T Nation

Four Principles


I am taking a sociology course this year and generally am having a lot of thoughts about the interactions of people.

I'm trying to come up with something simple and fairly self-evident that most people would accept as a set of guidelines or principles.

While other people may focus on other issues, I've chosen four:

  • Respect.
  • Humility.
  • Wisdom.
  • Strength.

The first principle is respect. Everything in this universe should be treated with respect. Even enemies can be treated with respect. People of different sexes, races and religions can be treated with respect. Though we should always treat others with respect, we must also be able to deal with the fact that we will not always be shown respect by others.

The second principle is humility. We are not that important. Our countries are not that important. Our regligions are not that important. Our beliefs are not that important. We should strive not to place so much importance on ourselves and our beliefs that we find it easy to justify violation of the principle of respect towards others.

The third principle is wisdom. We should strive to learn and to think clearly about the issues around us. Part of our uniqueness in the universe is our ability to develop knowledge. We should value knowledge and wisdom and strive to increase these attributes in ourselves over our lifetime. This is the proper way to show respect for this gift.

The fourth and final principle is strength. The mental aspect of humanity is not the only aspect. We are physical creatures and we must also embrace this. We should maintain personal strength and conditioning in order to ensure the ability to defend ourselves from external threats, in essence, to survive.

I believe the concept of respect is enough to develop laws that reflect the same ideals espoused by modern society.

I think that humility could remind us all to be respectful, such that we could avoid unnecessary conflict.

Wisdom and strength reflect our rational thinking existence and our physical existence. To develop principles of living it would make sense to celebrate all aspects of life that we have been given.

Anyway, as well as your thoughts on the concept in general, I am trying to develop these thoughts. Can they be simplified? Can they be stated in a way that makes them even more self-evident? Do they preclude any current national or religious doctrine, such that conflict is required?



The problem with what you are saying here is that it sounds really good, but what does this really mean?

I agree that everyone should treat everyone else with respect. As a Christian, my faith teaches that. We are to even love our enemies.

However, God's Word (The Bible) which is the only true source of Wisdom also says that absolute TRUTH is vital and important.

The problem with the rest of your outline is that it really asserts what I would call a "moral relativism." In other words, what's true for you is truth for you, but not necessarily truth for me, and my truth is equal and just as good as your truth is for you." The problem with this is that -- What then is truth? Is it something we (man) invents? Is this something we think up for ourselves?

It is quite evident from everyday experience with our natural world that there IS an absolute truth about things:

a) The sky (when there are no clouds) is absolutely blue.
b) The wind is absolutely invisible.
c) 2 + 2 is absolutely 4

etc. etc.

There are many many examples of this.....

While there are many man-centered "truths" there is ultimately only one truth and the One truth giver -- God.

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

Isaiah 55:6-7



God has done a poor job of teaching his truth to us... unless war, death and hatred on Earth are in fact his plan?

I disagree with you somewhat. The fact that truth is arrived at via a set of principles, other than handed down by God, does not mean that it is infinitely variable.

Perhaps such thinking implies that you are not used to determining right and wrong on your own? Seriously, anyone who does so regularly has no trouble at all knowing the difference between right and wrong.

In any case, I'm not asking for peoples opinions on religion. I'm asking for opinions on these four principles...


You should look around at the natural world around you and give it more than a cursory glance...

The sky is absolutely blue? What about just before sunset? The wind is absolutely invisible? Never "seen" air currents in smoke before? Two plus two is absolutely four? That isn't an observation...that is a mathematical statement. Two plus two is four because we say it is, unless of course you can produce a proof that rests on no assumptions at all...

One only needs to look at special relativity to realize that the natural world is not about "absolute" truth. Two observers in two different reference frames can observe the same event and come away with totally different data, and they are BOTH correct.

/end thread hijack (though probably not)



I actually wasn't giving you an opinion on religion, but on truth. While you may disagree with me -- please don't try to determine my motive or how I think. In fact, I do actually think for myself. Just because I beleive that God's truth is ultimate truth, shouldn't give you pause to wonder if I think for myself or not. In fact, just because I believe the sky is blue, doesn't imply that I don't think for myself.

As for God's making a mistake -- I don't think so. Man's sin is responsible for the hatred, death, evil, etc. that you see around you. God did not choose to make robots -- man has a choice for good or evil. The fact that so many choose evil, does not mean that God is in error, or He is not ultimately in control.

I will let others comment on your four points, but I still assert that truth has to come from somewhere other than our own minds. Truth from our own minds isn't necessarily truth.

And, oh, one more point here: How does one know right from wrong anyway? Where did our conscience come from anyway? How do we know innately, what is moral and right?

I do respect your beliefs and you wanting to strictly stay on a secular path -- leaving God out. That's fine, but it cannot be a search for the truth if you leave the One who is Truth out of the equation.

Take care.........


and what do we do when these four principles contradict each other?

For instance. You say we should respect others. I assume you will take this to other cultures.

Now, Western Culture tells us that we are all equal. Many non western cultures don't believe this.

Should we be humble and respect the other cultures and respect their cultures, or do we say fuck humility and tell them they need to treat women better/minorities better?

