Sense of Justice

Have we failed to find justice and entered the Post-Truth Era?

Our sense of justice may be out date, says Yuval Noah Harari. The problem is not with our morality, it is with implementing these values in the modern world – a complex global world. The numbers are identified as the underlying problem. Previously, the sense of justice was structured to deal with the dilemmas that related to a few dozen people who lived nearby, while today we have to deal with dilemmas in a global world.

“Human morality was shaped in the course of milions of years of evolution, adapted to dealing with the social and ethical dilemmas that cropped up in the lives of small hunter-gathering bands.”

Comprehending the relations of millions of people living on different continents is different from the dilemmas that faced people before when they had to consider a few dozen people who lived close by.

The aim of this series of posts is to sketch possible thinking steps that might help us to get a solution or at least a direction for one of today’s urgent issues as identified by Yuval Noah Harari  in the book  21 Lessons for the 21st Century (see the blog post Will our inventions make us irrelevant?).

Introduction to the challenge

The focus of our fifth 21 Century Challenge will be on justice. We face global challenges global inequality and climate changes, yet, we lack a functioning global community.

Yuval identifies four approaches that we use to comprehend and judge moral dilemmas.

  1. Downsize the issue by replacing it with a clear and simple plot.
  2. Focus on a human story, which stands for the whole conflict.
  3. Weave conspiracy theories, for example, it is too complex to understand how the global economy is working but it is easy to graps the idea that 25 billionaires are controlling the economy and media.
  4. Create a dogma, for example, put our trust in religious or ideololgical dogmas.

What should we do? It is better to reject the individual approach and empower communities to make sense of the world. We have global problems but we lack a proper global community. Modern tribes are not focusing on understanding global truth, they are absorbed in their own particular interests.

Approach to the thinking

In this challenge, we will start my selecting two current issues. We will approach the moral issues by using a couple of the approaches suggested by Yuval (see previous paragraph).

We have chosen two issues we came across in the newspapers:

  • The underdevelopment of Africa
  • Working conditions in low-wage countries

But why not select your own issue?

Take care when selecting the current issue, it is easy to get distracted if you are very emotionally involved in the issue. By their nature, moral and social issues are emotional but if you are selecting an problem to work on as a thinking exercise, it might be better to find an issue you care about but it does not make you emotionally distressed.

See you in the next post where we will show our efforts to think effectively “to get a solution or at least a direction for one of today’s urgent issues”.

800o0 hours’ list of urgent global problems https://80000hours.org/problem-profiles/

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