Saturday, August 29, 2015

The New Evil, Resolved

Hi! Happy Saturday!

I hope you are having a Wonderful! day!

If we were to consider a system of ten morals relative to a system of one-thousand morals then there is no discussion. And so it is that religion is dead and irrelevant. The golden rule has expired and we are onto the information rule; treat others as they are and not as you are. Empathy for all has blossomed because the human race is over, we've won. We know how to survive so we are now onto the quality-of-life, human chapter . Quality of life for everyone! Opportunity for everyone!

Zoom zoom!

Religious morality is irrelevant because it doesn't scale. Scale is a common theme here at Irreni. In the modern age it is irrelevant to be  religious because we of good conscious could never compromise our thousands, nay hundred-of-thousands of morals that we live by today. How could anyone consider a limited bronze-age, primitive moral code here in the complex information age?

Morality like so many things has scaled by leaps and bounds over the years and we need to scale our dialog accordingly.

Where should we begin? How 'bout at the top:  good versus evil?

How do we discuss good vs. evil these days? Well, first off let's identify what's changed now that religion is gone:

  1. No supernatural. Good and evil are not fixed states of supernatural condition. Good and evil then are just conditions that are ever changing and always transitioning. Therefore saying someone is either a "good person" or a "bad person" is meaningless. Every single one of is both good and evil depending on the aspect of life one is talking about.
  2. No more dehumanization. No insider versus outsider. Empathy for all requires no dehumanizing. Calling something or someone evil does not infer dehumanization. 
  3. No free will, but limited will. Humans have a limited capability of self-determination.
  4. Emerging morals continuously supersede existing morals and so everyone will have outdated morals. In other words, what was moral yesterday may be immoral tomorrow. 
This blog is about first and foremost about solutions. A solution is forthcoming. There will be a modern solution. But before we get there we need to suss out how things changing require us to change how we think and act upon good and evil.

First we need to define good and evil for the information age:
  1. Good: helpful
  2. Evil: harmful
There ya go. So when I say the rich today are really, really evil, despicable evil, then I'm just saying the rich are harmful. Which they are. What I am not saying is "off with their heads" like what happened during the French revolution. Empathy for all includes everyone. A new era is upon us where we are all in this together.

Ok, so if evil people are not to be dehumanized and they are not imbued with some nebulous, dark supernatural state then what good is the word evil? Evil remains a pejorative. Shame is powerful tool in our human psychological  toolbox. To be evil is to be shameful. Again, though, no dehumanization.

In the information era of human existence and in the quality-of-life human chapter we now can find it in our hearts and in our minds to reflect on everyone being both good and evil. Our mission is to encourage the good and discourage the evil.

One of the many ironies of religion is that religion attempts to cast people as computers. Religion treats people as either-or; a one or a zero. In religion a person is either good or a person is evil, you can't be both. Hitler was evil. We do not consider him good because he is evil. Binary. Treating people like computers is so pre-21st century.

Now, in the 21st century, we get to be humans. We get to be enigmas. We are all both good and evil.

Let us consider one of my personal heroes and also a hero to most Americans: George Washington. The list of good, admirable and awe inspiring things done by George Washington fills many books. Washington was a very good man.

Yet Washington owned slaves and lots of them. That makes Washington evil. In prior generations this enigma of Washington being both good and evil would have played out one of two ways. One is hero worship of Washington meant avoiding the slave conversation other than acknowledgement. The other way this played out is that if someone called Washington evil because slavery was evil then that person was labeled unpatriotic and outcast.

No more. Humans are not computers. We don't have to choose if Washington was either good or evil. In this generation it is not only acceptable but desirable to call out Washington as both good and evil. Good and evil are not a state. They just mean helpful and harmful. Further, there is no ledger. Previous moral judgements would sometimes try to weigh all the good Washington did against all the bad Washington did and then somehow weigh the scales. The problem with weighing the scales is that a.) there is no quantitative scale  and b.) the final tally winner masks that which was considered lesser. Hitler is considered evil and only evil using a weighing of the scales. Did Hitler do good? We can have that conversation now. We can see Hitler as a person now and not a dehumanized devil demon. We are not religious.

But modern morals have evolved as more than just re-defining good and evil. The scale of morals today means we are only responsible for a minor fraction of all the morals today. For example, we all want the buildings that we live in built to a moral building code. That moral building code reflects the expectation that people should not be dying in buildings due to building failure. It is considered immoral for a building to not have safety measures. It is a moral code. The same goes for flight safety and so on. To whit, unlike the religious era where all morals were meant for everyone and everyone was expected to abide and be accountable to all morals that is not the case in the information age. That expectation doesn't scale. Instead we have built a new moral system where we compartmentalize and depend on each other. There are millions of modern morals but individually we are only responsible for small fraction. Religion is dead.

But wait, there's more!  Evil and good have evolved in another way in the modern era: they change over time. Morals are changing rapidly and the growth in moral count is accelerating. As time goes by morals that were once good become evil. And that is a complete about face from religion. In religion once something is morally good it is always morally good. Religion can't scale to evolving morals.

