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      Goodness has not been universally appreciated for what it is. We have been beseeched many times to care about each other. Parables and historical accounts have left many unpersuaded. Behavior and feelings have been perfected in relatively few. The message must be stated plainly. We must care about the wellbeing and happiness of every living person.

      A great many people do not know why we must do this. If the answer to this question were to become widely known, every aspect of human life would be affected. Every concern and need would be addressed with greater wisdom.

      It might be thought that a change of consciousness in this direction would affect close relationships more than it would affect relationships with strangers, or the satisfaction of material needs, or actions in business, law enforcement, defense, politics, science, education, and art. This is a misunderstanding of what it means to care about the wellbeing and happiness of every living person.

      There are people alive today who as children did not understand the cruelty of other children. Cruelty has no entertainment value for such people - even at very young ages. Some of these few grow to rid themselves of the ancient feelings that counter goodness. The value of the example they represent makes us hope that more of them will come forward to tell their story.

      Caring about the wellbeing and happiness of every living person impacts every walk of life. To illustrate a consequence in the field of law enforcement, you may ask many people how they would feel about using non-lethal devices to stop or prevent criminal acts. Even after being convinced that technology is up to the task, many people will object to the use of any safe and effective non-lethal method by law enforcement. As one person put it, "These people deserve to die."

      If a military or police organization used nonlethal means to the greatest extent practicable, that organization would secure the moral high ground along with the admiration of the world.

      In most cultures, the concepts of justice and revenge have been conflated. This leaves many of us unprepared and disinclined to restrain wrongdoing without also seeking revenge.

      Perfect behavior is the result of perfect intentions. If you intend no harm, and your every thought and feeling is constructive, you are at peace. If you feel enmity, resentment, or anger, you carry the seeds of war.

      Some people, usually those in positions of some responsibility, are able to suspend their sense of outrage or hurt feelings when verbally attacked. We know that anybody can suppress horrible experiences; but this particular suspension or postponement of negative feelings is not accompanied by forgetting. The issues raised by these attacks are addressed rationally and correctly when they happen. Those feelings of being unjustly criticized, for example, are sorted out at a later time - or not at all if the social interaction resolves a conflict. This seems to show that we all have a switch that we can learn to use, as some have - a switch that suspends combative feelings without losing information or forsaking one's values.

      Self-serving decisions become very much less likely wherever matters affecting a large population are not decided by a very small group. This is because few are severely desirous of power, while these are precisely the people who tend to obtain it.

      Thinking vividly and frequently about your future self, and taking opportunities to act more consistent with this desired future self, will produce any change in yourself that you are thinking about - usually within two years. Being on the wrong side of things is not permanent unless you want it to be.

      How can a person focussed on the losses and injustices he or she has suffered become a person focussed on what is best for the future generations of human beings?

      You may discover that you are a person - a person who is part of humanity - a person who loves humanity - a person who loves humanity even though you are still waiting for its perfection - a person who deeply cares about the wellbeing and happiness of every living person.


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      Throughout history, many speakers have asked each of us to find the place within our consciousness (a place we all once knew) that wants for others the happiness that we want for ourselves - a place devoid of the short-sighted rivalries and resentments that hurt, divide, and impoverish us.

      The cultures of the world have not yet succeeded. While many people care about those who are close to them, few care about the wellbeing and happiness of every human being. Few care about the long-term survival of humanity. Wars are not rare. Crime is not rare. Cruelty is not rare. Rudeness is not rare. Some misunderstand survival of the fittest. This mechanism applies to the natural world where imagination and invention do not control events. It was not defined as a prescription for human interaction. Those who believe so do much harm.

      Beginning centuries ago, a slow but definite change in our concern for other human beings has been underway. It has produced significant changes in our feelings and important improvements in our social conduct. Two thousand year ago, many people were actually entertained by watching innocent captives being eaten by lions. Feelings have been different more recently. Cruelty perpetrated by leaders is sometimes hidden from citizens for fear political unrest or rebellion.

      Currently, our most respected neighbors intend no harm. They act consistent with the belief that human beings are not to be hurt, cheated, neglected, or resented. Being charitable, productive, helpful, kind, and faithful to ones agreements have also been on the rise. Conscious consideration of the feelings and interests of others is not extremely uncommon. However, these feelings are vulnerable to episodic change, especially if so called outsiders are blamed for their suffering or inconvenience.

      Some leaders have advocated nonviolence, even in the process of political change. Such a policy is derived from caring about the wellbeing and happiness of everybody. We must not answer barbarism with barbarism.

      Small children know that pain is bad and comfort is good. They identify with people. Their blood chills when they see another suffer a painful injury. This sensitivity usually subsides within a warlike culture.

