The Need for Legitimate and Positive Order
A good life requires a balancing of psychological and physical needs. Physically, we need material wealth (food, water, goods, services, etc, not necessarily money) to make ourselves able to live and our lives physically comforting and enjoyable. Psychologically, we need company, friends, loved ones; other human beings and a spontaneously generated and inwardly focused sense of happiness and well being. We can cultivate this psychological need through inward meditation and/or being around people (for the more extroverted types, especially). Our physical and psychological needs, in their most root forms, are essentially and for all intents and purposes, basically the same. We may have different preferences for different things, just like we have preferences for different things when we shop for food. However, the root need that is being addressed by our actions and behavior: the hunger, is the same for all of us, regardless of any of the differences that we could list that separates one person from another person in our perception of things in the universe. The itch is the same, even though the techniques that are used to scratch that itch are different, to with varying degrees of success for the individual in question.
The psychological satisfaction, I think, is unique to each individual human being, even if there are clusters of people who have similar psychological needs and methods for gratification. Since the only person who can ultimately make you truly happy is you (even through negative circumstances and conditions), it’s not very fruitful to discuss this here. We each need to find our own path in life that helps us while at the very least, not harming the other. It’s case by case and situation by situation. Therefore, I’ll turn to a discussion about the nature and function of our means of satisfying our material and physical needs (which help feed into the fulfillment of our psychological needs as well).
In order to have an economy, you need a certain set of preconditions. First off, you need multiple people; the more there are (to a carrying capacity) the more diversified and specialized the economy can become. Next, you need political order amongst all of these people. Third, you need resources, agricultural first, and manufactured goods second. The surplus of this production and the development of new tools, new uses for tools, and new production methods then fuel the growing economy, which then makes a society more able to take care of itself and its members through times of hardship when break-ups normally happen amongst humans. For the purposes of this paper, I will focus on the order section, since the first and the third should be self evident (ie, the more people you have to trade with, the greater the complexity and wealth of the market, and the more resources, material and capital that you have, the more able you are to produce goods, services and technological development.) The need for order and government seems to be something where there’s a lot of confusion about, especially in the United States at present. Therefore, I hope that this essay explains my point of view well enough, such that it enlightens people to the possibilites of cooperation and mindful compassion towards others.
Criminal behavior and cheating needs to be made identifiable and punished within the society according to norms, standards of behavior, social custom and the laws which these factors produce. Without this order, trade cannot occur reliably and there is no legal recourse for anti-social and socially destructive behavior. The economy weakens, trade falters and people are sent into a state of antagonistic barbarity where they need to look after their own affairs in order to survive. People are left unable to sleep well at night, in order to protect their material goods from others, and the entirety of civilization and our survival needs would not be met. For this order to be preserved, a society needs a kind of government in order to produce the laws according to the society’s customs and sensibilities and provide the enforcement mechanisms of these laws, such that there is recourse for violations of the social norms of behavior that make a society functional.
In small bands, the government may include the entirety of the tribe. But in larger societies and civilizations (who, incidently, produce more wealth and greater material comforts, thus leading to a greater potential for psychological comfort and well being), government becomes a distinctive entity, such that there are people specialized to the function of governing and overseeing the rest of society, its economic functions, its relations with other human societies and its society’s interactions with the environment in which it lives. In other words, government provides the housekeeping, in-house management and foreign relations of society, very much like how the administrative sector of a large business handles the internal functions and external relations of a company, such that it’s workers are able to function. The only difference between a company and a government, is that a government’s aim is to improve and maintain well being within a society as cost-effectively as possible, rather than turn a profit for the executives. A government’s aim is to maximize the long term and short term benefits for the people living in the society in non-monetary manners; to improve and maintain quality of life through all times for the people who live under its territorial jurisdiction and across to all other societies on this planet. When a government’s members fail to achieve this simple yet complicated end, its members are more likely to cause harm and damage to the rest of the social and environmental worlds in which they live and, thus, jeopradize their positions and inhabited institutions. When they succeed at accomplishing these ends, they become literal and figurative titans in the eyes of the general public and are able to last in power, officially and unofficially. There is no difference between the production of small-self gain and large-self gain, and that the true way to achieve maximum selfishness is to be generous, kind, benevolent and genuinely effective at satisfying the physical needs for the general public, so that they can have the potential to realize their psychological needs. To this end, in order to preserve the economy and the society, and to maintain them both across the generatinos, it is in the interests of a government to concern itself with the following: education for all children, litigation in business deals, pursuits and conflicts, regulation of the financial industry to maintain the engine of capital, the protection of the environment from business interests, the provision for public goods and services that the private, for profit businesses wouldn’t handle well owing to an inherent conflict of interest between profit and quality/quantity produced (healthcare through infrastructure) and the preservation of common defense from internal hazards and negative activities and external threats. Since a government needs capital in order to run all of these operations and functions, it then needs to collect a tax from the economy, such that no one really does end up losing their shirt as a result of having to give more to people in a legal and structured manner. Taxes are like the dues of society and the door is always open for those who want to leave and enjoy tax breaks plus shittier public services and goods.
