Secular Liberalism emerged through the interplay between the European Enlightenment including the Scientific Revolution and the Christian Reformation.
It saw the separation of the State from the Religious beliefs of its Citizens.
It represented a convergence of two ideas — Liberalism[4a] and Secularism[4b].
At the core of Liberalism is the notion of Individual Liberty — we as Individuals have Agency — we are free to order our actions without being constrained or prohibited by the will of others.
The onus or burden of proof to justify any restrictions on Liberty being on the external power such as the State and Institutions.
The extension of Liberty to private property being central to older forms of liberalism , whereas newer forms saw a role for the State in supervising & overseeing economic life to ensure a stable free Society.
Secularism[4b] is a principle that seeks to enable the conducting of human affairs independent of Religon and in accordance with the natural laws of our Material World ( as opposed to our Spiritual and Mental World considerations).
It was based on ideas of — pragmatism — materialism — naturalism — and in how we experience our day to day lives in a Material World.
“The first and fundamental law of Nature, which is, to seek peace and follow it” …
― Thomas Hobbes
The ideas of Secularism had existed in many ancient and modern cultures around the World.
In Western Civilisation it was prevalent in Ancient Greek Philosophy and re-emerged during the Enlightenment and the Reformation of European Christianity.
The rights of individuals were no longer imparted by God but by nature and our Material World through Reason.
“God, who hath given the world to men in common, hath also given them reason to make use of it to the best advantage of life, and convenience. The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being”
- John Locke
By combining Secularism with Liberalism a new framework for Modern Society emerged.
A fundamental freedom of Religon and at the same time the freedom of the Individual to criticise Religon through their Liberty and Human Agency – within the social constraints of Society – a Phronesis and Collective Wisdom.
Liberalism, Secularism, Democracy, the Social Contract , Public Sphere and the State
Democracy provides the nexus between the Individual and State by ensuring the State had to seek the consent of the people it governs through a process of human agency — e.g. voting, elections, civic engagement, Public Sphere[13g].
In the book — The Narrow Corridor[6b] — Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson — explore this permanent social & power struggle between the Citizen, State and Private Sector.
People defending their Liberties and setting the constraints on how those rights are impacted by Institutions and the State.
The ongoing navigation between two poles — authoritarianism (Government overreach) and lawlessness (Business/Private Interest overreach) — a narrow corridor[6b] where a stable free Society could prosper .
A Social Contract – Hobbesian Bargain [6c] – between the Citizens who seek liberty, democracy and protection from powerful interests and the State & Institutions who seek the legitimacy to govern.
Wilhelm Von Humboldt in his 19th Century philosophical treatise — The Limits of State Action — outlined the criteria by which the permissible limits of State activities could be determined.
Similar to John Stuart Mill his basic principle was the prevention of harms to others and he explored the limits of State responsibility for the security, welfare and morals of its citizens.
Secular Liberalism in the late 20th and early 21st Century
Secular Liberalism drove the Industrial & Digital Revolutions, Human Prosperity, emergence of Democracies around the World and Globalisation.
By the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 the “The end of History” was proclaimed.
The idea of Secular Liberalism had almost risen to the heights of a Universal Truth.
Humanity had now apparently eliminated all the Complexity & Uncertainty of Reality — overcoming the inherent nature of the Human Condition — the celebration of an Orthodoxy, a Modern Utopia and a Scientific Technocracy
A World of Materialism and Reductionism anchored in an increasingly abstract forms of Reasoning & Logic.
Absolute Truths, Control, Certainty and Knowing.
A Classical World of Clocks rather than a Quantum World of Clouds & Clocks.
A World where the Individual was at the centre of our Material World.
But had the eternal struggles of Secular Liberalism really ended or was it tied to the inherent nature of the Human Condition?
Was our prevailing reality Secular Liberalism or was it another form of social structure?
Were there any fault lines emerging in some of the underlying Axioms ?
In Why Philosophy matters more than ever in the Age of Entanglement?… fundamental changes in the Fitness Landscape that had been underway for over 100 years were highlighted.
