Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 10, No. 11, November 2014
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Somism: Beyond Individualism and Collectivism
Toward a World of Peace and Justice

Carmine Gorga

This article was originally published in
The Somist Institute, 16 October 2014


Somism attempts to discover some of the interrelationships that exist among politics, economics, law, philosophy, and spirituality. These interrelationships tend to transform our understanding of each discipline treated and to destroy the current polarization in our economic and political language. These relationships will eventually become safe guides to action.

The Context

As the mind controls the hand, so ideas control actions. We live in a polarized political world today, because our ideas live in two opposite extremes: the Individual vs. Society. On the basis of “the Individual,” we build the language of Individualism and Capitalism; on the basis of “Society,” we build the language of Collectivism, Socialism, Communism.

We need new language, a language that reflects the nuanced reality of daily life rather than the polarized vision dictated by ideologies. The reality is that human beings live in a series of interlocked circles, one into the other, up and down an ascending and descending ladder that organically goes from the Individual to an ever larger circle and higher level of Society and from the highest level of Society back to the Individual.

The ancient aspiration of humanity has always been to build the ideal society in which the individual human being thrives, not at the expense of other human beings but in synchrony with others. Today more than ever we have the tools and the wherewithal to build as nearly an ideal society as we can imagine it. Let us do it.

The Political Problem

Communism, as one of the extreme forms of Collectivism, is dead. And Individualism is not too well off. Guided by ideologies oscillating between these two extremes, the social, economic, and political world is falling back into Dickensian conditions that once gave rise to Communism. Dismal conditions are again prevalent the world over. Are we forever going to swing back and forth between these two extremes? The hallmark of Civilization is a constant search for balance between extremes.

It is clearly time to look for an alternative to both extreme systems of political science. Individualism and Collectivism are the two extreme poles of the political discourse. They are both abstract entities without real content. At their base, stand the Individual alone and Society (without human beings). These are all-encompassing abstractions. The “Individual,” the person alone in the world, is an abstract creation of the last five hundred years: If you have a father and mother, you are a member of society; if your father and mother were men and women in white chemise manipulating the content of glass beakers in a biology lab, you are a member of society. Society without human beings is, of course, a more offensive abstraction: Yet, this abstraction has assumed the power to send human beings to the Gulag.

Apart from brilliant rhetoric, nothing solid could have possibly been built on either one of the two abstractions. The rhetoric is as brilliant as it is powerful. Calling upon the higher aspirations of human beings each abstraction not only infuses fanaticism about one’s own superiority; it has a built-in enemy in the person who happens to fall for the allures of the opposing ideology. Both constructions split society in two and pit one part against the other.

The social reality is composed of “men and women in the social context,” a long expression that can be contracted into Somism. The roots of Somism are very old in substance. As David S. Wise pointed out to this writer, Soma was the ancient Hindu "Moon" god, also called Chandra, the father of Budha. Soma was also a counterpart of Ambrosia and manna; one verse of the Rigveda (8.48.3) relates that “We have drunk Soma and become immortal; we have attained the light, the Gods discovered.” In ancient Greek, Soma means body, namely a "living, aware, bodily person." In genetics, somatic cells contain DNA arranged in chromosomes; each pair of chromosomes comprises one chromosome inherited from the father and one inherited from the mother. In its modern formulation, the word Somism was coined by this writer in the 1960s. Somism stands for the theory and practice of the Social Man and Woman, the Civilized Person. Somism is offered as what we are searching for if we want to gradually climb our way out of the abyss into which both Individualism and Collectivism have plunged us for way too long.

Individualism and Collectivism, as extreme intellectual bipolar constructs, find their roots in Rationalism—whose death throes we are now witnessing. [1] Somism is rooted in an expansion of Rationalism, work in progress during the last twenty years that this writer likes to call Relationalism. [2] The aim of Relationalism is gradually to put everything in relation to everything else in a methodical, logical, and technical fashion. Thus Somism is an attempt to find the connections that exist in reality between Individualism and Collectivism, a way of relating individual parts to the whole of society. This is a way of discovering truths that exist in each part and relate them to the context of men and women in society.

