The Goals of DecidingToBeBetter
by Marshall Brain
DecidingToBeBetter: A force for self-improvement, goodness and togetherness that helps humanity to eliminate evil
DecidingToBeBetter has six goals:
The sixth goal brings with it an obvious question: How can we accomplish this? The page on the meaning of life offers one way. By working on worldwide goals as a species, we give meaning to our existence as a species.
- The first goal of DecidingToBeBetter is to help our members, as individuals, to become better human beings. Members decide what they would like to improve in their lives and then begin being better in their chosen areas. DecidingToBeBetter offers classes, experiences, meetings, activities, etc. that help members to be better. DecidingToBeBetter communities also provide a variety of services that make members' lives tangibly better. Members of DecidingToBeBetter place the highest importance on values, ethical behavior and integrity. They work to improve in these areas by using things like the Ten Steps.
- The second goal is to create internet and local communities of DecidingToBeBetter members, where members can meet on a regular basis and form real, lasting friendships with one another. See this page to understand why friendship is so important to health and well-being. Through these friendships, members may also share ideas, start projects, launch businesses, create classes, etc.
- The third goal of DecidingToBeBetter to is actively help members in their efforts to find happiness and fulfillment. See this page and this page for starting points, as well as books on the books page.
- The fourth goal is for DecidingToBeBetter members to work together to make their local communities better through projects, good works, fund-raising drives, enhanced awareness, community-facing classes, etc.
- The fifth goal is to help nations to be better through moral/ethical behavior, transparency, trust and global cooperation.
- The sixth goal is to create a better world by helping the human race as a whole to be better.
By getting our house in order and ending the tremendous, pointless and unjust suffering that is currently endured by so many people around the world, we make our world a much better place for everyone.
Ultimately, the goal of DecidingToBeBetter is to end evil within ourselves, and then within our species, so that we can create heaven on earth for all people. The Paradox of Epicurus is well-know and much repeated:
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"
But really, it misses the point. The Paradox of Epicurus tries to pin the blame for evil on somebody else. Unfortunately, the fact is that human beings are solely responsible for evil, and we are therefore the only ones who can bring an end to it. The paradox should be rephrased as follows:
"Is the human species willing to prevent evil, but not able? No. Or is the species able, but not willing? No. Is humanity both able and willing to end evil? Yes. Then whence cometh evil?"
As a general rule, people would like to end evil. If you ran a poll asking, "Would you like to see evil end?", the overwhelming majority would answer "Yes!" Yet we find ourselves facing evil constantly in the forms of war, poverty, crime, corruption, environmental damage and so on. Whence cometh evil? Evil comes because we tolerate it - in our leaders, institutions, societies and ourselves - even condone it. We are often active, though unwitting, participants in the process of evil. Many scientific experiments (e.g. the Stanford Prison Experiment) and world events (e.g. the Holocaust) demonstrate this uncomfortable fact of life.
We, as an intelligent species, are able to end evil. And we know that every living thing on the planet - including every human being - would be far better off if evil were eliminated. Yet we are surrounded by evil because, at present, we choose to tolerate it as a species. It seems that we have never made the conscious decision to be better as a species, and thus we stagnate in mediocrity, never reaching anything close to humanity's true potential for goodness. DecidingToBeBetter's goal is to be a force for goodness that helps bring humanity into a new era free of evil.
Where do you stand?
Is this a pipe dream? Is the idea of ending evil a fantasy, given that humanity has been plagued by evil since its inception? No, it is not a fantasy. Think about it this way - what is your personal stance on evil? You have four options:
Most people currently default to option #3. But why? Why not move yourself to option #4? Why not become a force for good and actively work with others who hope to end evil, in all of its many forms, worldwide? Why not Join DecidingToBeBetter?
- To be evil yourself
- To encourage evil in others
- To tolerate evil
- To work toward eliminating evil
Ending evil is actually a part of our wiring. If we would grab hold of the idea of evil's end and actually get to work solving the problem, evil and suffering could vanish. This excerpt from chapter 14 of the book Authentic Happiness is enlightening:
[Robert] Wright begins by suggesting that the secret of life is in not DNA, but another discovery made the same time as Watson's and Crick's: the thesis of the nonzero sum game put forward by John Von Neumann and Oskar Morgenstern. A win-loss game, he reminds us, is an activity in which the fortunes of the winner and loser are inversely related, and the win-win game has the net result that is positive. The basic principle underlying life itself, Wright argues, is the superior reproductive success that favors win-win games. Biological systems are forced - designed without a designer - by a Darwinian selection into more complexity and more win-win scenarios. A cell that incorporates mitochondria symbiotically wins out over cells that cannot. Complex intelligence is almost an inevitable result, given enough time, of natural selection and differential reproductive success.
Members of DecidingToBeBetter can and will help to accelerate this process so that "the calm" - the end of suffering and evil - arrives much sooner than it otherwise would.
It is not only biological change that has this direction, Wright contends, but human history itself. Anthropologists like Lewis Henry Morgan in the 19th century got it right. The universal picture of political change over the centuries, all across the world, is from savage to Barbieri and to civilization. This is a progression with an increase in win-win situations at its core. The more positive-sum games in a culture, the more likely it is to survive and flourish. Wright knows, of course, that history is checkered with one horror after another. Progress in history is not like an unstoppable locomotive but more like a balky horse that often refuses to budge and even walks backward on occasion. But the broad movement of human history, not ignoring such backward walks as the holocaust, anthrax terrorism and the genocide against the Tasmanian aborigines, is, when viewed over the centuries, in the direction of more win-win.
We are at this moment living through the end of the storm before the calm. The Internet, globalization and the absence of nuclear war are not happenstance. They are the almost inevitable products of a species selected for more win-win scenarios. The species stands at an inflection point after which the human future will be much happier than the human past, Wright concludes...
Here is a vision for the human species: We will create Heaven on Earth for every human being - billions of people living together peacefully, without suffering, in a happy, friendly, fulfilling, environmentally sustainable way.
What does Heaven on Earth mean? It means that each and every person on the planet has access to an an abundant supply of healthy food and clean water. That each and every person has access to luxurious housing and clothing. That we are all safe. That we can all communicate with everyone. That we all have free and open access to education and entertainment. That cutting edge health care is available freely to everyone, and the cutting edge is advancing as quickly as possible, curing more and more diseases and ailments as fast as we can. That we can all access abundant, pollution-free sources of energy and methods of transportation. And so on. We do all of that in an environmentally sustainable way. Obviously there would be no wars - we will find peaceable ways to resolve our differences. Obviously we would need for it to be environmentally sustainable - otherwise we poison the planet and destroy ourselves.
This is a worthy goal for our species, and one that we can easily achieve through ethical behavior and cooperation.
You might find yourself thinking that the idea of ending evil and creating Heaven on Earth sounds a little ridiculous right now, or perhaps even impossible. That's because our thinking is so backwards at the moment. We believe it is "normal" for half of humanity to be living on $1 a day, and for millions of children to be dying of starvation each year. However, robots (see also Manna) could make it possible to transform human society. In fact, robots could make it easy to achieve Heaven on Earth if we design society to take advantage of them in this way. What if we get creative as a species and make it happen? That goal is an important part of the DecidingToBeBetter mindset. Let's work together to make the human species better, radically improving the lives of everyone on the planet in the process. We will all benefit from it, as will the planet.
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