TED Conversations

Henry Woeltjen


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Does society have an ultimate goal?

Are we all trying to reach the same goals?

What are our goals as a society?

How should we plan for the future?

I argue that without a goal we are all running in separate directions. In order to facilitate rapid change humans would have to focus their energy.

Energy in this context is meant to mean brain power.

Should we be trying to focus as a planet...or retain our goals as individuals?


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  • Sep 24 2012: The ultimate goal of any society is primarily - Liberty, which is creating social institutions which enable individuals to express and attain their potential so that they are able in turn to enhance those institutions. In other words the first and foremost goal of society is to maximize freedom of the individual. The primary institutions are those of Justice, law and order so that the liberty so granted is not abused by an individual. The secondary goals are those of Fraternity and Equality - but these are unattainable without the primary goal.
    The most important relationship in a social setup, therefore, is that between the individual and the social system or construct, that is, to what extent does the social system as an institution support individual creativity and empowerment to further enhance the quality and efficiency of the institutions of the system. Therefore, the individual entity versus the social institutions as the counter entity is the crucial relationship that enhances and also inhibits each other's development. And without a balanced system that is led by creative individuals, a social structure cannot sustain and once it starts slipping, there is no knowing where it ends up. Leadership is thus the key. Redefined this way, the ultimate challenge of a society is to recognize and promote leaders that have vision.
    "In social institutions, the whole is always less than the sum of its parts. There will never be a state as good as its people, or a church worthy of its congregation, or a university equal to its faculty and students."
    ............Edward Abbey
    "The whole history of civilization is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first and deadly afterwards."......Walter Bagehot

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