Why we need a modern top-down view of ourselves
We cannot, not at the level of human beings, not at the level of countries and nation states, think of ourselves as separate independent individuals. No matter what laws and treaties are written, all of us depend intimately upon each other. We must see ourselves as a whole first, and parts second. The UK of the future, the England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and Europe, must all be seen this way. Indeed ultimately we must, as a whole humanity and a whole world, view ourselves this way.
We have a sum total of available human and material resources, and a sum total of human needs. How we choose to live, and reproduce, changes that, both in what resources we consume, what we make available to each other, and the scale of human needs (especially the basics of living, which some tragically still struggle to obtain). Competition is sometimes useful, but often wasteful: if one person’s efforts are cancelled by another’s, the effort and resources used are effectively wasted. Minimising this ‘contention loss’ is important for the future of the world, as we cannot afford to be wasteful of resources and ignorant of consequences as we were in the West from the industrial revolution through to the end of the twentieth century.
The top down view I advocate begins by considering the humans alive today, and the world and nature we inhabit, considering our needs as a whole, with the ideal aim that nobody should unnecessarily be consigned to a life of poverty. If poverty is unavoidable in the here and now, we should know conclusively why, and plan to work to a future were it is no longer unavoidable. This also begins by considering that we must build the humanity of the future with real humans, with all our faults, not some idealised perfected humans free of those aspects of ourselves we would rather not see nor acknowledge.
How many mouths do we have to feed? What is a basic standard of healthy living, both in nutritional terms, in hygiene terms, in metal, emotional and spiritual terms, that is achievable on a wide scale. How do we motivate all humanity to work towards this rather than collapsing instinctively into self-seeking behaviour? Many would say that it is unacceptable that one rich man can spend hundreds of millions of pounds on a yacht when others are starving, who could all be housed and fed (albeit at a basic level) using those same resources. Many would say that every person living in poverty has great potential beyond what they are able to realise, and it should be considered all of our duties to help each other realise our potential to humanity.
Our basic nature is that of tribes, and as such we need to see humanity as one large tribe, living carefully in balance with nature, and comprised of smaller sub-tribes. It is the life of the large tribe which matters most, and which we should all work towards. Each sub-tribe takes a similar attitude to itself so as to be best equipped to help other sub-tribes. This subdivision continues until we reach families and individuals. But rather than the prosperity of an individual family, genetic line, company, religion or tradition, it is the prosperity of humanity as a whole which now matters.