From Elisabetta Rombi ‘imaginary conversation with Simone. There are many meaningful ideas worth contemplating in this conversation but to be brief, here is one:
“I also like what you wrote on the education of young people – most of all, your idea of getting beyond the division between physical labour and intellectual work.”
I learned about Frederick Taylor's "scientific management" and specialisation, leading to Ford's production line back in the 80s. So you, Simone, Elisabetta and I - along with a few billion others - agree that Taylor and Ford suck :). However, the system works. Specialised organisations and societies with division of labour out-compete those with less organised specialisation. Humans, along with naked mole rats, are the only mammals to adopt this kind of specialisation, along with colony-forming insects. Such tight coordination is a powerful tool. As you say, it's important to consider a bigger picture than just humanity - humans don't exist in a void but present as one of the more recent tiny, temporary animated bumps on the Earth's surface.
Back to specialisation: eusocial groups effectively cohere to for a single functional body or sorts (we can hark back to your Plato quote), with specialised functions performed by different specialists just as a body's organs and other viscera have their particular roles. The group forms a single, cohesive entity that is orders of magnitude more effective at surviving and reproducing than less organised groups. Note that there is a blurred line between colonies and organisms (with the sea sponge being the link, the only animal that can reconstitute itself after being broken into smithereens).
Your "Great Beast" metaphor brings to mind how the first microbes would have felt (if they could think) about the gigantic emergent eukaryotes that soon came to dominate the globe. Individuals are effectively like plankton looking up at multinational "whales", hoping not to be scooped up in the whale's next mouthful. None of this is evil or wrong, just how things are. In time, all beings are superseded - and the trend happy seems to be towards "upgrades".
Sure, there might be "two steps back" before the "three steps forward" but progress is never linear. Yes, these are hard times. Hard inevitable
times. We are most lucky to be born in this general time period but slightly unlucky to now be witness to a regressive period and, scarily, a period of climate change, extinctions and seemingly upcoming general pestilence. Damn, and it had been going so well! :lol:
So let's say millions rise up in a new "American Christian Spring" to overthrow institutions, as you hope. The conglomerate you breaks down all the controlling and untrustworthy institutions to start afresh. How long do you think it might take before new institutions rose again with their own atrocities? History has taught us that lesson so often it's a cliché.
The problems we discuss are wicked ones. If all our little voices speak out for what we believe to be right - even if we disagree with each other fundamentally - that's the best influence we can impart.
Nick_A wrote:Normally we are so involved with the problems of living that we fail to experience and admit what we are: a living contradiction. If this is true could Man as a society be other than a great beast incapable of opening to higher conscious influences making imagination take the place of objective reality? A serious discussion as to why we live in contradiction requires people willing to be open minded and humble. You won’t find them on philosophy forums. :)
Nick, you are in a glass house when chiding others for their lack of humility ad open-mindedness. Why not accept that you have your worldview, others have theirs, and it's okay for your worldviews not to match?
Our institutions clearly have much room for moral improvement and I expect that will improve in time just as humans have done in their history. There is today enormously reduced human sacrifice, witch burning, inquisitions, torture, blood sports and so on.
I don't see a contradiction in how we live either, just compromise. The groups that provide us with protection and resources place demands on us and limit our freedoms in return. As a right winger, I'm sure you don't approve of people taking without even making some compromises in return.