we have been developing about the existence just elapsed?
At least a part of those who had issued the five Declarations owned advanced esoteric understandings that have been put into practice on purpose by written means. Where did this legacy of Essence, underlying the Charters, end up? Why, after centuries, we still have not internalized them so deeply that we could acquire them into our spiritual DNA?
Something is working against us, notwithstanding our efforts to leave behind us a trace of all we have gained for the advantage of our posterity (and of that same part of us, which will acquire new “human” appearances, other roles on the planetary stage).
Regaining the content of the five Declarations, progressively one more advanced than the other (because something remains between one incarnation and the other!), will mean leading us back to the Path, acknowledging the deep Rights and Duties that make it necessary and possible at the same time.
In this sense the practical and daily fulfillment of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the former other Declarations requires an esoteric and initiated path: an internal passage beyond the threshold of our obscure dimensions (included that of the end of life and of death) until there will be a comprehension and a defeat of our inner daemons, personal and collective.
In case we still forget it, Consciusness is the Entity that is able to observe the World: the other creatures (be these beast or angel) are subdue, in an unaware form, to well-defined laws they can’t escape (“The nature of all other creatures is defined and restricted within laws which We have laid down; you, by contrast, impeded by no such restrictions, may, by your own free will, to whose custody We have assigned you, trace for yourself the lineaments of your own nature” Pico della Mirandola writes).
For this reason, the Instants of Awareness, springing out of Consciousness when we understand something, deserve our determined defense, by a way of initiation that will teach us not to lose them but rather to pass them on.
Only in this way we shall be able to establish our sovereignty, which before being a Political, a Social and Economical, cannot be other than a Spiritual one.
The 1789 French Declaration makes clear under the article n. 3, in a sort of autentic declaration of intents, that “The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation”.
Our “Treccani” Italian vocabulary claims that “Nation” (a term originated from the Italian verb “nascere”, meaning “to be born”) is a number o individuals sharing their origin, language and history, and who are aware of such unity even when not gathered under a political unity. Upon this awareness is founded its “sovereignty”, that is owning a power and authority not depending on other forms of superordinate power or authority.
Well, I believe that our Spirituality does have all the dignity that is needed for not accepting any forms of subordination.
Still leafing through the Treccani we learn that “Dignity” and “Honour” are almost synonyms, being the former “the condition of moral nobility which Man is placed into by his grade, by his inherent qualities, by his own human nature and also by the respect due for the sake of his condition and due to himself”; whereas the latter is “the personal dignity inasmuch as it bounces back from other people’s consideration/reputation and, in a more positive sense, is the moral value, a person’s esteem”.
The newborn United States owned such a high sense of honour that they felt committed to make clear the source of their own rebellion to subordination: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation”.
The five Declarations I mentioned above are a real well of knowledge, human revival and will to redemption. A single article is not enough to get familiar with them: it is our commitment to fulfill our duty of keeping us informed, reading, studying them and remarking them, stopping to ignore them (in the true meaning of the word) or to take them for granted.
In them, and in the innner evolutionary path they represented to their authors, a path which they also request us to follow, as their heirs, lie the seeds of our present and future Actions for the rebirth of our Essence and Honour as Spiritual Entities. These Entities are Spiritual, Sensitive, Ancient, Unaware of themselves (and nevertheless not yet, completely, dead or forgotten), apparently despised by a certain Power; a power not showing itself, since these Entities are potentially mighty if just they would be aware of themselves. Yet they would be useful to the Power, if they could be exploited as an unaware source of emotional energy.
It lies in our hands to be determined to get all the different areas of the human knowledge of initiation together: this knowledge can progress further throughout a crossed renewal grounded on both tradition and the newest discoveries and developments. So we shall be able to be equipped with instruments of practice that, in the words of Pico della Mirandola, are means of regeneration towards divine and higher dimensions.
Blogger Rebis Group
Translation by Paolo Genta