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Thread: On Societies versus the Individual.

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    On Societies versus the Individual.

    How come that societies at large always seem so much worse than the sum of their individual parts? Why is it that not just humanity as a whole, but even small groups thereof, seem to inevitably arrive at far worse decisions than individuals?

    I don't want to flaunt my misanthropy, so I'd be most interested in a purely biological explanation, if anybody wants to propose one.

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    Senior Member Guess Who's Avatar
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    The more power people have, the greater the impact their actions will have on others. The more powerful people are, the more selfish and evil they are likely to be, which is why their actions tend to cause so much suffering. Power hungry people tend to be selfish / evil. They seek out positions of power and the more power available, the more selfish / evil people need to be to obtain and maintain that power. The people at the top are truly evil individuals devoid of love.
    Love displaces fear

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    This has very little to do with the question, but thank you for your contribution.

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    Moderator Thoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    How come that societies at large always seem so much worse than the sum of their individual parts? Why is it that not just humanity as a whole, but even small groups thereof, seem to inevitably arrive at far worse decisions than individuals?

    I don't want to flaunt my misanthropy, so I'd be most interested in a purely biological explanation, if anybody wants to propose one.
    Scientific biology and the philosophy of morality are not related disciplines.

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    No Thank You Blorg's Avatar
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    Brinkmanship, the Bystander Effect, and Bureaucracy.

    (earnest answer despite pithiness!)

    (and biology can go to hell!)

    edit: but also I doubt the premise

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    No Thank You Blorg's Avatar
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    The closest thing to a biological explanation I can think of is the idea of the behavioral sink but it's silly to a large extent, and only involves cases of overcrowded groups.

    But I don't buy the premise anyway. And I'm too lazy to write more right now but I just wanted to share that link because it's cool.

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    Senior Member Sinny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    How come that societies at large always seem so much worse than the sum of their individual parts? Why is it that not just humanity as a whole, but even small groups thereof, seem to inevitably arrive at far worse decisions than individuals?
    Do they? Can you provide some examples?

    I don't want to flaunt my misanthropy, so I'd be most interested in a purely biological explanation, if anybody wants to propose one.
    Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

    ~ Robert Jackson, Statesman (1892-1954)


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    chaotic neutral shitpost
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    “society” represents the average so individuals who are above average on whatever metric are going to seem to make better judgments and decisions. individuals below the average have their judgment influenced for the better / arguably improved if going along with more enlightened group. ?

    the perception that individuals “always” make better decisions is likely due to one’s cognitive bias, and most people who think this probably like to think they’re making judgments independent of the society they exist in but they’re not. ?

    also group decision-making by nature is more complex as it must consider a greater number of factors, needs/wants of more people as well as relationships
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 03-17-2019 at 10:39 PM.
    it's weird but fascinating.

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    How come that societies at large always seem so much worse than the sum of their individual parts? Why is it that not just humanity as a whole, but even small groups thereof, seem to inevitably arrive at far worse decisions than individuals?

    I don't want to flaunt my misanthropy, so I'd be most interested in a purely biological explanation, if anybody wants to propose one.
    I think your thesis isn't necessarily correct.

    But assuming it is, the individual's decisions are simple because they affect only the individual or perhaps his/her immediate family. There isn't a lot of conflict when you are weighing the pros and cons of your own actions. They are good or bad to a single person. Go up to an entire society and any action will have winners and losers for all kinds of reasons.

    That a society works at all is a minor miracle and their typical organization through history of large scale societies has been top down one person in charge to make the final call.

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    singularity precursor Limes's Avatar
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    I heard that the "selfish gene" may have been disproved, however, I will continue to judge societies based upon their "me first" mentality, such as how they behave once they get behind the wheel of a car (looking at you, South America!)
    I think Venezuela might have been a good case study for this.

    I disagree with the premise though, I think the sum parts often seem worse than the society. Britain may be in that category...

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