One of the things I like about Word Press is that our posts can generate some great discussion. Unlike many other social media pages where, on occasion (ok, all too frequently) I see many hateful exchanges.
A couple of days ago a post of mine generated some great discussion on how governments and local communities attempt to shape social behavior. The idea behind this is to favor what is usually considered the betterment of the whole community or the country at large.
Of course, this begs the questions, “Who gets to decide what’s best for everybody?” And “Just because it’s best for everybody (if it really is), why should I be compelled to do it.”
It’s a balancing of interests.
And we can see some of these social policies, and the arguments for and against them, shaping up right now in the age of the current pandemic. The big question, “Do people take precedence over economic issues?”
So here is one of my comments from that previous discussion:
No denying it, that we all will not get out of this world alive. Death awaits us all. The great equalizer. I found reading the book Homo Deus to be quite fascinating. Not in the sense of it containing a lot of original ideas, but in the sense that it coalesced a lot of ideas to extrapolate the human condition.
Humans, whether religious people like it or not, are pursuing immortality. Trying to conquer deaths from starvation, from disease, from violence, from all opposing forces. Ironically, the result has been death from obesity, there is still violence, and while some diseases are held at bay, others enter the realm, a continual process of mutation. Much stronger diseases, harder to combat, more lethal.
It is certainly arguable that modern medicine is a curse. That people should be allowed to die off and take their genetic frailties with them. Strengthen the gene pool. Government mandated eugenics is certainly not desirable, however. With humans, the stakes are a bit different and a “modern” society places a high value on life and protecting it. So much so it is a crime to commit suicide.
Individual liberties will always be in conflict with heard regulation. Do balances get distorted? Yes. If it’s an individual choice to walk off into the wilderness and die, it should be no problem. Should people be forced to be on ventilators? I don’t think so, but should they (ventilators) be available to those desiring to stay alive, as a universal right to health care? Maybe so. Does this concentrate resources for failing efforts? Maybe so. Should only the rich have these resources available? I think not. Should corporations be allowed to get insanely and obscenely wealthy by auctioning off cures to the highest bidder? I don’t see anything “fair” about that. Trying to balance – tough one.
In one of my college classes many years ago, I was in a discussion about the individual versus the collective. I said that I would gladly lower my standard of living to help raise others’. When I asked if anyone else in the class would do the same, my classmates all shouted a resounding NO! Selflessness versus selfishness? Where do you find the right balance?
Photo: The Coyote, also known as the “Trickster” to the First Nation’s People. The Coyote is such a master trickster that it even tricks itself. Coyote, or “Medicine Dog,” is a great reminder of our own folly. The cosmic joke.
Coyote gets itself into trouble from its lack of wisdom, yet frees itself by its great cleverness. Coyote is also said to be a benefactor of people because Coyote stole fire from the Fire Beings and brought it to the people.
We are often so balled up with our own machinations that we can’t see anything for what it is. The more we attempt to control, the less control we have. At times, the best we can do is laugh at own folly. 🙂