Saturday, February 22, 2014

Them and us

Jonathan Haidt and Joshua Greene look from different perspectives at the challenge of getting people with fundamentally different views to live well together. As countries become more cosmopolitan and social media and multi-national companies start meaning we cease to be so defined by narrow groups, I wonder if the role of the Sovereign State is due for a shake up. There are 206 states which have evolved, dissolved, revolved and ended up with what we have today. What I am hopeful of is that we can combine Haidt's approach of people trying to understand emotional disagreement rather than arguing over rational issues, and Greene's revival of utilitarianism through deep pragmatism to create a bunch of states defined not by cultural identity but by an established core rule book or constitution. In my Utopian world, there would be freedom of movement for people to go to whichever set of rules suited them best. I doubt though that the most successful societies will have a rule book that suits people perfectly. If movement of people is truly free, then no society will be as homogeneous as the sovereign states of old. People will have to accept diversity.

I like that multi-national companies are effectively creating borderless states. Culture then becomes defined by the core values of the people you choose to spend your work days with. Perhaps once we have progressed even further to the point where our leisure time starts increasing more, we will spend a less dominant part of our time working and there will be other multi-national groups we belong to. Even more ideally, we will each belong to a few of these groups and life becomes one big choose your own adventure.

The art is maintaining the warm fuzzy feeling of feeling part of us without the angsty often violence inducing feeling of being against them.

Other than sport of course. Then anyone who doesn't support the Sharks, the Springboks, the Proteas, and Roger Federer is more mortal enemy.
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