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“the” good, relative to “society”

gary e. davis
February 7, 2019
There’s good (desirable, useful) reason to distinguish very different scales of goodness by hallmarking desire for a “good” life (good_) vs. attending to desire for a “good” society (goodG). I haven’t yet focused on the distinction, but I’ve mentioned it. I’ve associated ‘goodG’ with “ecospherical efficacy for ecologically living well,” “thriving commonwealth.” “Demic efficacy” or lasting influence in conceptual progress is working for goodG.

The goodG pertains to all to whom it pertains: all who are, in principle, participants in “Our” question: What society do We want? A goodG life is one living in fidelity (if not congrence) with an implicit conception of goodG, which most persons have (humanistic, cultural, political, religious, etc.).

In all cases of “good” (be it life, society, or nebulous meaning of ‘good’), there’s a sense of direction: Good society is going “somewhere”; there’s futurity (hoped, prospected, imagined, etc.). So, good is more than ecospherical; it’s ecogenic. Human ecological fitness is implicitly telic because We are purposive beings.
We retroject teleology, relative to Our sense of futurity. Public policy intends or implies values of telesis: progress that is intelligently planned. Ecologically flourishing humanity is made to happen by deliberate engagements. Ideally, there is fair (procedural) evaluation of whether proffered social “good” is good enough because there is decidability between incongruent goods in terms of futures.

healthy regions for goodG: for ecologically flourishive humanity

Though talk of environment and ecology has become trite, the implication of thinking regionally deserves salience, because we tend to “think globally, act locally,” though the reality is that our action has regional effects, and regional effects aggregate into global effects. Appreciation of regionality is far more accessible than appreciation of globality. (This is one aspect of climate risk deniers: appreciating globality.) We are motivated to change behavior because we can see the effects of failure and action.

A profound simplicity is given to us by First Peoples of Our continent: We borrow the land from our heirs. They are not yet, but fated to be, dependent on what we give back, as We live with what was to be Ours.

But the complexities of sustainability are daunting—and tiresomely repeated politically (at a global scale), while the regional issues easily become very technical, re: linkages of land use, nonrenewable resources, water, energy, and durable public policy. Academic interdomainity as such might well regard itself as environmental ethics on a continuum of scales.

Demographically, humanity is becoming a new epoch of city states—the global epoch, no longer sparsely regional (premodernity: Rome, Athens, and dynastic estates that became monarchal nations). The globality of this is that metropolitan regions are as interactively close to each other as each is to its rural surround. And nation-state boundaries become increasingly inhibitive (or virtual) to regional sustainability. Metropolitan regions—metropolias (“metros”)—look to each other for exemplary practices. Will values of high cultural humanity orient conceptions of quality of life?

good society

political ecology as commonwealth of humanity

The challenges are forever daunting, but must be made less so. The stone masons and artisans who built the great cathedrals knew their devotion to be serving future generations, fulfilled in the quality of the work they left for heirs. Sensibilities who scale up (by domain) and out (by range) their visions of humanity across generations—working for humanity—deserve fair preference over sensibilities that aspire to far less (but have vital roles in the ecology—barely understanding that, perhaps).

We want ecopolitical peace so that we all may flourish—and enjoy each other. We want humane society and humanistic union globally.

We want the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to rule as appealingly as the rhetoric of “life” that fails to fund the lives that are allegedly held sacred. We want the UN Special Envoy for Global Education to be as important as the World Health Orgnization.

And one could go on and on conceiving more of what all of us should want.


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  Be fair. © 2019, gary e. davis