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Tim
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xx Defining true progress
« Thread started on: Apr 22nd, 2004, 07:12am »

Although the concept of social utopia may come under a social issue, let me explain how it can also be an ethical concern.

For many centuries humanity has pondered utopia. Even as far back as ancient greece, where Plato and Aristotle had their own perceptions of a perfect society. The word utopia was coined by Sir Thomas More in his book Utopia. Since there have been several books on the topic, significantly in the 20th century was H.G Wells' version "modern Utopia". But after the two world wars this concept was heavily struck and since books and ideas on utopia have been strongly cynical and satirical.

When we think of utopia often we try to link it with ethics and spirituality in finding the answer to this seemingly eternal question. This is where the ethics come in.

We often link a utopia to a society where everyone has a material wealth, but can there be a society that aims for spiritual wealth?
I think perhaps that there must be a line drawn between the two?
Scientific progress too is now so advanced that it has the power to kill us all. Often scientific progress is not a sign of spirtual progress, and so these two are parrallel?
Of course spiritual progress is very important. People having courage, meaning and happiness. Ceasless effort toward living on a higher plane of potential and wisdom should be every person's mission.(?)
The danger of engagin in scientific of material progress for the sake of it lies in waiting to entrap us and nullify whatever progress we have made...?

Is progress truly a material thing? Can a society that is soley based on spiritual progress be truly successful? Is there a middle ground? IS there a way to succesfully progress in both?

What is our modern utopia?
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #1 on: Apr 23rd, 2004, 9:29pm »

You got last years English notes out for this, didn't you?

I think society has become too technology-obsessed. We forget things like family and friends, and spend increasingly long amounts of time by ourselves. People are getting fat too.
I think a Utopia would be a society in which all people can freely mingle, whether rich, poor, famous or unknown.

No doubt Tim has some sort of "Star Trek" vision of Utopia. Either that or one involving Elves, Halvlings and the objective of aquiring acres of land.
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #2 on: Apr 28th, 2004, 06:45am »

Heheh, no I was reading "The Toynbee-Ikeda Dialogue".

My vision is not that of Star Trek, because Star Trek only makes vague refrences to their society.

So Torrich, how do you think people can achieve mingling freely, and why do you think that will help?(just a little more specifically)
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #3 on: Apr 30th, 2004, 06:17am »

You put everyone in a big room, lock the doors and don't let anyone out until they have mingled with at least 5 people of every social stance.
That not work real good, but.
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #4 on: May 3rd, 2004, 02:55am »

Is there anyone else?
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #5 on: May 6th, 2004, 7:23pm »

You can't deny the progress capitalist countries have made in decreasing the suffering of their populations. Us three posting in this forum are probably descended from poverty-stricken families. The drive for more possessions is what has gotten us to the point of owning devices capable of instant international communcation.

Anyway. You can't have a utopia. Apart from the impossibilities of satisfying everyone, it wouldn't work even if you could. Without the challenge of improvement, we would become more and more detatched from reality until we ultimately died out. I suppose it IS possible to die from boredom.

Besides, if you were happy 24/7... how would you know? Without the sadness, you don't know what it is to be happy. Both must come hand in hand, preferably with more sadness than happiness.
It is probably why most humans are never happy with their lot, and always strive for more.
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #6 on: May 26th, 2004, 07:46am »

Quote:
Besides, if you were happy 24/7... how would you know? Without the sadness, you don't know what it is to be happy. Both must come hand in hand, preferably with more sadness than happiness.
It is probably why most humans are never happy with their lot, and always strive for more.

Its very true, that without sadness there is no happiness. It is impossible to live a life free of all challenge and suffering. Its, impossible, thats not how life works.
In my opinion happines is not about being not sad; happiness is about having confidence, initiative and compassion very close to your heart, thereby challenging everything in your life with your whole heart, deepening your character and caring and acting for other peoples' happiness. Its stupid when people try to live a life where everything your do is perfect and thereby you influence perfection in your environment.
The Lotus blossoms out of a muddy pond
I love that analogy, because it illustrates how challenging life's hardships with your whole heart is the only way to will be able to strengthen your character and simlutaneously sew happiness in your relationships based upon your intent and action.

Anyway, its very true that our capitalist society depends entirely on consumers' unlimited wants; The craving for not only a better standard of living but novelties and entertainment. This is what makes our economy and thus society go round.

Quote:
Apart from the impossibilities of satisfying everyone, it wouldn't work even if you could. Without the challenge of improvement, we would become more and more detatched from reality until we ultimately died out.

The problem with the capitalist system is that it dominates the world; feeding only those capitalist countries, and ignores the distribution of wealth throughout the globe. It is quite disgusting how we fall sick from eating too much food too fast while hundreds of people die of starvation, malnutrition, lack of shelter everyday.
Perhaps progress should be viewed in an international sense, or even an individual sense(?) and not a national one...?

