The survival value of a just Society

In a comment to a recent blog of mine, “The Crime of Poverty” I was asked the question, “…does justice have a survival value?”. I tried to answer it and my answer became rather long. I thought, I could just as well make a post for my  blog out of it. And here is my answer:

An interesting question! I would say there are different answers within a society and among societies.

Within a society, justice is important, as injustice, in the end, leads to revolution (as in France 1789 and the Russian Empire 1917). Those particular societies went under in a bloodbath. The governing elite could have prioritized justice, but the greedy, property owning elite did not want to know. The “let them eat cake” mentality led to their demise.

You can ask yourself, which are so most stable societies? The answer is the Scandinavian countries! They have created societies, through the redistribution of wealth, that are relatively more just than other societies.

The human race lives in densely packed societies today. Justice is an important part of keeping the inner peace. The hunter-gathering societies lived in clans and love among its members was sufficient justice for survival.

The storm clouds in the Western-orientated societies are already gathering. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the property owning class has become bolder and bolder. People are not happy taking note of this development.

Populous movements are springing up in many countries. They might not be the solution, but they are the expression of their frustration with the daily injustice they experience.

I learned today, that there at present 3.5 million unoccupied apartments in Spain. Yet many people have no place of abode. People are being evicted from their flats, as they can’t serve their mortgages. The system has failed them and that is perceived as injustice.

There is no social Darwinism. The Nazis believed in the survival of the fittest. The more just (not perfect) societies won the war. Darwin advocated a biological evolution only. Western societies invented enlightenment to create a better and just society. It is a work in progress and at this stage we witness a struggle of the enlightened people and the Ayan Rands of this world.

There is no guarantee that the former will win because Arthur Schopenhauer said, in a conflict between “Will and Reason” “Will” will win anytime. Still I think a just society has more chances to survive longer.

My Brain – my Master or an imperfect Tool?

 

Spring is in the air - an Australian Wattle in full bloom

Spring is in the air – an Australian Wattle in full bloom

 

Sometimes I wonder whether my brain is in charge or I am.

I have come to the conclusion that there is  a difference. My brain is a bit of a bully. It likes to tell me what to do and how to do it. And this independently from my wishes.

It starts already in the morning. While I definitely want  to sleep another wink, my brain has no compunction giving  me signals to get up. The first signal arrives via the bladder of course. I try to ignore this signal by calling on the god of dreams, Morpheus. But he has gone to where the night has gone to and can’t hear my prayers anymore. I have to get up.

All day, my brain is urging me on, even when my body can’t go on anymore. We would assume, that the brain knows the condition of the body, but this is not so. I like to jog and I get ready and go out and  hit the road. My brain encourages me instead of warning me. At my age, a step in time could mean  a step in pain.

My mind is not my brain. It uses the brain too, but then, the brain does its own thinking and tries to influence me. The brain ages too, but it does not know it! The memory is shrinking but still, the brain does think with a reduced capacity.

A quiet place for contamplation

A quiet place for contemplation

Even uneducated people  do a lot of thinking, but mostly,  they come to the wrong conclusions. Having an old brain is like being uneducated as the knowledge to know better has dissolved. Wasn’t it Albert Einstein, who said we are using only 1% of our brain. But what if we lose the good 1% first? Wouldn’t that create havoc with our lives?

This happens a lot to me, because of my failing memory. I try to get by with my feelings and how I perceive the world at a certain moment in time. But my brain has not a bar of it. It urges me on, bullies me, to do things that are dangerous.

My hearing and my vision are impaired, but my brain takes no notice of it. When we were children we had problems estimating the speed of oncoming traffic. I had a childhood friend who ended up under a tram. For Christ’s sake, one cannot overlook a big monster like a tram.

Now that I am old, I experience the same problems. I might be able to estimate the speed of a car, but not the time that has passed between looking right and left. My own actions are much slower and by the time I have checked in both directions a car might be approaching which was nowhere to be seen a moment  earlier. Still, my brain gives me the okay to cross the road. If I hear the screech of the brakes, I’m okay.

