What should be the question to ask about the human species’ self-actualization? Is that a question that should be brought to the popular attention and voted upon, with one person having one vote? Thus the ideas of a sage such as Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, would be given an equal vote with a just-born baby? Or should the ancient sages be given no consideration whatsoever, because they are long dead and therefore have “no skin in the game”? Or, do the people of the future have even more rights because they will live their entire lives within the considerations that we bring forth? Or, should we ignore the question and let humanity muddle through and find its own way moment by moment?
A baby has no experience with even the basics of social responsibility. A child is interested in finding personal pleasure and avoiding pain. The adolescent in searching for a personal role in the society he’s immersed within. The adult becomes involved in his family’s well-being and promotes that even at the expense of expenditure of personal resources. With the mature personality, there is a concern for the health of their whole community, but even this is a promotion of local well-being. It isn’t until an individual is thinking in terms of humanity that their thoughts are much concerned with people beyond their personal relationships and for the people of the future.
From that perspective, it would appear that the ones with the most reasonable and responsible input to the question are the ones to whom we should turn for answers. Even the sages of history may not have considered a worldview beyond their cultural one, but they are at the cusp of these types of considerations. They would be in a mental and developmental position to explore beyond what they have experience with into the unknown of what would be best for humanity.
Charles Darwin made generalized explorations into these types of questions for living creatures, and that would include human animals. There would be some hesitation with his worldview as being too mechanistic for our grander social expectations and hopes. Darwin’s predecessor Adam Smith was concerned with future humanity and its economic well-being and chose to leave the daily decisions to the individual and his judgment of his needs balanced with his resources. In modern societies, there are many people who are not able to acquire sufficient resources to care for themselves and are taken care of with the collective resources of the state. Some would ask if they are not able to take care of themselves should they have control of the resources of those others who can take care of others and their own families? These are not easy questions but they must be answered or we will live with the alternatives, which usually leave many people withering away like Darwin’s unfit species.
To whom should we turn to for guidance for humanity’s future?