Monday, August 13, 2007

People Like Us

To achieve maximum happiness, people need to have the freedom to experience and express their individuality. This will not be possible in a “cookie cutter” world where they are forced to conform to rigid standards of behavior, appearance, and values. There must, of course, be some standards; but just enough to assure the required freedom and maximizing of longevity (for individuals and the species).

There is a considerable part of the population that feels most comfortable around people like them. As a result, they tend to focus their generosity on such people; and consider others to be less valuable, effectively thinking of them as objects to be manipulated, avoided, or destroyed (what I contend is the root of all evil). Members of such groups are not altruistic, since they are unlikely to act in the interest of the entire population. To the extent that such a group requires resources to grow, its members may forcibly seize the resources from others and then convert the others into members of the group, isolate them, kill them, or use them as slave labor. If group sizes correspond to breeding populations, and an ideal breeding population consists of 160 or 144,000 members, then there may be anywhere between 45 hundred and 41 million such groups in the world today.

Should the definition of “freedom” include the allowance for people to live in such groups, if that is what makes them happy? Intellectual honesty demands an answer of “yes,” but with restrictions on behavior so they do not infringe on the happiness or survival of the rest of us.

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