Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
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25-01-2012, 10:40 AM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2012 10:52 AM by Zat.)
Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
Once basic healthy survival is assured (far from an achieved goal for most of humanity), we have wildly different interests in life.

Paul Erdos, the Hungarian mathematical genius, lived out of his suitcase. He never owned property, never married, wandered around the planet and stayed with fellow mathematicians, often uninvited, sometime for months. “Better” for him meant a better, cleaner, simpler proof of a theorem in number theory.

Mahatma Gandhi died with all his possession fitting into a shoebox. For him better meant purer, simpler, closer to the ground and to his people.

For me better means to be more and more independent of the corporate world we all depend on. I already have a solar power system and next year I am scheduled to get off the grid altogether. I finished building my year-around greenhouse last summer and am looking forward to fresh tomatoes in February. Being vegetarian it will be a big step in self sufficiency.

My brother calls himself the gadget-man – for him better means more and more electronic gizmo, automating every aspect of his life that he can possibly replace with some kind of machine. My 'better' is his nightmare – his 'better' is mine.

I have a friend who is the most intelligent person I have ever known. For her better means intellectual stimulation that comes near her IQ – a rare event. She does not care what she wears, what people think about her, as long as they leave her alone to think and read.

Another person I know would be petrified if she did not have the latest in fashion and her social status is the foundation of her existence.

Yet another lives for music, he is immersed in it with the exclusion of almost everything else.

Several of my friends are political activists and they are passionate about their stand and fight against social injustice.

Another one is a corporate CEO who would like to throw them all in jail and throw away the key.

Another of my friends fantasizes about living on Planet Pandora (of Avatar), as close to magnificent nature: plants, animals, innocent savages as possible.

Shall I go on?

So the question is: what kind of world would allow people to be who they want to be? Where does social conformity and responsibility end and where does individual liberty begin?

Framing the question in another way: what do we owe to society as opposed to what we owe ourselves? I have another thread somewhere about "Resolving conflicting loyalties" where I tried to address this issue in a logical and systematic way.

Here I just would like people to describe their "perfect world" that would allow themselves maximum freedom, while still being responsible parts of the community that sustains them.

If you were not forced to: would you pay any taxes at all (if yes, how much)?,... would you volunteer for military service if your country was threatened?,... would you devote some of your time for public service like jury duty, political canvassing, etc., etc?
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25-01-2012, 12:02 PM
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
Objection! Assumes facts not in evidence.

Since I love my Gwynnies, I can do anything! Tongue

Better, of course; contrasts object. Of all the potentialities of choice, potential, and possibilities; there is but one Step 2 that is in the direction of Better from Step 1 - death - ergo, kill 'em all for my Gwynnies... All better.

Don't question it, Vakko - it is unquestionably one better way - knowing that one exists from myriad initial state, is knowing the futility of any conceived determined state to pretend to be the state of becoming on the way to final state - leaving but 2 plausible utopian communities - dead for my Gwynnies, or dictatorship for all. Ain't worth burning the entropy and exciting the brain cells about step 3 without a consensus on step 2; step 1 I'm usually volunteering for myself by myself. Can't pull anything outta life's dark asshole that cannot be cured by dying for the Gwynnies... sometimes, I hafta remind myself that I am standing in the middle of traffic.

As a 'serious' question, it has been answered by technocratic anarchy in concept. Included within is a virtual, fractal representative democracy. A 4, so you know it is gin-u-ine I love my Gwynnies solution. To formalize the proposition is to know it is a million dollar idea. I'd have to plan to help myself to a few million from my investors to get the investors to make the investment happen. Because you're Zat, I'll let it go for a cool six figures; when the funds are in my account, I'll send you the details.




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25-01-2012, 02:11 PM
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
The kind of better world we could begin to make right now, with the knowledge and technology we already have, might have room in it for all those desires, and more.
So much innovation is out there, in the areas of ecology, energy, shelter design, food production, non-polluting industry and enhancement of human potential; so many clever people able and willing to implement so many good ideas, and they're not permitted the opportunity.

I can't define it objectively - subjectively, for me, a better world means one with less bullying by the people who wish to own everything and everyone. I suppose, what i would like to see is more liberal education, cleaner democracy, bigger platforms for building consensus and a lot more birth control.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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25-01-2012, 02:40 PM
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
(25-01-2012 10:40 AM)Zat Wrote:  What do we owe to society as opposed to what we owe ourselves?

It may seem enough do one's own thing as long as no one else is effected. But someone will inevitably be effected, no matter how much one tries to not let that happen. Any point of communication or contact will cause some kind of effect, some kind of societal awareness, exposure, and possible interaction. Humans are like that; it's what societies do.

We can limit our exposure, our awareness, our interaction; we would be more in control of our selves and any societal expectations in this way. Control what we let out will control what comes in and vice-versa. Then again, people are just butt-inskys... uh, I mean curious. And I for one, feel curiosity is one of humanity's greatest attributes. I wouldn't want to do away with curiosity completely by assigning it anymore mediocrity than it already has to deal with. Shy

How limited we are, can become evident in how we limit others, and this can in turn impact the lives of many. For example, if a person is unable to read, a bookshop owner will never see that person's revenue. Awareness might lead to involvement. A solution to that shop owner's lost revenue might be to sponsor an adult reading program. Involvement provides everyone a whole new world.