The Fundamental Structure of Somism

Somism is an intellectual attempt to integrate the aspirations of Individualism with those of Collectivism. This is not a search for the “third way”; rather, it is a search for the right way. The historical roots of Somism lie, in equal parts, in Individualism and in Collectivism. The full display of Somism is contained in the following figure:

Figure 1. The Somist Synthesis

This construction allows us to make a fundamental adjustment in our understanding of the world of political science. It allows us to see that Individualism and Collectivism, rather than being opposed to each other, are two complementary conceptions of the social and political reality. One moves the observation from society to the individual person, the other from the individual person to society. The two visions, if and when complete, are perfectly symmetrical—even though one of them is upside down.

The dialogue, and often the lack of dialogue, between adherents to Individualism and Collectivism primarily stems from their insistence on giving primacy either to society or the individual person. Underneath this choice there are terribly complex philosophical issues, [3] which are eschewed here just because Somism is an attempt to escape the circularity of argumentation that is unavoidable in any symmetrical visions of reality. To achieve this feat, rather than two, Somism posits the existence of three objective entities: Man, Society, and Man in Society. The difference between the Individualist, the Collective, and the Somist understanding of society can be put this simply: for Individualists, society does not exist; [4] for Collectivists, society is composed of the numerical addition of Self plus The Other; for Somists, society is composed of the relation between Self and The Other. Somism is best approached through an analysis of its content.

The Content of Somism

Somism accepts the existence of both Man and Society, not as separate elements but as an integration of the two. Hence, the Social Man and Woman, the Civilized Person: the individual person observed into the context of the civilized society. And, with the goal of building or rebuilding the civilized society, rather than spending much time on the analysis of these general characteristics, Somism prefers to deal with the specifics. Specifically, Somism makes twelve concrete and three abstract recommendations. The first four relate to politics; one relates to sociology; and four relate to economics; some of these suggestions are then fused into three additional recommendations to be applied in international relations. These suggested practices are unified by the word “Concordian,” hence we will be looking at four recommended practices of Concordian politics, one practice of Concordian sociology, four practices of Concordian economics, and three practices of Concordian international relations—as well as three intellectual recommendations about Concordian financing, Concordian ontology, and Concordian spirituality.

Concordian Politics

Four recommended practices of Concordian politics are: Unity in Diversity; Popular Sovereignty, Democratic Equality, and the Rule of Law. These four core ideals have been discovered by this writer’s colleague, William R. Collier, Jr., who synthesizes them as United People's Democratic Republic, from which the acronyms Upadaria and Upadarianism spring forth (see Upadaria). The four ideals are an integrated set: it is not possible to achieve any one of them without achieving all four of them as a pervasive and lasting state. Also, while these four core ideals have been well understood individually so far, only by Collier have they been proposed together as an integrated system of politics.

Unity in Diversity. A Biblical insight states, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” It cannot stand for long; it cannot stand well. Unity is essential to the preservation, indeed to the very dynamic existence, of any political state. Without unity nothing can be achieved; and whatever was ever achieved at great cost in the past is put in jeopardy by protracted disunity. If so, how can unity be achieved? The answer is only apparently contradictory, which means that it hides a deep verity. In a state like the United States unity can be achieved only if the infinite diversity of “the other” is deeply respected. This truth is self-evident and has mostly been practiced in the United States; yet, it is valid for every other country in the world as well. There is no state that is so homogeneous as to not require respect for diversity; and even if one could produce a country homogenous in one respect, it would not take long to discover elements of deep diversity in its population—whether in relation to distribution of incomes or distribution of talents.

In the face of such ineradicable differences among human beings, how can one achieve unity? The magic solution—and the solution is indeed magic, because it is not reducible to the constraints of mechanical reproduction—is to reduce the search for unity to the area of essentials. The greater the respect for diversity, the higher the chances of achieving unity. The search always starts anew. The solution is never achieved forever.

The respect for diversity is rooted in the acknowledgment that everyone has something to bring to the table of life. Not only that. The respect for diversity is rooted in the acknowledgment that diversity is the source of life—whether biological or intellectual life.

Essential are matters that relate to preservation of existence and morality.

The first duty of a state is to preserve its existence; the second is to preserve the conditions of morality. And morality cannot be reduced to sex. Morality is the condition that allows for a maximum space for love and maximum restriction of the sources of hate among human beings. Thus morality, properly interpreted, fosters the life of other human beings and automatically the life of all human beings. Hence morality is the precondition for the preservation of the state. In matters of preservation of existence and morality there can be no compromise; in all other cases compromise ought to reign—especially if, as Louis D. Brandeis pointed out, the other fellow insists on wanting something I want to get rid of.