      Goodness is known to exist, and we now insist upon it. Individuals may be at a loss to explain where this sense of goodness comes from, or they may disagree as to its origin, but within our documented history (both contemporaneously written and archaeological), we have the strongest empirical evidence that we cannot thrive without it. We have discovered that all of the positive outcomes that we so fervently seek depend on good character.

      Very young children do not dispute the reasoning of their caretakers. They cannot. They adopt the resentments that their caretakers express. This is the mechanism by which multi-generational wars are sustained. Such calamities are not attributable to the inborn nature of the child. They are attributable to the words and feelings of the adults around them.

      Political speeches too often appeal to the resentments of the audience rather than to their sense of goodness. In this type of rhetoric, the objective is to amass enough political support to forcibly overrule the judgement of the opposition, rather than to understand it. Such victories may be fleeting, but they are hurtful.

      We are somewhat conscious and therefore we need not merely await our further growth. We need to take care. We have yet to rid our social structures and customs of corruption, coercion, and counterproductive incentives. For instance, unlike an organization inspired by loyalty to an idea, an organization based upon personal loyalty to its leader is bound to be corrupt. In a single-leader organization, bribes, favors, and all manner of trickery and intrigue become likely in efforts to gain the favor of the prince, the czar, or the emperor because, within that structure, there is no operating principle that justifies or authorizes individual efforts to benefit the whole. The only authorization is the approval of the sovereign. Multi-leader organizations can also fall victim to this effect where the authority of the leaders is not adequately defined, or the principles involved are not understood and supported by the people that they affect. Importantly, too few decide too much for too many. Defective organizations can frustrate the best intentions of its members.

      Often, people are unaware of what to do, despite their good intentions. There are families who argue vehemently for decades as a habit and thereby teach their children to do so. They need to learn that one should never answer a rude or hostile comment with a rude or hostile comment. If they did that, they would see the attacks diminish.

      There are at least three kinds of giving: You could give something in trade for something else; you could give what you can because what goes around comes around; or you could give someone something because they need it.

      There are many cultures and subcultures. The social pressures to adhere to their norms is quite effective. Pressure to conform often defeats good intentions. The need for acceptance and belonging is used and abused by many leaders; and after a time, the values of the group tend to take on a life of their own - requiring no further central influence. If evidence is less important than acceptance into a group, we are bound to get a vast array of factions promoted by those who seek power.

      A culture of them versus us does not work.



      The resources that are available to use in the effort to improve cultures certainly include our knowledge of history. Useful resources also certainly include what living adults have directly witnessed. In cases where the implications of history remain debatable, facts and valid inferences gleaned from the here and now can be invaluable. Your own experiences have more value than you might suspect.

      Does your sense of justice include revenge? Do you consider hate an adaptive cognitive function in the present era? Can you perceive the disorders of consciousness that have been socially acceptable up until now? Can you bring yourself to read, hear, or see a proof of a statement that you rather not believe is true?

      Do all of your friends know the difference between a description and a formal definition? Can they tell a mere assertion from a valid proof? Do they commit logical fallacies frequently?

      Do you care what happens to your great grand children or the people of the world ten seconds after you die? Are you simply waiting for the afterlife? Do you believe that your knowledge is useless to those who survive you?

      Are you intolerant of people who have beliefs different from your own? Can you work with them to limit suffering?

      Can you see that the characteristics of a culture are often responsible miseries?

      In the event that humanity continues to exist for even a few more centuries, it seems unlikely that it will carry along with it all of the characteristics of present-day consciousness - at least in the proportions that exist today. I say this simply because, so many of these features are antithetical to wellbeing, happiness, and all that we consider constructive.

      Perhaps we can survive the fraction of people who hear voices in their heads or have a neurosis of one kind or an other; but the all-too-common personality disorders (such as Dependent Personality Disorder), and even socially accepted disorders of consciousness are much more threatening because these problems are so very widespread, and so very consequential. It is the socially accepted disorders of consciousness that should be of the greatest concern.

      Presenting little-known facts is hazardous in cases where the listener cannot bring himself or herself to conduct a fair discussion. It is not uncommon to witness someone indignantly scoff at your premise in order to keep from hearing why you believe what you are saying.

      There are many other destructive habits of mind. In one case, a person insisted that another person said eight sentences that he did not say. This happened because that misunderstanding person interrupted each of those sentences and remembered internally completing each of them on the basis of what that person assumed he was getting at. In another case, a man blatantly said that if there were absolute proof of a certain premise, he would instantly forget the proof because "It can't be true." (It was about the methods and accomplishments of normal people who dramatically improved their ability to remember information new to them.) In another case, one person witnessed another person reading a book and said "I would never read anything like that." When asked how this judgement could be made without looking at the book, the answer was "Nine out of ten books are nonsense."

