There is one value that is universal and that underlies all others. It has the awkward name non-idolatry. It is of all values the one which all people ought to honor. Its origin is the thought that gave rise to the ten commandments. It is hard to parse these days but one way of saying it is we should honor nothing on this planet. We should have no other gods than the one above all. We should worship nothing on earth. Goodness, justice, beauty, and truth together are a reasonable expression of what we should honor.

When idolatry rules

Non-idolatry is what makes it necessary to hold up the display in the tweet below, and much else that is venerated in our upwardly mobile world as good.

It is not good. It is idolatry. Is it good that permanent parking place is what separates luxury from the common herd, as the tweet below suggests? If it good that we worship and idolize anything when injustice in the world, though lessening, is still intolerable?

Beyond moralism

If you follow through the tweet above to the text you will learn that our true idolatry is not merely luxury but the automobile. The article that accompanies the image notes that Manhattan is in an amenity war and that to "be luxury" you need to be A list and willing to pay more to garage your car than to rent the space where you live.

This is one percent stuff. But moral umbrage is not what this piece is about.

If we have learned anything in the past century it is that Jesus was right when he said there are none righteous. People are only relatively better or worse than the norm. The absolute norm is smack in the middle between bare decency and selfishness.

In a world that tolerates selfishness, we are all cooked. We only survive because there is a small margin of the whole population that inclines to decency.

Binary is over -- think triadic

For the first time in history, we can call our world triadic rather than binary. Things are no longer either-or. It is no longer rich against poor and so forth.We can bend and tolerate and help and be democratic.

We do not need to convert anyone to any religion. We need to convert everyone to seeing things whole and accepting the need to choose what is decent and good to resolve problems of fairness. That is not happening in Manhattan.

Cybercommunities are a way see the future

Can you see the world without cars as the basic means of transport? Can you see the world where we share the high technologies needed to make all our lives better? Can you cotton to a rescaling of things so there is enough density to enable good local economies and enough privacy to satisfy each individual? These are just some of the givens in the body of thinking called cybercommunities. That thinking begins with the value non-idolatry. Manhattan could use a dose it.