No philosophical discussion would be complete without a discussion of the practical ethical ramifications of the philosophy. Of course, everyone must ultimately refer - and answer - only to themselves with regards to their moral behavior. Therefore, the guidelines presented here are to be taken as exactly that: guidelines.
While the other sections are being written into the “Treatise on the Objective Reality of Ideas”, the main ethical discussion will take place in another work called “The Unfettering of Culture”.
All of human achievement is built upon knowledge, the accumulated sum of man's ideas. With it, we have become creators in our own right, deriving new ideas to rival and even surpass those nature has shown us. Without it, it is unlikely that we would continue to exist to the present time. We thus assert that the capacity for retaining knowledge is inextricable to our humanity and the ability to pursue knowledge is an inalienable human right.
No censorship: Having discussed what powerful things ideas can be at great length, there is a single action that cannot be condoned: censorship. This does not simply refer to repression of speech; it includes all acts of repression of an idea's natural tendency to propagate - “idealistic lockdown” - and it can be concluded from every principle that it is bad. Of course, self-regulation of one's knowledge-base is necessary to maintain its consistency. However, no one has the right to deny others exposure to ideas, existing or new.
Of course, these conclusions all rely on the premise above: that knowledge is a universal right. Censorship in the colloquial use of the term does not respect this right; it imposes ignorance willfully. There is only one possible justification for such a deliberate imposition of ignorance: direct conflict with another fundamental right, such as life or individual freedom. Because such conflicts deny a fundamental right to the people, they are to be avoided and mitigated at all costs. Exactly how such situations are resolved depends on one's moral hierarchy.
Panidealism is not even required to draw the conclusion that censorship breeds ignorance, however; all that is necessary is utility theory. For example, to use a recent news posting on Slashdot, suppose a paper is submitted that details a prospective cure to a debilitating disease such as diabetes. The paper's ideas are well-grounded in existing theory and the research results are excellent, but reviewers are concerned that the paper may not take all variables into account.
Despite the perceived methodological flaws, the idea is still theoretically and empirically grounded. Thus, there is a good deal of both types of evidence justifying the conclusion.
Now, let us examine the possible outcomes: if the idea works and the paper was accepted, or if the paper's idea is objectively useless (which is truly rare) and the paper is rejected, no problems occur. It's when the review does not reflect the merit of the idea (and by subjectivity, it cannot claim to always do so) that a problem exists.
There are two types of misclassifications: false positives (letting a bad article through) and false negatives (censoring a good article). If the paper's idea was flawed and it was accepted (false positive), a few scientists would spend a few weeks to perhaps a month replicating the experiments before concluding that the results didn't work, and would move on to other things. Exposure to these ideas and the ensuring experiments would also shed additional light on the problem. The penalty for making this decision is thus very slight - a bit of effort that would not result in a total waste. On the other hand, if the paper's theory is valid and the paper is rejected, society has just thrown away a cure for diabetes. The penalty for this type of mistake is severe, for it can be measured in lives.
In utility theory, this is defined by a loss matrix, which, given numeric estimates of the severity of the penalties, would look like this:
Utility theory takes probability into account as well (it uses expectation, which is probability times value). All of the evidence thus far is for the treatment working, but let's be pessimistic and assume a probability of 1% that it works:
Even in such a pessimistic case, we will see that it's still worth pursuing. We finally take the expectation or utility to get the potential gains by taking each action by multiplying probability times loss:
We see that here (or in any case where the effects of accepting are not overwhelmed by an infinitesimal probability that the idea has value), it makes far more sense to disseminate the paper. Thus, utility theory, commonly used in economics and machine learning to measure how rational a decision may be, essentially strips the justification for a censored system of peer review (but not personal skepticism or other peer review systems which make the content available and allow votes or some other method of promotion on it). Thus we may say, even independently of Panidealist principles:
Open, not closed: To acquire new ideas, one must be ready to receive them, to analyze them, and to scrutinize them. Discarding them too quickly leads to ruin. Thus, a censored methodological skepticism is a losing strategy.
