Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Acknowledgements
Introduction: Most Important Book
Basic Methods In This Book
The Three Exponential Changes
Basics: Determinants Of Behavior
Basics: Ethics
Rational-Ethical Anger Prevention
Rational-Ethical Child Rearing
Rational-Ethical Belief Management
Rational-Ethical Government
Rational-Ethical Religion
What The Reader Should Do
Book2: Humanianity
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
Relevant Autobiography
 
"HOMO RATIONALIS" AND HUMANIANITY
 
HELPING TO PROMOTE OUR THIRD EXPONENTIAL CHANGE
 

RATIONAL-ETHICAL GOVERNMENT


Let "government" mean that set of organizations and procedures existing for the purpose of making and implementing decisions for the group.


This chapter is an attempt to predict what government will be like in the time of "Homo rationalis." It will be an effort to describe some basic properties of the best kind of government, based upon the idea that the government would ultimately come to be rationally designed by "Homo rationalis."


It is important for the reader to recognize several facts regarding the nature of this chapter:

  • (1) This chapter is purely speculative, about the future.
  • (2) This chapter cannot be adequately understood unless the reader has read the previous chapters.
  • (3) The reader will most likely find some of these speculations to be distasteful, because they are based upon what life will be like during the time of "Homo rationalis," when, I hypothesize, their outlook will be so drastically different from ours that we and they would regard each other almost like two different species.
  • (4) This chapter has no recommendations regarding the structure of government currently, nor does it take any positions regarding any current political issues.

My prediction is that our species, in the time of "Homo rationalis," will take the same approach to this problem as has been taken earlier in this book, namely, a "top down" approach, beginning with the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also the good life for everyone, now and in the future. The "good life" means as much joy, appreciation, and contentment as possible, and therefore as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible. The "top down" approach is one of requiring that conclusions be deducible from highest level ethical and existential beliefs. (With regard to existential beliefs, by highest level I mean beliefs that are most general and most agreed upon, and legitimated by consistency with the rules of logic and the rules of evidence.)


(Of course, the transition to this ideal, reasoned form of government would probably be a "bottom up" process, with gradual change in procedure reflecting gradually increasing confidence, among increasing numbers of individuals and groups, in the proposed newer procedures. So I am not in any way suggesting that there would be an "overthrow" of existing government and replacement of it with a new kind of government, derived from a set of principles.)


In order to have a government that will promote the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle, it will have to be based upon what we have learned so far as to what works, that is, what seems to make for the good life, and what does not work, that is, what seems to produce pain, suffering, disability, and early death. By "what we have learned," I mean our agreed-upon beliefs derived from our observations.


We can see that our species has already made a little progress in this direction. We are increasingly coming to the conclusion that some forms of democracy represent an improvement over the more naturally occurring forms of government that had always existed prior to the emergence of this new method. These other (previous) forms of government followed naturally from our being a group animal, which, to facilitate coordination of effort, develops certain characteristic ways of relating that establish a hierarchy of power within the group. Certain members of the group, by virtue of their physical and behavioral characteristics and capabilities come to have more influence over the behavior of others in the group. To at least some extent, these characteristics and capabilities have included aggressiveness, hostility, and violence, There has therefore been the tendency for those who were most capable of being aggressive and frightening to be the most powerful, that is, the most influential over others. And the same state of affairs led to the phenomenon of one group becoming more influential over others by virtue of being more prone to aggressiveness, hostility, and violence. In certain respects, then, the natural tendency toward struggles for dominance that occurs between individuals, as outlined in the chapter on Rational-Ethical Anger Prevention, also occurs between groups, including even nations, as exemplified by wars.


And this naturally occurring state of affairs has indeed promoted the survival of the species, the increased effectiveness of coordination of behavior allowing for more effective competition with and protection from other species. However, it also promotes much pain, suffering, disability, and early death. And it is in response to the growing awareness of this fact, combined with our increasing ability to make use of our symbols and rules of syntax, and to some extent the rules of logic and rules of evidence, that our species has decided to try to develop new procedures, different than what comes naturally, with the idea of also promoting the good life as much as possible.


And so, we decided to agree to the procedure that at least certain of our leaders would be chosen, not according to struggles for dominance to see who could induce the most fear by virtue of aggressiveness and hostility, but instead by voting, in which "everyone" would participate in choosing and in which "everyone" would be eligible to be chosen. Probably the basic reason for this procedure has been that it makes unnecessary the struggles for dominance. But also, we probably concluded that we would be able to choose leaders that we predicted would expose us to as little aggression, hostility, and violence as possible, by, for instance, enhancing the group's aggressive capabilities such as to achieve dominance over other groups, and establishing satisfactory control over the members within the group (establishing the equivalent of "law and order").


