Here’s a list of principles that outline my world view. I see no point in listing concrete opinions on specific issues; that’s what the blog is for, and such a list would always be subject to change.
- Change is the only constant – nothing stays the same forever; things either grow or decay, sometimes both at once. It is foolish to try to remain static – flexibility and adaptation are far better approaches to life. One must be like the bamboo and bend in the wind.
- Education is critical – education is a silver bullet that can help solve almost all of societies ails. Without it, one cannot make informed decisions; with it, one gains confidence, and new options open.
- Quest for knowledge – it is the privilege of all thinking beings to be able to learn new facts, ideas and perspectives. Only thus do we grow.
- Refine ideas by arguing – I see argument as exhilarating and essential – if I bother to argue with someone, it is more like out of respect and curiosity than out of disdain. I am frustrated by social taboos against discussing contentious issues.
- Strength of the middle – in any battle between two extremes, resolution is almost always somewhere in the moderate middle.
- Mistakes happen – I accept my fallibility, and doubt the honesty of anyone who does not do the same. One should subject opinions to constant scrutiny and re-formulation.
- Perfection is an unreachable obsession – when a mistake is made, it should be briefly examined, then abandoned – one should not become absorbed in self-loathing or navel gazing. Intellectual, physical and social perfection are all impossible, though improvement is always worth striving for.
- Freedom of conscience and speech – it’s not my place to tell people what they must believe, only what I think they should believe. Scorn should be the greatest punishment for dissenting belief.
- Market liberal – markets are indispensable and powerful mechanisms for allocating resources and production; however, they’re not infallible nor are they always the best mechanism. Their strengths and weaknesses should be well understood, and they should be applied carefully.
- Secularist – public policy should be based on shared values, not the special beliefs of some. Individuals are free to decide based on whatever criteria they choose, but shared decisions rely on compromise and shared values.
- Governance at the appropriate level – not all issues should be resolved at a national level. Decisions should be made by individuals, families, communities, municipalities, provinces, states or transnational bodies, depending on where efficacy and freedom are best balanced.
- Agnostic, leaning atheist – I see no evidence for god or any supernatural thing, and find the mythology of all religions incredible. I cannot prove their non-existence, but I assign them very low probability. Regardless, I see some merit in the teachings of various religions, and enjoy the sanctity, quiet, and architecture of holy places.
- Sophistication over simplicity – complexity in design, decision making and ideas should be solved not by throwing detail away, but by distributing it elegantly, forming sophistication. To do otherwise leads to misapprehensions, bad decisions, and a loss of power and agility.
Inevitably, this page is a work in progress – I wouldn’t be open to points 1, 4 and 6 if I didn’t acknowledge that these principles might change over time. Furthermore, it’s probably not complete – it’s merely what came to mind while I was writing..