Would we want a society that was ruled by logic and reason alone? A number of people have suggested that it would be a better world than that ruled by religion. What if the world was ruled by such edicts as:
”The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one”
What if everyone was guided by this rule to consider the welfare of the whole rather than any regard for themselves. Would this not lower the value of the individual? Does this not rail directly with one’s instinct for self preservation, one’s own welfare? Is this not inhuman?
Inhuman or not, it seems that such reasoning would be in line with the direction that evolution would have us proceed. After all, in the interests of natural selection, it is not the individual that matters, but the species as a whole. If by eliminating the weak and unfit the whole of the species can be strengthened then evolution seems served. Yet… when it comes to selection in the human species who decides who lives and who dies? Who decides who has the desirable traits for procreation and who must be sterilized? Is it a case of opportunity? If the individual falls into a situation where its continuance jeopardizes the whole should that individual be expected to draw a sword and fall upon it… or do what comes naturally… try to survive?
In human society the rich or powerful decide who must die and who receives special privileges. Without regard to intelligence, people of lower caste are selected for military duty and sent off to various conflicts. In fact, if anything, only those who possess fitness are chosen and sent, leaving those of less fit nature behind to procreate, creating even more of the unfit. The society, soon bled of its strongest members, eventually withers and begins a decline.
On the other hand, if one uses logic and reason to maximize only the future of oneself, then too we have a problem. How is that future determined? What if you decide that a future bereft of others is in your best interest? What if you decide that as long as your own life needs are met then the hell with anyone else? What is there to stop you from making calloused decisions simply to further your own life without regard to any other?
In the past reciprocity has served the function of developing a reliance upon others to help maintain the individual existence. A loose system of give and take. When one has plenty that individual shares in hopes that when it has little and the other has much that it too will share, providing a basis for continuance of both. This too has its flaws in that groups of people that are dependent upon one another can discriminate against those that are not part of that group. This causes conflict to develop between groups as well, as each seek limited resources. As resources decline aggression between groups increases.
Compassion and sympathy, possibly an outgrowth of reciprocity is a necessary requirement for survival… If not carried to extremes where the entirety of a population is disenfranchised simply to enfranchise a few. If the few disenfranchise the many, soon the many will grow to resent and perhaps hate the few. There are many instances in society of this now. Well-meaning busybodies utilizing draconian laws to disenfranchise many for the enfranchisement of a few. Name a few? No one dare name any lest one bring down the aggressive oppression likely to result from those that “know what is best for you”!