(Needless to say, it has never, ever been true that "everyone" has been allowed to vote. Instead, there have been certain requirements for voting, that have been for the purposes of (1) ensuring the competence of the voter and (2) reducing the influence of certain groups of individuals. The first purpose is exemplified by having an age requirement, and the second purpose is exemplified by our history of having denied women, slaves, etc., the right to vote.)


Note that there have been other methods, also, such as having the leader be related to the previous leader in some way, such as by birth. Such methods would similarly presumably prevent the necessity for aggression, hostility, and violence in order to determine the leadership, but the general opinion appears to have become that these other methods do not give as good a result as democracy does, in which there is a greater sense of everyone being able to influence the procedure rather than just "being at the mercy of it," and they cannot be changed, if found unsatisfactory, without another struggle for dominance.


So now we need to look at what we have learned has tended not to work, and we will need to try to conclude thereby what the ideal form of government would be.


Let us be clear about what we as a species are trying to accomplish in general. We are trying to avoid making mistakes, decisions that are regretted. We have seen in the chapter on Rational-Ethical Belief Management that the primary cause of making mistakes is inaccurate belief, and we have looked at some of the causes of inaccurate belief. So we want to have procedures that optimize accuracy of belief on the part of those involved in making decisions. And we will be talking about the making of decisions regarding procedures in general, but also the making of decisions as to the methods of making decisions themselves, especially decisions regarding who will be chosen to represent whom.


In most areas of thought, there is a basic set of beliefs that have come to be agreed upon as sufficiently accurate that they are taught to those for whom such knowledge is relevant, and this is referred to as "education." The assumption is made that everyone past a certain age should have a basic set of such accurate beliefs, and thus be well educated. As individuals get older, and as they begin to focus on specific areas of knowledge that will have greater relevance for them as individuals, their education becomes more individualized. A person who will become an attorney is assumed to need a different education than a person who will become a biologist or a mechanic. Ultimately, most individuals will have more or less the same very basic education, but then also more specialized education relevant to the way that individual will be participating in the life of the group, or society.


(Of course, with time, sometimes what was considered basic enough to be expected education, or "knowledge," may come to be regarded as inaccurate, and may be replaced by even more accurate expected "knowledge.")


Notice that in certain areas of our functioning, we readily assume that education in a certain domain of knowledge is important to allow optimal decision-making in a particular area. There are certain activities and occupations in which individuals must have undergone some sort of examination to determine that they have such basic knowledge. Obtaining a driver's license is an example within my own culture, and practicing medicine is also.


Now one could ask what areas of decision-making or behavior are ones in which we would prefer that the individual be less educated rather than more, or that we know less rather than more about whether they have such basic knowledge. It is hard to imagine a reason why we would not want accurate belief in all areas of decision-making. We of course certainly would want to know other things about such individuals, such as how motivated they were by the ethical sense, and what their ethical beliefs might be. And we might want to know how easy it was to communicate with them, and how good they were at implementing the principles of problem solving behavior outlined in the chapter on Rational-Ethical Anger Prevention. But there would be nothing to take the place of the individuals being expected to have a certain basic set of accurate beliefs, or knowledge, about the area of decision-making or behavior under consideration. This would be a major part of what we usually mean by "competence."


Well, a concrete example of a procedure, consistent with such an expectation, if implemented currently, would be that those who ran for political office would reveal to the voters their profile of results of standardized testing in all of the areas considered relevant to the office in question. The reader should note already how different this way of thinking is from our current way of thinking. And indeed, my observation has been that many individuals currently, when presented with this idea, automatically reject it. But let us extend the idea even further.


What about the competence of THOSE VOTING? Should not THEIR educational profile in some way be used to weight their vote, depending on what they were voting on? Would it not make sense, even in today's world, for each individual to have his or her educational profile on a digital card that could be used for voting purposes, such that the vote would be weighted according to the degree of match between the individual's educational profile and the education presumed needed, to make more likely good decisions in the area being voted on?


I believe this idea will produce a negative reaction in many readers. Currently, in my culture, education is not valued all that highly by a large portion of the population. In fact, many can't wait for the day when they no longer have to go to school, and some actually drop out "early," in order to do things more important to them. Relatively few do any studying, after no longer being required to do so. Yet most individuals wish to have as many privileges as possible, and even attempt to have those privileges defined as "rights."


