The principal purpose of the individuals in our society is to develop a social order which best meets each of the following social goals:
1 . The Social Goal of Wisdom and Knowledge2
All rational individuals seek God, in one form or another. Each individual should be somewhat uncomfortable without any relationship to God, as the lack of such a relationship implies a total lack of responsibility to anyone other than the individual "self." The Agnostic Church believes that those who declare that they have found God have instead found a false God, invented solely as a solace for those who cannot accept the fact that God cannot be found, at least in the form of an anthropomorphic being with whom one could relate as a fellow individual. God cannot be sought by traveling to a particular place where God happens to be located, nor can God be sought by simply willing God into existence. The only way in which God may rationally be sought is through the acquisition of both wisdom and knowledge.3 Thus, the principal social goal for our society is to seek wisdom and knowledge in all forms.4 This accomplishes the first part of the three-fold Mission of Mankind, at least to the extent which we increase knowledge of the truth for all mankind, in quantity, in quality, and in dissemination.
Each individual should strive to increase the overall enlightenment of each individual and of society as a whole. When used in this context, the word "enlightenment" means the knowledge of the universe and all its parts (both physical and spiritual), the knowledge of the "self" of each individual in the universe, the knowledge of the relationship of each individual "self" to the universe as a whole, and the joyful acceptance of that relationship to the universe by each individual "self" in the conduct of the life of each such individual. The concept of "enlightenment" includes the attainment of (or increasing of) both individual and societal joy and happiness,5 as well as a calm acceptance by each affected individual of any sorrow which has been bestowed upon said individual. The calm acceptance of sorrow includes the necessary amount of grieving, as grieving either too much or too little are both harmful to the individual, and through harm to the individual, to society as a whole.6 The increasing of happiness accomplishes the second part of the three-fold Mission of Mankind, at least to the extent which we increase the happiness of all mankind, in quantity, in quality, and in dissemination.
a. Perspectives - The Concept Of "Place" Is Erroneous
The original language of the Social Goal of Enlightenment read, in part, "the knowledge of the place of each individual 'self' in the universe as a whole, and the joyful acceptance of that place in the universe by each individual 'self' in the conduct of the life of each such individual." Upon further reflection, the use of the word "place" is erroneous because of the implication that every individual has a "place" into which such individual must be forced by the social order. Since the concept that an individual is subject to being forced into the proper place is tantamount to a concept of slavery, and since slavery is close to being the antithesis of enlightenment,7 the language of this social goal was revised to substitute "relationship" for "place," and also change the phrase "in the universe" to the phrase "to the universe" so that the proper concept of the individual's joyful acceptance of said individual's "relationship to the universe" is expressed by this goal.
Each enlightened individual must strive to achieve a proper balance between their striving towards the Social Goal of Wisdom and Knowledge and their striving towards the Social Goal of Enlightenment. Achieving this balance accomplishes the third part of the three-fold Mission of Mankind to the extent which we balance the attainment of happiness and knowledge of the truth such that neither excludes the other, but instead both are balanced in appropriate quantities, qualities, and dissemination for all mankind.
Each enlightened individual must strive to harmoniously integrate with all other such individuals in order to form a harmoniously integrated society. This never requires all individuals to be the same. Dissent8 and other differences are to be expected. The only time that dissent or other differences detract from harmony is where the dissent or other differences are not respected by other individuals, or where the dissenters or different individuals pursue their active or passive dissent or flaunt their differences to the point of inflicting harm on innocent other individuals.9
5 . The Social Goal of Tolerance
Harmony does not imply a lack of dissent or other differences between individuals or groups of individuals. (see above.) All dissent and other differences must be tolerated to the maximum extent allowed by the dogma, principles, and rules of life, as expressed in said dogma, principles and rules of life. Tolerance for allowable dissent and other differences contributes to harmony by refusing to allow the dissent or differences to be seen as disharmonious. However, tolerance for dissent and other differences does not extend to the tolerance of the infliction of harm upon innocent individuals. Another key phrase here is "other differences." Tolerance for the differences which exist in other individuals is a principle which is derived from the Equality Dogma. Accordingly, the scope of what is to be tolerated is closely related to the concept of equality which is expressed therein.
