Unhelpfulness

See Intolerance — Medium http://buff.ly/1AXGYyX

There are sins of omission and anything we deem unhelpful is either something that is done that works badly or not at all, or something that is not being done, an unfulfilled need. So unhelpfulness covers everything already harmful and and everything that could further minimize harm.

Thinking about it this way follows the trend of this exercise which moves from smaller and more manageable pieces of the puzzle to larger and tougher matters.

For example, our world is now under domination of the automobile and oil. Almost every feature of design and economics is responsive to the vagaries of these two huge forces. Now in my view this is not a good situation and should have been dealt with at least fifty years ago. Today it looks as though it will take another fifty years for this domination to unravel as its harms become more and more manifest.

My own proposal is: Densify the population into cyber-communities, local democracies, which are largely car-free and less than than a mile across at any point. Such a setup would leave much more open space, a greater chance for local community growth and an ecology that does not mess up the air, the seas and the landscape. This will be the subject of the next book in this series.

This issue alone is enough to hobble anyone who has illusions about what is helpful when we get to the mega scale we’re addressing now. What do we do about the massive military-industrial complex or the huge prison-industrial complex and so forth and so on?

It is no wonder, despite what people on all sides may say, that few claim to have a clear idea of how we might avoid any one of a number of potential catastrophes.

To say that unhelpfulness is, short of causing injury and death, the very worst of evils is to say that much that is harmful is problematic. That should humble anyone who purports to offer solutions, not least this writer. What do I say when the ten most powerful people in the world ask me?

I say there is nothing to say but go by the values — all of them, support the ones that make for life and reject the ones that do not. Do it for yourself. Advocate that others follow suit. Reform education to teach them. Here is that infernal chart again:

I think it will be a victory for democracy and helpfulness to move incrementally over time to more and more willingness to treat things in terms of what big data can and will reveal about what harms and helps. Merely to establish the priority of helpfulness among active values creates a basis for framing an agenda that is sensible as we move forward in this crucial century. We want to reduce harm. There are big ways to do it. Ways that would help big time. An income floor. Going car free. Opening all borders. These are the implications of the progressive value system I believe came with the planet.

+

This is from a new Kindle book called Universal Good and Evil.

Please visit Stephen C. Rose: Kindle Store http://buff.ly/18QFpH5

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.