The 8 questions of Hannukkah according to Bret Weinstein

Our family has been tinkering with holidays.

Each night of Hanukkah has a principle we discuss, We believe these principles are fundamental to human thriving and harmony. You are welcome, Jewish or not, to critique, borrow or reject them, as you see fit.

Happy Hanukkah to all.

The first principle:

All human enterprise should be both sustainable and reversible.

(This is not a condemnation of the present. It is a statement of an important objective)

Second principle:

Treat others as you would have others treat you.

Many traditions have analogs of this concept, with a trend toward greater inclusivity. Enlightenment surely involves extending it to all who agree to be symmetrically bound. Evolution is an obstacle to the goal.

Third principle:

Don’t game honorable systems. Support the protection of honorable systems from gaming by others.

Fourth principle:

One should have healthy skepticism of ancient wisdom, and engage novel problems consciously, explicitly and with robust reasoning.

(Some ancient wisdom is tried and true, some is out of date. Some problems are too new to have generated relevant wisdom.)

Fifth principle:

Novel phenomena should be presumed to carry the potential for harm until their safety has bee established.

Sixth principle:

Opportunity must not be allowed to concentrate within a subset of lineages, to the exclusion of others.

(because society works best when everybody has an incentive to play by the rules, and the rules reward those who contribute to the whole)

Seventh principle:

Profits made by externalizing harm onto others are ill gotten gains and should not generate prestige or influence.

(the ‘others’ mentioned are bystanders. This is not an argument against paying people to deliver punishments that discourage harm)

Eighth principle:

A functioning society has the right to require things from all of its citizens, and it has natural obligations to all of its citizens in return.