Philosophy

This page describes my philosophy for life. This is the core upon which I try to build everything. I strive to make these rules light enough for me to follow and heavy enough for other hypothetical followers to always be compatible with me. I would love to distill this into a single concept.

One-sentence life rule

Serve truth first, and then all beings.

My ideal rules of life as 3 simple rules

  1. Truth: This is the highest value to be sought, but it can never be reached absolutely. That is, the first goal in any situation is always truth, even though it is often impossible to satisfy the goal absolutely.
  2. Ethics: All actions must be from an identity-invariant goal system. In essence, act as though your reward/punishment is to live through everyone else's lives.
  3. Other: All else is arbitrary. The Truth and Ethics rules above are complete to my incomplete knowledge.

Elaborations on my ideal rules of life

  1. Truth
    • Questioning: The more targeted questions a claim can survive, the more likely it is to be true. This is where it's really useful to have many perspectives and worldviews available.
    • Intuition: Most immediately essential truths are intuitive. For example, breathing air, drinking water, and eating food all help biological beings' survival.
    • Certainty: Formal proofs are the only theoretically certain knowledge, but foundational axioms can never be certain (per Gödel's incompleteness theorems).
    • Uncertainty: Bayes' Rule is really good for many less-intuitive probability situations.
  2. Ethics
    • Morals: To my understanding, the distinction between morals and ethics is kind of useless. Doing something that's bad for you (i.e., something "immoral") is just a particular case of doing something that's bad for someone (i.e., something "unethical").
    • Trade-offs: It can be good to cause pain if it results in a proportional increase of pleasure. But I don't know how to quantify this usefully. I expect it has something to do with relative levels of neurocomplexity (e.g., it's bad to harm an and, but a human has much more ethical weight than the ant).
    • Religion: I don't particularly believe in them, but my rule of ethics seems very close to the basic ideas of Buddhism and Hinduism.
  3. Other
    • Arbitrariness: There really are no other rules, merely more-advanced applications of the first two rules.
    • Aesthetics: If ethics and truth seem to say nothing, even after formal analysis, then think about which option makes you happier. Remember that your happiness is valued in the ethics rule.
    • Chaos: If even your feelings are indifferent, then employ an arbitrary tie-breaker like a coin flip. Indecision is unpleasant.
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