I suppose the degree of participation in humanity would spell downfall or success. I think we only owe to society what we hope and expect to get out of it.
Hope and expectation are precarious words, as is curiosity. Shy

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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25-01-2012, 02:47 PM
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
Maslow's hierarchy of needs might fit the bill for objectively defining a better world. Better means moving up vertically in the pyramid. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_...y_of_needs
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25-01-2012, 03:07 PM
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
Well let's see...

A better world wouldn't have anything to do with my hobbies.
For me a better world would have next to no crime and that includes politicians and bankers!
A better world would have a government that does a good job and avoids wars.
A better world would not have money or anything similar. > People would, from the beginning, be educated to do good, not to be greedy and that helping society and the community is important. They would also learn that as part of helping society/community you have a specific role (your job) that you need to do because others rely on it just like you rely on what they do.
In a better world everyone would have a job according to what they can and want to do. So it would be most likely that for example intellectual handicapped people might be street cleaners or the guy in the office that does the copies... Everyone would have work but it would not be 8-10 hours per day. It would be about half of that.
As you would have less work to do, you would have more time for social interaction, hobbies, studying, doing important things (appointments at doctor, bank, etc).

A better world would have a good school system and not everyone would be allowed to homeschool.
It would of course also have a great health system, everyone gets the treatment they need!
A better world would use alternative energy only and cars etc wouldn't need gasoline anymore but go by electricity. (that's already possible and should be a standard imho)
A better world would be FREE from religion... well one may dream, eh

Oh and a better world would never have a winter and never be abover 25 degrees celsius!!!

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25-01-2012, 04:07 PM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2012 04:29 PM by Zat.)
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
(25-01-2012 03:07 PM)Leela Wrote:  A better world wouldn't have anything to do with my hobbies.

I think I need to clarify the OP a bit here.

I used the “better world” expression the way people talk about wanting to “make the world a better place”. The intention is noble, the goal is nebulous. I was curious how people see this” better world”, from the perspective of individual freedom versus societal responsibility.

We have all seen the ‘takers’ who want to take maximum out and put the minimum in. Investors and gamblers fall in this category.

Then there are the givers, who thrive on serving others selflessly, sacrificing their own needs.

And then there are the rest of us in between.

How would you like to divide your personal desires from your social responsibilities?

My own “better world” is a patchwork of locally organized communities that are organized into a larger unit of city, county and country. I would want to do all my social contribution locally, together with my neighbors, people I have known for a long time, whose needs and problems I understand – as opposed to being a cog in an impersonal big machine somewhere. This way my social-contribution activities would not be a hated chore but an enjoyable community interaction.

I would want to be involved (and have been to some degree) in local school activities, hospitals, political organizations, libraries, art galleries, neighborhood policing and improvement. Once that done, then I would have time for my family and my hobbies. I would like the better part of my taxes be earmarked for projects in the local community, so I know that it goes for real needs as opposed to a bottomless pit of waste and corruption.

Of course, I live in the country and am retired, so it is a lot easier to be involved. But, I believe, everyone has some opportunity to participate in some society or other. We are just too alienated and chewed up by corporate agendas to have any energy left for living in a better world of our own design.
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25-01-2012, 05:58 PM
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
Since everyone has a different picture of their own ideal life, maybe the only objectively better world is the one where each person has the opportunity to achieve that ideal for themselves.
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25-01-2012, 06:33 PM
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
(25-01-2012 05:58 PM)Ben Wrote:  Since everyone has a different picture of their own ideal life, maybe the only objectively better world is the one where each person has the opportunity to achieve that ideal for themselves.

I guess 'objectively' was not the best word to choose. What I was hoping for was an approach to the question, some kind of a principle, deciding how one would draw the lines, rather than a shopping list of features one would expect from better world.
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25-01-2012, 10:29 PM (This post was last modified: 25-01-2012 10:35 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Can you 'objectively' define a better world?
Okay, then.
A society that works; a healthy society. If we don't have to worry about getting from here to there (Actually, that's easy: catastrophic economic and political breakdown.), how will it eventually look? Not unlike how it looked a long time ago. I think we need to circle back - no, not to the caves, or pre-technology - to the tribal system of organization. As you said, Zat, local and small in the key.
My notion of ideal size is twenty to a hundred thousand, because at that level, we can keep an eye on one another, know what's going on. But it think larger cities will survive the catastrophe, and many clusters of cities and towns will remain allied in some national entities. Each of these national entities might have its own principle of organization. Any of a dozen principles could work equally well, as long as the participants agreed to make it work.

We'll have to break the big federations and empires down (already begun) into groups that feel they belong together on territories to which they feel organically connected. Whatever is not our home, we trash; therefore, we must all be confined to our own home, and off everyone else's. A strong connection to where we live is of primary importance.

Secondly, we need to have a single coherent philosophy to rule each community, so that nobody has to stay in a closet or feel excluded or threatened. This can be a different philosophy, a different set of rules for each community, so that every temperament and preference can find the right environment, where they'll be happy. The biggest problem is how to stop predation. Maybe a co-ordinated network of communication (We like the internet anyway and wouldn't like to give it up.) to warn all the other communities if one starts building up military capability?
There should be nothing to stop an individual from one community to travel and visit other communities, study there, spend time there to observe how things are done, teach others, share knowledge and gain insight.

The drawback is that no independent community can undertake a large project like space flight. For such enterprises, a number of communities would have to pool resources and skills. Doable? Desirable? I don't know.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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