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HUMANIANITY
THIS WEBSITE AND ITS WORD-USAGE
(FOR REFERENCE AND INTENSIVE STUDY)


HOW TO USE THIS PAGE OF THE HOME SECTION
(This page can be used in two primary ways.)
The concept of Humanianity is not easily understood, because it is not a usual way of thinking. It is a view of our species maximally consistent with modern science, but also seeing our species as just beginning to undergo certain cultural (not biological) changes that ultimately will make it drastically better than it has always been so far, changes based on increasing cooperation fed by a newly emerging, unifying ethics produced by conjoint, intensive study of differences in ethical beliefs. This page of the HOME section is a fairly detailed, organized presentation of the major components of the concept of "Humanianity." It is designed to be either read in the order written (for orderly concept-building) or used as a reference for the basic concepts and definitions, by means of the underlined headings to take you directly to what you are seeking.

BELOW YOU WILL FIND:
 
BASIC DEFINITIONS AND EXPLANATIONS FOR THIS WEBSITE
(Agreed-upon meanings of words are essential for achieving optimal mutual understanding, necessary for highly effective cooperation.)
DEFINED AND EXPLAINED BELOW (as used on this website):
 
1. "Basic animal nature" as used here refers to all those emotions (e.g., joy, anger, fear, and sadness) and behaviors (e.g., eating/drinking, sleeping, defecating/urinating, sexing, laughing, playing, singing, dancing, displaying, exploring, attention-seeking, lovemaking, tool-using, tricking, and fighting/submitting) manifested by many other (animal) species in addition to our own. Each species manifests these same basic emotions and behaviors in ways that may be somewhat unique to that species. This is true also, of course, for the human species, in which our basic animal nature is being manifested often through our highly unique complex symbolic language capability and even our highly unique rationality that has given us our science and technology. So through our language and our science and technology we often do the same things other animals do, in our own human ways that are so different from what any other animals do that it may be difficult to recognize them as being basically the same as what other animals do (e.g., fighting and love-making with our words, exploring and playing with our cellphones, etc.). And these things that we do can be very enriching and promote a wonderful life for us, but they can also sometimes detract from a positive life and even bring us tragedy.
Note: Although probably almost all of the above behaviors can at times be positive and helpful, they can often also lead to PSDED (pain, suffering, disability, and/or early death) if done in certain ways or under certain conditions. Dominance-hierarchy-related phenomena, such as struggling for dominance (fighting, competing), rebellion/submission, and punishment/revenge, are especially noteworthy in this regard.
Note: It is important to recognize that any particular behavior may be being produced by more than just one motivational state (state of wanting to do something), and that those motivational states may be a mixture of ones that are usually beneficial when acted on and ones that are usually detrimental, so the presence of a usually detrimental motivational state as one of the underlying motivational states producing a particular behavior does not automatically mean that the behavior itself is non-optimal. To make a judgement about a particular behavior, the important determining factor regarding the "goodness" of the behavior is the set of predicted or actual outcomes of that behavior.
Note: Our basic animal nature manifests itself in ways that vary from that which is very obvious and "animalistic," such as physical fighting and raping, to that which is possible only for humans and thus highly sophisticated and subtle, such as fighting by using in our language clever, demeaning, hostile connotation and implication (e.g., pejorative adjectives), or engaging in other dominance-hierarchy-related behavior (e.g., territoriality) by the use of money (wealth). And a fair amount of our sophisticated, human manifestations of our basic animal nature, despite causing PSDED, is admired and enjoyed by many, such as the fighting involved in some sports (causing disability and early death), the use of cleverly hostile speech, and the display of anger in (frequently violent) mob protests.
Note: Our basic animal nature has been formed by the processes of natural selection, which have to do with survival of the species, not quality of life. But we humans, with our newly acquired enormous capabilities compared to all other species on this planet, can modify (ethically) our natural behavioral tendencies, in order to not only survive but also have a much better quality of life. And accomplishing this on the broadest possible scale is what Humanianity is about. However, we have a long way to go before we eliminate as much as possible our preventable, human-induced PSDED.
Note: The term "human nature" is widely used, but in highly ambiguous, poorly defined ways, so that it is not used on this website. To be consistent with the terminology of this website, it would probably be something like "our basic animal nature, plus our uniquely human ways of manifesting that basic animal nature." But there would probably be multiple suggested alternatives to this definition, and no ultimate agreement as to an optimal definition. The idea of human nature being that which we uniquely have that comes naturally would be subject to the question as to what is meant by "naturally" and what was actually unique in our characteristics that was not just a human version of something that was not unique, but found in other species also.
Note: The concept of "our basic animal nature," i.e., tendencies to engage in certain kinds of behavior that have become built into us and many other animal species by evolution, is an extremely important one. If our aim is to achieve a far better way of life than we have had so far, then we have to markedly increase our ability to change our behaviors that are not optimal into ones that are much more optimal. In order to do that, it is very important to recognize how powerful certain tendencies, kinds of behaviors, are within us, as a species, and also the many ways in which those tendencies manifest themselves, so that we can take much more seriously than we have so far the necessity to gain much greater control over them. Although these tendencies manifest themselves in specific behaviors that are to a great extent learned from our cultures, and therefore vary between cultures, and can be very different than the behaviors in many other species produced by these same tendencies, the tendencies themselves are extremely strong, and not easily modified. For instance, it may be relatively easy to stop being hostile in one particular way only to manifest that hostility in some other way. To gain control over hostility in general, it is important to recognize all the different ways in which it is manifested, and to be able to see and understand the basic tendency itself. Otherwise, we will find ourselves simply substituting certain specific behaviors for other specific behaviors, without recognizing that we are still manifesting the same basic tendencies, built into us through the process of evolution. Understanding as thoroughly as possible the causes of our non-optimal behaviors helps us to modify them.
Note: Some people may interpret the concept of "basic animal nature" to be a judgmental, derogatory view of humans, and may therefore be prone to reject the concept. This would be related to the tendency to refer to someone derogatorily as "behaving like an animal." The effort on this website is to increase the awareness of tendencies that we humans have that are shared by many other species, and has nothing to do with the judgment as to whether our species is "good" or "bad." It is simply an effort to increase our understanding of ourselves as deeply as possible, so that we can make more rational and effective decisions about what we should and should not do. Whether our specific behaviors are "good" or "bad" is a judgment that should be made on the basis of the predicted or actual outcomes of those behaviors, not on the basis of what basic tendencies have produced them.
 
2. "Culture" as used here refers to all of those more specific ways of manifesting one's basic animal nature that are characteristic of individuals in a specified group and may (or may not) be different from those of individuals in some other groups, produced by the characteristic ways that the individuals in the group interact with one another, through the effects of positive and negative reinforcement (usually thought of as punishment, reward, teaching, and modeling for identification).
Note: The "specified group" may be of any size, ranging from something like the family all the way to the "global community." It may be geographically located, or defined in some other manner, such as by a particular work setting or club membership.
Note: When the group is geographically located and large, such as a nation, one of the most culture-formative processes is that of child rearing. It is during that process that basic "cultural values" (e.g., preferences, aversions, ethical beliefs, etc.) are passed on.
Note: Change in culture most usually occurs when the individuals in a group are exposed to the behaviors, including the expressed thoughts, of individuals not in that culture. This will especially occur when there is immigration of individuals from one culture into the group of another culture. But it can also occur by other means of becoming knowledgeable about or familiar with the culture of another group, such as through education and exposure through the media.
Note: Because "tribalism," the tendency to be unempathetic with and even hostile or predatory toward those not within one's "tribe" (tribe proper or larger group, perhaps even nation), is a part of the basic animal nature, the integration of two cultures is often accompanied by a temporarily increased amount of hostile conflict. Such conflicts can be avoided to some extent by the minority group members "staying to themselves." Because the basic animal nature also contains tendencies toward attachment, the tendency toward conflict can be significantly reduced as the individuals from different cultures "get to know each other personally." Under such circumstances, the values of "tolerance" and "understanding" tend to arise in such groups containing individuals of different cultures. Thus, one will often see conflict within such groups regarding the management of attitudes toward those who are "different" (ranging from discrimination and persecution to tolerance and welcoming).
Note:"Cultural victimization" is a phrase referring to the fact that every culture, at least currently, has some components that cause PSDED. Characteristically, individuals who are being victimized by their culture do not recognize their victimization, because, according to the beliefs produced by that culture, what is happening is indeed what should happen.
 
