How Can We Find Union in a Time of Division?
It seems the political divide — left vs. right — is only getting bigger and bigger. I’ve been doing a lot of pondering on why we seem to disagree so much to the point where debates can often disintegrate into violence, name-calling, or (in one word), hatred. I’m going to propose a way that many of us that disagree can actually debate with cooler heads by agreeing on what our fundamental goals actually are.
What Can We Agree On?
If we can agree that we all fundamentally want to flourish, then we must also agree that we want to create a society where we all have the most opportunity to flourish. That doesn’t mean a society where everyone flourishes, because flourishing is an individual pursuit and we can’t, as a society, do that for you. That’s why the founding fathers said that we have the right to pursue happiness; not that we have a right to happiness.
What Does the Best Society Look Like?
We can, however, do our best to design a society where as many people as possible have the opportunity to flourish. The best way to do that, as far as I can tell, is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity for meaningful work that can allow them to attain the basic necessities of life — food, water, and shelter. Then, we must educate people properly so that they understand how to flourish.
Are We Valuing the Right Things?
That last part is where we are lacking in today’s society. People are falling down the hedonistic trap, engaging too much in social media, pornography, online friends at the expense of in-person friends, promiscuous sex, ordering too many things online, eating too much, exercising too little, watching too much television, playing too many games, etc.
We Just Don’t Know Any Better — According to the Stoics
If we take the Stoic belief, then it follows that as a society, we just don’t know any better. We don’t know that giving in to the urge to pick up our…