That’s a picture of me looking at the desk in Philadelphia. I’m looking at a place where people agreed on ways of looking at the world.
The “Declaration of Independence” isn’t sacred to me. It’s even better than that – it has Useful Ideas.
People figured out that “all men” could pursue happiness using liberty. Then it occurred to us that “all men” could include human beings who looked different, and also people who didn’t have any testicles. That idea allows a lot of unique human beings to lead diverse and satisfying lives.
It is useful to value “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for everyone.
It lets us “be” different, act different and believe different. We can see that some people pursue happiness by learning things. Others try to be moral. Some buy objects. The beauty of this “individuality” thing is this: individuals all want you to be like them.
They’ll yell “Learn things!” or “Buy Objects!” if that’s the way they pursue happiness. It is part of human nature to want everybody to be the same as we are, just as it is part of human nature to be unique individuals.
We get to point and laugh at whatever gives us a chuckle. “Good luck purchasing happiness!” Others will surely laugh at how our individual culture pursues happiness.
When a bunch of people live based on these useful ideas, we very much attempt to find a relationship between “different” and “equal.” A form of collaboration happens between “unique/irreplaceable/different” and “ultimately equal in value.”
This may be a weird way to think, but it has resulted in millions of individual lives that are relatively fulfilled (compared to hungrier, angrier lives in human history.)
I’m just an American guy, born as a conscious individual.
Is an individual the smallest discrete unit of free will?
Somehow I got the idea that my own attitudes, beliefs, values, and goals were up to me.
Each person has a right to their own culture. At least, each brain is going to make up its own ideas that won’t completely match any other brain. Each of us has a unique way of seeing the world and interacting using their mind whether they know it or not.
Beliefs are pretty individual. Even identical twins running for office in Michigan run for different parties. You might agree with some people on some things, but you aren’t required to eat Paleo with them.
We need all eyes on truth. That way we’re always watching it from different angles, to see what it gets up to.
This individuated culture of personal truth is like a circle, and it still relates to the larger neighborhood or nation drawn around it it.
Three circles are easily found in a person’s life: self, community, world.
There is always an “us” and always a “them,” at least in the illusions drawn by the mind.
Each culture relates. “We hold these truths,” etc.
After the individual draws their life however they like, and that circle relates to their family and friends and everyone they know, the culture of a nation gets to draw a larger circle of individuation and relationship with the totality of humanity.
Draw larger circles around what other people know is true. All the individual cultures and group cultures can get along just fine if we allow them to exist.