Iím quite enjoying this impromptu miniature interregional roundtable going on here. Perhaps itís something we could organize with embassy regions more often?
Personally, I would call myself an anarchist, as I see the state as a fundamentally oppressive institution and seek to abolish it as well as other institutions reliant on hierarchy and dominance, such as capitalism and reactionarism. I would not, however, call myself an anprim or anti-civ anarchist, since I am generally in favor of technological advancement.
I think, in short, the biggest issue with anprims is that their desired global society would require a mass die-off of the vast majority of humans living on the Earth. A lot of anprims seem to try and ignore that problem, focusing on the merits of anarcho-primitivism itself, but the reality is that one cannot justify anarcho-primitivism without justifying the mass die-off it requires. The only attempt at justification I've seen from an anarcho-primitivist is that industrial civilization is already destroying the environment, thus killing off countless animals and plants, and thus industrial civilization and this mass die-off required for an anprim society are very similar; however, anprims believe that anarcho-primitivism would be better for everyone in the long-run, thus, while the mass die-off in and of itself is of equal moral worth to the existence of industrial civilization, the outcome of the mass die-off are better than an unchanging industrial civilization. This relies on the notion that humans and animals are of equal worth, and fundamentally have the same rights/liberties. That notion is questionable at best, since I think of worth and liberties as being a function of sentience, which is a spectrum - humans are more sentient than dogs, which are more sentient than cockroaches. Thus, humans would have somewhat more moral worth and liberties than other animals, as they are more sentient ("sentience" here is essentially the combination of two concepts, afaik: consciousness, the ability to proactively act and react to stimuli, and awareness, the ability to be aware of one's conscious state and other things associated with it, such as pain). Then again, my position on animal rights is not very fleshed out, so feel free to add anything to that or to critique it.
Regardless, anarcho-primitivism has many issues and is questionable at best. However, anprims do have some good criticisms of modern industrial civilization and intriguing thoughts on environmental issues, even if their demand to completely dismantle industrial civilization and industrial technology are misguided.
It's questionable that one can measure awareness, and in any case human ability to proactively act and react to stimuli is a spectrum; do you think of people with less consciousness as having somewhat less moral worth and liberties?
If I can add my two cents here, I would say that I believe the potential for awareness would be more important than current awareness. As a species, humans have the capability for a very high level of awareness relative to other species, and are therefore afforded worth and freedom above other species. It's still ongoing to an extent, but the genetic research that's been going on as of recent is showing that many attributes adjacent to self-awareness (intelligence, perception, etc.) have a large environmental component. As such, I would argue that under this premise, all people should be afforded the same moral worth and liberties regardless of self-awareness, at the very least until we've built a society that provides enough resources to everyone to negate differences in environment.
As for physical awareness, there are some very obviously genetic components, ranging from some people being predisposed to cataracts to straight up birth defects. However, I'd argue that moral worth and liberty shouldn't be at all tied to physical awareness. To get a bit philosophical, I believe the primary characteristic of humans is their ability to think, as it is ultimately why we are dominant over all other species. A person's blindness prevents them from being able to perceive things visually, so they shouldn't be made to do tasks that rely on visual input, but blindness doesn't reduce their capability to think. As such, their ability to be human remains the same, so they should be afforded the same worth in that sense.
I'd also like to make an argument that genetic disabilities that do impair self-awareness shouldn't make a difference, though the basis for my belief in this is ultimately sympathy and a belief in fundamental human worth (absolutely not implying anyone here is against them), so while I have what I see as rational justifications for this belief, it's ultimately based on emotion. To tie to the first paragraph a bit, we're still learning a lot in the field of genetics, and as such, there would be a possibility for genetic modification in embryos in the future in order to remove defects, which I know is a controversial topic, but I, personally, would absolutely be in favour of it, especially since it would make eugenics through the removal of rights to reproduction as an argument, which I believe is pretty awful. In addition, as you've said, it's very difficult to quantify awareness, so I'd make the further argument that no numerical scale or categorization could measure self-awareness based on genetic materials, and as such, the mere ability to think at all should qualify in the case of humans. This rests entirely on the argument of potential, since I believe this should be extended to humans as a species because they are the only species thus far to show that potential, and even brain-dead people contain the potential to think, even if they currently aren't. My last argument would be that, just in a practical sense, I really don't think we should start down a road of conditional worth based on any factor, because I don't think that will lead anywhere good.
