The Evolving Monkey

  1. What does it mean to be good?

    • Stages to developing a mature understanding of goodness:
      • First step, babies and children equate receiving approval with being good.
      • Second step, older children will begin to understand, vaguely, that being a good person requires more than just receiving approval.
      • Third step, starting with teenagers, is the realization that being a good person and receiving approval are two separate things. Sometimes they overlap, often they don’t.
      • Often a person will get stuck on the first or second step.
    • What goodness is not:
      • Defending family, friend, or coworker even though you know they are wrong.
      • Arbitrarily fighting the other group or tribe simply because they are other.
      • Never backing down without considering if perhaps you are wrong.
      • Being better than others at doing something.
      • Being tougher and stronger than others.
      • Being first to do something.
      • Displaying certainty about something.
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  1. Why do people believe things that are not true?

    • Truth is best determined by if something works.
      • If something works you can reasonably call it true.
      • If it does not work, then you can know it is not true.
    • Should belief in what is True, that which works, lead to better lives?
      • Yes, it should.
      • Leading a life based on Truth is leading a life in accordance with the way the universe actually is, the way it actually works, and that should lead to better outcomes.
    • Examples of beliefs that do not conform to the real world.
      • I’m talking about such ideas as Astrology, magic, faith healing, and prayer (as a means for getting what you want).
      • I personally would also include ideas like vaccine denial, climate denial, gun rights (as a way of improving our society), and racial superiority.
      • Many conspiracy theories, although not necessarily all of them.
      • You probably have your own list.
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