Why study? We humans do wonderful things and
awful things, to ourselves and to others, causing much JCA but also much PSDED. In order to stop
causing PSDED, and in order to increase
JCA, we have to understand what it is that we do that is not optimal, and what we should
do instead. Such study is working on a basic ethical philosophy, the basic effort of all Religion.
Why learn? Since we are not optimal in our functioning so
far, we have to bring about change in our brains, such that
the behavioral output is different and better. There is always room for improvement, the goal of all Religion.
Why practice? Any new behavioral tendency that we bring about
in our brains is weak in comparison to that which comes naturally to us or that which
we have been accustomed to doing, and it is through purposeful, effortful repetition ("exercise")
that we strengthen the later, newer behavioral tendencies.
Why improve? Throughout our lives we are frequently being confronted
with new situations that involve complex judgements about
uncertain situations, and it is therefore always possible and even likely that whatever we do, we could
have done something even better, achieving an even
closer approximation to perfection and thus living even
more consistently with the HUEP.
Why model? If indeed we are behaving increasingly
consistently with the HUEP, then we can help others to recognize
the benefit of doing so, and help them to understand how to do so, by setting a model for them for imitation
and identification, one of the most important ways in which all of us learn to do new things.
Why advocate? Others are more likely to join the effort if they become aware of the
possibility of doing so, by virtue of their attention being drawn to that possibility, and the more of us that do
indeed join the effort, the faster we will increase the JCA and reduce the PSDED of our species.
Each of the above efforts is in behalf of
trying to make the world a better place, within our spheres of
influence and within the limits of our capabilities.
"Making the world a better place" is defined here as bringing
about more JCA and less PSDED. For
each of us, our "sphere of influence" is defined here as all
of those individuals (including ourselves) upon whom what we
do has some effect. The outer boundary of one's sphere of
influence is indistinct and unknown. The more influence one has on an individual, the
closer that individual can be said to be to the center of one's sphere of influence.
The self is therefore the center of that sphere.
What we do to and for ourselves (often referred to as "life-style") is important
in determining our capabilities for making the world a better place for others.
In order to live consistently with the HUEP, the Humanian
will seek to develop and live by a basic ethical philosophy that consists of
ethical principles and ethical rules of conduct that are derived rationally from the HUEP and
from existential beliefs (about what exists and how it works) considered most likely to be accurate, including relevant
fundamental facts (see FACTS & VALUES, above), and that promote behavior toward self,
others, and environment that is more optimal (by causing more JCA and/or less PSDED) than what tends to occur naturally (or
to occur currently because of culturally-promoted behaviors that are not optimal). And in order
to optimize this extremely important process, he or she will specifically share and compare his or her concepts
with those of others to obtain critical evaluation of those concepts, with resulting ever-increasing improvement of those concepts, and
he or she will thereby contribute to the process by which our species increasingly works together toward agreement to a basic ethical philosophy for our species.
That process is Humanianity.
Please note again that what is written above is not a required
set of beliefs to be a Humanian. Instead, it is a set of
beliefs that would seem to follow from the HUEP and
from our lifetimes of observation. (The same is also true for all of what
follows below.) You are free to propose otherwise, namely, that the
above-recommended efforts will most likely not be behaving consistently with
the HUEP and/or are not consistent with observation.
But it will be important for you to demonstrate why you believe as you do, and
to engage in dialogue with others who believe differently, in order to reduce the
possibility of misunderstanding and consequent mistake. Such dialogue is
specifically available in our FORUM, but is possible in any setting in which there
is interest and willingness. And the important new tool offered here for the purpose of
working together on building a shared basic ethical philosophy is the Humanian Belief Manual.