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"The Needs of The Many Outweight The Needs of The Few":

I've always been bugged by this statement because throughout history there have been circumstances where the exact opposite has happened, where the needs of the few outweigh the needs of the many. For example, in absolute monarchies or dictatorships, the needs of the ruler or minority ruling class is always going to outweigh the needs of the numerically superior poorer classes. In addition, if that one person had the knowledge to benefit the entire group, then wouldn't his needs be put before the others?
About the first issue. Many society sucked. There is no much else to say about that.

As for the second, of people who have important knowledge. If said knowledge benefits many, than prioritizing his needs is prioritizing the needs of many. It is a tricky balance, but, as long as the well being of an individual influence positively the collective, than it is a logical idea to guaranty it*.

That said, in that philosophy lies the trap of the dictatorship of the majority. Also, it is not as a sound idea when it is used as justification for oppression*.

 3 Deviant Braeburn, Fri, 21st Sep '12 1:26:29 AM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew

Ah, but the many don't need to oppress the few. They may want to oppress the few, but they rarely need too.

This is a key difference, since we always know what we want, but rarely know what we need.

edited 21st Sep '12 1:28:29 AM by DeviantBraeburn

Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.

 4 Cassie, Fri, 21st Sep '12 2:01:00 AM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
Terminological argument, this thread poses.

It largely depends on WHICH need it is we're talking about. If we're saying resources, food and water wise, it plays straight. It's the many that outweigh the few. However, when it comes to societal privilleges, premiums and other hoopla, it's the needs of the qualified that need to be entertained, not those who aren't. The way our world functions, natural jungle or concrete jungle, it's by reasonable design that only those who are qualified and capable are beneficial to be taken care of. Those tend to be few.
What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
[up][up]Of course. But people use good philosophies to justify absurds all the time. I was just saying a word of caution against that.

[up]Why? I don't see why only a few should deliberately prioritized for the simple reason of being "qualified"*. That notions seems absurd to me even. I can't follow your logic at all.

edited 21st Sep '12 2:05:40 AM by Heatth

 6 Cassie, Fri, 21st Sep '12 3:40:37 AM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
I never specified the amount of quantity. I only said that those who are qualified tend to be few. Relatively speaking, it could be 10 to 100, or 100 to 500, or 2000 to 12000, etc. When I replied in this topic, I don't expect to use quantity to determine which side is few or which is many, because that derails things fast.

So, let me put this perspective on the way. You asked me about being qualified for what. Let's not be densely vague, shall we? In our concrete jungles, there are lots of conditions to fulfill simply before being hired into a part of one of countless companies. Not to mention what one must keep on doing to stay there. Everyone has needs, but the point of this thread title and discussion is to find out the balancing act, on what's outweighed and what's not.

I assume this thread only deals with us human beings, because if not, then I have another response to the title of this topic: the need of one already outweighed all of us. What exactly? Earth's environment

edited 21st Sep '12 3:46:21 AM by Cassie

What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
 7 entropy 13, Fri, 21st Sep '12 4:23:43 AM from Somewhere only we know. Relationship Status: Drift compatible
[up]I just facepalmed when you brought up "qualifications" there.

Facepalmed again when you mention the "needs" of the Earth, which has the implication that the needs of humanity and the needs of the planet are different from each other.
I'm reading this because it's interesting. I think.
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, over.
 8 Michael, Fri, 21st Sep '12 4:26:38 AM Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
So that's what this does
The needs of quadrillions of bacteria outweigh the needs of billions of people?
Balance - the original sixth sense.
 9 Cassie, Fri, 21st Sep '12 4:47:33 AM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
[up][up]Facepalm aaaalll you like, because indeed, different species have different needs, which says a lot about living beings and planetary bodies. Which brings me back to my initial statement: it depends on which needs we're talking about.
What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
I want Kat's glasses!
Except Earth's environment is one of our needs. It's not an affair of "us" vs "them", it's an affair of short term vs. long term.
They Called Me Mad!! I decided to show them all; but when I looked on my works, oh mighty, I despaired: for it made me realize they were right.
 11 Cassie, Fri, 21st Sep '12 5:08:25 AM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
I can agree to that, but does that fit into the convention posed by the topic title?
What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
 12 Michael, Fri, 21st Sep '12 5:51:37 AM Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
So that's what this does
I think the topic title is one of those wonderful rules of thumb which works just fine until you start going into too much detail. There are a lot of them in ethical subjects.
Balance - the original sixth sense.
 13 Barkey, Fri, 21st Sep '12 8:21:50 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Probably the most obnoxious thing I see often in todays politics are when the wants of the many outweigh the rights of the few.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 14 Polarstern, Fri, 21st Sep '12 10:37:26 AM from United States

 15 Barkey, Fri, 21st Sep '12 11:37:31 AM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer

In other words, in a perfect world you would have your wife and I would have my guns.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 16 Lawyerdude, Fri, 21st Sep '12 12:25:09 PM from my secret moon base
What didn't sit well with me in Wrath of Khan was that Spock brought up this principle twice, neither of which really makes much sense.