For example, I grew in an era of thick skin. I grew up in an era of wickedly offensive humor. Comedy was all about being offensive. That sensibility is changing today. PC is the norm for the up coming generation. Thick skin may still be a moral good but getting it by way of offending people until they grow thick skin is not going to be an acceptable good way to get it.

Another instance of a modern moral good becoming moral evil is how we treat animals. We should all be vegetarians now. All of us eating meat are being evil. The world's population of seven billion people means the arable, farm land is quickly shrinking. Meat is inefficient form of food. There is a high risk we not be able to feed every increasing populations eating meat and so the moral thing to do is for us all to become vegetarian. I try but I'm still eating bacon. Oh bacon.

Good and evil have come along way since the computer days of the bronze age where good and evil had supernatural overtones and so one was either one or the other. You couldn't be possessed by the devil and the Lord simultaneously. Times have change and it is no longer moral to consider someone as binary good or evil. We are all both good and evil. And we are all on a continuous journey of becoming more, better good. Well, hopefully.

All of which brings me to our solution. The most vile, wicked, despicable, wretched, detestable evil people today are the rich. Now, in the past such a statement was meant to dehumanize. Now it is not. Now what detestable evil means is to call out shame.

Shame on the rich. Why? Some people would say that the rich today deserve no more calling out then the rich at any time in the American past. This is simply not true from an American history perspective. The rich today are ever so much more nasty, vicious and evil. By what measure, you might ask?

That measure is in the 1920s when the income tax was first instituted the tax on anything over 1 million dollars was 100%. And guess what? This was a decision the BY rich FOR the rich. This was not a populist thing. The rich had an understanding that with privilege there is no honestly making a million dollars. Money will make money, something denied to the poor. That's not honest.

I've studied a great deal of American history prior to the civil war. One thing that is strikingly clear is that the privileged called themselves that: privileged. There is a saying from the 1920s that reflects this well I think: one can't make a million dollars honestly. Another saying about privilege is that it takes money to make money.

For sure this obligation was not felt by all the rich. But Washington had it. Franklin had it. Both died very wealthy men.  The rich felt an obligation to the masses because they understood they were privileged and that with privilege came a heavy burden of public obligation. Thomas Jefferson earned no salary as the governor of Virginia.

And today?  The rich of America today have no compassion and no ethics. They are ruthless, uncaring and arrogant vampires sucking the life out of the middle class and poor. Crap. I called them vampires, dehumanizing them. Let me try again. The rich of America today remind me of the rich of Europe prior to this country's founding. Let the plebs eat the cake of bread, why would they want anything more? The poor want to be poor. This attitude of the European rich of the 1700s is identical to the American rich today.

The rich of America today deserve every bit the same derision given the rich of 1800s in Europe before their heads were chopped off.

However, empathy for all, remember? Everyone is an enigma of good and evil. We don't dehumanize people and we certainly don't kill them.

So what do we do?

And now time for the Irreni World Scale solution.

We take their toys away.

One way to do this is we could pass a constitutional amendment that every single person in the top 1% is stripped of 100% of all money and property. These people claim their time is worth $430 million/year. There should be no problem for these people to earn another $430 million the following year after being stripped of it all. Let's do it.  Of course we also have to deal with the non-Americans who hold the same kind of American wealth the top 1% Americans do. Strip them of 100% of all American money and property as well.

All the proceeds go into increasing wages of all Americans.

This is just a thought exercise to demonstrate we live in a new era. We no longer need to resort to violence or dehumanizing the evil-doers. Empathy for all. The rich can simply become rich again overnight. No harm no foul. Well, at least to hear them tell it, because, you know, they EARN 100% of all their wealth.

Of course we could always go farther and ban the rich from entering into the very businesses and occupations they previously abused. But we should not. Why? Because the real objective is empathy for all. The rich in America prior to 1920 understood that with great wealth came great privilege and great responsibility. Perhaps we can get the modern rich to see the light?

My ideal scenario would go something like this. We the populist masses begin a 3-5 year process to pass a one-time only constitutional amendment to strip the evil rich of all wealth. During that 3-5 years the amendment is being passed the rich have an opportunity, a window of time, to decide to turn it around and do good. They rich could just like in the 1920s get together and agree to tax 100% of ALL income over one million dollars per year. The rich decide for the rich. Perhaps then we the people wouldn't feel the need then to pass this new amendment?

And that, my friends, is the new morality. We shame people until hopefully they turn it around from evil-to-good. If not? Wellllllll, suffer the consequences. Empathy for all!


Think disruption!

Empathy for all!

Moral relativity: think it, breath it!

Prove it or lose it!

Conversations equal consensus! 

Welcome to the 21st century!

Scale your empathy, scale the world! 

Find your tribe!

Be sexy people!

The future is coming! 

Innovate at a rapid pace!

Slow speed ahead!

Well come! and well met!

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