(Except from the Book of Chivalric Humanism, Epistle to the Reader)
In your hands right now is the culmination of my lifelong search for truth. Not a subjective, personal truth but a truth that I believe can be known to all people equally. This truth is the path to ‘reality’.
This work in your hands serves as the foundational book for the school of Chivalric Humanism I have founded to teach this truth.
Now this thing that I call Chivalric Humanism is also characterized by its emphasis on virtue and excellence while also stressing that its adherents become champions for others. It is a form of humanism that explains the role of humans in the world and prescribes a rewarding purpose for our lives.
Chivalric Humanism is a branch of naturalism philosophy; that is, it is rooted in the belief that only natural forces operate in the world. It does not endorse superstitious thinking. It is important to reject such magical ideas because in addition to leading people to follow bad advice that ruins the quality of human life, teaching children to ask non-existent magical beings to solve their problems often creates irresponsible adults who fail to find solutions to these problems. Until a person shakes off the curse of superstitious thinking they will never be able to obtain true wisdom. This is because rational explanations for the world and solutions to its problems can only best be found by people who base their decision-making on rational beliefs. The presence of strongly held irrational beliefs taints a person’s perspective and limits their ability to be reasonable. It restricts them from cooperating with others for the mutual benefit of all.
I have been a lifelong student of religion, and while examining different religions I realized that the majority of the popular religions utilize the metaphysical concept of an afterlife to pressure followers into moral activity, promising that good deeds are rewarded in the afterlife and evil ones are punished. I came to recognize that while creating a fear of things such as death and desires for metaphysical rewards in adherents are a useful feature for recruiting people into religions, it also creates an unavoidable problem: if the primary thing that compels people to refrain from doing bad is fear of supernatural punishment or promise of supernatural benefit, then these people aren’t necessarily good, and that once the metaphysical ideas are abandoned the individual struggles to find reasons to do good actions when they recognize that evil actions can result in great personal benefit.
Furthermore, many religions are created to allow the leader to manipulate others for their personal benefit, which requires the religion to “reprogram” the individual to relinquish control over their decision making to these leaders; often to the degree that the religious may behave hysterically if they are made aware of contradictions between objective reality and the delusions they have been taught. This causes individuals in the cult groups to be easily manipulatable, not only by the leaders of these religious groups but also by other individuals employing similar types of manipulative strategies as the cult leader has used. It tends to be the case that a person who believed one impossible thing can be easily led to believe in another impossible thing using a similar rhetorical argument that persuaded them to believe in the first impossible thing. This kind of manipulation of the masses is neither healthy nor beneficial for human societies because while it can lead to short-term group cohesion, ultimately it creates long-term instability that results in the decline of the prosperity of human communities over time as the collective makes impactful choices for irrational reasons instead of rational ones.
Even pre-existing religions which are viewed as largely secular, such as Theravada Buddhism, have failed to successfully create stable societies; the state of Cambodia during my time is overwhelmingly Theravada Buddhism yet the sex trafficking of pre-pubescent girls is commonplace. According to the 2011 documentary film Nefarious: Merchant of Souls by Benjamin Nolot, it is estimated at least half of all Cambodian families participate in this, and not because they are necessarily poor, but instead because it is viewed as socially preferable so that men do not have to work, as they can prostitute out their young daughters to foreign tourists. Girls are raised in the cultural belief the child owes a “life debt” to the parent for bringing them into the world and which the girl must repay. So even Theravada Buddhism has proven that it can culturally descend into hedonism and so its teachings are poor; if anything, the beliefs in reincarnation and karma are frequently used by Buddhists to justify atrocities against other people under the belief that some people deserve to be abused for some imagined past life transgression they must have committed.
So, by realizing other religions do not necessarily produce people who are good or useful to humanity because their teachings do not lead to stable societies where evil is rare, I was able to de-program myself from the superstitious dogma I learned in childhood without the direct assistance of any other person, relying only on self-study of religions both old and new while simultaneously teaching myself about many psychological theories and reviewing related scientific research.
Additionally, due to various reasons stemming from events that happened in my life, I developed awareness of those mental barriers that restricted my perceptions and scratched at them — even those mental walls that exist to hold a person back from committing all manner of depravity. I questioned everything and dwelled deeply in my own mind. In my personal life I experienced great pleasures and suffered extraordinary anguishes, forcing me to reassess the very foundations of my identity and the beliefs which that identity was founded upon. Through these re-assessments I gained the ability to choose my dogma with a surgical precision, cutting out those ideas from myself that were useless for objectivity and retaining only those which I deemed useful. I fell into the pit of madness and then I pulled myself back to the top and out.