Complexity and Interdependencies were becoming more and more apparent — The emergence of Quantum Mechanics — a Globalised Networked Economy, Financial System, Shipping, Energy, People, Geo-Politics and Transport — The emergence of the Internet & a globally interconnected World — New powerful Computational Tools & Systems — Building Environmental & Social Income & Wealth Imbalances — New forms of Sensemaking & Collective Sensemaking — New frameworks and theories for making sense of Complexity — The rapid emergence and application of Information Theory — and — an increasing realisation that existing Risk Models[12b] were ill equipped for such a Reality.
These trends together with shifting social structures were becoming increasingly removed from the original principles of Secular Liberalism and had begun to test the core foundations of the system.
Cracks were beginning to appear in the reductionist classical Temples of Reason [13a].
Were we discrete autonomous physical agents in a Material World or were we Interdependent and Interconnected – Entangled?
An emerging crisis of the Secular Liberalism Axioms and a Legitimation Crisis of the State & Institutions to govern.
At one end of the spectrum we were beginning to see the rise of the Sovereign Individual[13b] and Bitcoin[13c] — a universal Global Digital Currency that lived in a Virtual World that had decoupled from the Nation State, Real Economy, Physical Reality, Human Ideas, Production & Innovation.
A view of money anchored in Cartesian Dualism — Abstraction upon Abstraction — apparently digital money was now wealth in itself rather than a derivative of a Nation or Societies Wealth and Social Contract.
Why have Friction and Human Relationships — Integrity, Benevolence, Reliability & Capability — when you can have the Blockchain and Proof of Work?
At the other end of the spectrum was the emergence of the Market State[13d] where Governments & Corporations had become increasingly entangled[13e] including the reliance of Society on new powerful digital platforms and networks for citizens in a converging Digital and Material World.
The six crises of Secular Liberalism
Crisis of Meaning
Despite warnings from the likes of Neitzsche & Solzhenitsyn on the removal of spirituality and meaning as the foundations of Society — recognising the limits of what we really know[16b] — we replaced it with Rationality and a narrowing Materialism prism of Reality.
Crisis of Reason
Despite Gödel highlighting the Limits of Logic and how our Axioms shape our perception of Reality — we embraced more & more Algorithms.
Embracing Abstraction upon Abstraction and failing to recognise that Abstraction by its very nature is a low dimensional Mental World representation of a high dimensional (i.e. complex) emergent Material World — the map was never the territory.
Ignoring the integrated nature of Reason — Mental World and Material World — we had increasingly separated our Mind from our Body with a dividing wall and proclaimed:
“Cogito, ergo sum”.
- Rene Descartes
“I think, therefore I am” .
An increasing orientation towards Mental World abstraction and deduction — a Formal Logic — ill equipped to find Patterns, Regularities & Meaning — Term Logic — Semiotics — in an emergent complex & uncertain analog Material World.
The embodied Quality of Reason — Acting in the Material World — Learning to Learn —Open Inquiry — Epistemological Humility.
Ignoring the Qualia of our lived experience.
“The greatest weakness of the quantitative approach is that it decontextualizes human behavior, removing an event from its real-world setting and ignoring the effects of variables not included in the model”…
- Christian Madsbjerg
“The Cartesian partition has penetrated deeply into the human mind during the 3 centuries following Descartes, and it will take a long time for it to be replaced by a really different attitude towards the problem of Reality”…
- Werner Heisenberg
Reason begins with the process of Human Abduction and our experiences, agency, perception and curiosity of our Material World.
“Abduction is the process of forming an explanatory hypothesis. It is the only logical operation which introduces any new idea; for induction does nothing but determine a value and deduction merely evolves the necessary consequences of a pure hypothesis”…
— Charles Sanders Peirce
Crisis of Social Justice
Despite Rawls providing insights on what makes a just Society and notions of human rights but also human responsibilities – a Symmetry — where Equity was balanced with Liberty[22a].
We focussed on Identity, equated “Price to Value”, “Privatised Meaning” & welcomed the Invisible Hand of the Market by embracing the Wealth of Nations but omitting The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Veil of Ignorance [26a] and The Limits of the State [26b]— an Asymmetric perspective of Reality.
Crisis of Truth
Despite the Intuitive Mind being a sacred gift to navigate the Complexity of Reality — we focussed on the Rational Mind — left brain algorithmic abstraction — reductionism — deduction — formal logic — in our attempts to remove uncertainty and be comforted by absolute Truths .
