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Natural Social Contract Annotations

Permitted and UnPermitted Harms and Benefits

The reader will only be able to understand the purpose and meaning of this annotation and its relationship to the Natural Social Contract (NSC), if s/he has first read the Introduction section of the NSC and its explanatory and elucidating annotation.

1) The meaning of Responsible Harm which I (Paul Antonik Wakfer) have defined in the NSC diverges in at least four major and novel ways from the current and historical notions of the concept of responsibility as that concept applies to harm to others (sometimes called culpability).1 These differences are related to my unambiguous and specific definitions of Responsibility and Harm and they are of critical importance to the understanding and application of my definition of Responsible Harm.

  1. Responsible Harm is an Event - something that is objectively verifiable. It is not a judgment - which is necessarily Locally subjectively Evaluated and the Global appraisal of which is only determined ultimately by the market Actions of Social Preferencing. This clear separation of the Action, that is the Effective Cause of the potentially Harmful Event, from the judgment, of whether or not the Event is actually Harmful and what is the amount of that Harm, is of critical importance in order to allow these two quite different aspects to be fully distinguished and separately dealt with.
  2. Instead of being defined in the traditional manner of Liability, as a reduction of the Value of some Connected Existent which Value was reduced by the Harming Action (with such reduction of Value generally decided by other than the Harmed person), a Responsible Harm Event can only result from a Modification of the Actions of or Events Related to a Connected Freeman which Modification has Harmed hir (ie. has reduced hir Total Future Happiness Expectation - as judged by hir - from what it would have been if the Modification had not occurred). This definition has the advantage of including Harm to a Freeman from both the reduction of the Value to hir of some Existent (to which s/he must be Connected for it to have any Value to hir at all, and which reduction will certainly Modify hir Actions, Events or State Values, if only with respect to thoughts about that Existent) and the pure Alteration of hir Choice Estimations (eg. a threat or even an actual use of Compulsion) without any reduction of Value to some Existent.2 In addition, defining Responsible Harm in this manner makes it very clear that the amount of Harm is not directly related to any objective Change of an Existent itself (including the Harmed Freeman), but instead is within the mind of the Freeman Evaluating that Existent. This last makes it clear that the Evaluation of the amount of Harm from an Event is always a Choice, never a necessity.
  3. Responsible Harm is not something that can occur outside of an InterPersonal Relationship between Involved Freemen and therefore not something that Relates to all Members of the Freeman Society. This placing of Responsible Harm clearly within the context of an InterPersonal Relationship is crucial for any clear and objective determination of the requirements of justice (ie. of Restitution for the Harm of the Event), because it permits only Involved Freemen to have any direct interest in (the state of having one's Lifetime Happiness affected by) the Responsible Harm Event.
  4. As opposed to the occurrence of the Responsible Harm Event, the amount of Harm can only be judged and determined by the Freeman who is Harmed. This follows from the existential fact that only s/he experiences that Harm in a direct and complete manner, and only s/he can access hir Value Structure and conduct the Limited Time Iterated Net Benefit Expectation analysis of hir Altered Choice Estimations needed to correctly estimate the reduction of hir Total Future Happiness Expectation which resulted from the Responsible Harm Event. For an explicit derivation of the logical necessity of Victim determination of the amount of Harm see the Theory of Social Meta-Needs.

2) It is with respect to Available Actions and the Choice Estimations relating to them that the notion of Connection defined previously is most important. This is because any reasonable notion of an Alteration of a Freeman's Choices that Harms hir can only involve those Existents to which s/he is Connected and, thus, with respect to which s/he actually has a Choice Estimation to make. Note that I am not precluding the situation where the knowledge (awareness) of a Responsible Harm Event occurs long after the occurrence of the Event itself (because only a Potential Connection existed at that time), which often happens because a full Connection (inclusive of awareness) only comes to exist after the Harm is detected. For this reason, there is no specified time limit on the Requirement of Restitution for Responsible Harm. However, it is also important to note that a Connection cannot be established retroactively by a Freeman for the purposes of assessing that Responsible Harm was done (unless a Potential Connection already existed before the awareness occurred), since without the awareness no actual Harm to hir would have occurred. Therefore, if a Freeman-A was not aware of some other Freeman-B or Existent-B until after the Event relating to Freeman-B or Existent-B which was a Responsible Harm to some Freeman-C, occurred, Freeman-A cannot make any case for Responsible Harm to hirself, and this is true even if hir after-the-Event awareness was independent of any publicity surrounding the Harm. While a Freeman certainly may have less Lifetime Happiness, because of some past Harm to something or someone of which s/he only now discovers the Value (lessened by that Harm), than if that Harm had not occurred, the reduced Value is an existing situation when hir Connection to it is Initiated and no current Harming Event actually occurs for hir. One way this can also be understood is by again realizing that for Potential Connection (ie. prior to the awareness aspect) to exist, both parties must be Existents and Related at the time of the non-awareness part of the Connection Event (ie. at the time of Initiation of the Potential Connection). This limitation is consistent with and follows from the definitions of Effective Cause and Connection which are both primary to the concept and definition of Responsible Harm.