3. "Dominance-hierarchy-related (DHR) phenomena" as used here refers to all of those components ("DHR emotions" and "DHR behaviors") of the basic animal nature involved in the development and maintenance of hierarchical social organization, as well as more complex cultural management of such DHR emotions and behaviors.
Note: For humans, DHR behaviors include competing, demonstration of prowess, play-fighting, actual fighting, threatening, cursing, scolding, punishing, shaming, ridiculing, laughing at, smirking, arching of the eyebrow, ignoring, yelling at, interrupting, shouting down, refusing to speak, putting down, mocking, pejorative labeling, apologizing, lowering the gaze, bowing, complimenting, bullying, cyber-bullying, needless horn-blowing, teasing, annoying, tormenting, showing off, territoriality, passive aggression, triangling, vandalizing, desecrating, protesting, obstructing, disobeying, obeying, etc.
Note: For humans, DHR emotions (motivating such behavior and resulting from it) include joy, affection, admiration, excitement, pride, fear, anger, envy, jealousy, depression (even suicidal), guilt, shame, feeling superior, feeling inferior, hatred, self-hatred, etc.
Note: For humans, DHR complex cultural phenomena (the manifesting and managing of DHR phenomena within a culture) include class, property, money, wealth, capitalism, tribalism, racism, loyalty, slavery, fashion, grading (educational and other), sports, child rearing, law enforcement (including incarceration, solitary confinement, torture, and execution), war, genocide, terrorism, authoritarian ethics, authoritarian-ethical religions, dehumanization, discrimination, subjugation (e.g., of women), harassment (sexual and other), etc.
Note: Social organization, enabling increased capability through division of function among members and coordination of effort thereby, and perhaps through more optimal mate selection (in the natural environment), promotes survival of the species, but it has nothing to do with the quality of life of the members of that species. Some parts of such social organization may indeed be associated with increased JCA (joy, contentment, and/or appreciation), but other parts can be, and often are, associated with markedly increased PSDED (pain, suffering, disability, and early death).
Note: We humans, because of our highly capable tool usage (especially language and technology), may manifest our DHR behaviors in extremely sophisticated ways, such that we do not recognize that we are doing what other animals do. In fact, probably most of our PSDED is indeed produced by our extremely sophisticated DHR behavior. This important issue, and its relevancy to Humanianity, is discussed in detail on the CHALLENGE page.
 
4. "Ethics" as used here refers to efforts to understand and improve the enhancement/inhibition/modification of our basic animal nature by positive/negative reinforcement provided by the culture, through child rearing, adult individual and small group interaction, and societal organization, consisting therefore of concern with what behavior (including thought, i.e., anything that there seems to be voluntary control over) is good/bad, or right/wrong. Important related terms, defined below, are "ethical belief," "existential belief," "ethical sense," "authoritarian ethics," "rational ethics," and "legitimization of a belief."
Note: "Positive/negative reinforcement" might seem to refer only to "reward and punishment," but there is much positive reinforcement produced by the awareness that one is accomplishing learning what is being taught, and also much positive reinforcement in becoming aware that one is successfully imitating (and ultimately identifying with) the behavior of an admired other or the behavior of one's group members. Thus, the idea that acquiring ethical beliefs is only a result of specifically being punished for "bad" behavior and rewarded for "good" behavior is an oversimplification. Basically, however, ethics has to do with modifying what one would naturally do because of being in some sort of social situation that calls for different behavior. Thus people talk about doing what one should do rather than just whatever one "feels like doing."
Note: Such enhancement/inhibition/modification can also, of course, consist of even further change of previously arrived at ethical modifications, allowing for improvement in ethics (and ultimately even improvement in cultures). And indeed, Humanianity is an improvement in our cultures (especially our religions), that have always been highly problematic.
Note: Although the term "ethics" and related terms such as "ethical" usually refer to human phenomena, these phenomena manifest themselves in other species also, though of course quite differently in non-humans because of the almost complete absence of such phenomena in, and their modifications by, symbolic language (exceptions perhaps being some verbal instruction of pets and accomplishments of sign language communication with some non-humans). Ethics is referring to that phenomenon that is manifested by a child, or dog, or chimpanzee, etc., involving learning what should and should not be done, but it is also referring to our human study of, and improvement of, those phenomena, primarily by use of symbolic language.
Note: The terms "moral," "morals," and "morality" are not being used on this website, because there is no clearly and generally understood distinction between those terms and the term "ethics" (and related such terms), despite occasional efforts to make such a distinction. For the purposes of this website, the assumption can be made that, usually, the terms ("ethical" and "moral") are referring to the same phenomena, but using the two terms would probably result in increased ambiguity and uncertainty as to their possibly different referents, with resulting reduced clarity of thinking.
 