Preservation and development of morality is the common goal that unifies a nation.

A modern definition of morality encompasses three injunctions; do not do harm to others; do not do harm to yourself; do not allow others to harm you. [5]

Popular Sovereignty. In a non-theocratic state, the sovereign is neither the king nor the mob. In the United Sates, it is clear who reigns. The sovereign is We the People. We are all singly and jointly sovereign. We govern ourselves; we have self-government; we have government of the self. Which means that we, the ideal citizens, are those who have fully integrated into our existence the principle of Unity in Diversity—as well as those who are fully conversant with the principle of Democratic Equality.

Democratic Equality. Equality has become an ideology capable of destroying the infinite individuality of each human being. What is equality then? While in the present we are all unique, in relation to the future we are all potentially equal: We all have the same potential of becoming saints and/or sinners. We are all equal only to the extent that we are all different from one another. Equality does not destroy all differences. True equality tends to elevate each one of us to the standards of those who have pursued and achieved the highest virtues in life. This is a topic whose most important characteristics are best addressed within the concrete context of economic policy.

Rule of Law. We can achieve and preserve unity only if we live by and in the law. We respect the law, because we made it. After much considered opinion, we can even change the law. We can change the law because we made it. We all contributed to the extent of our potential to the creation of the law. We make the law because we govern ourselves. And the best laws we make are those that respect each and every one of us in our awesome diversity.

If we pursue these four core ideals, in Bill Collier’s word, we achieve Concordia. So far, Concordia is the private Utopia of a few Concordians. If, as John Kenneth Galbraith put it to this writer, our thrust is in the right direction, we will get there: we will live with multitudes in Concordia. In any case the journey, as Robert Louis Stevenson put it in “El Dorado,” is more important than the destination. The important decision is to start walking together now.

Come to think of it, do not these four core ideals constitute the spirit of the United States Constitution? Do they not form our spiritual constitution? Do they not represent the Constitution in action; do they not translate the Constitution into daily actions? If we aim to preserve our Constitution, as stressed by Benjamin Franklin, we had better observe these four core ideals in our daily lives. We had better walk in our forefathers’ shoes. The way is tested and true. It is the tempting detours that are leading us astray.

Concordian Sociology

From Sun Tzu to von Clausewitz and their followers, the world has spent an inordinate amount of time devising ways to create relations of subjugation and dependence among people. The genius of the American Revolution and the United States Constitution was to create structures of Political Independence. It is now time for everyone to learn socio-economics, a task which is much simplified in the classic, “I, Pencil: My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read.” It is available at the Foundation for Economic Education. The lesson learned by Leonard Read is that economics is ruled by relations of interdependence. Hence, the core of Concordian sociology is composed of only one recommendation that can best be put in the following terms:

Fully appreciative of the many blessings of the Declaration of Independence

it might now be an appropriate time to draft a


Whereas the Declaration of (Political) Independence has,
without open discussion,
been mostly transformed into a Declaration of Personal Independence;
Whereas this ideology has given rise to the Age of Entitlements,
an age dominated by the conception that there can be rights without responsibilities;
Whereas the lack of personal and civic responsibility
has generated the conception of Life as
Whereas this emphasis on our own welfare—
independent of, if not at the expense of,
the welfare of our fellow citizens—
has created economic insecurity for everyone, rich and poor alike,

we affirm that our greatest social need is to build a society
in which the reality of
Economic Interdependence
is fully acknowledged.

In this society, we declare, the fundamental conception of Life is
—and we trust that the effect will be economic jubilation for all.

In order to build such a society
we are called upon to realize the political ideals of
Liberty, Justice, and Goodwill toward one and all,
specifically, we are called upon to realize the four core ideals of Concordian politics:

Unity in Diversity
Popular Sovereignty
Democratic Equality
Rule of Law.

In order to build such a society our challenge is to deny all structures of individual and societal selfishness and to affirm

A Bill of Economic Rights and Responsibilities.

