Human Life: Index

Human life, in Idle Theory, is seen as another variety of idle life. The primary human task is to increase idleness. On the one hand high idleness increases the probability of survival, but on the other hand idleness itself is the foundation of everything that humans call "Wealth", and of everything they call "Good".

Human history, in Idle Theory, has been a continuous attempt to increase or at least maintain idleness. Technological development is seen as ultimately concerned with devising ways of increasing idleness. But technological development only occurs within human societies, and human political organization, laws, and ethical codes are concerned with the distribution of idleness within society.

Indexed here are a number of essays which explore these subjects.

Early Human Life
Early human life is assumed to have been difficult. The task was to make it easier.
link The Formation of Human Society 1. Cooperative human societies are more idle than independent autonomous humans. 2 and 3 and 4. The transition from nomadic life to settled trading society.
link Of Human Nature The human brain is just another useful tool - along with heart, lungs, arms and legs - within the human body. The primary task of the brain is to work in concert with other organs to maintain life.
link Ice Age. A speculative human history. The formation of co-operative human societies during the last ice age.
link The Rise of the Toolmakers. Humans used tools to reduce their workload, and increase idle time.
link The Myth of the Golden Age. The co-evolution of humans with their tools. While humans shaped tools, tools shaped humans.
link Out of Africa. The human migration from Africa across the world, moving to higher latitudes with improving technology.
link The Evolution of the Military. The formation of military skills in human hunting groups. The subjection of people, as slaves or tribute-payers, offered the military an easier life than hunting disappearing game.
Humans are part-time free agents, as free as they are idle. Ethics is concerned not with what free agents should do, but how people can act to become idle free agents. In human societies, ethical behaviour serves to increase social idleness, or minimize unavoidable decrease in idleness.

Ethics, economics, and politics all share the same concern - the increase of human idleness

link OUTLINE OF ETHICS. The primary ethical imperative is to maximize idle time. Secondary ethics is about what is done in idle time. Degrees of idleness have effects upon behaviour.
link Human behaviour. Idle people must tend to be considerate and placid, and busy people must tend to inconsiderate and violent.
link Freedom and Constraint. The intent fisherman as part-time free agent.
link The Value of human society. The division of labour, trade, and shared knowledge in human societies provide an idler existence than any lone, autonomous individual can achieve.
link Pain and Pleasure. Idle pleasures and troublesome pains.
link Food, Clothing, and Shelter. Heat loss physics. The energetics of walking.
link Wants and Needs. Food, shelter, necessity.
link The Mathematics of Ethics. Human behaviour frequently entail gains and losses of idle time for different people. Ethical behaviour is behaviour that either maximizes gains for everybody, or minimizes losses.
link Good Manners. The narrow passage. Manners minimize losses of social idle time.
link Disputes. The resolution of disputes. The magistrate as delegate of society.
link Codes of Sexual Conduct. Responses to rising and falling population.
link Monogamy. Monogamy as social defence against communicable disease.
link Law and Justice. Justice as restitution.
link The Necessity of Law.
link From reason to faith. One rational account of the rise of religious faith.
link Religion as the long perspective. The one good, Heaven and Hell, Fall and Redemption.
link The Rise and Fall of the Supernatural. The idea of soul as the foundation of supernaturalism.
Humans make and trade useful tools. The value of these tools is the idle time they provide. Economic growth results in increasing human idleness. The primary purpose of an economy is to free people from work. Making and trading luxuries and amusements is entirely secondary.
link OUTLINE OF ECONOMICS. Theories of value. Primary idleness-generating economies, and secondary idleness-consuming economies. The dragon economy.
link The One Good. Idleness as the one good. Useful tools make idle time, while luxuries use up idle time.
link The Value of Idle Time
link Useful Tools. Humans as tools. Food as a tool. Clothing and shelter as tools. Morality and mathematics as tools.
link Property. Private and public property. Land.
link Economic Essays. A series of linked essays on economics, introducing the economics of Idle Theory, and discussing its relation to economic orthodoxy.
0. Introduction
1. Idleness, energy & human society
1b Useful Tools and Pleasant Luxuries
2. Trade and Prices
3. Money
4. Boom and Bust
5. Methodology
6. Review
link Trade, money, prices. Selling tools at a price higher than the cost of production and less than their value to their buyers ensures that both buyers and sellers gain from the transaction.
link Simple economic simulation model. Useful tools and luxuries, tool-sharing and tool trading societies, money and prices, just and unjust prices, monetary inflation.
link Theories of Value. The Classical, Neo-classical, and Idle theories of value.
link Economic Growth. The long term trends and dangers of economic growth.
link One Kind of Business Cycle. New tools tend to be sold at price = value, until competition drives price down to cost. New tool producers selling tools priced at value have an income in excess of need (they get rich). Social inequality is a byproduct of economic growth.
Economics, ethics, politics, and law are in many ways all intertwined with each other, in that they are all ultimately concerned with the maintenance and increase of idleness.
link The Origins of Political Power. Subjection, the demands of concerted action, the seniority of elders, and the restitution of debt, as causes of political power structures.
link Forms of Political Power. From monarchy to anarchy: the evolution of political organization with rising social idleness.
link Morality and Law. The necessity for codes of conduct in human society, their codification and enforcement.
link The Family. Just as carpenters make chairs and tables, and blacksmiths make knives and forks, so families make boys and girls.
link Human population trends. Why population explosion and crash is less likely than a population peak and decline.
link The Individual and Society. Society as super-organism. The private individual alternates with public society.
link Public goods and public ownership. Bridges, roads, and water supplies as monopolies.
link Totalitarianism and liberalism as consequences of low idleness and high idleness.
link Concerning Inequality. Arguments for and against equality.
link Martial and Civil Culture. The antithetical values of martial and civil society. The mafias of standing armies. The extinction of predators.
link Friedrich Hayek's Road to Serfdom. Hayek's attack on socialism considered from the perspective of Idle Theory, and partly accepted, partly rejected.
link Two Illusions of Freedom. The common assumptions of the political Left and Right.
Modern Optimism
Modern Western economic and ethical theories effectively assume that men are perfectly idle, and act to maximize pleasure rather than idleness. In Idle Theory this rosy vision of the human circumstance seems wildly optimistic.
link The Rosy Vision of perfect freedom underlying modern Western culture. Its economic, political, and ethical consequences. An illusion and a menace
link Paradise Regained. The Rosy Vision of modern Western culture as Christian millenarianism
link What Is Wealth? In Idle Theory, wealth is idleness. In the modern world, wealth is found in material things, consumer goods.
link The Continuity of Inequity. The realities of human history: The acquisition of wealth through conquest, and through trade. The obligatory production of luxuries.
Other Essays
link CARTOONS The Days and Hours of Ku Sheng.
link Joe's Boat. Joe the fisherman builds a boat, starts selling fish, and gets very rich, for a while.
link Ship of Fools. Upward mobility on the sloping deck of the Titanic. It is not that there is inequality because men seek wealth, but that men seek wealth because there is inequality.
link The Perception of Time. An explanation of the apparent speeding and slowing of the passage of time.
link The Wings of Sleep.
link Clock Stars and Prayer Beads. The measurement of time. Star clocks, sundials, clepsydras, mechanical and quartz clocks. Heart beats, breathings, mantras, prayer beads and prayer wheels.
link The Natural Pace of Work is neither too fast nor too slow.
link The Stalled Empire of Science. Why didn't science reach ethics?

These Days...
Index of personal scribblings.

Author: Chris Davis
First created: 1 Jan 1999
Last edited: March 2010