Edit just to clarify: I use "think" and "self-awareness" pretty interchangeably. When I say "think", I'm referring to self-aware thoughts, as it'd be pretty foolish of me to claim animals don't think at all.
In a spirit of friendly debate I'd like to pick up on Canaltia's suggestion that the ability to think confers moral worth on humans because it is why we're ultimately dominant over other species. Firstly, are we? We're currently dominant for sure, but ultimately dominant sounds confident. Are we absolutely sure human extinction isn't a possibility, that we aren't like the dinosaurs in being dominant for a period of time before being overtaken by events? In terms of the history of the planet we've been around for the blink of an eye, and we're clearly heading for self-inflicted problems that we show no sign of being able to solve. It's very early to be talking about ultimate dominance.
I've just been watching the new David Attenborough programme The Green Planet, and that contains some good examples of how plant species become dominant over others. Balsa trees are developed for extremely rapid growth so they beat rivals to the sunlight in the canopy. Lilies are weaponsed in various ways that enable them to totally cover bodies of water to the exclusion of all other plants. I doubt many people would want to say that these abilities confer greater moral worth on balsa trees and lilies than is possessed by the species they dominate. So why should homo sapiens be unique in having moral worth attached to its winning move?
Intelligence is one of a variety of characteristics that have for a time confered an advantage on a particular species. But species exist within environments and are interdependent in highly complex ways. Dominance is by its nature therefore temporary because if a species dominates too much it undermines itself. Humans tend to think they can leave their cradle behind and exist outside of nature. A century from now I suspect this will look like a very outdated form of hubris.
To start, the word "ultimately" was meant to convey that my claim was a sweeping statement, meant to avoid getting into the specifics of how large cats can still beat us in hand to hand (or paw?) combat, and scenarios of the type, like how one might say something is "ultimately inevitable". It's precisely because we're dominant right now that I use the word, since it hasn't always been that way, though I don't think it's relevant to the conversation what species have dominated in the past. You seem to have taken it as a way of expressing overwhelming and unending power, which was not my intent. Sorry about that, I'll try to be more precise with my wording. I'll change it to "it is ultimately why we're dominant".
I'll still respond to this, because the misunderstanding doesn't negate either point, but it'll be a loose fit to your original post in some regards. I would say that, despite the short time in history we've been around, our dominance over nature is strong enough to withstand the forces of extinction, provided we get our act together (which isn't looking too good) and leave the planet before we inevitably get hit by a meteor. To our knowledge of the far past, which is somewhat limited but open to inferral, there has not been another species as dominant over nature in a broad sense as we are now. Even though species, such as ants, may outnumber us and be capable of large-scale organization, they haven't built civilizations to the same complexity as us. The obvious counter argument is that I'm comparing animals to us to the degree they're human, which is fair, though I would disagree due simply to the lack of mastery over the environment, which happens to be my second point. No other species has ever been as advanced in the fields of ecology, medicine, biology, etc. as we are right now, and as we are the most impactful species present, and most knowledgeable ever, I don't think it's a stretch to say we will remain as such provided we don't implode, but that last clause is doing a whole lot of work.
I'll finish by adding that I don't think temporal bounds determine dominance, which was lost in the misinterpretation of "ultimate", so I'll clarify anyways. Right at this moment, we are dominant, and that's all that matters. There will always have been a period where a few single-cell organisms were the only living things, and were therefore the "dominant species" by a supermajority I hope we never reach, and unless we are able to reverse every force of physics, the extinction of all living things is inevitable. In the scope of infinity, nothing is permanent, so it's simply not possible to claim anything of value is true outside of time.