I believe that if all voting were conducted using the procedure of weighting votes according to the match between educational profile and the profile of knowledge needed for decision-making within the designated area, we would see a vastly greater effort to pursue becoming better educated. And we would probably pay teachers a substantially higher set of wages relative to the set of all wages. Obviously, we are not ready to implement such a procedure, but it is hard to imagine why doing so should not, even currently, be explored. But we currently do not value accuracy of belief, or education, very highly, and considerations such as these begin to clarify how different "Homo rationalis" will be.


Of course, there is a strong belief currently that everyone should have an "equal" vote for our leaders, probably arising from the observation that historically some groups of individuals have been excluded from the right to vote, and that such exclusion tends to produce unwillingness to accept the results of such voting. So it has seemed to work better, so far, to allow "everyone" to vote.


Also, of course, the development of a procedure to weight votes would be highly technical and subject to much debate as to what the criteria should be for the weighting.


But the main point of the above discussion is to point out that we are left currently with a procedure in which individuals participate in decision-making in areas in which they may have very little accurate belief, or "education." If our goal is to have an even better government than what we have currently, then we might make a note that this would be an area to think about. In other words, how can we have government in which those who know the most about a particular area of decision-making are the ones who have the most influence on the decision-making process, and how can this be done such that everyone agrees that the procedure is indeed the best one, even though the procedure results probably in many being effectively excluded from some decision-making that nevertheless impacts on their lives? How will "Homo rationalis" deal with this problem?


But already mentioned above is another area of knowledge (accurate belief), different from what we generally mean by "education," that is nevertheless recognized as extremely important in decision-making, especially when talking about choosing leaders, that is, certain individuals to be participants in decision-making in which they are to "represent" the interests of others. As these individuals participate in decision-making, they, like anyone, are capable of making mistakes, and these mistakes are made not just because of faulty education, but also because of all of those factors that make us less than optimal in our behavior. Ultimately, we are talking of course about certain very personal and individual beliefs and motivational states (many such motivational states being brought about by beliefs, both accurate and inaccurate) that will affect their decision-making. We are talking about those determinants of behavior that are influenced by the "personality" of the individual, that is, his or her tendencies to behave in certain ways and even to perceive in certain ways. So we can perhaps oversimplify and state that the two most influential sets of characteristics of individuals on their decision-making are "education" and "personality."


So we would like to know, if we were contemplating choosing someone to represent us in decision-making, not only what that person's education was like but also what his or her personality was like. Of course, there are "personality tests" available, but I believe the reader will agree that reading the results of a personality test does not provide nearly as much information about an individual as "knowing the individual personally" does. In other words, there is no substitute for actually interacting with the individual over a long period of time. Also, this is especially true if the interaction is of the kind that involves cooperation, or coordination of effort.


And here we see a major defect in our current, democratic government. We do not know well those individuals for whom we vote. We certainly recognize that what we see of an individual in the media is most often highly rehearsed and tutored behavior, designed to optimize impact on large numbers of persons. It is often much later that we begin to learn what the person is "really like." So here we are, making decisions about who will represent us in important decision-making that will perhaps affect us all, and we are lacking much information about the individuals among whom we are expected to make a choice.


So what is the rational solution to this problem?


As we have noted, the circumstance under which we get to know to the greatest extent what an individual is "really like" is the situation of the small group that has to work together cooperatively. By small, we mean containing few enough individuals that there is sufficient interaction with all of them that we get "firsthand knowledge" about their basic personalities and ways of making decisions.


The best example, perhaps, of the small group that knows each other the best is the family, or the household. Of course, the family often contains children, many of whom would be too young, and thereby unskilled and inexperienced, to participate on an equal level with the adult members of the household. But the reader is referred to the chapter on Rational-Ethical Child Rearing, in which the prediction is made that "Homo rationalis" will make major use of the "family meeting," in which the family members work on the solution of problems and the making of plans for optimizing the life experience of all of its members. In such meetings, there would be an emphasis upon exploring all options, using the rules of logic and the rules of evidence, as applied to the knowledge that the members had, in order to arrive at the development of newer and better procedures and at new plans for the future. All of the family members will have the opportunity to be heard, and all issues would remain open to rational discussion, even though final decision-making must be the responsibility of the leaders of the (family) group. So such meetings will become a basic way of life for "Homo rationalis."


Now the reader might imagine that another group could be constructed that consisted of someone from each household in a neighborhood. Indeed, there would be some issues that would be most appropriately decided upon by such a group having to do with how to do things in the neighborhood. There have been examples of this, such as, the neighborhood developing a neighborhood watch, in which all the households agreed to look out for each other and deal with possible developing crime within the neighborhood. Thus, there would be decisions that were most appropriately made by this higher level group, involving everyone in the neighborhood, and other decisions that were most appropriately made within the family group, involving only the members of the family.