5. "Belief" as used here refers to a model (in the brain, or in the "mind") of something presumably in "reality." The belief can be further modeled linguistically in the form of a sentence, or proposition.
Note: A "model" as used here is anything, constructed or naturally occurring, the characteristics of which are such that they allow predictions about the characteristics of that of which it is being considered a model. Thus, a model is not the same as that of which it is a model. For instance, a model car is not the same as the car of which it is a model, but examining the model car will allow one to predict things about the actual car (if the model is an accurate one). So one's perception of something is not the same as what is being perceived, and the perception can be correct, distorted, incorrect, etc. One's belief about something can likewise be correct, distorted, incorrect, etc.
Note: "Reality" here refers to that which exists independently of our opinions (beliefs) about it and of our possible perceptions of it. Thus, our beliefs and perceptions are only models of reality, that can be good or poor models, but are basically different than reality itself. The word "reality" is used in various other ways in normal discourse, allowing for much ambiguity. (An example is a statement such as, "What is reality for you may be different than what is reality for me.") The most basic, primary function of the term "reality" is as an explanation for the ability to predict, there being no other evidence available for its existence. It is the explanation for how a belief or perception or statement can be "correct," i.e., lead to accurate predictions.
Note: The word "belief" is also sometimes used in very different ways in normal discourse, leading at times to breakdown in communication. An example is that the word "beliefs" means, to some people, that set of beliefs that are advocated for in certain religious doctrines, and some of those people therefore react negatively to the word, and represent themselves as having no beliefs. That is not the meaning of "belief" used here. The meaning used here is the one which is most consistent with the usual usage in everyday discourse. Examples are, "I believe that tomorrow is going to be a good day," or "I believe that I left my keys in the car," or "I believe that humans have caused dangerous climate change," or "I believe that Jesus actually did exist," or "I believe that we will eventually eradicate cancer." (In each of these examples the linguistic model of the belief is the proposition that follows the word "that.")
Note: Because our species has acquired the enormous capability of modeling our beliefs with essentially unlimited symbolic language in the form of "sentences" or "propositions," we have developed an unusual capability of improving the precision, consistency, and accuracy of those beliefs, as described in the three notes below. (This capability, however, has been acquired by specific individuals only to varying extents, dependent upon their unique experiences within child-rearing, education, and the culture (as well as specific subcultures), and can be further limited by various other determinants of belief that have to do with maintenance of comfort and compliance with cultural and subcultural expectations and demands regarding specific sets of beliefs.)
Note: The "precision" of our beliefs refers to the ability to know exactly what we are thinking about and talking about, in great detail. Our initial learning of our symbols (primarily words), in childhood, is very general and often rather ambiguous, only gradually becoming more specific, and seldom highly specific except in areas of activity usually referred to as "technical." Our much more common use of language is very imprecise, this usually not causing significant problems by virtue of communication breakdown unless this lack of clarity in meaning results in social conflict based upon perceived difference of belief or results in mistaken action due to faulty communication. This lack of precision is actually often valued as a source of creativity (the thinking of new thoughts), and is sometimes skillfully enhanced with the use of metaphor, innuendo, connotation, etc., referred to often as "poetic," essentially the opposite of "technical." The specific technique used to increase precision of meaning is definition, which is therefore a very important part of what must be learned and used properly in technical areas of thought.
Note: The "consistency" of our beliefs refers to the ability to have systems, or sets, of beliefs that are non-contradictory to each other. The specific technique that accomplishes this consistency is the use of the rules of logic. In normal, everyday thinking, there is some (limited) ability to detect contradiction in one's beliefs, producing "cognitive dissonance," that may be accompanied by some degree of suffering. We have mental methods of preventing that suffering without revision of the contradictory beliefs, sometimes referred to with terms such as "denial," "rationalization," and "compartmentalization." Again, the use of the rules of logic is very important in any technical area of thought.
Note: The "accuracy" of our beliefs refers to the ability to avoid making mistakes (a source of PSDED), by virtue of the ability to predict correctly. The specific technique that accomplishes this accuracy is the use of the rules of evidence, the extreme of this activity being the methods of Science, sometimes referred to collectively as the "scientific method." Our species has only very recently acquired to an extreme extent this capability (which is dependent also upon precision and consistency), that has resulted in our second major exponential change (making us drastically different from all other species and from the way we were before the change), namely, the growth of our science and technology. But we have come to recognize that although we are able to accomplish a fair amount of satisfactorily accurate prediction, we are quite capable of making mistakes due to inaccurate beliefs arising from more primitive methods of arriving at conclusions, often referred to as "superstition."
Note: One can observe a frequent occurrence of rejection of, and discrimination against, efforts to make use of precision, consistency, and accuracy in discussions, such efforts being criticized as improper interference in such discussion. (This can be observed frequently in group discussions where a member of the group suggests that one or more of the terms being used be defined for the purpose of that discussion. Such tendencies are described in more detail in the CHALLENGE page of the HOME section, link above.)
 
6. "Legitimization of a belief" as used here refers to the reason(s) a person has or gives for having the belief and for believing that others should agree (have the same belief). Two main methods of legitimization of belief are (1) authoritarian and (2) rational. When neither of these methods is used, the term (3) "arbitrary" would usually be used, referring to the various reasons why an individual would have a belief that may be variable, hard to specify, and/or not convincing as to value. "Authoritarian" legitimization of belief would be maintenance of belief as an act of obedience to a dominant entity (e.g., parent, leader, culture, deity). "Rational" legitimization of belief would be maintenance of belief by demonstration, as much as possible, of consistency with the use of the rules of logic and the rules of evidence (see definition of "rationality").
Note: The term, "authoritarian," does not have the same meaning as "authoritative," and "authoritarian rule" or "authoritarian leadership" refers to something different than the having of one's decision-making be influenced by someone (an "authority") who is recognized as being highly knowledgeable with regard to information relevant to that decision-making. "Authoritarian" rule or leadership is referring to the controlling and influencing of behavior through usage of methods that involve dominance/submission patterns of social interaction, for instance the threat of or use of dreaded behavior (often referred to as "punishment"), as well as the giving or offering of some sort of significant reward.
Note: An individual may have as a reason for believing something that another person, considered an "authority," stated it to be so, but the two main reasons for considering that person to be an authority would be either authoritarian or rational, i.e., that that "authority" was believing it out of appropriate obedience (e.g., the "authority" being a disciple) or out of rational understanding (e.g., the "authority" being a scientist or historian, with adequately increased odds thereby of being correct).
 
7. "Existential belief" as used here refers to a belief about existence, meaning how the world is, was, and/or will be, including what is likely to happen or have happened (in general or in response to something), and how it works (the rules it operates by).
Note: All behavior (all decision-making) is based in part upon (existential) beliefs about existence and how it works. All decision-making involves efforts at prediction of outcome based upon existential beliefs. And of course such predictions are themselves existential beliefs. So the more accurate our existential beliefs are, the less likely we are to make mistakes (that increase the odds of outcomes involving PSDED).
Note: The term, "existential," as used here has nothing to do with the philosophy of "existentialism."
 
8. "Ethical belief" as used here refers to a belief about what should or should not be done (by the self and/or others). It is belief as to what the right thing is to do, no matter what else one might want to do for other reasons.
Note: The word "should" has two main meanings, but in this context, only the second meaning is relevant. (The next two notes explain further.)
Note: The first main meaning of "should" is that which is implied in a sentence like, "According to the map, it should be just around the corner." This meaning, then, models an expectation (prediction), an existential belief, not an ethical belief. This same meaning of "should" would be reflected by the statement, "It should be around the corner." This would be a way of stating one's existential belief that "it is around the corner" (perhaps accompanied by an admission of some lack of confidence in the belief, with an implied reference to the uncertain reliability of the source of the belief).
Note: The second main meaning of "should" is that which is implied in a sentence like, "[I, you, we, they, those interested, etc.] should (or should not) do X." X would be some behavior (perhaps a procedure). This second meaning implies the associated words "in order to." So, a complete statement would be something like, "In order to accomplish goal Y, we should do X." This is still not a model, necessarily, of an ethical belief. (Y could simply be an optional goal among many to consider, or even an example of a goal that many would agree would not be the right thing to want to do.) So this sentence again would be an existential belief (about how the world works, and therefore what is predictable). In order for the sentence to be a model of an ethical belief, goal Y would have to be "to do the right thing," or some more specific behavior that was assumed to be "the right thing to do." This of course leaves the meaning of "the right thing" undefined. There would therefore remain the necessity, for complete legitimization, to legitimize goal Y as being the right thing to do. (As explained below in the defintion of ultimate ethical principle, if there is such a principle, it cannot be so legitimized; otherwise, it would not be ultimate.)
Note: In the situation in which an ethical belief is being stated, the component of the sentence having to do with "in order to" is usually omitted, there being an assumption of agreement (questionable, of course) that goal Y is indeed the right goal to have. Two goals that would be possible examples would be "to please God" and "to be consistent with the HUEP" (these two examples, of course, being related to the concepts of "authoritarian ethics" and "rational ethics that is Humanian," to be clarified below, under the definitions of authoritarian ethics and rational ethics).
 
