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The Key to a Perfect Society

Jan 22, 2015

Our society, our civilisation, as we know it today, is by no means perfect. No nation on this planet has a majority population who are completely happy with the status quo. On average, people labour away for a ridiculous number of hours each day, in a constant effort to bolster income, and increase property and possessions. Technology came with the promise that we would be able to work less hours, and yet be more prosperous, however the truth is we have way less free time than our ancestors ever did. And what do we have to show for it; globally, we have wars (big and small, civil or otherwise), poverty, disease, hatred, global warming, resource scarcity, lack of unused space, civil liberty and human rights violations (mass surveillance, oppression, unjust imprisonment etc...)

How have we landed where we are today? And where is our current trajectory taking us?

Philosophers, for thousands upon thousands of years, have attempted to find the holy grail of political / societal structure. There are many philosophies that have been practised, and even more discussed: social democracy, communism, libertarianism, minarchism, anarcho-capitalism, voluntaryism, monarchism, aristocracies, panarchism, etc... But even with all these philosophies, having been around for what seems like an eternity, we are no closer to a perfect society.

Are we forever destined to be in a state of imperfectness, with all of the problems that our modern society brings with it. Will we ever be able to build a society that is greater than what we currently have with social democracy in the west, which is rife with consumerism, and completely lacking in personal free time and, more-so as of late, liberties and freedoms.

Well I am of the opinion that yes, the status quo can change, and not only can it, but it must... lest we stagnate as a civilisation.

I have this theory that what really defines a great civilisation is how that civilisation interacts with external entities. I.E: what makes a great nation is how that nation interacts with the nations around it, who they enter conflicts with, who they enter trade agreements with, who they conquer, how they expand, etc. And likewise, what will ultimately define our species is how we eventually interact with other planets, moons and stars outside of the green and blue sphere that we currently call home: namely, which planets we colonise and which alien species we interact with, if indeed we are not alone in the universe. Our race risks stagnation if we do nothing but reinforce the status quo, and lock ourselves in to this internal interaction only. We need to continually expand, evolve and prosper to ensure that this does not happen. But first, we need to fix our current state of affairs.

So why, after trying to reach the perfect societal structure for so long, do we stand a chance now? Well, particulary as of late, as well as an insane increase in our population count (which contributes to many of today's problems, but is a matter for another day) and average global quality of life, we have had an absolute explosive revolution technologically, which has completely transformed the fabric of our society. It is now possible to send a message to someone the other side of the planet in under a second over the internet, imagine how someone from 1000 years ago would react if you told them that! Our world is more interconnected now than it has ever been before, we are able to share vast amounts of knowledge, and cross cultural boundaries effortlessly (for those who aren't currently restricted from this invaluable resource by oppressive governments). This technology has enabled us to co-ordinate as a civilisation better than ever before, we know more about other nations and cultures than ever before (modulo propaganda we get from our respective governments). If there is a key to a perfect society, it probably lies with technology, or at least with the knowledge that technology has allowed us to unlock thus far.

Of course technology has its dark sides, and we all like to escape from it now and then, but perhaps here technology really has a chance to shine in helping us unlock this key. Maybe technology will allow us to coordinate efficient, fair, decentralized, overlapping social structured accross the globe, with excessive amounts of cross-continental collaboration, peace and prosperity, and without having to dedicate the majority of our waking lives to laboring away at things we find little enjoyment from. Or maybe technology has just given us the opportunity to advance education and human knowledge further than we ever could have imagined, alowing us to create a better social structucture. Maybe this is the revolution that technology has leading us to all this time.

Then again, we can all dream...


Sam Lanning

Sam Lanning

Studied Computer Science @ Oxford University. Interested in Communication, Security, Privacy, Anonymity, P2P, E2E, Mesh, Censorship Resistance etc...

Oxford - UK