Be plainspoken: Frivolous barriers to meaning are impediments to knowledge. The tendency for academic writing to needlessly cocoon anything resembling an idea in a complex and extremely verbose form of language is a primary example of this. Such papers should present their ideas clearly and should omit needless background information, as the underlying idea that forms the kernel of the paper is usually very simple once it's been stripped of its shell. A general rule of thumb to use here is to adopt a style of writing that comes naturally. Perhaps it won't be easy to read, but it would certainly be easier than the same style after deliberate obfuscation. The style I've adopted in this writing is my natural style, for example; readers would have a much harder time if I were to dress my language in academic garb (if my style remains difficult for readers, it is an inability to simplify my prose rather than a deliberate obfuscation that is at fault).
Because knowledge is a universal right and is the sum total of ideas, creating new ideas is the most virtuous behavior man may engage in - it leads to both individual and collective advancement, reaffirms the humanity of the creator, and provides us with our only true connection to the natural world.
Learning is the prerequisite to creation and should be highly valued and cultivated.
Because creation is virtuous, systems that prohibit or destroy creation are evil. If a system prevents man from creating, forces destruction of his creation, or requires him to unnecessarily destroy the creation of another in the process of creating, the system is unequivocally evil.
Those who cannot create must stay out of the way of those who can. It is not their place to impose limitations on those with greater potential.
Subjugating one man's ideas to another's whims makes both less effective. This causes redundancy of ideas and correspondingly reduces the creative capability of individuals, as explained by universality. In extreme cases, one person ceases to be anything more than a tool for another, preventing any possible expression of original thought.
Convention is a shackle. Trends, social pressures, and collectivism in general impose artificial constraints upon the direction one's creative inquiry can take.
Therefore, creative individuals must be free. There is no other way to fully harness the creative power of the individual.
Ideas are thought up by individuals and refined by groups. Implementation can be done by either, but is usually more efficient in the right sort of group. The idea generating power of a group is the product of its individuals' “harmonious” (that is, non-redundant) ideas. As the group's subsequent operations depend on the original idea, groups should not forget their intellectual debt to the individuals who produced the ideas upon which they work, lest the implementation travel far from the vision.
All of the constructs existing in society are realizations of the cumulative history of humanity's ideas. Even though they are collectively used, these ideas were the products of individual minds (since groups do not create ideas). Given this, helping these individual minds create and realize new ideas is clearly a good thing for everyone. It also increases the momentum and prestige of the system in which the individuals function.
Organizations adopting policies that resist the generation of ideas will soon find themselves far behind. Always examine your policies to ensure that they are allowing optimal creativity.
In an ideal society, everyone capable of creating would do so to the fullest extent of their ability. Consequently, the creative class would be free, since it is the only way they can harness their full ability. The rest of society could still put itself to use by maintaining the day-to-day operations of the society. Because this activity expedites creation and creation is the highest virtue, it is also virtuous. The acts of creation and of supporting creation would entitle all members of society to partake in the fruits of the society's productivity. This is independent of the economic system in place; monetary rewards or social status would suffice to reward creative behavior, which generates value.
Rewards in society are earned through creation or supporting creation, extending to the very ability to participate in the society at all. Those who neither create nor endeavor to support creation deserve no share of the fruits of creation. Those in direct opposition to creativity do not even deserve a place in the society. Similarly, those who ransom the work of others and steal most or all of the profit have no place in a creative society. Publishers who derive more rewards from the works of others than the creators themselves do are examples of such offenders. Perhaps the very worst of this sort are closed academic journals, which charge the public to view the freely-submitted work of scientists and then keep the profits from this ransoming of ideas. Not only is this a form of censorship, but it's censorship on ideas that the journals have no proper claim to in the first place.