This page is based, in concept, on Buster Benson’s “Belief” file on GitHub. I’ve taken his categories and filled them in as they’re appropriate to me.

I understand that sharing something as detailed as this will make some friends and family uncomfortable because I’m sure there are multiple things you will disagree with me on. That’s OK. We can still be friends. Just because I believe something doesn’t mean that I judge you negatively because you believe differently. Really. We’re good.

This list definitely a work-in-progress until I die, as it should be.

last modified: Jan 11, 2017 @ 5:13 pm

On Morality

  • Gay marriage should be legal everywhere.
  • It matters zero if you’re icked out by gay sex or trans people: their rights matter every bit as yours do.
  • Feminism is essential.
  • Being kind and compassionate is more important than being smart or successful.
  • Traditionally “successful” people (millionaires) and companies (mega-corps) rarely are able to reach that kind of success without stepping on others, sometimes in terrible ways.
  • Animals don’t exist for our use and we should avoid using them for food, entertainment, testing, and clothing. “Humane” meat/dairy/etc. is not an acceptable alternative.
  • There is no reasonable justification for purchasing a pet from a breeder over adopting from a shelter or rescue organization. Breeders should not exist.
  • If one is not a member of an oppressed group, that person has no right to pass judgment on how that group reacts to oppression.
  • Hate never wins in the long run, but it can take an awful lot of casualties along the way.

On Spirituality

  • The Four Noble Truths are onto something: there is suffering in life and we have control over the level of this suffering. Mastering that control is tricky.
  • Whether there is a heaven and hell, life after death, or rebirth should be unimportant to how we live our lives now. Just be good because it’s right.
  • Religion is not necessary to be a good person and, indeed, often hinders it. However, religious individuals can also be good people.

On Health

  • Running outside without headphones is the way to do it.
  • There is no such thing as a “superfood.” But eating a lot of good, nutrient-dense whole foods gets you where the marketing gimmicks won’t.
  • If you eat well in reasonable portions, your body will naturally balance out at a “good” weight for you.
  • Vaccinations are good.
  • One can become too preoccupied with health perfection.

On Technology

  • New technologies that don’t seem to have a world-changing end-goal initially may still end up changing the world.
  • Yet, I have little interest in new technologies and startups that exist only to eventually be sold to a large buyer.
  • One can’t trust others to keep data safe or accessible so we must control our own data.

On The Self

  • Humans are made to create, even those that don’t consider themselves “creative types.”
  • If your sphere of compassion doesn’t widen as you age, something’s wrong.
  • We’re not nearly as good at figuring out what is making us unhappy as we think we are.
  • We’re also generally not good at figuring out what we’ll need in the future.

On Work

  • Being busy and being productive are indeed two completely separate things.
  • It’s OK to accept that asking your day job to be “fulfilling” or to “make a difference” may be asking a bit much. Make some money, do good stuff with it. (Derek Sivers’ piece on balance nails it. It’s about the work/art balance but I think the same concepts apply in this case as well.)
  • You can both appreciate having a job and hate it at the same time.

On Education

  • Education can come from in school or out of it. Formal schooling is not required to learn, but it’s also not evil incarnate to be avoided at all costs.
  • We’re not past needing Affirmative Action yet and won’t be in my lifetime.
  • De facto school segregation is every bit as bad as the explicit and overt segregation of schools in our past.

On Politics & The Economy

  • As people age, they tend to become more conservative politically. If this happens to me, shake me and yell in my face, “WAKE UP!”
  • Being a fiscal conservative I can sort of accept because I don’t know much about economics but socially, once your own supposed “rights” trample on someone else’s (particularly an oppressed group), you’ve lost me.
  • I like to describe myself as “left of the lunatic left.”
  • The fundamental argument between the left and the right (politically/ideologically, not individually) is not how to best help those in need but whether someone is worthy of help when in need. Until this changes, people will continue to suffer unnecessarily.

On Genealogy

  • We are the product of countless small decisions made by people we’ll never meet, but we should do our best to learn about them and what got us where we are.
  • In other words, if those two random people hadn’t bumped uglies in the 1700s, you wouldn’t be here today, so at least learn their names if you can.
  • A family tree is just a list of people that got busy.

On The Future Of Earth (2100)

  • People will eat very little meat.
  • Many diseases will be treatable, but cancer will live on.
  • Everything and everyone will be tracked, but we’ll (somehow) have found a balance between privacy and utility by then.

On …?

  • Sandwiches cut on the diagonal feel bigger and better than sandwiches cut vertically.
  • 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot running temperature.
  • 65 degrees Fahrenheit is the sweet spot everything temperature.
  • Seasons ranked, in order: fall, winter, spring, summer. Winter and spring may switch spots as I get older (I can feel it happening already).
  • We only need one paper towel

Meta

  • My beliefs will change over time. I hope they change in a way that’s more accepting and understanding of others and not less.

Wagers

  • (with Paul) I say that in 2019, keyboards will still be in regular (“still used on a daily basis by the average person”) use. Paul says there will be some other form of input that dominates by then.
  • (with Paul) I say that in 2022, tracking devices will be small enough and cheap enough that they’re included in most packages that are mailed by a retailer and the package’s real-time status can be viewed on a map. Paul says it will be 2018.
  • (with Paul) I say that by 2030, morning news shows (ie. “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America”) will have stopped treating the Internet as some weird “other” thing and it will feel like a natural part of their discussions and presentation. Paul says it will be 2045.