Thursday, April 9, 2009

Common Interest

To my post yesterday, my wife asked, "What about on a small scale, such as each family? What if a family ran for what is best as a whole instead of just each for himself?"

Certainly, I think certain elements of society can definitely run for the interest of a subset group. A family is a great example where individuals sacrifice their wants and needs for the sake of the group - such as a mother sacrificing career goals for the sake of being home with a child, or a husband working fewer hours at the office that might advance his career so he can be more available to his family. I think that's a fine example where communal interest can be worked toward to achieve a greater whole.

The problem not addressed in socialism in general, and not addressed in Galaxia effectively, is the need for a common goal or cause. Simply wanting a better world doesn't work for a lot of people. If that better world means that someone must have a smaller house, drive a smaller car, eat less, work harder, or myriad other things, then that someone is likely to shirk. Shirking, simply means failing to do one's best in this context. If working harder (or generating more, however that is best described) will not directly benefit the person putting for the effort, that person is less likely to continue the extended effort. Karl Marx certainly overlooked the key element of the society he based the Communist Manifesto on: he studied a monastery and how well it functioned by working for the sake of the whole, but then he removed faith from the equation, which was the glue that bound their efforts together.

In the novel, the reason for Galaxia was to create a system that removed waste as much as possible, or more correctly removed excess. By removing the waste, the system would achieve a higher state (I believe the scientific term is entropy). At the very end, a reason that might justify the need to work together is presented, but it felt very tacked on to me (not to criticize a master, just my observation). Removing that onerous threat from the equation - a threat which most would deny or ignore anyway - I have trouble believing people would subjugate themselves to such a system willingly.

So, once again, socialism sounds wonderful in the ideal. "We're in this together!" is a great slogan. Or Rodney King's famous "Can't we all just... get along?" The problem is, the selfish nature of humanity is involved - and I am not convinced that it is a bad thing to have in the equation. Throughout the series, the characters acknowledge that society begins to decay when greatness reaches a level at which no one feels compelled to strive for "more" - whatever more might be. Scientific innovation tends to come from a need observed. If society is perfectly satisfying - or extremely satisfying with few shortcomings - then why would anyone worry about improving it? Certainly the world today is far from perfect, so people will continue to work for a better tomorrow. But if they cannot hope to reap the benefits of that "better" and that "more" then why should anyone expect them to try for it?

So returning to my wife's point, I can absolutely see sacrificing my own needs for the sake of my children. I can eat less to provide more for them. I can drive a minivan for their comfort instead of cramming their little legs into the back of a sports car I might want (or in my case, perhaps a small pickup). I just have trouble believing anyone else will necessarily sacrifice for them, and I have trouble asking them (my children) to sacrifice for someone else who may or may not be putting forth their best effort. I have trouble believing anyone else is willing to sacrifice for me and for my family. Instead, what we get is a lot of shirking.

Pure capitalism may not be an answer to any of these problems, but from an academically economic standpoint, it is hard to argue for socialism in practice - at least when practiced on a large scale, and whenever it is put in without a common goal. Correction: a commonly accepted goal. Without the agreed focus, the smaller players in the system are more likely to work in their own interests (to quote Seinfeld, "not that there's anything wrong with that...").

-- Robert


staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

Try reading this and plz send me your thoughts !

The story is in the chapters does my story completes the equation ?

Robert said...

If you're asking me to read the story to decide if your story satisfies my quandry with Galaxia, it will be a while before I have time to read it. I have a lot of books I'm reading through right now, and until I get a lot of them off my list first.

I doubt, though, that anything would satisfy my mind that Galaxia - a communal living method in this life - would ever make sense to me.

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

I think it should help you understand but Im a practicing writer and this idea is in the development stage !

So if I can get my message throught it should help you !

But I just merelly want to know is the story or the idea worth anything !

Robert said...

I'm not really sure how to answer the question of worth. Is it worth something to whom, and what measure of worth are you referring to - monetary, literary, or some other scale?

Also, I don't fail to understand Galaxia, at least I see no reason to suppose I am misunderstanding it. I am simply dissatisfied with the idea that it would work or that people would agree to it.