9. "Ethical sense" as used here refers to the wanting (motivation) to do something because of one's ethical belief that it is the right thing to do.
Note: The ethical sense may be strong or weak, and in successful or unsuccessful competition with other motivations to do other things instead. Also, one may want to do the same thing that one believes that one should do, for other reasons. But "ethical sense" refers only to that motivational state, or wanting to do it, that exists because of the ethical belief that one should do it.
Note: The ethical sense is not a specific psychological or biological entity, but instead in most cases probably a mixture of more basic motivational states that varies according to ethical belief and the situation that is causing that ethical belief to manifest itself in some way. Also, what motivational states will be brought about by a particular ethical belief will be determined in part by the way in which the ethical belief was acquired, including how ethical beliefs in general were acquired during childhood (depending for instance on whether the child rearing was more punitive or more non-punitive). Thus, the ethical sense may include an unpleasant fear of punishment or anticipation of guilt and/or a pleasurable anticipation of being admired, liked, or appreciated.
 
10. "Ethical rule of conduct" as used here refers to an ethical belief about what the usually right kind of behavioral response is to a certain kind of situation, i.e., what (usually) should be done in such a situation.
Note: Such a rule is a warning device to increase the awareness of an increased probability of making a mistake if one is about to act differently than the rule suggests, the warning being that one should therefore "stop and think before acting." Thus, there is no assumption that an ethical rule of conduct must always be followed. The ultimate decision must be based upon the situation involved and all of the relevant ethical rules of conduct and ethical principles.
 
11. "Ethical principle" as used here refers to an ethical belief about the general goals that should be sought in all that is done.
Note: There is no definite dividing line between "ethical belief," "ethical rule of conduct," and "ethical priniciple," all being ethical belief (about what should be done), the difference having primarily to do with degree of specificity/generality.
 
12. "Ultimate ethical principle" as used here refers to that ethical principle (belief), if there is one, with which any other ethical belief, rule of conduct, or principle should be consistent within a basic ethical philosophy, the demonstration or claim of such consistency being its legitimization. Thus, it is the most general ethical belief, if there is one, in a specific basic ethical philosophy.
Note: Since the principle is "ultimate" (most general), this principle cannot be legitimized by demonstration of consistency with an even higher, or more general, such principle. Therefore, its legitimization can be neither authoritarian nor rational, and therefore could be said to be arbitrary. (See "legitimization of a belief.")
 
13. "Basic ethical philosophy" as used here refers to a system of basic existential and ethical beliefs related to doing the right thing, or the optimization of behavior ("behavior" referring here to anything that one presumably has any voluntary control over, thus possibly including "thought" and "feeling").
Note: A person's basic ethical philosophy may be largely unverbalized and automatic, or very verbalized and well thought out, depending upon how much the individual has studied ethical issues, either alone or with others.
 
14. "Religion" as used here refers to the adult systematic study of how best to live our lives, i.e., what we should and should not do, and thus to the adult systematic study for the purpose of improving our ethical beliefs and ethical sense. ("Do" refers to behavior, thought, and feeling, whatever there is any voluntary control over.) It is our set of systematic efforts to improve our basic ethical philosophies, whether undertaken individually or within groups. Those efforts consist of listening to presentations, studying of literature, sharing and comparing of ideas in small groups, and engaging in meditative thinking and reviewing of one's life, for the purpose of identification of, and improved adherence to, a set of optimal basic ethical beliefs (rules of conduct, principles).
Note: The concept of "definition" being used here is that of a statement of the sort, "X (the label being defined) is all Y of which Z is true." Thus, if the statement is that Z is generally true of X but that there are exceptions, then the statement would be considered a "description of most X," rather than a "definition of X." So if theism is generally true of Religion, but there are exceptions, then theism would be a description of most Religion rather than a definition of Religion. This is mentioned because currently there is a strong, negative reaction on the part of many individuals to anything that is labeled "religion," by virtue of stereotyping all Religion as containing some of what they consider the worst characteristics of many (but not all) religions.
Note: There is a tendency to assume that the concept of "Religion" implies existential beliefs about the existence and nature of a "god" or other supernatural entities, but there are non-theistic, non-supernaturalistic religions, and also even some such individuals in some of the generally theistic, supernaturalistic religions, so theism / supernaturalism is not here considered a defining characteristic of Religion.
Note: There also is a tendency to assume that the concept of "Religion" implies belief based upon "faith" (belief maintained in the face of lack of evidence, or in the face of evidence to the contrary) or belief based upon obedience to authority, but this is not true of all religions, nor of all individuals in some of the religions, so such is not here considered a defining characteristic of Religion.
Note: Most religions have other functions, or purposes, also, primarily those of promoting an optimistic outlook (e.g., whether there is life after death), helping the disadvantaged and troubled, and providing a sense of belonging and participation, but working on being a good person is the one function of Religion that is and has always been the assumed primary purpose of Religion, and Religion has always been the recognized culturally-provided activity most readily available to everyone wishing to study how to become a better person, thus making working on becoming a better person the primary, and therefore defining, function of Religion. (Those who have become opposed to religions readily refer, negatively, to their "controlling" function. Indeed, ethics has to do with attaining ever-better control over our non-optimal tendencies.)
Note: The definition of "Religion" used here (and considered most accurate), then, will result in the possibility of considering some cultural activities as religious ones, even though the individuals participating in them might object to such a designation because of the frequently used, non-optimal definition of "religion" that identifies religion with some of what they have considered to be its worst examples. (It is expected that, if progress continues to be made with regard to rationality, the individuals in such organizations will ultimately gladly consider their efforts to be "religious," due to their recognition of the extreme importance of "Religion," as more appropriately defined.)
Note: There has always been the recognition that our "tribes" (ranging from small groups or tribes proper to nations) have needed some source of guidance and/or coercion to do the right thing, according to the values of that group, such that these "tribes" have needed some ultimate source of "authority." Initially, there was no distinction between an understanding of existence (which easily contained beliefs in entities that we now regard as "supernatural" or nonexistent) and beliefs about what should and should not be done. There was no distinction between "religion" and "government." As time has gone on, perhaps due to these "tribes" becoming increasingly large (e.g., nations) and therefore multi-religious, there has been a gradual separation of these concepts, government having to do with procedures involved in decision-making and religion having to do with the ethical foundations for the goals of such decision-making. This has occurred probably also because of the increasing disillusionment with some of the existential beliefs advocated for in most of the religions, due to the demonstrated superiority of scientific explanatory models as foundations for existential beliefs, and the inability to agree with regard to the religious existential beliefs. So increasingly in many parts of the world people have been putting some distance between religion and government. This has been despite the fact that the government is made up of individuals, all of whom have various basic ethical philosophies, many of which derive from religious teaching and from the mutual sharing of beliefs (study) within religious organizations, and despite the fact that individuals working for and within such governments will necessarily be guided to some extent by their basic ethical philosophies, and sometimes therefore their religious memberships.
Note: Because there is fairly widespread recognition and agreement that there are some bad things in at least some of the religions, there are two possible recommended corrective responses, namely, that Religion should be "stamped out" (or allowed to "die out"), or that Religion should be improved. Because there is much good in the religions that is not easily found elsewhere and generally available to all, the response advocated for in this website is the improvement of Religion. A strong analogy would be that of helping children to mature, or become more civilized, rather than stamping them out (or allowing them to "die out"). This orientation is consistent with this website's general view of our species as being very young in its development, young in terms of what we can possibly accomplish in an improved way of living on this planet. (Of course children have the advantage of adults to observe, whereas our species has to use its imagination, perhaps stimulated by the behavior of some of its members, and further guided by increasingly accurate beliefs acquired through the sciences, for guidance as to what is necessary for such maturity to occur.)
Note: Our religions have been our collective efforts to improve ourselves, or stated in another way, our species' efforts to improve itself. Our religions have reflected who we are, because it is we that have constructed them. As our species improves, so will its religions that it creates, and those religions will be our tools to aid in that self-improvement. Those tools will of course have their imperfections, but will be improved over time as we improve over time. At this point in our history, we are having difficulty improving our religions because of their containing existential beliefs maintained by most of the creators of those religions at the time of their creation, those existential beliefs now being found to be somewhat at odds with existential beliefs arrived at through our scientific methods (that we recognize are far more useful because of their accurate modeling of reality, thus drastically increasing our capabilities).
Note: In our religions, our studying of ethical issues, we must make use of symbolic language in order to communicate. The problem is that our language of everyday use is to a significant extent "poetic," making some use of all of those methods used more intensively in poetry proper, e.g., metaphor, idiom, connotation, etc., resulting in creative but ambiguous meaning, and therefore to some extent possible communication breakdown. Thus, we could speak of "poetic ethics," the ethics that we have normally. What is needed, then, is "technical ethics," characterized by word usage that is as much as possible precise and unambiguous. In the actual implementation of a culture's ethical beliefs, technical language is indeed used, in the legal sphere. However, as a species, we have come to no satisfactory agreement with regard to the best ethical foundations for any of our highly variable, culturally based legal systems. This means that what is legal in one culture could quite easily result in beheading in another culture. Humanianity, then, is a movement that, it would seem, would involve the emergence of "technical ethics" in its effort toward increasing agreement with regard to a basic ethical philosophy for our species. And, indeed, that increase in linguistic precision is one of the efforts engaged in by this website, especially in this section.
Note: Our religions can be described as being primarily authoritarian-ethical or rational-ethical, as these terms are defined below. Religion that comes naturally to the human species is that which is consistent with authoritarian ethics, and is thus authoritarian-ethical Religion. The emergence of rational-ethical Religion is to a great extent what is meant by Humanianity, and is made possible by the recent development of rationality (see the next definition), and therefore rational ethics.
 
