Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Hands Touching Hands

Desire to share: rife with challenge - had for awhile: desire to have far less individual property, more communal. If we were to imagine construction of a society (that is, we are allowed to imagine educational and societal pressures already in place to raise people with certain ideas that differ from those our present educational/societal systems do, a la "Full Compliance theory"), what arrangements are most efficient/emotionally acceptable/etc for a large-scale society? Note that we can expect tensions between efficiency, emotional acceptability, and these other factors, and this is at least partly a question about nature versus nurture - society always has content (and we don't even need to refute claims that to differ from the (way or content in) ideas and values are passed between generations now is to brainwash) but what ranges are possible for that content?

Exploring: emotional issues - as I've mentioned before, I have very little care for privacy, and in fact tend to overcommunicate my inner state compared to the norm. There's a reason for this - one of the benefits of overcommunication is that by exposing more of my desires/drives/current tasks to people, if others want to help, suggest alternatives, or plan around my actions or otherwise predict my behaviour, I'm making that easier for them. Similarly, I'd like them to feel free to use my resources provided I'm not using them and little/no damage will be done to them - if someone wanted to borrow books of mine or get my help on something when I'm not otherwise busy, I would generally help without a second thought. Limitations to this are presumably close to those involved in family life - what we learn how we grow up both presumably affects our inclination towards collective living as well as helps show us some difficulties involved as one imagines larger units of people organised that way. Primary issues: personal space, coordination hassles, and intactness of resources.

  • Personal Space - Some types of resources are things that, out of modesty, hygiene concerns, and similar, most people are presumably unwilling to share. Likewise, for many people, particularly introverts, not having a room to themselves (presumably before marriage, if we assume that will happen) would be a large burden. In present society, living with others apart from one's singnificant others in adulthood is a sign that one is not quite fully adult, at least in some subcultures - this culture more is neither necessary nor universal - in some other cultures it is even customary to live with family until marriage (sometimes even after). As is the usual rule in looking at existing cultures to understand variance in the human condition, if an existing or past culture did it, it is, even more clearly than being worked out in theory, worth considering as a potential goal for one's own society, just as much as it may be worth condemnation, depending on one's values. To condemn non-democratic systems in the general case, for example, is to condemn most historical governments, from Solomon (if we are to believe his historicity) to Tsar Peter. Returning from the general point, what formulation of personal space is necessary for any biological or naturally emergent notion of dignity?
  • Coordination Hassle - The need to coordinate use of resources with other people, especially dealing with the social costs of saying "no" or some types of "maybe", can be a bother. Pushy or otherwise obnoxious people are kept at bay by strong norms of property - other norms would lack this protection. Likewise, unskilled or uncareful people may ruin a resource through misuse, and there is a social cost in dissuading them from use of communal resources. Some of this may be alleviated partly because resources would take different forms in a more communal society - systems like FlexCar and the bank reserve system are examples of this - if resources are plentiful enough (but not present enough for maximum theoretical demand), the system can still be functional provided the rate is sufficient that unavailability is rare.
  • Intactness of resources - There's a big emotional difference between the type of loan where one expects it back intact and one tells the person to treat it as their own - sometimes this is due to high cost of acquisition of the item, sometimes due to sentimental reasons. In a post-transitional society, goods that are communally acquired would presumably not be subject to concerns over acquisition cost, provided the person using it is reasonably likely not to damage it by negligence or other reason. Sentimental attachments presumably would still remain.

Completely unrelated, I think that Asimov's three laws of robotics are disturbingly like slave laws, and I have difficulty imagining a roboticist proud of their creation would implement such things in it. Any creature capable of obeying laws at such a level, it seems, is sentient enough that their imposition would be an undue burden.


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