Philosophy – Overview
Note: this is an overview of a complete, coherent philosophical discipline that is comprised of many parts and has been developed over many years. The claims made here may seem general and vague without further examination. Though I know I can’t concisely boil it all down to a few passages, the point of this is to attempt to cover as much as possible, at least enough to provide a functioning framework of the discipline so that others can benefit from it, or at least understand it.
The ultimate aim of what I’ve come to call the “Believe and Disbelieve Nothing” philosophy is to alter the language of our thinking in order to overcome certain problems that humanity has suffered with throughout recorded history. While some might say these are problems of “Human Nature”, it is the claim here that the bulk of unnecessary human suffering, social division and stagnation of personal growth, is actually a collective set of philosophical and psycho-social problems that can be solved through the proposed set of changes to how we handle information and how we think about the world and one another.
It’s obvious that a great deal of unnecessary suffering in this world, both individual and interpersonal, comes as a consequence of erroneous thinking, whether it be a person incorrectly judging someone else and not being able to communicate with them as a result, or a “group of people” dehumanising and waging war on another group for some grand political purpose.
Traditionally, here in the West, we’ve been raised to channel our efforts into the institution of politics when it comes to attempting to solve the social problems, and into the institution of religion when it comes to the personal. These institutions, and all the conceptual reasoning they rely on, have been at the foundation of our social development since the beginning of recorded human history.
And now, as the world emerges into new and uncharted social conditions, it is becoming clear that the traditional dominant institutions are no longer adequate for their stated social purposes. Also, as individuals try to navigate this new world, many are running into personal problems where their thinking is concerned, and interpersonal problems where their communication is concerned. Of course, all these factors are somehow connected.
When it comes to our outdated social institutions, we are running increasing risk of global catastrophe by not outgrowing the assumption that they are there for our benefit, and re-examining them to gauge their current social relevance. First and foremost, they are there for their own self-preservation, and the more obsolete they become, the more dangerous lengths they are likely to go to in order to remain relevant and influential. This is further intensified with current and emerging future technology, which empowers “the establishment” to silence, to ruin, and to end lives at the click of a button.
“Our political leaders are not put there to change things. They’re put there to keep things the way they are.” – Jacque Fresco
And when it comes to the personal and interpersonal, we bear heavy responsibilities and decisions to make in terms of how we want to relate to the world and to all other people around us. These decisions, and even the lens through which we inspect all relevant factors, are constantly blurred and derailed by institutions that try to prevent us from thinking for ourselves and arriving at our own decisions in order to preserve their dominance. As a consequence of this, people are being systematically fed closed-source, uncritical, tribalistic worldviews which were a natural outgrowth of, and a means to survival in, an old, divided world.
The claim is that, as times have moved on, these institutions and all the social conditioning they rely on, have become a hindrance to our growth and maturation as a species, and there’s an endless stream of evidence out there to let us know that it has become impractical to cling to them, especially when we take into account the damage they cause within individuals.
The lifelong social conditioning they impose on people cages them in with chains so strong that it usually takes a lot of pain, un-learning and re-learning to break through them, especially if they are going through it alone. Unfortunately, given that the nature of this conditioning is based in the same language of thinking that our dominant institutions are, many people are unable to break free from it as all proposed solutions are also contained within this language. Some people will have what they consider to be a kind of awakening, but which is really simple induction to a different ideology; absorption of the rhetoric necessary to pick a side. For example; many will have their awakening, and the only consequence will be joining or declaring support for some political party or another, not realising that this is an established ancient trick of closing the mind and ensuring participation in perpetuating the establishment.
The same conditioning also leads people to a whole host of personal issues when it comes to their thinking, which in turn leads to more issues related to how they see this world; ie. anxiety, depression, thinking addiction, clinging to ideas and identities, etc. These factors can make it incredibly difficult for people to communicate, and all-too-easy for them to separate themselves based on arbitrary surface-level or ideological classifications and to build echo chambers on top of them.
