Evidence shows that most of our behavior is determined by the environment we live in. Changing the environment also results in change in behavior in the long run. People remaining longer periods of time in a certain environment would absorb more from that environment and in time they will behave more in accordance with their surroundings. Today people travel around the world in search for an environment that they consider suitable for them — with others who share similar values.
The values prevalent in our society have been inherited from previous generations but the environment we live in is very different. Electricity, vaccines, waste management systems, and the Internet have contributed to a vast change of environmental factors but many people around the world today still hold on to the values of the past even though these values do not yield positive outcomes.
Our values are superimposed upon us through every aspect of our experience, movies, education, books, TV, Internet, teachers, role models, subcultures, religion, home life and more. The values given to us are to perpetuate the social system we live under. The manipulation and control is so subtle that we think it comes from within while being reinforced with notions of individuality to believe this.
What we need is a value system that corresponds with the physical reality and one that would facilitate our development towards a saner culture.
Our values are largely determined by the culture we live in. Countries around the world offer different standards of living depending on the resources they manage but they also require their citizens and visitors to follow the established order. What might be considered standard practices in some cultures, in others these practices might be considered extremely socially offensive. Capital punishment is still practiced in many countries around the world today whereas in others, this absolutely ineffective practice has been surpassed.
Values are also determined by the methods of thought used in managing the people and the resources in a particular culture. Dictatorships often use theistic methods of indoctrination to make people believe that the established order works for their best interest. Democracies, on the other hand, use manipulative tactics to indoctrinate their populations into believing that individuals have an array of choices but in fact this array is extremely limited compared to what can be accomplished if humanity uses science and technology intelligently.
Nowadays, there are different socio-economic systems around the world but we can see that the values prevalent in all cultures have been inherited from past generations and are, to a certain extent, detrimental when applied in our modern society. For instance, forbidding contraception because of religious beliefs can have devastating consequences for a population threatened by venereal disease outbreak. Moving forward into a saner future requires that we design an environment that facilitates our social growth into an emerging global society.
Designing Optimal Environments
The ancient values, inherent in our social structure from past generations, emerged from a hostile environment based on extreme scarcity. Today we experience a very different environment but we rely on an outdated value system which causes the problems that we experience in our everyday lives. In order to surpass this elementary level in our evolution we need to design an environment that reinforces constant value update.
In a Resource Based Economy the main focus is on the people and the environment. Producing a high standard of living for all human beings on Earth while restoring, preserving and enriching the environment around them requires the use of science and technology and also requires a higher degree of efficiency.
Access centers care for the needs of the people by offering all available goods and services free of charge. Automated transportation offers fast, safe and reliable travel across the entire city, between cities and intercontinentally, for a fraction of the time. Education designed to bridge the differences between people offers different perspectives and facilitates continuous cultural learning resulting in overall positive human and environmental impact.
The moral standards of past generations do not offer solutions for present social challenges. It is not enough to label people ‘good’ or ‘bad’ anymore as we know that environmental factors largely determine their behavior. Half of all food production ends as waste while famine is still a major problem around the world. Creating abundance of energy by using renewable sources is possible today but a quarter of the world’s population still lives with no access to electricity. Most people are still strongly attached to the notion of ownership even though they would prefer to stay in a luxury hotel that offers maximum comfort. We still respect biblical notions such as ‘Those that don’t work, shouldn’t eat’ even though most recent technological and scientific advancements that make our lives better result from the efforts of very few men and women. Morality has always been based on limited efforts to control society based on the tools of the time. Morality was very rarely based on conditions in the real world, and this makes it detrimental and full of contradictions which can be surpassed through our proposal of Functional Ethics. The methods of science can be used to determine a functional morality and this exercise will demand that we reevaluate our entire notion of what makes us human.
From the very early stages of human evolution, humankind has always tried, where possible, to improve its standard of living depending on resource availability. Evidently, some parts of the world with environments more suitable for human development have produced the complex social systems of the present. A couple of centuries ago humans discovered the methods of science and the result was exponential increase in the standard of living for a selected few. Today we are faced with a similar decision – to move forward to the next phase of our social evolution – an emerging global culture that uses science and technology to intelligently manage its planetary resources for the betterment of all planetary inhabitants. The incentive for problem solving will emerge naturally as people see the positive results of their contributions and they will protect the environment as they understand that the ideas for most solutions also come from it and our existence depends on it. Climate change, nuclear armament, increasing environmental pollution, and constant conflicts between individuals and nations demand that we use scientific tools and methods for problem solving as today’s global challenges demand a global approach from an integrated perspective.
Preparing for Change
The most striking difference between a Resource Based Economy and any other system that has gone before is that it prepares people for the changes that lie ahead. Change is not something that most people accept easily, especially when it comes to values or beliefs, which they have had for a long time. Sometimes, the emotional investments in those values or beliefs are so great that people cannot accept the notion of change. This detrimental practice has facilitated the conscious withdrawal of efficiency in so many aspects of life.
The main objective for people is to learn how to expect change so they can step into the future without experiencing pain. Our language structure needs alternation so we can start accepting significant global recommendations. The way we see our fellow human beings from other cultures needs to change as we learn that there are no races or creeds but we are all one species. People need to have access to information to investigate different perspectives and widen their understanding to expect change.
The challenge is to abandon notions that do not correspond with observable reality. We, as human beings, need to accept that praying for help from a deity or hoping that things will turn out are only examples of wishful thinking. There are no good or bad people but conditions that make people behave the way they do. Earth is a single organism, supporting life and we are part of it just like every other living creature. And most of all, that we must work together to create an environment that would support our evolution into the future. Such values would produce a very different worldly outlook that would facilitate an emerging global civilization.