(Excerpts from the book "Cult of Freedom", vol.II, chapter 1)
The individual versus the collective - Primeval altruism - Fairness and norms - Expansion of the collective - Stratification of the collective - Modernity - The future
1 The individual versus the collective
- Limit of evolution
So from where has man acquired true, and not mutually-profitable, kin-based or reciprocal, altruism? Where does the true brotherly-heroic collective, and not the calculative, cooperative sum of individuals, come from? Where was this fateful point in evolution? How did it arise?
Undoubtedly, the answer must be hidden in something that does not belong to any species of animal and that is too unnatural and unusual for our peaceful planet. No, my friends, aliens from outer space is still too much. It seems logical to assume that science, morality and everything else we are proud of arose when the miserable evolving animal reached the end of the line. After all, it is well known where evolution leads - towards the improvement of claws, fangs, stingers and all other abilities to kill. Evolution is a ladder of violence, from innocent amoebic algae to the majestic king of beasts. Man simply had to become the most powerful and violent predator. And he did become it. Victory! But what's next? What’s to strive for? Where should he find a worthy enemy on the glimmering peak of the nutritional pyramid? The only answer, which we still see with our own eyes, is among his own kind. The fight for survival with those like oneself is a quite logical conclusion of biological evolution, providing the winners with a reliable source of food at the same time. But food, of course, is not the main goal, one cannot eat much of oneself. To kill for prevention is another matter. To kill for the love of art. For the idea of progress. For moral reasons. For no reason. And we still see this, too. So there is no doubt - from primitive cannibalism to the mass genocide is the area where biological life comes to its own negation, after which evolution will inevitably turn entirely in the opposite direction.
To survive in these conditions is not at all given to those who survived earlier. But how did this deadly mechanism work, which turned egoists seeking reproductive benefits in a herd of kinsmen into selfless fighters for someone else's marital happiness?
Opinions differ on this issue. Sometimes people blame ordinary natural selection, sometimes the group one, sometimes everything is attributed to cultural, i.e. non-biological evolution. In the first case, altruists magically received a reproductive advantage. For example, the more they sacrificed themselves, the more it helped the group survive, which egoists loved very much, and then the grateful egoists, apparently on conditions of reciprocal altruism, gave their wives to the heroes. This version is possible, but unlikely. I have still never come across such an egoist. Well, I may yet get lucky. In the case of group selection, groups of egoists died out by themselves and since all living creatures are selfish by default, in the face of global extinction, altruists simply had to survive. After all, mysterious altruistic mutations do occasionally occur, and where there were many such mutations, groups survived. The problem here is that the useful mutations could not gain a foothold for obvious reasons - the heroes inevitably died first and egoists at first survived and then, without heroes, died again. So the last explanation, cultural evolution, remains, which is all well and good, except that it is not clear where culture itself came from, because it already presupposes morality and altruism.
- Unnatural Selection
So, let's leave aside cooperation, gratitude and culture, and return to violence, which remains the sole engine of evolutionary progress and a plausible explanation of its mysteries. War is violence in the extreme form. What’s extreme is that this violence is not defense from predators, not a hunt for unfortunate herbivores and not ritual intra-species aggression in order to impress a bored female. This is violence to another like you. Aimless and limitless. And this fact has far-reaching consequences. Such violence unties the hands for something that peacefully evolving animals would never have dreamed of - unnatural selection.
Morality became as much a requirement of artificial selection as adaptiveness is of natural selection. People evolved themselves. They created conditions within the collective, under which priority was given to the sacrificial, altruistic qualities of its members, which possibly really did appear as a result of mutations and other biological wonders. Or possibly not. What’s the difference, if otherwise one doesn’t survive? And the harsher the oppression of violence was, the more reproductive success these involuntary altruists had. Moreover, this situation was the same for all fighting collectives. From then until now, all herds, tribes and nations, including those living in outer space, share the same basic moral principles - mutual assistance and sacrifice in the name of one’s kin and the most severe punishment of traitors. This universality does not fit well with evolution, which implies a diversity of moralities no less than that of species of living creatures. Combined with lively diversity in all other aspects of culture, this only confirms that "cultural" group selection - survival of the groups with the most "moral" gene-traditions - did not and could not exist. Can one seriously believe that those who worshiped the Sun proved better adapted than those who worshiped the Moon? Both the heavenly lights and the violent altruism helped all indiscriminately. And the victories of one over another were clearly a result of other important factors. Though denied by many, the obvious fact following from this universality is that all cultures, at their basis, are morally the same, for they all grow from a single entirely objective starting point - at least in regards to relations in a collective. This gives us hope that along with further progress, we will see the objectivity of morality even more clearly.
