A Personal Government

What if your life was totally controlled by the government?

No, I'm not envisioning some dystopian future or referencing a distorted view of the present. Nor am I speaking about the pervasive and important influence that our local, state, and national governments have on our daily lives. I'm proposing a personal government, one formed by a three-way division of yourself.

First, you would need a constitution that sets up the fundamental structure for how you live your life. Maybe you want some things baked in: always take the stairs; find a way to tell the truth; navigate with a particular ethical precept in mind. Maybe you dream up an ideal day. Importantly, your constitution might install a division of powers between three branches: the legislative, the judicial, and the executive.

Your legislature would decide on the rules outside of the broad directives of the constitution. Every once in a while, you could brainstorm a legislative agenda: issues whose resolution would make your life better. You could, for example, do some research on diet and decide that you want to eat vegetarian or Paleo. Or you might set up some rules for the way you work so that you are always at the top of your game. Additionally, your "legislature" might determine what sort of goals you should pursue in the short and long term. These rules and decisions would come about only after careful consideration of the pros and cons. They would be treated roughly as final choices, subject, of course, to careful revision.

Your executive would carry out the laws "passed" by your legislative branch. This part of you involves the day-to-day planning and execution. You'd consult the rules and then engage in active living.

Your judiciary would assess whether your executive was faithfully executive the laws and whether the other two "branches" were adhering to the constitution you set up. Perhaps these checks come about through a regular process of journaling; any discrepancies demand a change of course. Alternatively, you might use the judiciary as a mental space for post-mortems, dissecting what went wrong and why you strayed from your principles.

The next time you have to make a decision, consult your personal government. What would make it through the rigmarole of your three inner branches? A personal government such as the one described above would only let the best ideas win and the best you express itself.