This may become a circular argument, but I believe that because humans are solely able to determine morality out of every species present, they should be of the highest moral worth. We are the only species that has a sense of morality as a concept, so it should be our responsibility to decide what bounds morality has, and I think a core part of morality should be respect for other creatures capable for consciousness of morals. This doesn't directly connect to dominance, but both are a result of self-consciousness.
I realize saying no other animals have morality to the extent of humans is a massive claim, and one that doesn't really have a scientific answer. Other species are able to show sympathy, but I would argue though morality should contain sympathy, sympathy isn't solely a moral characteristic. To jump directly to an extreme, I'm sure Hitler was feeling pretty awful before he committed suicide, and it's natural for humans to be sympathetic of that. However, the atrocities that happened under his hand make it extremely morally questionable to sympathize with him, and it doesn't change the evils of his actions at all. I use this example because I think it best exemplifies my point, though it is absolutely an extreme. This same principle would apply to a serial arsonist getting life in prison, or a billionaire loosing millions in a bad investment, as both are undoubtedly bad things that warrant sympathy in isolation, but context and individual values ultimately determine the morality of sympathy, and sympathy alone doesn't change the morality of actions. In fact, I think different people being publicly sympathetic to different things and not to others, as well as sympathy changing over time, is another point towards sympathy being related to morality, but not requiring it, but that's pretty abstract.
Whereas humans are able to recognize the morals surrounding sympathy and other things like it, I don't believe animals are. They still feel sympathy and act altruistically (look up Frans de Waal, very interesting stuff), as sympathy, and altruism in general, makes sense to me in an evolutionary aspect (though that is heavily debated). Helping another animal that is hurt creates a bond between them, that they can both benefit from, despite species. As such, I think it's within the realm of possibility that empathetic behaviour is a result of evolutionary forces. However, I seriously doubt said animals are able to even consider what that animal has done in the past, unless it directly affected them. Of course, this is a matter of opinion, but I would say that is enough to claim that though animals have a sense of morality, they can't understand the intricate nature of what we consider to be "moral". This requires a higher level of self-awareness than what what animals have been shown to exhibit. As such, though they are able to act morally, they are not able to determine morality.
That said, I do believe animals absolutely should be treated well and have a right to live in their natural environment undisturbed, by nature of being living beings. I'm just saying I believe that humans are on a higher moral level than animals, so it's immoral to commit murder to prevent ecological damage (though judicial punishment is absolutely warranted depending on the circumstance). I don't think people should feel life-long guilt for accidentally stepping on an ant, though it's not a sign of morality to do so out of spite.
Just wanted to add I 100% agree with this, for the reasons I've stated before. It'd take complete mastery of chemistry, to the point of combining and splitting atoms to create elements and build desired compounds with net-positive energy before we no longer require nature. However, my point is that humans are dominant right now due to their intelligence, but the temporal aspect wasn't communicated well on my part.
It is unfortunate that I misread "ultimately" in that way, as much of what I wrote therefore detracted from my main point - why is human intelligence different to the special features of a balsa tree or water lily as a means to dominance? You're saying in response that moral value is assigned according to human values since humans are the uniquely moral species. I don't think that's a circular argument. It might be a moving of the goalposts since you first said it was thinking that was fundamental, but you'd be right in saying that thinking and a consciousness of morality are closely linked. Animals might sometimes display altruistic or self-sacrificial behaviours but they probably don't have the abstract idea of ethics.
What I would say is that morality, like intelligence, is an evolutionary strategy. We descend from primates living in small bands, possessing a powerful resource in their intellectual ability and tool using prowess but physically weak and at a sensory disadvantage. They survived through cooperation. Cooperation and pooling resources gave individuals a better chance of survival, but altruism can make Dawinian sense because these small groups would have been genetically related to a high enough degree that in helping other group members reproduce an individual would also be ensuring the survival of genes very like their own, a transaction taken to its logical extreme by soldier and drone insects that die for the colony and can't directly reproduce, but which are genetically connected to the individuals that can.