Concordian Economics

The core of Concordian economics is composed of the following integrated set, a bill, of economic rights and economic responsibilities. [6] This bill is constructed on the basis of the needs of the three factors of production that were identified by Classical economists as land, labor, and capital—enlarged to four factors so to clearly distinguish between modern forms of financial and physical capital.

First Set: We all have a right to access natural resources and a responsibility to compensate the community for the exclusive use of such resources;

Second Set: We all have a right to enjoy the fruits of our labor and a responsibility to work to the best of our ability;

Third Set: We all have a right to access national credit for the purpose of creating new wealth while spreading its ownership among all those who create it and a responsibility to repay any such loans;

Fourth Set: We all have a right to protect our wealth and a responsibility to respect the wealth of others.

As it can be seen, this set of economic rights is rooted into its own correspondent set of economic responsibilities. Indeed, as pointed out by this writer in the Spring 1999 issue of the Journal of Markets and Morality, economic rights can be legally and morally acquired only through the exercise of their correspondent economic responsibilities. [7] This is a construction that does not only allow us to receive economic justice from everyone, but also to grant economic justice to everyone else. Since this bill of economic rights and responsibilities is an expression of true interdependence, its implementation will do wanders; especially if it is implemented at home and abroad. Hence we need to advocate for Concordian international relations; we need to build a world of peace and justice.

Concordian International Relations: Toward a World of Peace and Justice

We all talk peace. From the United Nations to City Halls to family parlors, we all talk peace. But, harsh as the expression might sound at first hearing, we do not do peace. We seem to labor under the spell of The Great Rationalistic Illusion that it is enough to utter the word in order to perform the deed. There are three actions we have to pursue, if we really want peace. We have to create three sets of teams for peace and justice.

First Set of TeamsExperts in Foreign Affairs Within A Department of Peace. We have to stop thinking that we have to destroy the town in order to save the town; that we have to destroy the country in order to make it safe for democracy. The Department of Defense can save us from attack, but it cannot bring peace to lands where there is no peace. It is only a Department of Peace that can bring peace at home and abroad—and in the long run it is the only instrument for mankind to win the war against terrorism.

As advocated by US Representative Dennis Kucinich, let us establish a Department of Peace right here in the United States. If we do that, it is reasonable to expect that Europe, and perhaps even Russia and China and Iran and Venezuela, will follow suit. Duplication of effort, redoubling of effort throughout the world should be welcomed.

Let us assist Palestinians to establish their own Department of Peace, immediately thereafter. And of course, the other country that should be encouraged to establish a Department of Peace is Israel. And then there are all other countries from Iraq to Sudan. We know the list.

The most important element in the chain of needs is that the Department of Peace, without resources, would be a mockery. But where do we find the resources, especially at a time of substantial deficits and budget cuts? Well, the first candidate is a voluntary—free and willing—transfer of, say, ten percent of resources from the current budget of the Department of Defense. The experts in this department will candidly tell you that it is impossible—with their means—to stop terrorism. What the voter has to see is that, given the proper means, it is possible to stop terrorism. We cannot give in to pessimism and despair. We must indeed stop terrorism.

Only a Department of Peace can plan for peace, by intimately knowing the geography, the history, and the culture of each county in which the USA is involved, by creating SWAT Teams for peace and justice for each country, then by training local people to carry out their mission of peace and justice, and finally endowing them with satisfactory intellectual and material means to achieve their goal. These then are the next two sets of teams that we have to create: Teams for Peace; Teams for Justice—teams that no longer talk and plan about peace and justice, but teams that actually carry out the tasks of peace and justice on location.

Second Set of TeamsSWAT Teams for Peace. The second suggestion is for the Department of Peace to create an appropriate number of SWAT teams for peace. (Would not ten percent of the people currently working within the Department of Defense give an eyetooth for the transfer of their energies toward such a function?) Call them Circles of Love. I prefer to call them Mary’s Messengers of Mercy, because Mary is the only person who is highly respected in all three monotheistic religions. If we monotheists truly honor her, she will be more easily honored by other religions as well.