Each family or household would have to choose, of course, that individual who would best represent them, but such a decision would be relatively easy because of how well they knew each other. And of course they could alternate or rotate that responsibility, and engage in procedures to train the individual who would be assigned the role of representing the family within the neighborhood.


Obviously, each family's or household's "representative" would report back what was occurring in the neighborhood group, and discuss what this representative should advocate for in the next neighborhood group meeting.


Now I am sure that the reader can see the basic idea being proposed, namely, that this same representative process could occur with higher and higher levels of groups representing larger and larger geographic areas, the highest level group being one that would consist of representatives from groups that covered the globe. This hierarchical set of decision-making groups would, then, be the central organizational structure for our species.


There are, of course, problems with this model.


There might be perceived inequalities of representation brought about by variations between highly populated and sparsely populated geographic areas. And decisions would have to be made as to how to handle mixtures, within a neighborhood, of households with large and small (maybe even one-person) memberships.


And there would, of course, have to be ways to adapt to individuals moving from one geographic area to another, and thus altering the size of the groups.


Another problem is that geographic areas are not the only determinant of interest. "Special interest groups" exist and certainly need organizational capability and representation. Certain kinds of decisions would best be made by an organizational structure based upon geographic areas, whereas other kinds of decisions would best be made within organizational structures representing special interest groups.


There is actually even a question as to whether it is optimal to have a central organizational structure based upon geographic areas, as opposed to a major set of special-interest groups such that individuals within each of the organizational structure's set of decision-making groups would be from widely scattered areas. There might be less tendency toward diminished empathy and concern for those outside of the group if the grouping were not geographic.


However, there is a basic benefit to basing the central organizational structure on geographic areas, because of the ease of facilitating face-to-face meetings of the individuals, and because of the improved communication by virtue of the individuals being, to a somewhat greater extent, from similar cultural backgrounds.


Of course, as time goes on, it will become easier and easier for individuals widely separated in space to converse with each other electronically. Still, one wonders how well we would fare if there was some failure of such electronic communication.


Also, geographic organization would be an easier way to assure that all individuals had an easily determined place in the central organizational structure.


The above discussion has had to do with the development of a basic decision-making organizational structure that would be the "backbone" of our species' global society. The vast amount of decision-making for our species certainly would be out of the province of this central organizational structure, but this structure would be responsible for ultimate decisions regarding the allocating of decision-making responsibility.


And each individual representative would be representing, and would be chosen by, a relatively small group of individuals who had come to know that individual over a long period of time in the setting of working together on problems relevant to the representation.


So the above discussion had to do with optimal decision-making about representation based upon accuracy of belief regarding not only the apparent education of the individuals in the relevant areas of decision-making for the group, but also regarding the apparent personality of those individuals.


But now I would like to discuss the optimization of the accuracy of information (belief) about the subject matter relevant to the decisions being made by the group, in other words, accuracy of the information about which the decision-making individuals would be educated.


Currently, as we well know, the individuals ultimately responsible for making decisions regarding very important matters that involve us all are not necessarily well-informed (possessive of accurate belief) about the information relevant to those decisions. And, in fact, it will probably be true, almost always, that those individuals knowing the most about the subject will not be members of the decision-making group.


There are two basic approaches to this problem. First, the group members themselves can go through the process of becoming adequately educated in the specific area in question. Then, of course, there would have to be some way of optimizing the chances that this education was indeed adequate, resulting in the members adequately acquiring and understanding the necessary information, and that the information was accurate. Second, however, the members can delegate the responsibility for provision of such information to outside individuals or groups. Again, however, there would have to be a way of assuring that these outside sources of information were indeed the appropriate sources, namely, ones that would be most likely to have accurate information regarding the subject matter in question. Presumably, in both cases it would be the central organizational structure that would make the final decision as to how the establishment of such expertise would be accomplished.


All of the above has to do with optimizing the chances of identifying accurate information amidst the totality of all information, accurate and inaccurate.


I believe that in the time of "Homo rationalis," there probably will be a collection of propositions, modeling almost all potential beliefs of a general nature, probably in the form of an electronically available vast "outline," with the probability of accuracy (estimates of confidence) of each of those propositions being shown, as well as links to definitions of terms used and links to original sources of evidence. Thus, information will be relatively easily found.


