Principles that Logos Books holds to be true, but not entirely self evident:
Blame is not useful; accountability is.
Where there is blame, you won’t find learning. When there is blame, open minds close, inquiry ceases, and the desire to understand the whole system diminishes. Blame rarely enhances our understanding of situations and often hampers effective problem solving. It is non-productive to blame ourselves or others for the misinformation we’ve learned or the ways we have benefited and continue benefiting from unjust social systems. However, it is important to be open-minded to new information and work together towards a more just future.
Social injustice exists.
“Life is not fair,” is an adage I was taught young, but didn’t really learn until I was older. We live in, objectively, the best time in history to be alive. Still, the majority of people are not treated equally. Oppression, re: racism, classism, sexism, etc., exists on multiple levels; some perceivable, some not. Although our nation was founded on the idea of “liberty and justice for all,” these ideals have yet to be fulfilled. We can find injustice at almost all levels of existence; starting in our education systems.
Our education systems have been biased.
Our education systems (schools, books, and the media) are largely Eurocentric. Information about different groups, including our own, is often omitted or distorted. These hidden biases sustain oppression and spark a largely subconscious, invisible and normative “white supremacy,” which impacts our perception of life as we know it.
People have basic goodness.
If that goodness is fostered by society, we will live in a good world. People, as a general rule, try to do the best they can. Sure, we all make mistakes sometimes, despite the purest of intentions. The goal, then, is to learn from our errors. In order to do so, we must be willing to 1) listen and 2) participate in constructive discourse.
People are also capable of evil.
A good rule of thumb: if you are not fostering goodness in the world, you are likely exacerbating evil. Something to be mindful of.
People will be rational to the system they are in.
Rational people will use rational calculations to make rational choices to achieve outcomes that are aligned with their own personal objectives. They would rather take actions that benefit them, rather than actions that are neutral or harm them.
Humans are not purely “rational” creatures.
In the 1970s, two psychologists proved, once and for all, that humans are not rational creatures. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky showed how humans systematically make choices that defy clear logic due to cognitive biases. They also acknowledged something that is too often overlooked—being irrational is not a bad thing. The smartest people don’t always make the decisions by carefully weighing out the facts. Often, a more “irrational” approach, helps people make better decisions.
Categories and labels shape our perception and reality.
Language is the most archaic and invisible form of technology, yet may be the source-technology from which all others are generated. Like any technology, it does things for people which couldn’t be done without it. Words don’t just express ideas, they actively shape them. Language determines how we understand the world around us. All languages come with historical (and ideological) baggage which directs attention and prejudices conversation, as much as it allows communication and cooperation.
Culture masquerades as human nature.
We see things as we are, not as they are. Almost all things we experience and learn are colored by the perspective of another. Make sure that story aligns with your truth.
We are related to all that lives.
No man is an island. All that lives likely comes from the same, single primordial origin. When we die, we are digested into the earth, recycled into remineralized nutrients and then rearranged by life as it evolves. Our lives weave together in countless ways—economically, ecologically, linguistically, socially, and spiritually. Life matters, because we exist within and among living things—as part of an enduring and incomprehensible chain of existence.
Some of these presuppositions were adapted from Analouise Keating’s book, “Teaching Transformation”
Keating, AnaLouise. Teaching Transformation: Transcultural Classroom Dialogues. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
Deutscher, Guy. Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages. Cornerstone Digital, 2016.
McFall-Ngai, Margaret, et al. “Animals in a bacterial world, a new imperative for the life sciences.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013.
Tversky , Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. “Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases.” Science, vol. 185, no. 4157, pp. 1124–1131.