Through these efforts I reached the state known to Taoists as ‘the Way’ and Buddhists as bodhi, or enlightenment, and realized there was nothing particularly mystical about it. The bodhi state is nothing more than obtaining awareness of the mental conditioning a person acquires in childhood, and to recognize the mechanisms of how the mind functions in regards to the formation of beliefs. It does not award any mystical powers nor reveal any type of supernatural ‘true self’, as is often claimed by those who misunderstand what a genuine enlightened state actually is. It is only the ability to correctly identify that which is a mental construct from that which is actually part of the physical world, which even with the scientific method many people still struggle to distinguish, which is why so many have difficulty distinguishing that which is scientific from that which is sociological. Many confuse sociology for a science, even among scientists.
I will also say that it is my view that the so-called Übermensch state of Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy is identical to the enlightenment state, as when comparing these philosophies, all these states in Taoism, Buddhism and Nietzsche’s writings generally require the same steps to obtain. So, in my opinion they are the same thing, and as I find ‘enlightened’ to be a less grandiose sounding name for this state, I use it here instead to describe the state of awareness I obtained. I do wish to comment that I have noticed many philosophers, in their excitement to advertise their ideas, come up with splendid sounding names that in hindsight have given too high of expectations for this ‘enlightened’ state; while it is exceptional in its uncommonness, it does not bestow any greatness for achieving it. I find that it is actually the first real step into awakening from the dream of delusional thinking, and because past philosophers did not possess the sophisticated level of scientific knowledge we do today, they did not fully understand the state they had reached in the manner that I have. As I was born in a time where such information was available to me, this has allowed me to eliminate supernatural explanations from my conclusions about it, which is an opportunity past philosophers exploring this state did not have.
The Übermensch state described in Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy is often misunderstood because it was appropriated by past people who misunderstood what Nietzsche was talking about. In his writings, Übermensch is a state that Nietzsche described as a human that has rejected egalitarianism, idealism, nihilism and other kinds of metaphysical philosophies and instead would develop a new framework that is founded in acceptance of truth. That is to say, an Übermensch is aware of reality and does not reject it. Nietzsche described this acceptance as a love of life and nature. He also believed that such an Übermensch would create a new moral framework that consists of moral values that are aligned with truth. I believe that I have done this with Chivalric Humanism, and as I wrote previously, I believe it is best understood as another term that describes the ‘enlightenment’ state discussed by many other philosophers throughout history.
While many of the concepts that Chivalric Humanism utilizes can be found in other philosophies, the reasons for why I have included these concepts in Chivalric Humanism are sometimes very different. For example, I include virtues in Chivalric Humanism but unlike their counterpart in many past religions and philosophies, the reasons for why they are included are not the same. This is because in past philosophies virtues are often associated with metaphysical concepts, such as that virtues are manifestations of ‘God’s grace’ in Christianity. Even in a humanistic philosophy such as Confucianism, virtues are still associated with metaphysical ideas such as Heaven. By contrast to these past philosophies, virtues in Chivalric Humanism are not tied to metaphysical explanation or concepts.
My statements should not be taken as gloating, for without the writings of these past philosophers to provide me some guidance I could not have achieved during my life what they did not. I am in part a product of their influences.
I believe this ‘enlightened’ state is only a thing of great importance in so many philosophies because magical thinking has dominated human philosophies for most of our existence, and even those philosophies which acknowledge logic and the scientific method still often feature magical thinking a component of their foundational beliefs, which distracts a person strictly adhering to those philosophies from actually reaching the desired enlightened state of thinking. A person who was never taught to engage in magical thinking by their culture would always have possessed this kind of mental state from childhood, so I think at some point in the future this will actually be the norm instead of the exception. This is why, when put into perspective, the state of being ‘enlightened’ is not actually that special. It is only special in a world where most people culturally engage in magical thinking most of the time, and are delusional as a consequence of this inferior way of thinking. When the majority of humans are educated enough to no longer engage in magical thinking and they instead prioritize the use of logic and science, being ‘enlightened’ will be the norm amongst humans, rather than the exception.
Upon reaching this enlightened state I obtained great willpower, able to release myself from desires that were not constructive to my life. I attempted and failed at explaining my revelations to others and so decided to keep my philosophy personal. As the years went by I continued to reassess my framework of beliefs, discarding useless ideas and exchanging them for more useful ones. By my thirties I had created a solid foundation I could be confident is superior in merit to any of the popular religions, and I labeled this philosophy ‘Chivalric humanism’.
