In effect, each group in the Consortium is represented, whether it is a nation, a business group, a guild, or a geographical area. Also, each person is represented in each of the groups they belong to, according to their participation.”
Ben said, “That sounds fair, I guess.”
Caldenia raised a cautionary hand. “I believe the results can be called fair, but I also believe that we are participating in a process more active than the word ‘fair’ suggests to me. Rather than concentrating on being fair, we seek to take the best actions we can.”
Ben needed to think about that some. After pondering it for a minute, he said, “Then it’s not so much trying to be right as aiming toward the best possible for everyone?”
“That’s exactly it,” Mizli said.
“But can you really do it? Wouldn’t the best for one person be bad for someone else?”
“That question gets to the heart of the Consortium’s philosophy,” Caldenia said, pausing and holding his attention with her eyes. “Harm to anyone affects us all. Although our impulses tend to put us in conflict with other people, we are happier when the others are okay. When we recognize our well-being is tied to theirs, we cooperate in figuring out what works best for all.”
“That would be awesome,” Ben said, “if it could be done.”
“The great secret,” Neff said, rubbing his hands together, “is that it can be done—given enough time and patience. It’s a huge job, a magnificent job—and worthy of our dedication. Each of us is precious beyond any measure of words, and it is incalculably important for every individual existence to be used in a meaningful way.”
Ben didn’t respond, but he thought about it for the rest of their visit to Becaldae.
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