Are you skeptical of establishments in general and eager to improve the world? You have millions of comrades around the world, but this is a very broad umbrella. Some of your comrades are capitalists, some are conservatives, some are communists, and some are even working for people and institutions you think must be destroyed. They are all still your comrades, and you can still love them. They are simply reacting to the world based on the reality tunnel they’re going through. Your ignorance separates you from them and their ignorance separates them from you, but paying attention to the division is completely unnecessary. There is no reason for you to oppose a doctor or fireman simply because you aren’t one of those and their way of helping the world is different from what you’ve chosen, and neither is the case for anyone we disagree with on ideological grounds.
Unknown to most, one’s perspective on how the universe operates makes a huge deal of difference towards one’s happiness. Children that experience horrible parenting commonly become adults that are somehow ‘chronically unhappy’ because of unknown reasons. These children as adults are frequently addicted or pursuing relationships that are destroying their lives, not contributing to it because of escapes hedonistic choices offer from the pain of everyday life. To a large extent, these people are in a reality tunnel in which people are uncaring, dull, cruel or unpredictable. Such adults as children may also develop problems in self esteem (“If my own mother feels this way about me, it must be true”) and struggle to take pleasure in the upkeep and progress of their own lives. Someone who doesn’t realize how many people they can truly count as allies and friends is also living in a dark reality tunnel of delusion, and their happiness suffers for it. They feel more unsupported, more alone, and waste more energy opposing idealists for no reason. This often turns into a vicious circle of negativity.
Philosophy may be very complicated and possibly even a completely subjective field, but value systems and reality are not. All of us have value systems– or a mental ranking of things which are important to us. For example, your value system may look something like this:
1. My own safety
2. My immediate family and their needs
3. My girlfriend and her needs
4. My life savings within my bitcoin wallet
5. My pet hamster and his needs
6. The project I’ve been working on for the last 10 years
It’s impossible to know a person’s value system, but we can know that things that contribute to or benefit our values are evaluated as good, and things which take them away are evaluated as evil.
Many things can influence these value systems, such as past experiences, emotional investment, and loyalty (in ranking people). However, one thing that rational people have in common is that they pursue directions and goals to contribute to these values in ways that don’t harm the values of others (except in self defense). It’s easy to think of scenarios in which this can be a complicated issue, but in our reality these scenarios don’t happen often. Most of the time, we don’t end up in a situation from a horror movie in which our values horribly conflict, and we have to decide between killing our dog or a random stranger. Individuals new to philosophy are also commonly experts at drawing meaningless divisions between people by imagining artificial scenarios. For example, disagreements about what property is, whether land can be owned, or whether people should be forced to help others don’t ever really need to become issues if the individuals involved just remember what their value systems are. In the end those needs need to be met, and there is often an objective and easy-to-understand path that leads to everyone’s needs being met. In the age of the informational revolution, this is easier than ever. We can choose to live in a world where any discomfort is way to serve someone else and therefore an opportunity for accomplishing together and taking joy in our connected fates.
For this reason it makes no sense to consider idealistic government bureaucrats, intelligent stars from Hollywood, or even awakened soldiers as our enemies. As long as the individual being judged is psychologically “awake”, logical, empathetic and an idealist at heart, there is never any reason to consider them enemy by default. People that are “asleep” and continue to mindlessly follow scripts from corrupt institutions or turn the other way when they see something wrong happening are rightfully feared.
When our interests align through reason and we have clear conscience, labels cease to matter. Liberal, anarchist, nudist, Buddhist or Christian can all find support for each other. On a darker note though, the notion that labels don’t matter also means that people with labels that we may have positive reactions to can be toxic. In the real world, all that matters is how their actions align with supporting rational ethics. This means being a hopeful and uplifting influence, contributing in real ways to the community (or trying to) and every other virtue we expect from great countrymen.
It’s highly unlikely that every member of any ideology never steals, back stabs or lies, whether or not they practice the tenets consistently. Hitler was a vegetarian and loved by the world (he was allowed to host the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, which shows how little bearing public opinion, public image, or professed commitment have in the real world). Within ideologies such as Islam or Jainism, which have daily requirements anyone not fully committed would be unlikely to complete, even tight networks of trusted individuals often fall prey to betrayal. People are subject to change, and when communities have let their guard down, sometimes it becomes easier for people to change.
There are many techniques people use to know and judge who their real allies are, and many of them are learned through experience or deep connections that make successful betrayal more difficult. When evaluating whether or not a stranger could be a friend or ally, it makes sense to remember our objectives, and not cast aside a potentially life changing connection because ideology or stereotypes dictate otherwise. If an Indian Hindu is trying to build a tree house, and someone else offers to help although they’re a Pakistani Muslim, it makes no sense to turn them away. Reason, authentic connection, and reality-based goals are enough to warrant hand shakes and friendship. People possess ideas. Ideologies posses people.