Of course, we might ask - how this could be? Thousands of years of unnatural selection have passed, proceeding faster by far than natural - it is enough to notice the speed of successful breeding of new kinds of microbes and viruses - and people still do not look like altruists? Moreover, altruism still seems so alien that it requires some scientific explanation, as opposed to our dear egoism. The answer is that if there had been pure artificial selection - that is, if egoists had been completely exterminated and only altruists remained - it would have been so. But because people were already clever enough by then, they learned to adapt to this moral eugenics. No, not by cheating, as one might conclude from game theory, but by really trying to be good, by honestly suppressing their natural inclinations. In other words, it is not that the genes of altruism, which are unlikely to exist in nature, were propagated, but that simple brains were. So genetic egoists became cultural altruists, and all their selfish genes remained intact and were just waiting for their time to show up again.
- War of all against all
Again, biologists are probably partially right - the road to primitive altruism began long ago under the influence of natural selection. Primitive animal communication probably supplanted intra-species aggression and helped build small friendly packs. They probably competed for resources, as everybody competes all around us. But probabilities end here. As soon as innocent competition turned into mass genocide, incomparably exceeding any cruelties found in the animal world, notions of mutual benefit or individual success became somehow inappropriate. The situation had fundamentally changed - the collective was no longer beneficial, but forced. And the stronger the violence was between the collectives, the stronger it was within them. This inhuman pressure, murder for the sake of murder, was the forge that melted selfish herd animals into self-sacrificing primitive communes and spawned not just cooperation, but total, iron "altruism".
Therefore, my friends, with your permission, I shall digress from the cheerful natural sciences and delve deeply again into dreary abstract thought. Our starting model for moral progress is the good old "war of all against all", except that it is not people who are fighting, but collectives. When a combat unit in that war is the individual, the situation is truly desperate - no further progress is possible. There is no way to stop the war, no agreement can be made, there is no morality and nowhere to obtain it. The only way out is to call on an outside power for help, whether Vikings or aliens. But when collectives fight, the situation changes and there is hope. The key is what happens within a combat unit, not between them, and that will be the focus of our further consideration. That is why the single methodological individual is useless for us. However mournful this is, man, when you look at his best, moral side, is just an add-on of the collective. Even if this collective is invisible and imperceptible. Just an egoist is probably enough for economics but not for morality. There is no categorical imperative, divine spark or moral law implanted in an isolated individual. All this is implanted in the collective. So let's begin our journey with the collective, bypassing the story of how the selfless herd primate emerged from the proud selfish amoeba.
2 Primeval altruism
- The collective-organism
If we look at this life from the point of view of freedom, any freedom was out of the question. Both inside and outside, hard determinism lay in wait for man. In such circumstances, any other independent human individuality simply could not appear. We can say the graph in Fig.1.2 is an exact replica of the soul of every primeval collectivist.
This coherent picture is somewhat complicated by herd hierarchy. Of course, a typical primitive collective was not completely homogeneous. The power capabilities of its members were different, and when power is the main human quality, hierarchy is, presumably, natural. On the other hand, the absolute altruism implies its redundancy. When everyone is striving relentlessly to give oneself up to a common cause, internal pressure is superfluous and counter-productive - it just irritates and creates a schism. Therefore, I am inclined to believe that altruism at some time - or for a short time - displaced inclinations to natural hierarchy in favor of primitive equality and cohesion, especially because many findings of anthropologists stubbornly evince the existence of a golden age. Either way, hierarchy itself is not a reason to throw away our concept, disassemble the collective to individuals and treat them separately. Just the opposite. There are different parts in any organism, and to become a single entity, each must occupy its allotted space. It is important for the concept that from a moral point of view, all are the same, altruists to the bone.