How long would early hominids have survived if they were ruthless individualists? They developed impulses based on empathy because these led them to behave in ways that led to success more often than not. There are exceptions - individual acts of altruism that don't repay the individual. This is a bit like when humans are able to satisfy their parental impulses through adoptive children. Not every individual action is an evolutionary win, but taken as a package and on balance social behaviours win more than they lose.
The flip side is that primate bands cooperate with their in-group and compete strongly with rival out-groups. Only chimpanzees can match humans in their capacity for large scale violence towards their own species.
Regarding this debate, it means that we're still in a situation where what might seem like our species defining characteristic is essentially just our evolutionary party trick. Morality and intelligence are both innovative survival strategies. We might not actually disagree that much here - you'd expect a species' defining features to be the things that led to its success and allowed it to fill a niche that no other species occupies. I'm really just pushing back against that humanity/nature divide according to which human consciousness/morality/free will supplies meaning and purpose to the whole universe. The universe, or even just the planet, was doing fine before any of that came along and it may well continue doing fine without it after we've gone.
one can certainly be off-grid without being anti-consent of the governed, or anti-science or technology.
diversity is a term i believe i use more broadly then a lot of people; species diversity and the unimaginable bredth of the universe are encompassed together with every other possible interpretation and meaning.
there are other terms, i difine more narrowly then is comon. civilization for example my definician is not sufficed by technology, infrastructure or large populations, but also preventing the dominance of aggressiveness and thus so specific in my perception of the concept, that it has yet to be invented, by the human species anywhere on planet earth.
now the term primative, probably belongs with dragons and unicorns, often used to denote the myth that in times prior to what has since been learned and developed, that people were somehow less smart, imaginative, or inovative in their approach to everyday situations and conditions.
freedom requires more then having the vote, but gratuitous annoyance is not an expressions of it either.
i can see the point of not wanting to rely on anything you can't fix yourself, and i can certainly relate to any way you can wanting to live as far as possible from the many and level of social pressures other folks take for granted and don't understand why it would be a thing worth living without so much else they take for granted to achieve it.
as others have noted, there is a lot of conflating of really totally seperate things that doen't in any way depend upon their so being.
Awww, well now you're making me feel self conscious...
If I'm reading this correctly, I believe you're referring to this?
In which case, I'd like to expand on the statement. I have a theory that everyone sorta builds a worldview the same way, where they start with a few things they want to be true, then build off of that, trying their best to have everything built within their ideal framework. That's exactly what I did a few years back, and due to my Catholic beliefs, one of my tenants was the belief that all humans are equally made in the image of God and given dominion over nature. From there, I've worked to rationalize information and other perspectives to ideally fit within this framework. As such, my system of morality is still pretty favorable to environmentalism in my opinion, but it has a clear distinction between human and animal life, and thus far, I feel like I've done a good job justifying it.
Writing that out, it feels like a weird statement, but I really don't see the issue building a worldview this way, as long as said worldview is not contradictory, has solid reasoning behind it, is honest to one's deepest self, and (this is the biggest imo) doesn't cause undue harm to others. We need to build a worldview somehow, and last time I tried to borrow one I ended up on the alt-right pipeline. That said, as I get older and more set in my ways, my bias towards the framework I've made will inevitably become set in stone, and then it's sorta done for me, so I'm hoping I'm going in the right direction by then.
All this to say the fundamental belief in human value is the reason I've made the rationalization, if that makes sense. Sorry if I sound defensive in saying this, but I appreciate the callout, because it keeps me thinking about this stuff.
