As humans, we get to choose what we believe and who we want to be. This book is a ruthlessly pragmatic guide to creating your own answers to life’s biggest questions.
Each of this book’s four chapters covers one of the most important questions a person must ask themselves:
What is the purpose of my life?
How can I best realize the purpose of my life?
Who do I want to be?
How do I want other people to think of me?
Rather than give you answers to these questions, this guide provides a framework that helps you develop your own answers while equipping you with the neuroscientific tools necessary to transform yourself into whomever you choose to be.
If you are looking for a light read that will make you feel good about yourself, this isn’t the book for you. If you want to take the time to think hard, take full ownership of the person you have allowed yourself to become, and permanently transform yourself into the best iteration of that person then you have found your book.
Targeted Age Group:: 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
As humans, we get to choose what we believe and who we want to be. These are the most important decisions we will ever make.
The vast majority of people never exercise their freedom to choose their identity and beliefs. Instead, they allow others to tell them who they are, choosing only a few trivial differentiating traits for themselves. When they react angrily or generously, they ascribe the personality that lead them to that behavior as being something outside their control. This is because in their minds "who they are" is something outside of their control.
We live life as a sticky ball rolling down a sidewalk, picking up a hodgepodge of stuff that just happens to be in our path. It is natural to try to convince ourselves that this hodgepodge is "who we really are." We tell ourselves this lie because thinking is hard, and society doesn't give us a good framework for structuring our beliefs about ourselves and the world. Instead, we are served a smorgasbord of prefabricated worldviews and told we have the option to choose among them.
Worse, we live in a society in which there is no profession or organization we can turn to for help answering life's big questions that will not pressure us to adopt beliefs closer to their own. If you ask them what you should want to do with your life, they tell you to do "good" things and then explain to you what you should believe "good" is. This is not due to any flaw in these individuals or institutions, but the fact that these institutions are designed from the ground up to lead people to the answers they believe are right. There is no institution designed from the ground up to help people come up with their own conclusions.
We hope to remedy this. The Pragmatist's Guide to Life is a product of the Pragmatist Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people in live intentionally and consider alternative viewpoints. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at pragmatist.guide/.
In this book, we encourage the use of applied pragmatic thought–a framework for systematically constructing your own beliefs about the world, leveraging those beliefs to decide who you want to be as a person, and creating the person you want to be.
Is genocide a good thing?
If you don’t think genocide is good, why not?
Your reaction to this question may be one of disbelief. You might be thinking, “How can you even ASK if genocide is a good thing?! OBVIOUSLY killing innocent people is wrong!” And you probably wouldn’t be alone in that reaction.
Our society tells us genocide is wrong, that killing innocent people is wrong, and that racism is wrong. However, if you believe these things only or primarily because the culture in which you grew up told you they were obviously true, then you hold little moral authority over someone who participat- ed in genocide, because the culture in which they grew up in told them genocide was a moral imperative.
If you took an average of cultures across human history—the things that most people in most places were raised to believe were true—you would have a culture that believed women were lesser beings than men, that some people are born better than others, that freedom of thought is not a right, and that when you conquer a city, it is perfectly moral to rape, kill, and enslave as many civilians as you want. Why were most cultures in human history wrong, whereas the time and place that you just happen to be born into correct? If you want to believe, with any intellectual integrity, that the culture you were born into or the counterculture that accepted you is more correct than others, you need to develop your own reasons why.
What you believe is a choice you can make—independently, for yourself. If you are reading this book, chances are you have already made your choice and have developed some system of thought-out beliefs about what is worth living for and why. The framework presented in this book will help you structure your beliefs and engage you with choices you may not have known you had. This book will also help you to build a foundation that ensures your life and actions align with what you have decided to believe.
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