Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

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Mark1955
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Mark1955 » August 16th, 2015, 6:16 am

Fooloso4 wrote:The best we can do is structure an order with checks and balances on the tyranny we would so readily impose on ourselves and others.
So you're hoping the two biggest thugs will disagree with each other?
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Fooloso4 » August 16th, 2015, 7:32 am

Mark1955:

So you're hoping the two biggest thugs will disagree with each other?
I don’t understand your comment.

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Mark1955
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Mark1955 » August 16th, 2015, 10:15 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
Mark1955:

So you're hoping the two biggest thugs will disagree with each other?
I don’t understand your comment.
I was suggesting what I saw as the most likely form of tyranny and thus how there could be some degree of check/balance.
If you think you know the answer you probably don't understand the question.

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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Atreyu » August 18th, 2015, 2:43 am

Fooloso4 wrote: It seems likely that while some might think that gathering in a big circle trying to figure out what to do next makes sense, others will go out to secure food and shelter. Some might go out alone and others in small groups. Some might be concerned with what they need to do for themselves and others with what they can do for the group. It may be that separate groups form with varying degrees of cooperation within and between them.

No doubt some will think that organization should be the top priority and this might well lead to endless attempts to organize, including the organization of organizations. And no doubt this will be perpetuated by various social ideologies and personal agendas.

My suggestion would be to identify members who possess the practical skills necessary for survival and allow them to take the lead in determining how to meet those needs. Most issues should be addressed on an ad hoc basis, allowing for long term solutions to develop over time.

When I was a freshman in college many years ago I took a sociology course on utopianism taught by a popular ideological professor. His students were very excited about creating the ideal community free of all individual constraints where everyone worked together for the common good. When I expressed my doubts, pointing out that it seemed unrealistic that people who did not even bother to flush the toilet in the dorm bathrooms would now act with social responsibility and concern for others, some of these students who professed tolerance and loving understanding were ready to lynch me. After class a couple of them, having realized their hypocrisy, apologized for the way they reacted, but for the rest of the semester the class continued to build a dream world they wanted to live, without being aware of just how unsuited they were for such a world.

We might imagine a big circle of rational beings creating a social order, but the first mistake is assuming that we are such rational beings who are capable of creating and living in such a world. The best we can do is structure an order with checks and balances on the tyranny we would so readily impose on ourselves and others.
Excellent post. I quite agree. Good points.

But your last sentence seems to be a subtle contradiction of all you said before it. Which makes me wonder about our own society, which is structured (allegedly) in just such a way.

Perhaps we are only fooling ourselves with our "checks and balances" system? For even a brief analysis of our current system seems to suggest this....

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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Mark1955 » August 18th, 2015, 11:26 am

Atreyu wrote:Perhaps we are only fooling ourselves with our "checks and balances" system? For even a brief analysis of our current system seems to suggest this....
I'd suggest it is inevitable and in reality desirable that some form of elite will dominate all systems of governance. The alternative is government by the mediocre and inadequate, which is hardly desirable. I think the skill is to design a system that gets you an elite best adapted to the society and time they are governing.
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Fooloso4 » August 18th, 2015, 2:11 pm

Atreyu:

But your last sentence seems to be a subtle contradiction of all you said before it. Which makes me wonder about our own society, which is structured (allegedly) in just such a way.
I take it that your point is that such checks and balances can itself be a form of tyranny. I do not see this as a contradiction but rather as an imperfect solution. Admittedly an oversimplification but the problem as I see it in the U.S. is not checks and balances but the circumvention of checks and balances by money interests. There can be no checks and balances when all sides can be bought or at least heavily influenced. This is not, however, a problem that is inherent in the system but rather a weakness to which the system is vulnerable. This is not the first time in our history that politics has become business by other means. The Founders understood and promoted the value of a free press. This was something that Theodore Roosevelt had to contend with. He made expedient use of a free press, particularly McLure’s Magazine whose rise was due to its exposure of unfair business practices, but did so against the power of a press that was bought and paid for by business interest. This parallels the situation today where commercial information sources are controlled by powerful money sources, but those sources cannot and do not control the proliferation of internet sources. Roosevelt also fought against trusts and monopolies and instituted regulations that curbed the power of large corporations. He was a Progressive Republican, but today that would be considered an oxymoron. Reform is difficult but not contrary to the structure of a government based on checks and balances.

