Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Wed Apr 26 12:43:24 2006
Cooperative Virtue

Some kinds of virtue are best thought of as cooperative between individuals and society at large (to the extent that the latter can be thought of as a separate entity in the context of individuals). Trust of society and its institutions is an example of a virtue that is built and carefully, slowly advanced towards, slowly earned and easily lost. Principle and corruption are part of a dynamic that likewise pairs idealism and cynicism in individual and group struggles with various instincts. We cannot expect individuals to much surpass the trust/idealism level of their society, lest they be destroyed by those less virtuous and more emotional, greedy, and the like. Virtue has a cost, and before systemic changes can easily be made, the people must be raised to a level of virtue whereby there is both enough trust and enough vigilence to stabilise society at a hopefully higher level of development. This involves a focus on education, but also systemic structural changes that would affect all society. This is one reason I think protests are important -- they help build mass movements, but a spirit of volunteerism and non-self-servingness is also important to build. A note on vigilance and trust -- there may be a bit of difficulty in building both as society advances. I hope that this does not represent a built-in limit/difficulty for our advancement as a society.