The Circles of Love should do precisely what their name implies: They should create circles of love around hamlets, and villages, and cities, and nations where hate prevails today. Depending on the number of teams available and the specific mission to be carried out, the pacification program should proceed house by house, starting from the outermost ring of the area of trouble and proceeding toward the center. The ideal is to build "circles of love" around every trouble spot of the world. Each team should be composed of at least two or three volunteers—one volunteer from each of the major faiths that prevail in the areas to be pacified. There should be no discrimination as to age or sex. The specific formation of the teams will depend on the particular needs to be addressed. Indeed, one need not even go abroad. With perhaps only minor modifications, the entire approach might also be used to help solve many problems of "downtown" areas in all major cities of the world. In each nation there seem to be areas in which peace does not reign.

The prerequisite should be a simple willingness to pray together with the victims of violence. The teams should implore for the shooting to stop—and for the vicious circle of revenge to stop. No sane politics issues from the barrel of a gun.

A More Specific Definition of Means. Governments use force trying to achieve peace. And they rarely succeed. The churches, the mosques, the synagogues, and most other religious affiliations know this reality quite well. They have always preached that peace can be achieved only through love. The time perhaps has come to transform preaching into teaching and enacting.

Training the Teams. Perhaps the most important tool to be given to each member of the team is the ability to pray together with people of a different faith. Each team should be trained to speak local language(s), and should be familiar with the history and the culture of the place to be pacified. But development of leadership skills and negotiating techniques such as "getting to yes" should also be part of the curriculum. Above all, members should not only teach but practice the four core ideals of Concordian politics.

Participation by Civil Authorities. The various religions might want to start the effort on their own. But, if the formation of such teams should involve large number of trainees, financial support from various Departments of Peace might be a necessity. To a very minimum, overall support from governments might be requested from the start for a variety of purposes: for instance, to obtain current intelligence data, and at least detailed information about the geography, demographics, and economics of the area. But since the "circles of love" should be conceived as an army of love, advice as to strategic deployment of the teams should also be obtained from military experts of the various nations that might want to participate in the effort.

Risk to Life and Limb. Undoubtedly, there would be risk to life and limb involved in the deployment of such teams. The rationale for accepting this risk is simply stated. If the various Departments of Peace and the various religions do not take the initiative to obtain peace, the military sooner or later will intervene. Through the military, risk to life and limb is increased many times over for all contestants—not excluding extant civilian populations.

Third Set of TeamsSWAT Teams for Justice. The third suggestion is for all religions and the Department of Peace to create SWAT teams for justice. Specifically, SWAT teams for economic justice. It is easy to conceive of teams of farmers and plumbers, carpenters and electricians working together with local populations building projects that are essential to the sustenance of life—all the while using the four sets of economic rights and economic responsibilities concerning land, labor, financial capital, and physical capital. They would indeed do peace; they would indeed do justice.

Upadaria or Concordia, the New Utopia

The health of all past Utopias has not been too strong or long lasting. No sooner was their intellectual structure erected that it was destroyed by mad men and not a few mad women in authority. Indeed, if the world appears to be touching the bottom of despair these days, it is because we are no longer able to do much better than conceive of Negative Utopias—and with Communism and Fascism we did realize them, thankfully only for a relatively short time. What is the hope then of ever building Upadaria or Concordia, to use words coined by Bill Collier, as the long-lasting New Utopia?

The hope stems from the realization that all past Utopias were going into the future blind and directionless. There was no practical intellectual structure to inspire and sustain them. Concordia is instead led by Somism in its tripartite division of Concordian politics, Concordian sociology, and Concordian economics—to be implemented both at home and abroad. And, if this is not enough reassurance yet, Somism has in its quiver three additional recommendations that can also be deployed: Concordian financing; Concordian ontology; and Concordian spirituality. These are constructs that, even without our awareness, enter deeply into every aspect of our lives.

Concordian Financing. So far, this writer has not dared to utter the word “capitalism,” not so much because it is one of those ultimate words that arrest the conversation, but because we did not yet have the proper framework of ideas to deal with it. We do now. The inner spirit of Capitalism is such a mysterious and powerful force that it was transmogrified into State Capitalism, where it was supposed to be destroyed by its presumed mortal enemy, Communism. (Rarely, if ever, is it realized that Communism is State Capitalism-minus-political-freedom.) Such an adaptable institution as Capitalism must be a peculiar variety, a stunted variety, of true Capitalism—just as true Communism has been construed as being transmogrified into State Communism.

The Capitalism of our daily experience can in fact be identified as 5% Capitalism—or Capitalism that favors only about 5% of the population.

