Ethical Principles

Teodoro Criscione
11 min readApr 12, 2023
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Principle of Natural Order

In the relation between humans and Nature, every individual needs to define where do they stand. Either humans express their superiority and entitlement to force natural boundaries for their own purpose and whim, or humans recognise their limited role as part of a much bigger and unknowable complex system, called Nature. The paradox of our time is to find climate activists and people advocating for freedom of self-harm and self-destruction on the same side. Body as much as Nature is perceived only as a source of suffering, a mistake to be corrected, something that needs to be stopped or even destroyed. Either the Nature is wrong and humans are entitled to manipulate it, or it is not. If not, it is the natural structure and its boundaries that give humans the freedom to act in accordance to them. As individual and as a collective, the process of growth is the development, mastering, and transmission of abilities — and then, learn how to choose when it is more appropriate to use them. Humans acquired the power to destroy Nature and themselves, it is up to every individual to choose where to stand.

If accepted, this principle has several socio-economic implications. In particular, the re-establishment of a peer-relationship between humans and Nature would imply the abandonment of such technology that can facilitate the (over-)exploitation of resources for the sake of profit instead of survival. For instance, let us consider how many layers we are putting between us and Nature — e.g., womb-renting, assisted fertilisation, automated farms, pesticides, GMOs, etc. This is all about escapism from social and individual responsibility.

Application on Hunting, Foraging, and Harvesting. The adoption of technology in intensive farming and hunting should be avoided. In principle, every individual should not take more than what is necessary for their own survival, and not more than their strength allows them to take without the use of intensive extractive technology. Extraction of resources should be again based on a peer-relation between the human (who consumes) and the animal or the plant.

Application on monetary system. The value of money supply aggregates should be equal to the value of tradable natural resources at any point in time — see Silvio Gesell. This is the fundamental law for re-coupling the economy to the natural system.

Principle of Accountability

The foundation of society is the absence of negative externalities for each individual choice. In other words, every individual is entitled to pay the full cost of their action without any form of externalisation (or delegation). This is a foundational rule for a functional collective coordination of human society: the pleasure (or benefit) of one cannot be based on the suffering of (or cost paid by) someone else, otherwise society will be aiming at its own self-destruction in the long run.

Nowadays, our society is actually rewarding and training individuals to develop dark tetrad personality traits (DTP) — i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism — which reflects cognitive and behavioural patterns to escape accountability for the sake of personal purposes in any contractual negotiation. Either it is fundamental for a human society to raise accountable and responsible individuals, or it is not.

In any situation, each fault is never completely falling only on one side. Claiming the opposite is a marker of victim-executioner complex. The only exception to this principle are children and mentally disabled people which lack of a peer-comparable understanding of reality during the process of contractual negotiation with someone else.

Application on War. National states do not exist. There are individuals who believe national states exist, and therefore, they structure their lives accordingly. Some of them feel in charge to declare war on behalf of entire societies, but escaping individual accountability. Some people believe in wars declared by those who actually do not go to war. According to the Principle of Accountability, who declares wars should go to war and face the consequences of it.

Every decision should not be delegated, unless who delegates and the person delegated do not take both full responsibility of the resulting undertaken action. This principle necessarily implies a peer-relation among humans. This means that also in wars, every confrontation between offender and defender should avoid the use of intensive destructive technology — e.g., fire guns, bombs, etc. Every conflict should be again based on a peer-confrontation between the two contenders.

Application on banking system and financial market. The current financial market is based on the process of buying and selling the entitlement to escape accountability by delaying and/or delegating a debt repayment. The stock market is based on decoupling ownership from labour, so that the existence of the public company itself is justified by the profit-for-the-sake-of-profit instead of its self-reliance and/or sustainable growth as a company. This contributes to the creation of an inverted economy which follows the laws of finance instead of the laws of nature.

Financial investors aim at accumulating monetary resources by bidding on the expected return rate of the stock (and therefore, its price). The main purpose of this is to become rich — in monetary terms. The acquisition of monetary resources allows people to escape accountability — i.e., better access to legal defence, better externalisation of risk, decrease of fiscal duties, etc. This is a second level of induced escapism.

In financial and banking systems, the repayment of a loan (or an investment) is only falling on the borrower (or invested) side. The borrower (or invested side) is not accountable for any other action other than the return itself. The lender (or investor) is not accountable at all for any other action triggered by the process of lending (or investing). This process of delaying and delegating accountability is the foundation of modern money creation — from central bank to the private banking sector. A more reasonable system in accordance with the principle of accountability would require the direct creation and issuance of money into people’s bank accounts — e.g., as Universal Basic Income.

