“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”
Juliet, from Romeo and Juliet
Names are important, for a host of reasons. They are labels by which we identify everything, and by extension, judge them based on their merits (and unfortunately, through our prejudices as well).
In my preceding blog post, I spoke of creating an “umbrella” for the world. I named that umbrella Universal Sentience.
What is Universal Sentience? Think of Humanism, but expanded to all sentient beings. I know you’ll find this crazy, but if at some point we encounter sentient life from another planet/galaxy/Universe, I wanted a term expansive enough so we wouldn’t be limiting ourselves to a kind of humanoid xenophobia. The last thing we need is to extend our racism to our first contacts, which appears to be the main themes of most of our science fiction entertainment.
I didn’t name it that solely in the hope of contacting extraterrestrial beings. I named it that because we need something that goes beyond the labels we have now, and the associations (and those pesky prejudices) we connote with them.
Universal Sentience, therefore, is the term for an over-arching philosophy which holds the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its highest law governing humanity (extendable to other sentient beings if the case ever presents itself).
I will get into the details of all that as I progress, and the reasons for my belief in those attributes, but for now I’d just like to put down the basic outline for it.
This philosophy holds that the improvement of Humanity’s lot as a whole, is, or should be, its main goal.
Universal Sentience is the belief that the highest achievement its adepts can garner is:
1) Taking good care of him or herself (body and mind).
2) Taking good care of his or her family, and raising them to be independent, curious, empathetic, loving and strong (and many other, positive attributes).
3) Making sure that what they do and say is truthful and helpful.
4) Learning to think critically.
5) Helping those less fortunate.
6) Being good students.
7) Becoming good teachers.
8) Working hard.
9) Always learning more, and from truthful sources.
10) Working toward ending poverty.
11) Working toward ending pollution.
12) Working toward ending prejudice and hatred.
13) Defending the oppressed actively.
14) Defeating oppressors actively.
15) Electing, supporting and/or being just and honest leaders.
16) Being responsible, wise, empathetic owners/operators/shareholders/CEOs, corporate leaders, etc.
17) Putting Humanity above him or herself in his or her table of values.
18) Finding (a) goal(s) that encompasses these values and working toward it/them without giving up.
19) Investing time, research and effort toward space exploration as a goal to alleviating humanity’s diminishing resources and augmenting population.
These are just a few of the more important aspects of this philosophy. I will enumerate each point in upcoming blogs, explaining the importance I attach to them. Not only that, but I am certain I will add more, as these were merely a beginning.
Yes, I realize what the last point sounds like. No, I’m not crazy, I’m a realist. If we want our species to survive, we have to start doing something, and not just saying something. If our governments and industries won’t do the things that are necessary, we must start doing those things for ourselves, without fail.
Right now, we live on a tiny blue dot in the sky, with millions upon millions of people being added every year. Natural resources, finite resources, are being dug up at an exponential rate to satisfy the needs of an exploding population. Continuing our wars and extraction is the real folly, yet those in power would have you believe that what I am advocating is silliness. Think about that.
If you want real change, you have to do it from the grass roots, and you are it. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do think I speak from a sensible position. We have choices to make, and not making them is the biggest mistake we can do. Because we can do nothing, and drive to failure, we can encourage what we have at the moment, and put the pedal to the metal to finish ourselves off, or we can take radical measures to ensure that the human race and this planet have a future. The choice is ours.
I for one want to see us thrive.