Compounding this was the emergence of a Post Modernism[30a] across our Educational Institutions[30b] and Society that saw the rise of a Relativism[30c] rather than an eternal search for Ground Truths , a Phronesis and Collective Wisdom.
“The metaphysics that a new generation is imbibing and everyone else is being force-fed has many points of instability, is grounded in a desire to express certainty about things we do not know, and to be wildly dismissive and relativistic about things that we actually do know”…
— Douglas Murray
Post Modernism posits that there are no Universal Truths[30d] — we are always inhibited by subjectivity, personal bias and relativity.
A perspective where language and abstraction largely creates and shapes our perspectives of Reality.
Both types of Reason being Asymmetric – a Mental Structure ( i.e. Abstraction) perspectives in the way we navigate Reality — Cartesian Dualism – rather than embodied and integrated – Symmetrical .
Symmetry is a fundamental principle of Good Reason — Reason is a Quality — Reason is finding Harmony between Mental World abstraction — Ground Truths— and — Material World experience — Ground Motives.
We either had absolute Algorithmic Truths or No Truths rather than a Hegelian Dialectic– a thesis & antithesis to arrive at a synthesis.
An absence of integrating both our Mental World & Material World – a Pragmatism — Open Inquiry — a Dialectic – a common Public Sphere to navigate a complex Material World.
It was the antithesis of US 20th Century Philosopher Karl Poppers[30f] Theory of Falsification[30g] — the principles that underpin the separation of Science from Non-Science.
It was also the antithesis of US 20th Century Philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce[30h] Theory of Truth[30i] and Theory of Inquiry[30j] — where Uncertainty was the antecedent to all Knowledge.
Both Popper and Peirce ideas were anchored in fallibilism[30k] and epistemological humility [30l] — a recognition of our Bounded Rationality and the inherent nature of the Human Condition.
Increasingly this search for truth was also being replaced by main stream media narratives, stories and perpetual rolling waves of social media memes as our Collective Sensemaking began to atomise.
Two polarised Orthodoxies and prisms of Reality.
Crisis of Epistemology
Rather than Knowledge — Epistemology — being anchored in relationships & interdependencies — reflecting the high-dimensional nature of Causality in a Complex & Interdependent emergent Material World — we embraced more & more Reductionism and Abstraction in pursuit of a single absolute Truth .
Classical Clocks instead of Quantum Clocks and Clouds.
A retrograde step from Aristotle’s Multi Dimensional Theory of Causality from ~300 BC.
We separated into silos the Natural Sciences from the Social Sciences from the Humanities.
Meta Physics from Physics
Semantic Abstraction from Computation
Materialism from Idealism
Reason from Meaning
Mind from the Body.
Ignoring our rich history of accumulating Practical Wisdom, Philosophy, Theology, Indigenous Wisdom et al. — we converged towards a Global Orthodoxy of a reductive quantifiable form of Rationality — a Temple of Reason — rather than a Heterodoxy of perspectives .
An erosion in our Epistemological Well Being [35b] .
We were viewing the Material World as a Mechanical Machine consisting of discrete parts rather than a Dynamic Complex Adaptive System.
Algorithmic Management being universally applied.
Embracing an Abstraction of Reason & Logic rather than a Two Body form of Logic & Reason that had been proposed by Peirce in the early part of the 20th Century.
“Philosophy ought to imitate the successful sciences in its methods, so far as to…trust rather to the multitude and variety of its arguments than to the conclusiveness of any one. Its reasoning should not form a chain which is no stronger than its weakest link, but a cable whose fibres may be ever so slender, provided they are sufficiently numerous and intimately connected”…
- Charles Sanders Peirce
A Nomological Network representation of Knowledge where concepts could be expressed by their observable manifestations and interrelationships.
A Consilience where different forms of evidence converge.
A Unity of Knowledge.
By doing so, we chose to narrow the Overton Window and the types of Knowledge we could harness to support our Collective Intelligence — to solve the increasing multi-dimensional Social, Economic, Political and Environmental challenges we faced.
Crisis of the role of the State
The emergence of a networked world had accelerated the polarisation in progressive and conservative beliefs — a balkanisation — amplifying orthodoxies — rather than encouraging a dialogue, listening and seeking out a heterodoxy of view points.
A collapse in the Public Sphere.
