The Social Contract

I’ve recently been reading the book The Social Contract by @Jean Jacques Robocop.

I have not finished it but it seems to be the case that the social contract is something you sign up to in order to relinquish your rights to pump/pilfer/punch whatever you feel like in return for NHS.

Thing is I don’t remember ever signing this contract and if I did, I can’t find my copy. Does anyone else have this problem?

I feel like I should have been provided more details about this, at time the contract was signed but details seem sadly lacking. I think this is a problem we should discuss more. Thanks.

You could say that about any laws in England.

Where are they all listed and wha are you not given a copy when you become liable to be prosecuted for them.

They tell you ignorance is no defence but never tell you what the laws are.

Keep the masses ignorant appears to be the order of the day.

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What are books?

I have a social contract, that is what the call restraining orders now isn’t it?


I have been thinking about social cohesion with respect to my own circumstances. The fact is, I really don’t feel like I am a fully functional part of society. Part of this is probably due to living abroad, a big part of it is because I despise the structure of society and the people in charge but another big part of this is due to my chosen career. I’m going to focus on the career bit for this post. We spend a lot of time at work and it certainly defines us to a significant extent.

A problem with my profession is that I ultimately serve society with some rich cunts taking a cut inbetween. I am an important cog in the machinery of society and I am rewarded with job security and higher than average wages. However, there is something inherently unfullfilling about this. Society isn’t a real being. I have no feelings towards society and even if I did, society would not reciprocate those feelings. I am lacking a human element with regards to my professional interaction with the world around me. My skills are exceptionally important to society as a whole but on an individual basis they are useless. I cannot use my skills to help my family and friends or needy strangers and they don’t really appreciate my contribution to society because my contribution is spread so thinly across society as a whole. This drives a wedge between me and the people who are important. The money I earn is not THAT great and most friends and family would refuse it if I spent it on them. It would lead to awkwardness more than anything else. So the result of this is isolation and a sort of feeling of helplessness.

I am certainly far from alone in this situation. The complexity of modern society demands more and more of these sorts of roles, but I honestly think it is the source of a great deal of unhappiness that is rarely addressed.

What is the solution to this issue. Society appears to demand public servants but the ultimate cost appears to be the alienation of those servants from society.

The concept of a social concept goes back centuries and forms the basis of religons and laws. Even if we dont believe in religion most of us want to be able to leave our houses safe in the knowledge that we wont be attacked, murdered or raped. We expect to return home and find our belongings there still. Most of us treat others as we expect to be treated which again is based on a general moral code which forms this unwritten social contract. If no one had heard of the 10 Commandments, if we were to start afresh and draw up a code by which we would like to live by in our given society, we would probably come up with the same basic rules to live by. Once you move beyond the basics, you get into the hierachical stuff based on income, status etc the fun really starts and politics kicks in. There is no perfect political system. We use democracy but as we have seen recently with Brexit and the election of Donlad Trump, it only serves those in the maority, leaving many discontent and frustrated. Democracy works perfectly if 100% people get what they want. Not so much if 51% of the people get what they want and 49% dont. Until we find a way of creating Utopia, there will always be elements of society that feel frustrated within their society. That’s why God invented alcohol. :lou_sunglasses:

Is family and friends as subgroup compatible with the idea of an overreaching society. Is one issue here that you cannot serve two masters, but we ignore this unhelpful complication in our everyday lives?

I guess the basic idea is that we adhere with the social contract even within the family group SWDP. Once you start brininging in exceptions to the rule you introduce an anarchical element which is at odds to the original order. You help your family and friends in so many ways I’m sure, we serve different masters in different ways but all to a particular end.

Though I agree with your comments, your premise appears to be that the source of my discontent is the process of democracy. However, I think the concerns I am highlighting are more fundamental then that.

To an extent, and often not by choice. It’s the old phrase, “you gotta do what you gotta do”. If I’m jipping off a family event because work needs me, that ultimately serves the family. My employment is more secure at the cost of an event. Helps a lot when work recognises and respects the showstoppers of individuals. My last boss would let me drop anything for family.

If you feel guilty earning more than your peers or family…give…but give anonymously.

True altruism asks nothing of the recipient nor confers anything on the giver.

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I’m not convinced anonymous altruism is relevant here. I am concerned with social cohesion. The cohesion comes ideally from shared dependency or in some cases one way dependency. Anonymous altruism doesn’t really help cohesion.

It depends on how much any given society holds its values. Even in a relatively stable and peaceful country like Britain, there are still plenty of people who think it is ok to do what they want. That is why we have laws. Not everyone lives by the rules and many only stick to those they like. Sadly human nature is such that we will never live in a perfect society, and what is perfect for one may not be perfect for another. The best we can have for is for a greater tolerance for each other’s differences with a greater intolerance for anti social behaviour. You only have to look at internet football forums to find examples of a lack of basic tolerance!

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Is this is what is depressing you? Perhaps it is precisely those chains that prevent society reverting to some kind of Lord Of The Flies situation?

Wasn’t meant to be all encompassing…just a way to address an element of a problem you identified…

The money I earn is not THAT great and most friends and family would refuse it if I spent it on them. It would lead to awkwardness more than anything else. So the result of this is isolation and a sort of feeling of helplessness.

This is a fantastic article summarising Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris.

Says a lot about the social contract.