In their quest to determine the optimal system of government which fits our human condition, the Spirit world deliberately set in motion competing forms of governing. Having had a long history of tribal and kingship ruling experience, they knew these types of organizations did not promote the correct atmosphere for individual and collective improvement that was required. They used ancient Greece to survey a range of regimes from totalitarianism to democracy. Emmanuel surveys the trials of various forms of governments in ancient Greece and compares the results to the regimes that existed in pre-World War II Europe;
Many of the scientific theories that have caused such a stir in our time as ultramodern innovation were known in Greece, whose master laid their true foundations.
Grand experiments were conducted in matters of social doctrine, and an abundance of teaching were divulged. And as we consider the modern conflict between the totalitarian, fascist or communist states and the democratic republics, we ought to look back at the past and see Athens and Sparta as two political symbols that make us ponder how similar to our own times ancient Greece actually was (On the Way to the Light, 2011, p. 90).
Sparta was allowed to take the tradition of paying tribute to the state to a new level. Creating a society where the individual was completely subservient to the state. The all-powerful state consumed the entire energy of its people. Sparta was dedicated to the constant training for battle. And to their credit, for a time, Sparta manufactured the best warriors and army in the world. Spartan discipline and training was the envy of Greece. Emmanuel describes how invasive the Spartan lifestyle was;
Sparta experienced the absolute existence of the State. Did it not display the same characteristics as today’s Germany and Russia? (Note: written in 1938) Spartan law prohibited trade and condemned culture; restricting personal taste because of the enhancing bagatelles of life and sentiment, it decreed measures of isolationism and treated foreigners badly. It instituted a uniform dress code and took over the education of children through the organs of the State; but it did not cultivate the intellectual aspect, shaking the entire sacred edifice of the family and often creating a regime of robbery and denouncement in detriment of the noblest purpose of life (On the Way to the Light, 2011, p. 90).
One could replace the name Sparta and substitute Communist China during Mao’s reign and be astonishingly accurate. Governments that begin espousing the absolute equality of all citizens as interpreted by the state, become over time in control of a ruling elite. An elite who has one set of rules for the people and another reserved for the chosen few. Sparta, like the trajectory of Communist China today, eventually degraded into a corrupt oligarchy.
By the mid-5th century, land had become concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite, and the notion of all Spartan citizens being “equals” had become a farce (Wikipedia – Sparta, 2013).
Emmanuel closes out with his thoughts on the experiments in Greece with the conclusion that a democracy which protects individual freedom and restricts the role of governing to not intrude on our personal life is the preferred option;
This, Sparta went down in history as a mere culture of soldiers spreading destruction and the calamities of war, but with no constructive significance for humankind.
Athens, on the other hand, was the birthplace of true democracy. A nation that loved freedom deeply, its dedication to culture and the arts initiated other nations into the worship of life, creation and beauty (On the Way to the Light, 2011, p. 90).
Spiritism was introduced to us not only to help our personal faith, but to also lead the way to a culture of freedom, where each individual contributes. A set of values where the onus is on us to regulate the laws and power of government and to support others in their time of need. Not to cede our fraternal responsibility to a distant public institution. The Spiritist doctrine was presented to remind us of that fact, as Emmanuel discussed the weakness of the socialist ideologies that were formed in the 19th century and the precepts of Spiritism;
Due to its understanding of individual effort and labor, it was not deceived by the utopias of absolute equality (On the Way to the Light, 2011, p. 201).
According to the Spirit world, the aim of government is not to create an environment where a soul is reincarnated into a welfare state, where the government supplies all of the necessities and allows the truly lazy to do nothing to improve themselves. Perhaps for some, as a trial, but not as a general rule. Socialism, as practiced in Europe and the USA, is an artificial construct, where for a significant portion of citizens and designated corporations there are no consequences to their actions. People can choose not to study hard, never look for work, help no one, or a multitude of other activities we see on a daily basis and never pay the price of wrong decisions. The same is true for companies supported by the state, even though they are mostly inefficient institutions and society would be better served by alternatives selected by the marketplace. Emmanuel explains how Spiritism is able to assist in our relationship with government;
With the truths of reincarnation, it explained the absurdity of absolute egalitarian theories and
worked on restoring the true way for human progress. Framing socialism within Christian postulates, it had no illusions concerning external reforms and concluded that only meaningful renewal was that of the inner self (On the Way to the Light, 2011, p. 201).
The Spirit world doesn’t desire a world of equal outcomes for all. Spirits are meant to strive for different goals. Life must at times be hard for some and easy for others, so each may grow and pass their intended trials.
Therefore, we have a guide to the limits desired by the Spirit world. Government should be an enabler, an enabler of personal creativity, personal charity and personal achievements, while providing a safe and just environment to attain our desires. Government should provide services but not solutions for their citizens.