Thanks for the insightful questions, though.

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

well Im from a society that was once was socialist Poland during the cold war was a Soviet backed People Republic and nobody here was to happy about it people here didn't back the communist's they were silent cause they didn't want to be classified as waste to remove !

I think that the system in Asimov's Galaxia is imposed on the people and they're not quite willingly supporting it more exactly People always consider themselfs as individuals and they think that if they will stand up they will be defeated and categorized as waste. Im sure that even in Asimov's created Galaxia there are people who oppose it ! as there are people who oppose todays system ! thats what I think about it !

Robert said...

It sounds to me like you agree with my point, then, that Galaxia rings too much like socialism for my liking. It's good to hear that perspective from someone who has lived under such a regime. I wish more people in this country would listen to such perspectives.

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

Yes I do try opening your eyes
You're start seeing that there's no such thing like a free world
Capitalism and Socialism are doctrines that inslave us i belive thats the message that Asimov wanted
to tell us !

Society is enslaving individuals however its also thnx to that that were able to build new things as there need to be people who build and who are in charge !
Knowing us all would like to be in charge and none to build thats why selected few enslave us and force us to build !
Now is Society Good or Evil inslaving is Evil but without enslaving and doctrines like Capitalism and Socialism we wouldn't be here So ?

Were they neccesary for our evolution ?

My Story is about a boy who once was a demon now his former friend manipulates events in order to wake his former consciousness is the entity that manipulate Evil or Good ?

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

I give you something that might interest you when a system is imposed it also gives patologies for Socialism its both the Resistence to it and comfortomism (I appology for my bad spelling )
the comfortomism which in my naming should mean a social stance that only gains to material gains and "a comfy life" was a practic more common in Poland then an open Resistence ! It created people who officially belived in the so called "RIGHT DOCTRINE" and unnoficially believed in "OUR OWN DOCTRINE" for example a PZPR members (the only rulling party in Poland 1945-1989) Officially proclaimed Church the enemy of the state and yet some of them attempted masses every Sunday on their "PRIVATE" time when not working in office !

Wouldn't that kinda thing happen in Asimov's world ? In Foundation there were also normal people who were having families wouldn't they agree with anything what they superriors say in order to protect their Jobs maybe 'Encyclopedia Galactica' were not known to them and abstract Ideas but they didn't care as long as they had a job to support themselfs !

Than the same we can see in our world ! You yourselfs said that You can do anything in order to support your children ! so if you take it to understanding wouldn't that be a good thing to start !

(I never read the original Foundation series I only base my Idea's on researches done by others so am I in position to say anything ?)

try reading a part of my stories they're in satirical tone and a little Anime themed but answer can the same style thinking be related to religion isn't religion just a form of control that was released on us by an extraterestorial Civilisation thats simply much better evolved ?

Robert said...

No, I can't agree that religion is some form of manipulative creation, at least not in all cases. Certainly there have been those who have created false religions and developed a following in that process, but there is also true religion in the world. More accurately, there is a truth that exists relating to the existence of God that does not have anything to do with man's belief or lack thereof. God exists, whether we acknowledge it or not.

As for other systems put in place to get people to act a certain way that they openly do not follow away from work or away from the public - that is what I see in a lot of humanity. Whether we like it or not, most people act on economic motivations. Mind you, economic motivations may not be only monetary - compensation in the form of enjoyment of life, time to oneself, fulfilment at work are all economic motivators - but when measuring a response to a given stimulus, the response almost always can be tied to an economic motivation. In short, if people do not see what they get out of something, they do not tend to act on it without being forced.

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

I suggest reading my novel
By the way you have answered the things you cannot understand by yourself !!

You said you're dissatsfied with the idea it could work ! Well this the answer it is possible if the foundation has the money for it

You missundestood however my part related to religion !
THIS IS NOT A DENOUCMENT OF GOD no its a HYPOTHETICAL SCIENTIFIC PROOF a Philosophic Theory I made about God observing humans (of course thats just a theory and something to think of it)

Religion teaches us love to GOD
and GOD is our master , should we than treat God as our master ruler if could God be a ruler of an hyper advanced alien civilisation ?

