Here is a previously unpublished personal manifesto. I wrote it in February of 2009.
An important aspect of life is the development of virtues and values, with which we can engage in endeavors that are soothing to our conscience and uplifting to our being. No matter what is true about the world, what is done with these truths will have quite a lot to do with “who an individual is”. I see this as being satisfactory some of the time and unsatisfactory some of the time. Fortunately, unsatisfactory elements of one’s personality are adjustable when discovered.
A second important aspect of life is the development of factual thoughts. It seems to me that holding beliefs reflecting the state of affairs is usually beneficial, if not in the short term, in the long term. There are two methods that have been shown to work best, the empirical (that which can be tested scientifically) method and the rational (that which can be deduced logically) method. If it cannot be tested, it often does not matter, if it cannot be deduced logically it cannot be the case.
It is not necessary that values and factual thoughts be estranged from one another. A proper relationship between them is that of yin and yang, a concept from eastern philosophy, that describes a situation where seeming opposites actually give rise to one another continually. Values unconstrained by facts lead to painful and unnecessary squabbling between individuals, but without values, facts are nothing to us and provide us no service.
It is an amazing thing to be able to look out into the world as a human being today. We possess an intellect that can decently estimate the state of affairs and manipulate them to our desires. We are complex communicators, able to transmit our unique thoughts to one another. We are certainly not the best imaginable beings and have many weaknesses, but we have the ability to become a million times greater than we are today. It is important to value and love us for what we have, but not to expect what we don’t. The Rational Man is a fantasy, he does not truly exist. He serves well as a personal ideal, perhaps what the figure of Jesus serves for the mainstream Christian community. However, one must never forget that we do not know what we do not know, our brains trick us, and countless events we are not aware of effect our perception.
I believe we will be able to and should extend our lifespans as long as possible. Each of us is a unique pattern that has established itself of value to our community. We die too soon, leaving our dreams unfulfilled, our contributions unfinished, with so much left to learn and do. We should improve our intelligence so that we may ourselves become Rational Man. We should increase our ability to enjoy various activities, and decrease silly sources of pain. We should colonize the galaxy, making new planets our homes. We should develop technologies to develop lush foliage, gorgeous cities, and clean lakes and air for the entire world to enjoy. We should improve our mind design and perhaps create mental networks that will finally allow us to have a true working libertarian democracy. This is a future, readily possible to me if we can overcome the hurdles of today. I will listen to arguments to adjust my belief of how the future should be, but for now I will work towards spreading and implementing my dream.
Today, I believe in a libertarian government. I believe it is better for a man to gain and suffer on his own responsibility, than gain and suffer from someone else’s choices. I believe the federal government should have as little power as feasible. However, I do still have social concerns. I am willing to be persuaded on the issues of socialized medicine, public education, and publicly funded research, if people can show me that it is working or would work for America. When it does work for a country, such as Switzerland and New Zealand, I feel no cause to chastise. Since Rational Man is at the heart of a libertarian government, and I do not believe he exists, I do believe it is a necessary evil in these times to sometimes force irrational man behave as he would if he were rational. I only allow this in the case that the action superficially harms the person, and does not cause detectable harm to his happiness or liberty, or it is an obvious action that most people would take had they spent time thinking on it. I understand this is complex issue, but the world is messier than an essay of this nature can contain.
I believe that from the first chemical reaction, we were destined to be who we are and who we will be. From the stars that exploded, to the planets that formed, to the liquids that boiled- we were determined. The humans you see today are the quite great grandchildren of the first successful replicators. There is no God, no spirit, no soul. Man is beautiful in that of all Earth’s many rumblings and flittering beings- we are the reflectors and the inventors. Without even trying, matter in the universe now thinks… imperfectly for now, but once again, we’ll see where life takes us. This beauty would not be diminished if we found organisms with lesser or greater ability to invent or reflect- we would just have company in beauty.
There are untaught notions that we should preserve. We have naturally the understanding that we should love those we consider “us”. We desire to elevate ourselves in the standing of other people. We desire to be comfortable. We desire to be productive. We desire a feeling of being in control of our lives. When we know we are living in a society where one can make the best of oneself without debasing oneself… we will happily do so.
Therefore, I value thoughtfulness, patience, humility, honesty, integrity, temperance, and helpfulness.