Monday, July 14, 2008

We're All Experiments

One of the subtitles that's been given to the United States is "The Great Experiment." I think that all efforts at organizing society are experiments, and that if we viewed them that way there would be less motivation for armed conflicts.

It seems to me that we mostly view nations as organisms competing for resources and dominance, and I think that is true to a certain extent. (that's my social darwinism peeking out) On a larger scale, though, I think humanity is carrying out multiple concurrent experiments which are intended to answer the question: "What would society be like if it were organized this way?"

If we view nations that way, then it is in everyone's best interest that all the experiments continue uninterrupted until all useful data has been collected. Then we will assess the results and start the next experiment based on what we have learned. After lots and lots of tries, we'll eventually arrive at the conclusion that if society is organized this way, then almost everyone is OK almost all of the time. Check! Done!

The only way an experiment can really fail is if it produces no new data. The Soviet Union, for example, was not a failed experiment in my opinion. We learned that when enough power is concentrated in a central government to erase most economic inequality, that it is too vulnerable to manipulation and corruption. Good to know!!

So, perhaps we can hold these this paradigm in balance against the social darwinist one and reach our ultimate goal in less time with less suffering along the way. What do you all say, shall we try?

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