If subsequent footsteps are abstractions, then why be afraid of the very small, but real first step? Of all our footsteps, both past and future only one is real. The projection of a massive journey ahead will always be a fiction. What’s more as time unfurls, events will always prove what we had imagined to be false.
Here’s the thing – We don’t need a better scientific hypothesis – or still more scientifically-gathered data. We have all we need to know. We need a better moral philosophy.
Yes. The first step is the only step –all that follow are fictions. The first step may be a compromise – the least worst option – but that need not be a deterrent. Any journey out from a mire must always travel through it. So a compromised footstep may be just as necessary as the one which was delightfully uncompromised.
All footsteps have consequence and so all footsteps have a moral. Often, we defer our consideration to a trusted system and so step regardless – in faith that the system had previously considered the moral. However, today’s cultures are behaving very badly. For instance today’s UK government denies man-made climate change and is systematically removing “the green crap”. We cannot trust that anyone has considered the moral of anything. It follows that for personal economic footsteps, we must consider the moral for ourselves.
Of course, many ancient cultures defined the behavioural roles, which would lead to the passing on of ancestral commons to descendents. In today’s UK, such commons have long ago been enclosed into the amoral hands of property owners and of other monopolies.
With regards to the single most potent moral implication for our times – that is climate change, there are some steps which will always be wrong for anyone and some which will be wrong for some (who do have choice) and an unfortunate compromise for others (who don’t).
For instance, taking a holiday or business flight will always be wrong for anyone at all, but shopping in a super market may be unavoidable for someone trapped on low wages in a district with no other choices. Shopping in that super market by someone on high wages will always be wrong.
While thinking of travel, it is wrong to move freight by sea using internal combustion engines and yet we’d have extreme difficulty finding a sail-trader moored at the quay. We keep in mind that sail-trade is the best (and only sustainable) trade and begin the compromised journey to make sure that eventually sail trade becomes universally possible.
Similarly, buying food grown with profligate fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides will always be wrong for the rich, but the poor may have no other choice.
On the other hand it will always be wrong to farm using those inputs, because not using them is easy – so it is wrong for anyone to farm in that both destructive and profligate way. Farming with fertilisers, pesticides and very large machinery is necessary to feed those trapped in poverty? – Not so, organic and manual methods produce much higher yields. Simply consider the inputs to both systems (yield is output minus input). In truth, economic goods will always increase, the more a culture is entwined in its ecology. Today’s economic behaviour, in pillaging its ecology is, in effect, pillaging its future economy.
Pillaging an ecology is wrong. Pillaging future economies is wrong. Causing climate change is wrong. We achieve that pillaging and we cause climate change one, by one. It is not governments and great corporations which do those things it is we little people. We do it through the infrastructures provided and often imposed by governments and corporations, but nevertheless it is we little people who do it. Governments and corporations are abstractions – only the economic behaviours they entice, cajole and often impose are real.
Since it is we (the little people) who cause climate change, it is only we little people, who can stop causing it.
Since my first footstep is the only real footstep, and since only one step at a time can mitigate economic/ecologic collapse, and also since only my own step actually belongs to me, then it follows that my next footstep may bring down wild, barbarian corporations, along with time-serving, self-serving politicians and may also integrate human economies with the lovely and apparently infinite and evolving variety of species, which compose our singular Earth.