The Foreword to the Free Individual philosophy says: "If one is to live in this real world they must know what reality is and what its nature is in order to deal with and use that world to live successfully in it. It is those two things, the nature of reality, and our knowledge of it, that all modern philosophy is aligned against."|
The kind of knowledge philosophy ought to provide is fundamental to all other knowledge. It is a difficult discipline, like the sciences, but the basic principles can be learned and understood by anyone who chooses to make the effort, just as anyone can learn the basic principles of mathematics, chemistry, or biology.
Instead Of Philosophy
The basic principles of philosophy are the foundation of all other philosophy, just as philosophy is the foundation for all other knowledge. It is philosophy that explains what knowledge is, what is known, and how we know it. The basic principles of philosophy provide the premises on which all other questions of knowledge and reason must be judged. It is because philosophy has failed to provide these principles that all that is call philosophy today is worse than mistaken, it makes all knowledge and reason impossible.
The basic principles are quite simple and there are no many of them. They include the following:
[NOTE: These principles are presented in as untechnical language as possible and are meant to be understood without any special philosophical or technical background. References will be made to more technical explanations where appropriate for those interested, but are not required to understand these principles.]
[NOTE: These are basic principle. There is no attempt to answer every possible philosophical question, especially any of the more difficult questions. However, these principle are the foundation necessary for all further philosophical enquiry. They are the fundamental premises necessary to the answer to all philosophical questions. The more difficult philosophical questions are highly technical and of importance only to those who specialize in those areas just as the more technical aspects of advanced physics, organic chemistry, or mathematics are only important to specialists in those fields.]
What Reality IsList
All That Is—Reality is all that exists the way it exists.
In every-day language what we mean by reality is whatever actually is. It includes the entire universe: the galaxies, stars, planets, the world, mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, trees, the sky, clouds, animals, people, and cities. Anything that is, exists and is real.
There is one possible problem with understanding what reality is. It is not a problem with the principle itself, which is clear and unambiguous. The problem is how language is misused.
[NOTE: Problems caused by the misuse of language are referred to as, "semantic," problems. Philosophy is rife with them, but most will not be addressed in this article.]
There are many things that are described as, "not real." Some things which are considered, "not real," are purely imaginary things, like fictional characters or events, fairies, leprechauns, the phoenix, unicorns, magic, and "ghosts," for example. Other things referred to as, "not real," are, synthetic things, like imitation jewelry, leather, or fur and things that are only simulated, like computer created videos and images.
Most things which are referred to as, "not real," do actually exist. They are considered, "not real," because what they are is different from what is usually referred to as real. That difference is in their nature, that is, the kind of things they are. While the universe, world,, mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, trees, the sky, clouds, animals, people, and cities exist on their own, whether anyone knows they exist or not, fictional things do not exist unless someone creates them and they do not exist at all outside those creations. To say they are not real means, to consider them independent actual existents is, "not true."
Synthetics and simulations are so considered, "not real," for a similar reason. They exist, but they do not exist as they are represented or appear to exist. To say a synthetic diamond is an actual diamond or that a computer simulated event or person is and actual event or person is, "not true."
Things that exist but are nevertheless described as, "not real," are anything that does not have certain attributes which are commonly meant by, "real." For those who think only physical things are, "real," anything that is not physical is, "not real." For those who think only that which exists without any human action is required, anything that is thought of, invented, or created by human effort is, "not real," (although, "unnatural," is a more common description).
Therein lies the, "semantic," (language) problem. It is not a serious every-day kind of problem. There is usually no misunderstanding when someone says, "Santa Claus," is not real," or, "that's not real fur." No one makes the mistake of thinking there is no such idea as Santa Claus used for the entertainment of children at the Christmas season or that there are no real garments made of material that simulates fur. The problem arises when things which really exist are described as, "not real," to imply that they do not exist at all, even as the kind of things they are.
[NOTE: The assertion, "that which exists does not really exist," implying it does not exist at all, may seem unlikely, but it is nevertheless a common assertion in most philosophy, all religion, and much that is called science today. The most common variety of the denial of existence a called, "physicalism."1]
What must be avoided is the language (semantic) mistake of how we use language to determine what we believe. There is nothing wrong with using the word, "real," to mean, "whatever exists physically and independently of human creation," which is how it is generally used. What must be avoided is substituting the word, "real," for the word, "true."
