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VARY SOCIAL AFFINITY BUT NOT HUMAN RIGHTS

Some time ago I posted a piece questioning whether humans are more like bees or Australian brush turkeys. https://wp.me/p1z4yo-lM Bees are gregarious and nurture their offspring, whereas brush turkeys never meet their parents and lead solitary lives except for mating. Most humans are between these extremes.

To evaluate human developments, particularly those that control behaviour, such as political and economic systems, it is helpful to have agreed humankind’s destiny there. They could provide for hive-like sociality, or isolation, or alternate between the two.

It is difficult choose which way is best for humans. Tradition could express atavistic longing for the kinds of group living evolved by primates and hominids. Some humans in lockdown from the pandemic have suffered a deficit of communal care by traditional standards. Others have enjoyed more than usual.

There are many considerations other than tradition and pandemics. People can be individualistic and selfish, or altruistic and kind to strangers. There is a spectrum of ‘social affinity’ with people and nations varying widely. Countries ideally accept tourists’ selfishness but they may find observing local customs of tipping service off-putting, or even offensive. 

Strengths of bonding between people and within communities can increase or decrease with hardship, wealth and war. It is possible that as material prosperity increases, individuals become less group-minded. Conversely, dislocation can foster selfishness.

It is unlikely that human psyches can flex enough to change their position very far along the spectrum. We would not expect a brush turkey to take to living in a beehive, nor a bee to be content to live estranged from its kind like brush turkeys. Perhaps the amount of sociality for humans should not be a monotheism, but we will enjoy living with diversity, both in local communities and within a community of nations.

Totalitarianism exists where humans are subjected to a central dictatorial authority, with civil society replaced by atomised individuals, who feel isolated, superfluous and fearful, without rights. There are too many nations where such conditions exist, including several superpowers. These offensive regimes can be mitigated by attention to human rights.

To avoid totalitarianism, a person must have their rights respected, such as to have a fair trial. Will bees in a crowded hive inevitably have fewer rights than free-roaming brush turkeys? Humans in densely populated countries need as many or even more rights than in sparsely populated countries like Australia. Isolated individuals may have fewer encounters with others but they could be as harmful and as cruel. 

In summary, the social affinity of individuals is part of the fabric of life and can differ between countries. People have different experiences and need to be tolerant of others within sectarian cultures, especially under totalitarianism, where individuals need rights at least as protective of them as of isolated individuals in other countries. There are turkeys everywhere.

My writing on this and other topics is at https://martinknox.com

Brush Turkey

WORK AT HOME IN EXTREME FLOW

You may already be using ‘flow’ for optimal achievement that is timeless. Extreme flow is ultra goal-focussed, fully mentally engaged and skilled to automaticity. Enforced isolation is an opportunity to attain these through more concentration, less disruption and honing of your skills in any occupation. Benefits are improved performance, dilation of your time and delay of aging. My novel Time is Gold explains how an endurance runner trains to break the world record using Extreme Flow. Book available on Amazon https://martinknox.com

PRIVATE AND PUBLIC RISKS OF COVID-19

Risk of catching COVID-19 while going to work is like driving on a public road. You could die, but with observation and caution, it is safe enough and not worth worrying about a homicidal driver.
Probability of transmission to you of COVID-19 virus particles, from infectious persons, has opaque and complex processes too difficult for you to quantify your chances of infection. If you are a risk adverse person, isolation is a logical response to minimise exposure. But you may be expected to go to work, need to earn, or want not to cringe because learned helplessness is bad for your health.
Nietzsche advocated personal fulfilment by taking risks without consideration for others, as taken up by Hitler and Stalin. A propensity for cavalier response to danger resides in your brain’s amygdala, especially if you are male and under 30 years. If you only have yourself to think about, without consequences for your family, friends and colleagues, or for people who you might unknowingly infect, it is easier to face the risk and forget potential consequences.
Simone De Beauvoir wanted the individual to seek their own existential freedom by respecting others’ freedoms. You could risk going out to free yourself but only after anticipating your responsibilities to others if you became infected.
When your calculations would include medical consequences for yourself and for those you care about, you might fear the worst and prefer isolation. If going to work would have consequences for the business and for your employer, you might remember that all business is inherently risky and the terms of your employment require you to sacrifice freedoms. A utilitarian would expect your decision to go to work to be of practical use to you, such as by earning, rather than to exercise freedom.
Analysis of expected risks can clarify the best course of action to take. There could be clear and present danger from going out, but with insufficient likelihood of incurring costs that would exceed the value of certain benefits you expect.
Because employers and employees have different interests, governments may step in with guidance. They may decide responsibly who to lockdown and who to go to work. They may give financial support. Economy-wide, the amount of relief to be paid by the community could be staggering. The contributions of those who take personal risks may be insufficient to ensure economic survival of a community supporting those who avoid risk. Private risk may not be covered by public indemnity. An individual’s best protection is to be forewarned and free to choose what risks they will or will not take.
http://www.martinknox.wordpress.com

COVID-19 risks need careful consideration

GET USED TO SOCIAL ISOLATION

Social distancing, self-isolation and quarantine in the COVID-19 crisis present you with new experiences of aloneness, without the close involvement with others you are accustomed to. Some humans are more social than others, but many face being alone with unwarranted trepidation. Aloneness is not a pathological condition. Certainly, being alone can expose you to more helplessness from accident or illness, but there are compensations, such as greater freedom and independence. Feeling alone should cease.

Aversion to aloneness can be treated by habituation, similar to a dog phobia. Gradual exposure can reduce fear and you will get used to it, as you would to a barking dog. Throwing yourself into an engrossing task can provide helpful diversion. Plan social contact, such as phone calls, at longer intervals. When you are not lonely, you feel more positive about yourself, more satisfied with life and its opportunities, such as being able to enjoy nature and feel healthy. Solitary living can even become preferred.

The  Roman philosopher Cicero said that he was never less lonely than when he was alone.

Actor Robin Williams said ’the worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel alone’.

Solitude can have benefits, such as more peacefulness, reading, study, meditation, contemplation, self-expression, artistic creation, independent action. These can be an antidote to anxiety, stress, learned helplessness, anger, depression.

http://www.martinknox.wordpress.com

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