Principles

Our principles identify our most fundamental beliefs about the world and our place in it.

  1. We are humanistic: we are focused on human concerns and human potential.

  2. We strive to integrate multiple diverse human perspectives in order to arrive at a more perfect understanding of the truth.

  3. We embrace science as one way of understanding the universe in which we live, and we accept toolmaking (aka engineering) as one means of improving the human condition.

  4. We believe in evolution as an ongoing force in the world, and in particular are interested in the continuing evolution of humanity.

  5. We are especially focused on cultural evolution, since what it means to be human is so intertwined with our cultural identity.

  6. We believe in the importance of the written word, including many works of philosophy and literature, but place no faith in any single text that we deem to be sacred.

  7. We believe that we humans create meaning for ourselves through storytelling, that this fundamental human trait becomes manifest in all forms of artistic expression, and that the resulting works of art are important elements of our culture.

  8. We harbor no romantic notions about the perfectibility of humans or of human society: we are satisfied with progress, and do not demand perfection.

  9. We believe that ordinary individuals have the power to shape our cultural evolution and influence our human condition in ways both positive and negative; our goal is to help all of us make broader, better informed, more deeply felt, more conscious decisions that will help us advance towards a more positive future.

  10. We believe that we can produce better outcomes for humanity through the application of critical thinking and the use of the scientific method.

  11. In order to achieve positive outcomes from the complex social, economic, and ecological systems in which we live, we believe we must think systemically – rather than simply focusing on the individual actors within these systems – and need to identify root causes and take actions at that level.

  12. We experience a sense of wonder in our approach to the world as we encounter the mysterious, the unexpected, the unfamiliar and the unexplained.

  13. Although we cannot define the meaning of the word in any comprehensive way – or, perhaps, because we cannot fully define it – we believe in love.

    Let us call love the apprehension of something outside of oneself, some being or form that is other than our self, and yet that affirms the possibility of a greater unity of which we are each but parts, a unity that leaves us still ourselves, and yet also part of something inestimably greater.

    This sensation of love may be felt in the presence of another person, or a group of people, or a work of art, or another living creature, or some element of the natural world, or in the embrace of the entire world around us.

    We want to help shape a world in which there is more of this stuff: more love.