Society

Thus far, our philosophical discourse has focused on the development of individual potential. We have spoken in broad and abstract terms regarding the requirements, opportunities and hazards attendant to traversal of the arc from a dependent infancy to mature adulthood. Even the most inattentive reader, however, could not cover those essays without gathering that our ascent depends upon others.

Early in our social history, human priorities were crudely objective. The natural tyrannies dominated our decision-making. As discussed earlier, our liberation from those tyrannies required propagating the discipline of respectful rational inquiry, and managing the efforts of the many to transfer understanding and value from one generation to the next.

I characterized science as a means of exploring the objective limits on our ambitions. It guides programmers and engineers to solutions that work. That observation can be generalized: as individuals, we all have an interest in the development and support of systems, institutions and resources that facilitate the allocation of power to associations that work. Taking the manifestation of human potential as our measure of value, we cannot rely only upon measures of economic capacity to direct our support. Our standards must also reflect psychological and physiological sustainability for the stakeholders (the supporting and supported individuals).

We are now adopting a perspective that exceeds the scope of personal concerns, and an individual life. It is a social perspective. We are turning to the analysis of societies.