These transformations can be clarified by placing into our familiar framework:

Figure 2. Three Forms of Financing

The middle rectangle of this construction presents a new entity, Concordianism, not as a form of abstract Concordian economics but as a specific form of financing: Concordian financing. (Concordianism is not as a “third way” between Capitalism and Communism, but the right way.) The task is to build a system of capital financing that benefits 100% of the population 100% of the time. Other possible names are: 100% Capitalist, or Upadarian, or Somist, or Relational financing. For such concrete alternatives, the reader might look into some of the financial institutions designed by this writer over the years: A Mutual Assurance Fund, A Financial Interdependence Fund, and A Bottom-Up Monetary Policy. [8]

The most synthetic expression of a Bottom-Up, Rights-Based Monetary Policy can be found in the following petition that is circulating on the Internet:

A Patriotic Reform of the Fed

A Petition to the
Chair of the Federal Reserve System
U.S. Representatives and Senators

After celebrating the 100 anniversary year of the creation of the Federal Reserve System (the Fed), intense scrutiny of its charter is inevitable.

While many today are agitating for the destruction of the Fed, our campaign is designed to Reform the Fed.

It is our considered opinion, as set forth in the following paragraphs, that all we need to do is to bring three technical changes to the Fed’s process of creation and distribution of money.

While small, in their implementation these changes will function as tipping points, whereby everything will change in the economic system to benefit every member of our nation – to the detriment of no one!

The Chair of the Federal Reserve System has the power to implement these changes through administrative decision.

Unless the Federal Reserve System exercises its freedom to implement these changes through administrative decision at the earliest possible date, we request that our Congress enact these changes into law.

In this case, we will have to call for a thoroughgoing review and revamp of the Fed's Congressional Charter and more democratic governance, including openness, transparency, and accountability.

And should the Fed be opposed to these changes, we suggest an alternative course of action: The Congress shall leave undisturbed all functions that the Fed is so admirably performing, but will create a new federal bank and/or a set of regional banks to administer the process of creation and distribution of money in the interest of the nation as a whole, as suggested below.

At present this petition is being circulated by a small grass-roots group of people in the Greater Boston area. We are inviting people from all walks of life and all regions of the country to join us so that this petition represents the will of “We the People”.

Credit to the People

Whereas: The current management of money is broke, because

in varying degrees:

It does not serve the poor;
It does not serve the middle class;
It does not serve the rich, but the quick and the sharpies; and

Whereas: The Fed creates new money on the strength of national credit; and

Whereas: The value of national credit is not created by bankers;

Whereas: The value of national credit is created by the blood sweat and tears of all of us, We the People;

Therefore: We ask that the Fed administratively decides or legislatively be made to issue

1. Loans—not grants—ONLY for the creation of new real wealth (neither for the purchase of consumer goods, nor for the purchase of financial assets);

2. Loans at cost of administration (not at variable interest rates);

3. Loans for the benefit of all the people in our country; hence, loans have to be issued not exclusively to financiers, but to individual entrepreneurs, governmental entities, cooperatives, and corporate enterprises that have Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) in their constitutions.


We the People shall exercise

our unalienable right


access to national credit.

Concordian Ontology. It was a healthy shock to this writer’s being to discover a few years ago that at the same time Plato—circa 500 BC—set the intellectual world of the West ablaze with his conception of Being, Buddha set the intellectual world in the East ablaze with his conception of Not-Being. The world has not stopped intellectualizing about the meaning of these two entities ever since. In the process, both the East and the West have—though apparently unawares—agreed that both conceptions cannot be static. They must be dynamic. Hence both the East and the West have invented the conception of Becoming. Yet, the West has lost its sense in the totally abstract conception of Essence—without ever asking the simple question: essence of what? The East, instead, has been much more advanced and concrete in its intellectualization of Becoming. The East has deeply investigated it through the amazingly complex and fertile apparatus of Ying/Yang. Strangely enough, but quite naturally enough, the Middle East—or more specifically, the Muslim World—came up with a middle ground conception beyond Being and Becoming: At its very birth during the VII Century AD, Islam discovered the conception of Existence. Western ontology has fought the acceptance of this conception ever since, preferring the unavoidable death of metaphysics.

