Superhumanism and The New Social Contract
Amanda Watson PhD, Oxford University
This paper analyses historical and political trends in the era following the widespread acquisition of superhuman abilities (“post‑superhumanism”). After clarifying key concepts and establishing the position of nation-states pre- and post-Aurora, it examines the forms and extent of societal evolution across a range of countries and government systems. Overall, this paper will conclude that inalienable individual empowerment has resulted in a shift towards greater personal freedom and self-determination, as well as an intolerance to exploitation, and that additionally, after an initial period of adjustment, the instinctually cooperative and stability‑seeking nature of human beings has prevented empowerment from creating lasting states of anarchy.
 …dubbed retrospectively as the “Year of Chaos”, the approximately thirteen months in which countries without exception struggled to adjust to the implications of a superhuman population. A detailed timeline of events throughout this period is beyond this paper’s scope, but general features included a sharp increase in both crime and arrests; escalation of existing national, ethnic, social and religious conflicts; state of emergency declarations; statistically significant spikes in accidental and criminally-related deaths; and the international reinstatement of capital punishment. Of important note, however, is that actual revolution, as opposed to violence and minor loss of territorial control, predominantly occurred in nation‑states without an existing democratic or representative structure…
 …conversely resulting in a long-term decrease in rates of violent crime. Arguably, while superhumanism increases the individual capacity for destruction and criminality, it also increases the capacity of would-be victims of crime, as well as society as a whole, to resist and respond (Kennedy K. 1985). As the portion of the population inclined to engage in criminal activity is proportionately smaller than those inclined to obey the law absent clear injustice or need (Shelley S. and Black, 1977 Harvard Press), the effect of empowering the former appear to have been outweighed by the empowering of the latter. Furthermore, the random and un‑telegraphed nature of superpowers introduces an element of unpredictability into committing crimes against the person; as Sir Lee stated in the 1982 congressional hearing (above n 7), “a superhuman could rob a bank, were it not for the fact that the tellers and every customer there will have an ability of their own… [T]he danger of robbing an old lady in a dark alley rises exponentially when you don’t know what powers the seemingly harmless hide…”
 …reflected in the inevitable collapse of totalitarian states. Regardless of whatever ideals these oligarchies espoused or whether they were feasible in theory, the reality of a sizeable underclass visibly exploited by a small elite could not withstand the superhuman advent. With conventional military means of control no longer viable against an empowered population, minority‑lead dictatorships lacked the tools with which to enforce compliance with their regimes…
 …unclear whether these collapses are due to more than a residual “bad taste” left by previous Communist ideologies. It is argued (Moore et al 1995, Cambridge Press) that Communism as a societal concept provides little incentive for individual distinction and accomplishment, making it fundamentally incompatible with a superhuman world where differences are not only apparent but abundant. This assertion is naturally contested (Jokovic K. and Noble, 1994, Materialism for a New History), but it seems less controversial to propose that humans inevitably gravitate towards a stable and cooperative societal structure, wherein still lies the potential for recognition of personal talent, achievement and skill…
 …a much greater apprehension on the part of governing bodies towards the populations which they governed. While equality of outcome does not seem necessary (or even possible: Walsh, 1985, Lloyds Associated Press), there seems to be, as a requirement of stability, at least a general perception of equality of opportunity and governance “for the people”. Systems which promote or permit substantial and debilitating corruption or inequality are inevitably rejected and destroyed by a superhuman population which, for the first time in human history, possesses power greater than or equal to any state-funded military…
 …the conclusion being that humans, as instinctually social creatures, are in the majority drawn to cooperative social “contracts” of non-violence and mutual trust with those around them, so long as their personal beliefs are able to be represented, or at least heard. There is a natural gravitation towards systems which maximise general safety and individual freedom while unduly sacrificing neither, and the increased power wielded by every person has not fundamentally altered this inclination or the societal equation sufficiently to result in long-term anarchy…
 …quote: “[i]t is disparity then, that is the enemy of progress; disparity, not power. Prosperity persists so long as power cannot be concentrated disproportionately in the hands of the few. It is this concentration, therefore, that signals the advent of tyranny; that must be averted before it elicits the death of liberty, and heralds the coming of doom…”
Bio: Born and raised in Newcastle, Australia, Ben is a lifelong writer currently studying his Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney. An avid fan of the weird and wonderful, he has wanted to be a writer since he was five years old (before which he wanted to be a dinosaur).