Return to menu

Mike's World View

By: Mike Gashler

Would you like to read a long and detailed description of my personal world view? Of course you wouldn't! I wouldn't want to read yours either. So how about just a super-quick high-level summary? Maybe some visual word art, followed by a little Q and A that you can skim? All right. Here goes...

  1. Why are there two columns?
    The left side describes matters of wisdom. It contains things I feel are good or bad, and practices for choosing between them. I derive these things from stoicism. The right side describes matters of knowledge. It contains things I think are fact or fiction, and methods for discerning between them. I derive these things from naturalism.
  2. Why are there two rows?
    The top row describes principles, concepts, and ideas I embrace. The bottom row provides some contrast by describing things I find less compelling.
  3. Couldn't you combine other philosophies, like hedonistic naturalism or stoic creationism?
    Sure, but not everything that can be done should be done. I find a sort of satisfying natural elegance in the combination of these two philosophies. That's why I am writing about them.
  4. Where can I learn more about stoicism?
    If you've got 40 minutes to invest, here's a very worthwhile lecture about stoicism. (It's only 28 minutes if you watch it at 1.5x speed):
  5. Where can I learn more about naturalism?
    Naturalism is not really something anyone directly studies. It is just the byproduct of learning a lot about science and slowly realizing that supernatural explanations no longer add much value to our overall explanations for things. If you believe the various disciplines of science all fit together to tell a consistent story about the Universe, you're already a naturalist. If you don't, that's okay--sometimes a little disagreement helps create the motivation to seek more evidence of truth.
  6. I think you got some detail of stoicism or naturalism wrong.
    That is quite possible. I am not trying to define those philosophies. I am only referencing them to describe my philosophies.
  7. Why do you value good things if you don't believe in supernatural phenomena?
    I cannot change what is, or is not, but my values will influence what I choose to do. Thus, good values do not depend on what is, or is not.
  8. Why does stoicism seem to exhibit so many Christian values?
    Christianity was influenced by stoicism.
  9. How can there be morality without a moral law giver?
    Morality is not the product of law. It is the motivation for laws. Without morality, laws would have no purpose.
  10. How is doing good rational without some personal incentive?
    No man is an island. I am part of a family. I am also part of human society. I think excessive prioritization of my individual well-being would neglect these other entities of which I am a part. It is better to keep all these things in balance.
  11. Sure, but what's in it for you to follow stoic ideals?
    It's not about me. I am not the center of the Universe. I can choose to value the well-being of others for the same reasons people choose to value themselves.
  12. How is it natural to be selfless?
    As the individual cells in my body work together to sustain my life, so it is natural for me to operate as a good member of society.
  13. Okay, I see the appeal of stoicism, but why naturalism?
    It is a mistake to suppose that values and beliefs should be selected in the same way. Values are a matter for the heart. Beliefs are a matter for the mind. The best values are selected by those with the moral courage to stand firm against easier philosophies. By contrast, accurate beliefs are obtained by those with the intellectual humility to yield to the evidence.
  14. But science is always changing, and truth never changes.
    Science does not claim to be truth. It is the attempt to model truth. To resist change is to resist learning--the very effort of attempting to conform to what is true. Those who think their cups are full have no room in their minds to receive more.
  15. But science only studies nature. How can it tell us anything about the supernatural?
    Science explains away supernatural explanations.
  16. How can you ignore all the evidence for God?
    I don't. I carefully document all that I can find. I think trying to find that I am wrong is an important part of intellectual honesty.
  17. Who introduced you to stoicism and naturalism?
    I was not directly taught either philosophy. I independently formed my views based on my LDS upbringing, my education, and my own meditation and study. It was long after my values and beliefs settled that I learned these ideas were very old and already had names.
  18. Is this everything you believe?
    Of course not! But I think it is prudent to keep things simple by taking just one step at-a-time. If you really want more depth into my philosophies, you are welcome to get to know me.