The first time, it was in the context of telling Kirk that he shouldn't have given up command of a starship to accept promotion because he was better at command. Whose needs are satisfied with Kirk in or out of command?

The second time was Spock's Heroic Sacrifice. Spock willingly sacrificed his life to save the ship and crew. Except that everybody would have died if Spock hadn't done that, and Kirk screwed the pooch by not ordering somebody to fix the reactor at the cost of their own life.

Yes, in the context of a military organization, it's often justified to sacrifice the lives of a few to save the lives of many. But in a wider social context? I don't think so.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
 17 Aceof Spades, Fri, 21st Sep '12 12:46:07 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
I'd like to point out that as a value, this is relatively modern. Thus it's probably incredibly erroneous to try and apply to ancient and deceased cultures. You know, where they had values such as "divine right to rule" and all. Probably best to talk about it in a more modern context, how we can apply it in the here and now, rather than judge past cultures by it. At least as a matter of how we should live now, rather than comparing historical notes and societal mores.

Course, it's kind of a thorny issue anyway, depending on what you consider a "need", and whether or not it falls in line with other values you hold. If you simply use "needs of the many" you end up with a tyranny of the majority.
 18 Polarstern, Fri, 21st Sep '12 4:26:20 PM from United States
Barkey, I think you would get the better end of the deal sometimes...tongue

 19 Deboss, Sat, 22nd Sep '12 12:37:51 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
There's other counter arguments you could make as well. Does a person attacked by two people have the right to kill both of them in self defense? After all, are two deaths not worse than one?note

edited 22nd Sep '12 12:38:11 PM by Deboss

Well, see, that's related to what Barkey was saying. The desires of two guys to kill some random stranger are not greater than that stranger's need to live.
 21 Michael, Sat, 22nd Sep '12 1:18:52 PM Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
So that's what this does
No, but their need to not be killed in self-defense is the question.

But I would argue they accepted that risk voluntarily when they attacked him.
Balance - the original sixth sense.
 22 Trivialis, Sat, 22nd Sep '12 1:23:48 PM from contemplation
Well what if the person had to die in order to save some other lives? I wouldn't necessarily agree with killing the person, but at some point this "legitimately" comes back to the original premise of many vs few.
I don't need praise, I need help.
 23 Michael, Sat, 22nd Sep '12 1:29:10 PM Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
So that's what this does
Except that at some level we all put higher value on some people than others. Does anyone expect a father to accept that his own child is worth less than two strangers? I doubt it.
Balance - the original sixth sense.
 24 Trivialis, Sat, 22nd Sep '12 1:37:19 PM from contemplation
Depends. If a son decides to sacrifice himself for the sake of several people, the father may be heartbroken but may understand him. If several people try to come after his son, that's different.
I don't need praise, I need help.
 25 Eventua, Sat, 22nd Sep '12 2:51:12 PM from Dumundi Relationship Status: I won't say I'm in love
Lord of the Citadel
I actually use this conflict as one of the basic aspects of one of my alien species.

Essentially, the species originated on a brutal world where basically Everything Is Trying to Kill You... they themselves are (relatively) squishy and weak, but they had two advantages: intelligence, and team-work. Because they're primarily carnivores, they're prone to aggression, and it means that slight disagreements could quickly flair up to break up the group: divided, they'd pretty much all die horribly. :/

So, any individuals that disagree with the group break off and die. Eventually, the very concept of disobedience and even having a different opinion to everyone else becomes both taboo and highly uncommon.

Their morality becomes entirely a question of 'whatever the majority wants', ambition and greed are seen universally across their cultures as bad, even in small quantities, and they actually feel guilty if they find out they have a disagreement with the rest of the group.

As a result, they stay unified and advance enough to keep their numbers up despite everything trying to eat them.

Now, what does this mean? On the plus side, they don't have wars, crime is virtually non-existent, and everyone is both polite and friendly to each other.

On the downside? The wind up without variety of cultures and groups: as soon as one pretty large clan decides that their ancestors want them to 'erase' all of the other clans for whatever reason, they promptly go to the neighbouring smaller clans, tell them to abandon their entire culture and history...

...and they just do, without so much as a grumble or a shed tear. The members of the smaller clan, from elder to young child, feel a biological need to obey what the bigger clan tells them to do.


I've forgotten where I was going with this, I'm kind of hoping this is relevant to the discussion, or something?!
The Signature Of Me
Total posts: 43

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