Social obligations or courtesies can mean different things to different people based on social cultures, or perhaps even, due to the particular beliefs of a single individual. In this sense, social courtesy can be subjective and feel as if it is not concrete but, like a piece of paper being ruffled by the wind, malleable, without a right or wrong answer.
However, if we observed humanity objectively as a whole rather than a fragmented collective, divided by region, religion, or opposing factions, and simply looked at what was in the best interest of the collective good, we might be able to understand what is truly important when it comes to being a responsible individual working in accordance with our nature in order to preserve our species. Because when we threaten or harm or refuse to look out for the best interests of our fellow man or woman, we only harm ourselves collectively.
How is this so? Well, we harm ourselves because, as an individual, we are failing our duty to the collective species and alienating ourselves from it. One ought, to the best of their abilities, seek to cooperate with the collective of humanity, because a species which works against its own best interests is a species which is falling short of its maximum potential for good, cooperation, preservation and the ability to survive long-term.
One can not deny their place as part of the collective species and so it is one’s duty to show a respect for humanity in the whole. Without cooperation, we could not flourish in the ways which we now do in the areas of science, engineering and civil advancements with regards to liberty, and yet all of this was achieved in humanity with a great deal of conflict, interference, and ill-will present in humanity as a whole. But how much more could we have achieved together in the same time with supportive cooperation and communication, with a critical approach to others which does not seek to shame the individual, but only to motivate them to their greatest potential, as one would a child, a lover, or a family member, without contempt and a ready forgiveness for transgressions–without revenge-seeking–in the name of love for the whole.
To the best of one’s abilities, one ought to seek cooperation for the sake of interpersonal mutual benefit in the long term, investing in the bonding powers of kindness rather than the degrading effects of harmful self-interest and outright hostility–which only ever provide short-term gains to a particular individual or group because of the brief and temporal nature of human existence. Between two allies of the human species, the best interest of each individual’s well-being ought to be worth equal value between the two in their transactions. Every action taken between man or woman ought to keep a balance of benefit where possible, and every action ought to be carefully considered and performed with great care in order to respect that balance.
If an individual shows hostility and tries to do harm or infringes upon the rights of another–through manipulation or by physical means–than, we ought to remain committed in aiding our fellow human being, both the victim and the provocateur, because a species which works against itself is a species which is inefficient, unstable and inferior. The provocateur ought to be educated and rehabilitated in some manner that still protects the dignity of that person and encouraged to change their actions and beliefs, not by force, but with guidance, education and by example from others (and from the state) which highlights the virtues desired in each and every citizen. Because man (or woman) is best led by example and the species which can harness its collective virtues in order to advance its wisdom, prosperity and long-term well-being is a species which will be most efficient and powerful.
Ever since men found individual identities and the ability to think as separate, autonomous beings, some men have sought to favor their own best interests against other men through dishonesty and negligence towards our collective best interests. The victim of the wrongdoing (if aware of such an affront) will lose trust in the collective and act with hesitancy to cooperate with others, or they may even resort to abusing others in this same manner. Then with our reduced abilities to cooperate with one another due to lack of trust, we collectively become less efficient to protect ourselves as a whole through rigorous cooperation and attention to the value that every life inherently holds.
When one wrongs another in the present, they also wrong themselves in the future by limiting their species’ cohesiveness and harming their greatest collective potential for survival and the survival of their descendants. And not just our survival, but we harm our species’ greatest potential for both peace, productivity and advancement.
What do you think? Should man’s ultimate priority in life be aiding and assisting humanity as a collective? And if not, why not? What do we gain by being in conflict with one another?