3) Note that "invasion of privacy" per se is not an instance of Responsible Harm; although, depending on circumstances, it may be a Defendable Threat or a Connection Harm. Thus, the use of the word "invasion" for merely the termination of someone's isolation by another is misleading and that is why I have placed phrases using it within quotes. The reason that "invasion of privacy" is not a Responsible Harm is because there is no Modification of Actions or Events relating to the "invaded" Freeman of which the alleged "invading" Freeman is the Effective Cause, which that "invader" was not fully Entitled to do. In fact, the only source of the Harm are the lost time and potential thoughts of the Freeman whose privacy has been "invaded", which can only possibly occur if a Connection is Initiated by the "invasion" which causes, at the least, an Event of Connection Harm.

Privacy is in the Category of ways in which one Freeman can be isolated from others. In fact, the full meaning and status of the concept of privacy would be much clearer to most people in current society if it was always recognized as equivalent to isolation. Every Freeman is Entitled to attempt to be isolated if s/he wishes, but any other Freeman is also Entitled to ascertain Information about the isolated Freeman - ie. to end that isolation - as long as hir Action does not Violate the Freeman attempting to remain isolated. Any Action to maintain such isolation, other than staying entirely on one's Real Estate and taking purely Protective measures to prevent any Information about one being ascertained from outside one's Real Estate, will necessarily be a Violation of the Freeman who is Acting to end the isolation by Non-Violationally attempting to ascertain such Information. In fact, the moment that one Freeman-A InterActs with another Freeman-B even merely to the extent of stepping off hir Real Estate, A automatically ends that isolation in a manner which is not a Violation to hirself or anyone else, because that InterAction necessarily allows B to find out additional Information about A. Thus by InterActing, A necessarily always relinquishes some of hir privacy. If an Action by Freeman-B that happens to reduce the privacy of Freeman-A (ie. finds out additional Information about hir) is also a Responsible Harm or other Violation to Freeman-A, that is quite separate from the reduction of privacy itself.

Finally, the most important reason of all why privacy (which is a penchant in the current Society, which causes enormous Harm to everyone) should not be any kind of Entitlement and nor even be a Rational Action is that it prevents others from acquiring the Information necessary to make truly informed Choices concerning the desirability or non-desirability of InterActing with the individual wanting privacy, and the degree and kind of InterActions, if any, which are Decided to be Performed. Thus, it weakens the amount and fluidity of Information concerning InterPersonal market Exchanges, which, of course, is not in the interest of optimally increasing the Lifetime Happiness of anyone, including the individual wanting privacy. For more arguments and examples of this see the essays: Personal Characteristics as Market Commodities and Anonymity - Hazard not Protection; Limitation not Enhancement.

4) Within the definition of Responsible Harm are listed two kinds of situations for which a Modified Event for Freeman-A caused by the Initiated Connection of another Freeman-B is not Responsible Harm, even though Freeman-A may judge it to be Harm to hir. The first is when Freeman-B has an Entitlement to Act as s/he did under the Stipulations of a Valid Contract, including the NSC - for example, Defense is such an Entitlement under Stipulation A.5 of the NSC. The second, which is closely related, allows a Freeman-B to not be Responsible (in the sense of not Required by the NSC to pay Restitution) for what would otherwise be Responsible Harm, if Freeman-A had given hir prior Permission for hir Action (even if not prior Permission for the Harm Effected by that Action). For example, suppose that you are holding a nail for someone and give them Permission to hammer it. Then if s/he accidentally hammers you instead of the nail, you have no Entitlement to Charge that person with Responsible Harm and to Claim Restitution for the Harm done. In effect, by giving Permission, you did the Harm to yourself. This does not, of course, mean that the person who hammered you has no need to feel UnHappiness that you have suffered Harm, to feel some responsibility and remorse, to help you fix your Injury and to even offer recompense in some form. It only means that under the NSC, s/he is not Required to do any of these. On the other hand, if you have found that this person is prone to such carelessness, then you would be wise to limit your association with hir (Socially Preference against hir) and to advise others to do the same by Publishing evidence of hir carelessness. Both of these situations only prevail until the Contract Stipulation granting such Entitlement is Terminated or the Permission is Withdrawn.