At the same time we were increasingly seeing the convergence of political layers of Government & Institutions with powerful business & interest groups.
Ignoring the Limits of the State [26b].
Was Government in exchange for its right to govern — granted by the people — still playing the role of providing the checks and balances on power in supporting the liberty, democracy and protection of citizens or were small groups of people increasingly shaping Society?[26b]
Is it really the “end of history” or the beginning of a profound crisis in Secular Liberalism in an increasingly interdependent & networked World?
If our Leaders & Institutions no longer have the capacity  to navigate such a complex & uncertain World we will see an accelerated erosion in Trust and the Social Contract?
An atomisation of common Meaning, Values and Truths and Beliefs which are increasingly being replaced by Ideologies, Orthodoxies and Tribal Stories.
An emergent Legitimation Crisis…
[1 ] Secular Liberalism — Secular_liberalism
 Enlightenment — enlightenment
 Scientific Revolution — https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-revolutions/
 Christian Reformation — https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christianity/The-Reformation
[4a] Liberalism — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism
 The Long Night Ahead — https://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2017/09/the-long-night-ahead.html
 Secular State — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_state
[6b] The Narrow Corridor — https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/555400/the-narrow-corridor-by-daron-acemoglu-and-james-a-robinson/
[6c] – Thomas Hobbes – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Hobbes
[ 7] Fall of Berlin Wall — Fall of Berlin Wall: How 1989 reshaped the modern world — world-europe-50013048
 The End of History? — 24027184 — and — Francis Fukuyama Postpones the End of History — The political scientist argues that the desire of identity groups for recognition is a key threat to liberalism — https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/09/03/francis-fukuyama-postpones-the-end-of-history
 The Complexity Void — https://richardschutte.medium.com/unbundling-complexity-503c77f0b261
 The future by its very nature is Uncertain — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-future-by-its-very-nature-is-uncertain-823a7abae5ab
 Hannah Arendt: The Human Condition — https://www.amazon.com.au/Human-Condition-2ed-Hannah-Arendt/dp/022658660X
 The end of our eternal search for Truth and the Legitimation Crisis —
 A Modern Utopia — HG Wells — https://www.penguin.com.au/books/a-modern-utopia-9780141441122
[13a] Temples of Reason — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Reason
[13b] The Sovereign Individual — https://www.simonandschuster.com.au/books/The-Sovereign-Individual/James-Dale-Davidson/9781439144732
[13c] BitCoin — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin
[13d] The emergence of the Market State — Philip Bobbitt: The Thought Leader Interview — The constitutional scholar and national security expert defines a new era of market statehood — 04109
[13e] The sovereign-bank-corporate nexus — virtuous or vicious? — https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/key/date/2021/html/ecb.sp210128~8f5dc86601.en.html
[13f] HyperNormalisation — https://richardschutte.medium.com/hypernormalisation-6f0bbadb5333
[13g] The Public Sphere — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-public-sphere-ff07f74d7f22
 ‘God is dead’: What Nietzsche really meant — The death of God didn’t strike Nietzsche as an entirely good thing. Without a God, the basic belief system of Western Europe was in jeopardy — https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/what-nietzsche-really-meant-by-god-is-dead
Solzhenitsyn’s June 8, 1978, commencement address at Harvard — A World Split Apart — “This means that the mistake must be at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past centuries. I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression from the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists” — a-world-split-apart
 Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems — goedel-incompleteness
 Limits of Algorithms — The Yoda of Siliicon Valley — https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/science/donald-knuth-computers-algorithms-programming.html
 The limits of Logic — the-limits-of-logic-e6c27daf7687
John Rawls — rawls
 A Theory of Justice — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Theory_of_Justice
[22a] John Rawls and the principles of political morality — https://www.abc.net.au/religion/john-rawls-and-the-principles-of-political-morality/11572072
How America’s identity politics went from inclusion to division — https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/01/how-americas-identity-politics-went-from-inclusion-to-division
 The Value of Everything — https://marianamazzucato.com/books/the-value-of-everything