- Forced "morality"
Ever since then, even before the birth of real morality, all of the first, most basic moral categories are associated with the collective, with the relationships between people, rather than, say, with a full belly or clear weather. Yes, friends, not all that is pleasant or helpful is the true good, even if we casually refer to satiety and comfort as a good and a blessing. On the contrary, the true good sometimes requires extremely unpleasant sacrifices. It is something completely alien to the biological organism - it demands that we think about eternity. The collective, as opposed to the individual, potentially does not die, and what is more, precisely this characteristic is directly tied to the good and directly requires sacrifice. Dying in the name of the collective, man is it were finds his immortality, and that is the good. Morality, therefore, can be regarded as a mechanism to transform an individual death into collective life - although the mechanism is, quite frankly, imperfect.
But why is primitive "morality" in quotes? Is it not real? Isn’t it moral to die for the collective good? Almost. As long as people are not free, neither altruism nor egoism are what we mean by these words now. This is only their pitiful compulsory semblance. Collective morality is, in general, always compulsory. To die maybe a good thing, but there is no other way out anyway! And without such compulsion, what would remain of these collectivists? However, this "morality" was no less moral in a certain sense - namely, in the sense that it was directly opposed to selfish instincts.
The collective moral agent experienced two types of compulsion, external and internal. The external was simple and clear - the evil enemy was a force to be fought, and the collective "I" had no doubts about that. The internal violence in the name of goodness was not so clear. On one hand, external pressure necessitated group cohesion - internal violence followed, as it were, from the outside. On the other hand, it came from inside, from the relatives that were completely identified with oneself. We can say that violence inside the collective was not only necessary but also desirable, inasmuch as it may be desirable to force oneself at all. This was common violence for a common purpose, for the sake of self. That is precisely why it was "desirable" - all that comes from within is desirable, even if caused by some inner necessity. Thus, a new power center appeared in the man-collective, in addition to his needs and instincts. Although it was internal only from the collective consciousness point of view, this center of common will, center of internal compulsion was born thanks to inexorable kinsmen and came to be later called morality, conscience and by some thinkers even the "super" ego.
However, let's get back to violence. In contrast to fully rational external violence from enemies and to enemies, violence against oneself for the sake of oneself (and against relatives for their sake) is irrational - it does not follow from the simple logic of individual survival. Such violence is absent in animals, and it would be natural to assume that it has serious consequences for the psyche. What part of animal nature is the subject of violence? The instinct of self-preservation. Fear is what prevents man from being good and achieving the desired unity with others. Overcoming the strongest instinct, even for a start with the help of fearsome kin, frees man and allows him to challenge determinism itself. And, as a result, it makes possible immortality and a collective that embodies it. For, in the end, unification for the sake of the victory cannot happen without morality. Neither brutal violence nor awareness of cause and effect are enough. A man can understand all too well that strength is in unity, but to overcome his fear of the superior force of the enemy he needs some other quality - he must stand firm, not physically but first morally. And this role was performed by moral self-compulsion on the part of the collective, which may be called "heroic" morale (or better "heroic proto-morale" because it was based on physical forcing), because it is the ability to commit a real feat, from the point of view of an animal - to overcome one's biological instincts. Even today the ideal of the lone courageous fighter battling pure evil is one of the most exciting of all moral ideals. What is its purpose? It sets an example, inspires and unites. And in the case of the primitive man-collective, it facilitates imitation of and identification with the best.
In other words, morality was born not as modesty, good manners, love of one’s neighbor and generosity of the soul, but as unusual though very real force able to withstand determinism. As a unifying force, as an ability to overcome self and as a common impulse of self-denial, it is a necessary condition for collective struggle and survival, turning a group of individuals into organic whole. And because of this conditionality, we surround it with quotes.
- Rationalization of the irrational
It's all began then. The time has come for the man to think for the first time and the absolute inexplicability of one’s own self-compulsion has found an outlet in another method of explanation, the absolutely fabulous. Which is very understandable, if we recall what nervous time it was, a time of deep restructuring of the selfish animal psyche.
