People have wondered what good is since the beginning of consciousness, no doubt. I like to picture this as Eve choosing Adam as the foundation event of the modern human species. The good being defined at that moment is the choice of Adam as her lover and thus the father of humanity.
Those people are pictured as looking like modern humans, and the original proto-speaking humans (150,000 years ago) could probably pass visually on the streets of a major city without too much notice, but once they tried to speak they would fail to communicate far worse than a total non-speaker of the local language. This Adam didn’t have speaking abilities and Eve is pictured as having minimal communication with her friends but it is her group which is choosing Adam and advising her not to choose the fellow clinging to the rock just below him. This is the beginning moment of human speech and it’s the beginning of everything we call human as distinct and above what is loosely termed animal. It was and is the ultimate good.
The choice of the proper mate for breeding into the future human species is the ultimate human responsibility. That choice is made by a woman and her advisers who represent the society within which she is immersed. Since that fateful moment with Eve and her friends it has been a verbally modulated event. That increasingly subtle verbal ability was then carried on in the genes of her children both male and female as a method of mate selection that precipitated the improvement of the entire species with an astonishing rapidity. It now has a modern term-name, Artificial Selection. That term is usually applied to farmers and breeders who verbally confer with each other to choose the best stock for breeding but it was started and was continued ever since by humans, primarily women, for choosing mates.
Eve’s goal to populate the Earth has now been accomplished. What would her choice be, now that her progeny have multiplied to the maximum population sustainable by the planet? It would seem, to be consistent, to survive as a species as long as possible with the maximum sustainable numbers. The long run goal would be the total number of hours of human life before the ultimate end. What that end would be is difficult to say or predict. But her question would now be, do we want ten people for a billion years or a billion people for ten years or ten billion people for one year? It’s all the same in terms of total human life. That equation has an implied definition, that human life is the ultimate good and that it is desirable to maximize that good.
It seems that maximizing the human family as rapidly as possible, as is currently the policy (or the de facto non-policy), will soon burst the ability of Earth to sustain it. Then there will be a population crash. That crash will be accompanied by an atomic war because the typical over-population crash would go to one tenth the living population and that would certainly not happen without being accompanied by a major atomic war. Thus it is almost a certainty that the war would worsen the population crash and instead of dropping to one tenth of the present level it might drop to one tenth of that level which would be one hundredth of the current population. That sounds terrible! But the fact would be far worse than merely sounding terrible. However, even that small population is approximately that of Classic Greek times and they got along just fine. So maybe it wouldn’t be the end of humanity as we know it but it would certainly be a clear wake up to change the way we humans functioned. That is if we realized that the ultimate good is to maximize the human hours of life and the best way to do that is to have a human population in balance with nature.