Archives for posts with tag: equality

Trying to make sense of this this proverb, one might find handy a deeper understanding of ‘it’.

I’ll be arguing in a future post about the synthetic nature of equality. A concept we came up with, based on things found in the natural world. But the concept itself has no natural precursor. It was invented by us and exists exclusively in our minds.

On the other hand, liberty – the ‘it’ I’m writing about right now – is ‘artificial’. Another concept we’ve came up with, based on things found in the natural world.
But one which has evolved from a natural precursor. It still exists exclusively in our minds – like all other concepts, but we didn’t actually invent it. We only noticed its natural precursor and built on in.

Orangutans are freer than us. They live individualistic lives, depending on no one but themselves. They are strong enough to do this and they live in such a manner and place that they don’t have to face any natural enemies. We, humans – their cousins, are the only agents powerful enough to represent a real danger for them.
Gorillas are less free than us. They live in strict autarchies, where they need nothing but what already exists in their domains – the plants they feed on, and where they respect the strict discipline imposed by their strictly authoritarian male leaders. Which are the only free(ish) members of the groups.
Chimpanzees and bonobos, each in their own way, are the closest to us. Some freer than others but none as free as the orangutans.

None of our cousins have the concept of liberty. As far as we know, they long for it – for freedom, that is – when they lose it. Hence they feel (for) it. But they haven’t, as far as we know it, came up with the notion of it. This being the reason for which the concept of liberty might be synthetic – like all other concepts, but liberty itself is artificial.

Our experience of liberty has a lot in common with what our cousins feel when they lose theirs. When they lose theirs to us!
We being the only agents who, after synthesizing the concept of liberty, have taken the process a step further.
Have started to take prisoners. And to justify our actions!


I’ve been talking about complementarity, equality and freedom.
The implication being that unless people treat each other fairly – as in consider the others as being equal, and equal with themselves – none will be actually free. Free to fully complement each-other. Free to ‘boldly go where no one has yet been’. Together.
What’s keeping us from doing it?
To figure that out, we need first to understand how we got here.
‘I’ve been talking about…’
To talk about something means the talker is aware about the existence of that something. They may not fully understand what’s going on but they have already noticed that something’s afoot.
Furthermore, for a human to attempt to communicate about something means that that human considers there’s at least a small chance that others will understand the message. That others understand the language used and that those others already have a modicum of interest in that matter.
In other words, any attempt to communicate means that those involved are not only aware that something’s afoot but also have reached a certain degree of consciousness. That they are not only aware of something being there but also aware that they, together, can/should/must do something about it.
They key word here being “together”.
Why bother talking about it when/if you’re able to deal with it on your own?
Which brings us to ‘war’!
How many do we need to be in order to ‘deal’ with this ‘thing’?
How many of us will be able to ‘feed’ themselves after this ‘thing’ will be dealt with?
How much will each of us have contributed to the whole process?
How will the spoils be distributed among ourselves?
How will we deal with the ‘loose cannons’ among ourselves?
How will we know who will do what?
Who will lead? Who will be responsible for the whole thing?
This is the moment when I’ll remind you that this is a blog about the consequences of our limited consciousness. A blog where I gather my attempts to understand the limits of our ability to make decisions – as individuals, and the manner in which different societies have come up with different methods to mitigate the consequences of those limits.
Happy reading, every one.

‘On the face of it’, it makes perfect sense.

But why bother?

If I’m on the ‘right’ side, why would I make it easier for the other guy?
If on the ‘wrong’ side, why not just switch sides? Why would I bother to straighten the tree? Against the wishes of those who have a lot to lose in the process?

From the other side of the looking glass, things are a lot simpler.

‘Fiat justitia, ruat caelum’ is a warning, not a behest.

‘Make sure that justice is served, unless you want the heavens to fall on your shoulders’ is what any open minded reader of history makes of this ancient adage…

The fact that we concentrate our attention on what justice means for each of us is a measure of our individualism.
Of our nearsightedness…

Our respective individualities, each and everyone of them, have grown into what they are now in a social context.
None of us can exist for long, let alone protect and develop their individuality, in solitude.

We need the others.
We, each and everyone of us, need to belong. To a community.

To a functional community!
To a community where each individual is cherished.
Where each individual can develop its potential.