3 Fairness and norms
- The rupture of altruism
But that's the ideal. At the beginning of the path to the ideal, norms, of course, relied on brute force, as long as force was the only intelligible language for expressing interest. And only later did the result of the norms become self-restraint, the need to follow rules, the notion of the admissibility and limits of violence. In conditions of total violence, and more broadly under determinism in general, a norm is always a limit. And it served a good service in these conditions. Norms became easier to justify, since force began to lose its importance as an argument. Norms facilitated the emergence of new norms, and rather than force, other arguments began to acquire significance.
The balance of pressure found and expressed in a norm is in fact a balance that provides the possibility of choice between two opposing and individually insurmountable forces - instinctive self-interest and the compulsory interest of others. Precisely this possibility of choice is responsible for the birth of a sprout of freedom, voluntariness. Prior to this historic moment, there was no choice for man, since instincts and violence solved all problems of "choice" without him. And finally reason became mind; it created for itself a new possibility, it discovered freedom, while not yet even delving into reflections.
Of course, choice and freedom were probably not what they seemed. Both existed only in the abstract, as a theoretically possible equilibrium state of an oscillating pendulum. People rushed between the two forces, from self-interest to the collective good and back, and norms proved to be there, where they were forced to by this rush, in completely random points. But, like a pendulum left to itself, the point of equilibrium manifested in the behavior and norms better and better, and the choice between the two forces began to gradually sink and morally take shape, as a choice between the old value of the collective and a new value of man. So since its birth, ethics has become dual, tending from both sides to the balance point and not at all serving the one-sided compulsion of the individual in the name of society, as the ideologues of collective happiness like to imagine.
- Core and shell
Not all norms were created equal. Knowing the nature of morality, it can be assumed that the degree of ethicality of norms was likely inversely proportional to their usefulness or morality would long since have blossomed around us. But by themselves, outside of practice, the first ethical norms could not emerge and be preserved either. Most likely they were hiding inside the customs, rituals and other practically useful, non-sacred patterns of behavior, which, by the way, acquired their sacredness due to multiple repetitions. This was the only way to preserve them in the absence of not only writing but also articulate language. How did they get there? The source of the customs was memories about significant events of the past, which acquired variations with each new generation. In contrast to the intelligent analysis of interests, which was clearly not feasible for our ancestors, the ability to remain in collective memory was probably the result of approaching a balance point suitable to many, which evoked a desire for repetition and eventually allowed a norm to form. Precisely this quality of being "suitable to many" is responsible for the fact that ethical norms were not just habits and customs, but internally perceived rules, a germ of common to all fairness, which penetrated into the psyche and proceeded to the formation of a free person. In this way an array of originally completely absurd traditions became filled with more meaningful moral content. And the more meaningful it was, the fairer, one hopes.
Gradually, with the development of language, a variety of traditions, including styles of skins and language itself, were more clearly formed and became a symbol of "us", while culture became something like a vessel storing norms and reflecting the entire path traversed by the collective in the process of streamlining internal and counteracting external violence. The events of the past were embellished and immortalized in legends and epics. They told of great events, gods and heroes who set an example and pointed out how to live. In general, it would not be exaggeration to say that the best part of the oral cultural tradition is neither more nor less than the verbal articulation of morality and its ethical core.
But not absolutely. By limiting violence, norms at the same time strengthen it, since to break the norm is no less difficult than to create it. In such circumstances how does one determine which norm is closer to the core? Where is the criterion that separates the core from the shell? Obviously, in the fairness which is not only universal but also completely objective. If a norm is not fair, it is sure to be revised. And therefore the norms belonging to the core are the longest lasting. We can draw an analogy with language. The deep moral "semantic" structures on which the rest of culture is layered are so old that they were deposited close to the unconscious, of which we are reminded, for example, by pangs of conscience that occur despite our desire, while the thesaurus and the syntax of the rest of the culture remained much closer to the surface. Society parts with them easily enough, sometimes in one generation.
4 Expansion of the collective
- First steps to peace
Although the fighting of tribes did not stop for a moment, but in spite of the fighting and a good appetite, people multiplied - winners absorbed losers and occupied the vacated territories. Absorption occurred not only through the alimentary tract - women captured in the fighting, for example, represented not only nutritious, but also vital value. Thanks to such accumulation of various vital values, tribes grew in size gradually turning into peoples, which led to big changes. Both outside of the collective and inside of it, the following picture could be observed (Fig.1.4).
