Actually, let’s not start from scratch.

This is a follow up to the post, “We are of one essence.”

In this post I put the sentence, “In our previous debate, we essentially posit that in order for humanity to improve its condition we need to reduce the separation among people created by identity institutions such as ‘my nation’ and start from scratch as one people.” I would like to repeal this statement, especially the starting from scratch part. First it was not really a ‘we’ statement (the other blogger on this site and no part in writing it) and secondly I have since changed my view on this particular issue.

I must be clear on the starting from scratch statement; it was really just a pipe dream that made no sense and I realize that now. Going back to the serenity prayer… this is not the right strategy and has many dangerous pitfalls; ‘anyone who does not believe that we should start from scratch is wrong so we must separate humans into groups that think we should and shouldn’t.’ This is just as bad as saying that the world should one day be dominated by Christianity or America. It is the same ‘us and not them’ mentality, that we seek to change. Therefore starting from scratch is actually a bad idea.

I think that you nailed a more appropriate way forward with your concept of how endow these institutions with power. How we chose to view these institution is what needs to change, not necessarily the institutions themselves. Christianity and Islam and America and Iran are not bad institutions themselves, but the acts they justify are the actual problem. This is what I meant to say with the quote, “the fucked up reality of the situation, however, is that [despite the fact that] all theses notions ‘the institution’ is what justified the killing, there was still a human making that decision [to do the killing] on the forefront.” Since the institutions are made up concepts anyway, it is much more important to have people recognize exactly what they are, so that they do not become justifications for acts against humanity, which after all are done by individuals anyway.

The reason for my change in thinking is that I believe that individual identity is something that can not be lost. It is critical to honor our history on earth and starting from scratch has some serious problems. Namely it would take something a fascist campaign to ‘force’ people all into the same mold. Instead a system needs to be tailored in which we can preserve notions of countries and religious faiths, but realize that all belong to a larger, more universal construct called humanity, which we all share.

It makes sense for people to say “I am from this part of the world and that makes me proud of my heritage.” What doesn’t make sense is for people to say “I am from this part of the world so I am fundamentally different (better) than you.”

Finally, I realize that Obama has not fixed the way that America does business. In a lot of ways he still props up the Industrial Military Complex and capitalism just like any president before him. As you accurately state in your comment on the post “‘if you forgo violence and your bombs’…wait a minute I need to send an automatic drone over the Pakistani border to violate international law and kill some people.” However, change happens slowly (one step at a time now) and I really thought that this message was a step in the right direction.

See the discussion found in the links below for more on this in depth concept. The links are listed in chronological order with the first link being the oldest (the start of the discussion).

On Science Religion, and Nationalism

On Science, Religion, and Nationalism II

Fear of One Another
Fear of One Another II


About activephilosophy

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2 Responses to Actually, let’s not start from scratch.

  1. deadondres says:

    I agree with this. I have a lot to say on this topic and I get excited when thinking about it.

    I think that our generation is set to be like the great reformers of Greek and Enlightenment lore. Not out to tear everything down but change things in a forceful and powerful manner.

    Our parents were sort of the start from scratch types, got routed by the world which wanted to kill them, then raised us with all their same values such as equality and self-esteem and taught us how to thrive within the system like little pipe bombs.

  2. Pingback: Topics about Religion » Actually, let’s not start from scratch.

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