The 95/5 Theory

1)      95% of any given population is ignorant.

Ignorance is lack of knowledge, information, or education of the common good.  It is NOT founded primarily on educational attainment, IQ, or “book smarts.”  Ignorance manifests itself in widespread, unfettered greed and self-indulgence.  It is the main ingredient of a corrupted state, and thus detrimental to the sustainment, protection, and improvement of society as a whole.  There are two types of ignorance found among the population: (1) people, at times through no fault of their own, who do not know (those who simply lack knowledge), and (2) people who know, but fail to do (those who know better, but fail to do better).  Which type of ignorance an individual exercises is essentially irrelevant; the consequences to society are fundamentally the same.  As a result, 95% of the population falls into one or both categories.

One important characteristic of ignorance is confusion.  95% of the population is known to confuse the issues relevant to society and the attainment of the common good; confuse their own values and interests, and the role of individuals and the state.  Such confusion leads individuals to act in deviant ways, contrary to their best interests and the interests of society.  Thus there is confusion amongst the majority of people regarding what is in their best interest; they are confused about what they want, what they need, how to get it, and conversely, how to produce good for themselves as individuals and the community as a whole.  They are confused because they do not know and because they do not know, they are confused.  Together, groups can always attain and accomplish more than individuals, and the greatest achievements are those done to benefit society as a whole.  Thus the attainment of group desired goals is not realized due to the population’s inability to rid itself from a corrupted state of persistent individualism and materialism.


2)      5% of the people in any given population exercise reason.

Reason is the capacity for individuals to make sense of the world around them, establish and verify facts, and change or justify one’s practices and beliefs.  It is generally associated with thinking or intellect.  Reason is the means by which rational beings understand themselves to think about cause and effect, truth and falsehood, and what is good or bad.  It is NOT based entirely on educational attainment, “book smarts,” or IQ.  Reason represents knowledge of and active participation in the protection, sustainment, and improvement of the community as a whole (common good).  Those with a closer understanding of the world around them will have a better understanding of positive and negative effects on society.  Reason is like a contact lens that acts like a filter for how a person perceives and acts upon the outside world.  A person uses reason to filter what happens around them before determining what action to take, good or bad.  Those with the ability to decipher between the positive and negative effects on the community at-large, and not just themselves as individuals are few and far in-between.  Additionally, those with the WANT and general interest in attaining the common good will be few.  Thus, the percentage of the population who exercise reason and have the ability to accomplish the common good for society is 5%.


3)      The 95% have an antagonistic, contentious relationship with the 5%

An ignorant majority hate being told/ asked to relinquish their self-interest or minimize their materialistic drive for the need/ benefit of the group.  Since they lack knowledge of the ways in which to sustain, protect, and improve the conditions of the community, they find assurance in indiscriminately pursuing their own self-interest.   They find it unsettling to be asked to surrender some of their love of self for the love and stability of the community as a whole, and the conditions of society perpetuate their love of self and their unfettered materialism.  Thus the 95% fight and resist the agents that bring much needed change to their corrupted state; similar to an obese individual who hates the trainer or doctor assigned to helping them lose weight, which would result in a healthier, longer life for the individual.  Consequently, the ignorant would rather fail alone than attempt to make the necessary changes to improve their lives with the help of those who know better than they.  Part of the attitude and conditions of ignorance is the belief that no one can possibly know what is in the best interest of someone else.  This attitude permeates society and causes unnecessary strife between people and obstructs the attainment of the common good.


4)      The 5% also have an antagonistic, contentious relationship with the 95%

Those with reason get continually frustrated with the ignorance and lack of perspective of the rest of the population.  More importantly, the 5% are baffled by the continued ignorance shared by the majority of the population and their complete lack of understanding of history and the seriousness of their conditions.  Despite the progress made by society in communication, technology, and information, 95% of the population continues to behave in ways contrary to their self-interest, in addition to their collective interests.  Finally, the 95% are frustrated with their conditions and yet those with the resources and ability to improve their daily lives are shunned and ignored.  The 95% are starving and ignorant, but refuse the food and knowledge which they so desperately need.  They want change, but disregard the agents of change.  Most importantly, their ignorance obstructs their ability to develop healthy relationship based on a mutual interest with the 5 %.  Thus, the ignorant fight and resist change; the change they need and want, whether they know it or not.


5)      The Common Good within any society or population is achieved by the domination of 95% of the population by the 5%

It takes a community to attain the common good, but only a few will have the capacity to lead the people to it, create the institutions for which it can be attained, and dedicate themselves completely to seeing it through to the end.  To dominate is to rule over or govern.  What separates the ignorant from the reasonable in this instance is the ability to rule and govern for the best interest of others or those unable or willing to rule or govern themselves, versus ruling and governing primarily for the self-interest of those ruling.    Domination is not absolutely negative.  There are positive and liberating forms of domination; instances where the act of domination is beneficial for both parties involved.  Two important forms of domination are important to accomplishing the common good: (1) leadership/ education, and (2) force.  Leading and educating the people to the values of the common good without their consent or input is vital to successfully achieving the common good.  It is in the best interest of the ignorant that those with reason guide them through their corrupt state and educate them in the ways of contributing to the common good; not that you can successfully lead or guide a community without the continued consent of the masses, only that their input and the information that needs to be provided to them is minimal at best.  Again, the ignorant are known for confusing the issues, so the less they know, the less likely it is for them to obstruct the common good.  Thus domination is not necessarily physically, politically, or socially constraining.  To achieve the common good requires that the 5% of the people with reason dominate the rest of the population by governing or ruling over the 95% in their best interest.  When leading and educating is not enough to accomplish the common good in society, the 5% are left to establish the common good through force.  This entails establishing the common good by any means possible, exercising whatever means the 5% deem necessary.  The common good is the highest form of good and its attainment is a good of itself; whatever it takes to accomplish it pales in comparison to the amount of injustice allowed in a corrupted society.  There is plenty of good that can be accomplished through force, and it takes a reasonable person to understand what those conditions are.  Force in the hands of the ignorant in oppressive, but force in the hands of the wise is a tool for liberation.

One thought on “The 95/5 Theory

  • laura m

    Great points and insights Stephen. Some quotes i like that are pulled from spiritual philisophy:

    Life is an ongoing process of creation. A secret of all Masters/leaders/teachers is to stop changing ones mind; keep choosing the same thing.

    We “call forth” what we think, feel and say.

    Your feelings are your truth. What is best for you is what is true for you. Thoughts are not feelings; rather, they are ideas of how you “should” feel. When thoughts and feelings get confused, lost.

    Negative feelings are not true feelings at all; rather, they are your thoughts about something, based always on the previous experience of yourself and others. Previous experience is no indicator of truth, since pure truth is created here now, not reenacted.

    bottom line: there is truth in so much of what you said but people are getting lost in the fog of past experience and not paying enough attention to the here and now. If you want to improve the here and now, and of course the future, the present moment is the only reality.

    I hope that I can join with you as part of what can be…hopefully, one day 100% focused on the common good.

    Thanks for starting Gravyology!

    (Btw I dont take credit for this guidance; these are seeds of wisdom I pulled from the “conversations with God” trilogy.)


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