Outside the collective there was a gradual transition to a peaceful co-existence, which we can even now observe firsthand in some places. A large collective is difficult to defeat completely. First, it is even physically difficult to destroy - someone will surely be saved, especially as a large collective occupies a large area that is not easily brought under control. Second, a large enemy requires a similarly large power, but that is a complex structure and management, involving a lot of mistakes and various motives and goals. Third, large collectives are less mobile, tend to settle down, have accumulated a lot of stuff and have something to lose. In general, the reasons are many and the result is the same. Tribes adapted to one another, the warlike cannibal-spirit slowly evaporated, relations improved, and neighbors took the place of enemies. It became possible to cultivate land and build temples. The prospects of the economy came into view.
As for the land, there is a belief that the discovery of agriculture led to settlement, peace and culture. However, what we know about human nature suggests yet another alternative. To discover agriculture is difficult in conditions of a continuous war. It is firstly desirable to provide some semblance of peace, some permanent living space, at least temporarily. The main thing is for this time to be enough for agricultural experiments. And it is a large collective that can provide this opportunity. The bigger it is, the more distinct its territory is, and the more opportunities there are to observe the soil and plants. Besides, agriculture is not violence, it is secondary to war. In other words, war must give way to agriculture and not vice versa.
- The advent of morality
In this way, the single collective was splitting into the macro-collective, "society", consisting of strangers - country, state, empire - and the micro-collective, "community", consisting of relatives - clan, kin. The identity of the person became multiple. He found himself a member of various collectives at the same time, which pushed his thoughts toward a clearer understanding of himself and his interests, and, in the long run, the interests of other people. However, as war and violence continued to demand cohesion, the lonely "I" was still too fragile, rudimentary. The basis of identity, instead of the former "collective-organism", at the first stage was the kin, which acquired the corresponding moral quality - the honor demanding protection. Thus revenge became a matter not only of caste, and to a lesser extent of man, but also of kin.
Strangers are a new type of people - neither kin, nor enemy. Relations with them required new ethical norms, containing both a minimum of altruism and a minimum of egoism. As we might guess, such norms were to be more neutral than the ridiculous rituals and unconditional altruism permissible among one’s own. The norms of behavior in the macro-collective came to be considered more and more soberly, while the most savage traditions were dying out. Ethics started to show its cool, thoughtful nature more distinctly. Just man, not friend or enemy, began to be seen in man. I would even say that there began to appear the abstraction of man, man as something universal, general, conceptual, having a general value for all, both friends and enemies.
True altruism, by analogy with the ethics that we discovered earlier, is also a new moral phenomenon. Let's call it "sacrificial" morality or simply morality. Sacrificial morality reverts, so to say, to heroic proto-morale, but raises it to a new, individual-voluntary level. Here also the true heroic morality arises, which becomes a continuation of the sacrificial, its extreme variant, when the addressee of the sacrifice transcends a certain cognitive line, since instead of a native collective of concrete people, the feat is now required for the sake of abstraction - an imaginary collective unifying strangers. As with ethics, morality was the result of the first sprouts of freedom, since the voluntariness implied a choice. And before the choice, of course, voluntary altruism was not only impossible, but also not needed, since compulsory altruism was enough. But contrary to ethics, which strives for a balance guaranteeing freedom, morality does not want balance, it requires sacrifice and runs from freedom back to the secure circle of relatives. That is, despite both phenomena being moral and ethical, they are completely opposite. Morality involves voluntary altruism, while ethics neutrality and fairness.
- The contradiction of altruism and freedom
So humanity lived for many ages, dooming themselves to poverty for the sake of morality. Because the real cause of confusion is, of course, morality itself. While altruism was compulsory, norms served a deeply moral cause - destroying violence and doing justice. Now that one’s free irrational choice of sacrifice emerged - sanctified, moreover, by the ancient magical spirit of overcoming selfishness - any other choice, and all the more so the choice of bodily-material profit, directly opposed morality. The emergence of norms was now not so much serving the cause of justice as contradicting the cause of the good. In this contradiction lie the roots of the negative attitude toward freedom, characteristic of moralists.
