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In your opinion, what is the highest value a society should strive towards?

  1. Liberty

  2. Equality

  3. Security

  4. Prosperity

    0 vote(s)
  5. Utilitarianism

  6. Democracy

  7. Enlightenment

  8. Preservance of Life

  9. Peace

  10. Supremacy

  1. Nov 28, 2005 #1
    What do you think the most important value for a society to strive towards is, and why? Furthermore, how should an ideal society strive towards this goal?

    I'm putting up a poll, but I'm going to definately end up leaving out some good options.

    Right now I'm thinking Liberty would be the highest goal, but my mind will probabally change a few times before this thread dies.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2005 #2
    I chose enlightenment, since most other higher values are a byproduct of enlightenment.
  4. Nov 28, 2005 #3
    As much freedom and equality as possible.
  5. Nov 28, 2005 #4
    Yeah I'm going to go with Skyhunter. Everything else on that list, except utilitarianism and supremacy, is a byproduct of enlightenment.

    And I don't want Utilitarianism and supremacy anyways, so that works.
  6. Nov 28, 2005 #5


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    Waste : unless you provide definitions for each of those terms, different people might posibly interpret them differently. Does "equality" refer to 'equal status' (financial, etc.) or 'equal opportunity' ? And "security" is...'security against what?'
  7. Nov 28, 2005 #6
    That was kind of the point. People define them however they will, and under their own definitions talk about why they chose their particular value. You can't come up with any definition for those things that everyone will agree to, so let people use them as comes most naturally to them, and elaborate upon what exactly their definition constitutes, and why it's the best one out there.

    I'll get into my thing on Liberty a bit later, but it's nearly 3:00, and that's quite a bit too late (or early) to get into anything in detail and make any sense.
  8. Nov 28, 2005 #7


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    I chose 'enlightenment.' Not that I think the others aren't lofty goals, but intellectual achievement is most important to me personally. I don't care about being equal with people. Prosperity is nice, but I've lived in what is considered 'poverty' for the US most of my life and I've really never found it that bad. Security, peace, and protection of life are certainly good things, but I don't think they're 'higher' ideals - they're more of the fundamentals you need just to have a society in the first place. I've always been big on liberty, but I also don't think it's quite as 'high' an ideal as intellectual achievement. Realistically, prosperity is pretty much what the average society aims for, but I personally feel that, as long as you're healthy and have adequate food and shelter, there's not much need for a whole lot else. Thankfully, there are no wrong answers here.
  9. Nov 28, 2005 #8
    :cry: I agreed with Skewhunter and Losername! What does that say about me!!!:cry:
  10. Nov 28, 2005 #9
    Enlightenment sounds way too new-agey. I might have voted for education, but enlightenment sounded like attaining nirvana or something, so I skipped it.

    Equality, I think, ensures a lot of the other concerns. But it's way to early for me to be articulate about it.

    It would be interesting if all the people who choose equality aren't white males. So far, of the nine who have chosen enlightenment, the ones I know are white males.

    But then, I think I'm the first female to vote.

    Wow, this is really incoherent. LOL. Sorry about that.
  11. Nov 28, 2005 #10
    While I agree with what previous posters have written about enlightenment and this (or rather, knowledge and understanding) is what I personally value the most, I voted for equality because without this I do not think the search for enlightenment/knowledge is possible. By 'equality' I mean equal opportunity - in a *real* sense of equal: no unfair advantages due to the accident of being born into wealth.

    If I could have voted for two values, I would also have voted for liberty. But I guess by my definition of equality, liberty is implied.
  12. Nov 28, 2005 #11
    Peace.. Everything else follows.

    Enlightment is nice, but I think peace is more nobel, once the world and Mankind is at peace with its self, common enlightment will prevail..
  13. Nov 28, 2005 #12
    Good point. Hard to seek enlightenment in the middle of a war. Not impossible though.

    Krishna, Buddha and Mahavira were warriors or of the warrior caste.

