As I was watching a video of a dog and dear who are best friends I got to wondering about why it was that the dog had absolutely no interest in eating the helpless little fawn that would certainly be a delicious treat for the dog.
There are various factors at work that make the situation possible. Dogs have been bred to be less violent over many thousands of generations since humans first domesticated wolves.
But there is also the not insignificant fact that the above dog has probably never had to kill to eat. He may never have even killed in his entire life!
He has also probably never even been hungry in his entire life. He might not have ever really been uncomfortable in his life. He has never had to compete for scare resources. He has never had to fight off rivals in his pack or defend his pack against bears or mountain lions.
For thousands of years human beings have dreamed of a world of perfect harmony and in some form or another all religions contain this longing. One might even say that this longing is in a very real sense what religion is really about.
One of most powerful images in the Christian religious tradition is the idea of the “lion laying down with the lamb,” although the Bible actually says that the wolf will lay down with the lamb, symbolizing the radical transformation of human nature and indeed a transformation of the very nature of the universe.
There is a secular tradition as well that has imagined what a perfectly just society would look like and secular attempts to realize this utopia. Communist projects attempted to create a new man who would naturally embody the moral and political collectivist ideals of communism and socialism and naturally be averse to materialism and individualism.
Thus far such projects have largely met with failure.
I strongly believe that basic income has the potential to upend the world order in a way that no social revolution has before it.
It is not just that there will be no more poverty. No more homelessness. No more homeless children. No more hungry children. No more child born into situations with virtually no chance to escape the trap of poverty. No more children without the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. No more children without dreams.
Imagine a society in which everyone is well educated. Religious extremism and racism will only exist in history. Rational discourse will shape public policy. And without poverty crime rates, suicide rates, infant mortality rates will all dramatically be reduced.
But there’s a transformation that goes beyond all of the above that basic income has the potential to bring: a human conscious free from the fear of scarcity and the trauma of competition.
How much stress and anxiety does scarcity affect the life of every person on the planet?
Maybe people will realize they don’t need to have millions of dollars in their bank account if they know that they will always have a basic income?
Maybe human beings will finally be able to relate to truly consider themselves as part of a worldwide moral community?
Maybe a basic income will free up incredible amounts of human potential that has until now gone wasted due to lack of opportunity or the current system that forces people into jobs simply to earn money for food and shelter.
Maybe there would never be another war?
Maybe we would be able to realize the dream of a fully sustainable society that preserves the world we live on for ourselves and future generations?
The possibilities are truly staggering. And I don’t even think we can really conceive of what the world will truly be like with a universal basic income. But I do know that the world would be a much less violent and brutal place.
Would we finally be able to create a new man? Maybe that is not even the right question.
Maybe we just need a new social structure, social and economic system that is not predicated on artificial scarcity, violent competition, and greed.
Ultimately it seems that the communist projects to create a new man failed because we didn’t create an environment for the new man to thrive in. The environments create lacked freedom, safety, and security. Rather than attempting to create a new man I think we just need to create the right environment that can make possible the existence of a new man. It is not that humans have lacked the desire to be something other than they are. In previous century there were various experiments with communists societies and communal living. And throughout history there have been religious communities dedicated to similar ideals. But the problem has always been that these were isolated pockets in a world that cut dramatically against the grain of what these communities were striving for.
Human beings are not the problem. The vast majority human beings are actually incredibly empathetic and moral beings, despite portrayals of human beings as sinful and inherently evil
We don’t need a new man. We just need a universal basic income.