Thursday 7th January 2010
Good sense is about being truly selfish. Common sense is about believing what the used car salesman that owns your newspaper tells you.
What does it mean to be truly selfish? It means saying:
- Stop burning up my planet in order to sell more cars! I have to live here!
- Stop bombing third world countries so that you can steal their oil! Apart from anything else some tiny portion of the relatives of the dead and maimed will go crazy and resort to random acts of terrorism.
- Stop chasing growth at all costs! What's the only thing in nature that grows without reason? Cancer!
- Stop pretending that a choice between Gordon Brown and David Cameron is all the democracy we can ever have! Let's vote on everything!
So: selfishness is actually no bad thing, because when you get down to it our self-interest is to look after each other. As one of Ursula le Guin's characters in The Dispossessed says:
"The law of evolution is that the strongest survives!"
"Yes; and the strongest, in the existence of any social species, are those who are most social. In human terms, most ethical. ... There is no strength to be gained from hurting one another. Only weakness."
(Ok, that was third time lucky and I promise not to quote that one again. Until next time.)