These are thoughts I had for a long time, probably since childhood. Here I take this chance to put them down.
We know desire/emotion can be a very powerful thing. Sometimes it drives people out of control. I feel traditional societies, either in the east or in the west, have a tendency to treat them as a dangerous thing that will cause chaos , and thus they think the society as a whole should impose some control on it, making it immoral or making people feel guilty about it. In the east, the Confucius system had been developed to tell people what is morally right and wrong. In the west, Christianity carries out similar functions. In the human history, there had been many debates about this. Here I intend to provide some of my experiences and thoughts on this, and on this basis to imagine our future society.
I was born in a society that is traditionally Confucius centered. Seeing the artificial box that is imposed on people by Confucius and thus people are prevented from fully develop their potentials and pursue the truth, I thought about it when I was young.
Whether the moralists are right, whether we should impose control on people’s desire/emotion, whether our society can live without it, I cannot say for sure. But I want to propose something that can possibly help us reduce our reliance on moral control mechanism (so we can be self-sufficient).
My belief since childhood is that an individual’s life is very precious, and the individual should make best of his potential. Thus I am very much against any systemic man-made artificial restriction on individuals’ potentials. I certainly don’t want any such restriction imposed on me to box me in so I cannot fully explore the truth of the world and develop my potential. Since I don’t want that restriction on me and I think everyone’s life is precious, I don’t want such restriction to be imposed on other people. So I prefer trusting individuals being able to make sense and sort out importance of different things in life themselves.
I think people who think they cannot trust people to make sense themselves, cannot overlook the fact that people are dumbed down by various kinds of systemic barriers such as compulsory schooling, thus it is hard for them to make sense of things and find out what is more important things. But imagine if we can remove those barriers…
So I would rather trust people to be able to make sense and sort out importance of different things in life themselves. And I have confidence in this because I know people, myself included, are awed by the love and beauty in this world once we get in touch with it, and I feel that powerful force will drive people in the right direction. Briefly I believe people are driven by love, beauty, and fun. If people can have easy access to these things and not isolated from them, I am quite confident that they will know desires are not the most important thing.
One important thing I feel people need is time to calm down and reflect. Just once a week sit in a beautiful environment and reflect on this week’s experience will be sufficient. You don’t have to rely on Christianity as the agent for you to reflect on your life. If people have time to reflect on their lives, they will realize what they treasure as precious in life and will work hard not to forget those precious things or not to be caught up by other things and forget the important things. Christianity traditionally have provided a means for spiritual people to reflect on these things, and they reflect in the Christianity’s framework. Although Christianity’s framework is far from perfect, it does provides a framework for reflection and people try to make sense of it. So as long as people try to make sense of it, however imperfect, Christianity can be a means for people to realize something. This just tells us the power of reflection. It says to us that people is able to come to sense themselves. That is what we can rely on. So as I said, just once a week taking a break to reflect will be sufficient. You don’t need Christianity or Confucius.
If people have time to reflect, they will realize the moment when they are awed by the beauty, or when they experience love, and realize the moment they get caught by self, and remember what they really want to do. This will be the basis that we can reduce our reliance on crowd moral control mechanism. Let the individual things to be individual choices. Don’t let the collective interfere with the individual things when they don’t harm other individuals.
This is my thinking of our future society. We should reduce our reliance on crowd moral control mechanism, probably get rid of it totally. We should have the system to protect individuals’ rights to pursue their arts, so they can have more opportunities to be exposed to the beauty, the love of life. Encourage people to take time off and reflect on their lives. Or get rid of the things that are set up for the purpose of “entertaining” people and in reality just a mechanism to drag people’s minds around. Does this sound good to you?