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papo   The third hypothesis
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Reduction to Open Individualism

by Iacopo Vettori - September 2016

Chapter 7: Ethical and practical conclusion considerations

94. My first personal consideration, once I became convinced that Open Individualism is true, was that it gives an inner relief to personal problems. It allows us to face bad luck with more courage, it reduces many existential problems to social problems, and even without any divine justice, it provides an automatic compensation between the overall pleasures and pains: you are always the recipient of all of them. This does not mean that we have to accept them passively, but on the contrary we should try to distribute them fairly and to avoid localized excesses, as most of us try to do when managing the good and the bad along our own lifetime. My hope is that the spreading of the awareness of the Open Individualism View may help humanity to adopt more solidarity in their behavior, ceasing to be the first cause of their own suffering. It is definitely not advantageous for a single individual to do something that may cause personal gain, when it is actually a loss for the whole community.

95. Making us aware that other people are like ourselves at a different stage of our own life, Open Individualism promotes the individual incentive to participate in social problems and improve the human condition. This should become compelling for everyone, promoting Utilitarian ethics and global solidarity as a rational consequence. Because Open Individualism allows us to consider the lives of all the living beings as though they were different stages of our own life, ethical behavior ends up coinciding with rational behavior, as Kolak points out in I Am You. But we nonetheless have to be aware that Open Individualism is currently not widely accepted, and even in the best possible future there will always be some people that will continue to not accept it. This is normal because people are born with a different view about themselves, the view that Kolak named Closed Individualism. Open Individualism is a cultural achievement. No child and no animal can understand Open Individualism. For this reason, I think that a full Utilitarian View is not viable, but rather that it will always be necessary to consider other moderating elements that make the resulting ethics more similar to prioritarianism.

96. Moreover, a system of ethical or rational rules cannot be separated from the evaluation of many factors that change with time, preventing designing of a definitive system. What is ethical in a world full of resources may no longer be ethical in a world where the same resources are limited. Specifically, in our modern world, you cannot ignore that some resources, such as oil, are non-renewable, while others, although renewable, have their levels of maximum allowable consumption that cannot be overcome, such as the availability of food, or require investments to be exploited to their maximal potential, such as solar energy. Thus, ethical behavior is behavior that gets the maximum possible benefit from the available resources, also taking into account their development, so that overall well-being may continue into the future in the best way. To achieve this goal, it is necessary to minimize wastage, which means adopting regulations that barely exist in the current form of capitalism, where profit justifies waste and exploitation. The dependence of ethics on the availability of resources prevents it from being translated directly into an economic theory; it can only indicate the limits to be respected.

97. Open Individualism may be seen as promoting an idyllic view, where everybody loves everybody else. Actually, it will always be possible to have conflicts when different groups of people propose different solutions for some important problem. I hope that in this case an Open Individualist may help to manage these conflicts within the best possible spirit of cooperation. We must not forget to be cautious about overrating our individual or collective capabilities in finding a good answer to our practical problems. Even when we are motivated by the best of intentions, we should always be aware that we cannot be sure that our decisions are the best ones. Even in connecting more brains to form a unified mind we cannot gain a God-like infallibility and omniscience. Thus, we have to continue to make our social decisions with a degree of uncertainty, being aware that it may turn out that our predictions are wrong.

98. When something goes wrong, we have to keep in mind some moral considerations. We cannot punish or reward any particular person, we should punish and reward just the behavior of individuals. This would be effective if done so that the punishment or the reward has positive effects for the behavior of the whole community, but there is no sense in punishing or rewarding people who are not able to understand their deserts, or who have changed so much that they would not behave in the same way anymore. The punishment of bad behavior should be like the medicine given to treat a disease; there is no sense in thinking of punishment as a sort of social revenge. The only goal is to prevent it from happening again.

99. Open Individualism has some consequences that you may not like. For example, you may be against abortion because you think that everyone has only one opportunity to be born, so abortion is an act against another person. According Open Individualism, there is no another person. This does not mean that abortion is a good thing, but that it is not a crime against another person who will not have any other chance to born. In aborting, we are just excluding from existing another form of the same subjectivity phenomenon that currently experiences my own life. Abortion can be a waste if the child is healthy, but if the newborn has a severe disease, abortion may be the best choice. This may sound wrong for you, but imagine what you would think if God in person said that you will be that unlucky newborn in your next life, and offer you the chance to skip that life, knowing that anyway you have an infinite sequence of different lives to live. Maybe you will choose to skip it. This is exactly the situation according to Open Individualism.

100. I look forward to a future in which this view is widely known and accepted. I invite you to consider how much better that world will be, compared to the current one. We are the owner of all our lives. This does not make us more intelligent or wiser, but it frees us from the fear of death, and invites all of us to collaborate honestly. The value of life consists in the good things that we leave to other people. The bad comes in considering that as long as this idea is not universally accepted, we have to bear a huge number of bad lives because many people do not care about the destiny of other people, and these other people have to suffer injustice and pain as a result of that. For this reason, I continue trying to spread the knowledge of Open Individualism. I hope you agree that this change in our moral view would be so good that it gives by itself a good reason to support Open Individualism, even if the arguments that I tried to explain as clearly and succinctly as I could in this paper still do not sound convincing to you.

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