, I agree with most of what you said, especially about how we all need to re-examine our relationship with the collective. The part I have to comment on is " We seem somehow to breed more and more conflict and need more and more reform. Obviously, all reform needs further reform, and therefore it is really retrogression."
Looking at life today, it is substantially better than life fifty years ago (just in terms of civil rights), and it is much, much better than it was a few hundred years ago.
It wasn't all that long ago that we lived under monarchs as peasants and slaves, and we have to look even less further back to see empires and slavery rampant in the world.
It may seem like all the reforms to the reforms are a never-ending cycle, but the fact is that life IS getting better for everyone. The problem is the inequality with how that improvement is distributed.
Personally, I'm aiming for direct democracy, with realtime delegation, no partisan parties, and localization of all moral law. In other words, the people spend the tax money, the people vote for the smartest person they know, and can change their vote at any time. And, finally, all "victimless crime" like drug laws or speeding fines should be left up to each community.
Basically, I want the services of government, without the corruptible offices of government. The problem isn't laws or regulations, the problem is small groups of people with the power to abuse laws and regulations.
Our democracy is a relic of the days when information travelled at the speed of horse. We have the Internet now. It's time for an upgrade.