15. "Rationality" (and "Rational") as used here refers to the requirement that belief be consistent, as much as possible, with the results of using the rules of logic and the rules of evidence.
The rules of logic are the procedural rules that determine whether a set of propositions, or sentences, that might for instance express (model) beliefs, are consistent with one another (involve no contradiction).
The rules of evidence are the procedural rules that have been demonstrated to lead to the most accurate (existential) beliefs about the nature of existence, the most advanced rules of evidence being the scientific methods, sometimes referred to collectively as the "scientific method."
Note: The vast majority of decisions we make on a moment-by-moment basis are not based upon beliefs that are the results of scientific studies, but instead are based upon our daily experience and upon what we are told by others. However, we have recognized the benefit of having non-contradictory beliefs and of having beliefs that seem to be consistent with what we observe and what has become fairly reliably predictable. We nevertheless know that we can fail to see contradictions and can draw incorrect conclusions. The sciences have found ways of reducing the likelihood of such error, namely, by following the rules of evidence, i.e., scientific methodology.
Note: The ultimate goal of rationality, as the term is used here, is the avoidance of making mistakes, and its assumed benefit is derived from the observation that we are subject at times to having inaccurate beliefs, resulting possibly in mistakes leading to increased PSDED, those inaccurate beliefs perhaps being maintained simply because of how they make us feel (including, within certain cultures or subcultures, worry about the reaction of others to knowledge of one's own beliefs, a DHR phenomenon).
Note: Major, significant rationality has been possible only with the development of the rules of logic and the rules of evidence, and this development has been the second great exponential change for our species, giving us science and technology. The first great exponential change was the development of the ability to make essentially unlimited use of symbols and the rules of syntax, or symbolic language, this change having been necessary for the later development of rationality. These changes, though dependent upon capabilities produced by evolutionary biological development of the brain characteristic of our species, are psychosocial changes, dependent upon interaction with others, this interaction being responsible for the exponential characteristic of these changes. And these changes are what is making possible the (very early in its development) third great exponential change, the change in our ethics, or Humanianity.
 
16. "Authoritarian ethics" (and "Authoritarian-ethical") as used here refers to the legitimization of any ethical belief, rule of conduct, or principle by showing that it is consistent with whatever X wants, X being whoever or whatever is most powerful (able to cause pain, suffering, disability, and/or early death, and/or able to offer major, desired reward), thus allowing for non-rational and even logically inconsistent legitimizations, depending on the nature and/or mood of X. "X" may refer to parent, group, leader, culture, or (representatives of a) deity. Authoritarian ethics is the ethics that comes with our basic animal nature, being the ethics that exists in all (social) animals that manifest some sort of dominance hierarchy (entailing thereby behaviors that can be characterized as "rewarding," "punishing," and "obeying"). It is thus the ethics that we all start out with in life, though we may later move in the direction of rational ethics (see next definition).
Note: Thus, in authoritarian ethics, the ultimate ethical principle, that "one should do whatever X wants," is also arbitrary, just as is true in rational ethics (see next definition), in that there is no even higher level ethical principle being used to legitimize that one. There will of course be reasons for having that ultimate ethical principle, such as to avoid punishment, but such legitimization by a higher level ethical principle cannot, by definition, be one of them.
Note: In authoritarian ethics, obedience is the way of "being ethical." In rational ethics, conjoint study, openness to feedback and to the possibility of being incorrect, and agreement to that which seems optimal and most likely correct, combined with the motivation (ethical sense) to behave according to the conclusions of such thought, are the ways of "being ethical."
Note: Any individual starts out in early childhood acquiring a basic ethical philosophy that is authoritarian-ethical, acquired through the child rearing process as obedience to the wishes of the parent. As the individual becomes older, the child rearing process may continue to produce an authoritarian-ethical basic ethical philosophy, or it may increasingly promote, through unusually skilled parenting, a rational-ethical basic ethical philosophy, as may unusually optimal further life experience beyond childhood.
Note: The social contract is the opposite of authoritarian-ethical social structure, which involves expected obedience to the wishes of the most (physically, psychologically, economically, etc.) powerful individual(s). The "social contract," consists of an agreement to a set of decision-making procedures that involves all of those to whom the decisions apply cooperatively engaging in an agreement among themselves to adhere to such procedures with the goal of achieving that which is beneficial to everyone in that group of individuals, this set of agreements becoming therefore a set of (non-authoritarian) ethical principles and rules of conduct. This way of engaging in social organization (i.e., by social contract) is significantly different than the ways produced by our DHR phenomena, which can lead sometimes to so much PSDED. If one evaluates a specific example of a social organization to determine to what extent it is operating according to an authoritarian-ethical model versus a social contract model, one is most likely to find a mixture of both, especially the larger the social organization is, since authoritarian-ethical social organization is much more in tune with our basic animal nature, the maintenance of a social contract requiring a more complex and difficult-to-accomplish ethics, achievable by much fewer people currently. Nevertheless, we see a growing effort throughout our species to move in that direction, resulting in, for instance, political phenomena that are "democratic" in nature, including the developing United Nations organization as an alternative to worldwide organization determined by repetitive war. And this movement within our species will result in, and be promoted by, newer, higher-skilled child rearing, drastically different from our normal, standard model of child rearing (read one Humanian's contribution, or hear and read as podcast).
Note: As stated above, Humanianity is the label given to the "movement" within Religion, and within our species in general, from authoritarian ethics, which has allowed for, and even led to, much tragic PSDED, to rational ethics, with its ultimate ethical principle, the HUEP. This movement is very early in its development, and not guaranteed to succeed to a drastically greater extent, but if it does, it is likely to be an exponential (accelerating) movement, as its benefit to us all, as well as its feasibility, becomes increasingly evident.
 