However, there would always be the question as to the accuracy of the outline itself. And this is related to the fact that, as time goes on, our beliefs change, based upon the acquisition of new experience, especially new experimentation and observation within the various sciences. Consistent with the extreme value placed upon accuracy of belief, I believe "Homo rationalis" will attempt to optimize the process of acquisition of new, more accurate beliefs. As has been stated many times in this book, the optimal process by which this may occur is that of comparing differences of actual or potential beliefs (modeled by propositions), utilizing the rules of logic and the rules of evidence, such as in determining the logical consistency of a proposition with other propositions that model beliefs that have been accepted as highly accurate because of, in turn, their consistency with the rules of logic and the rules of evidence (often as determined by scientific study).


In keeping with the above, my prediction is that "Homo rationalis" will consider it to be extremely important to allow and foster friendly debate of any and all issues. They will therefore, I believe, have an easily identifiable, publicly accessible forum for the discussion of any issue. Perhaps the above mentioned outline of knowledge might also include, for each item, a link to information as to where that forum might be found. And I believe that they will find that engaging in such friendly debate will be one of the most optimal methods of education for individuals at all levels of schooling. Much of the development of the outline, and the assignment of probabilities upon consideration of the evidence, may actually be carried out by students as a part of their educational activities, of course monitored and guided by the academic staff appropriate to the area in question.


In summary, the reader is again encouraged to imagine how much more "Homo rationalis" will value accuracy of belief than our species does today, in which the postmodern position is almost to the effect that there is no such thing as accuracy, but instead just a collection of emotionally held beliefs, and alliances of individuals with the same beliefs in order to enhance their influence within society.


I now would especially like to call the reader's attention to a current characteristic of our species that I believe would be relatively absent in the time of "Homo rationalis." When we hear someone expressing a belief, we often not only evaluate what we consider to be the accuracy of the belief, but also develop a judgmental attitude toward the individual based upon the individual's having of that belief. It is currently not unusual for one individual to develop anger toward, and behave in a hostile manner toward, another individual simply because that other individual has a different belief. I believe that "Homo rationalis" will consider relevant only the evidence for the accuracy of the belief. (There might indeed be reason for concern about an individual's inaccurate belief if the belief would seem to make more likely behavior detrimental to the good life, but the response would be helpful concern, not anger and hostility.)


In the first place, being hostile toward a person because the person has a particular, different belief does not do much for helping the person to develop more accurate belief (assuming that it is the person that needs to learn something new, as opposed to the others who are judging that person). Such hostility is not likely to bring about a favorable change in the person's belief, compared to adequately intensive friendly debate.


In the second place, in the time of "Homo rationalis," because of the availability and prevalence of friendly debate regarding any and all issues, there will no longer be, I believe, groups of individuals adherent to beliefs that would result in truly awful decision-making. So "Homo rationalis" probably will not have occasion to respond with alarm and anticipatory anger upon hearing an individual express a belief that seems atypical.


So, the ability to engage in friendly debate will be supported by a culture that values highly such activity. And every individual will have had substantial experience in friendly debate during childhood within his or her family meetings. And friendly debate will be a very much enjoyed activity, much different than the hostile "arguments" that we have currently, and usually dread.


Next, I wish to predict how "Homo rationalis" will approach the problem of non-optimal behavior, referred to as crime, misdemeanor, delinquency, etc.


I believe that we will have to assume that, no matter how optimal our child rearing procedures, and cultures in general, become, individuals will make mistakes, and some individuals will either grow up as, or become, someone unusually likely to engage in certain kinds of mistakes, and that some of these mistakes may, even then, be very harmful and possibly tragic. (Of course, I am predicting that such developments will have become quite rare.) We will always have the need, not only to try to prevent such mistakes, but also to protect ourselves from individuals likely to make them. This is currently a function of law enforcement. Of course the problem is that our current methods don't come at all close to achieving such goals.


Just as is true of our standard model of child rearing, punishment is considered to be an extremely important, if not the central, way in which to promote optimal behavior. There are actually two main goals of punishment.


The first main goal of punishment is deterrence, reduction of the likelihood that the individual will engage in the bad behavior again, because of the individual's belief that engaging in the behavior again will increase the likelihood of suffering again. (This would presumably be an example of instrumental conditioning.) Also, presumably an individual will decide to refrain from engaging in an act if the individual has the fear-containing belief that there is a severe enough punishment. (And, of course, incarceration and other forms of external control directly and externally prevent repetition of the behavior.)


