Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A measure of goodness

As the world, fully segmented into countries, religions and belief systems, fight to prove and disprove, it is interesting to think about a measure of goodness. Here, actions clearly matter more than words, for the latter is costless. A good person contributes to the wealth of humanity to such an extent that optimization of the system will require the protection and nourishment of that entity at almost any cost. Goodness, then, is about understanding the universe, its interconnectedness and its ability to solve the future and forget the past. It is about shedding the pretense, capturing the thoughts of beautiful minds and extending them. It is about shunning meaningless fights and challenging apparently meaningful present.

Goodness is indeed rare – it is not about wealth, intelligence, status or strength. It is all about beautiful thoughts that connect constrained ideas for the benefit of all. It is not about showcasing own self, but rather appreciating the random ones. It is not about winning at any cost, but rather assuring that victory has meaning. It is not process but content and it is not status but contribution. It is the ability to see the whole and not manufacture the details of the components. It is not running for the meaningless destinations but crawling to the beacons of enigma. It is, indeed, about beautiful thoughts – with fading but powerful examples, such as Einstein and Gandhi – and as a precious few look back in such bewilderment that they could find minds of such inexplicable depth and capabilities, they hang their heads in shame.

How does one measure goodness, then? With asymmetric pay-off to the individual, most rational and ordinary men and women will shun choices of implementing goodness at her own cost. She will be forced to optimize with harsh constraints on her own tactical life, with a programmatic and irreversible end. Could ordinary humans be good enough? Would they put yet another brick in the wall of humanity? Would they extend the knowledge handed down from generations or would they simply give up?

The value of society is the sum total of its goodness – a metric that is clear to those who want to optimize and less so to others.