5) It should be noted that there is a major variation here from what generally exists under current state and common law systems. Under the NSC, a Freeman may seek Restitution for Responsible Harm to hir, even if s/he has no financial interest or Property Entitlement related to the Event of Harm, as long as s/he is convinced that s/he has been Harmed by that Event. However, this only applies when the Harmful Event was Effectively Caused by someone who did not in turn have the Entitlement to Act as s/he did. This leads to a situation where when some Freeman is Violated or some Property is Damaged by an Event of Responsible Harm (ie. its subjective Value to one or more Freemen is reduced), others beside the directly Violated Freeman (in fact any Freeman who is Harmed) also become Actual Victims and may seek Restitution from the Actual Violator. On the other hand, if that Freeman did the exact same thing to hirself or hir Property, since such an Action is hir Entitlement, no Restitution may be sought by other Freemen even though they were Connected and did in fact incur Harm - ie. it would not be a Responsible Harm. On the other hand, this kind of Entitled Harm can still be the object of censure by Social Preferencing to limit its occurrence and/or prevent its reoccurrence. The Entitlement of any Responsibly Harmed Freeman to seek Restitution effectively adds a kind of Protective feedback to those Existents that many others Value, proportionate to the amount of total Value, by greatly discouraging any Acts that might reduce the Value of those Existents. It is, therefore, a very important feedback stabilizing mechanism for the Social Meta-Needs.

6) Connection Harm is a special case of Responsible Harm which is not generally considered to be Harm at all under the laws or mores of current society. However, I am convinced that such lack of consideration creates an enormous reduction of the Lifetime Happiness level of those involved, both directly for those who are interrupted or whose time is otherwise wasted, and indirectly for those doing the disrupting (who usually see it only as giving them some potential near term Benefit). Connection Harm arises from interruptions because of the physiological impossibility of a Freeman to totally disregard sensory input (see more details in the Choice Annotation). Therefore, just as with any other time a Freeman's Actions or State (including thoughts) is necessarily Modified by the Actions of someone else, this is an initially UnPermitted, Effectively Caused Alteration of hir Choice Estimations from what s/he was Freely doing, ie. the Effect of such an Action is always initially a Constraint of hir Freedom and thus a potential reduction in hir Total Future Happiness. Only under the situations where:

  1. The receiver of the Action has given prior Permission to have a Connection Initiated (such as a clerk in a store with respect to store business),
  2. The receiver of the Action gives immediate after the fact Permission to the Freeman Initiating the Connection, or
  3. The receiver of the Action acknowledges that the Event of the Initiated Connection has caused or will cause an increase in hir Total Future Happiness Expectation (which is actually equivalent to b, otherwise why would the interrupted Freeman give Permission, and in turn if s/he Benefits, why would s/he not give Permission),

is the Initiator of the Connection not guilty of a Responsible Harm and not liable to a Restitution Claim from the Freeman who s/he has interrupted. Furthermore, even if there is no direct interruption of a Freeman, Connection Harm may still occur if that Freeman has hir Choice Estimations UnPermittedly Modified because of some UnPermitted alteration of hir Property. Typical examples of Connection Harm are any unsolicited selling including spam email, flyers and telephone marketing. However, any unrequested Initiated Connection of any kind is a potential Connection Harm. Just think how much loss there could have been if some great invention, discovery or thought had been interrupted in the middle of its happening and the creator had never been able to recover to that State again. In fact, who knows how many important thoughts and discoveries have never been made because unsolicited interruptions terminated them, prevented the necessary adequate sleep, relaxed state of mind, continuity of thought, etc.

