Be it known that I, Jack Phoenix, assert that I am a servant of the Light. To the Light I dedicate my life, and from this dedication issue forth certain truths, as surely as day follows night. Thus do I declare these principles before God and the world, that I may be held accountable to them, and that there may be no doubt about what I will fight for, and fight against.
I believe there is nothing in Creation more important than the freedom and agency of a true human; to think, speak, act, identify, associate, live, and die, as they choose. This freedom is to be protected at all costs, and has as its limit only where and when it infringes upon the freedom of others. No law, no rule, no restriction, no principle, no action can be said to be of greater import than this. No human ought be made a slave against their will, nor forced to sacrifice of their mind, body, labor, or principles for the welfare of another.
I believe in the divinity of humankind. “Thou art God” is at once a holy phrase, a recognition of the Light within us all, and a burden of terrible import. There is no assistance coming from on high; we are the Creator, and together, we make the world in which we all live. This responsibility cannot be surrendered or abdicated; it is our birthright and our curse, inherited from our parents and passed down to our children. The choices we make and the actions we take shape reality, and what we do today will echo unto the end of time. It is therefore our duty and privilege to fight for the Light, for only through our collective choices can we bring about Heaven — or Hell — on Earth.
I believe that there are two kinds of human beings — the “pensoviroj” and the “gantoviroj.” A “gantoviro” is one who lives for themself, with no thought of aught but their own survival and comfort. A gantoviro is not fully human, and bears a damaged soul. By contrast, a “pensoviro” is one who exhibits the Pillars of Humanity — agency, compassion, hospitality, creativity, and growth towards self-actualization. These are the true humans, to whom is given the task of shaping the world.
I believe that the best life is a life spent in constant pursuit of truth, beauty, freedom, and love — creating it, encouraging it, and sharing it with the world. To grow closer to another pensoviro is exalted, as is fighting for the freedoms of others. To heal a gantoviro’s ruptured soul is a great kindness. It is best to strive to improve oneself in all ways, to learn all that can be learned, to do all that can be done, and to grok all that can be grokked. There can be no greater good than to spend one’s time, energy, and skills in the service of the Light, for by serving the Light, one uses their divinity to bring the world and Heaven closer together.
I believe that all life is precious and beautiful, and that compassion must be extended to all that can think and feel. It cannot be avoided that to live is to kill, to consume. Compassion therefore demands that one consume only what one needs for one’s own health and happiness. When one must kill, it must be done with mercy and respect. It is wrong to kill for pleasure, or out of anger or fear, just as it is wrong to consume excessively or to live wastefully. Our world is finite, as are its resources; and every act of greed represents an aggression against those who do not have enough, or who have given their lives so that you may eat.
I believe that the purpose of society is to care for and advance its most vulnerable members, that their lives may be better this year than the last. The ideal society is one in which this task is balanced against the primacy of an individual’s freedoms and agency. Therefore, the best government is one which is precisely large enough to achieve these objectives, and not an iota larger. Any who live under the purview of this society have the right to a say in how the business of society is run, and have the right to know that their vote counts; therefore, a truly representative, truly transparent democracy is the only legitimate form of government. Such a government cannot exhibit bias towards or away from any of its citizens; therefore, to be legitimate, a government must enshrine total equality and equity in its base principles. As the government exists by consent of the body politic, so is it the government’s duty to protect and administer the commons of the body politic. As science and reason are the tools we use to understand this world, so must science and reason be the bricks from which this best society is built — but as compassion is its charge, so must compassion be the mortar that binds it together. Finally, and most importantly, as individual freedom is paramount, such a society must be opt-in — none may be forced to live under its laws or provide unwilling support.
I believe that justice is healing, and the restoration of balance between the perpetrator and the victim. Punishment does not bring justice, nor does hate or vengeance. When a pensoviro does harm, it is their responsibility to seek justice, restitution, and healing of the injured party, and only the injured party may say when balance has been restored. When a gantoviro does harm, it is the responsibility of society to seek and enforce this balance.
I believe that no government has the right to wage a war of aggression, for such wars are inherently unjust — those who suffer and die in war are the powerless, vulnerable, and disenfranchised, while those with power are shielded from the consequences and even enriched. Wars of aggression are illegitimate projections of power, and are to be avoided at all costs by a just society. This interdiction is made even stronger in a world where war has the potential to end all life. A nuclear weapon is an evil thing, and no power that wields them can call itself just.
I reject violence in favor of discourse, greed in favor of generosity, delusion in favor of rationality, and hate in favor of understanding. I reject cruelty and malice in all its forms, and apathy to the plight and suffering of any living thing. While I do believe that a human has the right to defend their agency or the agency of others with violence, if necessary, I condemn the use of violence except at the very end of need, and if violence cannot be avoided, then it must be minimized. We cannot build a better world with violence; to attempt to do so is self-defeating.
I believe that, while it is important to live according to one’s ideals, and work to see those ideals realized in the world, that one must also take the world as it is. One must recognize that the struggle is never-ending, and that there will always be darkness and shadow, both without and within. One must remember that even a small victory is still a victory, and the fight isn’t over until one yields to one’s enemies or to the grave. Though one should strive towards perfection, one must never expect it, in oneself or in others. One must always be receptive to new ideas, and willing to test one’s beliefs against new evidence as it arises, refining as necessary. A belief that cannot be defended must be discarded.
I believe that the future of humanity is technology, which will lead to post-humanity. Through technology we have removed ourselves from the pressures of evolution, so through technology we must evolve. We must never shirk from exploring ways in which technology may enhance our lives, bodies, minds, and society, and which improves and enhances the harmony and co-existence of human societies with each other and with the non-human world. Humanity cannot persist forever; if we have a purpose in this flawed world, it is to build our replacements, and we must not shy away from this duty.
I believe that there are four toxins, that corrupt the world as they corrupt the soul, and they are these: delusion, apathy, greed, and cruelty. To purge these poisons from one’s being, and to embrace the Pillars of Humanity, is to become fully human, to reject evil, and to live fully in the Light.