We all have philosophies. Personal beliefs stemming either from Faith or surrounding cultural norms. We are influenced by the currents of thought that permeate our environment. Some if it is very old thought, coming from the Greeks or Buddhists, perhaps. Some of it very young, like: You only live once. Whatever thoughts we were transmitted were done so to survive in the localized geographical area in which we reside. There are various types of thoughts: geographical, nationalistic, religious, political, family-related, etc., and all of them give us an edge, or should, in our personal survival and our betterment. All of these thoughts are somehow blended together in our minds, and from them we choose our courses of action. Now comes the tricky part: some favor the individual, and some favor the group, and we always walk a tightrope between the two.
We live in society, which means that we must interact or “get along” with many others of our species. Certain philosophical strategies have prepared us for this cohabitation, like: live and let live, or, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But these are not “natural” tendencies. These are doctrines that have been perpetuated through conditioning by certain religious groups. It’s not brainwashing. It’s a perfectly logical strategy for having large numbers of people inhabit the same region without harming each other. But for that to work, there is a necessity for philosophies that take “the long view”.
When we take it upon ourselves to lie, cheat, steal, rape, kill, take more than our fair share, etc, we are taking the short view, and are thinking only about ourselves. We are answering the call of our primal, animalistic instincts, and not trying to live up to our higher potential, to transcend our origins, to become a better being. We leave behind societal concerns and survival to tell everyone that our concerns are the prime concerns. This is natural person at work. But unfortunately, we are no longer natural person. We are societal person, and we must work at trying to balance person and society.
We started off with tribes. Some genius figured out that if tribes got together and hunted side-by-side, they could make off with better loot, or hunts, and so the first societies began. But they had to make rules within that group, or else they would end up destroying each other. To avoid blowing up this wonderful thing they’d created and worked well when they all put in their lot together, they made a pact, to follow certain codes of conduct so that the group would stay cohesive.
Fast forward several thousand years. We have nations, with Declarations of Human Rights. Our new pacts, which we must respect, to continue moving along the timeline in a non-destructive way (toward the people within the territory, anyhow).
What are the problems we have now? This one is a two-parter:
1) Those within the territory are not taught the same pact uniformly, and therefore do not act with the good of the whole at heart. They must live at a survival level, and to do this have to resort to those negative traits so dangerous to the lifeblood of society. This is because not all those within the territories are treated equally, and those who are below the level of opportunity have no choice but to act in manners that do not allow them to live up to the expectations that those who are, do. Socio-economic and racial prejudice play a huge part in the dynamics of a multi-ethnic country, but the same pressure are applied economically or through sexual politics in other nations.
2) Those outside “our” territory have different rules, laws, rights, prejudices, and philosophies which, when used properly, provide opportunity for enmity and strife, even war. War is started by leaders desiring to acquire some result out of the conquering of others’ territory, which in turn causes misery and death. War is also declared to polarize a disparate and unfocused population in “our” territory to point them all in the same direction through the fear and hatred of a manufactured enemy.
So how do we overcome these two major problems?
This is both simple, and very hard (of course). As a footnote, I’ve been told many a times before that what I expound upon is “very easy for you to say!” Yes, it is. But for something to be done, it has to begin as an idea, then acted upon. Nevertheless, it must be said!
Let me give you the “umbrella” analogy. If you have a tiny umbrella, it will help you in the rain. Only you can carry it, and everyone else will get wet. Simple. If you have a bit bigger umbrella, you could have five or ten people out of the rain, and you could all hold it up, making sure those under it stayed dry. What if you had an enormous umbrella? That could cover an entire country? Imagine one-hundred million people kept out of the rain, all holding it up. But what of the rest of the planet?
This is the point we are at. We had these individual umbrellas millions of years ago when we foraged alone. We made better ones to protect the tribe. Then, eventually, we created umbrellas to help large swaths of the human population. Now we must create an umbrella that covers the entire planet, and we must do it without fail.
To be continued