Principles

A collage of religious and spiritual images.

Seeking Wisdom is an nonprofit, nonpartisan research, education, and organizing institute dedicated to helping humanity find its way materially and spiritually through the challenges of the present period, and to charting the next steps in the human civilizational project. Our work is rooted in the following principles.

First, we take seriously the ever deepening crisis caused by climate change and believe that in the long run humanity needs to transcend industrial technologies which break down existing forms of organization to release energy in order to do work, degrading the integrity and complexity of the ecosystem. We need a new technological regime focused on hortic technologies which tap into and cultivate the potential latent in matter for complex organization, and leverage that to further develop and enrich what humanity can accomplish.

Second, we are committed to the full realization of the humanistic project, which aims at a social order in which rationally autonomous individuals are able to decide for themselves what it means to be human, in the context of a a meaningful understanding of humanity‚Äôs historic deliberation around this question, and free to act effectively, both individually and collectively on the answers at which they arrive –with in the limits, of course, of respect for the comparable freedom of others. We believe that this requires transcending not only racism and gender oppression but also the commodification of labor power. People compelled to sell their labor power in order to survive are not really free. We reject, however, the historic socialist model of postcapitalist society, centered on achieving state power and on nationalization of the means of production and propose instead a social liberal and communitarian transition focused on using public investment and income transfers, gradually reducing market pressures on workers and creating a living social wage, while people work to create new communitarian ways of organizing production.

Third, we reject the decisionist political theology currently dominant on both Right and Left –the idea that the political authority is founded in violence, be it revolutionary or repressive. We understand democracy as a deliberation around the ends as of human life as well as the means to those ends, something which requires a sapientially literate laos and the cultivation of deliberative fora at every level, from the village, neighborhood, or workplace to the global level. Political authorities do not so much make laws as interpret the natural law –the imperative that we act in such as way as to conserve the integrity of the ecosystem and the social fabric and promote the full, free development of human capacities and of complex organization generally. We reject the idea of absolute and unconditional sovereignty –understood as the total control of a territory and its people– in favor of an organic model of authority with complex, divided, overlapping and even competing authorities.

Fourth, we believe that human beings need community in order to grow and develop and are committed to conserving and rebuilding nurturing and challenging communities and institutions which cultivate human capacities and support human beings in their search for meaning.

Fifth, we believe that human life and indeed the universe as a whole is ultimately meaningful and ordered to an end or purpose far beyond our comprehension. There are many different ways of being human and many different potentially fruitful pathways of human development, spiritual and civilizational. While cultivating our own way centered on seeking wisdom, doing justice, and ripening being, we are also committed to the development of a metatheology which allows us to distinguish between ways which are fruitful and ways which lead to or legitimate oppression.