With the expulsion of man from Eden, immortality as well as many other privileges were lost, whilst at the same time, a certain risk was gained: the risk of Autonomy. It meant a risk because from that moment on, man had to deal with the imperative of making decisions in a world that had never imagined before. Having been given “free will” to act, the possibility of error turned up. But another threat, even more worrying was revealed: the option of sin voluntarily. This new condition – becoming human, made of flesh and bone, and therefore being mortal -, faced us against a new status determined by the fear to an unknown future. Ironically, it brought at the same time, the notion of our own unavoidable death. Thus, Autonomy involved the primary necessity and difficult task of overcoming this burden, together with the sense of responsibility for the consequences of our acts.
Autonomy also relates to all kinds of power and government institutions, political, religious, social, economic, as well as emotional, affective, psychological leading figures, that “helped” men and women overcome the deepest fears, throughout the last 5.000 years.
Religious, politic and economic power systems have been historically trying to convince us – and we have to accept it, with considerable success – that they were capable of taking us back, or at least closer, to Eden again. But we grew tired of being deceived.
Liberalism and Capitalism, adopted the biological model of “natural selection” for Society itself, rejecting all responsibility on any “commitment” to society. That is why Charity is successfully the best and only form of “brotherhood”, because it’s optional. Only the strongest will survive and, of course, you are one of the chosen ones.
Socialism and Communism, were based on a paternalistic model where a huge State looked after (and over) every citizen under its jurisdiction, resulting in a choking control. It was effective while managing poverty but couldn’t find the way forward, to produce wealth and distribute it between the people.
From this perspective, History of humanity will become History of its Autonomy.
The discovery that is being made today is that the process could now take place in the inverse direction: it is not until individuals gain full Autonomy, that Society as a whole will get its own.
So, which are our options?
Will we be able to imagine new forms of social organization? What should they rely upon? Could we manage ourselves without the existence of formal authorities? Could we finally evolve into an absolutely direct democracy, where every single decision is voted by the people, and representatives will evidently become unnecessary?
Could technology give us a hand with this?