Where each individual has the opportunity and the tools to develop their potential.
For his own good, in concert with the main interest of entire community.

Things remaining as they should be.

Us toiling here, on the surface of the Earth.
The heavens perched safely up there.

Justice must be served if things are to remain as we, each and all of us, need them to be.

I came across this extremely interesting article about Hitler being a socialist.

After making his point, impeccably, Daniel Hannan – the author – ends up with: “My beef with many (not all) Leftists is a simpler one. By refusing to return the compliment, by assuming a moral superiority, they make political dialogue almost impossible. Using the soubriquet “Right-wing” to mean “something undesirable” is a small but important example.”

To me this article is nothing but another reminder that the the only reasonable alternative to any extremism is the living center, not the dead opposite extremism.

Every time that the functional equilibrium between the content (because of their affluence, carelessness or both) and the strugglers (people who are on a constant quest for new solutions, irrespective of their motivation) has been breached things tended to become rather ugly before coming back towards normalcy.
Just compare how people around the Mediterranean sea used to live during the four centuries straddling AD 1 with what happened during the next millennium, otherwise known as the Dark Ages.
Why? Just because the Roman emperors used ‘panem et circensis’ as their main political concept and the population obliged. Until things went so far that the whole empire failed abysmally…
Same things happened before the French Revolution and before Lenin and Hitler came to power in Russia and Germany, respectively. Nowadays it is currently happening in Russia and the huge gap between the oligarchs and the modern muzhiks is the sole explanation I need for how come Putin has such a stronghold on the Russian people – he is keeping both categories happy by feeding their imagination with dreams about the Greater Russia and their bellies full with the money he gets from selling oil and natural gas.
For people on both sides of the political spectrum to restart a real dialogue all of them need to understand that the other side has legitimate concerns too.
Nowadays most on the left insist on ‘equality’ while most on the right speak of nothing but ‘individual freedom’. And both of them blame the state. The left accuses the government for not doing enough to promote the sacrosanct ‘equality’ while the right blames the state for infringing on the individual’s right to do whatever it wants…  As if equality (of chances) is in anyway different from individual freedom… As if authoritarianism could exist without the guys at the top enjoying a lot  more freedom than those at the bottom of the social ladder… As if functional social order could be maintained without people cooperating among themselves based on mutual respect, said cooperation  having evolved through time and currently reaching the modern form known as “the democratic state”…
I agree with concerned people on the both sides of the divide that the state could, and has indeed in more than one occasions, represent an extremely powerful repression tool in the hands of callous political operators but the answer to this is to make sure that the democratic mechanisms work smoothly, not to thoroughly dismantle the state itself….  Precisely because a skeleton state is a lot more easily highjacked by the ‘political thugs’ than one which has respected and balanced (hence functional) institutions in the right places.
Now please allow me to end my post by extending the invitation made by Daniel Hannan and urge you, all of you, to stop assuming ‘moral superiority’ based exclusively on ideological motives. Ideology is fine but we should never forget that it is nothing but a tool and it is us who do things and are responsible for both our deeds and our fate.
If ideology is diverse enough as to help us see how complex the world really is then we are better off because of it. If, instead, we use our diverse ideologies as filters to shun whatever ‘the others’ are trying to tell us… then it’s curtains for all of us, together at last… but not in the right place.
To read the article – it is brilliant – you can either click on the yellow highlight near the top of my post or here:

Modern day feminism baffles my wife the same way it baffles me: “I don’t want to be your equal! I just want us both to be considerate of each-other and to do our respective ‘bests’ towards our common goal: for our entire family to be as happy as possible, as long as possible!”


To me ‘equality’ is indeed important but I never forget it is nothing but an idea that needs people to put it into practice and I always remember that the results of its implementation rely heavily on the individuals involved in the process.
On the other hand ‘justice’ has a very powerful practical side. “Fiat justitia ruat caelum” is supposed to mean “let justice be done though the heavens fall”. I strongly disagree with this interpretation. Romans were extremely practical people and I’m sure they meant “let justice be done OR the heavens will fall”.