      Many people have strongly held beliefs acquired by mere repetition. Evidence is not universally required.

      It is common to find a person relying on authority, or whatever most people believe, rather than proof. Such a person rarely says "I don't know" when they really don't know.

      Then there is the power motive. Rarely, but often enough, a kid giggles with joy when playing Simon Says or gets a similar kick for some other riveting experience and becomes hooked on the pleasure of controlling other people. Far from caring about the wellbeing and happiness of people in general, power becomes the greatest concern.

      These and many other disorders of conscious thought are accepted as legitimate personal choices honored by the culture. So many people are affected by these ways of thinking that political speeches are very often appeals to resentments rather than to facts and valid inferences.

      The acquiescence of otherwise sensible people often counters wellbeing and happiness.

      Are people going to be less warlike in the future?

      Do you love humanity?



      It seems unlikely that a world without personal strife could be developed anytime soon, but the most egregious miseries and routine tragedies of the world can be greatly diminished if the guidance that is already available is taken seriously. For example, if parents refrained from teaching their children to hate other people, wars would occur less frequently and they would less often become multi-generational wars. This may seem like a tall order, but global changes of great magnitude have been known to happen. The global accent of Democracy happened merely because it was wanted. Do we want parents to refrain from teaching their children to hate others?

      Behavioral facts could be more widely told. If you never answer and unkind comment with an unkind comment, those who know you will eventually cease to verbally attack you. Within a family or a neighborhood, this changes things, and changes people for the better.

      If prisoners are made safe from other prisoners, more ex-prisoners would be law-abiding contributors to society. We save money on prison facilities by insisting that prisoners deserve punishment beyond incarceration. In the process, prisoners often become permanent enemies of the state. Although managed by people in government agencies, it is the result of revenge and hate. The culture is such that those who feel prisoner safety should be a priority can also feel embarrassed to admit it to coworkers.

      As wretched as the world currently is, on rare some occasions, it changes for the better. It takes initiative. Somebody must think of something that makes things better. That person, possibly with others, must do something about the idea.

      Any child can be turned into a monster, and most of them learn to be somewhat monstrous. As horrible as this is and as damaging as this has been in recent history and before, each of us can think of something that makes some aspect of life on earth better. The birds cannot.

      How many of us are wracking out brains to discover something that would have a positive effect? How many instead do nothing? Most do nothing. It is because our influences have included the work of the monstrous. Most of us are trapped in unproven beliefs designed by others.

      One of the most damaging impediments is the popular idea that if it does not happen before one's death, it does not matter. Should we care whether the world perpetuates its failings unchanged after we die?

      People of good will must not allow themselves to be marginalized. They must not be silenced by cynical references to a barbaric past. They must honestly identify the flaws in their culture and courageously seek solutions.



      Playwright Miguel de Cervantes created the character Don Quixote in a play that referred to a culture which had come and gone. Many cultures have come and gone.

      Our macho culture and warlike mentality seem permanent, but we are not fated to stay as we are.

      The cultural changes required constitute immense challenges, but some improvement can be achieved in every generation. You, yourself, might be able to popularized less-than-lethal ammunition for existing guns and do it withing ten years. Gandhi led a successful revolution without arms. Gene Sharp's writings helped dictatorships get deposed without violence. Martin Luther King achieved civil rights goals nonviolently. There are thousands of examples of things that might be done if anyone were to take the initiative.

      We have a way of getting what we want. The problem lies largely in what we want. People fear to want the unachievable, regardless of how desirable the result might otherwise be. People need to be encouraged. They need to be more courageous. They don't appreciate reality. They are hypnotized by the past. Life can be better. We should not merely restate an accurate description of our hellish world.

      Some people are trying to limit corruption in politics. This has had some effect. It is a worthy activity.

      Suppose your family argues and says nasty things to each other. If you stop returning unkind comments with unkind comments, a few months go by and unkind comments disappear. We are not incapable of learning. Eventually, we respond to perfect behavior. Gangs prevent this from happening, but many environments are not that perverse. Merely informing the public about psychological facts can help. Regardless of the type of setting, never answering unkind comments with unkind comments has a very positive effect.

      We can make many small contributions to the frame of mind of the culture. We should try. The alternative is extinction.

      Each person can ask why they don't care about people that they don't know, if that is the case. There are people alive today who have changed that in themselves. This is a good thing.

