Things I Believe In
This is related to my personal philosophy, but these formulations are more aimed at ideas I like to promote (politically, artistically, rhetorically, etc) and less at ethos I try to live by. Subtile distinction. This is about the outside world where as the other stuff is more internal.
I firmly believe that the relationship in our culture between creation and consumption has been tipped perilously out of balance. Without a more equitable mix of creative and consumptive activities in people's lives, their existence begins to loose its sense of value. This is as much an issue of perception and attitude as it is of habits and actions: most people do not have a positive relationship with their role in life, don't see what they do as important. This is a problem. More widespread creativity, craft, and cultural capital are solutions.
Community is the source. Given that we live a subjective life, our basis for valuation is largely based on the opinions we are surrounded with. Community needs to be promoted and nurtured, lest the ties that bind break down and we all drift away. Nothing can be accomplished in isolation. Even the most brilliant work done in solitude has no value until it is communicated, viewed, brought back to the tribe. Likewise, the tribe can do all sorts of things to support the individual.
In spite of my above-stated position that we lead subjective lives, I still believe strongly in Truth. Do I contradict myself? I don't think so, but if you do then my answer is that I am vast, and contain multitudes. Anyway, I'm a fan of Capital-T truth, the real juice. You know it when it comes out of your mouth because it feels real good. People sometimes need coaxing to tell the truth, because lies are like a disease: they're contagious and they breed quickly. Truth can only become dangerous when it is concealed.
One of my core political beliefs is that people are not all that different from each other, and given the opportunity they tend to like one another. Only when people are competing over scarce resources (be it the Donner Party or just squabbling over a girl) or when they are manipulated by leaders do they fight. But if people actually communicate with people, the natural tendency is to reach understanding and consensus.
I don't think people take a lot of ownership these days. Sure, most folks have property, but few people own the things they posess. Ownership means responsibility, intention and understanding. People should be enterprising, not necessarily in business, but in the sense that they really put themselves and their ideas out there. I'm not the kind of commie who believes in abolishing property, but I think people need to take the notion of property more seriously. Ideally, stuff gets shared within a community, but in the end accountability is important.