The line of sight
The line of sight. I realize that the old surveyor practices are getting outdated, with GPS becoming the more rapid, easier and more precise method. Destinations are now expressed in coordinates or with a code name. A line of sight is becoming irrelevant. GPS will calculate how to proceed step by step. Are lines of sight less relevant in these post-modern times just as in the prehistoric ones?
Also Philippine politics are post-modern or prehistoric, but still it would be nice to understand the candidates better by understanding their destinations. Their parties are just temporary umbrellas and have little weight in setting directions or explaining policies. I hear and read a lot of piecemeal initiatives, partly as vague dreams, seldom as concrete actionable initiatives. But we never see the complete picture of how the goal justifies the means. So what are the candidates’ ultimate beliefs? What do they eventually want to achieve? What are their political strategies? How does it all fit together? What is their “line of sight”?
Is a line of sight unique or are different lines of sight possible? Isn’t life non-linear? Why not just enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the mystery of life? Personally, I would answer yes to all these questions, but unfortunately one should expect from leaders that they lead. They ought to be more than just fellow travelers.
When we follow Archbishop Socrates Villegas’ advice (instruction?), we should first assess the candidates’ political beliefs before we judge their ability to implement their plans and we should not start by evaluating their chances to win or not, choosing the lesser evil.
For the sake of discussion, I tried to represent political options in a rational decision tree, but I realize that this “frames” reality. Things are not that simple. They are often interwoven more organically, actions influencing motives or strategies and the other way around.
Beliefs, strategies and action evolved over time as the challenges and opportunities of society changed.
- Survive another day, primitive societies (nomads, diversity by nature, many spirits, every man making and using tools, but it is the clan that counts)
- Abundant food, agriculture revolution (sedentary, selection and breeding of the most performant species, specialization and craftsmen make tools, markets, one ruler at the top, one God, but it is owning land that counts)
- Abundant muscle power, industrial revolution (urbanization, machines, workers, uniformity, clocks, monopolies, banks, but it is money that counts)
- Abundant brain power, current revolution (a virtual world, diversity created by m@n, information technology and artificial intelligence, global village…, but is it creativity that counts???)
The Destination / Ultimate Motive
If we keep asking the “Why?” questions, somewhere it will end, somewhere we will have to reveal and justify our ultimate destination. Some alternative final answers could be:
- Pursue Happiness
- My happiness comes first. Each individual has to care for himself. The “invisible hand” will take care of the rest.
- Total/everybody’s happiness comes first. Look from the point of view of the universe. What is best for the planet as a whole? I should sacrifice myself for the betterment of the group.
- In between, my happiness but the essence of my happiness is seeing the ones around me happy. Giving is receiving.
- Please the “Creator”(and I know who the Creator is, what the correct religion is, what the correct interpretations of his revelations are and how we can please him.)
- I know what and how because He told me directly, made me perceive, feel…
- I know what and how via messenger(s) or message(s). Verbally as by “priests” (I trust their anointment by the Creator) and/or by wise men (I trust their human rational, perceptions…capabilities) or by something in written forms, written divine revelations.
- Please a “Creator”
- My rational mind tells me there must be a Creator. But I don’t know for sure who it is or how He manifest Himself. His manifestation might have different forms, expressed in different religions. But for sure we have to please him, we have to follow a (any) religion.
- I don’t know how to please him other than believing that he gave us the rational and emotional strength to pursue happiness, back to tolerance, respect as fundamentals.
Man as in mankind, men, women and everyone in between.
We can not get there alone, so we will have to work together, we will have to develop a “political” strategy. The Era of Enlightenment reacted to people split up in classes mainly based on birth. It came up with “Human Rights”. Since than these values are supposed to drive all political actions:
- Liberty as the prime driver (- liberalism, we can all do what we want and we have to do nothing more. The state is only to intervene on the citizens on explicit request)
- Equality as the prime driver (- communism, comrades the state will organize all spheres of life)
- Equal opportunities (education, jobs, healthcare…), rights, income, wealth.
- Equal obligations (defense, civil, environment…), contributions/taxes.
Accepting a random distribution but with mandatory corrections to keep the distributions small and normal (not askew).
- Fraternity as the prime driver (– the golden rule, solidarity)
- Benevolent, each one contributes according his own mood and strength.
- Mandatory, the state has to organize solidarity between have and have-nots, sick and healthy, different regions, religions, peoples…
- A good balance of all 3 of the above (- socialism, the state to keep the three drivers in balance)
In many Western Europe countries, socialists and Christian democrats aimed for a good balance (the first was driven originally by secular motives, the second by religious motives).
I’m glad that when my parents passed away I could go to high school, college and university on the government expense, graduating without any debt or liabilities to anybody. I’m glad that solidarity was organized on a national level via mandatory taxes (individually I might have contributed too little). Also, health insurance was organized nationally with mandatory contributions to avoid cheap insurance for the strong and healthy and very expensive insurance for the sick and weak. But social democrats are losing ground fast to “American” liberalism combined with a race to the bottom due to global competition and to simplistic populism.
Social mobility is higher in socialist countries than anywhere else. Obscene inequality became a rather new phenomena since the mundialization and oligopoly powers of the financial institutions.
In the USA, unlimited individual freedom is the main driver and a belief that everybody can achieve everything by working hard. Monopolistic powers, being the biggest and the limitless influx of the best brains, makes them achieve a faster growth. (Freedom to work long hours, double shifts, freedom to carry lethal weapons, freedom to pollute,…)
- Authoritarian powers
- We have to follow
- The king who thinks he knows best
- The strongest general who thinks he knows best
- The high priest who thinks he knows best
- We want to follow
- We think the “elected” president knows best.
- We have to follow
- Bahalana attitudes
- I don’t care, anarchists
- Opportunists, organic thinkers, we will correct when necessary, trial and error
Once we know where we want to end up and how we want to get there we have to take actions.
- Way to develop
- Driven by rational
- Driven by gut feel / emotions
- Shoot, than aim
- In a civil way
- In a combatant way
- In a principled way
- In an opportunistic way
- Change convictions / behavior
- by charisma,
- by explanation
- By coercion force
- Collect taxes, pay for actions
- Change convictions / behavior