Relational methodology allows us to rebuild ontology along the following lines:

Figure 3. Relational Ontology

Figure 3 reads as follows: Being, an entity which we know not, hence might equally appropriately be called Not-Being, becomes Existence. And Existence constantly attempts to return to the state of Being.

Concordian Spirituality. We will not achieve peace—and concord, or Concordia—in the world, until we achieve intellectual peace. Relational ontology offers us a chance to create peace horizontally, so to speak, across the vast geographic confines of the world. Yet deep—or vertical peace, so to speak—peace and concord will not be achieved until we obtain peace internally within each one of us. Relational spirituality might grant us that much. Again, the world of spirituality is replete with strife. We have even given a name to this state of affairs: we call it the war of the “two cultures.” It all starts with, well, the Cartesian and rationalistic conception of the world; namely, the split between mind and matter. Starting from this dualistic, hence totally symmetric—and yet still presented in a linear fashion—conception of the world, our familiar relational methodology offers us the opportunity to construct a tripartite and organic understanding of the world.

When Einstein revolutionized the world of physics, he announced his discovery as the equivalence of matter to energy. Yet, neither he nor any other physicist has asked this question: if the relation between matter and energy is one of equivalence, where is the third term? This writer discovered the third term one day while reading Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics (1980). He was then up up up in the sky over the Atlantic. Did this position help him along? Whatever the case, this is the answer he found that day: Spirit. Spirit is the third term that logically and indissolubly links matter to energy. He then built this equivalence:

Matter double_arrow50x14.gif  Spirit double_arrow50x14.gif  Energy

Later, these relationships were analyzed in greater technical detail, presented together in our familiar geometric format, and published in a peer-reviewed journal run by a group of physicists. [9] As pointed out there, the simplest way to read this construction is this: One enters into the stone with a hammer; into the energy of the stone with a cyclotron; and into its spirit with prayer.

In 1946 Einstein remarked: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking.” [10] With the establishment of the equivalence of matter to spirit and to energy, everything changes. The war between the two cultures will eventually come to a screeching halt, because, as Einstein also said: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” [11] We will then be on the road to acquiring internal peace.

In fact, even the wars among the various religions might come to a screeching halt. This is the last aspiration of Somism; the last aspiration of the Social Man and Woman, the Civilized person. It might take some doing and some time. Yet, if we think hard about it, this goal is fully within our grasp. Certainly, adherents to Hinduism will recognize themselves in the fundamental equivalence proposed above; and adherents to Americanism, the religion of the American Indians, will do the same. But what of the three monotheistic religions? It seems that the conception of the Messiah is the stumbling block. Yet, a true understanding of the Messiah reveals an astonishing similarity in the inner structure of the three religions: Christians and Jews will no longer disagree, if we Christians are humble enough to ask this question: sure I hold in my spirit the precious body of the historic Christ at Communion, but do I also hold the Spiritual Christ? That is the Jewish Messiah, indeed.

The followers of Allah will have the most difficult task of all. Their conception of the Messiah is written very deep into the Koran. Vali Asr is the revered Hidden Imam, whose appearance someday, Shiite Muslims believe, will establish the perfect Islamic political community. Is Vali Asr any different from the Jewish Messiah?

It is then up to Christians to reveal to the world that Jesus came to unify the world, not to divide it. It is up to the Christians to live up to their tripartite commandment to love God, love neighbor, and love oneself. It is up to Christians to reveal that Jesus did not ask to be revered but to revere “our father,” namely to revere Yahweh just as much as to revere Allah! If we do believe that Jesus is God, then Jesus is Yahweh; Jesus is Allah.

Concluding Comments

This is certainly not the place to defend the validity of any one of the proposed recommendations included above. Each one of them will have to stand on its own. They can be seen as a series of spheres within spheres. There is plenty of room for improvement; there is plenty of room for detail to be added on each point.

There is no separation among the worlds of politics, economics, law, philosophy, and spirituality. Our innermost being is deeply rooted in each one of these worlds. We do not achieve a world of peace unless we integrate all those worlds within ourselves first and in relation to other fellow human beings thereafter. There was a time when all we had to care for was the neighbor next cave over. Then we started taking care of the neighbor within our village. With the development of the megalopolis, we have lost all ability to recognize our neighbor. Strangely though, the neighbor is now clamoring to be recognized across national boundaries as well as across spiritual boundaries. We had better listen to that person, the potential terrorist. Chaos theory, after all, has proven that the flap of a butterfly in China might lead to a hurricane in the Untied States. [12] How much more true is this theory in human relations! How much more true it is in international relations.


