Existents and Dualities
The universe, not having been built by human beings, is not based upon their conceptions of what is good or what is bad. Not being related to these conceptions, it is expected to have zero correlation with them. Statistically, this means that, in physical or natural existents as they impact on people, there is equivalent capacity for both positive and negative outcomes, as well as for outcomes that are value-neutral or ones that are partly positive and partly negative.
Besides these non-valued existents, as well as non-valued concepts, there are existents and concepts that are valued. Valued existents and concepts are ones created consequent to moral judgment and that therefore correlate with moral judgment 100%. "Good" and "evil" are two obvious examples of such concepts. The difference between non-valued existents and valued existents is that the first are discerned from reality, and the second are defined from man's moral judgment. As such they have to be discerned and dealt with differently from natural, non-valued existents.
Many thought systems in the world are dualistic; however dualities are not all created equal. There are dualities that are value-neutral, in which each side of the duality is a part of reality and is capable of outcomes good, bad and indifferent. In addition, there are dualities that are valued, in which one side is good and the other is bad. And whereas the thinking of Eastern philosophy concerns with achieving balance among the non-valued dualities - and the thinking of Taoism is concerned with seeing past the dualities to the nondual reality - a thinking more pertinent to the world would be concerned instead with maximizing the positive outcomes for each side of the non-valued duality and for their interaction, while minimizing the negative effects of both. Whereas in approaching valued dualities, a totally different methodology is needed.
The value-neutral dualities - such as male and female, nature and civilization, business and labor, private sector and public sector, thinking and feeling, self-interest and altruism - are made value-neutral by the fact that they both exist, not by moral choice based on values, but simply as parts of reality. Not existing by moral choice, they have zero correlation with moral judgment. Zero correlation with moral judgment means: Tendency toward good; tendency toward bad; and tendency toward indifferent; will be found in each side of the duality. And the process of maximizing the positive outcomes and minimizing the negative outcomes will consist of - each side checking the other's harmful tendencies; leaving each other alone where the direction is positive; and collaborating with each other when such is beneficial.
The non-valued dualities can interact in these ways:
- One can impact the other positively;
- One can impact the other negatively;
- One can impact the other in a mixed or neutral manner;
- One can operate independently of the other toward either positive, negative or value-neutral outcomes;
- The two can collaborate in a manner positively affecting the rest of the world;
- The two can collaborate affecting the rest of the world in a mixed or neutral manner;
- The two can collaborate affecting the rest of the world in a negative manner.
A viable approach toward maximizing the beneficial outcomes and minimizing the negative outcomes will see all these potentials and work to enhance the positive ones and minimize the negative ones.
In addition to value-neutral dualities such as the preceding, there is also such a thing as valued dualities. Dualities such as health and disease, knowledge and ignorance, good and evil, are neither equal nor are they of equal value. In valued dualities, one is good and the other is bad; and the benefit comes from maximizing the good side and minimizing the bad side. One of the greatest errors one can commit is to confuse value-neutral dualities with valued dualities and to claim value-neutral duality like "man and woman" to be comparable to a valued duality such as "good and evil." There is no room for this error, as it results in horrible wrong - either that error be of claiming men good and women bad, or of claiming good and evil to be equal in value. In both cases a terrible error is committed, and pursuant it a great wrong is done. The non-valued dualities are only similar to valued dualities in their dualism. Beyond that, similarity between them ends.
This error has been taken to variously disastrous ends by various forces in society. Whether misogynists claiming men to be good and women to be evil, Republicans claiming private sector to be good and public sector to be evil, socialists claiming workers to be good and business to be evil, rationalists claiming reason to be good and feelings to be evil, or groups claiming civilization to be good and nature to be evil, nature to be good and technology to be evil, spirit to be good and physicality to be evil, self-interest to be good and collective interest to be evil, or collective interest to be good and self-interest to be evil, in all cases a giant error is committed and a great wrong is done.
All of the above-mentioned forces are value-neutral. They are all capable of action good, bad and indifferent. Claiming one to be good and the other to be evil results in wrongs condoned and institutionalized on the part of the first side of the duality, and a brutal and hideous oppression against the second side, including its capacity to produce positive effects. And while we see many movements on the part of the second side in either of these (and many other) dualities claiming their side to be good and the first side to be evil, the truth of the matter is that neither side is either good or evil. Both are value-neutral; both are capable of right, wrong, and indifferent.
The valued-duality approach, when applied to value-neutral dualities, is therefore disastrous. This is the kind of thinking that leads to creation of ever-growing hostilities, ever-growing abuses, and ever-growing waste of potential. The correct approach to dealing with value-neutral dualities is to see their capacities - to destructive outcomes; to neutral outcomes; and to beneficial outcomes. And then to - reduce the first; leave alone the second; and encourage the third where possible. All are there; all are legitimate; all are capable of both positive and negative outcomes. The goal in all cases is to maximize the value for each and of benefits of both while minimizing the negative effects.
The public sector and private sector are both there because they serve demand - the first at the poll booth, the second in the marketplace. Business and labor are two components of the production process. Nature and civilization are both parts of the world - the first of the world as not created by human being; the second of the world as created by human beings. As for self-interest and humanity-interest, a being that exists both as individual self and as part of its species will have natural inclinations toward benefit of both, with different levels, in different people, and at different times in their lives. In all cases, we see value-neutral dualities that can either injure each other, leave each other alone, or work together. And in all cases, the interaction must be aimed at reducing the negative effects and maximizing the positive ones.
