What would be needed for Utopia?

  • #26
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dekoi said:
The negative effects are obvious of course. We practically destroy nature.

I don't see it as obvious. Maybe I'm stupid, but I have no faith in my predictive powers when it comes to future technologies, and their precise effects on the human mind. I also don't see nature as something sacred, or that what is natural is the best. Evolution is more expediency than optimality. If we can use technology to change our natures for the best, then I think in principle we should go for it. But I'm not all that confident of our abilities to create reliable technologies for this purpose. And I worry that some people will have no qualms in using unreliable technologies for their own gain, and the exploitation of others. I could be wrong in so many ways.
 
  • #27
dekoi
cragwolf said:
I don't see it as obvious. Maybe I'm stupid, but I have no faith in my predictive powers when it comes to future technologies, and their precise effects on the human mind. I also don't see nature as something sacred, or that what is natural is the best. Evolution is more expediency than optimality. If we can use technology to change our natures for the best, then I think in principle we should go for it. But I'm not all that confident of our abilities to create reliable technologies for this purpose. And I worry that some people will have no qualms in using unreliable technologies for their own gain, and the exploitation of others. I could be wrong in so many ways.

Our nature is what keeps humans human. Think of things that go against our nature. For example, homosexuality is against human nature (males + males do not mix), and thus we get diseases due to homosexuality, as well as serious (even deadly) conflicts with the male body upon homosexual 'sex'.

Everything against human nature has a negative consequence.
 
  • #28
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Well, I do lots of things that go against human nature, like sit in a chair for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, under a fluorescent light and air-conditioning, surrounded by fumes and artificial products. I eat food which has been artificially processed. I eat animals which have been artificially bred and raised, pumped with artificial hormones; I eat vegetables that have been artificially bred, sprayed with chemicals and treated with artificial fertiliser. When I get sick, I take synthetic drugs. Artificial treatments heal me from injuries. Some of these unnatural things do me harm, some do me no harm, some help me.

Conversely, many natural things cause me harm. Mutations are completely natural, but they may cause me to have a bone deficiency, for example, and without artificial treatment I would die a painful death. I might have heterosexual intercourse with my wife, and catch a natural disease like syphilis off her. Once again, without thoroughly unnatural treatments, my life would be a litany of suffering in this case. I might go outside naked and natural on a warm day, and cut my feet on some sharp natural objects; get sunburnt by natural sunlight; or get hypothermia when it naturally rains.

The notion that everything contrary to human nature has a negative consequence is a primitive sort of statement. For one thing, who decides what it contrary to human nature? Is human nature what we did 100,000 years ago? Is human nature just natural instinct sans thought? Is human nature what society or a religion defines, and hence something that varies with time and place? Can something be contrary to human nature but beneficial to the family or society? Can something be contrary to human nature in the short-term, but beneficial in the long-term? Are the supposed negative consequences of acting against human nature worth it when there might be positive consequences, too?

We are human beings and we do things. Some of these things harm us, some are rather neutral in their effects, and some help us. And as time goes on, we try more things, new things. We can imagine what effects certain currently unattainable things might have on us, but we can't be sure. When they become attainable, we might have a better idea. Ruling them out because they don't conform to your notion of human nature, whatever that might mean, is pig-headed ignorant.
 
  • #29
puf_the_majic_dragon said:
i suppose in a perfect world we wouldn't need religion. i merely mentioned it because religion (and i believe this to be obvious to anyone educated on the subject) is the most powerful force for influencing vast numbers of people, especially where concepts like morality and ethics are concerned. if you want to change the world, religion would be an ideal place to start.
i would also suggest that the lack of religion can be an equally powerful force in the breakdown of ethics, but that's a discussion for another forum, as per the rules of this forum regarding religious discussions.
also, i think it's rather fruitless to try to define "utopia" because as has already been mentioned, everyone's idea of paradise or utopia is different. the first step in getting to any utopia would have to be an alignment of ideals across the human race (returning to my reasoning of using religion as a means to accomplish this).

ahhh but if everyone were perfect would we really need a religion to tell us what is morally correct? and if the world were perfect then, as said before, humans would need to have the same intellectuality as that of a god. we would need knowledge of everything. nothing could be a gray matter. all would have to have an answer. there wouldn't be any opinions. because if there were an opinion, someone could disagree...and who knows what could evolve from that.
 
  • #30
dekoi
cragwolf said:
Well, I do lots of things that go against human nature, like sit in a chair for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, under a fluorescent light and air-conditioning, surrounded by fumes and artificial products. I eat food which has been artificially processed. I eat animals which have been artificially bred and raised, pumped with artificial hormones; I eat vegetables that have been artificially bred, sprayed with chemicals and treated with artificial fertiliser. When I get sick, I take synthetic drugs. Artificial treatments heal me from injuries. Some of these unnatural things do me harm, some do me no harm, some help me.

Conversely, many natural things cause me harm. Mutations are completely natural, but they may cause me to have a bone deficiency, for example, and without artificial treatment I would die a painful death. I might have heterosexual intercourse with my wife, and catch a natural disease like syphilis off her. Once again, without thoroughly unnatural treatments, my life would be a litany of suffering in this case. I might go outside naked and natural on a warm day, and cut my feet on some sharp natural objects; get sunburnt by natural sunlight; or get hypothermia when it naturally rains.

The notion that everything contrary to human nature has a negative consequence is a primitive sort of statement. For one thing, who decides what it contrary to human nature? Is human nature what we did 100,000 years ago? Is human nature just natural instinct sans thought? Is human nature what society or a religion defines, and hence something that varies with time and place? Can something be contrary to human nature but beneficial to the family or society? Can something be contrary to human nature in the short-term, but beneficial in the long-term? Are the supposed negative consequences of acting against human nature worth it when there might be positive consequences, too?

We are human beings and we do things. Some of these things harm us, some are rather neutral in their effects, and some help us. And as time goes on, we try more things, new things. We can imagine what effects certain currently unattainable things might have on us, but we can't be sure. When they become attainable, we might have a better idea. Ruling them out because they don't conform to your notion of human nature, whatever that might mean, is pig-headed ignorant.

Some of your examples of things going against human nature are slightly vague. I think you are confusing "natural" objects and "human nature" or "human law". Artificial medicine/treatment is not natural, but it does not go against human nature (since it brings it towards goodness). By going against human nature, i am talking about things which contradict humanity, not just nature in general.

Also, we do not decide what human nature is, we discover it.
 
  • #31
well if you had robots do all of the work, that would bring need down to zero, and costs of production to zero then you woudld have to divide the land equally, and if you live in a city, all the houses would have to be the same size, but all items would be free and in high supply, so you could go to a store and just get whatever you wanted or needed. so no one would have the need to break into your house and steal anything and such
 
  • #32
Guys, I would highly recommend two of Huxley's other writings on this subject:

Brave New World Revisited, an essay warning us about how our Western culture (as written in the late 50's) was becoming a Brave New World. Especially interesting on how the West was giving up its freedoms. Surprisingly topical.

Island: Huxley's final book. A truly utopian vision of a culture based on the development of the human spirit, with the aid of mescaline and Tantric sex, no less :!!) A damn fine read, whatever your hangups about sex, drugs, and Bach's Brandenberg Concerto #4.
 

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