17. "Rational ethics" (and "Rational-ethical") as used here refers to the legitimization of any ethical belief, rule of conduct, or principle by showing that it is logically consistent with a higher level (more general) ethical belief (rule of conduct, or principal) and certain existential beliefs (or definitions), if one uses the rules of logic and the rules of evidence, to the extent possible, in that legitimization, with the implication that there is therefore an ultimate, or highest level, or most general, ethical principle (ultimate ethical principle), which can therefore not be legitimized in this way.
Note: The HUEP has in the past been referred to here and elsewhere as the "rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle" (REUEP), but because there can be other, non-Humanian, rational-ethical ultimate ethical principles, the HUEP is a more appropriate term than the REUEP. (An example of a non-Humanian rational-ethical ultimate ethical priniciple might be that "we should do that which will promote the greatest diversity of species on our planet," leading to a conclusion that the human species should be eliminated.)
Note: Although in rational ethics every ethical belief, rule of conduct, and (non-ultimate) principle is expected to be capable of legitimization by demonstration that it is logically consistent with an even higher level, more general ethical belief, combined with currently accepted existential beliefs and relevant definitions, the ultimate ethical principle, by definition, cannot therefore be legitimized by reference to an even higher level ethical principle (otherwise it would not be ultimate), so the ultimate ethical principle is therefore in this sense arbitrary. There will, of course, be reasons for having the ultimate ethical principle, but such (rational-ethical) legitimization cannot, by definition of "ultimate," be one of them.
Note: So, with regard to any ethical belief except the ultimate ethical principle, the legitimization of that ethical belief, in a rational-ethical system, is the demonstration that what that belief states should be done is what should be done in order to accomplish what the higher, or more general, ethical belief states should be done, which in turn is an accomplishment that is presumed to be valued (as the right thing to do). So the highest level ethical belief, the ultimate ethical principle, states a goal that is presumed to be valued in and of itself, for whatever reasons (but not in order to accomplish what an even higher level ethical belief states should be done). So that which is presumed to be valued above all else in Humanianity is what is specifically stated in the HUEP, i.e., "not only the survival of our species, but also as much JCA as possible and as little PSDED as possible, for everyone, now and in the future." Needless to say, currently there are individuals who value most highly being able to achieve some sort of revenge against others, and will gladly give their lives in order to accomplish such revenge, but the probability is great that very few such individuals will exist when our species achieves a drastically better way of living, with drastically different methods of child-rearing, adult ethical study, etc., all consistent with the HUEP. Accomplishing this, of course, is in no way guaranteed, and represents a major CHALLENGE (link above) for our species, requiring much study, understanding, openness to new and different ideas, and working cooperatively toward resolving differences of opinion.
 
18. "JCA" as used here stands for "Joy, Contentment, and/or Appreciation." These labels are an effort to designate, in as basic a way as possible, what all humans could acknowledge as the quality of subjective experience being sought, "making life worth living."
Note: There are, of course, other things that a person might want, which might even take precedence over such a wish, such that JCA was sacrificed to some extent. And this of course would always be true if the person was sacrificing some JCA currently in order to acquire more in the future. Also, of course, the person may make an ethical judgment that JCA should be sacrificed in the course of doing what one believed was the right thing to do (for instance, the foregoing of some JCA in order to prevent significant PSDED). One might say, under such circumstances, that the person was deriving some degree of contentment from such an ethical sacrifice. All of these qualifications, and perhaps more, will inevitably need to be acknowledged in any effort to state in the most general, fundamental way what we are seeking in life. It would be essentially impossible to state in precise words what most all of us are seeking at all times in life, but what is being presented should be adequate for the current purpose, namely, working on a basic ethical philosophy that is an effort to optimize life for our species. Such ambiguity should only occasionally interfere, and any such project is always involving "playing the odds," in an existence characterized by uncertainty. The important point is that we can do drastically better than what we are doing currently.
Note: Joy as used here is referring to the general "good feeling" that accompanies any more specific way of feeling good, as, for instance, might accompany singing, dancing, putting on a good performance, making a positive contribution, pleasing another person, eating something delicious, etc. There are of course abnormal states, such as hypomania and mania, in which the experience of joy may actually be excessive and unwarranted. Maintenance of the capacity for joy is an important part of mental health, in that, for instance, the loss of such capacity is a prominent part of depression.
Note: Contentment as used here is referring to a lack of distress in response to contemplating some aspect of one's existence, i.e., the current "state of affairs." The opposite state of mind would be the worry about some significant problem regarding the current situation being considered, with some variable degree of sense of urgency to do something about the problem, if possible.
Note: Appreciation as used here is referring to a particular experiencing of joy as one is contemplating some aspect of his or her past or present experience, as if the experience was being made possible by someone having contributed to bringing it about, whether anyone was indeed responsible for bringing it about or not. Thus, one can appreciate a work of art, appreciate what has been done for oneself or someone else, appreciate a beautiful sunset, or even appreciate the opportunity to have been alive.
 
19. "PSDED" as used here stands for "Pain, Suffering, Disability, and/or Early Death." These labels are an effort to designate, in as basic a way as possible, what all humans could acknowledge as the main things that we would like to avoid as much as possible. It is of course obvious that there is no way to avoid such things completely, but the assumption is made that if any of these are human-induced, or at least avoidable, and if eliminating them would not have some even worse consequence, then reducing them as much as possible would seem to be a sensible goal.
Note: Pain as used here is referring to a kind of subjective experience that should be familiar to everyone. (The word is not being used metaphorically.) It is of course understood that pain is a necessary phenomenon in life, and has an important role in keeping us safe. It is also understood that some pain may be welcome in that it indicates the likelihood of progress, as in the assertion, "No pain, no gain." So the use of this word in the current context is referring to pain that has no associated benefit and is unnecessary for some specific purpose.
Note: Suffering as used here is referring to any subjective experience that is accompanied by significant wanting of it to stop. There might seem to be some redundancy involved in including both "pain" and "suffering," in that pain is indeed a form of suffering. Including "pain," rather than just using "suffering," is primarily resulting from the awareness that the phrase, "pain-and-suffering," is in widespread use, and it does call attention to the fact that there are many ways of suffering other than experiencing of pain, if "pain" is not being used metaphorically.
Note: Disability as used here is referring to in the inability to do what most people in a culture are able or required to do, resulting in the individual being unable to enjoy or participate in what almost everyone else is able to do, at least without special assistance. Of course, since abilities vary within a population, there could be difficulty in deciding whether a specific individual was disabled with regard to some activity, as opposed to simply being on the lower end of the normal distribution of that ability. This inability to have a definite line of demarcation between "disability" and "acceptable low-level ability" should not be a drawback to the use of the term in general, since there are many, many examples in which the inability can be considered a definite abnormality. And of course it can come to pass that what was accepted simply as an expectable low degree of capability comes to be realized as being an actual disability, possibly subject to treatment and/or prevention.
Note: Early death as used here is referring to an amount of time that of course cannot be well-defined. There will of course be times of death where it would be a matter of opinion as to whether they were "early" or not. However, there are so many examples of (needless, tragic) death, brought about by what we do or fail to do, and relatively predictable, that reduction in such events would be considered desirable by almost anyone who did not have a specific wish for the death to occur. So, as is true for all of these terms for what we desire or don't desire, although there can always be some uncertainty in specific cases, our species would be drastically different if we were able to make substantial progress in reducing what is obviously human-caused, preventable "early" death (or PSDED in general).
 