Anthony Kennedy and the Privatization of Meaning — https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/opinion/anthony-kennedy-individualism.html
[26a] Veil of Ignorance — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8GDEaJtbq4
[26b] The Limits of the State — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Limits_of_State_Action
 The master and his emissary — the-master-and-his-emissary
 The Semantic Mind… — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-semantic-mind-9147d7a5634b
Einstein, Anne Lamott, and Steve Jobs on Intuition vs. Rationality — https://www.brainpickings.org/2012/01/11/intuition-vs-rationality/
 The Sensemaking Myth and a new integrated form of Reason… — It’s the prevailing forms of Reductionist Algorithmic Reasoning and Logical Abstraction that sit at the core of the growing system & complexity challenges we face — the-sensemaking-myth-and-a-new-integrated-form-of-reason-14048a33e2e6 – and – But is it science? – Theoretical physicists who say the multiverse exists set a dangerous precedent: science based on zero empirical evidence – https://aeon.co/essays/post-empirical-science-is-an-oxymoron-and-it-is-dangerous
[30a] Post Modernism — https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/postmodernism/
[30b] Michael Shermer with Gad Saad — The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas Are Killing Common Sense — watch
[30c]Relativism — relativism
[30d] Universal Truths — The Public Sphere — Philosophical Truths & Practical Truths — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-public-sphere-ff07f74d7f22 — and — In search of Ground Truths — https://richardschutte.medium.com/in-search-of-ground-truths-3817ce821572
[30e]When Two Worlds Collide — https://richardschutte.medium.com/when-two-worlds-collide-645e95bbfba7
[30e1] Redux — https://richardschutte.medium.com/redux-3efa43c1bb3e
[30e2] The Flow — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-flow-e2676c1ae7ad — and — To live is to Flow — https://richardschutte.medium.com/to-live-is-to-flow-eaf8ad4ccec
[30f] Karl Popper — https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/
[30g] Theory of Falsification — Karl-Popper.html
[30h] Charles Sanders Peirce — https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/peirce/
[30i] Theory of Truth — https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-pragmatic/
[30j] Theory of Inquiry — 2022122
[30k] Fallibilism — https://iep.utm.edu/fallibil/
[30l] Humility is Truth & the Sea of Ignorance — https://richardschutte.medium.com/humility-is-truth-and-the-sea-of-ignorance-c289112cbd57
Why Philosophy matters more than ever in the Age of Entanglement?… — https://richardschutte.medium.com/why-philosophy-matters-more-than-ever-in-the-age-of-entanglement-8df9f23a90ae
The Mind Body Problem… — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-mind-body-problem-5be10a6ccf5c
 Cogito Ergo Sum — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito,_ergo_sum
 In search of Ground Truths… — https://richardschutte.medium.com/in-search-of-ground-truths-3817ce821572
 — The limits of the Scientific Revolution and the end of Technocracy — The decline of a Modern Day Utopia — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-limits-of-the-scientific-revolution-and-the-end-of-technocracy-e561408dc854
[35b] –The antidote to fake news is to nourish our epistemic wellbeing — https://psyche-co.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/psyche.co/amp/ideas/the-antidote-to-fake-news-is-to-nourish-our-epistemic-wellbeing
 Practical Wisdom — Using our Practical Wisdom — https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_using_our_practical_wisdom?language=en
 Indigenous Wisdom — Sand Talk — How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World — Tyson Yunkaporta — sand-talk — Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’ — https://aeon.co/ideas/descartes-was-wrong-a-person-is-a-person-through-other-persons
Overton Window — OvertonWindow
 The emergence of Collective Intelligence — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-emergence-of-collective-intelligence-1bd3f2e7a7c4
 Sensemaking, the core skill of the 21 Century — https://richardschutte.medium.com/sensemaking-the-core-skill-for-the-21st-century-ebc8c679cfe8
The urgent shift required towards Ecosystem Leadership… — https://richardschutte.medium.com/the-urgent-shift-required-towards-ecosystem-leadership-cc4a9f57f050
 Ideology — Capital and Ideology — https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674980822--and — “In the day Solzhenitsyn was arrested, February, 12, 1974, he released the text of “Live Not by Lies.” Solzhenitsyn equates “lies” with ideology, the illusion that human nature and society can be reshaped to predetermined specifications” — Live not by Lies” — 1974 — live-not-by-lies
 Collective sensemaking — https://richardschutte.medium.com/collective-sensemaking-90826d1cb007
Legitimation Crisis — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legitimation_Crisis_(book)