Tuesday 22 July 2014

What do I think? Well, listen then...

You may remember that I was recently asked to contribute to the question raised by The Society For Curious Though of what makes a fair society.

It is something that I would like to expound upon later when I have a little more time but for now I will leave you with this :-

I am going to be completely honest with you - I was intending to leave this brief post above and come back to it at a later date. I even went so far as to publish it in that form. But I could not leave it at that and had to log back in. You see this is something I know a little about.

What I wrote in the link above was this:-

"A fair society is one where each and every voice carries equal weight; each opinion is considered as carefully as the next; every consideration is extended impartially to every citizen and where neither creed, colour, affluence, influence or intelligence dictate a divide."

Sounds great, doesn't it? Sounds like Utopia I think. But it is certainly not a reflection of the world we live in!

Believe me when I say that I am no politician - their endless streams of words which say a lot but mean nothing, tie me up in knots and bamboozle me. Nor am I a true anthropologist - my study of humans is for one reason  only, to feed the nature of humanity and the human condition into my characters and books. But I know people. And I know that what I have stated above is as likely to happen as mankind landing upon the sun.

Human beings have a built in competitive streak, it is that which makes us mean and nasty but also makes us brilliant and unique. In the animal kingdom wild animals [and even domesticated ones] prowl and mark their territory, defining the boundaries so that no other cat/dog/ lion/ tiger impinges upon their stomping ground.  

But us humans, what do we do? We plant shaped privet hedges, install fancy curved walls or high trellis fencing which we then bedeck with hanging baskets and the like. That's not a demarcation of a boundary, it's the shrill clarion call of a challenge, an invitation to 'look at me. Isn't my wall/fence/ house/ garden/ life better than yours?'

And me? Well I am exactly the same as everyone else!

But imagine for one moment life without that competitiveness? Who would strive to implement new procedures, invent new technologies, develop new medicine, win races and medals? Who would strive to be the best, the very best at their game? No-one.

So we need a competitive streak. But does this necessitate the suppression of others? I think not. And that was the point I was trying to make above.

You see if we had a fairer society where opportunities were accessible for all, the cream would still surely rise to the top and by that I mean the most able for every occupation and profession, not those with the most money or social standing or pushy parents behind them. Indeed, I have seen children who were in my opinion intelligent enough to have gone to University unable to do so, due to the crippling tuition fees.

Likewise I have seen people be deemed to be too educated/intelligent to do a job they were interested in doing. In both of these cases someone else decided the individual's fate and removed from them the opportunity which should have been theirs for the taking.

Ah but there is the paradox. Examine my words again if you please, especially this bit - where neither creed, colour, affluence, influence or intelligence dictate a divide

Wouldn't the implementation of such a society of equal opportunity create a society where intelligence created a divide? Is a divide inevitable?

Again, I don't think so. It comes down to the way we look at things. A brain surgeon is infinitely more respected that a toilet cleaner. Why is this?

Granted a brain surgeon saves lives by his skill. But 99.9% of us will require the services of a good public toilet cleaner far, far more than we ever will a brain surgeon. Indeed a clean public toilet is not just a nicety, it is the frontline in disease control!

Is the cleaner therefore, assuming that he or she completes their tasks to the very best of their abilities, not as worthy of our admiration as the surgeon? Of course she/he is ...or at least she/he should be.

And that is exactly what is wrong with our society. We place too much value on some things and occupations and not enough on others which should be of equal or greater value.

So to recap, what I am saying is this:- we cannot and should not strive to change human nature for it is what makes us, us. What we should do is seek to hold each other in high esteem, for the individual value we hold in society. For without the humble toilet cleaner, the brain surgeon would be laid up in bed with dysentery or cholera...


Watch out for my interview page where I shall be listing some very interesting interviews over the coming weeks.

Until then, happy summer holiday reading!

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