RATIONAL-ETHICAL LIVING and RATIONAL-ETHICAL RELIGION
Study, learn, practice, improve, model, advocate
Let us work together to bring about a far, far better life for all of us, all over this planet, acquired through increased ability to cooperate, achieved by in-depth understanding and agreement by everyone regarding certain fundamental ideas. Let this website be a contribution to that effort to promote our species' third exponential change.
First exponential change: Essentially infinite ability to use symbols and rules of syntax, giving us spoken/written language.
Second exponential change: Learned ability to use rules of logic and rules of evidence, giving us science and technology.
Third exponential change: (Just beginning) move from authoritarian ethics to rational ethics, and specifically Humanianity.
Authoritarian ethics: Legitimization of ethics as obedience to the wishes of the most powerful.
Rational ethics: Legitimization of ethics as consistency with the rules of logic and the rules of evidence.
Humanianity: Rational ethics ultimately legitimized by the Humanian Ultimate Ethical Principle (HUEP).
HUEP: "We should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future."
Below are three free books that can either be downloaded from here or be read by using the menu to the left. (Downloading them allows for keeping track of page numbers. Also, please note that all three books can be listened to while being read, in the PODCASTS section, link below.)
FOR EVERYONE: RATIONAL-ETHICAL LIVING AND THE EMERGENCE OF "HOMO RATIONALIS": THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK
FOR EVERYONE: HUMANIANITY: THE MOST IMPORTANT RELIGION
FOR EVERYONE: THE MIND-BODY PROBLEM (AND FREE WILL VS DETERMINISM): THE MOST IMPORTANT PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM
"HOMO RATIONALIS" is a metaphoric label for our species at some time in the future when we finally stop causing ourselves so much unnecessary PSDED (pain, suffering, disability, and early death).
"HUMANIANITY" is a label for the religion (defined here as the adult study in the effort to optimize one's basic ethical philosophy) that we can all accept and should live according to in order to achieve this future goal. It will, I believe, be the religion of "Homo rationalis." (To varying degrees, most of our current religions are manifesting this "movement" toward rational-ethical living and the HUEP.)
As a "HUMANIAN," you can belong to any of the current religions, and probably should, but you will almost certainly want to do your part to improve your religion, insofar as it contains elements that cause unnecessary PSDED. But being Humanian involves an extremely fundamental assessment of your way of life and almost certainly some rather profound efforts at changing yourself, as your way of doing your part to make the world a better place, a place where there is maximal joy, contentment, and appreciation and minimal PSDED, for everyone, now and in the future.
The first book is like a "textbook." Because of its method, it should be read in the order written, and it should be repeatedly read and studied to get the most benefit. This book contains the earliest foundations of the Humanianity concept, from the lexicon that is consistently used (in order to reduce to a minimum the usual semantic confusion that results from efforts to discuss fundamental ideas) to the basic ideas underlying what is being advocated for everyone's consideration. (The exception is that what is now called the HUEP was called at that time the REUEP, i.e., the "rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle.")
The second book is finally finished, as written by me. But also, there are other chapters to be written by other Humanians of different religious traditions (including those who are atheistic and do not ascribe to any current religious organizations or belief systems). There is already a sufficient amount written that it should be helpful. It can be read before reading the "textbook," but reading the "textbook" should greatly enhance the value of this book. And reading the third book, on the philosophical problems that underlie so much of our religious, and therefore to some extent political, divisions, will help even more to understand the value of Humanianity.
The third book is on the mind-body problem and its closely related free will vs. determinism problem. These philosophical problems actually underlie much of our paralysis with regard to the necessary agreement among us to advance toward the time of "Homo rationalis." My effort has been to clarify that problem such that we can indeed ultimately agree, and to present my opinions regarding how that understanding can help us to resolve some issues that have always plagued us with so much PSDED.
I am leaving a place for a fourth book, just in case one materializes.
The remaining components of this PHILOSOPHY portion of this website are clarifications and elaborations of the basic ideas. (Some are previously posted presentations, some are specific, important quotes from one of the books, and some are original material produced for this website.) My effort is to have as much of this basic way of thinking as possible in one place, undiluted by other belief systems with other lexicons. I believe it takes a while to learn a belief system adequately such as to be able to evaluate it, and dialogues tend to fragment the thinking process such that some of the understanding that might be gained by study of just the one belief system can be lost.
But I believe all belief systems should be subject to critical analysis and efforts to find flaws in such thinking, since that leads to much greater depth of understanding and a greater chance of increasing accuracy of belief. I therefore encourage anyone to challenge any of the ideas presented, and the place that can best be done is in the FORUM (link below).
The "Relevant Autobiography" is provided to satisfy a natural curiosity about the background of someone presenting a set of ideas, and perhaps might increase the desire to explore more thoroughly what is being presented. However, the ideas being presented here should stand or fall on the basis of how reasonable they seem to the reader, rather than on the basis of who it is that is presenting the ideas and what the background of that person might be. I maintain that the ideas being presented here should be able to be evaluated by everyone, not just those immersed in a special field of knowledge and activity.
I receive no financial benefit from these books, or from this website. There is nothing to buy, nor any advertisement or recommendation to buy anything, nor any donation requested. I am putting forth this effort because of my extreme gratitude for all my species has done for me, in order to do my part, in return, to make life better for everyone, insofar as possible.
I can best be contacted through the Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group (Meetup.com), of which I am the organizer. It is an accepted principle of that group that all ideas should be open to challenge, in an effort to enhance our wisdom and optimize our chances for having a better life on this planet than we have so far achieved. The following is a link to that Message Board: http://philosophy.meetup.com/240/boards/
William V. Van Fleet, M.D. (Bill Van Fleet)