Poll: Who are the most important members of society?

Salus

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I'm curious as to who people think are the "top of the heap" in human civilization.

There are many groups in the strata of society that are admired, but "when it boils down to it," what group do you think deserves to command the most respect and prestige?

It seems that while actors and musicians are beloved by many, it's the world leaders who seem to attract the most "awe" from every civilization. It's one thing to have Christopher Walken over for Thanksgiving, and another to have Obama or Putin dining at your house (no matter what your personal politics are).

To help clarify the question, imagine various figureheads (Einstein, Mozart, Carl Sagan, John F Kennedy, Julius Caesar, Gandhi) were seated at a dinner table. Who gets the head spot, and how are the rest seated? The last two sit at the kiddie table.

So, who do you salute first?
 

Brandon237

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Mar 10, 2010
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2, 3, 8 and the people in day to day administration and maintenance (the majority of jobs). So long as very few of them have criminal intent the whole rest of that list is pretty much unnecessary for a functioning society. Once that society is established then I'd say humanitarians and artists after that.
 

Queen Michael

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Jun 9, 2009
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I'll always value the artists the highest. Nothing beats manga or novels, as far as I'm concerned. (Though non-manga comics can fight them to a draw.)
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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I voted artists but I think artistry is involved in any role or job. It is the artists who declare what "is", which is the raw stuff everyone else in the society has to work with. Even the scientist is secondary to the artist in this sense. The first man or woman to stand up and emit a sound from the mouth reflecting or labelling an entity, the first person to draw a deer on a cave wall to designate an external object of interest to the tribe.. these actions created the relationships necessary to initiate the rudimentary activities which led to politics, science, religion.
 

Summerstorm

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Eh, Scientists and Teachers go hand-in-hand.

But of course a lot of things are needed to keep the society(ies) going. But usually they can go with lower quality overall. You can have a farm running at 50% and still provide enough food (As long as the tech is good enough - Yay science)
 

Bertylicious

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One may as well ask what the most important part of an engine is. An engine is the sum of its parts and for any of those vital components to be left out means that it is no longer an engine.

Some of the positions you've mentioned, however, might be akin to a turbo-charger or engine management system; ancilery and not vital to the overall running as a whole. To consider who might fall under such an umbrella we would have to agree on what a society is for.

In my eyes, a societys sole function is to provide a structure for people to live in. A means for people to obtain the things they need to survive and thrive. Education is not strictly neccesary, though obviously mega good and desirable, so we can sack off all the teachers. Humanitarians and artists are also factors that optimise a society but are not critical. Soldiers, killers and regulators are a situational requirement so we shall do away with them for the context of this excercise.

"The Wealthy" is more problematic. What does that mean? People with cash or people with resources? If the latter then they would be the fuel in the engine analogy, that which is tranformed by the engine into purpose, so they are neccesary.

If we take "entrepreneurs" to mean "workers", that is to say artisans, craftspeople and builders then they are a vital element for without them the materials of "the wealthy" are meaningless.

Which brings us to the final folk; the leaders. Does a system need leaders? Does an engine need direction to be an engine? I am uncertain. If we are saying that the engine needs to be switched on, even if it is just sat on a table, revving its crankshaft until it runs out of fuel, then it cannot run without a leader. For brevity let us say that the leader is needed, but only a little bit.

So which is more important? I will settle on "the entrepreneur" for an engine with not fuel and nobody to switch it on is a far easier thing for me to turn into a functional device than Barack Obama and a jerry-can of petrol.
 

Vivi22

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Salus said:
So, who do you salute first?
None. The question of who's the most important member's of society is completely relative, and also completely pointless. It asks us to place a value on people and their contributions. Most people would think that a scientist or Nobel prize winner is more important than a single mother below the poverty line. But what if that single mother is working three jobs to put a roof over her kid's head and food in their belly and offer them the best life she can. Pretty damn important I'd say.

You can't place a value on a human life. And I certainly don't give one group more respect because they're closer to the societal view of what constitutes success.
 