In order for the forms of free cooperation to become morally acceptable, it was necessary first to consign to oblivion the existing morality, and then to build completely new, equal relations from scratch, to accumulate property and to develop a division of labor and specialization. Mutually beneficial cooperation required very different norms. Instead of the collectivist half-compulsory "justice", adopted among relatives, it needed pure ethics and true justice, neutral and impartial, proper to relations with strangers, the category of people who previously did not exist. Accordingly, nothing like this ethics and justice existed or could exist. It simply had nowhere from which to arise. There was no natural or objective process, sidestepping ethics and leading to freedom, such as the growth of productive forces, the development of relations of production, the emergence of surplus or anything just as improbable.
But maybe, if the trading mentality, and trading itself, destroys the norms adopted among relatives, it creates norms in relation to strangers? Maybe it does - in a book on mathematics. In reality, it did not have such a possibility. First, the first relationships of cooperation and reciprocity were almost certainly born within one’s own collective, simply because the number and frequency of contacts between its members did not compare to its contacts with foreigners. Second, even in relation to foreigners, the prevailing attitude was not calculating but disinterested. All peaceful relations were always built starting with the mutual gifts, and only then could they move to calculation and trade. Trade always presupposes an already existing peace treaty, impossible without moral grounds.
- The peace treaty
Meanwhile, the war between the collectives, as expected, completely died out. Why? There are several guesses. First, a major role may have been played by the conditions discussed above. That is, it just somehow happened, naturally. However, as recently as fifty years ago, we watched a bloodbath so violent that complexity of management, general obesity, etc. somehow does not tally with the result - millions of dead. No, they have managed all right.
Only one answer remains - people became so moral that they fell in love with peace. Fig.1.6 indicates this. Violence ceased to be taken for granted. No one wants not only to die, but also to kill. It was precisely widespread mass resentment of the bloody world wars, revealing the human face of the enemy, which brought to life pacifism, international organizations and politicians' unexpected insight. Is it really benefit that matters? Moral progress has reached a critical point - this is the reason of peace. Even trade agreements slowly begin to rely not only on immoral basis of profitability, but also on a moral basis - equality.
This excellent result was a consequence of the above-described millennial processes within the collective. Tribal structures eroded, families diminished in size and strengthened, becoming the main economic unit, in which early individualism flourished. The individual accumulated knowledge and skills, specialized and cooperated. With the development of culture, the uniqueness of personality and its value grew, distinct from the value of its strength. A need for free trade, self-interest and autonomous morality arose. "I" became as important as "we".
5 Stratification of the collective
- The social contract
So, what’s to do? Obviously, it is necessary to deal with groups the same way as with estates. The contract concerning non-violence is possible only between equals, but only people can be morally equally - and not equal as well, when belonging to different groups. Because any collective bonded by group morality is a sign of violence, it - be it class, party or even state - disappears from the picture of the contract. The collective can impose group morality, but not universal ethics. And it follows that peace between nations is just a variation, or more precisely, an element of the common contract, an objective-historic step to it, and not political wisdom or expediency.
Similar steps, also quite objective, were observed within the collective, too. The contract as if descended from the top down, covering more and more of the population. At first, things were resolved within the noble elite, then they were joined by smaller bandits, then the turn came of the richer nobles, then of the poorer bourgeois, and finally the anointing of the contender for power - elections - became open to all. And at every stage, equally ranking people, united by a common interest, agreed between themselves. But they agreed against all the rest, and so the contract was necessarily reconsidered as soon as the balance of power changed.
- The war of the solitary
Those of you, my friends, who have followed the narration, must have now noticed a paradox. After so many years, after so much effort, after so many moral victories over hierarchy and determinism, people found themselves in the same place where they were before - in a state of war of all against all. Everyone is equal and everyone is opposed to all. Fine, I'm exaggerating. The original war of the solitary is an invention of philosophers. The reality is exactly the opposite - society does not arise from the war of the solitary, but that war arose from society. Are there any other changes? Certainly.
First, the methods of war changed. Struggles are guided by rules. Norms cover all aspects of interaction. If it is physical violence, the norms of democratic procedure are used, if economic - those of fair competition, if the battle of ideas - the authors try to express their thoughts logically, clearly and effectively, rather than just call their opponents idiots.
