UPDATESG6 CANADA 6/9/18NEW YORKER TANGIER ISLAND
Until about 7000 years ago we lived as hunter-gathers and attributed all of nature to the action of various gods. With the advent of agriculture a much smaller portion of the population was involved in food production leaving the rest to let their instincts take them to places that were extensions of their previous positions in their tribes. In my opinion, the predominant instincts were power and hoarding, instincts endemic today even in so-called "advanced" societies such as our own. In fact, American society, in my opinion, is the most backward of that of any large, industrialized nation.
However, not all humans went in this direction. Some chose religion and a few chose science or art. The number choosing science or art was small in the middle ages, but grew during the time of the enlightenment. As a child and as a young adult during the cold war I expected that by the time I reached old age, we would have solved the endemic problems and be on the verge of becoming an advanced civilization. A few smaller countries have made real progress while others have slid backwards. Others, American in particular showed promised and then began an enormously discouraging slide backwards.
It seems to me we are on the threshold of two ultimate calamities: nuclear war and/or the destruction of the earth by climate change. The wisdom and depth of thinking to deal with either of these is rare, for it requires two capabilities: wide and deep knowledge of science, philosophy, psychology and humanism; independence of the constructions, misconceptions and prejudices connected with religion. In my view the concept of "god" is not inherently wrong (more about that later) but in fact, it is just the name we give to a set of solutions we choose. When the Israelites transitioned from multiple gods to a single god, and this single god failed them in battle, they blamed themselves and not their god (see Robert Wright; The Evolution of God) an attitude prefiguring the thinking so often today, namely of making choices without sufficient rational or depth of understanding.
This web site consists of "pages" or vignettes that deal with individual examples (war, guns, violence, discrimination and so forth) that result from failed thinking. At the time I write this (March 2018) I have not a clue as to how far it will go. It is done, for all intents and purposes to quell a horrified mind that it functions as a form of therapy. My hope, though forlorn, is that some bit of thinking proves useful to someone.
IN ANOTHER'S SHOES
Putting oneself "in another's shoes" is a prerequisite for all human interaction. It leads to the fundamental guidance for civilization, the "Golden Rule."The Golden Rule is a unilateral moral commitment to the well-being of the other without the expectation of anything in return. The concept occurs in some form in nearly every religion and ethical tradition and is often considered the central tenet of Christian ethics.
The Golden Rule
is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated.
It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures. The maxim may appear as either a positive or negative injunction governing conduct: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself (positive or directive form).
One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form).
What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathic or responsive form).
The Golden Rule is a unilateral moral commitment to the well-being of the other without the expectation of anything in return. The concept occurs in some form in nearly every religion and ethical tradition and is often considered the central tenet of Christian ethics.
It can also be explained from the perspectives of psychology, philosophy, sociology, human evolution, and economics. Psychologically, it involves a person empathizing with others. Philosophically, it involves a person perceiving their neighbor also as "I" or "self".Sociologically, "love your neighbor as yourself" is applicable between individuals, between groups, and also between individuals and groups. In evolution, "reciprocal altruism" is seen as a distinctive advance in the capacity of human groups to survive and reproduce, as their exceptional brains demanded exceptionally long childhoods and ongoing provision and protection even beyond that of the immediate family. In economics, Richard Swift, referring to ideas from David Graeber, suggests that "without some kind of reciprocity society would no longer be able to exist."
—Adapted from Wikipaedia
"The admonition to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes means before judging someone, you must understand his experiences, challenges, thought processes, etc. The full idiom is: Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes. In effect, it is a reminder to practice empathy. While long credited as a Native American aphorism, replacing the word shoes with moccasins, the saying almost certainly is derived from a Mary T. Lathrap poem published in 1895. The original title of the poem was Judge Softly, later titled Walk a Mile in His Moccasins. There are many variations on the phrase such as walk a mile in his, her or my shoes. A plea for empathy is phrased put yourself in my shoes, as well as put yourself in his or her shoes."