[1] See, e.g., John Lukacs, At the End of an Age (2002).

[2] See, e.g., Carmine Gorga, Toward Relational Ontology: From Matter to Spirit through Physics and Metaphysics (December 21, 2009). Available at SSRN or DOI.

[3] Some of these theoretical complexities have been recollected in Vol. 4, No 1 issue of The Aquinas Review (1997).

[4] Most famously, Margaret Thatcher, now the late Lady Thatcher, falls into this category of thinkers. Interestingly, it must be remembered that, as Alasdair MacIntyre emphasized in After Virtue (1981), the conception of “the individual” has come into existence only during the last four to five hundred years, with Pico della Mirandola as a standard bearer leading the parade. Prior to that only the community was considered "real."

[5] Carmine Gorga, A Contemporary Definition of Morality, The Ethical Spectacle, November 2012.

[6] The word “bill” was added by Stuart-Sinclair Weeks.

[7] Carmine Gorga, "Toward the Definition of Economic Rights,” Journal of Markets and Morality 2 (1999): 88-101. See also "The Productivity Standard: A True Golden Standard” (with Norman G. Kurland), in Dawn M. Kurland (ed.), EVERY WORKER AN OWNER: A Revolutionary Free Enterprise Challenge to Marxism, Washington, D.C.: Center for Economic and Social Justice, 1987, pp. 83-86; “Bold New Directions in Politics and Economics”, The Human Economy Newsletter, March 1991, 12 (1) 3-6, 12; "Four Economic Rights: Social Renewal Through Economic Justice for All,” Social Justice Review, January-February 1994, 85 (1-2) 3-6; "Fisheries Renewal: A Renewal of the Soul of Business" (with Stuart B. Weeks), The Catholic Social Science Review, Vol. II, 1997, pp. 145-161; Concordian Economics: Tools to Return Relevance to Economics, Forum for Social Economics, 2009, vol. 38, issue 1, pages 53-69. See also chs. 1, 11, and 12 in Albert Tavidze, ed. Progress in Economics Research, Vol. 19, Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2010.

Ideas presented in these writings and others can perhaps best be synthesized in two diagrams representing respectively the economic process (Figure A) and the theory of economic justice (Figure B):


The advantage of presenting these two diagrams back to back is to reveal the inner relationship between them: economic justice is the mirror image of the economic process. One can just as soon separate one from the other as one can separate people from their shadows.

[8] See The Somist Institute.

[9] Gorga, Carmine, On the Equivalence of Matter to Energy and to Spirit, Transactions on Advanced Research, Volume 3, Number 2, July 2007, pp. 40-45. Also available at Internet Journals.

[10] As quoted in O. Nathan, H. Norden, eds. Einstein on Peace (Avnet Books, New York, 1981 ed,): 376, from a pamphlet published by Beyond War in 1985 entitled A New Way of Thinking.

[11] Albert Einstein, Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium (1941). From The Quotation Page.

[12] See, e.g., J. M. T. Thompson, Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos, Geometric Methods for Engineers and Scientists (New York: Wiley, 1986).


The author would like to thank his colleague, Dr. Peter J. Bearse, for his invaluable editorial assistance, deep insights, and contribution to the clarification of the figures by suggesting the transformation of short connecting lines into directional arrows.


Carmine Gorga is President, The Somist Institute. The mission of the institute is to foster sensible moral leadership. He is a former Fulbright scholar and the recipient of a Council of Europe Scholarship for his dissertation on ”The Political Thought of Louis D. Brandeis.” Using age-old principles of logic and epistemology, in a book and a series of papers Dr. Gorga has transformed the linear world of economic theory into a relational discipline in which everything is related to everything else—internally as well as externally. He was assisted in this endeavor by many people, notably for 27 years by Professor Franco Modigliani, a Nobel laureate in economics at MIT. The resulting work, The Economic Process: An Instantaneous Non-Newtonian Picture, was published in 2002 and reissued in an expanded edition in 2010. For reviews, click here. During the last few years, Dr. Gorga has concentrated his attention on the requirements for the unification of economic theory and policy, calling this unity Concordian Economics.

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