Action. An event performed by an intentional agent; behavior at a higher level of description.
Bad. Harmful or obstructive; the opposite of good.
Behavior. An activity performed by an organism.
Belief. A verbalizable part of one’s model of the world.
Ego. (a) Hubristic pride; (b) Identification of oneself with one’s physical, mental, emotional, or social state.
Evil. Religiously upsetting.
Freedom. The pleasure of doing one’s will; the positive feeling you get when you do (or know you can do) what you want.
Freedom of mind. (a) The space between thoughts in a state of mindfulness; (b) The effectiveness of one’s thoughts in a state of mindcoolness, approximated by the ratio of real-life decisions to judgmental or ruminating thoughts.
Free will. A remnant of outdated metaphysics, falsified both by neuroscience and conscious awareness.
Goal. A consciously pursued state of the world.
God. Nature, linked to a mystical experience.
Happiness. Medium-term pleasure.
Intelligence. The ability to model the world.
Joy. Pleasure intensified by mindfulness.
Love. Joy at someone else’s happiness.
Meaning (in life). Long-term pleasure, induced by one’s greater purpose, sense of belonging, responsibility, and self-transcendence, leading to a feeling of fulfillment and life satisfaction.
Meaning of life. A category error, avoided by speaking instead of a person’s meaning in life.
Mind. A bundle of conscious states.
Mindcoolness. The absence of dysfunctional emotions that perturb rational, expedient thought.
Mindfulness. The mental state of being aware of the present moment without judgment.
Model. A system of concepts and ideas, typically expressed in symbols, propositions, often formulas, intended to explain something about the world in a necessarily simplified manner.
Morality. A system of values of a group of people, concretized into the norms they believe are good for them or, arrogantly, good for everyone.2
Motive. An unconscious state, determined by drives and emotions, that causes behavior.
Philosophy. (a) A disease of reason, masqueraded as deep, critical, unconventional thinking, that obstructs common sense through misuse of language; (b) A set of general beliefs that constitute one’s worldview.
Pleasure. A positive affective state.
Rationality. Valuing truth; the willingness to adjust one’s model of the world in the face of new evidence.
Reality. That which is qualitatively experienced by an aware mind and quantitatively modeled by science.
Responsibility. The ability to respond to life as it unfolds around and within you; that which gives meaning and substance to acts of freedom.
Science. The most reliable method for modeling the world.
Self. A modular bundle of neuronal processes that serve multiple functions associated with the mind.3
Self-discipline. The consistent exercise of willpower, resulting in personal freedom.
Spirituality. Valuing mindfulness; the willingness to let go of one’s models of the world.
Truth. The reliability of a model of the world.
Useful. Facilitating survival, reproduction, well-being, or goal achievement.
Value. A belief of the form “X is good,” whereby X is an abstract concept; a distilled form of wisdom.
Well-being. A positive state of one’s mind and life, associated with pleasure, happiness, meaning, fulfillment, and flourishing; the highest good.
Will. A mental state, determined by values and goals, that aims at an action.
Willpower. The self-regulatory capacity to turn will into action.
Wisdom. Knowing which model of the world, if any, to use in a given situation; life experience that has been reflected upon.
Zen. The teaching that any model of the world is only a distraction from reality.
- Usefulness is always contextual, that is, relative to a person or group (useful to X, e.g., me or humanity), a goal or purpose (useful for Y, e.g., self-preservation or well-being), and a time frame (useful from a Z-term perspective, e.g., long-term); see also Let’s Define ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’.
- This definition of morality does not imply total moral relativism in the sense of excluding the possibility of an objective standard for evaluating the usefulness of certain norms; after all, beliefs may or may not be true. The arrogance stems from the assumption that every group of people has the exact same goals and aspirations that form the context for a utility to be evaluated in. Naturally, the arrogance diminishes as the size of the hypothetical group approaches humanity as a whole. The group size, however, also correlates negatively with the precision of the underlying value system.
- Self-related functions are perception (what you sense), cognition (what you think), emotion (what you feel), volition (what you want), continuity of personal identity (what you memorize about yourself), bodiliness (the feeling of being in your body), agency (the feeling of acting through your body), physical situatedness (the sense of being located in space and time), sense of reality (the feeling that what I perceive is no dream or delusion), meta-cognition (the ability to reflect on your cognition), and social embeddedness (people calling you by your name and interacting with you as a person).