The second main goal of punishment is that of revenge. It is a part of our basic animal nature that we develop anger toward individuals who engage in certain kinds of behaviors that are felt as harmful to us. Punishment provides the satisfaction that the individual who engaged in the bad behavior is made to suffer to perhaps the same degree as those who were caused to suffer by the bad behavior. A clear example of the role of revenge in punishment is the belief that the victims of non-optimal behavior should be able to influence the intensity of the punishment. (Of course, there is indeed the second function of victim impact clarification that has to do with determination of appropriate compensation, but frequently victim impact clarification is undertaken only for the purpose of influencing punishment, primarily in determination of length of incarceration.) And around the time of my writing of this, there is the example of an individual being punished, within my own culture, by being sentenced to a lifetime of severe sensory and social deprivation, possibly the most heinous of forms of torture, with, so far, little outcry from others.


As the chapter on "Rational-Ethical Child Rearing" pointed out, punishment tends to produce all sorts of negative side effects when applied in child rearing. There is a dubious question as to whether punishment no longer produces negative side effects, once individuals are adults. We certainly do have the impression that incarceration often increases anger toward society, in addition to increasing the skillfulness of the non-optimal behavior through the sharing of experience among inmates. Certainly, the threat of punishment tends to cause the individual to become more secretive about any continuing motivation to engage in similar behavior, thus reducing the effectiveness of any "counseling" or other such procedures based upon communication with others. I believe that "Homo rationalis" will conclude that it is very likely that punishment indeed has negative side effects, even when applied to adults, at least when compared to an alternative approach that makes skilled use of alternative methods of changing non-optimal decision-making and behavior.


The problem is that we do not yet have any clear picture of such alternative methods, and many doubt that there are any. Because our belief in punishment is so pervasive and so strong, and because we have almost never seen the effort to live so drastically differently, we simply cannot imagine how an alternative, nonpunitive approach to non-optimal behavior might indeed lead to a better set of outcomes.


Perhaps, one might say, the task is no longer to promote optimal personality development, but simply to promote deterrence and revenge, but if an alternative approach would lead to less pain, suffering, disability, and early death, then identifying and developing that alternative approach would be consistent with the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle.


I believe that "Homo rationalis" will regard protection against non-optimal behavior as being entirely separate from the issue of revenge. I believe that they will take seriously any non-optimal behavior, and will respond with measures appropriate to prevent the recurrence of such behavior. However, not only will they consider others to have been a victim of that individual's behavior, but they will regard the individual himself or herself as a victim of circumstances (child rearing, life events, abnormal functioning, inaccurate belief, etc.), in need of understanding and help from those around him or her, to the extent that this is possible.


This issue has come up within our culture as an effort to substitute rehabilitation for punishment. So far, this effort has tended to fail. There are several reasons for this.


In the first place, within our culture, it is almost impossible to remove the element of punishment. "Being nice to" such individuals causes the victims of their behavior to experience painful emotional states, including anger. And, in fact, many others who empathize with the victims also experience anger under such circumstances. Those who respond in this way may tolerate to some extent the provision of rehabilitation for such individuals, but they would want to be assured that there was an adequate amount of suffering retained for the individual being rehabilitated. This punitive attitude toward the individual interferes with the individual regarding those who are trying to help him or her as being benevolent. This, in turn, drastically reduces the motivation for effort required by the rehabilitation process.


In the second place, we have so far become unable to discover and utilize reliably successful methods of rehabilitation. We have not been able to assess the results of rehabilitation such as to be able reliably to predict the probability of recidivism. One reason for this, of course, is that, for reasons given in the last paragraph, individuals going through a rehabilitative process may be quite reluctant to be honest with those who are assessing their progress. Of course, we are indeed developing technology (brain imaging) that will probably fairly soon allow us to assess more adequately an individual's honesty.


In the third place, because it is not unusual for rehabilitation to take a longer time than punishment would take, and because we are appropriately concerned about "fairness" when we are doing something simultaneously negative to an individual, such as punishment, there is a reluctance to require an individual to remain in an adequately long rehabilitative process. Again, the absence of an adequate criterion with which to decide whether an individual had benefited satisfactorily from the rehabilitative process, combined with the concern about fairness, hinders us in maintaining the process for a long enough period of time.


However, in the time of "Homo rationalis," I predict that there will be a far more benevolent attitude toward individuals who have made mistakes, no matter how awful the mistakes have been, and this attitude will allow for a much more successful rehabilitative process, and therefore reduction in the likelihood of repeated mistakes.


And there will undoubtedly be individuals who will continue to present a significant threat to others and who, therefore, will perhaps have to remain in some appropriate degree of supervision for the remainder of their lives. Nevertheless, "Homo rationalis" will believe in being good to those individuals, as to all people, and even within a setting of maximum supervision, it will probably be possible for such individuals to make positive contributions to their immediate surroundings and perhaps to the species in general (for instance, by helping others to understand what can go wrong in the life of an individual such as to produce such non-optimal behavior). Treating such an individual well will be consistent with the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle.


