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Moral Implications in Maximums and Minimums

One of the things I’ve noticed, in my spare time, is the moral implications of some of the maximums and minimums that exist in our world. They aren’t a particularly dense subject, but provide an interesting thought exercise. 

In our world, there are of course minimums and maximums to a wide range of subjects. The simplest example of this might be in sports standings. For example, in any given season of a sport, there is the highest-ranked team and the lowest-ranked team. There might be some ties here and there – for example, two teams are 12-0 or some such – but the idea still holds. If we expand this, we can see more “universal” applications of this rule. We can also expand this over space and time. For example, we can instead say that there is a highest-ranked team and lowest-ranked team across the entire history of the sport. A little more interesting! But if we do it across space, we can find the highest and lowest-ranked teams across the entire history of sports in general.

It’s notable that, as we increase in space and time, the terms of the definition become more and more abstract. Sports journalists debate for years what the best football team of all time is, let alone of any sport. Still, the nature of maximums and minimums point to the idea that some team of this kind must exist within the boundaries of nature.

That already implies a lot of fascinating stuff (for example, that all those journalists actually are fighting over something real). But one night in the shower I made an additional realization – you can apply moral arguments to maximum and minimums. That’s right, an old-school recipe that you can apply right at home!

Applying morality to this case works something like follows: think about the set of all people today, whenever you are reading this. Out of all 7 billion or so of us, someone is having the best day of the group, and someone is having the worst day. Someone might have had their wedding plus a 100,000 bonus while someone else might have lost their job and then died in a horrific accident. Here’s another example: the best-raised child and the worst-raised child, of a given generation. What would the most abused/neglected child even look like? What would their growth potential be? Would they even have potential, or would they die in childhood?

The more you start thinking of things, the more they begin to devolve into these weird sorts of moral arguments (which on this blog is always a good thing). It’s a way to not only build empathy, but also serves as a thought exercise to build out your own beliefs on morality and even statistics. Worth trying, at least once.

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