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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Mark1955 » August 18th, 2015, 2:41 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:[ Admittedly an oversimplification but the problem as I see it in the U.S. is not checks and balances but the circumvention of checks and balances by money interests. There can be no checks and balances when all sides can be bought or at least heavily influenced. This is not, however, a problem that is inherent in the system but rather a weakness to which the system is vulnerable.
Surely all this reflects is the dominance of money as the core social value of the USA.
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Fooloso4 » August 18th, 2015, 2:56 pm

Mark1955:

Surely all this reflects is the dominance of money as the core social value of the USA.
I would say that it reflects the dominance of money as A core social value. But the problem is not simply the value of money but the distribution of money.

In the proposed scenario, however, there is no money. It seems likely that sooner or later there would be some form of wealth, but this is not an issue that could be satisfactorily addressed at the beginning since questions of wealth distribution cannot be addressed independently of what it is that constitutes wealth.

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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Mark1955 » August 18th, 2015, 3:45 pm

Fooloso4 wrote:
Mark1955:

Surely all this reflects is the dominance of money as the core social value of the USA.
I would say that it reflects the dominance of money as A core social value. But the problem is not simply the value of money but the distribution of money.

In the proposed scenario, however, there is no money. It seems likely that sooner or later there would be some form of wealth, but this is not an issue that could be satisfactorily addressed at the beginning since questions of wealth distribution cannot be addressed independently of what it is that constitutes wealth.
My comments were concerning the USA today.

On the new planet I'm fairly confident wealth becomes the priorities of survival: - a) Food b) Shelter c) Avoidance of predation

followed fairly quickly by the satisfaction of the basic ID urge sex.
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by LuckyR » August 18th, 2015, 4:47 pm

Your supposition is going to depend on whether our ability to become interstellat travellers has also meant that our terraforming technology is also robust. If we land and have to scramble to survive then it will be an opportunity to flatten the heirarchy and all pitch in for the greater good. OTOH, if we orbit the planet, send down a series of unmanned pods that change the planet to our preference and later we land in a utopia, then vestiges of our earthbound past, like castes, wealth, power and privelege are going to sally forth to inhabit this new planet.
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Mark1955 » August 19th, 2015, 7:29 am

I'd suggest then you're jumping to sex, unless your definition of utopia provides for that form the native fauna as well.
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Atreyu » August 20th, 2015, 2:41 am

Fooloso4 wrote: I take it that your point is that such checks and balances can itself be a form of tyranny. I do not see this as a contradiction but rather as an imperfect solution. Admittedly an oversimplification but the problem as I see it in the U.S. is not checks and balances but the circumvention of checks and balances by money interests. There can be no checks and balances when all sides can be bought or at least heavily influenced. This is not, however, a problem that is inherent in the system but rather a weakness to which the system is vulnerable. This is not the first time in our history that politics has become business by other means. The Founders understood and promoted the value of a free press. This was something that Theodore Roosevelt had to contend with. He made expedient use of a free press, particularly McLure’s Magazine whose rise was due to its exposure of unfair business practices, but did so against the power of a press that was bought and paid for by business interest. This parallels the situation today where commercial information sources are controlled by powerful money sources, but those sources cannot and do not control the proliferation of internet sources. Roosevelt also fought against trusts and monopolies and instituted regulations that curbed the power of large corporations. He was a Progressive Republican, but today that would be considered an oxymoron. Reform is difficult but not contrary to the structure of a government based on checks and balances.
Quite right. The checks-and-balances system is an imperfect solution to the problem of mankind's inherent selfishness and greed. And in the end, we basically are left with a sophisticated, complex, and disguised oligarchy, in the place of obvious and simple dictatorship.

Which makes me wonder which one is really best. IMO, it would depend on two things: 1) the nature of the people in the first system, and 2) the nature of the dictator in the second....

