The “Constitution of the Individual” was written by author, classical composer, pianist, singer, and songwriter, James Greiner.
To mark its beginning, a Facebook page was set up for the “Constitution of the Individual” on November 24th, 2010. Approximately one year later, on December 15th, 2011, this website (constitutionoftheindividual.com) appeared online.
The “Constitution of the Individual” also appeared in the coda of James Greiner’s literary fiction book, Celestial Kings and Queens (January 2013). The book was released under Greiner’s pseudonym, Joshua Emet.
Here is an excerpt from the coda of Celestial Kings and Queens where the “Constitution of the Individual” is mentioned:
One human being, whom we shall call James, felt something in the air,
Perhaps it was a long-travelin’ seed
the banned page of an author
the fire spark of a non-conformist
the sweat of a peaceful protestor
the blood of an intellectual dissident.
Perhaps it was only himself . . .
NEWS REPORTER: Good evening, America. We are here to discuss the “Constitution of the Individual” with its author, James Greiner.
I’d first like to discuss the concept of the individual in broad terms. Frankly, most people don’t identify themselves as individuals first. They instead identify themselves in terms of a particular nation, religion, political party, or organization. What is the reason for this?
JAMES: I’m sure that each individual has his or her own reasons for what you described. From my own perspective, I felt that if I adopted an outside edifice created by someone else I would be doing so in order to cover up my own beliefs and faults. I’d rather stand naked to the world as an individual, for better or for worse.
NEWS REPORTER: Is your “Constitution of the Individual” document directed toward any one particular governing authority?
NEWS REPORTER: Could we lessen tyranny if individuals have legislative control over issues pertaining to their personal freedom and equality?
JAMES: Yes, because from a theoretical standpoint, individuals are unlikely to place tyranny upon themselves.
NEWS REPORTER: What is tyranny?
JAMES: Tyranny exists when an individual has not directly and intentionally harmed another, yet an authoritative force finds this individual’s speech, identity, or lifestyle choice(s) to be an issue. In response, the authoritative force denies rights, imposes fines, tortures, levies imprisonment, or carries out execution.
NEWS REPORTER: Your constitution begins with a preamble where you state a commitment to the principles of freedom, equality, peace, nonviolence, love, forgiveness, charity, and true democracy.
JAMES: That is correct.
NEWS REPORTER: Why a preamble?
JAMES: Well, I think it’s important to let others know where you’re coming from.
NEWS REPORTER: What was the reasoning behind placing equality in your constitution’s preamble?
JAMES: I don’t believe that the minority should be stomped upon.
NEWS REPORTER: Would you violate another individual’s equal rights because of your personal beliefs or as an expression of your personal freedom?
JAMES: No, I would not.
NEWS REPORTER: Which principle in your constitution’s preamble is the most important?
JAMES: Love. If you have a strong capacity to love, then seeing the truth in freedom, equality, peace, nonviolence, forgiveness, charity, and true democracy comes naturally.
NEWS REPORTER: Are you the only one who can use the “Constitution of the Individual?“
JAMES: (smiles) No, other individuals can use this constitution if they wish to do so. But I cannot pretend to know what is in another person’s mind and heart. I wrote the “Constitution of the Individual” based on my own thoughts; it is what I believe to be the Truth.
NEWS REPOERTER: How is your vision of true democracy different from other modern thinkers?
JAMES: Well, a central tenet of true democracy, as I see it, is that one is not allowed to be tyrannical toward one’s neighbor.
NEWS REPORTER: There is a split amongst individuals who favor true democracy, as far as how it is implemented. Some believe that you must first protect minority rights before a true democracy can begin, while others believe that this is not necessary. Which method would you prefer?
JAMES: I would prefer to see an initial protection of minority rights. If, however, a society has a true democracy for a prolonged period, the protection of minority rights becomes a natural understanding amongst the population. For this type of society, laws of any sort become practically unnecessary.
NEWS REPORTER: Is your vision of true democracy different from that of ancient Athens?
JAMES: Yes, for example, I believe that everyone can participate in a true democratic system regardless of their age, gender, gender identity, nationality, national origin, religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. In ancient Athens, participation in democracy was limited to adult males only.
NEWS REPORTER: I’d like to ask you a question about how you deal with others in your personal life. What if someone you have a personal or business relationship with is mean-spirited―the opposite of your stated constitution’s principles―how would you deal with such a person?
JAMES: I would be accepting of this person and give him or her unconditional love.
NEWS REPORTER: And what if this person, down the road, committed a tyrannical act toward you.
JAMES: I am inclined to think that if I had influence over this person’s life, the hypothetical you stated would not occur. Love does remarkable things to cure tyrannical designs.
If, however, this individual―as you hypothesized―committed a tyrannical act toward me, I would not resist with violence. I would also grant this person forgiveness.
NEWS REPORTER: James, there are those that say that violence is an integral part of life; it’s unavoidable. What do you say to that?
JAMES: Life is what you make it. For example, if you’re an individual who wants to continue with violence, you will seek out examples in life that support that position. If, however, you want to continue with nonviolence, you will seek out examples in life that support a position of nonviolence.
NEWS REPORTER: Along this same thread, James, there are those that say that situations are complicated, and therefore, there are times one should choose nonviolence and other times one should choose violence.
JAMES: Yes, I am aware of that position. I contemplated that position when I was younger but ultimately rejected it. Here’s why. If I choose that position, I would be reactive rather than proactive. So in other words, I would be subject to letting others swing my position on violence. As I came to understand the issues of philosophy much better, I concluded that it would be much better for me to emphatically state the position of nonviolence right from the very beginning.
NEWS REPORTER: So the reactive position that I spoke of is for one who is immature philosophically and uncertain of his or her principles?
JAMES: Well, when I was younger, I was certainly unsure about which philosophical principles I believed in. So in my case, what you said is correct.
NEWS REPORTER: I’d like to turn to another topic, James. What elements determine the legitimacy of a constitution?
JAMES: Virtue and truth.
NEWS REPORTER: You wouldn’t consider military or financial might as contributing factors to a constitution’s legitimacy.
JAMES: No sir.
NEWS REPORTER: What is truth?
JAMES: Truth must have love as its supreme commandment.
END OF PREVIEW