It's nice in theory... However, i dont think we should ever compromise in believing that western culture is superior to other cultures. Now before ya all jump down my throat, i'm not talking about britney spears, mcdonalds or that type of crap culture..i'm talking about equality, liberty, freedom, democracy, etc...why should we be humble in asserting that our culture can be the only path for the future...we cant accept tyranny, dictatorships or whatever.


Hey, do you do income tax returns? You can tell the IRS that I owe nothing. Then when they come and demand their $5,000 from me, I'll say that I am looking at it from a "relative" perspective and therefore saying I owe nothing is also correct. After all, there is no such thing as absolute truth..??????/

What B.S.

What hijack? Just because you don't want to face the truth of God, the thread is hijacked?

If you want a private discussion, email each other. This after all is a forum for ideas -- right?

By the way, God loves you!


Oh brother! The guy writes about respect and humility and you slap the Bible in his face just because he happened to mention religion? I'd call that DISrespect.

And no, the sky is not absolutely blue, the wind is not absolutely invisible just because our eyes can't see it and 2+2=4 is only absolute when you're dealing with absolute numbers which don't exist as we have ourselves made them up for simplicity.

These are pretty good principles and I'd also note that they encompass honesty and courage. Because when you're strong enough to know humility and respect yourself and the next person you would be brave and forthright.



If you want to discuss religion, or what you think my viewpoint is (perhaps you'd better follow your advice with respect to ascribing views onto others) please start a different thread.

I'm really trying to get some debate on the principles in question.


I thought everyone knew that the truth is whatever christians believe.


"Slap the Bible in his face..."

What are you talking about? I simply write what the Bible says and that I believe it, just like any other person on any of these forums.

Do you accuse people of "slapping Darwin" in the face of those who belive in Creationism? Or is this way of dismissing what people write only reserved for those who have faith in God?

Is there no room for faith in this (or other) discussions? Are you saying Christians are not welcome, but only atheists?

I call this discrimination of the worst kind.

Oh, and by the way, God loves you too!


Good idea -- I think I will do that.

Obviously, in your "truth," everyone and their ideas are welcome, except for Christians that have faith in the God of the Bible...........


Steveo, dude, start your own thread already. I'm trying to discuss something here... you are in fact being disrespectful and rude.


There is no better example that I know of, concerning the interactions of people, than the postings on this site, especially the Get a Life (Off Topic) forum.

Concerning ?truth?, Mordred said it best! But, 2+2 can equal 5. George Orwell?s 1984.

Good luck in your class.




I don't see a conflict here yet. Being respectful is not the same as submitting. You'll also note I suggested that it is also possible to respect your enemies.

However, honestly, I don't think history is filled with respect between one culture and another. If there was more of it, perhaps we wouldn't be at war today.

I'm trying to define something that is inclusive with respect to belief systems. So, that using these principles does not make one an instant enemy of a religion or an existing belief system.

This does not mean I am trying to suggest that following these principles would make one subservient to those other existing belief systems when they clash with your own.


Western culture doesn't tell us that we're all equal, it's just a generation of people who have been raised this way. With all the corruption and rot this way of life still offers most liberty to the individual.


Vroom. Ihave a hard time explaining it all myself. Check out Daniel Quinn's books "Ishmael" "My Ishmael" and "The story of B" Just read Ishmael, it's a cool story involving a telepathic gorilla who explains humanity and it's roots from nature's perspective. It's a mind blowing book, though it can be a bit dramatic. Fun, easy read, but it'll screw with you hardcore. seriously, it may answer a lot of questions, or at least give you a totally different way of viewing humanity.


I like the viewpoints. I was taught them by my parents in one form or another from the time I could understand words. I find when I do not follow them, I always regret it and wish I still followed them. Now about to walk away from the respect for people.

I love the fact that all you are saying is we should be a little better to each other, and only one person is takes issue with the message. One day I might learn the Truth/Truthiness.


Way to completely ignore any of the points I brought up and give a totally useless analogy. Is the U.S. tax system a naturally ocurring phenomenon...or is it a complex set of rules and guidelines created by men to serve a specific purpose? If you owe $5,000 according to the tax code...you owe $5,000. However, if something is traveling towards me at .9c and away from you at .9c we will, for instance, observe different measurements for its length. We both measured using the exact same methods and instrumentation...which one of us is right?

No...because you decided to write something about moral relativism and appeal to your religion while using an untrue statement about the absolute nature of the universe, and I felt the need to correct you the thread is hijacked...

Vroom was asking about his idea, and the thread went in another direction suddenly. Is this not the definition of thread hijacking?

Speaking of which, Vroom, I suppose we could discuss the lack of Freedom as one of your principles...as none of them really suggests it on their own or in total as I see it.

Of course on a larger note, I have always been partial to the simple idea of, "What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others."

Or, George Carlin's revised and condensed Ten Commandments...
1. Thou shalt always be honest and faithful to the provider of thy nookie.
2. Thou shalt try real hard not to kill anyone (unless of course they pray to another invisible man from the one you pray to).


Sorry to participate in the hijacking of Vroom's thread, but Steveo, are saying that there are only atheists and Christians in the world? You also said that only those who know God can find truth - does this mean that Buddhists, Hindus and other devout, spiritual people cannot find the truth? Steveo, this is discrimination of the worst kind.