Domestically, government is more of a technical enterprise that can be broken down into a markable and practically schedulable enterprise. One needs to look at several environmental, economic and social factors in order to determine the condition, well being and health of the society within itself, thus enabling the government to potentially discover ways of improving upon the systems and attitudes that are already present (albeit, this would first require consent and genuine desire from those who would be changing). Relationships in internatinal relations is a different story, even though it still can be said that there’s a criteria for doing a more or less positive job at handling foreign affairs. The aim should be towards a mutually beneficial and consensual peace where economies can flourish and trade of all sorts, monetary, material and non-material can develop amongst nations. These relationships need to be founded on respect, acknowledgement of the other as being an equal, with more or less equal physical and psychological needs and a more or less equal desire for material satisfaction, respect, dignity and well being in various forms. The exchange of ideas and concepts, I think, is one of the most beneficial of all trades, because it enables a society, a culture and a government to adapt and fill in the gaps where their understanding, comprehension and knowledge falls short. No society has a perfect comprehension of the larger world around us, and the sum of us all won’t really uncover the full extent of the possibilities of the universe. However, by combining the forces of knowledge through active listening/reading, careful translation and comensating for cultural divides, we could get a more accurate vision of what the universe is all about and about the various human experiences that have happened and are likely to happen as time continues to march us forward to unknown points.
Therefore, in order to have good domestic policy and positive relations, good government, as oppsed to ineffectual, small-selfish centered and/or no government. Good policy is one of the contributing factors to producing a happy, healthy and functional internal society and economy, as well as a socially well adjusted and functional international society. This can sometimes mean not interfering or choosing a different way to interact and think about the other. However, a lack of government presence, as proposed by the Libertarians and some conservatives in this country, would lead to and has led to economic collapses, long term environmental damage, long term societal damage and the overall cheapening of life on Earth (along with dips in the value produced by the economy). Authoritarian government under a non-accountable and private elite, as proposed by many in the conservative vein, is just as dysfunctional and counter-productive to positive social function for individuals as is the laissez-faire system of government advocated for by Libertarians and some conservatives. It not only does not provide the necessary social, economic and environmental functions needed to sustain and support life, let alone quality life, but it also regresses society back to a state of feudal barbarism, where merchants were unable and unwilling to trade readily and where people were at the entire and unaccountable mercy of the local landlord or person/family who owned the property and capital. This situation always has lead to revolutions happening, for better and for worse (depending upon the inputs that went into those revolutions). But happen they did, and successful at at least removing the powers that be, they were.
Therefore, if you’re going to want to enjoy life on the “top” of society, don’t ever think of that area as the “top.” Think of it as a privilege and an opportunity to serve humanity to the fullest of your abilities, based on love, care, affection and a grounding in empirical, common reality. If you don’t want to do these things, then don’t apply for jobs within the government, elected or otherwise, official or unofficial as you’re going to find it miserable and yoursel unable to hold a post over extended years and decades. The key to staying in power is to be kind, appropriate, grounded in reality, effective at your job and loving to your citizens. Anything else has led to revolutions in the long term, and the removal of those who were offending the deeper social and legal norms of that given society. In other words, conservatism doesn’t work for the conservatives, and idealism doesn’t work for the Libertarians/Liberals. Only science, reality and love can really save ourselves and our species on this level of existence. Anything else won’t work, actually. At least, I don’t think they would very well.
Therefore, kind-heartness, benevolence, care, grounding reality, knowing what you know and what you don’t know (and, being willing to admit to yourself, at least, when you don’t know or can’t do something) are the tools that we need to begin work on creating a monument out of the species itself; one that will, I think, live on forever onto the end of time and beyond (that is, if we’re not stamped out before people get a chance to look it over and digest it).
Good luck to us all!
And, think about it.
Think about it.