Framework of TruthForce!

We live in a complex and interrelated world. We also face the challenge of making sense out of the flood of information and knowledge coming out of this complicated world.

For example, poverty is not just an economic problem. It has human, ecological, political, cultural, and spiritual dimensions. Corruption is not only a political problem; it has human, cultural, and economic dimensions. Global developments drive Philippine economic performance to a great extent. Spiritual practice is empty and even dangerous if it is divorced from global and national realities.

Seven Dimensions of Reality

TruthForce! offers a guiding framework to make sense of our complex and interrelated world. The framework affirms the three basic realities that we all directly experience: our self, nature, and society. TruthForce! recognizes that society, in turn, has three distinct but interrelated realms: economic, political, and cultural. The TruthForce! framework therefore deals with ecological, human, social, economic, political, and cultural realities and dynamics.

One must not confuse the individual with the societal dimension. In our ordinary perception, only individuals as such exist. Society, in effect, is an idea. Society is a cognitive construct arising from an individual’s perception of the differing patterns of interactions among human beings. It is within this context that we can understand the whole debate between Western and Asian values, between rights versus community and responsibility. It remains one of the greatest challenges of human societies to harmoniously integrate individual and social concerns.

TruthForce! also includes a seventh dimension in its framework: the spiritual. All cultures of the past, including the great religious traditions, recognized the reality of the Spirit. The materialism of the last few centuries is an exception.

Contemporary science is rediscovering the spiritual wisdom of the past as well as unveiling dramatic new spiritual realities in nature, the human being, and in societal processes. How we act in the world is to great extent determined by whether we have a materialistic or spiritual view of the world. Unless one explicitly considers this dimension in nature, human beings, and society, then one will not do justice to the strong spirituality that characterizes Filipinos and Philippine social life.
Framework of TruthForce!

Integral Sustainable Development and Social Threefolding

These different dimensions interact to produce the complex reality of globalization and Philippine affairs. The challenge is how individuals can shape their societies towards integral sustainable development, a situation where the many aspects of reality are in harmony with each other, supporting creative individuals and sustaining vibrant societies. (See above picture)

One of the key challenges in any society is how to develop a mutually beneficial interaction between the legitimate interests of business within the economy, government within polity, and civil society within the culture. In many societies, the state has taken over the totalitarian tendencies of the monarch, usurping the rights of citizens, and regulating almost all aspects of social life. In fundamentalist theocracies, culture becomes an unhealthy, dominating force, reducing the state and the economy to its mere appendages. In neo-liberal capitalist societies, economic interests dictate the direction of countries, commodifying both politics and culture.

Restoring or achieving a healthy balance between culture, politics, and economics is a key task of social threefolding. Without this key process, societies become sick and imbalanced, dominated by the narrow interest of one social force against the other.

This threefolding process starts, most often, when civil society, as the key institution in culture, awakens to its own autonomy and becomes a countervailing force against totalitarian tendencies, not only within the state and market, but also within civil society itself. This is the state of de facto threefolding. When civil society holds its own amidst the two other powers, and all three key societal powers come together to address burning social issues, then the process of harmonization begins. Then the stage of conscious social threefolding begins. (See section on social threefolding for more details.)

Social threefolding processes expand the reach of integral sustainable development when they protect the carrying capacity of the varied ecosystems of Nature. Similarly, these societal processes advance integral sustainable development when they nurture the caring capacity as well as the soul and spiritual potentials of human beings, who are the essence of society.

As with all frameworks, the TruthForce! perspective initially appears as abstract. However, the web pages of TruthForce! will gradually give the framework concrete details. Then we will appreciate its capacity to help us face challenges and recognize possibilities that increasingly face us and humanity as we enter into the 21st century.

Nicanor Perlas
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief