A people, supported by their institutions, making progress towards a better life together. As we confront many societal changes, I believe we are losing the battle for this kind of culture. Below is the basic framework for my vision of how to adapt and reverse this trend:
At the personal level, we must encourage greater: Integrity | Curiosity | Empathy
Integrity: We must fight for even the unpopular truths, but also change our minds as appropriate
Curiosity: We must truly want to know what is factual to the best of our ability, in the world and ourselves
Empathy: We must care enough to understand each other and take collective action to improve our conditions
As a society, we should focus on: Community | Attention | Knowledge | Education
Community: Regular Dialogue About Our Lives
There is a growing realization of our cultural divide. It’s not healthy for us as individuals to hate others or to be unable to appreciate other perspectives. And as communities and nations, democracy is unsustainable without an ability to understand each other and find compromises. We must have deep conversations over time in real life. When you understand the life experiences that made a person who they are, it becomes much easier to accept their opinions. Relationships develop. With friends who see the world very differently, we naturally become less reactionary. All of life becomes less black and white. That’s a better, and necessary, way to live.
Attention: Greater Autonomy Over Our Minds
Our understanding of the world is determined by what we pay attention to and that’s now ever more well understood by those trying to manipulate us. We must do a better job of managing it for ourselves and even others.
Knowledge: Supporting the Search for Truth
While we are all limited by our personal experience, we have methods and peer review to ascertain facts. But it takes time and resources. If we don’t pay people willing to both do that work and be transparent about it, our society at large will be either more ignorant or misinformed on purpose. This pertains to science and journalism, but also the great art that tries to tell us how it feels to live another person’s life.
Education: A More Rational Approach to Life
Reason is the path out of darkness. There’s a basic level of knowledge and critical thinking that must be embraced by all the people of a society to make progress possible and avoid the worst ideas becoming a social contagion.