Back to feminism. My first real problem with it arose when I kept the door open for a lady (?!?) in New York and she hissed at me: ‘Move or I’ll scratch your eye-balls, you misogynistic perv!’ (Please note that I am a Romanian living in Bucharest and even if communism has done a lot to improve the status of women relative to that of men – while lowering both – we didn’t give up common courtesy).
So are women equal to men? Some say yes – I somewhat tend to agree, at least with their intentions – while others deny it vehemently citing, among others, differences in size, stamina, etc…and sometimes even differences in how our brains work or how we respond to what is happening to us. I find this arguments to be very flimsy. If anything women should be considered superior to men because they need only a small amount of sperm to give life to another human being while all we man can do about this, after donating the sperm, is to help them in raising the offspring. So yes, we work a lot better in tandem but if push comes to shove a single woman is able to fend for herself (and for her children) a lot better than a single man would be.

The hard reality is that we function differently and we do this for a very good, if overlooked, reason: we are wired differently. Having different sexes means a lot more than being programed for different reproductive roles, it means that we transmit differently genetic information to the next generation and I’m not speaking exclusively about the genes that determine the sex of the child.
There are chances that you have already heard about ‘mitochondrial DNA’  (If not this is about some genetic information that regulates not only the way the human cells generate energy by oxidizing glucose but also other important processes).  Now the funny thing about this is that even if we men believe ourselves to be the ‘more energetic gender’ we inherit the ‘software’ that determines how we generate and use energy exclusively from our mothers. Weird, heh? So men, contrary to the widespread belief that they contribute with half the genes of their offspring, have in reality nothing to do with an essential part of the metabolism of their children while women pass along this kind of information to both genders alike.
But wait, there is some more. Some people would jump to say there is a similar situation with the Y chromosome, the one that differentiates man from woman and which comes directly from the man, right? Well… not so fast. Having a Y chromosome helps but does not guarantee maleness while having two X chromosomes does not always insure feminity. It seems that each and everyone of us are not only wired differently but also our fate is heavily in debt to the particular environmental conditions that surrounded our development.

Now that we reached the subject of the ‘environment’ lets see how it has evolved in the last 100 000 years or so.
No, don’t worry, I’m not going to ramble about the global warming, this is about the social environment. You see, by the time we are born there are about 1.06 boys for each girl, when we get near to the 20 years mark the numbers are roughly equal while as we get older the sex ratio is skewed in the favor of women. And the fact that “the percentage of men aged 65 and up grew faster than the percentage of women aged 65 and up, according to the 2010 census” suggests that there is nothing wrong, biologically, with men only they tended to live more riskier than the women.
So humankind evolved while the norm was for two generations – parents and children – to be present at the dinner table at one particular time while a third generation, the grandparents, was a rare exception and it was not uncommon for a widow to raise its offspring, maybe with some help from the relatives or from the older children. The proportion of single women rising children tended to rise shortly after major wars.
And these things are not without consequences. Social change is, in general, slow but increases its pace after great wars. Yes, probably the driving force behind the change may have been people’s dissatisfaction with what had just happened but i’m convinced that the change was facilitated by the fact that the single mother who had to provide for her family had less time to interact with its children so she had less time to pass over to them the ‘values’ and customs valid for those times. And so it was easier for the young generation to effect change because they were less imprinted with the ‘good old ways’. Another thing. Who were the most conservative sections of the society? The better off-s? Surely because the status quo was beneficial for them! Yes, probably this was the driving force but the fact that wealthy people had a tendency to live long enough to meet their nephews was also helpful: the grand parents contributed to the imprinting of the younger generation.

So what am I driving at? That women should stay at home and raise the kids in the shadows of their almighty husbands? Not at all, no way Jose. Restricting half the population to domestic chores only cripples a society, it is a waste to stifle the creative capacity of so many people.
I just propose for us to understand that even if we are able to survive, to a degree, separately it would be better to work as a team. Also we should accept that our innate abilities are different, even if they overlap considerably, and therefore we should not insist as much on ‘equality’ but rather on mutual respect and cooperation.
Also that we should teach our children to use their heads for thinking autonomously instead of memorizing like a parrot our already ‘old’ ideas. It is better for them to be able to discern what worked and why than to try to remember which is the pertinent ‘tradition’ for every problem they encounter. This way revolutions that happened because the society became stuck will eventually give way to peaceful and continuous fine tuning  – evolution that is.
And one other, and last – at least for now, thing. We should never stop defending our freedom. Subordination has nothing to do with cooperation. (I am speaking now about the cooperation between genders, sometimes subordination works in other areas of human interaction)

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