29 July 2009

ReasonAction: For a New Age of Reason

Reason. An Age of Reason. We had one once. A lot of great social, scientific, artistic and other thoughts came out of it.

Since starting this blog, I've discovered that someone else, with a very different understanding of reasona disturbingly demagogic understandingis also calling for an "Age of Reason."
http://www.kickthemallout.com/article.php/Story-Georgia_Guide_Stones (This one exhibits some very foul language)

The "Georgia Guide Stones" contain the following, as part of an admonition for an "Age of Reason":
  1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature
  2. Guide reproduction wisely improving fitness and diversity
  3. Unite humanity with a living new language
  4. Rule passion, faith, tradition, and all things with tempered reason
  5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts
  6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court
  7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials
  8. Prize truth, beauty, love, seeking harmony with the infinite
  9. Be not a cancer on the earth. Leave room for nature. Leave room for nature
  10. Balance personal rights with social duties
Some say that these were to be principles put into play to guide a group of survivors after some unspecified disaster that would decimate the human population. Others see it as an admonition to put these things into play now. If the latter group is correct, the Guide Stones call for several billions of people to be intentionally wiped out. If the former group is correct, then there are still problems, as I see it, with the admonitions.

First, one must ask, how would these pieces of advice be put into play? By some demagogic government, no doubt, whether religious or otherwise.

Second, the contents of the advice are questionable. 500 million people (advice #1) is, today, about 2/3 of the population of Europeor approximately the population of North America. Can it be necessary to limit population that much in order to (#9) not be a cancer on the Earth and leave room for nature? I think not.

#2 says to guide reproduction wisely, improving fitness and diversity. Now, is that eugenics? And again, what demagogue is to tell folks that their baby is unfit to live?

#3, a common languagea living (whatever that means) language. I don't see too much trouble with that one, but who's to demagogue it?

#4, ruling with tempered reason. Fine. As long as we're talking individual self-rule, and not some "elite" slimebag, using "reason" that isn't based in fact, logic or truth.

#5, fair laws and just courts. Fine. Define fair and just. The devil is in the details!

#6, internal rule for nations and an international court. The ICC, for instance? That body that is under the control of demagogues? No thanks.

#7, Avoiding petty laws and useless officials should be obvious. We could fix this almost tomorrow, if Ron Paul is elected. But see what our petty laws and worse than useless officials are bringing us? Major difficulties even getting media coverage for the man with a worthwhile plan.

#8, prizing truth, beauty and love should be obvious. Very beautiful in and of itself. I resonate with the idea of harmony with the infinite. I see that as the divine, God, eternal principles. Some folks see it as an attack on Christianity and/or other religions of ancient origin. I don't. I'm fine with this one.

#9, population, I covered above

#10, balancing rights with "social duties"? [gasping]... Rights come with dutiesa lot of folks don't know that. Any more duties than that, and we again start spotting the devil in the details.

I think the denizens of the original Age of Reason would see this particular conception (the whole message of the Guide Stones) as being far too much the opposite of what they fought for.

So, Definitions... An age of reason can only be the kind of reason that an individual exercises, and that may come out of honest argumentation among multiple individuals. Otherwise, it's an age of some kind of demagoguery. This means that the individual makes his or her own decisions, perhaps with wise assistance and perhaps entirely despite all admonitions against any particular choice. The only things outlawed in a true age of reason would be demagoguery or other forceful takings of choice (murder, theft, confinement except as would be applicable for correction of same).

I am for people thinking for themselves, not allowing others to tell them what to think. Of course people learn from one another! But many seekor accept would-be messianic leadership from someone else. Perhaps this is what they learned in school, or from parents, a leader of some kinda kind of learned mental helplessness, becoming convinced that "disaster is what I get when I do my own thinking."

The search for a savior, for someone to tell you what to think, and the willingness mindlessly to think and do as you're told... this is the flipside of a coin that on its front is emblazoned with narcissistic, messiah-complex mental illness. The Georgia Guide Stones instruct respect for nature but perhaps extermination of most of one of nature's creations: humanity. This is internally contradictory, chickenhearted, backwards, and mentally ill. But there is actually a rather large movement that believes such dreck.

I am for people being able to follow their own path. Or if they want, to follow someone else. But not to compel, or be compelled, on a path. I am for the idea that one's freedom is only to be constrained by the life, liberty and property of any other personaccountability for one's impacts on others.

I am for learning (including but not limited to specialization), understanding, helping others with the same. I am for voluntary association with otherswhich precludes coerced participation or non-participation.

In short, I am for the kinds of thought that drove Thomas Jefferson in his best moments: I have sworn upon the altar of God Almighty everlasting hostility to all forms of tyranny over the mind of man.

I am many things, because I have learned many things. I am in wonder at all there is still to know. I refuse to pigeonhole myself or allow others easily to pigeonhole me. I am more than whatever I am doing at any given point in time. But here are some of the things that have fascinated me in life...

Music, graphic arts, business, management (many flavors), wilderness survival, nature, fitness, psychology, electronics and radio and other technologies, philosophy, public policy (note that this is not "politics"), language (English and German mostly, but not helpless elsewhere), community preparedness, family (including pets). Many of these I have done at one or another professional level.

This blog is dedicated to learning and reason, to understanding what things are in the grand scheme of things, and how stuff works. It is also dedicated to freedom, individual freedom and rights, to respectable public policy and a reasonable understanding of the workings, usefulness, and limits of the so-called "social compact."

I hope you find learning and inspiration here. But THINK! Don't just take my word for it. If something sticks in your craw, study it. And tell me, too, what you learn as you do!

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