All the things that are described as, "not real," are actually things that do not exist physically. To say that fictional characters or events, fairies, leprechauns, spirits exist physically would not be true. Even to say, language, knowledge, mathematics, logic, science or history exist physically would not be true. As we shall see, to say life, consciousness, or human minds exist physically would not be true. They all exist, however. The fictional exists as human creations, and the sciences exist as human discovered knowledge, and life and consciousness exist as attributes of existence beyond the physical.
And they are all, "real." So long as how a thing exists (Santa Claus is a fiction invented for the entertainment of children at the Christmas season) is specified, it really exists as that kind of existent. It is only when characteristics are attributed to an existent which are not true (Santa Claus is the old man that lives at the corner of Chestnut and Washington Streets) such an existence is not real. It is not only, "not real," it does not exist at all.
It should be obvious then why reality is not described only as, "all that exists," but "all that exists the way it exists." Things exist no matter what their nature is; things are real only if the nature of their existence is specified and they truly have that nature.2
What You See—The existence you see is reality as it actually is.
"See," here, represents all our direct perception of the world, seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting, as well as our direct perception of the internal states of our bodies, the pains, pleasures, and feelings which have the technical name, "interoception."
This very simply means the world you see and hear and experience every day, the world you work, play, and sleep in, and all the things in it you use and enjoy, from tools to food, are the real world and are just exactly what they seem to be. It is what everyone knows is so until some religious, philosophy, or other self-appointed authority tries to cast doubt on the reality of that perceived existence.3
The deceivers will try to convince you, reality is not what it, "seems," to be, not how it looks, sounds, and feels, but something else. They have endless arguments for why reality is not what you know it is—your perceptual equipment is defective or inadequate or distorts what you perceive. Your perception is subject to, "illusions" (with examples provided). The most modern attempt to cast doubt on the validity of reality exactly as we perceive it comes from science fiction: your experience may be nothing more than a computer simulation—something outside you causes you to experience what you experience.
These are not sophisticated philosophical arguments. They are sophomoric defiances of reality. Nothing can be identified as an illusion unless what is not an illusion is first identified. Unless one knows how reality ought to be perceived, (how it ought to look, sound, feel, etc.), it would be impossible to know when its appearance was an illusion. There are no illusions, but even if there were, they would have to exceptions in order to know they were illusions.
The, "reality is a computer simulation," argument is just the same tired-old superstitious nonsense taught in most religions recast in technical or, "scientific," language. There is no, "outside," super being or intelligence manipulating reality.
Reality is exactly what you perceive it to be, exactly as you perceive it.4, 5
What Is—There are only existents.
An existent is anything that exists—physical existents: (entities), their attributes, relationships, and behavior (events), as well as non-physical existents: conscious experience (like seeing, hearing, feeling, and thinking), knowledge (like language, mathematics, science, geography, and history). Anything that exists in any way, so long as the nature of its existence is specified (or understood) and it really has that nature, it really exists.
Attributes, relationships, and events all exist, but have no existence independent of the existents they are the attributes of, relationships between, or behavior of. There are no, "wild," attributes, relationship, or events.
With the exception of conscious experience (which human beings share with the higher animals) all other non-physical existents only exist in human minds. There is no language, knowledge, science, history, geography, or philosophy independent of individual human intelligence.
An existent, physical or non-physical, is whatever its attributes (qualities, characteristics, and properties) are. An existent's attributes determine its nature, that is, what kind of existent it is. If an entity's attributes are physical, it is a physical entity. If a physical entities attributes include, "life," the entity is an organism. If an existent's attributes are not physical, but epistemological (an aspect of knowledge) it exists only as a non-physical knowledge element and has no existence independent of a human mind.6
So, what exists? What are the existents that make up reality? The following list may not be exhaustive, but it is nearly so:
Existence includes all material or natural existents (physical entities, living organisms, and human beings), all psychological existents (all conscious experiences seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted including, emotions, pleasures, pains, and desires) and all knowledge (epistemological) existents (language, mathematics, logic, geometry, all science, history, geography, arts, literature, history, and inventions).
Is there anything that does not exist? There are, but they are not anything that can actually be identified, because even fictional and imaginary things exist (as fictions and imagination). Even the illusions, dreams and the hallucinations of the psychotic exist, as their own experiences. What does not exist are things that are suggested by pseudo-concepts that describe the logically impossible. Such concepts are simply empty meaningless words that identify nothing. Some examples are, "subconscious," "revelation," "intuition," "astrology," "omniscience," "infallibility," "omnipresence," "omnipotent," "duty," "emergence," "ectoplasm," and "rights."
[NOTE: Some things people believe or believe in, like, "astrology," "spiritualism," "reincarnation," as well as pseudo-scientific nonsense, like, "holistic medicine," "acupuncture," "chelation," and, "homeopathy," exist as beliefs or ideologies, but the content of those beliefs actually teach is not true and does not exist. This is why it is necessary to say that to be real a supposed existent's nature must be specified, and it must, "truly," have that nature, else it does not exist at all.]
No Other Existence—There is only one reality.
Reality is not only all that is, it is all there is. There are no, "other," worlds, existences, dimensions, or universes (except in science fiction and the minds of the psychotics). If anything exists it is part of reality, which means it has some real relationship to all other things that exist.
Four Aspects—Material existents consists of four natural aspects: 1. Physical, 2. Life, 3. Consciousness, and 4. Human minds.
These four aspects of existence form a kind of hierarchy of material existence. Material existence is also called natural existence. It is all that exists and has the nature it has whether anyone knows it exists or what it nature is.
The attributes of material existence, physical, life, consciousness, and mind, do not exist independently of the entities they are the attributes of. There is no physical property, ("mass," "momentum," "size," or, "shape") life properties, consciousness properties, or mind, except as the "mass," "momentum," "size," "shape" life, consciousness, or mind of actual physical living organisms. There is no such thing as life or consciousness, except as attributes of individual organisms, and there is no such thing as mind except as an attribute of individual human beings.
- Physical—All material existents are physical entities—they are all the things that can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, or tasted, and all that can be discovered by means of those things. The physical is what the physical sciences study. It's nature is determined entirely by the principles discovered by the physical sciences. Being determine by physical principles all physical relationships and actions are determined and predictable.
- Living—Some physical entities have an attribute in addition to the physical attributes called life. The life attribute differentiates living organism from mere physical entities. The life attribute, like all the physical attribute, is a perfectly natural attribute of material existence. The life attribute cannot be studied or explain by the physical sciences because it is not a physical attribute and has no physical properties or qualities.
- Consciousness—Some living organisms have an attribute in addition the physical and life attribute called consciousness. On organisms have the attribute consciousness by which they are aware of existence—their own and their environment.
- Minds—Some conscious organism have a unique form of consciousness called, "mind." Mind is the attribute of human consciousness consisting of volition (the necessity and ability to consciously choose), intellect (the necessity and ability to consciously gain and retain knowledge, and reason (the necessity and ability to consciously think).
What Life IsList
Life is that attribute of some physical entities that differentiates living organisms from mere physical entities.7
All of physical existence is explained by the physical sciences. All physical events can be explained by physics, chemistry, and biology. Living organisms are physical entities, and all the physical behavior of organisms can be explained in terms of the physical sciences as well. What the physical sciences cannot explain is that behavior which is unique to organisms as living entities which no non-living entity has.
Four of those attributes are: 1. Self-sustained, 2. Sentience, 3. Unity, and 4. Continuity.
Self-sustained—Living behavior sustains an organism as the kind of organisms it is.
At the observable physical (biologically) level the life attribute is manifest as a continuous process which is self-sustaining. The life process not only sustains itself, it sustains the organism it is the action of as the kind of organism it is.
An organism is the only kind of entity that must act to be the kind of entity it is, and is the only kind of entity that determines it's own existence by it's own behavior.
There is no physical attribute (or reason) for this behavior. It is the life attribute that makes it both possible and necessary.
Sentience—Sensing and responding to stimuli.
Sentience is the ability of a living organism to respond in specific ways to stimuli, both internal and external. It requires the organisms to both detect the stimuli and distinguish differences in stimuli. If it could not detect stimuli, it could not respond at all, and if it could not distinguish difference in stimuli, it would respond to all stimuli in the same way or the response would be random.
Sentience in the more developed organisms is called consciousness. From the simplest form to the most sophisticated consciousness and organism must be able to be aware of everything in its environment and differentiate those things in order to appropriate respond to and use them.
Unity—What makes any entity the kind of entity it is are whatever its properties and attributes are. When the physical attributes of physical entities change the entities become different kinds of entities. When water freezes it becomes ice. When water is heated it becomes steam. When carbon burns it becomes carbon dioxide. When block of wood or marble is sculpted it becomes a figure of an man or animal.
A living organism continuously changes. A tree begins as a seed that grows and branches and produces leaves and fruit. An animal continually grows, develops, and changes from newborn to adult. A butterfly begins as an egg, becomes a caterpillar which changes into pupa, which emerges as a butterfly. A human being begins as an infant, becomes a child, young adult, and over their years may change in shape, size and appearance. But each organism from it's beginning to its end, no matter how much it changes is the same organism, because what identifies a living organism as the entity it is, is its life, which is the same life from the moment it begins to live until it dies.
Continuity—Not only does an organism remain the same organism it must continually maintain it's own existence. An organism remains an organism only so long as the life process continues, and it is the same life process from the beginning of it's existence until it ceases to exist as an organism.
What Human Life IsList
What separates human beings from all other organisms is the human mind. The human mind is the unique kind of consciousness of human beings with three attributes no other conscious organism has: volition, intellect, and rationality.8, 9
Volition—Volition is the necessity and ability to consciously choose everything one thinks and does.
Volition is that aspect of human nature that requires human beings to consciously choose everything they do. Of course that does not include those aspects of human physical nature shared with most of the higher animals—he biological functions, reflexes, and behavior of the autonomic nervous and endocrine systems, which all operate without conscious control. It is everything a human being does consciously that must be chosen.10
The great mistake made about volition, which unfortunately is sometimes wrongly referred to as, "free will," is the assumption it means being able to choose to do just anything. Volition only means that to do anything, a human being must consciously choose to do it. It means nothing makes a human being think or do anything other than what an individual chooses to think and do.
Volition does not mean one can choose just anything. One cannot choose to do what is physically, biologically, psychologically, or logically impossible. One cannot choose to think about or do what they know nothing about. One cannot choose to do what never occurs to them it is possible to do. Within the limits of what is possible and one's own knowledge and ability, however, everything one thinks or does must be consciously chosen.
Nothing except one's own conscious choice determines any human being's behavior. Nothing biological, neurological, psychological, (and certainly not mystical), no chemicals in the brain, heredity characteristic, genetic predispositions, social conditioning, economic status, cultural background,, feelings, emotions, desires, or subconscious causes anyone to do anything they do not choose to do.11
Everything a human being does must chosen because, unlike the animals, they have no instinct to provide then automatic behavior.12
Many human beings attempt to deny their volitional nature, or claim something else determines their behavior, in order to evade responsibility for their own choices and actions, but the necessity to consciously choose cannot be evaded.13
Intellect—Intellect is the necessity and ability to gain and retain knowledge.
Without knowledge, volition would be impossible. One cannot choose what one does not know there is to choose. One cannot even desire what one does not know exists or what anything is or why it might be desirable. There is neither a motive for or means to making any choice without knowledge. Choice is hot possible without knowledge because reason is not possible without knowledge. [See, "Why Knowledge Is Necessary," below.]
Rationality—Rationality is the necessity and ability to think and reason.
Reason is the human means of consciously identifying what exists, asking questions, and make judgments. It is the means holding in consciousness whatever one thinks about, of asking such questions as, "what is this?" "what is its nature?" "do I want it?" and answering those questions, which are judgments. Reason is a human being's only means of making a choice, and reason is impossible without knowledge, because knowledge (what is known) is all there is to think about or think with. [See, "What Reason Is," below.]
What Knowledge IsList
The word knowledge is used to identify many different things, such as skills one has developed ("knowing," how to type, ride a bicycle, or drive a car) things one has experienced, ("knowing," what pain or cold feels like or what cinnamon tastes like), what one is acquainted with ("knowing," one's neighbors or where the drug store is) or even things our pets can do (Bowser, "knows," his way home and Tweety, "knows," five words). None of those are, "knowledge," in the human sense, however.
Human knowledge is knowledge that can only be learned and held by means of language. Language is, in fact, the beginning of knowledge and no knowledge is possible without language.
Knowing a language is not just being able to respond to a few sounds, signs, or symbols, however. Knowing a language means capable of forming, speaking, writing and understanding complete sentences. Knowing a language means being able to think, read, write, ask questions, and understand verbal explanations in that language.
The whole purpose of language is to gain and hold knowledge and to use that language to think, and make choices. A secondary derivative purpose of language is communication. One must know something and be able to think it and choose to communicate it before any communication is possible.
The basic building block of all knowledge is called, "concepts."
Concepts—What words are and how they represent concepts.
All knowledge is constructed of concepts, which are how all existents are consciously identified. In most languages a concept is represented by a symbol, which in phonetic languages, like French or English, are called words.
A concept is the conscious identification of some existent or kind of existent, like, "apple," "book," "planet," or, "history." The words, "apple," "book," "planet," and, "history," however, are not concepts. Words are only symbols that represent concepts.
The concept is the identification of actual existents, that is, actual apples, books, planets, or examples of history and the symbol (word) only represents or stands for that identification.
Definitions—Definitions specify what a concept identifies.
Concepts may be thought of as a construct consisting of a, "word plus definition." A definition describes or explains exactly what existent or existents a concept identifies. The word, "stands for," or, "represents," the concept defined.
It is not words that are defined, but the concepts the words stand for. The words, 'home,' 'domocile,' 'residence,' 'abode,' 'casa,' (Spanish), 'maison,' (French), 'spiti,' (Greek), and 'ban,' (Thai) all have the same definition because those different words all stand for the same concept. It is not the symbols or words for concepts that have meaning, but the concepts the symbols represent.
The same word may also be used as a symbol for more than one concept. The word, 'light,' represents for many different concepts, with different definitions, even if closely related: such as, "electromagnetic radiation that makes vision possible," "a source of light: such as a lamp," "enlightenment," "a flame for lighting something," "not dark," "to ignite a fire," "to illuminate something," "not heavy," "slight," "quick," "soft," "dismount," and "alight," are all different concepts represented by the same symbol, "light."
Meaning—A concept means the actual existents the concept identifies.
A concept means the actual existent or existents identified by that concept. A concept does not mean its definition. The definition only specifies what the concept identifies. The actual existents a concept means are sometimes called a concept's referents, units, particulars, or instances, which all only mean the actual existing entities, phenomena, objects, or ideas identified by the concept.14, 15
All Knowledge Learned—Everything one knows must be learned.
There is no such thing as, "a priori," knowledge. Everything any human beings know has to be learned, either by discovering it for themselves or from others who made those discoveries (directly or indirectly from recorded information).
Why Knowledge Is NecessaryList
Life Necessity—Human life is impossible without knowledge.
For human beings knowledge is the first and most important necessity of life. Things like water, food, clothing, and shelter are sometimes called the necessities of life, but for human beings, without knowledge none of those necessities would be possible. For human beings, knowledge comes before all other things. Whatever else a human being does the first must be to learn because, for human beings, it is learn or die.
There is nothing human life requires one can have without knowledge. When first born it is not one's own knowledge that keeps one alive, fed, clothed, sheltered, and safe from the dangers of life, it is the knowledge of those who choose to love and nurture the child, but it is knowledge of how to provide those things that make that young life possible. As a child grows older, more and more of the things one's life requires will depend on the knowledge the child gains as he grows and matures. By the time one is an adult, most of how one lives depends on their own knowledge.16
Volition Requires—Choice is impossible without knowledge.
To make a choice one must know what choices there are to make and determine which choice is preferable. One cannot choose to do what they are not aware is possible to do. One cannot choose what their limited knowledge does not enable them to do.
To make a correct choice one must know what is value and which actions will achieve that which is good. One must be able ask the questions, what is this and what is its value relative to my own life? What do I have to do to achieve what I desire and avoid what is harmful? This is the process of reason by which right choices must be made, and reason is not possible without knowledge.
All choice is limited by limits of one's knowledge.
Reason Requires—Thinking is impossible without knowledge.
Knowledge is all there is to think with or think about. One cannot think about anything one does not know exists or knows nothing about. All thinking is a process of identifying relationships: between existents, between exitents and their attributes, between existents and their behavior, or between existents and classes or categories of existents.
All thinking and reasoning is limited by limits of one
Happiness Requires—Success and happiness are limit by the limits of knowledge.
Since everything one does must be consciously chosen, and the scope of one's possible choices is limited by the scope of their knowledge and reason, the limits of one's life are determined by the limits of their knowledge. To be all one can possibly be to achieve a fulfilling successful life requires one to have all the knowledge they possibly can.17, 18
What Reason IsList
Reason Is Thinking—Reason is the conscious process of 1. identifying existents, 2. recognizing relationships, 3. asking and answer questions, and 4. making judgments. All correct reasoning must be non-contradictory.
Identifying Existents—Identifying existents is concept formation. It is the foundation of all knowledge.
The process of identifying existents by means of concepts consisting of symbols ("words" which represent the concepts) and definitions (which designate the exitents the concepts identify) is, itself, a thought process by which one develops their language, the means to all other thinking and reasoning.14
Recognizing Relationships—Recognizing relationships is proposition formation. It is the beginning of all knowledge and reason.
All knowledge consists of propositions that specify relationships: 1. between existents themselves (their relationships to each other), 2. between existents and their attributes, 3. between existents and their behavior, or 4. between existents and their relationship to classes or categories of existents.15
[NOTE: The first three kinds of relationships (1. through 3.) include both material (ontological) and knowledge (epistemological) relationships. The fourth kind of relationship, between existents and classes or categories, are only epistemological relationships. Material existence is all that exists independently of (with or without) any human awareness or knowledge and the epistemological only exists as human knowledge with no existence independent of human consciousness.]
A, "proposition," is simply a statement that asserts something about something else. The thing being asserted is always one of the four identified relationships, i.e. trupit-A is above trupit-B, 2. trupit-A is rippled, 3. trupit-A performs zots, 4. trupit-A is one variety of trupits.
All knowledge consists of true propositions. A proposition is true if what is being asserted is correct. The four example propositions are true only if there really are trupits, trupit-A really is a trupit, trupit-A really is above trupit-B, trupit-A really is rippled, and trupit-A really performs zots (and there really is an action or behavior, "zot").
All of one's own knowledge consists of all the propositions one knows that are true. If one holds propositions that are not true, those propositions are false knowledge, usually some form of superstition, which contradicts and interferes with all real knowledge.
Asking And Answer Questions—All thinking requires asking and answer questions. To think about something means to hold in conscious some concept about which one implicitly or explicitly mentally suggest some relationship, like, "that is good," "I like that," "that is some kind of animal," or "I want that." The relationship is first thought tentatively and may take an interrogative form, "is that good?" or, "do I like that?" or, "is that some kind of animal?" or, "do I really want that?"
Making Judgment—Making judgment is answering the questions of what is good, bad, right, or wrong.
Most judgements are answers to questions of choice, and all questions of choice are questions of value—"what is right?" "what is the best choice," "what is good for me?" and, "what is important?" See What Values Are, below.
Non-contradiction—The principle of non-contradiction is the foundation of all correct thinking.
A proposition is true if what it states about some aspect of reality is correct, that is, if the expressed relationship is in fact what the statement expresses, explains, or describes. Any thinking that results in a contradiction is untrue, because there is only one reality and every real thing is what it is. Nothing can be one thing and also not that thing, but something else. Any reason or thinking that results in a contradiction is wrong.19
Why Reason Is NecessaryList
Reason Determines Behavior—Reason or thinking is the only human means to human behavior.
It is the volitional nature that makes reason both necessary and possible. If human beings had instinct, like all the other higher animals, that instinct would automatically guide their behavior, guaranteeing their survival and success as the kind of organisms they are. Since human beings have no instinct, they must consciously choose all they think and do. Since reason is the only means to knowledge, and no choice is possible without knowledge, and to make a choice one must judge which choice to make, reason is the only means to human behavior, survival, and successful life as a human being.11, 12, 20
"Feelings," Are Not Reason—Feelings and emotions are non-cognitive and deceptive.
Almost every human mistake in both thought and action is the result of allowing the emotions and desires to affect one's thinking. Our feelings are our means of experiencing and enjoying life but only reason enables us to think and make correct choices.21, 22
"Irrational Belief," Is Not Reason—Irrational belief is superstition and anti-knowledge.
Every mistaken belief is the result of faulty reasoning or belief based on the irrational, like feelings, impression, or wishes. All such beliefs can be categorized as, "superstition." All superstition, which is anything one believes is true with no rational foundation, interferes with true knowledge, because whatever is wrongly believed about any aspect of reality makes it impossible to learn its true nature.
Why Human Beings Must ProduceList
Human Life Requires Work—All life must, "work," to survive.
Life is action, a self-sustaining activity. Life is what an organism does, not what happens to it. Things happen to all entities, even the non-living. Only living organism act to sustain their own existence. It is that action which in human beings is called productive work. It is because a human being must use knowledge (of what is required to live and how to achieve it) to choose what they do to provide themselves with what their life requires that what they do is called productive work.
Nothing human life requires is provided by nature in a form that a human being requires. Nature provides the raw materials from which all the things human life requires can be produced, but they are useless to human life until human effort is used to make from those raw materials what their life requires.
Everything a human life requires must be created by human effort, from the simplest basics (food, clothing, shelter) to the most demanding (medicine, transportation, sanitation, and education). Even those things that are mistakenly thought of as free, like air and water, cannot be assured without human care and effort to insure the air is not poisoned (carbon monoxide or sulphur dioxide, for example) and that there is water (the well has not gone dry) and the water is potable (not brackish or polluted).23
Work Is Production—An individual's work is whatever one does to produce a product or service.
Whether for one's own use, or as a means of trade, work is rationally guided effort to produce a product or provide a service that is value to human life. From growing and preparing food and making tools or machines to providing clerical or medical services, whatever one does that is of value to one's own life, or the lives of other is productive work.
Work Is Creation—Whatever one produces or whatever improves due to one service only exists as the product of that individual's productive effort&meash;it is their creation. All productive work is creation.
One's Work Is One's Identity—The most important creation of every individual is their own self. Every individual is whatever they have made of themselves, what they do, how they do it, and the value of what they do defines who and what they are.
Work Is The Source Of All Good—Nothing of value to human live is available for human use without human productive effort. Everything that is, "good," for a human being, from food to knowledge, must be produced by human productive work.
Work Necessary To Happiness—One of the most important requirements of a human being's psychological nature is the requirement to know one is worthy of life, competent to deal with everything living in this world requires, and that the life one is living is the best it can possibly be. That psychological state is only possible to the individual who knows, all they have and all they enjoy, they earned and deserve because they have produced them by their own effort and that all they are is what they have achieved and accomplished by their own chosen work.17
What Values AreList
Values Are Relationships—Things only have values relative to some objective (purpose, end, or goal).
Before there can be a value there must be an objective (purpose, end, or goal) relative to which a thing has some value; a positive value like, "good," or, "right," if it achieves or advances the objective, or a negative value like, "bad," or, "wrong," if it prevents or hinders the objective.
Values Are Qualities—Values are attributes that pertain to the relationship between objectives and acts or methods for achieving those objectives.
Qualities (attributes, characteristics, and properties) do not exist or have meaning independent of the existents they are the qualities of. Red only exists as an attribute of things that are red, and hard only exists as an attribute of things that are hard. There is no wild red or hard in nature.
Since values, like good, bad, right, wrong, important, and necessary are characteristics of things relative to objectives, where there are not objectives, purposes, ends, or goals, there are no values.
Values Pertain Only To Human Beings—There are no values sans human beings.
Since values only pertain to objectives, purposes, ends, or goals, they are only possible to beings capable of having objectives, purposes, ends, or goals—human beings. They are the only beings who must choose their objectives and then must choose how to pursue them. Values are the principles that identify which things and which kinds of actions will achieve one's objectives, and which will not.
Values Are Absolute—...
Since values are relationships it might seem that values being absolute contradicts that fact. This dual aspect of values is very much the same as the dual aspect of most of the physical world. In one sense how the physical world is used is entirely arbitrary. Nothing in the sciences determines whether one uses chemicals to make bombs or fertilizer, for example, but how the chemicals must be used to make either is absolutely determined by the nature of the chemicals and what one needs the chemicals to do.
What any individual human beings choose as their real life goals and purposes will determine what will or will not be of value to them, but while they can choose their objectives, they cannot choose which things or actions will succeed or fail to achieve those objectives, because it is reality itself that determines what will work and what will not, and therefore what will be valuable in achieving those ends, and what will not.
While the objectives, purposes, or ends are not themselves absolute, but determine by each individual's own choices, what actually work to achieve those ends or goals is determined absolutely by the nature of reality itself.
Values Are Not Intrinsic—Nothing is of value simply because it exists.
Nothing is just, good, bad, right, wrong, important, or necessary unless there some purpose of objective relative to which a thing is good, bad, right, wrong, important, or necessary. Regarding anything as a value in itself is a kind of superstition or mysticism.
There Are No Collective Values—Consensus does not determine any value.
Values have no other purpose than to be used by individual human beings to guide their choices in the pursuit of their objectives. Values tell them which actions will succeed (are good and right) and which will fail or result in disaster (are bad or wrong).
The ability to choose is a faculty unique to individual human beings. Only individual human beings can use values because only individual human beings have the faculty of choice. Two or more human beings can certainly make the same choices, and the sum of those choices may be regarded as a so-called collective decision, but that decision is only the sum of the choices of each individual in the collective.
Values to not pertain to any collective, society, or community. Nothing is good, right, important, or necessary because of the number of individuals who might believe it is. Nothing is good, or right, or necessary just because a great many individuals would like it.24
Why Trade Is The Only Right Human RelationshipList
Trade Is The Exchange Of Value For Value—Trade is the voluntary exchange of products or services between individuals who produce those products or provide those services.
The most important word in that description is, "voluntary." Voluntary does not mean just, "giving assent," to a transaction, but being fully informed about the nature of the transaction. Any transfer of anything of value from one individual to any other individuals that is not voluntary is, "theft," not trade, whether that transaction was coerced or implemented by deception.
Trade Is The Only Rational Human Intercourse—All trade is an agreed transaction between individuals using their own best reason to judge the value of whatever they trade against the value of what they gain.
An offer of value for value is the only rational way for human beings to influence on another. An offer of trade must not appeal to anything other than another's own ability to rationally evaluate and offered trade. Appeals to anything else are not rational and not totally honest, because they attempt to bypass or short-circuit reason.
Appeals to another's feelings, desires, fear, weaknesses, superstitions, ignorance, or gullibility are fraudulent methods of influencing other's behavior because they are evasions of reason. If something is truly of value to another, only an honest description and explanation of that thing enables another to rationally evaluate what is being offered. All these method's of persuasion are the methods of politicians, con-men, and those promoting ideologies and religion.
They are not methods an honest individual uses.
Trade Only Possible Between Creators—Trade is only possible between individuals produce something of value.
In order trade one must produce products or perform services for which other individuals are willing to exchange their own products or services. The production of a service or performance of a service is an act of creation. The specific product or service one creates would not exist without that individual's creative effort, no matter similar it is to any other products or services.
The individual who creates nothing, who never produces a product or performs a service of value to anyone else, or even oneself, is of no value at all to anyone. The only human beings in this world that matter in a positive sense, are the individual creators from whose work everything of positive value to human beings comes into existence.25
Trade Is The Only Benevolent Human Relationship—Only creator producer are capable of having benevolent relationships with other individuals.
In any society, only those individual who first provide for their own life and needs by their own productive effort and secondly produce enough to trade with other produces can possibly have a benevolent relationship with other individuals.
Human beings cannot live without producing what their lives require to live. Those who produce nothing cannot (and should not) live; if they live they can only live by appropriating (stealing) directly as thieves or indirectly as parasites, from those who do produce. Those who have do not produce anything of value have nothing to offer in exchange for what the need or desire and must resort either theft, as gangsters or thugs, or fraud, as con men, mendicants, or welfare recipients.26, 27
[NOTE: The, "Human—What It Means To Be Fully Human," article addresses these same fundamentals emphasizing the wrong and mistaken views of these principles found in all philosophy, religion, and popular ideologies. The list there includes the following:
One of the primary problems of all discussion of principles is being led away from a pursuit of the truth into an endless abyss of falsehoods one ends up battling against. But falsehoods are ubiquitous and without limit. Truth can never be established by an endless battle against every possible wrong and false idea. The truth can only be established by the direct rational pursuit of that which correctly describes reality.]