As for the rest of your post, I think it's pretty likely evolution is the reason behind our self-consciousness, mainly because I don't see what else it could be. I will add that there's probably a massive environmental component to altruism, considering how much time it takes to raise a child and the amount of interactions that happen in that time, as well as the social nature of humans and how complicated it would be for it to entirely be genetic. New brain pathways aren't a result of genetics, unless you're a deterministic person. There definitely is non-environmental components however, as is evidenced by our current knowledge of psychopathy.
As you predicted, I don't disagree with anything in this paragraph. In my opinion, it doesn't matter if self-consciousness is the result of evolution, because that doesn't change anything about our current reality. If other species become self-conscious through a few hundred thousand years of evolution (though that's a very hard line to draw), then the same framework should also apply to them. Same with extraterrestrials.
I think we agree on most of this issue, we just view the universe as a whole in different ways. To me, the universe is so unimaginably large, and has existed for so long, that in the scope of it's entirety, nothing matters. The entire sum of everything humans have made is too small to mean anything, and will be gone just as quick as it arose. However, we are not beings of the entire universe, we are beings of the Earth, just like how we only exist in the current moment. So I think it's completely acceptable to have something that only affects us define the universe in our minds, because that's all the universe is to us. Once again, if that changes, then we should change with it, but as of now, it doesn't matter what's going on anywhere else in the universe at any other time because we are simply incapable of perceiving it. What matters to us only matters because of it's temporal relation to us, so we should be free to decide how to define what we perceive how we like.
Yeah, that's a good point. It would be quite unfair and ableist to suggest that humans that are less sentient have less moral worth and liberties; I personally believe that all humans have the same moral worth and deserve the same liberties.
I think Canaltia makes some good points regarding this, as the potential for thought is indeed likely more important than the current state of one's ability to think. I mostly agree with their agreement. I do think that it might falter in some places; for instance, the argument from marginal cases, which argues that for every quality which is thought of defining humanity and confering rights, there is at least one person (a marginal case) who does not have that quality and at least one animal who does have that quality, thus it makes no sense to treat humans as any different in moral worth or liberties from animals. The argument from marginal cases seems to argue against Canaltia's argument, but there are some possible counterpoints to the argument from marginal cases (such as the argument that what makes humans different from other animals and thus more deserving of moral worth and liberties is the combination of these "human" qualities, not just them individually - essentially, the combination of these qualities forms a whole that is greater than the sum of their parts as these qualities interact with each other).
Very interesting point. However, I'd go a different direction than a sum-of-parts argument, since if it's possible for someone to not have each of the parts, it's a statistical inevitability that there will be someone without all of them, no matter how small a chance it is, ignoring the extinction of humanity. Instead, I would say that every human does have the potential for self-consciousness, which is unique to humans as a species as of right now. That "potential" may require knowledge and scientific techniques we may not be able to unlock in some people as of now, but regardless, because the overwhelming majority of humans are capable of self-awareness, I think it's a characteristic of humans as a whole to have the potential. It's definitely not an argument that satisfies the marginal case argument, but I think that to entirely lack the potential of self awareness, one would have to be so different they are a different species because of how deeply embedded self-consciousness is.
I'd also like to add that even if it's possible to have a human entirely incapable of self-consciousness, it would be impossible to definitively prove, because it's such an abstract concept, and there's so much variance within humans, that an edge case is more likely to just be an expansion of the definition rather than an exception. As a result, I don't think the marginal cases argument has a place in any discussion to decide real world events, because we don't have the capability to do so. But as a hypothetical, it's fun to think about.
Greetings from 10000 Islands! Our diplomatic staff are pleased to present the latest regional report, highlighting XKI news and events from December. We wish all of our friends and embassy partners a very happy New Year! To view the report dispatch in full, please follow this link.
