Shine On!

If nothing we do matters,
then all that matters is what we do.

-Angel

This could be heaven for everyone…

Stop thinking in big, defeatist pictures, and start thinking in kibbles, bits and pieces. Not what can we do. What can I do?

What can you do?

We can build heaven together, but it takes all of us, acting individually, to act together. No one can do it but us. Baby steps. Smiles here, caring touches there. That waitress that keeps dropping stuff? Don’t tip less; tip even more than you normally would. Life’s not about being served. It’s about serving. About being of service to the strangers around us, in the interests of abolishing the term forever. About acting in ways that surprise, that take expectations and dash them to pieces. That transcend the status quo in order to establish a new one. That raise the bar, set a higher standard, that turn human nature on its head and give the human spirit a fighting chance at survival.

It’s not about retribution; it’s not about getting our own out of a situation. It’s about taking what should be our own, and cutting ties with it, giving it away, giving it up. Leggo your ego. Let. It. Go.

Put your self down and step away slowly.

7 thoughts on “Shine On!

  1. That is my theme as well and about which I continue to write. Currently working on a post that will address what the U.S. might look like if social justice prevailed.

    I will define social justice in terms of justice as fairness and present a formula for making it so. Of course, conservatives will never (within another millennium) go for it because it is justice for all, not just the few and the privileged.

      1. I take it that you are familiar with Rawls. I certainly agree with his two basic principles from which social justice can be derived, but I think his approach, although unique, is purely academic—having as its only merit, good, sound logic. But, as a practical matter, his approach is not applicable to today’s society.

        Rawls recognized that self-interest is what drives virtually all people at various levels. Therefore, he suggests that self interest can be used in understanding the nature of justice, from which a just society can be built.

        Indeed he did find what I think is the correct starting point—his two founding principles discovered under a Veil of Ignorance. This must be accomplished, according to Rawls, by imagining a group of people trying to find the root of a truly just society. Then, imagine that everyone in the group is completely ignorant of all his/her personal attributes, social advantages, education, ethnicity, heritage, income, etc.—all those things that could potentially influence their thinking as they attempt to form a social contract.

        Given such a state of non-knowledge, it is logical that each person, looking after himself, would opt for having the same degree opportunities and rights enjoyed by all others. In other words, no one would want to be disadvantaged. (Contrary to the mantra of conservatives, the most of the poor in this nation do not have the same opportunities and access as others.)

        They would opt, as well, that no person would gain at the expense of others–no law would benefit some where it diminishes the interests and/or rights of others. This is, of course, anti-Randian Objectivism (anti selfishness).

        Of course, there is more to this, but I reckon you already know it. Basically, no member would opt for a system that is unfair to him. Therefore, the root to social justice is fairness. Everyone wants equal rights and equal access to all aspects of society that are open to others, including equality in education, which I consider to be the most necessary right.

        So, I think the major flaw in Rawls’ Theory of Justice, is that it is ivory-tower thinking. Very few people of wealth and/or comfort will bother to mentally place themselves in a Rawlsian Veil of Ignorance and consider what would be just and unjust. Indeed, most people, even those with college degrees, have never heard of Rawls and have never taken an ethics class, let alone social philosophy.

        If education required that all students must be taught the value of empathy (justice/fairness) over self interest (especially from pre-K on), then perhaps our society would be a bit more equitable. That would mean, of course, that ethics classes would be mandatory for everyone.
        ————————
        My challenge is to make the above as simple and brief as possible. Long posts are avoided or only skimmed by most folks, especially where the subject is not of everyday interest to them. But, I plan to follow up by applying the two principles of justice to the U.S., creating a model that shows what I think is possible. I will suggest, as well, why it will not happen for a very long time, if ever.

      2. So, here’s a question: Is it even possible for a person, complete with a lifetime of experience, ever to really place him or herself behind that “veil”? I’ve always argued that objectivity is not an achievable quality, even less so from an individual perspective. Also, is the “veil” sustainable? In other words, once we begin making decisions as to what we would or would not want for ourselves (and therefore, potentially, for everyone), how long before we once again realize that in terms of pure self-interest, sometimes it works out better for us when it works out poorly for someone else? One man’s meat, and all that?

        This is a very interesting topic. I feel like I need to dust off my copy of Rawls and give it another read. Good luck on your post, Max.

      3. Thanks Toad. As mentioned, the Veil of Ignorance is purely an academic way of understanding the basics of social justice. Of course it has no practical application for the general public as it stands. That is why I advocate that the very first step toward social justice is education. And, yes, there can be objective education focusing primarily on social justice. I will address this very key, but very controversial step.

        It sounds as though you think that real objectivity cannot be achieved. As a matter of practicality, we cannot hack our way deeply into the metaphysical and philosophical woods with the idea of “objectivity,” but deal with reality in the same systematic way of the scientific method. I think that is the best means of achieving objectivity–observation, hypothesis, interaction (testing), conclusion, and independent verification.

        I would categorize my view as a hypothesis that has undergone at least one experiment in Florida, lending to it a degree of substantiating evidence. This was in a previous video post I made before I realized this connection to the article I am writing. I will be sure to include it.

        What the wealthy man in Florida did was to provide the means to education in a population, which is the first step, but not the only step on my model.
        —————————
        Unfortunately, the weather is so good outside I must attend to my neglected lawn this morning by mowing, planting, and killing weeds in my driveway. So I’ll have to defer writing until tomorrow morning.

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