The Four Laws – Conceptual Outline

What will be henceforth known as the ‘Four Laws Concept’ is the idea that civilized man is informed by four major laws. His actions, and perhaps his thoughts, have root in the four laws, though in varying quantities of each. Not all are required, but having all four is most definitely optimal.

The four laws are as follows.

THEONOMY – Law of the divine

HETERONOMY – Law of the other

PATRONOMY – Law of the father

AUTONOMY – Law of the self

As a man progresses through the stages of his life, his decisions will be predicated on the laws laid down by each of the above-mentioned forces. In every event in which he breaks one of the laws, he is doing so in order to cohere to one of the others. Should a man rob a bank in America today, he has defied the law of the other, to adhere to the law of the self.

Just so the terminology is clear, we should flesh out these definitions some more.

When a man acts under theonomy, he is acting under a law beyond the natural world, an intransigent principle. The common term for this is morality or observance. Do not confuse this with doing things because they feel ‘right’. This is a poor compass, a chemical reaction in the brain down to multiple factors. When people do something because it ‘feels right’, they are actually engaging in autonomy, not theonomy. To be theonomic in the Christian tradition is to obey the Holy Scriptures that were given by the divine entity, God.

When a man acts under heteronomy, he is engaging in a behavior to please/not incur the wrath of, an ‘other’. The other in question is an impersonal influence, typically one with which the subject has no direct contact. The most recognizable form of heteronomy, is the citizen obeying the laws of his nation state, otherwise known as the government.

When a man acts under patronomy, he follows the law of his father. This is different to heteronomy, in that the father is the most authoritative, personal, familial entity that one can have. Why the father and not the mother? Simply because fathers have carried authority over both wives and children as heads of households across all cultures throughout history. This is why there are few if any examples of societies that are true matriarchies, yet the number of patriarchies numbers in the millions.It is a natural compulsion to obey the father for many reasons that do not require listing.

Finally, when a man acts under autonomy, he does as he pleases. He is satisfying some personal goal and desire. This is most familiar to us, for while the other laws are apparent perhaps a few times a day, autonomy is ubiquitous.

Of course, it is easy to imagine people who lack one or more of these laws.

A man without faith will lack theonomy
A man in a failed state will lack heteronomy
A man without a father will lack patronomy (though he can invest this law in a substitute figure)
And a man who is braindead will lack autonomy

These points are irrelevant however. The vast majority of people on the planet have the influence of all four laws in their lives to varying degrees. They may actively mute one or more, perhaps some are weaker than others, in fact this is very likely.

But the optimal man has all four laws in harmony, in perfect balance with each other.

It is my belief that this understanding reveals exactly why the modern state of the world at least in the developed West, has been so detrimental and devastating to humanity, and why we must seek to correct it.

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