The Cosmopolis

Aristotle’s idea of a polis is something self-sufficient, and thus suitable as an end or goal of human activity.

The only unit of organization that can be truly considered a self-sufficient polis at this point in history is all life on the planet Earth.

What would it mean to see all life on Earth as a community with a common purpose?

What would it mean to view our activities in relation to our place as part of this community, in relation to the interests and aims of this community?

What are the virtues of planetary citizenship?

Political Mythology

I distrust any political philosophy that relies on a narrative that moves from some mythological initial state (one of the various “states of nature” for example) towards some envisioned stable end state.

There is no single initial state of human relations.  Everything begins in the middle.  And especially, we, now, begin in the middle.  Any political philosophy worth pursuing begins in media res and gives us things we can do now to immediately improve things, in whatever state we find ourselves.

Similarly, the only stable end state for a living system is death.  Someday, the sun will expand and engulf the earth.  Until then, things will change.  As long as there is a biosphere, there will be the possibility of disruptive new developments.  We will never achieve our utopias, and if we do, they will die away and be replaced.

I’m no longer interested in destinations.  I’m interested in directions.  I’m interested in principles by which we can gauge our actions, collective, and individual, here and now. 

A Brief Morning Thought – Different Moral Principles for Humans and Nonhumans

If moral principles are abstract possibilities that are beneficial to groups of living beings, then there are some moral principles that apply to human interactions but not to interactions between humans and nonhuman living beings or interactions among nonhuman living beings.

For example, the principle of nonaggression is universally applicable to all humans. If no human initiated aggressive action against any other human, this would be beneficial to all humans.

However, the same is not true among all living beings. If no living being initiated aggressive action against any other living being, ecosystems would collapse.