OK good news, that tradeoff was very much worth it. A slight bump in wealth inequality, a slight dip in health, and an ~2.5% decrease in Env B. resulted in an ~17% increase in SA to above post-VPI levels. Time to go canonize this as smth like "the Peaceful Primitivism party has finally collapsed after months of decay as the [Sci Adv] party sweeps in to fill the electoral vacuum and unseat some [Environmentalist] representatives"
For those few who might be interested, I have updated my NS Population to RP Population conversion dispatch to reflect fluctuations in both NS and real world populations since it was originally written and to correct what I felt were a few minor inaccuracies on the front end of it. For those curious, it can be found here:
NSP = Nationstates Population
SRPP = Simple Roleplay Population
BRPP = Basic Roleplay Population
ARPP = Advanced Roleplay Population
ALM = Available Land Mass
The first, and simplest, method will result in a population ranging from slightly smaller than modern day China to somewhat larger than Vatican City:
The above method is easy and gives a good general range but is not particularly precise. For somewhat more precision and control, use the following conversion which best matches your NSP:
If NSP=5mil-461mil then: NSP*0.000005=BRPP
If NSP=462mil-907mil then: NSP*0.00004=BRPP
If NSP=908mil-364mil then: NSP*0.0003=BRPP
If NSP=365mil-1.3bil then: NSP*0.001=BRPP
If NSP=1.4bil-1.8bil then: NSP*0.002=BRPP
If NSP=1.9bil-10bil then: NSP*0.001=BRPP
If NSP=10.1bil-18bil then: NSP*0.0008=BRPP
If NSP=18.1bil-26.1bil then: NSP*0.001=BRPP
If NSP=26.2bil-34.1bil then: NSP*0.002=BRPP
If NSP=34.2bil+ then: NSP*0.02=BRPP
Again, the above method is relatively easy and will give you a RP population that is closer to real world populations. However, there are other factors that could be used to give us an even more precise and realistic number. Specifically, available land mass and population density. If you have not already determined the available land mass for your nation, you can use the following simple calculation:
If Nation is Extremely Low Density: SRPP/10.34=ALM in km2
If Nation is Low Density: SRPP/26.67=ALM in km2
If Nation is Growing Low Density: SRPP/43.00=ALM in km2
If Nation is Below Average Density: SRPP/64.17=ALM in km2
If Nation is Average Density: SRPP/85.33=ALM in km2
If Nation is Above Average Density: SRPP/134.83=ALM in km2
If Nation is High Density: SRPP/184.33=ALM in km2
If Nation is Growing High Density: SRPP/3777.50=ALM in km2
If Nation is Extremely High Density: SRPP/7370.67=ALM in km2
Once you have determined your available landmass, or if you have already determined your available landmass, you can use it and your preferred population density to determine an even more accurate RP population by using the appropriate calculation below:
If Nation is Extremely Low Density: (ALM*10.34)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
If Nation is Low Density: (ALM*26.67)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
If Nation is Growing Low Density: (ALM*43.00)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
If Nation is Below Average Density: (ALM*64.17)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
If Nation is Average Density: (ALM*85.33)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
If Nation is Above Average Density: (ALM*134.83)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
If Nation is High Density: (ALM*184.33)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
If Nation is Growing High Density: (ALM*3777.50)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
If Nation is Extremely High Density: (ALM*7370.67)+(BRPP)/2=ARPP
The above should give you a pretty accurate population level for early-modern to post-modern periods and technology. However, this can vary significantly at other times and tech levels. Below are a few simple calculations for those of other tech and eras (if you have a mix of high and low tech, it is probably best just to use the standard numbers given above instead):
If Nation is Extremely Low Tech: ARPP*0.0128= Final ARPP
If Nation is Low Magic or Low Tech: ARPP*0.0504= Final ARPP
If Nation is Magic or Early to Post Modern Tech: ARPP*1.0000= Final ARPP
If Nation is High Magic or High Tech: ARPP*1.0945= Final ARPP
If Nation is Extremely High Tech: ARPP*1.3723= Final ARPP
The above should serve well for most RP purposes, however it does throw off the NS GDP. The simplest way to correct your nation's GDP for this variation is to multiply your RP population by the currency per person given in the Economy tab for your nation.