Each individual must strive to contribute to the progress of society towards an overall goal of universal enlightenment (which, in the sense intended herein, means the achievement of each of the first three social goals, which together comprise the three-fold Mission of Mankind). This implies an obligation to work for the further enlightenment of the individual "self," as well as the further enlightenment of others (family, tribe, etc.), up to and including the further enlightenment of all individuals capable of further enlightenment. The ultimate goal of a universe full of totally enlightened individuals would be to finally define the true nature of God. This social goal implies that each individual has some measure of duty to be selfless in making contributions to the progress of individuals other than oneself.
7 . The Social Goal of Preservation
Each individual must also strive to preserve all things of significant value to individuals who will not arrive in our society for years, decades, centuries, or even millennia to come. The priority of preservation should be wisdom first, knowledge second, irreplaceable natural resources third, and significant historical artifacts fourth. Beyond this basic preservation, it should also be noted that the Principle of Paucity (see below) demands conservation of even renewable natural resources, and any other thing not mentioned herein.
8 . The Twin Social Goals of Nurture and Discipline
The function of society is to provide a framework which will nurture the continued development of each individual and of the society as a whole.10 In return for this fundamental nurture, the individual surrenders a certain amount of freedom by becoming subject to the disciplinary strictures of the society. Prior civilizations have expressed this concept in many different ways, but each civilization has somehow embodied some form of this fundamental social pact between the individual and the society. However, while this concept may well be expressed as a "social pact," (or a "compact,") it is erroneous to construe it according to any law of contracts. Thus, an individual may not escape the obligations which are imposed upon that individual merely because that individual might assert some breach in a duty owed to said individual.11 The "social pact" (or "compact") which is referred to is a fundamental relationship which all intelligent life forms accept as a matter of course, just by their being classified as intelligent life forms. With the possible exception of certain obscure recreational exercises, no intelligent individual would willingly choose to live or die according to the law of the jungle instead of accepting the "social pact" (or "compact") which defines a civilization.12
9 . The Social Goal of XXXXX
2 The first three Social Goals comprise the three-fold Mission of Mankind.
3 Knowledge, by itself, is clearly insufficient. Much knowledge is dangerous knowledge, which knowledge must only be used with wisdom. Think of atomic bombs, for example.
4 It is dogma that "the nature of God is unknown, and probably unknowable." To seek to know God, we must first seek to know the nature of God, because without that knowledge, we would most likely not recognize God when we found God. There is simply no rational way to seek to know the nature of God other than to seek all knowledge, and to search through all knowledge for clues to the nature of God. This search also requires wisdom; at a minimum the wisdom to recognize clues to the nature of God when we see them.
5 Scholars of Western Civilization would surely classify this philosophical statement as a derivative of universalistic hedonism, or Utilitarianism, which is based upon a formula which is usually expressed as the "greatest pleasure of the greatest number."
6 It is reasonably well accepted that people who internalize emotions to too great of an extent are, in essence, walking time bombs, waiting to go off and injure whomever is unfortunate enough to be in their presence when the internally stored emotions come bursting out.
7 It is inconceivable that any individual who understands the concept of slavery, and the concept that some other state of existence was possible, could then "joyfully accept" the continued existence of said individual in a state of slavery. In other words, if the history of this planet teaches us anything at all, it is that virtually all individuals who are allowed to knowingly choose between slavery and freedom will choose freedom.
8 Dissent is the instigator of necessary social changes. Accordingly, dissent is to be encouraged, so long as it is kept within reasonable boundaries. Thus, dissent has rules which must be observed (which see, in the section on said rules).
9 The proper purpose of dissent is to bring a social issue to the attention of the individuals whose views are to be affected, and to make those individuals uncomfortable with the status quo. Within those limitations, dissent is to be not only tolerated, but encouraged. However, even non-violent dissent can be taken to an extreme where it is harmful to one or more individuals. The picketing of homes is to be discouraged, and where it must be allowed, the number of pickets must be limited. Putting 5,000 non-violent demonstrators in the front yard of some individual, or even 500 of them (or possibly as few as 50 of them), is enough to scare a person to death, which goes far enough beyond the limits of dissent to justify the imposition of severe criminal sanctions.
10 Recognizing that when the society progresses, that contributes to the progress of the individual, and vice versa.
11 For example, former students suing schools for not educating them.
12 Even those who choose to compete in "survival" exercises are doing so under a set of rules and regulations defined by the organizers, not in accordance with the fully operable "Law of the Jungle," which is a natural law, and which does not recognize any such "rules and regulations."
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