The jomanity Point of View
Here are jomanity's overarching beliefs.
1: Living a life with joy and meaningful connections takes effort. It takes learning and growth.
For most of us, a little effort can go a long way to more joy and stronger, more meaningful, relationships. Being more deliberate in the day-to-day moments can help us choose how we want to feel, or the impact we want to have.
2: Keeping up with the effort is much easier when you do it with other people.
The simplest way to keep up with that effort? Be around people who also prioritize it.
3: Humanity is more good than not.
Is it easy to become demoralized by humanity? Yes. Yes, it is. Human nature is complex. We are wired for all kinds of things we don't like.
And more importantly: We are wired for incredible things, like friendship and love and community and learning.
Human nature is a mixed bag of things, but the good outweighs the bad.
4: We want to foster compassion, courage, and generosity. We assume positive intent. And at the same time, we don't want to be suckers.
Most people, most of the time, are doing the best they know how to do, in that moment.
Most, but not all. It's a tough skill to know whom to trust. And even people with good intent can cause damage.
5: The people around us, online and in real-life, have a huge affect on what we believe, think, say, and do.
6: Us and them, instead of us versus them.
We believe more unites us than divides us, and that most people share the same goals.
We have common ground. Almost all of us share the same five life goals:
to be happy
to be healthy
to have strong and close relationships
to know my life has meaning--that I'm part of something bigger than just "me"
to know I am a good person--I live with values and character
We believe we can spend time with people who share similar beliefs, without hating people who don't share these beliefs. And we can seek to understand (and be understood), in the spirit of finding common ground and collaboration.
7: The most constructive conversations are kind, helpful, and truthful.
Online, it's too easy to react. Things annoy us or offend us or anger us. Usually, people aren't trying to upset us.
So, our goal is to build norms around catching our first reaction, then shifting to really understand someone else's perspective, then doing an effective job of representing our own perspective. This is hard. We want to help people do this better.
It is way easier to keep talking about a problem than to work on solving it. Conversations are focused on understanding, collaborating, compromising, and solving.
8: We believe everyone can practice healthy skepticism without cynicism.
We're talking about skepticism with what we hear and see, and what we think and believe:
What we hear and see: It's easier to manipulate and distort information than it's ever been. Fake news is easy to create. Misleading statistics are a google search away. Even well-meaning people spread misinformation. "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
What we think and believe: Every human on the planet has biases. From money to race to how we see ourselves, biases are deeply ingrained into how we think. That's okay--knowing it is a great place to start.
When we say "healthy skepticism," we're talking about understanding our assumptions and beliefs so that we can be more fair and make better decisions.
9: We don't think any group of people is better or worse than any other group of people.
We don't believe that any groups of people are superior or inferior.
We fundamentally believe in equality by race, age, gender, size, religion, sexuality, or country of origin.
10: Democracy needs informed and thoughtful citizens to thrive. When you really understand why someone believes what they believe, you almost always get it. You might not agree, but you can understand.
Democracy flourishes when people with different perspectives come together to find shared solutions to complex problems. Democracy needs both shared values and different perspectives.
What does that mean?
Shared values: We have a lot of shared values and big goals: Our shared values include what is important (say equality, fairness, compassion, community, opportunity). Our shared big goals include things like a strong education system, good opportunity for ourselves and future generations, clean water and air, a healthy planet, evidence-based science, to name a few.
Different perspectives: No one person has all the answers. We all have different life experiences, and the more we understand each other's, the stronger we can get, together. We know that sharing our perspectives, our research, and our ideas with each other, in a respectful way, helps us build more resilient and sustainable systems. Listening, questioning, collaboration, and compromise.