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Sanalog | 2022-08-17

New Norms


Enriched by liberalised education, enthusiastic youths are brimming with opinions, more than willing to defend them and very much capable of doing so. The accretion of human knowledge, or possibly academia, is changing. Are academics still the intellectual elites? Are politicians still more than just a brand? With modern education and informational systems, it is perfectly conceivable that we may in fact be within reach of what Confucius would define as an ideal society: people enriched in knowledge and wisdom, coexisting without the need for government in an anarchical society outside of the confines of capital and even ownership.

This notion, of course, rests on the idea that human nature can change. And why can't it? We derive human nature from our judgements of our past and present, but have we seen enough of either? People are more than capable of developing a coherent, agreed upon and adhered-to principles as a society - the social norm. Just less than a century prior, outward racism was a 'norm'. Enforced gender roles were a 'norm'. Yet these have changed. Perhaps in a few decades we shall see the elimination of the 'norm' of the accretion of capital.

We of the present will be looked down upon in retrospect as horribly selfish and immoral for hoarding thousands of dollars while other human beings live with nothing. We shall be judged by our children's children's children for savagely consuming the flesh of living creatures in an age without the need to. Perhaps even the monoliths of technological advancement shall be torn down for their celebration of the destruction of nature and their representation of the egotistical supremacy of man over its environment.

But then what do we head towards? The changes I suggest are by no means deterministic. There has, indeed, been much philosophical speculation on the singularity toward which we head (read: Hegel. Heidegger etc). Confucius himself doesn't have an answer for us. I would personally hazard a pessimistic guess that what happens would be beyond our control. Irreversible damage has been made, and no elaborate atonement by our descendants would abate their extinction.

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