20. "HUMANIANITY" as used here refers to the maturation of our species in one specific way, namely, ethically. It is the emergence of a new kind of ethics that is different from that which comes naturally to us (and other social animals) as a part of our basic animal nature. It is the move away from authoritarian ethics and the development in its place of rational ethics with an ultimate ethical principle that is dependent upon, not obedience to the most powerful, but a social contract among all humans for the benefit of all humans. That social contract is the agreement to try to live in a way that is likely to result in that which is verbalized in the Humanian Ultimate Ethical Principle (HUEP). To do so involves our adult effort to train ourselves to behave drastically differently than has been true over our whole past history as a species.

Regarding the HUEP, it should be noted that there can undoubtedly be many different ways of stating it, all meaning essentially the same thing. Also, it should be noted that there will always be situations in which figuring out what will be the way of most adhering to it will be difficult or impossible. For instance, there will be circumstances in which to try to adhere to one part of it would require sacrificing adhering to another part of it. But this does not eliminate the need to try to make such judgements, and many things that we currently do can easily be seen to be inconsistent with it as it is verbalized on this website.

There is much that we do to ourselves and each other that results in unnecessary PSDED and a significant reduction in JCA. Much of our PSDED (though by no means all of it) is caused by our naturally-occurring DHR behavior (involved in establishing and maintaining social hierarchy), so our adult effort to work on our ethics to a great extent involves consciously inhibiting much of our DHR behavior. Although we have to have an organizational hierarchy, our ways of establishing and maintaining it, including revising it as needed over time, need to be drastically changed. One of the most important examples of social hierarchy maintenance is that of the child rearing process. Humanian child-rearing will necessarily be drastically different than what has always been the standard, normal way. (An important difference, already beginning to emerge, is a set of non-punitive approaches to non-optimal behavior.) When our children are raised in such a manner (read one Humanian's contribution, or hear and read as podcast), they will grow up to be adults for whom the attainment of such ethically guided behavior is much more easily accomplished.

This change in our ethics has already started, but it is very, very early in its development. There are improvements in our way of living and relating to each other, including our child rearing, that have been accomplished to some extent by many of us, but mostly only to a relatively small extent compared to our imaginable potential. And there certainly is currently no general agreement. That is why our studying together regarding our ethical beliefs, with the ever-existing goal of agreement, is so important.

Our adult efforts to systematically study how to be good people, and thus do the right thing, i.e., to work on our basic ethical philosophy, have always been primarily those activities that we have referred to as "Religion." Religion has begun to respond to the above-described set of changes, but only to a very small degree so far. This is because most of our religions have arisen in the past, before the scientific era began to any substantial extent, and it has been difficult for those religions to give up some of their existential beliefs upon which their ethical beliefs have been based (in addition to our still existing belief that ethics must be authoritarian, rather than rational). And because of our tribalistic nature, it has been easy for us to remain divided into conflicting groups consisting of various religions and various anti-religious organizations. For us to really move ahead with this important change, it will be very important for us to stop fighting each other and actually work together in legitimizing our beliefs in ways increasingly acceptable to us all. Note: It is very difficult for any of us to think in terms of a drastic change away from the way we have always been. And this is easy to understand. After a child is born, how early in its life does the child begin to realize that he or she is involved in a process of "growing up"? And how does the child begin to comprehend what it may be like to become an adult? Is it not evident that the child derives such an understanding from seeing adults? Well, there is no adult human species for us to look at and derive therefrom any picture of what it would be like to be so drastically different. Yet, we do have a fairly capable imagination, and also we can see the little bit of improvement that we have accomplished by virtue of our early efforts in the direction of Humanianity. It is by virtue of this beginning ability to notice the benefits of certain kinds of changes in how we do things that can enable us to increasingly feel the importance of putting more effort into such changes, along with some increasing understanding of how to do so, and as more and more of us develop such an awareness, this can bring about an exponential growth of this set of changes that are encompassed by the concept of Humanianity. This website, then, is an effort to contribute to that exponentially increasing awareness of what we can accomplish and of how valuable it will be for us to achieve such change.
 
21. "GOD" is not defined on this website, because it is an extremely widely used word with almost no agreement as to what it means. There is no agreement regarding whether such an entity exists, and among those who believe that the entity exists, there is no agreement as to what the entity consists of and what its nature is. Among those who "believe in God," there is a tendency to divide up into conflicting groups (as a part of our tendency toward tribalism), causing much PSDED. (There is a recent lessening of this tendency, with a growing felt need for "interfaith" efforts, but the problem is still enormous.) And there is significant conflict between those who do have such a belief and those who don't, many of each group tending to look down upon (a DHR phenomenon) and avoid the members of the other group, thus interfering with really working together.

All of that tribalistic conflict keeps us from cooperating with each other as members of a unified species. Since this website is an effort to contribute to the development of an ever-increasing, worldwide basic ethical philosophy, based upon our increasing development of a new ethics that is not authoritarian-ethical, it is apparent that such an ethics cannot be dependent upon a concept of, or "belief in," a God. The absence of a belief in the existence of a God is not required for this new ethics; what is required is that this new ethics is not legitimized by being based upon obedience to such an entity, since there is, at least currently and for the foreseeable future, no possibility of agreement regarding the existence of a God or of what that God wants or expects of us humans. Such belief should probably be considered completely personal, with of course the sharing of such experience among those who find doing so valuable.

The ethics described and advocated for on this website has for its ultimate basis the HUEP, a goal to aim for that would seem to be desired by all humans (except perhaps some few individuals who have substantial mental illness or have been indoctrinated under unusual, intense circumstances). Such an ethics is therefore an ethics that can possibly be expected to increasingly move toward worldwide agreement, independently of beliefs about the existence and nature of a God.
Note: Our beliefs about what exists "in reality" are simply models of that which "reality" consists of, and therefore the only access to "reality" that we have is to our models of it, our beliefs. In other words, all we ever have is our beliefs about reality, whatever reality may or may not actually contain. Additionally, and importantly, some of our models (beliefs) may possibly be demonstrated to allow for accurate predictions, what is meant by belief being "accurate." Beliefs about "God" are well known to fail to allow us to make accurate predictions, this being dealt with sometimes by referring to God as being more complex than we are able to understand, and therefore prone to engage in decision-making that we cannot necessarily understand (or therefore predict).
Note: It would seem, from the above, that one's beliefs about God could be considered just a personally preferred way of maintaining the quality of one's personal subjective experience, not necessarily relevant to the kind of ethics that our species may increasingly adopt. However, currently much of authoritarian ethics is derived from such beliefs. If such beliefs led to a basic ethical philosophy that was influenced only positively, by increasing JCA for instance, then that should not be a problem. But beliefs about God actually do influence the basic ethical philosophy of some individuals in such a way that the resulting behavior produces PSDED. It would seem that only under these circumstances would it be rather urgent to engage in a discussion as to what the evidence was for that set of beliefs.
Note: The change from authoritarian ethics to rational ethics based upon the HUEP is a real challenge for our species, because of the widespread assumption that there is no basis for a set of ethical beliefs other than through obedience (possibly under threat of punishment or abandonment), as opposed to the social contract for the benefit of all. Such a conviction is promoted by the standard model of child rearing, in which there is the assumption that punishment is necessary, because individuals raised in this manner will have an ethics that is usually very authoritarian (or very influenced by a tendency toward oppositional behavior). That is why the change from authoritarian ethics to Humanian ethics will have to involve a substantial change in child rearing, with a move toward non-punitive, rational-ethical child rearing (read one Humanian's contribution, or hear and read as podcast).
 