Second, the objectives of the struggle have changed. If earlier survival and a stuffed belly were at stake, now the picture became very unusual. There is virtually no goal! One should not take property, status and other ridiculous trifles for the goal of war. No, the place in the hierarchy and other invented social benefits are still important, but are important only as a consequence of ideas. People go to the barricades for ideas! Where have they come from?
- Non-objective ethics
Of course it does. The struggle is not in vain. Violence increasingly moves away from man into the realm of the ideal. Reason replaces emotions. The balance of interests, which is the basis of justice and norms, cannot be achieved by force, we need other arguments, and the mind diligently seeks them. I will not, of course, speak for everyone, but you and I are busy with just that. What do the figures show us?
The coming of the common contract goes in parallel with the birth of a unified ethics, less and less subjective. Balance, peace and universal consent about the final rejection of violence are possible, but only as a result of complete alienation and neutrality, when the parties are no longer bound by any unnecessary emotions. To feel moral equality is not enough, man needs to learn how to follow it consciously and purposefully. He needs to learn how to nullify his affection to the collective and his own "I" and replace all this historical and biological ballast by reasonable, strong-willed objectivity. Moral equality implies exactly such ethics, as objective as possible. Only an objective attitude toward people, free from both altruism and egoism, is able to put all parties of the contract on a really equal platform and thereby to create fair norms that exclude violence. It is obvious that this ethics is also the most universal and does not depend on culture, traditions or anything else, including gravity. That's why we can assume that it is the very goal of moral progress that we sought.
7 The future
- The collective and its profile
But none of these processes affect what’s truly our own. Our friends and family stay with us forever, as does the subjective, sacrificial morality. And in order for the above-described public sphere with its clear rules, free from morality, to become possible, everything personal leaves it completely. Both moral spheres are distinctly separated. Public ethics achieves its objective ideal, as does sacrificial morality freed from the obligation to love everyone.
The ethical curve describing this splendor is shown in Fig.1.13. Here, "THEY" are rather a tribute to tradition because there are no "them" anymore as such, everyone is now "we". Without a doubt, relationships in the family remain based on altruism. Relationships with strangers move to the level of fair trade where each party pursues his own interests, not forgetting that the other should also pursue his own, while both together remember that the interests of each of them at the same time exactly reflect the interests of entire society. Between family and strangers, a small transitional area of personal relationships remains where people provide small favors to others without exceeding invisible but obvious ethical limits. The size of this area cannot be too large, because the economic interests of the future individual require a truly endless market. "Personal relations" deliberately play a non-economic role. It’s just friends and nothing more.
- Moral "capital"
The gray area in the upper left part of Fig.1.13 can be called by the scientific term "social capital". Its measure is the breadth of personal connections multiplied by the degree of readiness to do favors, averaged. Despite its seductive closeness to everything good in man, the concept itself in fact tells us nothing about the ethics of society, about how honest people are there, about how fair and free it is. By analogy, all of this might be called by the unscientific term "moral capital", although frankly speaking it seems to me that morality and capital do not go well together. But where is this on the figure? I think that this capital is expressed by the shape of the entire curve, i.e. by how long its horizontal portion is and how close it is to the point of zero, in other words, the length of the segment (AB). It approached precisely this position throughout all of human history. And history, as we know, goes in one direction - towards the accumulation of moral capital, not social capital, which was undoubtedly almost endless in the primitive collective, and which, in our distant future, however regrettably, disappears entirely. We cannot seriously consider family relations as capital, can we?
The speculative growth of the length of horizontal portion, from primeval zero in Fig.1.2 to the future grasp of all mankind, is a visual manifestation of ethical progress, which does surely exist despite all obstacles. The angle of the portion, i.e. 0, tells us about justice, which inclines equally toward everybody or, on the contrary, more to some, less to others. The distance from the horizontal axis, i.e. coincidence with it, demonstrates how much egoism or altruism there is in relationships, that is, either they are absent or manifested by the neglect of mutual interests in an attempt to gain unilateral advantages or to create personal obligations through concessions. The length of the horizontal portion (or rather the distance from the word "WE" to B) demonstrates how far these people can be from each other in society. It is a kind of "radius of trust".