    Knowledge + wisdom + humility = enlightenment IMO.
  14. Nov 28, 2005 #13
    I would have to vote for liberty.
    When the questions, "Why are we here?" and "What should we do now?" are raised in any instance of a society holding power, which all mobs do by their nature, it is one thing when those questions are raised in the context of the local example of a society and its rightful sphere of influence, and it is another thing when those questions are raised in the context of a non-existing monolithic Society. Are the people free to disagree? To disassociate? To the degree they are, the danger is non-existing; as here, on this polite board.

    Asking such questions allows society to advance. The implication is meant to be a good one, that life for all the atoms sometimes improves as the result of collective actions. Yet, that is only sometimes true, not automatically true, based simply on the asking of the questions.

    I think it can be argued that societies are allowed to advance and do advance in an environment in which the atoms collectively agree to defend each other from the overwhelming power of every other, America being an example of that concept. Even in its imperfect 3/4 start American limited constitutional republican democracy is all about limiting the power of the mob, and is cornerstoned on an individual bill of rights.

    It's just that, we atoms are atoms of imperfect naked sweaty apes, and the urge to access the irresistable power of the mob/we is often too much to resist. Imagine all the good 'we' could do, if only 'we' could harness the power of the entire mob, and direct it?

    We do that, even in the context of an American experiment; the War in Iraq is an example, and there are atoms in some indirect sense 'supporting' that War that do not with every fibre of their being wish to support that War at all. Yet, this is an inevitability, as on every course of action or inaction, it is not possible to simultaneously both act and to not act. Under such circumstances, it is best to permit a fracturing of 'society' into societies that support the action, and societies that do not, and do the best we can to not trounce on each other.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2005
  15. Nov 28, 2005 #14


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    What exactly constitutes a 'white' male? I'm largely Cherokee and Hispanic.
  16. Nov 28, 2005 #15
    I figured you were of European descent, based on your picture. Sorry.

    I wasn't really awake when I wrote that anyway, I meant to stay focused on the type of people that pick "equality" but I somehow drifted to the majority of people who picked another category ("enlightenment").

    IOW, it would be interesting to see if the people that pick "equality" tend to be from groups that are dicriminated against. Period.
  17. Nov 28, 2005 #16
    What is a "white" male of European descent anyway?

    Anglo saxon?
    Asia Minor?

    [edit] And arent Hispanics not also (in most cases) European decent, and hence "White" ref: spainish/portugese conquests of S.America[/edit]
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2005
  18. Nov 28, 2005 #17
    Progress. Beauty. Duty.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2005
  19. Nov 28, 2005 #18
    I chose enlightenment, as I've stated before. I can think of no higher ideal to strive for (though I suppose achieving enlightenment would make such an ideal apparent).

    Many of those options could be brought about under a totally controlled populace. (just so ya know)
  20. Nov 28, 2005 #19


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    You think that's me? That's Ian Curtis.

    It's funny, but I honestly hadn't even considered that kind of equality. I was thinking more along the lines of economic equality. Since I've been fairly poor my whole life and it's never been a very big deal, economic equality has never seemed all that important to me. It might be nice to have money, but I'm a lot happier than many people who do.

    I see your point, although I would still argue that equality is more of a fundamental thing to strive for than a high ideal. Once everybody is treated and viewed equally, there's still a heck of a lot more that a society can do to better itself.
  21. Nov 28, 2005 #20
    Well, there is no "race" and as a geneticist I'd even be hard pressed to draw strict lines for "species" or even "life/nonlife."

    Still, as a generalisation, we can usually agree that Alexandra and myself are not white males. There are other groups such as ________________ (fill in the blank) that would also have more experience with being discriminated against than "white males."

    If it is experience with a sort of mistreatment that raises one's valuing of the ideal, then it stands to reason that minorities may be more likely to value equality, just as those who have been subject to mortal peril may value preservation of life, those who live in a violent society may value peace, and so on.

    It is also possible that the reverse would hold. That is, perhaps having faced mortal peril (for example) will give people an acceptance of the impermanence of life, and cause them to value something besides preservation of life, more. Etc.

    I hope more people take the poll.
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