Well, I have wandered away from my main subject “love” for quite sometimes. At this time, I realized that it is useless to avoid talking about some subjects, because they will just following me around, until I say what I have to say. By the way, I think I have a lot to say about “love” and understanding (where I wandered away to these strings of writings related to “elitism” and “populism”), so stay tuned.
I said I am not going to comment on details about economics (and politics) because I don’t really have specific ideas. This is not entirely true. I have ideas (I have talked about them before, but not in this site), but I don’t really know whether my ideas are good ones, and I have not thought through them, so I didn’t want to repeat myself here. Now, as I think about it, it is probably good for me reiterate some of my ideas. Perhaps I could organize them in relations to some more fundamental principles, and shine some new lights on them.
Now, as I think about it, at least one of the fundamental principles I can refer to is “self love”. The reason I say this is because in order to suggest what kinds of economic system (and political system, they are more or less the same. The economic systems are supported by political system, even though sometimes the connections are not so obvious) is good based on the principles of Love and Reason, we have to know what we want. I have said several times that the causes of the problems in the world are not because people are “selfish”, but because people are not “selfish” enough, or at least not “selfish” in the right way. I think this can be traced down to the confusion about “self love”. In other words, people don’t know how to love themselves, meaning they don’t know what are important.
I know I am not the first person to say this. In fact, these kinds of talks have been passed on from generations to generations, as the worldly (or out of the worldly) wisdom. But I don’t think people have systematically analyzed the problems and made suggestions based on the analysis. I have to say my analysis will be rudimentary. But at least it will be a start.
I am not a person who likes to brag about myself a lot (people might have different opinions about this matter. But I think I am very justified to say so). But here I like to say I am pretty proud of myself being the type only wanting to please myself in the end. I think this is essential element of “self love”, and people who cannot do so would not be able to be a “proper human being”.
If people have been reading my posts, then they will agree with me the world we are living in is very confusing (to say the least), and many of the things we were told to be true and good turn out not to be at all. One of the examples (in summary) is the confusion about forms and substances. A specific example would be the question of civility. What it means to be a civilized person? Is it to be polite at all times, or to do things based on Love and Reason. One would be surprised how superficial people can be on this matter, and how people have been systematically undermined based on this problem alone.
In fact, people have been systematically undermining themselves all the time. Here, I am talking about the problems of basing one’s “self worth” in relative terms. I have talked about this problem a little bit in my last post. Now, as I think about it, this could very well be the biggest problem in the world (meaning the problem that has the most profound negative impacts in the world).
Let’s think about it. Of all the problems in the world, how many problems are created by humans to each other, and inevitably to themselves? The system has been designed (at least for the most part) as the “winner take all model”, and often the “winners” are now determined by “merits”, but by people’s abilities other than merits. Whenever people start talking about the “real world”, they basically meant the ugly world that people are sabotage each other, in order to prove they are “better” than others. This problem would not change (meaning making progress at time changes) as technological progress in the world can increase the ability of human species overall, but in relative terms, most people are not “better off” than before (and inevitably, this situation will never change).
I have talked about “conspiracy theory” for quite sometimes (the type of “conspiracy theory” I am talking about, I don’t think anyone had said much about), and now, I want to talk about another observation about the trend of economic and technological development. “Capitalism” as we know it is related to freedom (as it is based on “free market”, as we are told). But as I think about it, people are actually less free than before, because money controls everything.
One of the interesting thing (and important thing) about “Emma” (and Mr. Knightly) is the attitude about farmer. I think it is fair to say that looking down on farmer is pretty much universal (just think about how many jokes about President Carter as a former famer for example). But one cannot live without food. It is the most important truth there is. Besides, being a farmer is not all hard works. There could be time that they would only need to watch the crops grow. So, farmers could have time to read and do other things that can be categorized as “leisure” (even the word “culture” is very much related to agriculture). Without free time, “freedom” is a hollow word.
I shared some nostalgic sentiment before (especially in my post “A Heart in Winter”), but I don’t suggest we should turn back time, or change things back to a few hundred years ago. But I do want to point out the reality. The reality is, people have been uprooted (at least the majority of people) from what were closed to “natural habitat” (farms, etc.) to a status that are high dependent on the system (people need money to buy food, and need money to buy or rent place to live, etc., and need jobs to earn money). So, before people start talking about “free loaders” (and look down on them, which I am sure fulfilled their own “worthiness” fantasy), they should reflect on the reality as sooner or later, the reality may hit them on their heads as well.
I do value “freedom” very much, and I don’t like the fact that people (including myself) are heavily dependent on the system. But I do know that I am powerless and basically useless unless and until there are enough people determined to make meaningful changes. There are at least two sides of the changes. First, “merit based” system should live up to its “reputations”. People should start “doing the right things”, instead of trying to harm or sabotage others to prove their own “worthiness”. Second, “freedom” should also include free from the exclusive control of the “capital”. I think the solutions have their economic and political components, and technological components as well.
It is quite absurd that computer especially internet that are supposed to be the tools of free expression and communication (at least these are what we are led to believe to be the case) become the tools for various forms of suppressions. There are technological solutions to change (I have worked on some of them, knowingly and unknowingly), but in the end, it all depends on whether people have the will to change the situations.
I have said quite a few things about the directions of Artificial Intelligence (not much in this site). Here, I want to repeat that it seems to me that people have intentionally mislead people about many things in science and technology (just as in philosophy, etc., as I have talked about in my posts), and Artificial Intelligence seems to be one of them. I would not claim that I know everything. I don’t. But it seems that many things have been made unnecessarily complicated, and lead to very questionable results. If the world is not so twisted, I would say the development of Artificial Intelligence would definitely be a good thing. For example, if everything (or at least most things) can be done by the machines, and capital is not so very predominate, then the prices of everything (or near everything) will be reduced to near zero. We are told deflation is very bad. But deflation is very bad from capital investor point of view, not necessarily for everyone else. If everything costs basically nothing, then people don’t need to worry about money too much. On the other hand, the simple solution for deflation is printing money (which is currently being done now, if I understand it correctly), and to provide people with welfare support (such as basic income, healthcare, etc. currently, the money has been given to the banks, free of charges, if I am not mistaken.)
Self driving cars have been a “hot topic” for sometimes when people talked about Artificial Intelligence. But I think what would really change the world would be affordable dwelling units that can move like cars. For example, if we can make solar powered vehicles that people can live in in very low prices, then the problems with “homeless” could basically be solved. Coupled with low food prices as the results of “industrialized farming” (or better yet if people can growing their own food, as in vertical farming in their moving dwelling units), maybe people can be free and sustaining themselves. With this, we can talk about what else could be possible.
Initially, I intended to write a more thorough piece, but this is what I end up with. I will stop here, maybe later I will come back to this subject.
January 1, 2018