We believe, “…that all men are created equal, that they” are…by virtue of their existence possessed of “certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” as we have paraphrased from the United States of America’s Declaration of Independence.
We have left out the reference to G–d, because we feel that spirituality is a personal experience, that is best done voluntarily in a place or institution of one’s choosing.
We also want to clarify our use of the term “unalienable rights”. We see these “rights” in terms of human needs. Abraham Maslow’s work is one of our foundational documents. Unalienable rights means to us, the right to have your “needs” met.
We believe that whether or not we will have a Good Life, Liberty and Happiness, depends, to a great extent, on our ability to communicate well.
We strongly support our First Amendment guarantee of the right to free speech.
However, we take exception to the idea that it gives people the right to belittle, verbally abuse, bully or manipulate each other. We know now that verbally abused people can suffer very damaging effects on their emotions and the physical structure of the brain itself. One of our purposes is to protect people from the damage that can be done by Evil Speech.
Our view of good communication is based on the work of Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA. He wrote about the relative importance of verbal and nonverbal messages. His findings on inconsistent messages of feelings and attitudes have become known as the 7%-38%-55% Rule.”
Common Ground is usually understood as finding a way to agree on something. Our view is broader and as noted above based on Abraham Maslow’s research. What he found was that having our basic human needs met was the determining factor in becoming successful.
The Old and New Testaments contain behavioral/human relations type wisdom, as well as spirituality. Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan identified 31 “commandments” which became the basis of his writings about how we should talk to each other. His work produced the best behavioral guidelines about how to use speech, we have seen.
The ever growing body of Neuroscience/Brain research gives us the ability to understand ourselves much more clearly than before.
We value people over things.
Our ethics are concerned with communication. We believe that our personal ethics and character values will follow if we all learn to speak positively and avoid evil speech.
Individually, we offer our help to each person who approaches us voluntarily to learn and practice Civil Discourse.
We are greatly concerned about those who see no need for Civil Discourse, who benefit by using it or who think that it has little effect on us.
We are particularly concerned about our cultural Role Models; the Media and Politicians. We hope that individual members of these groups will voluntarily be interested in learning, practicing and demonstrating Civil Discourse.
However, if individual people among these Role Models do not see the need to change their behavior; are habitual users of Evil Speech, we will assist concerned people in their communities in any way we can. If the attempts to influence these people fail, we may decide to rebuke them directly and/or publicly.
If we independently become aware of individuals who are habitual users of Evil Speech, we reserve the right to rebuke them as we see fit.