“Most of our so-called research and reasoning merely consists of us finding arguments to go on believing as we already do.” – James Harvey Robinson
The philosophy that will be presented here is an attempt at solving these social issues, and some others which I will explore in the coming pages, and encouraging individuals to understand their way to solutions of their own. On an individual level, it’s a philosophical discipline offering a new language of thinking that’s useful for dealing with information and communication with others. On a social level, it’s a foundational guide for the conscious, deliberate development of a new type of society, and I suspect it would stand a much greater chance of achieving its stated goals than the still-dominant institutions of the old world.
It’s not a specific worldview, ideology or belief system that is being offered. It’s an open-source, unifying discipline; a guiding mentality, which not only doesn’t discourage people from exploring certain thoughts or questions, but actively encourages it. Open-source means that the ‘source-code’ of this philosophy is open for inspection and improvement by anyone, and that nothing is hidden in between the lines that anyone would need to gatekeep for reasons of power or personal gain. In fact, it’s part of the intention of this discipline to see to it that any such gatekeeping is no longer possible in our world.
Its stated goals:
- To empower people to think wisely and deliberately, so that their thinking is an empowering tool for them to use, rather than them becoming a product of their thinking.
- To recognise that insight and wisdom are not static/unchanging, and as such, trying to think our way to truth based on old knowledge is impossible, and that belief systems, opinion and ideology are not only blinding to us due to the outdated language of thinking they inhabit, but that they also leave us open to division and manipulation.
- To unify humanity through education that will inevitably break down all divisive ideology.
- To reach a place where we can consciously develop a new society, more in-balance with nature and better-aligned with current scientific understanding, without the need for further bloodshed.
All of this will be explored in the coming pages.
- I don’t have a name for this philosophical discipline, or whatever it can be called. There might already be a name for something exactly like this. I haven’t found any, though, and in the interest of not getting lost in “ism”s, I’ll stick with the tagline “Believe and Disbelieve Nothing.”
- I owe endless gratitude and respect to the late historian James Harvey Robinson for motivating this attempt at encapsulating this philosophy. What better way to show my gratitude than to rip some words right out of the introduction of his book Mind in the Making (first printed in 1912):
“If some magical transformation could be produced in people’s ways of looking at themselves and their fellows, no inconsiderable part of the evils which now afflict society would vanish away or remedy themselves automatically. If the majority of influential persons held the opinions and occupied the point of view that a few rather uninfluential people now do, there would, for instance, be no likelihood of another great war; the whole problem of “labor and capital” would be transformed and attenuated; national arrogance, race animosity, political corruption, and inefficiency would all be reduced below the danger point. As an old Stoic proverb has it, people are mostly tormented by the ways they think of of things, rather than by the things themselves. This is eminently true of many of our worst problems today. We have available knowledge and ingenuity and material resources to make a far fairer world than that in which we find ourselves, but various obstacles prevent our intelligently availing ourselves of them.
When we contemplate the shocking derangement of human affairs which now prevails in most civilized countries, including our own, even the best minds are puzzled and uncertain in their attempts to grasp the situation. The world seems to demand a moral and economic regeneration which is dangerous to postpone, but as yet impossible to imagine, let alone direct. We have unprecedented conditions to deal with and novel adjustments to make – there can be no doubt of that. We also have a great stock of scientific knowledge unknown to our grandfathers with which to operate. So novel are the conditions, so copious the knowledge, that we must undertake the arduous task of reconsidering a great part of the opinions about Man and his relations to his fellow-men which have been handed down to us by previous generations who lived in far other conditions and possessed far less information about the world and themselves.“
The book is short and worth the few hours it’ll take to devour it. Download it here for free.
He wrote this:
“The world seems to demand a moral and economic regeneration which is dangerous to postpone, but as yet impossible to imagine...”
Next: Thought and Thinking