A (mostly) Philosophical Response to the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Autonomy
I believe that we should all be able to make decisions on our own and have the power to rationalise the reasons for why we make those decisions. We should be our own people and live our own lives. But we can’t. We can live our own lives because we, as humans, are compassionate and irrational folk that sympathise with our flailing brethren. all else being equal, we can’t help but feel sorry for them and their circumstances and try to help them. By doing so, we all extend our lives and live a bit in the life of another. If you have ever sat a friend down and given them some serious life counselling then you will know what I mean.
I think that we should be only mostly autonomous. But, and I am biassed here, we all need to help others unless we want to make some radical changes to our lifestyle. The present state of society demands that we are not autonomous and that we depend on others. Think you don’t? You’re wrong. Who made your phone? Who grows your food? Who cleans your house? Who cooks yu dinner? Who educated you? Who supplies you with internet access to this post? By using the products in this commercialised world you are helping others out. That is not to say that I am a supporter of capitalism or that I think that it is the best help we can give the other, but, fact of the matter is that we do help them and we spread our lives to them. Here, life means merely influence. That is why a writer, artist and inventor are some of the most powerful. All of these are thinkers. And that is what I want to be. Not a writer, not a philosopher, not an artist, not a teacher but I want to be a thinker – all-inclusive.
The question I am concerned with at the moment is whether or not nation states are qualified to rule themselves.
In short. No. In length, well that would have to also be no but you didn’t click “read more” because you wanted the short answer.
If people aim to be autonomous then they make decisions that affect their own lives. Decisions that affect their lives will affect the lives of others that they have contact with. So due to their autonomy, they prevent others from being autonomous then we may have a core flaw if autonomy is something we value. Is something right even if it prevents others from reaching the same level? Not fundamentally no. But more often than not, yes. However, I don’t think that my company to a lonely friend at one in the morning is a fundamentally bad thing just because I prevent them from standing alone on the pedestal. This is why I disagree with complete autonomy. Its nature is such that we cannot be autonomous if we accept help from others because we allow them to make decisions for us and they share in our lives. They live a bit through us. I love stories for precisely that reason. I get to live through the mind of another and experience what they did. I get to learn from others. I consider that far greater a thing than autonomy.But, as I said, I am biassed to thinking this way and that is because I am weak and indecisive. I find it a lot more convenient when other’s make decisions on my behalf and, very often, I will trust those decisions more than the ones I made. But what has any of this to do with the question at hand and how does that question relate to autonomy?
Well, you somewhat fine folk, that is because the question at hand is one on nation autonomy. Should a nation be autonomous or should they all function as a unit? I think the answer is blatantly obvious. Work together and prosper because everything you could possibly do would be so much better that way. But, as I said, we humans are not only rational creatures. We want things for ourselves and will leave the greater union for that sense of independence. Take the arguments laid for and against the recent Brexit conundrum. The reasons for staying were rational. The reason’s for leaving were emotional. So Britain left. I think they should have stayed, I pride reason over emotion for emotional reasons so I can’t pass judgement on whether they were right or wrong to leave because my choice in arguments is emotiorational. Yet I pass judgement anyway and say that they are wrong. It is this disregard for the authority of a thing that causes the problem.
I am not authorised to pass judgement on the affairs of state as I am not well versed in the field yet I do so anyway. I argue that for analogous reasons to what we have discussed here, a nation-state does not have the authority to make its own decisions. Those decisions affect the lives of millions of others and it is only too easy for the highest ranks to cheat the lower strata of what they were promised. Yet, the people can’t make the decisions themselves and so a true democracy is also bad because we plebeians are untrained in decisions of this grand scale.
In sum: Nation states are qualified to make their own decisions on an academic basis, but they are not qualified to make these decisions on a moral basis – as doing so results in an infringement on the autonomy of all of its citizens (and fellow nation states). Yet the ones who are morally qualified are no to academically qualified and so we end up in a state of perpetual nonmotion where nobody can rule anybody. Sounds like a good plan non? Looks like I shouldn’t try my hand at planet conquering.