This benevolent attitude toward those individuals who have caused us to suffer is very much inconsistent with our basic animal nature, but, perhaps as another example of the third exponential change, we have already begun to talk about "loving our enemies." Indeed, the more that we can get anger, hostility, punishment, and revenge out of our lives, the more optimal our behavior will become in general, I believe.


But, the reader should note that a change of this sort will not occur from the "top down," but instead will gradually increase in individuals (such as the reader) scattered over the globe, ultimately spreading through small groups, then larger groups, and, of course, the media. I believe that we will certainly have to stop punishing our children before we can come to a nonpunitive approach to the socially deviant adult, especially those who have engaged in harmful behavior. And our stopping punishing our children is not going to come from some legal restriction imposed by a wise government, but instead because more and more individuals, such as the reader, become convinced of the value of the approach, have made the change, and have advocated for the change to their friends and relatives.


Now I want to clarify further the extreme difference in culture, as pertains to government, that will exist between that of "Homo rationalis" and that of ours. I believe that probably nowhere else will the difference between their way of thinking and ours be so overtly apparent than in their attitude about government.


Although we believe we should have government, and although we do indeed believe that our government does do some good and essential things, I doubt that there is a single person that is satisfied with how government functions. In fact, within my culture, many individuals speak primarily derogatorily of government, and some individuals even see the government as an actual enemy, in no way to be trusted and in some ways to be regarded as quite dangerous. The more extreme views of government involve it being basically a secret organization, operating behind the scenes for nefarious purposes that victimize the individual in ways he or she probably can't imagine.


Of course, the above described perception of the government is enhanced by media accounts of individuals within the government being found to have engaged in illegal and unethical behavior. What is understood by everyone is that it is the structure and functioning of the organization of government that allows for such behavior. Probably most commonly, people believe that government will always be prone to malfunction because it is made up of individuals who are ethically flawed. But we have not yet seen government devised in the manner described in this chapter, nor have we yet seen what we can be like as individuals reared in a culture predicted in this book, by the model of child rearing described in the chapter on "Rational-Ethical Child Rearing."


In the model of government described in this chapter, there would be no role for secrecy. Every individual would be a participating member of some component of the overall structure, with access to the activity of any of the groups within the structure. All information relevant to decision-making would be publicly available. All decisions would be subject to review if wished by anyone, such discussion taking place in the appropriate public forum for that issue, as described above.


Currently, there is a related great concern for the preservation of privacy.


It is interesting to speculate to what extent privacy had any meaning at all prior to the development of language, and even after the development of language but before the development of any degree of separation of living quarters. In fact, one might imagine that privacy would be the last thing that anyone would have wanted, with the security of everyone being highly dependent upon coordination of effort in the face of great risk of predation by other species. Under such circumstances, we probably were much more concerned about such external threats than we were about the behavior of each other.


However, this would have been in the context probably of rather rigidly maintained power hierarchies, with indeed periods of instability and struggles for dominance that have always characterized our species. In no way am I maintaining that life within our human groups was better back then than it is currently. We certainly have made substantial advances with regard to human rights and with regard to protection from our aggressive tendencies toward each other. I am only referring to the likelihood that we have indeed been able to live without the concern for privacy that exists today.


Perhaps the strong valuing of privacy has come about only since and because we have become our most feared predators.


But the concern about privacy that we have today, I predict, will not be present during the time of "Homo rationalis." With the paramount concern for fairness and the prevention of anger, promoted by the rational-ethical model of child rearing and therefore by the culture in general, as well as the concern for the appropriate solving of problems rather than the maintenance of rigid patterns of submission, we would expect individuals primarily to value being understood rather than being overlooked and ignored by virtue of successful maintenance of privacy.


I recognize, however, that it will always be a part of our basic animal nature that we will experience jealousy, envy, and other such competitive and divisive motivational states, and that there will always therefore be some tendencies toward exclusiveness and distancing. On the other hand, I predict that in the time of "Homo rationalis" there will be a culturally promoted need to help one another with such unpleasant motivational states, and the mutual support provided by affectionate community will drastically reduce the intensity of such negative, divisive motivational states and distress.


I suspect that, as a part of the drastically improved understanding of our basic animal nature, and the major reduction of cultural victimization based upon having cultures that condemn and punish individuals by virtue of their natural makeup, there will be an acceptance of a much broader set of lifestyles and patterns of relatedness (as, for example, multiple-person "marriages"), such that it will be much easier for individuals to find and maintain gratifying relationships.


