The 20 Synthophic Precepts (summary)
I. TRUE HAPPINESS
1) The goal of all beings is True Happiness.
2) True Happiness cannot come from transitory material pleasures.
3) To discover the path to True Happiness we must first understand Nature.
4) Reason, science, and a discriminating healthy skepticism are the best tools we have for understanding Nature.
5) Nature consists of intricate complex systems of interdependent causal relationships, balanced between order and chaos. These patterns operate by rational means which permeate and unite the entire universe.
6) Nature produces all of what we call order, chaos, life, death, and the system of activity we call our mind.
7) Better understanding the greater truths concerning the ebb and flow of these patterns in Nature is the key to True Happiness.
III. SELF KNOWLEDGE
8) Knowing ourselves is not merely understanding our personality, inclinations, desires, talents, and weaknesses. It is knowing how we fit into Nature and how it fits into us.
9) We as persons are aggregates and our sense of a solid, unified, unchanging, self is an illusion. The distinction between ourselves and the rest of Nature is not absolute.
10) As integrated beings within Nature, we act as though in a dance. As such, to achieve True Happiness, we must appreciate what we control and what we do not control so that we ‘dance well’.
11) We can never have full control of other beings, events that happen to and around us, or even the consequences of our choices and efforts. What we can control is our mind and our choices.
IV. GOOD, EVIL, & VIRTUE
12) There is a purpose to assigning things as ‘good’ or ‘evil’ such that we work to promote the former and eradicate the latter. Therefore things outside our control should not be thought of as good or evil, but simply considered neutral. Only one’s own decisions and efforts should be considered good or evil; all else is not ultimately within our control and therefore something over which not to be obsessed.
13) ‘Good’ choices are those which increase True Happiness. ‘Evil’ choices are those which increase True Suffering.
14) Each choice we make works to alter our character. When we do evil we harm ourselves and Nature. When we do good we help ourselves and Nature.
15) Virtue is both necessary and sufficient for True Happiness.
16) The way of Nature informs us of what is virtuous.
17) Ethics is objective and independent of our understanding or agreement, but it is simultaneously a product of human beings.
V. THE GOOD PERSON
18) Outlines of the virtues serve as general guidelines, including: Compassion, Reason, Discipline, and the many shades and combinations of these virtues. But, because there is a rational structure to Nature, rationality must guide our moral deliberation rather than simplistic codes.
19) Through practice, choices become spontaneous and codes give way to character. In this way, moral excellence is nourished.
20) The virtuous of character are those who walk in accordance with Nature. They are more prone to enjoy prosperity and, even when not, will have the foundations of True Happiness, independent of circumstances. Moral excellence and excellence in living are thus the same; wisdom and virtue the same.
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