I wasn’t very interested in philosophy when I was younger. It seemed like word games. I liked number games; they were more reliable. But now I see that some fundamentals need to be established, some givens as we say in math, to build an argument. And philosophy tackles how to go about talking of such things.

Many people want to ignore the givens and the rules they operate under (ironically, these are the people who want everyone to follow their rules). I suppose that is why there is my philosophy or your philosophy. So, you start to unravel the yarn to get to the very beginning.

Where else would that be except in the Garden of Eden? Under an apple tree, men and women are confronted by their weaknesses. Before them is a landscape full of potential, yet sin is simply and inalterably part of them. This basic and inextricable potential of humans to do good and harm is the first fundamental truth. Even if the thought of it quickly evanesces like a mirage over the dessert. Good and bad aren’t divvied out by occupation or race or gender. Managing this truth seems difficult for many.

Humans are also vulnerable to desires and greed and jealousy. They respond to recognition and love and kindness. They seek personal satisfaction as well as communal warmth. And although each human may possess each of these attributes, their relative impact comes in a myriad of combinations. As actors, humans are guided and influenced by these characteristics as they make choices throughout their lives.

I suppose that last part means I believe in something called free agency. Which is true. I also believe that for economic value (not psychological or spiritual or emotional value) one must only consider tangible resources that are present. Formulating solutions on aspirations, or how we might imagine things to be, is for another conversation.

To summarize: Humans are flawed and respond to many of the same levers. Resources must be tangible and available to feature in the calculus. With these tenets in mind, you can show how people gravitate toward optimizing outcomes for themselves and their kith and kin in the utilization of resources.