And with the marked reduction in the tendency toward relationship breakdown, interpersonal anger, hostile behavior, and mistakes related to a disorganized and ineffective set of ethical beliefs and inadequate ethical sense, there will be, I believe, an enormous gain in interpersonal trust, not only within interpersonal relationships in general, but also particularly with regard to those in a supervisory relationship to oneself, and thus with regard to the individuals, organizations, and procedures that will constitute government. Government will be looked to as a source of help, guidance, and protection from natural threats. In other words, individuals will regard government the way that they have regarded their own parents, but in a time when, due to the rational-ethical model of child rearing, parents do not become enemies of children, but remain their closest allies.


And of course one of the most important ways in which government helps our species has to do with the making of sacrifices for the benefit of others. When we conclude, as a group, that giving up a desired activity would help make life better, it becomes much easier for an individual to make such a sacrifice, knowing that everyone else is doing so also. So to the extent that individuals regard government as everyone's tool, rather than a tool used by some to subjugate others, those individuals will be cooperative with and have good feelings toward the decisions arrived at by the governmental decision-making groups. (This is why secrecy would not work, and why a better organizational structure, with more participation on the part of everyone and a better method of determining representation, would lead to a more positive valuing of and trust in government than exists today.)


Once again, I believe that considerations such as this make clear how different "Homo rationalis" will be from the way we are today, so different that they might indeed look back upon us with an attitude similar to that with which we regard chimpanzees. And so, if we were to take any one feature of "Homo rationalis," and try to imagine it in our current setting, we would probably regard it as highly distasteful and perhaps even ridiculous. (The analogy has been given earlier in this book of someone two hundred years ago ridiculing the idea that he or she would be able one day to drive a vehicle down the road 60 miles per hour, in that doing so would scare all the horses.)


At the beginning of the chapter, I mentioned that I did not have in mind our species overthrowing current governments and establishing a new government in their place, our experience so far having found such procedures to cause much pain, suffering, disability, and early death, with failure in the long run. So we might well ask how our species would ever arrive at the kind of government predicted in this chapter. Again, I believe that such a development will occur "from the bottom up," rather than "from the top down."


In this case, the beginning of this transition would occur within families, as more and more families became convinced of the value of family meetings for the purpose of optimizing the quality of family life and the effectiveness of its functioning. Our species has already begun finding the value in group discussions that have the characteristics of friendly debate. As the development of neighborhood groups became more and more prevalent, and as we became more and more able to function effectively in such groups, there would probably develop an increased confidence in the value of developing groups at even higher levels.


At first, most of these higher level groups would be for the purpose of sharing and comparing ideas. And these groups would exist in parallel with the formal governmental structure that would be an extension of what we have today.


However, to a greater and greater extent, the results of the discussions in such groups would have an impact in the decision-making processes in the formal government structure, until finally, I believe, we may start transferring functions from the increasingly outmoded formal structure to the now existing hierarchy of groups having its base ultimately within the family meetings. For instance, perhaps the "old government" will increasingly delegate decisions to the "new government." If this happens, it will be because doing so "feels right to" (is believed optimal by) everyone. Finally, the formal transfer of authority should be relatively easy.


First, we must develop the value, and then the procedure will most likely follow.


I am concluding my discussion of my prediction as to what government will be like in the time of "Homo rationalis." There would perhaps be many other predictions that could be made, but my effort has only been to make clearer the basic nature of the third exponential change that I believe is occurring. If I am right, we will come to live in a way that we have never lived before. In contemplating this, we will be faced with our natural tendency to say that such developments will never occur, because we are simply not made that way. But to say this is simply to say that one does not believe that the third exponential change can occur. Actually, however, we really do see on our planet a range of humans from those who are very little different from chimpanzees, except perhaps for their mastery of speech, all the way to humans who are highly accomplished in social skills and very dedicated to primarily altruistic endeavors. If we can, then, come to understand much more what produces such a difference, we can harness those beneficial processes and use them in a systematic way to achieve far better outcomes in our efforts to construct ourselves such as to be able to live with one another optimally.


And the reader can experiment with himself or herself to see how much he or she can accomplish along these lines, but only assuming that he or she does indeed believe that the effort is worthwhile and appropriate. In other words, he or she must agree that he or she should try to make the world a better place within his or her sphere of influence, and within the limits of his or her capabilities, to promote not only the survival of our species but the good life for everyone, now and in the future.


This book is my effort to do so.