22. "Spirituality" is not being defined here, because it is used in diverse ways, usually never clearly stated by the user. Sometimes it refers to everything related to the experiencing of the "spirit" of the other person, a feeling of something being present that would not be present if the other person were actually just a very realistic robot. (And sometimes it refers to the experiencing of such "presence" in the absence of perception of an actual physical body.) Sometimes it refers to feelings of awe and appreciation related to the awareness of being alive and able to have subjective experience. Sometimes it refers to appreciation of the complexity of the scientific model of reality, compared to the much more familiar model of reality that consists of one's subjective experience. It would seem that a person's spirituality should almost never be a problem for the development of Humanian ethics, and could even promote such ethics to the extent that it increased the capacity for empathy and concern for the other.
 
CONCISE BASIC ORIENTATION TO HUMANIANITY
(Concise overview of this website's thesis using above word-usage.)
Purpose of Science: To optimize existential beliefs (about existence and how it works).
Purpose of Religion: To optimize ethical beliefs (about what should and should not be done).

Science without Religion is dangerous. (Science can enable us to do remarkably good and bad things.)
Religion without Science is dangerous. (Religion can motivate us to do remarkably good and bad things.)

Bad Science is dangerous. (We can do terribly bad things due to beliefs based on faulty, non-rational, scientific methods.)
Bad Religion is dangerous. (We can do terribly bad things due to beliefs based on coercive, authoritarian-ethical, religious methods.)

Good Science is rational. (It helps prevent doing bad thiings due to mistaken beliefs.)
Good Religion is rational-ethical and Humanian. (It helps prevent wanting to do bad things due to mistaken beliefs or bad motivational states.)

"Authoritarian ethics": based on obedience to the most powerful (e.g., parent, leader, culture, deity).
"Rational ethics": based on consistency with use of the rules of logic, the rules of evidence, and perhaps an ultimate ethical principle.

"Good" here means "resulting in increased JCA and/or reduced PSDED."
"Bad" here means "resulting in reduced JCA and/or increased PSDED."

"JCA" means "joy, contentment, and appreciation."  "PSDED" means "pain, suffering, disability, and/or early death."

"Humanianity" is "the emerging movement (especially in Religion) from authoritarian ethics toward rational ethics and the HUEP."
"My Humanianity" means "my commitment to try to live according to the HUEP."

"HUEP" means "Humanian Ultimate Ethical Principle," verbalized here as, "We should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species, but also as much JCA as possible and as little PSDED as possible, for everyone, now and in the future."

The Emergence of "Humanianity":
  • Probably exponential: At first unnoticed, but accelerating, to finally become a drastic change perhaps describable as a new "emergent."

  • Very early: Currently unnoticed and unidentified by almost everyone, relatively uninfluential, easily dismissed, hard to grasp.

  • Based upon: Rationally constructed social contract for the benefit of all (as opposed to dominance by the most powerful).

  • Exemplified by: "Human rights" (cf. citizenship); "democracy" (cf. dictatorship); decline of authoritarian theism; non-theistically based ethics.

  • Requiring: Openness of mind; willingness to study, debate, advocate; valuing of critiquing, being questioned, accuracy of belief, agreement.

  • Involving: Conscious, ethical inhibition of some natural tendencies (e.g., anger, fighting), enhancement of others (e.g., empathy, nurturing).

  • Affecting: Personal ethics, relationship ethics, environmental ethics, lifestyle, child rearing, societal organization, culture.

  • Not guaranteed: Will occur only if understood, valued, and worked for by an increasing proportion of our species.

  • Severely needed: In face of increasing threats to our species caused by our extreme capabilities and non-optimal natural tendencies.

  • Personally rewarding: Satisfaction from living by a much more consistent, well-thought-out, and effective ethics benefiting self and others.

Will you join the effort? (Involves studying, learning, practicing, improving, modeling, advocating.)
 
THE NATURE OF THIS WEBSITE
(It is important to understand that its purpose is neither entertainment nor marketing, and that understanding it properly will require STUDY.)


This website is simply one Humanian's effort at advocacy, in addition to the provision of tools for study and cooperation. It is not an "official headquarters" for Humanianity, nor does it contain any "official" concepts or guidelines or "truths." However, it results from much thought over many years, and hopefully will (and should be required to) make complete sense to anyone wishing to understand and participate.

It is advocating specifically for participation in an already occuring (but in its infancy) species-wide, new, and difficult undertaking, in the face of increasing urgency, with uncertain but potentially extremely beneficial results for our species, that benefit being to some extent now (for the benefit of us as individuals and groups), but also in the future (for our threatened species).

And it provides for everyone some tools, including a new tool (Humanian Belief Manual, link below) specifically designed to be helpful in what is being advocated.

The desirability of this project of species-wide self-improvement is produced in part by the observation we can all make that there is an enormous amount of PSDED, at times to a tragic extent, brought about by what we, the members of our species, as individuals and as groups, decide to do:

  • unhealthy lifestyle behavior (uninformed, unconcerned, and addictive) resulting in poor and even fatal physical and mental health for the self and hardship for others
  • hostile interactive behavior leading to relationship breakdown, from the interpersonal to the international (including parent-child relationships, friendships, employer-employee relationships, primary significant other relationships, societal subgroup relationships, and international relationships)
  • unempathetic exploitative behavior to even a criminal extent (producing not only sorrow and at times agony and even death, but also widespread, painful and disabling distrust in our fellow humans)
  • destructive consumptive behavior that has been increasingly ruining the environment upon which our comfort and health, and even our very lives, depend
  • non-optimal governmental behavior leading to social problems such as poverty, inaccessible healthcare, inaccessible education, and excessive, unnecessary, harmful incarceration
  • victimizing cultural behavior consisting of painful and even fatal intolerance, discrimination, and aggression toward non-conforming ("different") individuals and groups

Through much cooperation based upon accurate belief, thoughtful agreement, and ethical motivation, our species has accomplished truly wonderful things, enabling a far better and longer life than had been true closer to our beginning. But that accomplishment has remained marred by our tendencies listed above, and many believe there is a growing sense of urgency about the fate of our species at our own hands (because of our now enormous capabilities).

It is relatively easy to see a widespread, though not universal, pessimistic/cynical response to any consideration of working toward a vastly better life than what we have been enduring so far, based upon beliefs that:
  • "This is as good as it gets."
  • "That's just the way we are."
  • "History has shown that when we try to make things better, we make them worse."
  • "To consider working toward drastic change is being idealistic, not realistic."
So this website is for those who can get beyond that attitude enough to at least evaluate whether what is being presented makes sense.

This website is thus advocating for progressive global cooperation in behalf of everyone, involving increasing accuracy of belief, increasing agreement, and increasing ethical dedication to the welfare of us all, and it is providing a currently unique special new tool for that purpose (the Humanian Belief Manual, link below).