A Dooyeweerdian Strategic Analysis of Defence
This is a response to an email asking about strategic thinking in Defence. It is included here as an example of how Dooyeweerd's thought might be applied at a strategic level. It was written from a Christian viewpoint to a Christian believer. A.B. 14 August 2004.
I think some of the issues are better approached from a different direction. I will do so in three parts: Dooyeweerdian aspects, the ethical aspect in particular, and world views.
(This has become lengthy; I suggest you save this email and read a couple of times.)
Aspects as Law-Promise from God
- To Dooyeweerd, the aspects are part of God's Law for the cosmos, a Law that is not so much authoritarian Demand or Command ("Do this or else; I am authority over you"), so much as gracious Promise ("If your do this, then that will tend to occur in response; I promise it; I am Jahweh"). And Promises of many kinds, each aspect giving a distinct kind.
- Incidentally, this is very different from the "Do this or else; Punishment awaits those who disobey", which is the assumption about Law in both the mediaeval Roman Catholic view, as well as the traditional liberal individualistic Humanist view. Based on Aristotle's notion of God-as-authority.
- Each aspect provides a different type Promise-Law. And our functioning in each aspect is in fact constituted of a response to the Promise-Laws of that aspect.
- This means that all creation has responsibility before God under the Law-Promise regimes they can be subject to. Humans, to the entire range, up to Pistic. This is the key notion. In all that we do, we have responsibility before God.
- Note: this is both individual and collective responsibility. From sensitive to lingual aspect, the social is not involved. But from social aspect onwards, full functioning in these aspects is social in nature, and whatever we do in these aspects usually affects others and even the whole of society. (This might be worth bearing in mind in anything to do with government, which is qualified by the juridical post-social aspect.)
- So, in Defence, what should govern and guide us and stimulate us as we make decisions (as mentioned above) is: are we functioning well in all the aspects? The 'shalom principle' is that if we function well in every aspect things will go well, but if we go against the Laws of any aspect then things will not go so well. Whatever we do has repercussions.
- Note: It is not sufficient to say "Well, we are working well in X aspect". As James pointed out "If we break one law we break the whole law".
- The later aspects are the most important, but also the least obvious, and also the slowest in their repercussions. The typical timescale of repercussions lengthens as we go along the aspectual scale: pico-seconds in the physical, milliseconds in the sensitive, seconds in the analytic, ten seconds in the lingual, minutes or hours in the social, up to a decade in ethical and century in the pistic.
- (Note: The aspectual laws pertain, and repercussions of aspects apply whether a person is a believer or non-believer.)
The Ethical Aspect in Particular
World View and Religious Standpoint
All this kind of thinking above - it does not give answers. Rather, it gives us the basis for thinking issues out. We have considered several aids to 'thinking outside the box', thinking new thoughts that might be fruitful:
- Aspects. Consider every aspect carefully, be aware of them throughout. They all have repercussions, the more important ones being longterm and social. Therefore whatever we do should be seen as an investment in future 'shalom'.
- The ethical aspect of self-giving - oft-overlooked in policy decisions and planning, and yet of huge importance in the long-term good of society. Maybe the qualifying aspect of Defence. In any case, it is worth considering the role of self-giving (continuous and longterm in all areas of national life) as an integral part of Defence policy. Implies that Defence is not just armaments or armies, but is this wider (almost 'preventative') activity.
- Religious assumptions of three kinds need to be examined and questioned and brought to bear. The most practical is to examine elevated aspects and the assumptions they cause us to make and take for granted. But all can help.
This page is part of a collection that discusses application of Herman Dooyeweerd's ideas, within The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments would be welcome to Dooy @ basden . u-net . com.
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Copyright (c) 2002 Andrew Basden. But you may use this material subject to conditions.
Created: 14 August 2004