Saelune

Trump put kids in cages!
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Of your choices, the artists, since that's closest to the thinkers who are the most important. People who question what is and is not so that we can find what is best. If we don't ask why, we wont know why, and this goes for everything, not just religion or science, but also social interaction and government methods. If we don't ask why and challenge what is presented, we get stuck with bad governments, bad religions, bad laws, bad Microsoft gaming systems, etc.
 

Heronblade

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Apr 12, 2011
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I answered scientists, engineers, etc. because that most closely corresponds to my true answer, but it is not really accurate.

The most important members of society are those most responsible for its continuing advancement. The problem is that those referenced by the previous statement change all of the damn time and can never be confined to any one category. For instance, in times of social strife, philosophers, spiritual leaders, and politicians take center stage.

Even artists, who I generally hesitate to describe as important in any meaningful way, have a major role to play in this. For good or ill, they are collectively responsible for shaping the perspectives of society.
 

Flutterguy

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Scientists, philosophers, medicine men.. people who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of knowledge have always been held in the highest regard. Knowledge advances our understanding of our surroundings and makes our lives easier. Occasionally artists like Rembrandt come along and shake up perception, sometimes philosophers these are few and between. Scientists however have slow constant progression.
 

Barbas

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Oct 28, 2013
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Plumbers. Plumbers, plumbers and oh my god, plumbers. Without plumbers, the shit we would be in as a species is beyond my ability to describe.

Coming in close second are the food producers and electricians.
 

Storm Dragon

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I'm somewhat biased since both of my parents are teachers, but without them, pretty much everyone else on the list wouldn't be able to do their jobs. Scientists are a close second, but someone has to teach them science in the first place.
 

Mr.Mattress

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Jul 17, 2009
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1, 3 and 4 are the only ones who would survive a Nuclear Apocalypse, so I'm going with 1, 3 and 4 (2 as well, but not all Entrepreneurs would survive, only the ones that are rich would). I, however, put my vote in your poll straight on 3 simply because they are the most important people in society. Without them, I wouldn't be alive (Because I am a diabetic and it took a Doctor Scientist to make Insulin).
 

Niflhel

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Sep 25, 2010
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I don't think any one group places above the others, every part is needed for a functioning machine. I do find it slightly odd that perhaps the biggest contributor to maintaining our current quality of life, the worker, wasn't included on your list. Take away the worker, and all of your 8 choices would cease to exist.
 

omega 616

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Kind of off topic but I think world leaders are useless, they are just figure heads. I watch American movies where the president has to live, no matter what! Why? Why is this dumb dumbs life so vastly important? He is so easily replaceable... In fact he is replaced quite regularly!

The people who should be saved are usually the first to die in movies... The scientists! They have made the world what it is, from the great well knowns to the little guy working his ass off trying to help cure a major disease.

I remember reading a quote that went something like "The only people who shouldn't be in politics are politicians", all they want to do is further there own agenda, which fucks up life for millions of others. I don't think they want to make the poor worse off but they do want to make themselves better off and fuck everyone else.

The thing in the UK at the moment is "energy prices soar" and "many face choosing between heat and food" (the big energy companies got summoned to parliament but sent lackies instead) but a headline today is "Cameron (an mp) is set to have his energy bills fall in cost"... So while the poor struggle, the guy living off our taxes, in a couple of nice big houses is paying less!
 

Story

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Sep 4, 2013
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Summerstorm said:
Eh, Scientists and Teachers go hand-in-hand.
I agree with this statement. In fact, I had a hard time choosing between the two.
I ultimately went with teachers, I mean, I can't image where we would be without educators (but of course the knowledge we choose to educate ourselves should be credible which is were our scientists come from).
It's funny, I was actually thinking about this question just yesterday. Kinda creepy.
 

TJWhoopy

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Aug 28, 2013
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None of the above, the most important are those who "do stuff."

farmers, technicians, laborers. those who keep us fed, keep the lights on and our toilets flushing.