The “ages” of civilization as the structures of political representation
Keywords:political representation, lawmaking, statecraft, governance, theology, Christianity, political theology, stages of development, metamodernism, representative democracy
The aim of this article is to delineate a comprehensive account of the development of human civilization in terms of increasingly representative structures of governance, structures that make people more and more present on the upper echelons of decision-making. I hypothesize that there are three essential dimensions of this development: first, media of communication becoming increasingly abstract makes society increasingly conscious of itself because it gets the ability of self-reflection and self-critique from increasingly complex perspectives that do increasing justice to the society; second, the anthropomorphizing/relativizing of the increasingly creative forms of life; third, if the law-making is conducted within the exchange of perspectives in which the being and the people are properly represented, the laws thus issued make societies increasingly free (1) from the dictate of violent power (2) and to practiсe the art of interdependence, that is, to create new models of cooperation. The basic narrative is that of a balancing between the dependence on the outside force and self-dependence; growth occurs when we are able to relativize the force that creates our life on this particular stage, that is, to establish communication with it. If we are too reliant upon it or upon our own power, we stop participating in the exchange of perspectives, in politics that creates new, wider and deeper, contexts for social life. In this sense, humans are “called” to representational politics, to make themselves and each other present on the upper levels of law-making, so that the laws by which people live do justice both to their own desires and to the reality outside of them. The possibility of this representational activity is grounded in the icon of the Trinity where persons make themselves present to each other to the extent of full transparency but without any erasure of the difference.
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