Chittani, you said,
The idea that
Any group or person will try and avoid responsibility and use power to get the best for themselves.
is based on a very hard-line view of what evolution dictates. Human beings are the most successful animals not because we are the toughest, meanest and most selfish predators (we're not), but because we communicate and co-operate with others.
That depends upon how we define mean and selfish. From the perspective of most other advanced life on the planet we have created the most issues of any other predator and have most certainly made more life extinct than any other species. Being able to communicate and co-operate does not mean niceness, consider how well ant colonies do this and in their world they are arguably to nastiest predator around. Our communication and cooperation is suprisingly poor considering our mental capacity. Look at every topic on any forum thread and see how poor our communication is and how much conflict exists around trivia as well as important issues.
We are the social animal par excellence. This means there is hope for us to learn and improve things, because it makes sense to do so.
What does it mean to be social? The ability to live in 10 million inhabitants plus mega cities without totally destroying the integrity of the group? You say that this ability allows us to learn and improve things, however just what is our capacity learn? Does it mean we are capable of looking at things in a new perspective despite what others might think, or does it mean to look at things in a way that suits the group we belong to? Galileo offered a simple concept that of a helio-centric solar system, had the evidence to prove it, yet he did not get many takers, in fact he was vilified as a result. Protecting deeply held beliefs is what binds a community together, and despite evidence, they will defend it to the end. This is the crux of what it means to be social for humans. Have a look at this research to show just how well humans conform in the face of the learning that chimps are capable of doing. It illustrates that chimps make more independent thinkers than children and possibly explains why they are unable to live in large groups.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIAoJsS9Ix8
It's true that genocide is a product of human nature and will continue to happen for a long time to come, but it's also true that it has declined. Any human being is on average less likely to die a violent death than at any time in the past and, by the way, the world is slowly but inexorably moving from poverty and illness towards wealth and health, as the wonderful Hans Rosling demonstrates:
I agree with the outcomes, but I think that it is happening due to our ability to suspend our individuality in ways that allow groups to expand. Our actual output and productivity is far lower than the combined potential of our brains, partly because of the wastage in competition for selfish motives and the inability to think for ourselves. The lowering of aggression is not the same as co-operation. Any group, from family to club, company, nation uses lots of energy in counter productive behaviour due to deceit, greed, etc, overt violence is becoming less of an option, while lip service to co-operation along with deceitful behaviour is better rewarded. This does not mean there is no violence and no co-operation and communication, just that it is far more limited than one would expect from a species with our mental capacity. There is increasing weight for the argument that our large brains are needed due to the high levels of deceit we practice on others and the need to follow without question.
The youtube from Hans was really impressive, thanks for posting it.
My reason for thinking the SES ought to accept responsibility is that it's only by recognising the failures of the past (either personally or organizationally) that we can learn and grow. The people and organizations that cling on to the past and claim it's all perfect are those that age and die most quickly.
And some do, and some do not. I am not a great advocate for what others ought to do, except to see things as they are. I do this because the way things are is objective, they way they ought to be is subjective. I have plenty of opinions about the SES and other organisations that reflect what I want them to do, but I cannot see the value in expressing these unless I can back them up with something that is more than just my personal prejudice.
I accept your point that it's unlikely. What I see is an ageing and dying organization, too tired to learn anything new. And I have felt much better since I accepted that. But, you know, the SES didn't have to give up the fight in that fashion. You seem to suggest it's just the way things are, always and everywhere. I disagree. It could have renewed itself, as some other organizations have done in the past.
I am suggesting that the way the SES is, is the way it is. I am not trying to reform them, I have no intention of giving them any more of my energy and time than I already have. I work to reform other groups and make sure that I and my family benefit without being sucked dry by the group, always a challenging task. I think the SES will remain a niche group, it will attract a smallish group of like mined people, but will never get the same following as accorded to a larger religion like Christianity (not even in 1000 years). I also do not think it will disappear entirely. It will change and adjust, and it already has, and so have all the religions, as they get bent by the current cultural norms.
In recent years I've changed my view of spirituality: it's not about turning to the light and ignoring the dark (which is what the phrase 'good company' has been misunderstood to mean in the School). It's about accepting the dark as well as the light and resolving those contradictions within oneself.
I understand your point and react in a similar way, however I do not consider it to be something spiritual (if by this you mean metaphysical), I see most of this as socially mediated. Much of who we are is a reflection of our culture, and our guilt and fears and worries are caused by the contradictions of being social and individual at once. Too much selfishness and we get social pressure, too much social altruism and obedience and we lose our individuality. I do not think we need look outside ourselves or society to see how most issues like this come about. We still have to deal with existential anxiety, though society does it best to mask this as well from members.
This forum has been an opportunity for me to do that.
What does it do for you?
I find any debate on things, especially when I disagree with them, allows me to better understand the subject. When I agree with something, its not stimulating and I see no reason to spend time with things I agree with. If their are ideas I do not understand or disagree with, then I want to understand them. In many posts (on this and in other forums) I ask a lot of questions when I am not clear what is being said.