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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by LuckyR » August 20th, 2015, 11:29 am

Oligarchy is too broad of a descriptor, IMO. There is a huge practical difference between an oligarchy at the top levels of decision making with true representitive government at the local level (the current US system) and a true oligarchy all the way from Federal to local.
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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by Preposturing » April 28th, 2016, 7:01 am

How would we organise ourselves? As everyone is a philosopher that would become a negligible attribute.

I fear that very soon the person with the loudest voice would take over. But if we are dealing with an ideal, I'd hope that we choose a matrilineal family system, treat the world and it's native life with great respect, and get on with learning and enjoying.

Once our population reached a number greater than an amount of people we can actually know personally, we'd have to be on the lookout for sectarianism (and crush them)

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Re: Spaceship OnlinePhilosophyClub

Post by NickEm » May 17th, 2016, 2:31 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
Elder:

Now imagine: we gather together in a big circle and try to figure out what to do next, how to organize ourselves. I imagine that the personalities and temperaments of the particular individuals would be a primary factor.


It seems likely that while some might think that gathering in a big circle trying to figure out what to do next makes sense, others will go out to secure food and shelter. Some might go out alone and others in small groups. Some might be concerned with what they need to do for themselves and others with what they can do for the group. It may be that separate groups form with varying degrees of cooperation within and between them.

No doubt some will think that organization should be the top priority and this might well lead to endless attempts to organize, including the organization of organizations. And no doubt this will be perpetuated by various social ideologies and personal agendas.

My suggestion would be to identify members who possess the practical skills necessary for survival and allow them to take the lead in determining how to meet those needs. Most issues should be addressed on an ad hoc basis, allowing for long term solutions to develop over time.

When I was a freshman in college many years ago I took a sociology course on utopianism taught by a popular ideological professor. His students were very excited about creating the ideal community free of all individual constraints where everyone worked together for the common good. When I expressed my doubts, pointing out that it seemed unrealistic that people who did not even bother to flush the toilet in the dorm bathrooms would now act with social responsibility and concern for others, some of these students who professed tolerance and loving understanding were ready to lynch me. After class a couple of them, having realized their hypocrisy, apologized for the way they reacted, but for the rest of the semester the class continued to build a dream world they wanted to live, without being aware of just how unsuited they were for such a world.

We might imagine a big circle of rational beings creating a social order, but the first mistake is assuming that we are such rational beings who are capable of creating and living in such a world. The best we can do is structure an order with checks and balances on the tyranny we would so readily impose on ourselves and others.
This seems to me to be the most realistic response to the OPs suggestion. Utopias are bound to fail, because of the type of people humans are.

Even if I were able to discuss it beforehand, I'd have to trust everyone to keep their word on what they'd do. We'd need some enforceability, and so what happens if some people opt out? They might decide to go off and build their own empire, to dominate everyone else. If we divided into different groups, you'd find that conflicts would break out in future as there'd be competition over scarce resources. Greed and belief in personal freedom would inevitably be the main motivating principles of the philosophers there - each would want to emphasise their own sovereignty over resources and be free of responsibilities of others, even if, by becoming mutually cooperative, they'd be better off. Philosophers are more individualistic than regular people, and less likely to be able to be conned into being subject to rules that would disadvantage themselves.

More strategic people would cultivate good relationships, in order that later on they may be used to their advantage, and then be able to manipulate them to be under their control, so that they may organise society such that it becomes the most acceptable arrangement to themselves.

A society of philosophers would break down, unless the philosophers could feel that it was their duty to help others and to develop good relationships with others. Doing the latter is in one's own interest - but it would be nice if this could be done in the spirit of mutual equality, rather than putting oneself first.

This would occur because the priority in this situation is personal survival, over building a good society. Until we see that, we can't really get onto building a good society - therefore we need some way of allowing people to pursue their personal claims initially, then try over time to get some mutual forum in which they can cooperate for some common benefit - maybe by trying to create a common history of the events that got them there, in coordinating research on the new planet and pooling knowledge, or in engaging in a common project -> maybe developing GPS satellites, a seed bank/greenhouse of all productive plants.

So I guess there may be people wanting to live as part of the community in a small town, and those who may prefer to go off on their own. I'd try and ensure we could keep in contact with everyone so we could coordinate to meet up to offer them to become part of these common projects. But it would probably be too optimistic to suggest we could meet up and agree on everything beforehand.

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