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The Declaration of Independent Thought

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the intellectual bands which have connected them with other human beings, and to assume a separate and equal station to which the Laws of Reasoning entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

I’m a big fan of individual responsibility, independent thinking and rational problem solving.  A quick look at history will reveal that these three things, when combined, are the basis for most of the positive and dynamic progress made by our species.  To the contrary, most of the worst things done by human beings, were done by large masses of people, not exercising either of the three.  I see no deviation from this standard in the modern world.

As such…

I hold these truths to be self evident:

– The only truth is objective, remaining true after all human emotions, past history, present circumstances and group psychology are removed from the equation.

– There is no difference between a person born in any given part of the world and a person born in another.  This is an outdated and shattered myth.  Geography has no bearing on the positives or negatives of an individual.  Individuals possess similar potential and usefulness, barring extreme mental or physical disabilities.

– Countries do not exist.  This fact can be understood by an individual, and proven very simply.  There are no lines carved into the earth.  We, quite simply, made them up.  People murdered each other a long time ago, and then stopped murdering each other and decided to draw some lines.  This is a fact.  These people were laughably primitive, and therefore they should have no control over our lives.  Simply put, countries are an irrelevant idea, holding back the potential evolution of the species.

– Institutions such as banks or corporations do not exist either.  The individuals who work for them, and the individuals whose lives and environments are affected by the actions of these abstract entities… do exist.

Much individual responsibility, independent thinking and rational problem solving is suppressed or systematically avoided thanks to the passive acceptance that countries, banks and corporations are superior to individual human beings.  This behavior is often described in positive terms, with phrases like ‘patriotism’, ‘nationalism’ and ‘national pride.’  Our entire social structure rewards those who capitalize on the backs of others.  Those with money are considered superior, even though the means with which they aquired vast wealth is nearly always disgusting and exploitative.  You would never tolerate the way your boss speaks to you and the condascending, inferior manner in which you are treated in the workplace from another individual.  You would never tolerate the things banks and corporations and governments get away with from a friend or neighbor.  A good deal of the most atrocious, evil deeds perpetrated by humans could easily be avoided if individuals understood, proclaimed and asserted that countries, banks and corporations are abstract concepts, inferior to the dignity, rights and concerns of the individual.

Independently thinking and behaving, no individual would ever believe that starving or impoverished or enslaved or massacred people deserve their suffering.  Only under the psychological umbrella of a country, or an institution, are such acts accepted, ignored and justified.  No decent, civilized, individual human being would ever willfully deny another human being access to clean water, food, shelter or a respectful and dignified working environment.

Only the group psychology demanded by abstract institutions (banks, corporations and nations), would ever allow such events to transpire.

That being said, there are positives to be had for the organization of groups for positive means, and our current western structure of government (municipal, territorial, national) does hold decent ideas and methods of execution which should not be ignored, rather acknowledged and improved upon, by the constant questioning and updating of practices.

– Certain forms of governance and social norms are more humane, decent and logical than others.  They should not be discarded entirely, rather re-examined, updated, and made to prioritize the well-being of individuals, not of broadly labelled abstract groups.

– A very select group of individuals are a whole lot more intelligent and capable of reasoning on a higher level than the rest of us.  In the world of science, discovery and engineering, this fact is understood and applied.  In social design and governance, it is not.  The greatest thinkers and problem solvers on earth are, for the most part, not solving the greatest and most complex problems we face.  The most powerful and influential decisions should not be made by elected politicians, but instead by the most proven problem solvers.

– War is a primitive activity that no sane and decent individual would ever condone or take part in.  No individual man would ever drop a bomb on another man halfway around the world.  By removing individual responsibility and accountability, it is considered acceptable and necessary. It is not.  Any individual can come to this conclusion, therefore this is a problem which can quickly and simply be addressed, should individuals choose to do so.

– Individuals will almost certainly not choose to do so.

– All religions basically have the same message: “Be a good and decent person.”  They all have their own lists and stories as to why you should, how you should, and what exactly it means to be good and decent (or obedient).   For the most part, they are all ancient, and irrelevant to the modern world.  The only good things we ought to take out of them, are pieces of morality that should be obvious to anyone with a brain and a soul.  Kindergarten stuff.  Try and be nice to people, don’t steal, cheat, lie or hurt others.  Murder is wrong, exploitation, abuse, rape, torture and treating others as inferior are all pretty shitty things to do, and you should figure that out on your own.  More importantly, if you see someone do these things, or behaving in this way, you should confront them and call them out on it, and if you are the victim of these abuses, you should stand up for yourself, and when you do, others should support you.  Individuals must learn to not tolerate such blatant abuses.  We must learn to stick up for each other, rather than abstract or outdated institutions and texts.  You shouldn’t need a book to tell you that starving children and forcing them to work slave labour is wrong… they need help, and none of us should tolerate it.  This should be a basic and understood human attitude, not a religious one.

– Individual thoughts can be deeply profound and meaningful.  In order for enough masses of people to agree on something, it must usually be dumbed down, and stripped of decency, goodness or substance.  This is why empty, meaningless rhetoric pollutes our political language.  It has no meaning.  It does no good. There are exceptions of course, but in general, questioning everything is better than questioning nothing.

If you also hold some, or all, of these truths to be self evident, that’s fine.  If you don’t… that’s fine too.

(I’ll probably be updating this and adding to it at a later date… but I’m sleepy.)

January 9, 2011 Posted by | General Society Ramblings | 14 Comments