Also, because you can never satisfy someone materially, perhaps we should strive for satisfaction in a deeper sense. Can this be applied to a society?
« Last Edit: May 26th, 2004, 07:53am by Tim » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #7 on: Jun 5th, 2004, 8:34pm »

Doubtfully. A miniscule proportion of the population of the Western world share your ideals. A huge proportion want 'things', and this will never change. Easily influenced children are taught this at an early age from TV ads. Even you want 'things' to a certain extent, I'm sure.

As for the third world, they need to figure out their own sources of food and water and money rather than rely on us for anything other than trade potential. Or perhaps produce something we like/need, and export it, using the profits to import food. But you can't do their work for them; they need to develop their infrastructure at their own pace. We were once struggling through poverty, disease and famine just as they are now. They will eventually adapt. And besides, they aren't being ignored. There are various charities dedicated to helping them. I think that's a little too much help for their own good, myself, but there you go.

If we didn't look out for #1, we wouldn't be in a position to look out for other people at all now.
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #8 on: Jun 6th, 2004, 05:09am »

Quote:
As for the third world, they need to figure out their own sources of food and water and money
But you can't do their work for them; they need to develop their infrastructure at their own pace. We were once struggling through poverty, disease and famine just as they are now. They will eventually adapt. And besides, they aren't being ignored. There are various charities dedicated to helping them.


In Australia, it is part of our education system to learn about the situation that arose with the Aboriginal society here. As I have gathered, the Aborignial people had no real desire at all to adapt to our culture and to our way of life. Sadly it was either that or die. The Aboriginal people were well fed, prosperous people before the Europeans took over their lives, and the Aboriginal community now to a large extent is in a sorry state, with depression, violence, drugs alchohol etc running their lives because of, I think, reluctantly trying to live in our society, which they really shouldn't have to.
I assume this is the same of many poor African and South American countries. It is not their culture to industrially revolutionise, and to reform their society to fit western economy.
It can be debated, that these people and these coutries are lazily not accpeting their responsibility in life and for their country, however I don't think we can say that when we are not starving to death, we have access to clean water, and baic foods and minerals that don't leave us in appalling and painful health conditions.
The situation is that because of our stubburnness and 'capitalism is right' mentality(which is almost colonial) we ignore the very basics of our humanity.
It is a global responsibility that people do not live in extreme poverty all around the world. All people have the right to accessible clean water, medical supplies, enough food, shelter, clothing and other basic rights.
If a huge rock fell on your arm could you heal yourself without any help?
When basic needs are met, which is the right for every human being, then, it is up to them to get a hold of their lives and create a more prosperous society, but not necissarily one that dominates the global econonomy market, which ironically(perhaps not the right word) has seriously damaged the USA(in terms of internal conflicts and dilemas).
A world that segregates other countries based on their western economic stadard and ignores human rights as basic as clean accessible water is reprehensible, and for the most part we live in that world. This is a world mainly based upon arrogance and greed. We should be helping nations and people to live healthily and ultimately to live happily. Otherwise, I seriously believe that in the light of increasing technological advancement, ignoring our humanity we kill us all. cheesy

Thats one point of view. What do you reckon?
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #9 on: Jun 6th, 2004, 06:13am »

Even if the indigenous peoples of the world did not have western culture forced upon them, they would eventually come to live like us, thinking that we led much better lives than theirs. So I don't think you can just blame all their problems on the white settlers. What they did was not right, but the same problems would have arisen, assimalation or no assimalation.
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A journalist (to W.S. Gilbert): How's Bloodygore coming along?
W.S.G.: It's not Bloodygore! It's Ruddigore.
Journalist: Oh well, it's the same thing!
W.S.G.: So I suppose if I say I admire your ruddy countenance, it's the same as saying I like your bloody cheek?! Well it isn't. And I don't.
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #10 on: Jun 8th, 2004, 03:25am »

Thats a debatable point.
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #11 on: Jun 10th, 2004, 05:33am »

Want to argue about it?
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #12 on: Jun 19th, 2004, 06:24am »

But assimillation is not what we think it is. To the Aboriginies assimilation was becoming christians and ignoring their culture and being discriminated because of their colour, race, religion, language.

The Earth Charter states: "Affirm the right of indigenous peoples to their spirituality, knowledge, lands and resources and to their related practice of sustainable livelihoods."
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #13 on: Nov 26th, 2004, 6:04pm »

Yes, but the massive advantages that they would see as coming from assimilatiing, adopting western religion, culture, ideals, etc, would have been to be more accepted into "civillised" society, even if it meant more discrimination being levelled a them than would be in their native communites. Of course, i am writing this as a hypothetical situation, supposing that European settlers had not actively tried to force the indigeiounous peole to assimilate, and illusrating my view that things would not have turned out all that differently.
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A journalist (to W.S. Gilbert): How's Bloodygore coming along?
W.S.G.: It's not Bloodygore! It's Ruddigore.
Journalist: Oh well, it's the same thing!
W.S.G.: So I suppose if I say I admire your ruddy countenance, it's the same as saying I like your bloody cheek?! Well it isn't. And I don't.
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xx Re: Defining true progress
« Reply #14 on: Jul 30th, 2006, 05:48am »

Social Utopiahuh Too idealistic.
Our world now is far from a utopia and we all know it.
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