Has business gotten too big? In terms of size and influence, I contend that indeed it has. So what do we do about it? In our current political climate, a number of points seem clear.
A belief in evolution means quite a bit more than simply a denial of creationism. We also mean to imply that we believe in natural selection as a process for improving things, including human culture.
I sometimes think that at least half of the confusion we currently experience in our civil discourse stems from our inability to speak openly and honestly about the nature of hierarchy.
The big ideas at The Practical Utopian may seem very broad and general, but I'd like to illustrate how they can be usefully employed in a specific debate such as this one.
I've noticed that Big Thinkers tend to get confused about art and why it matters. Unable to find a neat place for it in their developmental models, they end up describing it as an entirely subjective experience. Of course, I've never run across an actual artist who sees things this way.
Many pundits today are predicting a future of robots equipped with artificial intelligence so powerful that they will essentially render great swaths of humanity obsolete.
Let me give you an example of what I mean by striving for balance between competing concerns.
Let's take two of our big ideas: liberty and society. We all want freedom. I know I do. And yet, if you put me on a helicopter, and then dropped me off somewhere in the middle of the wilderness, I would have all the liberty in the world – but I would gladly relinquish some of that freedom as the price for rejoining human society.
As human society has evolved over the centuries, we have developed different types of social structures. None of the later structures replace earlier ones, yet each new structure has been devised in order to confer some new sort of evolutionary advantage to our species – in other words, to help us survive and thrive more effectively.
Religion can be thought of as a collection of shared cultural artifacts that provide a sense of meaning about human existence.
Religion attempts to answer “big” questions such as the following:
Why are we here?
What is our relationship to the world around us?
How are we related to one another?
Religious expression can manifest itself in several different ways.
What does it mean to be human?
This must certainly be a foundational question for all of us, when contemplating almost any aspect of our existence.
And while any brief answer to this question must admittedly be no more than a starting point for further discussion, I think it perhaps worthwhile to provide such a beginning.
And so, here they are: the primary traits we share that I think make us uniquely human.