Epistemic Status: Making things up as we go along
Content Warning: Can be viewed as moral imperatives. Neuropsychological Infohazard.
Previous in Series: Deorbiting a Metaphor
Yesterday we invoked our new narrative, declared ourselves to be Anadox Originists, and dropped the whole complicated metaphor we’d constructed out of orbit and into our life. Today, we’ll lay out what we’re calling the major precepts, the law code we’ll attempt to live by going forward and which we will use to derive other specific parts of the anadoxy.
- Do no harm. Do not ignore suffering you could prevent.
- Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
- Do not put things or ideas above people. Honor and protect all peoples.
- Say what you mean, and do what you say, honor your own words and voice.
- Put aside time to rest and think, honor your mind and body.
- Honor your parents, your family, your partners, your children, and your friends.
- Respect and protect all life, do not kill unless you are attacked or for food.
- Do not take what isn’t yours unless it is a burden to the other person and they cry out for relief.
- Do not complain about anything to which you need not subject yourself.
- Do not waste your energy on hatred, or impeding the path of another, to do so is to hold poison inside of yourself.
- Acknowledge the power of magic if you have used it to obtain your desires.
- Do not place your burdens, duties, or responsibilities, onto others without their consent.
- Do not lie or spread falsehoods, honor and pursue the project of Truth.
- Do not spread pain or misery, honor and pursue the project of Goodness.
- Do not accept the state of the universe as absolute, honor and pursue the project of Optimization.
- Do not accept these precepts as absolutes, honor and pursue the project of Projects.
These sixteen rules will form the core shape of our practice, they represent the initial constraints that participation in the anadoxy imposes, and the more specific rules regarding more specific circumstances will be derived from these sixteen precepts. These precepts are of course not the precepts. There are also what we call, meta-precepts, these are essentially tags that can be attached to the end of every precept in an un-ending recursive string:
- Unless it is to prevent a greater harm.
- Unless doing so leads to greater harm.
These meta-strings are non-terminating, you can stick three hundred of them in a row onto the end of one of the precepts.
Do no harm, unless it is to prevent a greater harm, unless doing that leads to a greater harm, unless it is to prevent a greater harm….
There is no termination point in the string, and there’s not supposed to be. Human morals are complicated, and there are edge cases for every ethical system. There are also edge cases for the edge cases, and edge cases for the edge cases of the edge cases. You cannot construct a total, universal moral system, that will not fail in some way and lead to some bad outcome if just turned on and run without oversight, we understand this through a heuristic which makes total sense to us but has apparently confused a lot of people. The heuristic is “the ends both always and never justify the means.”
Tomorrow we will begin going through the list of major precepts and using them to derive minor precepts, and we will continue to modify our own life to be in accordance with these precepts as we establish and detail them out.