Wednesday, March 10, 2010

This author's fundamental principles

Principles are general statements, assertions if you will, or rules.

You may say you value a principle that you don’t actually value, that is your decisions don't align with the principle.

These are the principles which guide my philosophy and should underpin what I post on this Blog. Most of them are things I have discovered, usually from other authors.

A definition:
"By liberty, was meant protection against the tyranny of political rulers" - J.S. Mill, "On Liberty".
By liberty, I mean protection against coercion by threat of violence - from others, rulers, government, anyone.

Basic principles (that I hope correspond to my Operational Values)

When referring to “human being” or “person” I mean an adult. If the person is an adult, these principles apply. If the principles don’t apply, the person isn’t adult.

Individual living human beings are the most important things there are.

Each person owns himself, his body, his mind, and the products of his labor.

Each person is entitled to decide what is good for him or what he wants. No other person, institution, or organization is entitled to make that decision for him.

Each person is responsible for the consequences of his decisions (more specifically, for the consequences of actions he takes based on his decision).

Not holding a person responsible for the consequences of his decisions/actions amounts to not treating that person as an adult; it diminishes him and shows disrespect.

Intentions are nice. Consequences matter. (I'd rather be saved by someone trying to kill me than be killed by someone who intended to save me.)

You show disrespect when you don’t take someone at his word. If a person says he hates you and wants to kill you, believe him unless you want to dishonor him. When a toddler says “I hate my mommy” one dismisses it as childish, responding “Oh, you don’t really mean that”. When an adult, a country, or a society says “We hate you and want to destroy you”, do we show respect by responding “Oh, you don’t really mean that” as if it were a society of children?

A human being is an end in himself, never to be used as a means for the benefit of another. (from Emanuel Kant, if you want to learn more). While it is a virtue to give of oneself for another, it is immoral to require someone to give, or to take from someone, for the benefit of another. The immorality comes from denying the value and humanity of the one taken from, the one who is used

Humanity, society, the community are all abstractions; they don’t really exist. Only individual persons exist. Society doesn’t feel pain; Humanity doesn’t suffer or experience joy; the Community has no nervous system, emotions, expectations, or fears. Therefore, working for the good of society or working to improve the conditions of humanity is just cant, meaningless drivel to justify sacrificing a real person for the alleged benefit of an abstraction, a fiction.

Popular interpretation of John Donne is romantic nonsense: all men are islands. While we interact with each other and affect each other, we are born alone, we suffer alone, we experience pleasure and joy alone, and we die alone. Of course we recognize that others are like us, if we are healthy; we sympathize, we empathize, we recognize that is happening to another by projection of what we know of ourselves; if we care about another we feel Joy at when he experiences Joy, Sorrow when he suffers Pain or Sorrow, but we cannot ever share the experiences of another. We are alone, and so are those we love.

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