We invented all that is sacred to us. It can be taken away just as easily. We created good and bad, politics, democracy, self-expression (and the means by which it is limited), religion, technology and art. Criticism without alternatives is a black hole that consumes all the good in those institutions that we created and made ourselves responsible for. The only way to make our world better is to increase personal freedom, reduce violence and progress technology.
Our true goal in the actions we take when it comes to areas of human creation like politics is to feel safe. I believe that people recursively seek the safety they felt in early life experiences (or not). I think that power seeking is a control behavior to compensate for a perceived lack of control over yourself, your existence, behavior, thought patterns and experience of life. We experience this lack of control, because we choose to focus on conflict, rather than the fundamental progression of increasing personal freedom, reducing violence, and technology. It is possible to have more personal freedom and for Jeff Bezos to remain wealthy. It is possible to have less violence and strong law enforcement. It is possible to progress technology and do more with less resources, something we have done many times and will continue to do.
The question becomes how to maintain a focus on more freedom, less violence and better technology when there’s an abundance of noise in the world. A pandemic is an excellent time to work through those feelings, because of how much control behavior is being forced on people. You see each institution, from companies taking screenshots of remote workers, to governments asking people to download spyware on their phones, grasping for control behaviors to feel safe.
I think as an individual, the key is to maintain your own sense of agency and self efficacy. I find the Reddit homepage to be the central enemy of this. Every link serves to slightly reduce how much agency and self efficacy one feels. It is near impossible to read through what it shows and not feel like you’re a tiny, meaningless cog in a vast machine of indifference. That, to me, is a disservice to humanity. We have accomplished a great deal this year when it comes to personal freedoms, reducing violence and progressing technology. But Reddit links imply the opposite.
It is a matter of scientific consensus that we’re experiencing one of the least violent, most free (how much of your personal experience is dictated by a fear that a government boot will soon knock your door down in response?) and most technologically progressive years of all time. It is almost staggering to imagine the number of problems being solved in various domains. We have already reduced the likelihood of covid fatality on infection by a factor of three. The rate of violent crime has fallen off a cliff if measured decade over decade (the opposite of index funds, violence has been trending consistently down over the last 50 years with small volatility).
People’s ability to self express to each other, however, seems to be a major point of failure. Seeing the world layer on unusually contorted limitations to fundamental freedoms that we once experienced is surreal. Why have we pushed to limit our own freedoms? The government has continued to play a role in maintaining the freedoms of people, but today we hear people tell the government that they want it to take more responsibility for limiting our freedoms. How could that possibly be a good use of our government enforced right to self express what we want? It seems like a recursive way to end up with the exact opposite of the motivation in asking.