It's not clear that academic accomplishments are more valued than athletic accomplishments--at least if fame and fortune are the measures.
I was just discussing with a friend the concept of a perfect world.
We were trying to define what would be a perfect world. I thought the perfect world would be world with a healthy balance of life and death, a healthy balance of war and peace, not enough food and not enough of other resources, and a healthy balance of one's own pain, and a world of distrust on top of that.
But my friend seemed to hold a different view of it - a perfect world, to him, seemed to be one where there was always enough food, a world without death, a world with no war, and a world where you could go anywhere and trust every single person.
We argued for a couple hours, but it was clear at one point that we had reached a stalemate.
What do you guys think? What would be defined as a perfect world?
I have to say that from your description of the debate I'm inclined to side with your friend. His world contains a lot less suffering, and lot more human flourishing. You talk about a "healthy balance" of well-being and suffering. But why is this better than a world with very little or no suffering? Perhaps your idea is that some suffering is somehow needed in order to maximize human well-being. Is it that there needs to be some suffering so we can realize the well-being that comes from struggling towards and eventually achieveing something? Or is it that a world in which everything went perfectly would contain no background of even mild misfortune against which to appreciate our well-being as well-being. Such a world would be experienced as "flat", and almost dull in it's unwavering fortune. I'm skeptical of this, but in any case, the "healthy balance" of misfortune that might allow us to realize these greater forms of well-being would seem to require a lot less suffering than does our actual world. ...