A Special day today – 7 years since being given a 2% chance of living 2 years, 5 years since passing that 2% mark. In the world of cancer, 5 years survival is considered cured (even if you are full of tumours). 5 years past your drop dead date, and free of tumours, must have somewhat more significance.
Definitely a time to reflect on the need to constantly re-examine the systems and beliefs within which we live.
I now have a clear understanding of how evolution produces complexity, and it almost always involves the emergence of new levels of cooperation, and that requires attendant strategies to detect and remove cheating strategies.
All systems require constraints to exist. Without constraints, everything degrades to simple “grey goo”. So constraints, at every level, are necessary, but finding out which constraints are actually necessary, and which are now doing more harm than good due to changed circumstances, is a very difficult and ongoing problem.
In a very real sense, our sense of morality is an essential part of the evolved constraints that allow our complex cooperative society to function, and it is now clear that many of our institutions, particularly in the area of finance, politics and law, have become overwhelmed by cheating strategies.
So our lives and our liberty have to exist within necessary constraints. We have to act within responsible social and ecological constraints. Freedom has to have limits, or it is ultimately destructive. And within those limits, there still exists infinite potential for creativity and diversity.
In an age when computation and our ability to automate is doubling every year, our financial systems are seeing most of the benefit of that doubling going to a very tiny fraction of society.
I am not in any way arguing that everyone should have the same. Freedom demands diversity and difference.
I am arguing that the stability of our society demands that everyone have what all would consider a high minimum standard of living.
7 years ago I seriously questioned the established wisdom of the medical system. As a result of that questioning, I did not die as directed, I am still alive, still thinking, still acting.
I am now clear that our political and social systems that essentially hold money as their highest value are currently the greatest threat to our survival as a species.
We are essentially the most cooperative species on this planet.
A series of mistakes and misunderstandings about the strategic nature of evolution have led to the common idea that evolution is all about competition and that short term self interest can somehow lead to societal survival. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The idea that greed is good is pure myth, a cheating strategy of the highest order, the most profound mistake of our age.
Our morality, our cooperation, is fundamental to our survival as a species, at every level.
Our social and political systems must work to the long term benefit of all, and that means the individual lives and individual liberties of all of us. And that demands a high minimum standard of living for every individual.
We must see ourselves as a global cooperative.
Unless we do, the probability of any of us surviving is very small.
And there will always be some with vastly more than others, and provided that everyone has enough to do whatever they responsibly choose, that isn’t an issue.
And that notion of responsibility, of morality, at every level, is essential.
So we have some work to do.
Money and finance have to go back to being tools to deliver on human values, not ends unto themselves.