"This philosophic statement would be hilarious if it weren't so common. Who do you suppose 'everyone' is? They are individuals. There is no such organism 'society' or 'the whole.' There are only individuals."
No "society"? Give me a break... that's completely untrue. Not everyone has a 100% unique opinion on everything, people tend to agree with one another. That's the idea behind representative democracies (too many individuals to participate in a direct democracy, so we have to take advantage of the fact that many people will vote in common ways.) Social trends, etc...
While everyone IS a unique individual, our minds have a wonderful capability to abstract things, and we can view people in groups, or as a society.
Also, what I find peculiar is that you say my philosophical statement would have been funny, if it wasn't so common. If it were a unique statement, would it have been funny, or "senseless", or stupid? Apparently you don't think like an individual, Mr. Invidual. You really are just a cog in the wheel.
Anyhow, I feel there should be a pretty high minimum standard for the living conditions of people. You should only be able to sink to a fixed low (unless you forcefully WANT to go lower.) This minimum standard should fluctuate as a society gets more or less properous, instead of being absolute.
It's not feasible to do such a thing in the US, at least not to the standard I would deem fair, but there are countries (such as Denmark) which do this quite well. Of course, Denmark is far wealthier per person than the US... they can guarantee nobody goes homeless.
But it's only impossible within our current framework of thinking. Maybe in the future, it really will be possible, if so choose it.
"And, if that is "the way things work" (in reference to darwinism), then how is it you think "humanity" can overcome it? You mean, you think humanity can fight reality? This is an example of what I stated previously, social subjectivism. Thinking that 'somehow' the group or the collective or "humanity" can overcome anything (the law of identity even), just as long as they 'will' it to be."
It depends on how you look at life. If you want to apply survival of the fittest to every individual, then so be it.
But we can think of humanity as a whole (regardless of race, gender, creed, nationality, etc.) and support it, to ensure our survival.
"Of course one has to take care of "#1," selflessness is not a virtue. Since I don't care to write a book explaining it to you, I'll point out that selflessness, i.e. self-sacrifice, was Hitler's philosophy (and communism's, nazism's, fascism's, and is socialism's), how did that work out again? "
Once again, you show us a one-sided propoganda-based viewpoint.
Nazism and fascism were definitely not about selflessness in the sense I mean it: devotion to the good of others.
Nazism was highly selective, based on race, and on brutality.
The most well known examples of selfless people are many of the Christian saints. Their stories were recorded eventually. Wether you adhere to their religion or not, you must admit their lives were truly remarkable. Perhaps they don't fit your bill of what life is about, but many of these people lived satisfying lives, not only to themselves, but to others as well. There's no harm in that. There have no doubt been many, many people who have lived lifestyles devoted to the good of others, but many are unknown.
"There is no curse of prosperity. Rational self-interest is the cause of prosperity. Which is a reason so much of the world has lacked such; the philosophy that has dominated the world is selflessness. There is no virtue to humility, humbleness or self-sacrifice; this has been proclaimed for two thousand years, and it wasn't true then, and it isn't true now. The middle ages, which were dominated by self-sacrifice, humility, and humbleness were the darkest period in recorded human history. "
Your viewpoint is tainted with tainted with philosophy, as everyone's is, but I have the feeling you feel your philosophy is absolute. Humans are not fully rational, nor ought they be, in my opinion. We are both rational and non-rational, and this balance is vital to our identity.
Being humble has never been dominant code of behavior. Look at history... So much has been about greed, nationalism, individual prosperity... often at the expense of others. There have always been rulers, and much of history has been dominated by a rigid class system.
I wonder what your "virtues" are...
As for the middle ages, this is another poorly thought out example. The middle ages had to happen. They weren't necessarily a time of darkness.
Sure, life wasn't peachy-keen in A.D. 600-1500, but the middle ages were a time of great political turmoil and set the stage for the Renaissance.
Europe found crucial parts of its identity in those often unfortunate times. The middle ages were responible for the formation of European nations, which ended up, in a way, ruling the world.
Much of the problems in the middle ages were due to a result of a lack of virtues. Who ruled Europe? Kings, feudal lords, knights, and the clergy. Many of these people were simply ruthless and semi-barbaric. This upper class went to church, and in the case of the clergy, proclaimed their beliefs, but did not adhere to them.
They abused their positions of power... Kings did not often get off their high horses to lend peasants a helping hand. Bishops of the time period participated in battle, despite not being allowed to do harm to others. They used maces instead of blades in combat, so as not to draw blood. Torture was often done under the orders of clergymen, even though it was not administered by them (since they were not allowed to do harm to others, they found secular officials to do the job under their guidance.)
These sorts of things certainly did not happen because people cared for the well being of others, did they?