Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ask the Right Questions

Some people ask, "Why is there crime in the world?" For most crime, the answer is obvious. Everyone has one reason to steal stuff: the stuff! Don't you want more stuff? Don't ask why there is crime. Ask what features of the world maintain order and protect rights.

Don't ask: "What is the cause of poverty?" There is no cause of poverty. Poverty is nothingness, the lack of things that people must make. Nothing comes from nothing. Ask: "What is the cause of wealth?" Ask the right question and everything changes.

I am sure there are exceptions to this, but as a general rule I think theories about human life have to be primarily theories about the good. The reason is not metaphyscial, as the Neoplatonists would claim (good = being, bad = non-being). The reason is that everything good in human life (but not of other animals) is someone's achievement. Bad is something that happens when no one effectively moves off the zero-point to achieve needed things.

For many years, psychologists asked why people are sick and irrational. Now they are asking how healthy and rational people manage the chaos their sense-organs throw at them and navigate to success in the world. Now maybe everything will change.
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