Two creatures listen to their inner feelings

Two creatures listen to their inner feelings

After the age of forty the brain shrinks by 5% each decade. That means, in my case, 20% of my brain is gone. Surely, my cognitive ability must be suffering. But I’m sure my brain has no idea and thinks all is fine and dandy.  How often we have heard from people, who clearly look aged beyond their years. “I still feel young!” they pronounce, unaware  that their brain is playing tricks on them. Perhaps not on purpose, but out of sheer ignorance. It seems ridiculous, but the brain can’t even estimate its own age.

If there is a repair to be done around the house my brain urges me to do it. I’m the man, I have to do it! When I get the ladder out, there is no warning, just the instruction, “Do it!”

On wobbly legs, I climb up and put myself in mortal danger. My wife can see that, but my brain has no idea. Is it, that the brain has a death wish? That would explain why so many elderly people have  accidents. It is almost like the brain wants to get rid of me.

Strong roots are a strong foundation

Strong roots are a strong foundation

 

Perhaps, I am old enough to recognise, that I can’t do anything about my brain. It is the one I developed myself in the womb. I’m stuck with it. Now, I have to control it instead it controlling me.

At the Bell of Gratitude overlooking the Illawarra region of NSW towards Mt Kembla

At the Bell of Gratitude overlooking the Illawarra region of NSW towards Mt Kembla

 

 

 

 

Weekend

Last evening this message from my daughter Caroline came up on my FB site:

Work for the day and the week done. Social media for the day done. Time for some dinner and a glass of red to start a rejuvenating weekend. Have a good one everyone”

What did the message say? That she was happy with her achievements of the week? It almost sounded like the Bible and that the Lord was happy when he “saw it  was good” and now it was time for the Sabbath. She hoped to rejuvenate when she would  face the tasks in  the next week.

That is how it should be; work and rest in the right proportions.

As an aged pensioner, I do a lot of rejuvenating already and I can tell you,  it is not easy. I’m using a lot of energy just doing the rejuvenating. But actually, I’m not rejuvenating att all. I’m aging whatever I do.

When I was a youngster and just starting out with my working life I too looked forward to the weekends. It was time to meet up with friends and chasing girls. On Sundays, we dressed up in our finest.

A trench coat was compulsory on a rainy day. Three friends at a local festival (I'm the one on the right)

A trench coat was compulsory on a rainy day. Three friends at a local festival (I’m the one on the right)

Cinema was the big thing and they just invented CinemaScope. The big picture really hit us when the curtain opened. The first film of this type I saw was “The Robe” with Victor Mature. In those days, I loved historical films. Even if they were not entirely true depictions of the events, they nevertheless fired our imagination.

Now, Sundays are like any other day  we try to rejuvenate. There is one exception, I refuse to go shopping on a Sunday! Still, we have to adjust some of our activities to the work life of others.

In two weeks time, we will take the (slow) train to Melbourne. There is no fast train as our governments don’t like working for the future  and the joke is, that they call the train, “Interstate Express”.

Next Saturday we will go to the theatre in Sydney. We will see “The Bleeding Tree” by Angus Cirini. I will write a blog about it, but here is one sentence Angus Cirini says, The primary role of government is not to manage the economy it is to allow for a healthy society to flourish.”  Well, I think governments have forgotten this lesson or they just ignore it.

Here is what the Griffin Theatre writes about the play:

In a dirt-dry town in rural Australia, a shot shatters the still night. A mother and her daughters have just welcomed home the man of the house – with a crack in the shins and a bullet in the neck. The only issue now is disposing of the body.

Triggered into thrilling motion by an act of revenge, The Bleeding Tree is rude, rhythmical and irreverently funny. Imagine a murder ballad blown up for the stage, set against a deceptively deadly Aussie backdrop, with three fierce females fighting back.”

We have our next two weekends  covered and they are “footy-free”.