Wednesday, August 22, 2007


There are (at least) two potential points of failure in my ideal society as described so far. The first vulnerability is the assumption that most of the population will act to support its objectives; and the second is its dependence on the central processor.

I discussed earlier how people who refuse to accept or accommodate people very different from themselves are most likely to resist taking action to benefit the species (except by accident). For them, the incentive for action (or not obstructing others who are taking action) must be made intensely personal, either by threatening punishment or by constantly convincing them.

It is possible that the central processor’s functionality (including communications with members of the population) may be degraded or destroyed, either intentionally, by accident, or due to external factors. To counter this, individuals and groups must have the ability to verify the authenticity of the messages and recommended actions they receive from the central processor, and generate the missing or suspect information and guidance on their own if necessary.

To the extent that my ideal model of a society has manifested itself in the real world, religion appears to have been used to deal with the vulnerabilities I’ve described. The leaders and educational elements of religious organizations have served as central processors, replicating their functionality in smaller entities (such as churches) to deal with potential isolation, and convincing people of the personal impact of their actions through elaborate myths with the promise of eternal joy if they conform and eternal pain if they don’t.

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