It seems to me, balance is paramount to a prosperous, safe and upwardly mobile life, just as it is to a flourishing, secure and advancing society. To keep balance, religion, science and politics should not intermingle, being different in kind they are like water, iron and salt. It is self evident that religious people should not decide who can run for politics, the same as scientists shouldn’t make decisions of religion, politicians shouldn’t interpret science or religion, etc… Each in it’s own field is a good that uplifts the human condition, but when one becomes supreme or is crushed by the others, the whole of society suffers. Societies have three parts just as each of us have three parts to our psyche. Our rational mind, our emotional mind and our spiritual mind have their doppelgangers in a society… science being the rational, politics being the emotional and religion being the spiritual. Balance being the way to keep society advancing, prosperous and moral. If we see our society becoming corrupt and needy, it is because the balance is off.
Our emotion is like an elephant, it has power to do a ton of work, but it has the potential of getting out of control too. Our rational mind is the rider of that elephant. The rider can steer but it is the elephant that does the work. Our spiritual mind lets the rider know what is right and what is wrong, what work the elephant should, and should not do. Working together, the rider guided by his morality, driving the elephant, is how societies get great works done. The grandest advances of the human race have been accomplished by societies that had this balance. Great works of architecture, art, philosophy and the mechanical arts have all sped ahead in times of balance.
Balance is never long kept. Power being so seductive, any faction that has got a chance to become supreme or to advance their power at cost to one of the others, will do so. It is human nature. The moment this happens the balance is upset and society precesses. It is hard to discern at first, and the faction that has gained power is in the best position to see it, but their egoistic interests collide with their self interests rightly understood. Sometimes even a small disturbance to the balance can result in a large tailed event, because when dealing with human societies that are complex systems, the likelihood of outcomes is on a power scale not a bell curve.
When the three legs of a society are in balance even if there is a collapse, as when the grains of sand exceed the angle of repose and settle to a new equilibrium, the slide lands with most people much better off than they would in a totally chaotic reset. The new societal equilibrium is more stable as well. Based on a balanced foundation, a society can stand a great many imbeciles for rulers and villains for advisers, but where society lands unbalanced, it lands with voids that weaken the whole, leading to social sinkholes to fill those voids, sometimes leading to a total societal collapse and reset.
A balanced society where religion is respected, science is allowed to flourish and politics is well disciplined, will naturally be prosperous, have a growing standard of living and it will be safe. We all want to live in such a society but we cannot let go of our prejudices. The despotic politician wants total control over everything, as does the religious zealot, and the mad scientist. If we want a safe, advancing and prosperous society, where our children can be expected to live better, longer and healthier than us, we have to start in our own hearts.
Once we get ourselves in balance we need to get our societies in order by electing people who are in balance. We have a tendency to elect mad scientists, despots or zealots to power. They have the most charisma and elections are nothing but a charisma contest. A perfectly spinning top is not dramatic and has no charisma, but a top that is so unbalanced it hops cannot help but catch the eye, and move our heart. We then vote with our emotions. We would like to think we use our logic to choose, but most of us don’t at all and none of us are immune to emotion, or our blind faith, and even logic itself without passion and the golden rule can lead us astray. The sad outcome is that we happily elect the very worst people to power because of their unbalance.
A well tuned car runs most efficiently, but to keep a car well tuned, one must understand how a car works. On a macro scale, when societies keep a balance between science, politics and religion they enjoy prosperity, safety and a rising standard of living. When a society attacks any one of those legs and one or two of the others become ascendant, that society experiences crime, poverty and a crumbling middle class. The way to become a balanced society is to become balanced ourselves. Nurture the scientist in us with education, feed our inner cleric with prayer and engage in the politics of the day. Balance ourselves, elect balanced people to office, often against our emotional inclination, and balance will return to society. Balance is the answer.