Principle of Human Dignity

Even under apparent consensus of the other person, humans should refrain from undertaking humiliating and abusive behaviour. The consensus itself can be extorted under several special circumstances — i.e., physical and/or psychological need, alterated states of consciousness, mental and/or physical illness or disorder, power dynamics, etc. The assumption that consensus is enough, it is based on the prejudice of existence of full individual self-determinacy — i.e., everyone knows what is the best for themselves. That is very often simply not the case for two reasons. First, not everyone is always fully informed about the real intention of people involved, the context, and the physical, social, and psychological consequences of the act. Second, not everyone is fully aware of the deep motivation of their (and others) actions — i.e., physical and psychological needs. It is more likely the case that people accept conditions by consensus out of a search for a sense of belonging to a group — i.e., seek for approval, emulation, seek for power, desperation, addiction, etc.

Application to porn, sex market, and hook-up culture. Use-and-abuse of others’ people bodies for own pleasure and benefit is a violation of the Principle of Human Dignity. Through the release of dopamine and endorphins after orgasm, sex has inevitably a physical and psychological addictive component. Most of the synthetic drugs try to replicate and extend such neurobiological effects — e.g., methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine, diacetylmorphine. This is true especially for biological men who experience orgasms more often and more easily.

There are three ways to offset the post-intercourse withdrawal caused by endorphins release. First, the act of intentional bonding releases oxytocin which deepen and strengthen the connection ensuring as sense of safety and permanence. Second, if bonding is precluded, then other copying mechanisms must be found. Nonetheless, the choice of healthy (e.g., sport) or unhealthy (e.g., drugs) copying mechanisms and its efficacy is highly volatile depending on contextual factors. Third, search for another (real or virtual) sexual partner by engaging with pornographic content, sex market, and/or hook-up culture. From a sex-addict men’s neurobiological perspective, any woman’s body would be enough despite their physical and psychological relative attractiveness — i.e., commodification of human body. Every body becomes just a mere instrument for their own pleasure.

This system contributes to the reinforcement and diffusion of DTP traits in the whole society, and therefore, an increase in likelihood of harassment and sexually violent episodes. There is also an untold truth about the relation between the exercise of power and sexual arousal. Men show a proclivity towards sadistic sexual arousal, even if they do not fully develop other DTP traits— for statistics see here. This means that men can also detach their sexual preferences from the sexual arousal itself. The simple exercise of power (i.e., physical abuse, subjugation) is enough. In fact, the statistics on domestic violence and rape in war-contexts prove that a sexual arousal can occur even under a feeling of despise, hate, and disgust for the other person — e.g., especially, biological men towards biological women. In my opinion, this is the fundamental origin of the so-called patriarchy (see next Principle on Fair Communication).

This is the paradox of sexual revolution. People with DTP traits are more likely to engage in the hookup culture and more likely to be chosen as sexual partners (especially, biological men) — i.e., high level of socio-sexuality. The diffused possibility to reward DTP traits creates an optimal culture for such traits to emerge and develop, especially among biological men. Porn, sex-work, hook-up and BDSM cultures, and other humiliating behaviours are contributing to create an unsafe world by directly feeding the beast. On the opposite, the actual empowering tool for biological women would be sexual abstinence — see also the ancient Greek story of Lysistrata. In the medium term, simply by controlling access to pleasure and blackmailing, they would acquire an incomparable amount of political power over biological men — i.e., like heroin-addicts are subjugated by their dealers. In the long run, after generations, the aggregate level of DTP traits may decrease — and the sexual violence with it.

Sex is the deepest and most meaningful connection that two humans can experience. It’s the origin of life and its end. Decoupling the body-mind-soul triad, it is again about the decoupling humans from themselves and Nature itself.

Principle of Fair Play

A fair confrontation requires an agreed set of rules and fair distribution of tools. From one side, it is necessary to agree on a set of rules and be sure to stick with them during the confrontation — i.e., honesty, honourability, transparency, reliability, trustworthy, loyalty, etc. On the other side, the dimensions of the confrontation need to be clearly stated and reduced to a specific set of skills.

