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A thought inspired by Monday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Gittin 62

A thought inspired by Monday’s Daf (page) in the Talmud, Gittin 62

Helping and Freedom.

This post presents a philosophical idea inspired by the text of today’s Daf. The Daf is one page in the Talmud that tens of thousands of people study each day. I explain the connection to the text in a comment below. My purpose is to show that there are underlying philosophical assumptions in the Talmud that can have great significance for anybody today trying to understand our complex reality.

What is the best way to help someone? If we want a society that helps individuals, what policies should be in place to help them? When considering the future, what vision of society should we strive for? What is good for people?

Throughout history, philosophers have asked the question, “what is the good life”? What kind of goal should we set for ourselves in order to live the best life?

In today’s terms, we might rephrase this question in relation to computers. How can we distill our vision of a good life into a few words that encapsulate the direction our civilization should take? If we had an all-powerful computer, what goal should we program it to pursue?

One could argue that the best way to help an individual is to bring them happiness. Our objective should be to maximize happiness for as many people as possible.

However, achieving happiness may be deceptively easier than it appears. It might be feasible to compel everyone to take a drug that induces blissful happiness, even if they are confined to a small room and provided with only the minimum nutritional requirements to sustain their lives. Surely, this is not what we mean by helping people attain the good life.

The problem is that, after centuries of contemplation, philosophers have yet to find a single compelling answer to this question. Science can aid in implementing whichever answer we ultimately arrive at, but it cannot determine the fundamental goals we should initially set.

Perhaps we should simply ask people what they want. Maybe the highest value is the freedom for individuals to choose their own goals. Yet, the issue arises that most people may provide bad answers, since they may not truly know what they want.

The most extreme example is an addict who may simply desire more of whatever it is that they are addicted to. However, one could argue that even addicts often wish to overcome their addiction.

The darkest regimes in the world are governed by a small group of individuals who believe that their own people cannot be trusted to know what is in their best interest. Yet, even the most enlightened societies often contain a minority of rich, powerful, or highly educated individuals who believe that the general population cannot be trusted to understand their true needs.

If we do not believe that we can definitively prove which way of life is superior, it seems that the only way to move forward is to provide everyone with the means to choose their own value system. In this scenario, the role of society would be to ensure access to the truth, offer top-quality education, foster mental well-being, and provide available technology that assists individuals in making their best decisions.

Perhaps the ultimate goal is to maximize the freedom to choose – “the greatest freedom for the greatest number of people.” This freedom must include the ability to choose a lifestyle that others might consider restrictive.

Individuals in positions of power often argue that society has no right to interfere with or limit their freedom, but they overlook the fact that maximizing their own freedom can sometimes result in less freedom for others. The best way to help others is to grant them more freedom. The objective should be equality of freedom rather than the equal distribution of any other physical resource. To achieve this, power, opportunities, and the tools to make rational decisions must be as widely distributed as possible.

Returning to the question of programming an all-powerful computer, the answer would be as follows: Every decision made on behalf of an individual should align with what they would consent to with access to sufficient truth and unbiased education.o truth and unbiased education.

submitted by /u/eliyah23rd
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Source: Reditt

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