      Currently, our most respected neighbors intend no harm and act consistent with the belief that human beings are not to be murdered, tortured, endangered by neglect, starved, harassed, assaulted, molested, robbed, enslaved, subjected to forced labor, hated, deceived, swindled, slandered, libeled, disparaged, disrespected, envied, denied their legal rights, or denied equal protection under the law. For thousands of years, being charitable, productive, helpful, kind and faithful to ones agreements have also been on the rise. Some meditate or pray to resolve anger and avoid hatred. A few even abstain from crude language. Conscious consideration of the feelings and interests of others has become a widespread phenomenon.

      The impetus for this improvement is not purely cultural. The infant knows that pain is bad and comfort is good. The child's identification with other people is immediate. Love of humanity is inborn. While this love can be diminished or destroyed, even incorrigible criminals have a sense of fairness. The natural variation of siblings in each of thousands of generations have played out their individual fates and demonstrated the consequences of their varying behavioral propensities. At risk throughout has been the survival of humanity. In this long process, it is evident that the more murderous and asocial traits are being selected against.

      Independent of beliefs about creation, goodness is known to exist as a feature of both the world and us, and we now insist upon it.

      Please insist upon it, regardless of of its lack of universality.

      We are at a very primitive stage of appreciating consequences. For example, generals and political leaders are starting to realize that there is a political cost associated with killing an unusual number of enemy combatants. This useful realization did not even require caring about the future lives of enemy families.

      It is not that difficult to see how aggressors got to be the way they are and meet attacks with understanding devoid of revenge. We must stop a person from harming another. This can be done with less violence and harm. Learning how this can be done begins with caring about the wellbeing and happiness of people.

      There is a path by which the behavior and feelings of the living population as a whole as generations pass can improve.

      If a military or law-enforcement organization used nonlethal means to the greatest extent practicable, that organization would secure the moral high ground along with the admiration of the world. Children growing up with such an example would be different for the better in each generation thereafter.

      Improvements of this kind, though meager, have occurred in the past. We are not quite the barbarians we once were.

      Dramatic change toward caring about the wellbeing and happiness of others seems unlikely in the short term. As rationality improves, this will be seen as an irrelevant excuse to settle for whatever one is used to.

      Every policy, law, and custom is affected by the degree to which people that you don't personally know are among those you care about.      



      Political speech too often appeals to the resentments of the audience rather than their goodness. In this type of rhetoric, the objective is to amass enough political support to forcibly overrule the judgement of the opposition, rather than to understand it. Such victories are fleeting.

      We are somewhat conscious and therefore we need not merely await our further growth. We need to take care. We have yet to rid our social structures and customs of corruption, coercion, and counterproductive incentives. For instance, unlike an organization inspired by loyalty to an idea, an organization based upon personal loyalty to its leader is bound to be corrupt. In a single-leader organization, favors, bribes and all manner of trickery and intrigue become likely in efforts to gain the favor of the prince, the czar, or the emperor because, within that structure, there is no operating principle that justifies or authorizes individual efforts to benefit the whole. The only authorization is the approval of the sovereign.

      Multi-leader organizations can also fall victim to this effect where the authority of the leaders is not adequately defined through the application of principles understood and supported by the people that they affect. Importantly, too few decide too much for too many. Defective organizations can frustrate the best intentions of its members.

      Occasionally (perhaps rarely), religious leaders of diverse faiths get together to help solve a problem. This happens not because they all pray to the same saints, or because they all believe in reincarnation, or because they all have the same view of creation. It may be because people are starving, or because corruption has become customary, or because a moral confusion is threatening massive destruction. Such coalitions should be more common. They might be non-governmental charities, or merely a new cultural feature whereby people talk with each other. Their purposes should include reinforcing the goodness in people and helping to repair it where it has been damaged. The practical value of honesty and fairness can be demonstrated. Solutions to moral problems can be sought. Corruption and hurtful practices can be exposed and remedied.

      Simultaneous solutions to address the concerns of opposing parties can be found. The views and evidence presented in such gatherings should be available to everyone. Writers and speakers might include historians, scientists, and specialists of all kinds, as well as interested researchers, and anyone who has a thought. An effort to amass facts and methods for cultural improvement needs to be undertaken. Every aspect of human life would improve if this were to take place.



      Birds can tend to their offspring, but no bird can count them.

      A rabbit can become afraid, but not anxious. It cannot contemplate the past or possible future events in the way people do.

      Most animals cannot suspend or revoke the impulse to fight without immediate cues. Conditioning is often mistaken for much more.

      People sometimes misunderstand survival of the fittest as a recommendation for human conduct rather than a description of the natural world in the absence of invention and planning.

      Every person speaks of a time line from the distant past to the present and onto possible futures. What is such a consciousness for?