  • Fair Communication. In the political arena, it is often observed the emergence of two phenomena which are resulting from an unfair manipulation of the confrontation. First, the use-and-abuse of some concepts became a way to flag the belonging to a party more than a meaningful way to communicate. This is the emergence of buzzwords which are very wide concepts inappropriately used in ordinary contexts without any reference (or authorship) or relative contextualisation e.g., capitalism, communism, fascism, feminism, patriarchy, God, love, etc. In fact, you can spot buzzwords by realising that when such concepts are used by experts, they usually use them using the plural. This cognitive simplification is necessary for socio-psychological manipulation techniques — see Lucifer Effect and Crowd Psychology. Second, there is the linguistic predatory tendency from one community to steal words or concepts from the rest of society (or other communities) by giving them new meaning — e.g., cultural appropriation. A self-oriented community is a fortress for who they think they are against the rest of the world. The involutionary strategy is aiming at creating weapons to deprive the world of existing tools (predation) while expressing a set of common values. On the opposite, a growth-oriented community is a bridge between who they think they are and the rest of the society. Its evolutionary strategy is aiming at creating and providing new tools (innovation) to rest of the world while expressing a set of common values.
  • Fair Market. A fair competition requires a fair distribution of initial resources (and opportunities). The dimensionality of the competition must be reduced to a clear and declared set of skills. The inheritance of material and immaterial resources should be equal among all the participants. The pool of resources from which the training of skills takes place should equal for each participant — i.e., equal access to education. The possibility to heal and recover during the competition should be equal for each participant — i.e., equal access to health.
  • Fair Exchange. The paradox of money was first pointed out by Silvio Gesell. A monetary unit intrinsically acting as both store of value and means of exchange is intrinsically designed to be unstable. A fair and optimal market exchange takes place when a competitive network structure is maintained over time — see Optimal Allocation of Resources. It is not the free market itself to be self-regulated in an optimal way, but the intent of participants to coordinate themselves in an optimal way. It is the structure that gives agents the freedom to act (see first principle).
  • Fair Peace. Humanity is still too far from the natural order to imagine a world without wars. The maximal inspiration for humanity is to find a set of rules which can guarantee the maximum time length of stability with the minimum harm. The minimum harm is guaranteed by the application of the Principle of Accountability. A constrained technological development and use of military weapons with individual war declarations and involvement would be enough to disincentivise wars. The maximum time length of stability would be guaranteed by two things. First, creating a multipolar global order by reallocating resources in an fairer way among countries — see Bancor. Second, by guaranteeing access to land to anyone anywhere in the world, and therefore, increasing social and international mobility — see the concept of Free Land in Silvio Gesell.

Principle of Body Sovereignty — or Liberum Arbitrium

Every individual should be let free to govern their own body and their own life as they like. In doing so, the whole humanity could benefit from the expression of such rare and precious uniqueness. In fact, the existence of individual uniqueness is the foundational assumption of the principle of liberum arbitrium. This assumption states that two equal human beings can never exist — either synchronously or asynchronously.

It is up to individuals choose to be protector or destructor of the natural realm and therefore also their own body. Since every human should be in peer-relation with any other human, everyone should be let free to take decision on their life. As far as, one’s choice is not directly affecting the life of someone else — in that case, there would be a conflict with the Principle of Accountability.

Even Evil plays its role in the system. The attempt of suppressing or removing Evil will be manifested as a bigger Evil itself.

Application on Identity. There is no such a thing as an objective personal identity. There are people who believe in a core set of statements about themselves which can be used as a foundational ground to present themselves in a specific context. Such statements need a recognition and validation from a group to be effective within the group itself. Therefore, identity is not subjectively defined, but it is a copy-and-paste of elements coming from a specific context and forwarded back to it.

In an inverted world where the mind takes over the body, and so humans take over the Nature, beliefs are enough to construct any kind of identity. It is sufficient for a mind to believe to be hosted in a wrong body to make this a cornerstone of an entire identity. The conundrum of identity is solved by accepting (or not) the principle of non-duality.

If the assumption of individual uniqueness is accepted, then two alternative options follow. First, the uniqueness is the resulting inseparability of the body-mind-soul system. Second, the uniqueness is resulting by an unique mind only. However, a unique mind cannot exist in itself because it develops by using signs and elements coming from its cultural context. This is a process of appropriation which needs to be recognised and validated by others. Therefore, an objective personal identity does not exist in neither case. See also Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

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Teodoro Criscione

Ph.D. student in Network and Data Science (Central European University). Junior Researcher at Freiburg Institute For Basic Income Studies (Freiburg University).