Static Societies

One whose changes happen on a timescale longer than its members can notice. Such cultures are dominated by anti-rational memes.

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Blind Pessimism

Avoiding everything not known to be safe. Often found in Static Societies

Dynamic Societies

A society that is dominated by rational memes. Dynamic societies celebrate the ideals of the Enlightenment such as tolerance, free speech, and a willingness to change.


Moral philosophy is basically about the problem of what to do next–and, more generally, what sort of life to lead, and what sort of world to want. Morality is a type of Knowledge. This means that moral 'truths' can be discovered by the usual methods of reason, which are essentially the same as those of science (although there are important differences).


The theory that all failures (all evils) are due to insufficient knowledge. This is the key to the rational philosophy of the unknowable.


We have made virtually no progress over the vast majority of human history. Our species has existed for 200,000 years and for the vast majority of that time, people were alive, they were thinking, they were suffering, and they wanted things. But nothing ever improved. The improvements that did happen happened so slowly that archaeologists can’t distinguish between artifacts from eras separated by thousands of years. Then there was slow improvement, and then faster improvement. Then there were attempts to institutionalize a tradition of Criticism, which is the key to rapid progress—that is, progress discernible in a human lifetime—and there was also Error Correction, so that regression was less likely. That happened several times and failed every time except once—in the European Enlightenment of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


A practice or lifestyle that cannot able to be maintained at the current rate or level. Often used in an environmental context: e.g. human population growth is not sustainable. In practice, nothing is sustainable. Problems are inevitable and eventually one big enough will come along to prevent you from sustaining an existing course of action.