We live in a world that is governed by invisible physical laws that have not changed since the Big Bang, that is limited in natural resources that our civilization depends on, and that is controlled by a one-track biological process that was started more than 3.5 billion years ago. We also live in a world of relentless repetitions - cycles of day and night, the changing seasons, and birth to death. Living under these rules and regulations, constraints and confinements, life according to each individual is still filled with wonders, excitements, mysteries, and bewilderments. But, looking at the whole picture, with our civilization maturing, patterns start to emerge revealing what is possible and what is not with our ways of life that began innocently on the African plain millions years ago.
With the exception of a rare few and during times of upheaval, our life has always about doing similar things day in and day out, year in and year out. In the beginning, our life was primarily motivated by the urges to survive and reproduce. The routines consisted of hunting for food, fighting off the predators, and keeping the family fed and safe. As the life style changed from hunting to farming, the routines consisted of getting early in the morning to work in the field and returning home in the evening to spend a quiet family night. With the arrival of the industrial age, the routines became working in the factory for 8 hours, spending more times at home watching TV, and going to party or other social event during the weekend. In today’s digital information era, the routines are working in front of the PC in the office or at home in flexible hours, purchasing stuff online for convenience and lower cost, and socializing in cyber space with text messages 24/7. When we were young, we might be spontaneous, reckless, and adventurous. As we grow older and are tired of exploration and experimentation, we settle down with what works best and be contended with a less stressful life of routines.
Law and Order
Our civilization will not last long without the laws that protect the weak and the helpless, punish the wrong and the evil, guard what is right and just. A strong and effective government is needed to enforce these laws to maintain order and peace. As our population gets bigger in a civilized society, we must learn to live among one another in ever closer quarter. As a result, more laws are constantly created out of the necessity to protect the privacy and the basic human rights of every individual. We all have different mental and physical capability in addition to being born into different environments. These lead to our different journeys through life. When they cross paths, some are constructive, some cause frictions, and some create deadly confrontations. The laws are essential to minimize the adverse effects and bring awareness to the importance to embrace, appreciate, and tolerate the individualities.
We all know that it is no easy task to manage the livelihood of a family – buying daily necessity, paying the bills, balancing the budget, getting education and a job, etc. To manage the livelihood of a whole nation is a monumental job involving numerous variables – natural resources, economic policy, government intervention, the education of the labor force, etc. After millennium of trial and error, the optimal approach is a carefully regulated free-market controlled by the private enterprises. We find that:
1) Communism is an ideal that is not workable as it expects people to be able to choose the job that they are good at and to share the fruit of their efforts selflessly for the benefit of the whole.
2) In socialism, everything is belonged to and controlled by the state which plans what and how much the factories manufacture and lands produce. The state also mandates the size of the family, provides the health care and welfare. Socialism is met with devastating failure as workers slack off in the job that they do not like and in an environment devoid of incentive and motivation.
3) In capitalism, each person is allowed to choose one’s work, compete in a free market, and keep the fruit of one’s effort. The immediate results are higher standard of living. New enterprises, technology innovations, and scientific discoveries spring up like wild flowers after the rain. But, at the same time, the natural resources are plundered, the air pollution is getting worse, and the well beings of the unskilled workers are exploited. The free market is being monopolized by a few big corporations.
With the introduction of the government as the protector of the general public’s welfare, its effectiveness ensures that:
1) Natural resources are not exploited unchecked,
2) Environmental pollution by the factories are monitored to be under permitted level,
3) Free market and equal competitive conditions are enforced,
4) Social security for the retirees and welfare assistance for the needed are funded,
5) Public infrastructures are planned and built, etc.
The government performs all these free and vital public services relying on the taxation system. This marriage between the government supervision (socialism) and the free market enterprise (capitalism) turns out to be the optimal solution to an economic that manages not only the livelihood of a nation but also the livelihood of more than 7 billion people on Earth.
The physical laws as described in physics, chemistry, and mathematics teach and dictate the ways we understand, make, and build things. The limited natural resources we find in land and sea teach and dictate the ways we live our life. The biological process that started life on Earth teaches and dictates how we are and what we can do. Our Earth is a big playground full with opportunities and possibilities for the innocent, the idealist, the dreamer, and the thinker. With the exception of a few - the gifted, and the damned whose obsessions are changing the world for the better or worse, for the majority of the population, a healthy body, a good paying job, and a happy family are all that matters. Our life has evolved from a state of insecurity, uncertainty, chaos, and isolation to a pattern of routines, law and order, wired community, social welfare, and global corporations.