What would happen if we learned how to use and bring back to the society those who had died !
and how much should we be advanced so the ones that will return will be accepted in our society ?

(Currently were not ready both mentally and technically to do so )
but if there exist such civilisation which has knowledge to do so isn't that the world we call the 'Underworld' Heaven and Hell couldn't they be treated as a states Heaven a state of eternal Good Hell the state of eternal evil ?

Do you understand my point ?

Robert said...

I must admit, I am not sure I do understand your point, but I think what you're suggesting is that IF God was actually an alien being from another civilization, there might be a chance that we who worship him could some day steal the technology that makes him so superior and supreme and bring said technology back to the masses.

That sounds very much like Prometheus bringing fire down from the Gods to mankind. The argument certainly is not a new one. I can understand the intrigue of such notions, certainly, but I think it speaks of an intelligent mind trying to minimize the greatness of God to something more reachable and comprehendible. I find intelligent people are often trapped by their own ability to intellectualize things and feel this need to relegate God to a simpler construct that can be understood in an easier way for them. It's a fairly natural tendency.

As I said to your first request to read your book, I am quite busy with reading many things I have on my list of things to accomplish. It will be a while before I have any time to add to that list.

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

I think you understand!

But our God is not Zeus he will not keep this technology for himself and will reveal the knowledge in the right time !

Also I doubt the possibility of taking Gods place that's not Possible as he posseses Knowledge beyound our comprehesion and as I said i can only relegate God to simpler construct so if it needs to be simpler than God understands there's no way of taking his place or being supperior you're right with exception of two things !


The first one stealing is unnecessary as all knowledge We need to known will be allowed to be learned by us !

The Second one is Impossible
God is ultimate perfection the ultimate wise Philosopher we can't be even a little similiar to God and every image we will make of him will simply be incomplete as theres no way to even understand Gods pattern of thinking as he thinks of things we can call ultimatelly divining his words are holy to us because every word he sais to us is a word of wisdom from which we can benefit ! But there's no point of surpassing him even if he would allow us for a while we wouldn't even know how to begin being GOD WE CANNOT BE LIKE GOD THIS IMPOSSIBLE FOR US AS GOD IS THE HOLY PERFECTION IN EVERY SENSE !

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

In the line 'as I said' should be 'as You said' sorry for that orthographic mistake !

Robert said...

I agree that we can never surpass God. I was saying that intellectuals often feel a relegate God to something simpler because they (the intellectuals) have a need to feel superior.

I do not agree we cannot be like God, though, since as a Christian that is a commandment. As you say, God will allow us the wisdom we need to grow as we progress. Since the Savior (again, speaking as a Christian) commanded "be ye therefore perfect, as thy Father in Heaven is perfect" then we will have the knowledge to become like God as we go forward. My faith teaches me, as does the gospel, that we have the chance to become far greater than we can comprehend - indeed, we can become like gods, but not like the most high God, our Heavenly Father. It is fascinating that you have keyed in on such a notion. So I agree we cannot become God or even equal to the most high God, but I don't completely agree that we can never follow him completely.

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

Yes but following is a diffrent matter we can follow God if we choose it I choosed to follow god thought Im not religious and do not attend masses in Churches i belive in God and the Bible !

I think you belive God as well

Robert said...

What I'm saying is that we can follow God's word and become like him, which means we can become (in the eternities, not in this life) a god.

I personally believe the ideas of many gods on Olympus, the pharaohs in Egypt, and even divine kings stem from a misunderstanding of this belief.

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

Can you make blog post about it you could insert the things we talked about ! I belive there are many who would be interested in this topic or seeing sucha post from you !

Robert said...

I was seriously considering it. I may do it tonight. I have written about it before on here, but I can't recall the specific references just now. If I find them, I'll let you know.

staszekgiers ( from Yahoo Answers !!!!) said...

Ill be waiting for that ! Im interested how it will look !

Robert said...

Okay, staszekgiers, the post is up. I look forward to your thoughts.