The Practopian Way
This document defines a set of aims and beliefs intended to help guide the actions of Practical Utopians everywhere.
We Practopians seek to identify and promote beliefs, principles, values and actions that will result in a brighter future for humanity.
We strive to combine a clear-eyed view of what is possible with an idealistic yearning for a better tomorrow.
By documenting in an inclusive and transparent manner a foundational modern worldview, we hope to launch something that might be thought of as the world’s first open-source belief system.
We will work to advance our cause through authoring, publication, education, scientific advocacy, and promotion of literature and the arts as vital elements of human culture.
Our principles identify our most fundamental beliefs about the world and our place in it.
Each principle offers us a useful lens through which to better view and understand ourselves and the world around us.
- We are humanistic: we are focused on human concerns and human potential.
- We strive to integrate multiple diverse human perspectives in order to arrive at a more complete understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
- 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.
- We believe in evolution as an ongoing force in the world, and in particular are interested in the continuing evolution of humanity.
- We are particularly interested in cultural evolution, since what it means to be human is so intertwined with our cultural identity.
- We place great value on the written word, including many works of philosophy and literature, but place no faith in any single text that we deem to be sacred.
- 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.
- We harbor no romantic notions about the perfectibility of humans or of human society: we are satisfied with progress, and do not demand perfection.
- 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.
- We believe that we can produce better outcomes for humanity through the application of critical thinking and the use of the scientific method.
- 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.
- We experience a sense of wonder in our approach to the world as we encounter the mysterious, the unexpected, the unfamiliar and the inexplicable.
- 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 intense feeling of deep affection 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.
The Values form a framework for action, a set of goals we’d like to satisfy, to the greatest extent possible.
- Balance: We believe in striving for balance between competing concerns. Although all of the values on this list are important to us, we have no desire to establish any one of them as fundamentally absolute.
- Liberty: We believe in allowing adults as much liberty as practical, so long as they do not infringe on the life and liberty of others, either directly and individually, or indirectly and communally.
- Society: We value the social fabric that binds us together as part of a shared human community, and believe in the need to establish institutions of governance for society.
- Connection: A feeling of caring connection to others is part of what makes us human, and is the central force that makes each one of us part of something larger than our individual selves.
- Rule of Law: Every society should establish a rule of law to govern human interaction, to channel human energy along constructive paths, and to promote useful order; these rules should be constructed in accordance with Practopian principles and values; it is the duty of citizens of a society to obey such rules.
- Equality: All citizens must be treated with equality before the law, without discrimination based on appearance, gender, ethnic origin, race, sexual preference, wealth or social status.
- Democracy: We believe in democracy, with all citizens having an equal say in defining their society’s laws, and an equal opportunity to influence their governments.
- Parenthood: Parents have an obligation to help their children become healthy, happy adults who make their own positive contributions to society.
- Education: It is in the best interests of society to assist in the education of its members.
- Property: We believe in the private ownership of most property, but also in the public ownership of property that can benefit society at large through shared usage.
- Value Creation: It is in the best interests of society to encourage its citizens to engage in activities that will create value for themselves and others and society at large, and to allocate capital so that the greatest amount of it is available for use by those with the strongest likelihood of using it wisely.
- Diversity: We believe in the diverse expression of human potential.
Copyright (c) 2009-2018 by Herb Bowie under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
This is version 0.92 of The Practopian Way. Any material changes to the content of this document will result in a change in the version number.
If you have questions or comments on anything in this document, then please send us your Feedback.
Feel free to reference the following links for additional information.
- Practopians.org – Website for the Society for Practical Utopians, containing the Practopian Way along with additional content
- practopian-way.md – Latest version of The Practopian Way, as a plain text file
- practopian-way.html – Latest version of The Practopian Way, as a stand-alone html file
- github.com/hbowie/practopians – GitHub project for the Practopians, containing source and change history for all of the content at Practopians.org
Published 2017 Mar 18