Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Crafting A Better Society

The Largest City Most People Have Never Heard Of
Ask the average person. What and where is Lagos? Not only do most people have no idea about this they cannot name the highest elected officials in their own state or more then a city or two in China. According to Wikipedia the free online encyclopedia Lagos is a port city in Nigeria and the seventh fastest-growing city in the world. The latest reports estimate the population at 21 million, making Lagos the largest city in Africa. To the right is a photo of the city's center and skyline.

It is important to emphasize just how little most people know about the world and to make the point about how valuable real knowledge is. In our modern world we are constantly assaulted with so much data, information and noise that it is often hard to stay focused. How people live their lives and the quality of those lives is basic when defining our existence and society. With all the debate about gay marriage, gun control, funding pre-k, and such we should put high on our agenda the goal of crafting a better, smarter, and overall improved society. Programs to promote and teach better parenting should be considered and made a focal point of in this endeavor.

Simple does work! We can start by passing laws the average person can understand after that leave it up to the courts to enforce them by putting fines upon those that fail to follow the law and its spirit. The clowns in Washington have gone over the top in creating legislation that is incomprehensible. We must remember you cannot legislate decency. Word processors and copy machines created a major change in the way our government functioned. Before these machines it was much harder for Washington to generate laws that were 500 plus pages that read like a bad book. These laws confuse and complicate our lives. The day word processing replaced the manual typewriter a monster was unleashed and from it poured word, after word, after word.

Easier is not always better! This post was inspired by a comment made about online shopping, the comment was " I prefer the 'no effort' approach of Amazon shopping and view it as the way of the future..." After I pointed out the benefits and reasons to support our local stores such as our the money remaining in our community longer creating local jobs and bolstering local institutions.  The question I was forced to ask is, what is best for society? Using unemployment as an example, many people view it as a trap people fall into but can't fall out of. While we say the rate of "unemployment" has stabilized at a terrible but not quite as  terrible level understanding how unemployment impacts society long-term is more difficult and very important.

Just the other day I caught myself asking, how stupid have we become? In a world of massive information how uninformed is the average person? The answer may be so disturbing that we can't handle the truth or we may simply be to lazy or stupid to address it. So much to learn, so little effort to do it. A curse of modern technology is what has been described as garbage in garbage out. Sometime less is more. Man is an animal that has tied and has bound his fate so tightly to machines that we are become dependent on them for everything. This does not bode well for our future.

As our lives center around interacting with machines and we become more focused on our personal gratification each of us becomes the center of our own universe and a part of humanity quietly slips away. Crafting a better society is difficult when you are slowly being "dumbed down" by the forces around you and everyday life. The leisure we gained by harnessing machines to lessen our daily toil was to generate time to think and enjoy life. Instead we often choose less noble pursuits and distractions. Values and education does matter. This my friends is why we seem to be making little progress in solving the many real problems we face.


1 comment:

  1. What great insight. What are the first steps to achieve such an ideal?

    I say the same things to myself when I observe the unintended consequences of our various innovations, "we human beings think we are so smart!"

    But to do my service job, yes even my "professional" job has become service at this point, it is not important that I know where Lagos is. To actualize myself as a human being, it is important that I know where Lagos is.