This is achievable in a three-tier model. At the bottom level, each side in the duality has right to protect itself from the negative effects of the other side. Civilization has right to protect itself from viruses and harmful bacteria; people concerned for well-being of the world and the future generations have right to protect rich and essential environments from destruction. Business has right to protect itself from Luddites and robbers; labor has right to protect itself from brutal and corrupt business practices. Private sector has right to protect itself from excessive regulation; public sector has right to protect itself from those who think that it is evil while they are benefiting daily from the science, infrastructure, policing, defense, and the Internet that it has put into place. Finally, individual interest has right to protect itself from oppression, tyranny, and similitude, as does humanity-interest from those whose self-interest demands planetary destruction or mass murder.
In the middle level, each side in the duality should accomplish the most of itself while leaving the other alone to accomplish the most of itself. Civilization should blossom, and so should nature, as human intelligence makes it possible to fulfill the needs of humanity in a manner that less impinges upon the natural world. Public sector should leave the private sector to do its work of producing prosperity, and private sector should leave the public sector to do its work of defense, law enforcement, education, scientific research, and infrastructural projects such as the Interstate and the Internet that facilitate private-sector prosperity. Likewise, the humanity-interest should leave people to define who they are, become who they want to be, and both enjoy and add to life and liberty - just as individual interest should leave humanity-interest to do its work of creating a livable world and a livable future.
At the top level, the value-neutral dualities should engage in positive collaboration that makes possible what either cannot do alone. Implementing high-technology, high-intelligence clean energy and water solutions, greening the cities and suburbs, creating synthetic life-forms to clean out landfills, producing nanotechnological devices to clean arteries or extend life, and using hydrogen gained through electrolysis of ocean water to irrigate and made possible the planting of forests and farmland in places such as Sahara, Gobi, and deserts of Australia, Arabia and American Southwest, will see humanity using its knowledge and technology to create a better future for nature and humanity both. Private sector and public sector have worked together in the past, with public sector providing science, education, policing, defense and infrastructure that facilitate prosperity – and the private sector creating the wealth to finance such work while also affectuating prosperity for the people. As such, they should work together now on putting in place sustainable and effective clean-energy and clean-water solutions for the world. As for self-interest and humanity-interest, the benefit is maximized when people are given the freedom both to have meaningful choice over their lives and to contribute to humanity what they have to contribute. In this situation, both the self-directed aspect of human being and the humanity-directed aspect are served and work for mutual benefit, resulting in the complete solution - as opposed to either pure individualism or pure collectivism, both of which create only a semi-solution, or necrophilic arrangements such as ones of Myanmar, Burundi, right-wing small towns or Cabrini Green, in which there is neither meaningful liberty nor meaningful contribution to public good.
In the integrative solution, the negative effects of collective-minded beliefs (oppression, tyranny, and similitude) are checked by affirmation of individual life and freedom; the negative effects of individualist beliefs (isolation, cruelty, short-sighted destructive rapacity) are checked by affirmation of the needs of humanity; both individual interest and humanity interest are acknowledged and are served; and, at the top level, the two work together on matters of interest to both individual people and humanity itself - matters such as, for example, creating a livable and sustainable long-term future.
This approach to dualities recognizes, once again, their value-neutral nature and as such their capacity - for harming the other (which is checked by each protecting its prerogatives); for doing their own thing (which is made possible by leaving each other to do their part without negative interference); and for working together with one another (which is made possible by collaboration where such is beneficial). In this model, the negative effects are minimized, and the positive effects are maximized - both for each side of the duality and for what it requires them both to create. Checks and balances, freedom, and collaboration, all exist in this model - and are applied where they are applicable.
Further, care must be taken by entities external to each duality to reduce the negative-collaboration potential. If, say, public sector and private sector decide to join forces to create a fascist state such as Franco's Spain or Pinochet's Chile, to wage unjust wars for corporate interest, or to oppress and tyrannize people, the result is negative collaboration: The dualities working together toward a negative outcome. The negative-collaboration potential cannot be corrected for from within the duality, but can be corrected for externally to the duality - by voice of those who come at the receiving end of the negative collaboration or those external to the duality who see what is going on.
Whereas positive collaboration should be encouraged wherever possible. The public sector and private sector working together on projects such as the Interstate and the Internet have been the source of huge economic boom and prosperity for the country. When thinking and feeling work together, the result is insight and understanding attained faster and deeper than by either of the preceding acting alone, as well as intelligence informed by human experience that has the possibility of actually being beneficial toward human existence. When the needs of both nature and civilization are taken into consideration in creation of economic benefit, the result is a sustainable development that fulfils the needs of the man-made world of civilization while leaving intact and wholesome the world of nature that man has not created and cannot at this time recreate. When women and men collaborate on creating and raising new life - when business and labor work together to produce international economic prosperity - when art and business work together to create embodied beauty - when public sector science, Internet, Interstate and education are used by the private sector to create technological prosperity - the results are such that neither part would be able to accomplish alone. Similarly there is potential for collaboration between altruism and self-interest - to improve life both for individuals and humanity, as people, by nature both themselves and part of humanity, are allowed to strive according to that nature to improve both their lot and that of humankind.
from larger essay http://sites.google.com/site/ilyashambatwritings/integrative