7) An UnRequested Benefit has a kind of symmetry of Action to that of a Responsible Harm. Since the recipient of the Benefit had not given prior Permission to the provider of the Benefit, who also had no Entitlement to give it, there is no Requirement on the receiver to return any Benefit commensurate with what s/he has received (ie. to Return Value for Value Given). However, it will always be in the interest of optimally increasing hir Lifetime Happiness to do so and Social Preferencing will be used to educate receivers of UnRequested Benefits to Reward those who have given them Benefits. Finally, it should be noted that Permitted Harm, Harm done under Entitlement, Accepted Benefit, and Benefit received under Entitlement are all examples of Exchanges for which both parties have a Social Interest (also called Social Responsibility), if not an actual Requirement under some Contract, to see that the Exchange is to mutually expected advantage - ie. so that each participant in the Exchange attains an increase in Total Future Happiness Expectation from it.

It is extremely important to note that while I have used the terms Requirement and Social Responsibility, which generally imply some moral duty to others which is imposed on one and which one does not really want to do because such duties are not truly in one's best interest, this is a totally incorrect view of the actual truth. Instead, in all practical situations where I use these terms they are meant to describe the widest viewed, longest range methods that will operate to optimally increase one's Lifetime Happiness, as long as sufficient others also operate in a similar manner. Ultimately Social Preferencing is the only way to educate people to operate this way for their own Benefit and the Benefit of everyone else. It is in this sense that I very much like the rallying call from Alexander Dumas' novel "The Three Musketeers": "All for One and One for All!", as long as one realizes that the "All" always includes the "One".

8) A Defendable Threat occurs when one Freeman has some reason to think that s/he is about to incur a Responsible Harm from a Social Existent (ie. a Harm to hir which is not an Entitlement or has not been Permitted). A threat of Harm from any source is, of course, also defendable, but only threats of Harm from Social Existents need to be dealt with in the NSC. Note that the definition of Defendable Threat does not require that any threatening Action has taken place, but only that there is reason to think that Responsible Harm to oneself or anything one values will occur unless some preemptive Action is taken. Similarly to the Evaluation of the degree of hir Harm by a Freeman-A, the Evaluation that some Action by another Freeman-B or something in Freeman-B's Possession or Control is a Defendable Threat is a subject judgment to be determined by Freeman-A hirself, particularly initially when any necessary preemptive response is being considered. Only later, if there are adequate visual and sound recordings of the Event to show that Freeman-A had no possible reason to Evaluate a Defendable Threat from Freeman-B, can such judgment be invalidated at a Trial. The difference between a judgment of Harm and a judgment of Defendable Threat to oneself is that a Harm is judged after both the objective Event and the essentially subjective Evaluation of Happiness State reduction, whereas a Defendable Threat is a judgment of only a potential objective Event and the subjective Harm that will result if the Event occurs. It is the judgment that the potential Event will occur which can be ruled to be unreasonable and therefore invalidated as a plea to a Charge of Violation. See Stipulation A.5 for the Entitlement of any Freeman to Perform Defense and the other Stipulations related to Defense which are referenced there.

9) The definition of Necessary Harm is made in order to delimit the amount of Harm that is done during an Entitled Action of RePossession or Defense. For example, one of the Necessary Harms which a Freeman is always Entitled to cause during an Act of RePossession is the removal of the Benefit of still having Possession (but not Entitled Possession) and potential use of that which is being RePossessed. While such an Action is an Entitlement, that does not mean that the Freeman so Acting can Effect Harm on another without concern of negative Effects on hirself. However, since the amount of Compulsion and the potential Harm thought to be Necessary by the Entitled Freeman is entirely hir own subjective judgment, the judgment of whether such amount was actually Necessary can not be the prerogative of a Trial Determination, but must be left to the Social judgment of Social Preferencing. See Stipulation A.5, involving Defense Entitlement, and Stipulation B.3.b, involving RePossession Entitlement, and their annotations for additional information on the usage of this concept within the NSC.

1. This Contractual Requirement concept of Responsibility, by having specific penalties attached to its Non-Performance, is also distinct from those Actions, Processes, Effects and Events related to others (Social Responsibility - see section 7 above) or to oneself (Self-Responsibility) which are merely subject to Social Preferencing or self censure and adjustment, respectively.

2. To a certain extent it could be said that there is never any pure Modification of only Choice Estimations, since if a Freeman's Choices are negatively Altered (ie. hir Lifetime Happiness Expectation is reduced), then hir Value as an Existent, both to hirself and others is also necessarily reduced.