With respect: introduction

The approach that I take in this site starts in effect with first principles, and uses those to frame a basic approach to the world, something of an "ethic", with which the vision outlined in the rest of the site is consistent, and by which that vision is validated. Then, I (will) summarise and outline that overall vision for the world - including the identification of those aspects of it which are more primary than the others - before, in what forms or will form the bulk of the site, describing that vision in detail.

So: why "respect", and what is "with" it?

Saying that we should approach life with "respect" is simply a less "mushy" way of stating the Golden Rule: that we should love one another as we love ourselves. It simply leads to the best possible world given what we know about life, and given the aims which most of us share. "Respect" can be thought of in terms of reverence or awe, in which we see the specialness and even divinity in other beings and the world, and also on a more practical level which is less "feeling" and more "functional", in which we recognise the fundamental value and needs of others, and act so as to uphold that value and provide for those needs.

There is also a sense in which "respect" can connote conscious recognition of an opponent's strengths, for which counters can then be prepared: this is the sense in which one can "respect" one's enemy; it does not mean that one sees inherent positive value in that enemy - although one might see value in the personal growth that might occur through confronting that enemy - it is intended more in the sense of being aware.

As for the "with" in "with respect", it is a phrase with a double meaning: firstly, it sometimes begins or ends communications and it metaphorically begins and ends the communication that is this site - in a sense, this site is a letter to the world - and, secondly, it encapsulates the approach that this site recommends that we as a human society and as individuals take overall, that in which we approach one another and the world "with respect" as outlined above.

The philosophy underlying this site is, then, framed in terms of respect - terms which I hope to justify in a way which leaves no room for reasonable doubt. The site's overall vision for the world is then based on working through the implications of this approach, that of respect, in the most uncompromising way. From a true position of respectfulness, it is apparent that there is much wrong with the world as it is today, from human disrespect for non-humans, to the disrespect of colonisers for the indigenous populations of the nations which they have invaded and occupied, to the disrespect with which both individuals, the collective and the environment are treated due to the political and economic systems under which most nations of the world labour, to the disrespect to its victims which is inherent in the incessant warring on our planet, and much else besides - you can see the other areas of disrespect which this site covers in the sitemap on its homepage.

I recognise that at most points in this process, various objections can or will be made to my proposals, and I intend/attempt to list those objections, and to provide a response to each of them, sometimes on an individual page dedicated solely to this task.

I also write this site in positive terms as much as negative ones: even though above I have framed it in the negative terms of current disrespectfulness, this site is also, and as much, a proposal for changing those disrespectful approaches into respectful ones, and it is as much a celebration of those respectful approaches as it is a censure of the disrespectful approaches which need replacing.

I very much want the contents of this site to be as accessible to as many different people as possible, so I am trying to "keep it simple". I think intelligence is best expressed in ... well, intelligibility! What this means to me is that unnecessary complexity ought to be avoided, and the aim ought to be ease of understanding through clarity and simplicity of expression, rather than to show off how cleverly I can write. I hope that my readers will let me know if/where I fail at this task, or if/where I go too far, and, in trying to express ideas clearly and simply, actually dumb them down too much.

Again, as on the homepage: may you find value in this site, and may it inspire you in your own journey.

With respect,


Next: Grounding principles

The next page, Grounding principles, outlines those principles on which the vision of this site rests.