Proposal for a new social contract
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
27-01-2013, 11:26 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2013 11:30 AM by Zat.)
RE: Proposal for a new social contract
Luminon. I love your picturesque analogies and metaphors.

It puts the issue in a framework that may be more accessible to most people -- more than my strictly cerebral analysis.

Maybe between the two of us we will make sense to a few more people?

Anyway, there is another aspect of the same issue here, and you touched on it several times, but I have another rant that directly addresses it:

I assume everyone is familiar with the old debate about our ‘Needs’ versus ‘Wants’.

It is important to differentiate our needs from our wants. I define ‘Needs’ as those requirements commonly identified with survival of the individual as a healthy (both physically and mentally) self-aware biological entity living in a society of his own species.

I define ‘Wants’ as those requirements that are not essential for survival—they are mere luxuries that can enhance one’s zest for life, the flavor of one’s existence, but there would be no serious negative consequence to life and health if they were denied.

Of course, I realize that I just opened a can of worms. You pick a hundred human beings and you get a hundred different answers as to where to draw the line between needs and wants . It is impossible to come up with a sharply drawn boundary. It is also unnecessary (I remember reading about a mother who used a drug-store precision scale to divide a chocolate bar exactly equally for her two children). There are a number of things on which everyone can readily agree. We can say that food is a need and a diamond necklace is a want.

In a functioning society based on organized production, we have no difficulty describing food, housing, clothing, medical help, education, transportation and communication as needs. Luxury yachts, ten rooms per person mansions, gold serving dishes, half-million-dollar cars, etc would be described by most people as mere wants.

So, if we start out at the extremes and proceed systematically towards the middle, somewhere in a zone of not-being-quite-sure-any-more, we can draw our line arbitrarily.

We don’t have to quibble. As far as I am concerned, we can draw the line anywhere in that zone. We would have made enormous progress.

If I try to make a list of my own basic needs, I come up with the following:

Personal needs
: Food, Clothes, Home, Energy, Medical help, Meaningful work, Exercise, Sleep, Rest, Privacy, Play, Beauty, Spirituality, Nature, Animals. Social needs: Mate, Family, Friends, Community, Transportation, Communication, Education, Entertainment, Justice, Interdependence.

I am sure I missed a few but I believe that all my really essential needs are there.

If I had a life that satisfied all these needs in balance and harmony, I know I would be a contented person. And it is very important to differentiate between ‘contended’ and ‘happy’.

We often feel happy when we are excited, thrilled, having a ‘high’ of some form. This feeling ‘high’ can be stimulated by artificial means (like drugs, alcohol, sky-diving, etc.) that are not real needs.

And the consumerist capitalistic system cashes in on this artificial addiction to ‘excitement’ and ‘thrills’. Not only cashes in, but actively promoting it via TV and other media ads.

I think it is important to satisfy our needs in a good balance. Most people have a lot of some and almost nothing of others.

Many have almost no meaningful work, even though they spend most of their time at a place where they are supposed to have lots. They have practically no time for exercise, play, beauty, spiritual experiences.
Many also don’t have any really close friends; no community to speak of, hardly any time for education and entertainment. This isn’t the life most people would choose.

Our lives are shaped more by convention, social pressure, inertia and accidents than by intelligent planning.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Zat's post
Post Reply

Messages In This Thread
Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 24-08-2011, 10:44 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zach - 24-08-2011, 01:55 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 24-08-2011, 02:39 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zach - 24-08-2011, 08:17 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 25-08-2011, 12:06 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 24-08-2011, 05:45 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zach - 25-08-2011, 08:12 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zach - 26-08-2011, 08:19 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 26-08-2011, 04:46 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 26-08-2011, 08:52 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 26-08-2011, 09:57 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zach - 26-08-2011, 09:58 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 26-08-2011, 10:46 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 26-08-2011, 02:08 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 26-08-2011, 02:42 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 27-08-2011, 12:43 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 27-08-2011, 10:13 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 27-08-2011, 06:49 AM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 27-08-2011, 12:27 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zatamon - 27-08-2011, 01:46 PM
RE: Proposal for a new social contract - Zat - 27-01-2013 11:26 AM

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
  Social constructivism vs Positivism fstratzero 75 9,531 23-02-2013 01:32 PM
Last Post: Ghost
  Breaking the Moral Contract NotSoVacuous 48 3,547 14-09-2012 04:19 AM
Last Post: Birdguy1979
  Are smokers the only social people in the streets? Cetaceaphile 24 1,944 02-04-2011 03:37 PM
Last Post: Cetaceaphile
Forum Jump: