I developed a tool to guide societies toward happiness and harmony

June 7, 2023

This insight helps people make enlightened decisions.


Brian Luedke MSN RN

leurope.com | lafrique.com | Україна.com

Traditionally, people who develop utopian ideologies base their beliefs on something good or something bad that they identify. 

Supposedly, if society could just include or exclude one or two key items, known only to a chosen few, a glorious future — a radiant New Day — would await.

Perhaps people only need love, class consciousness, or a charismatic leader — or perchance they merely must excise from society private property, a dastardly class of economic exploiters, or white racism.

What if, instead of grasping at simplistic solutions, we should look instead at the entirety of human nature, irrefutable truths derived from 2,500 years of written history, and understanding of historical trajectories?

The Pentagonal Paradigm – The First Two Dimensions

Lorna Luedke in Lviv, Ukraine.  November 2021. Click to enlarge.

The pentagonal model is not merely a list of five important things.  These represent the fundamental societal elements that support each other and build on each other, creating the potential for a virtuous circle.

This is not a quick-fix nor a memorable slogan apt to fuel a season-long cultural fad.

But this tool — a framework for sorting information — can help to elevate insight and to guide decision-making to ensure wise allocation of resources and effort.  The paradigm does not obviate the need for centuries of hard work to eliminate various societal problems.

We may not have a glorious New Day anytime soon, and no charismatic leader will lead us into a verdant, magical valley. But at least we know we’re headed in the right direction.  Just as importantly, we are better able to identify dangerous substitute paradigms for organizing society. 

Human Dignity reflects human nature and embraces all of those components of life that make a citizen feel like a respected and respectable member of the polity, e.g., respect for individuality, safety from crime and invaders, family life, work, healthcare, education, property, spirituality, recreation, intellectual life, and culture.

When macro-level systems correspond to human nature, citizens are vastly more likely to feel loyalty, to embrace liberty, to innovate, and to make enlightened choices in a democratic context.

The reader might reflect for a moment on all of the prior ideologies that did not take human dignity as their point of departure.

How did good intentions go off the rails and affect the facets of human dignity enumerated above?

How was the ideology itself used as a justification for degrading human dignity?

Democracy refers to solutions-driven republicanism, not reflexive voting along ethnic or religious lines.

Although democracies make serious mistakes, just as other systems do, they are best able to harness collective intelligence to course-correct. Furthermore, the process of self-governance tends to enhance societal development and a sense of ownership.

Liberty refers to both economic and social freedoms. In general, individuals and communities organize and act most constructively without state control, but there remain situations where governments are best able to promote happiness and prevent suffering.

Loyalty means fidelity to the polity, but also to oneself, one’s family, one’s neighborhood and city, and humanity in general. In the context of the U.S., it entails allegiance to the Constitution. (Strong loyalties along purely ethnic, racial, or religious lines do not necessarily strengthen the polity.)

Innovation means evidence-based, logic-based improvements and reforms — in view of increasing the quality and quantity of human happiness, minimizing suffering, and strengthening the polity’s readiness to face challenges.

Lorna Luedke enjoying Ukrainian borscht soup… at an Irish pub in Lviv, Ukraine

A third dimension is defined by sustainability through time: 

economic / fiscal sustainability, 

ecological sustainability, 

sustainability of geo-strategic posture (stable and secure allies), 

and, population sustainability (fertility rate, etc.).

The fourth dimension is defined by background factors that cannot easily be improved in the short term via human intervention: 

geographic situation and natural resources, 

human capital (physical fitness, history of literacy, cognitive development occurred with nutrition vs. malnutrition, contours of population pyramid, etc.), 

and, enduring beliefs and attitudes (self-identity, work ethic, etc.).

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