More and Better Future

19 thoughts
last posted Sept. 10, 2012, 12:41 a.m.

16 earlier thoughts


Speaking of the civil rights movement, that embodies a concept I think of as "Expanding the Franchise". The European culture that spread around the world over the last few centuries was one heavily dominated by wealthy adult European males. Women were seen as second class citizens, poor folk weren't even seen as citizens at all, and non-Europeans often weren't even seen as human.

This is by no means a uniquely European problem - our brains are still wired for the savannah, and the tribalism that dominated there was founded on real practical problems:

  • other tribes were competitors for scarce resources, and hence to be treated warily
  • it's only with the rise of the scientific method that we've started to truly understand how human reproduction works, and to give women the opportunity to more completely control when (and if) they choose to have children

To anyone with even an ounce of scientific understanding, there's no good reason to perpetuate these beliefs now that we're aware that we're all a single species sharing a single fragile world. If we're going to do the best we possibly can of creating more and better future, then it behooves us to make the most of every resource we have available.

Most of the differences in outcomes in our lives come down to luck. Luck in where we are born, luck in who our parents are, luck in who we encounter, luck in the opportunities we are given. Even when we seize an opportunity through intelligence, or passion, or sheer stubbornness, then how much credit can we really take for being born with innate intelligence or passion or diligence?

We're naturally inclined to take credit for our successes, and blame others (or the situation) for our failures. It's an interesting, yet powerful, reframing to instead aim to give others (or luck) credit for our successes, and accept responsibility for our failures.

2 later thoughts