The Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates

Friday, 14 January 2011

Selfishmess and Cooperation

When I say that the self is the basis of value, I am not denying that other living beings have value. What I am saying is that for any agent the basis of their value is their own life. If they were not alive they could not have any value system; and also that the foundation of their value system has to be - of necessity, if you think about it carefully - their own life.

As the Torah teaches: "Love your neighbour as your self." Which means that you must love (value) yourself before you can love (value) your neighbour and that the measure and standard against which love of neighbour is necessarily set is self-esteem.

Other living beings are of value to an agent not in some mystical sense but in a real and practical sense in the way that Jesus describes in the parable of the Good Samaritan. We are all in need of help in many ways and we must look to others for that help. The fact that others are able to help us makes them valuable to us. There are many ways of being helped. The most fundamental way is that of pure companionship where the help is no more than association and sharing of thoughts and experiences.

As the Torah teaches: "It is not good that Adam be alone"

Obviously, from the Divine perspective, all living beings have value in accordance with the degree to which they participate in the Form of Life and as a rational living being I can appreciate this too. Hence I have a commitment to "fundamental human rights" and also "animal and plant rights".

Jesus' point in the Good Samaritan was that even the hated Samaritans were human beings and capable of compassion and righteousness; and so should be treated as neighbours in the hope and expectation that they would be just as decent as any Jew could be.

The whole point of "The Kingdom of God" is that a community of mutual concern is possible, where everyone is free and encouraged and facilitated to "do their own thing" in harmony, helping and supporting each other: cooperating for the common good as friends. This happens to be Plato's idea of exterior or social justice too.

No comments:

Post a Comment