The 100 Season 4: The Individual's Value (early access)
The moral case for caring about the individual's value to society and allow for personal choices.
Author’s Note: As mentioned previously, this piece will eventually be available for free but you’ll have to wait a while. The full season 2 piece for free subscribers will be available in March. Season 3 will be available in April.
What is the individual's value to society?
What can society ask of its citizens in order to achieve the ends it wants? When does this need become too much for the individual to handle or a group of individuals to stand up to these requests? These are important questions to ask in looking at how to structure a society. More importantly, what an individual should be willing to do for the betterment of those they have to live with in order to function. If you don't, you run the risk of conflict and uncertainty about where we're going and what we want to do.
Previously, we looked at the importance of rules and why they exist, then we looked at how different sets of rules can conflict with each other and how to resolve them through the appointment of a leader. Most recently we examined how a leader can go too far in a totalizing view of how society can and should function. The crux of this being that the appropriate society has to centre around the individual and what they want. Otherwise you can become destructive in your single minded effort to get everyone on board with either a fascist or communist ideology.
But how do we understand what to value in an individual? What are the qualities which are important to foster in a society built around an individual? After all, even in an individualistic society, you still have to have broader goals for society to achieve. Finding ways to alleviate poverty and suffering from disease. There still has to be some kind of collective effort to achieve these things but without resorting to a simplistic framework of either follow the leader or be wiped out as a way to get there. So we have to look at what value an individual has. Especially when you need to save as many people as possible, such as in a potentially apocalyptic scenario.
This is something we've struggled with for the past 2 years in particular. Whether or not to value the individual's right to self determination at all costs. Or to do whatever you have to in order to ensure the survival of humanity. It's not an easy line to draw, even if you're committed to the individual's rights. Just like with an ideology which doesn't allow for descent, people will not always go along with what they're told is the best thing for them. They might have their own ideas about what's best for them, and want to go for that over the continuation of the human race. Doing so might lead to better outcomes for them. Give them the life they want, no matter how short that existence might end up being.
“There's nothing like a little pain to remind you that you're alive.”