Our Belief Stack was produced through iterative revision and our organization’s primary function is updating the Belief Stack. It might change, but Humanity has been revising it’s understanding of itself for thousands of years, so the basics are pretty stable.
The characteristic that distinguishes Humanity from everything else is that we bring meaning to the world. Every action can be glorious when it connects to infinite meaning.
This Belief Stack is like a Creed or a Statement of Beliefs, but it is descriptive, not prescriptive. We use this to orient ourselves in a confusing, chaotic world.
Our Belief Stack clarifies the origin and relationships of many important philosophic tools. This is a foundation we use to build a consistent understanding of ourselves.
We are grateful to all the people before us who contributed to this Belief Stack and we gift our work to those who follow.
I doubt, therefore I am
Cogito Ergo Sum, more accurately stated with the focus on doubt, is the most certain we can be about anything. Either you believe you exist without any doubt, or you doubt you exist, which means you must exist to do the doubting. So you can’t help but believe in the existence of something.
But it’s not totally clear what this means (we might not exist in the way we perceive). This is the most certain we can be, but it’s not perfect certainty. It’s merely the least doubtful thing. But if doubtful is bad, then “least doubtful” is best so this is where we start.
I am, therefore I do
We can tease out more characteristics with low doubtfulness. Since we had a thought, then doubted it, then dismissed the doubt, we can clearly say that events are following one another. Something doesn’t just exist, something is happening.
We can’t doubt that events are occurring because doubting is itself an action. By the time we’ve established the doubt we’ve also killed it. So, things are happening.
I do, therefore I judge
Since things are happening, and we’re aware of them, we start to have opinions on them. Some things are preferable. This is where morality (ideas about right/wrong) appears. The important point is that judgment is itself an action which depends on a standard and a judge.
Something that happened is [right/wrong] according to [my] interpretation of [XYZ]. The act of concluding a judgment creates morality, unfortunately it doesn’t make the origin of morality any less arbitrary. Since morality cannot preexist judgment, the judgment itself cannot be right or wrong.
I judge, therefore I value
When we start to have opinions on the appropriateness of happenings we elevate some above the rest. These are the good things. Good things have more value than bad things. We have created value.
Things are getting fuzzy very fast. It’s hard to say much that is clear about values because they mean the most out in the world and we know little about the world. We don’t know if the next action we take will truly manifest our values, we have to make our best guess.
There is also a major branch from morality (conceptual ideas on right/wrong) through ethics (interpersonal agreement on right/wrong) to law (encoding intertribal agreement across time, space, etc). We will follow that branch in another post.
I value, therefore I connect
We value things that happen in a deeper way than rocks, plants, animals, and babies. It’s hard to describe, but it’s easy to recognize. We can spot the Humanity in another person or the lack of Humanity in non-Persons.
By connecting to other members of Humanity we can compare our values. Combining multiple perspectives helps us understand a world that is far beyond our individual comprehension.
We don’t just seek out Human connection because it makes us feel good, nor because it makes us more effective. We do it because we understand (intuitively or consciously) that connecting values makes our own meaning more meaningful.
I connect, therefore I hope
When we share our values with other people it creates a pool of value which is more valuable than isolated values. The more we share, the greater the value created. More people, across more space, and more time, means everything is more significant because it is part of something larger.
The longer we make the chain the better. More meaning connected across vaster expanses of space and longer spans of time and greater varieties of mind makes everything more meaningful.
I hope, therefore I have meaning
If the chain ever broke it would cut off most or all of the meaning. Values forgotten are less valuable than values remembered. So the most meaning will be found in a chain that never ends.
We work towards a future in which Humanity continues creating an unbroken chain of meaning: the infinite game. Every action now, no matter how small, is imbued with infinite meaning if it’s attached by an unbroken chain to ultimate Truth.
The goal is to keep playing forever so as to increase individual and shared meaning as much as possible. Every little action now is made more meaningful by connection to infinite meaning.