Yet it gnawed at me for years that I was walking alone with this knowledge, carrying it within me in such a manner that if I died no one would ever know what I’d discovered. I eventually became tired of making excuses for why I could not help others come to realize the same discoveries and watched many I knew greatly suffer as a consequence of their own flawed thinking. I became frustrated at myself for not doing more to help others break free of the shackles of their own self-limiting fallacious beliefs, especially as I watched the society I lived in become consumed by zealotry in many forms, ultimately which resulted in great harm to many people.
I set about writing this book out of a desire to transmit my knowledge properly, for as much to help others as to also help myself fulfill a desire to not have the fruits of my journey be forgotten. I believe it is important for me to be upfront about this.
Now there is a correct way to read this book and it is by starting from the first page until you reach the last, in order of appearance. That is to say you should read this book straight through without skimming or skipping over certain sections. This is because this book includes a number of sections which introduce ideas you may believe you are familiar with, but you will not understand them in the context that I mean them if you do not read this book from start to finish.
This book discusses many scientific principles and political theories, in addition to philosophical maxims that you might assume you have learned before but you have not learned them in the manner that I am teaching them. I have written this work with the assumption that all readers will require some amount of deprogramming from the current delusions they have, especially if they have some kind of religious background. Every sentence in this book has been written with the intention of guiding you to be gradually transformed from the person that you are right now and into a more intellectually self-reflective person who better understands the truth of reality and our place within it as humans.
So, if you do not read the pages I have written in the order I have intended them to be read you will not fully grasp the meaning I have intended. If you skip substantial parts of this book by reading ahead in an attempt to cherry pick what I am writing you will simply not understand what is meant in these latter sections in the correct context. If you ignore this instruction then you will not learn Chivalric humanism, but instead some bastardization of your mind’s own creation which is missing substantial parts of the moral framework I have created. Do not cherry pick my writings and then believe you have learned Chivalric Humanism as I intended it to be taught. As an example of what I am referring to, I anticipate that some critics will dream up thought experiments that seek to disprove the arguments I make using situations where a human society has collapsed into depravity, and how the arguments I make are unworkable for the survival of a specific individual in that scenario; an individual might think their thought experiment somehow disproves my teachings because, having cherry picked from my writings and not considering the work as a whole, the critics did not understand that Chivalric Humanism is not a philosophy for how human communities are always stable and morally good, but instead Chivalric Humanism describes how communities become stable and how individuals within it should behave to ensure that stability continues to prosper.
Some of the sections of this book may be difficult for you to read. Life can be difficult and many of the choices you make can be decided based on your prior knowledge, your experiences, your instincts, intuition, or so on. This book can be difficult for some people to read because it asks the reader to use analytical thinking to make decisions in life, which may be new to you. Analytical thinking is a skill that is unique to humans but is not easily acquired; it requires diligent practice over a long period of time in order to perfect. It rarely comes naturally to any of us, especially when the majority of human cultures have historically pressured people into emotional types of thinking. Analytical thinking comes easy to me now only because I worked hard to make it so.
Much that you know about the world is likely wrong. You may have been born into a superstitious family who practices a kind of magical thinking about the way the world works, cementing in you a system of values in stark opposition to reality. When everyone around you engages in this kind of thing it is difficult for you to not also adopt this way as a matter of course. Behavioral mimicry is instinctive to humans and challenging to suppress. Part of what is going to be difficult for you while reading this book is that for possibly the first time in your life these ideas you grew up with are being challenged in analytical manners you cannot reconcile using the way you currently understand the world. This is to be expected and I ask that if you have these difficulties that you endure this mental discomfort so that this book is able to perform its purpose; instructing you in the ways of Chivalric humanism. You will be the better for it should you make it to the end of this book, going page by page.
This book emphasizes analytical thinking, also commonly referred to as critical thinking. Critical thinking are those methods of thought process that analyze the facts of a situation in a way that is designed to lead to conclusions that are based in truth, compared to superstitious and emotional thinking that largely lead to conclusions based on imagined fantasies. In this book you are going to see the contradictions between analytical and superstitious thinking laid out in bare detail, very possibly forcing you into some emotional discomfort on multiple occasions. This is because you have likely been taught to dislike being made to feel wrong. You’ve probably been taught that being wrong is shameful and makes you inferior to other people, which creates this immense feeling of displeasure when you realize you are wrong. But I am here to tell you that no person who has ever lived has been infallible; everyone has been wrong at some point in their life. It is only through acknowledging our mistakes that we can truly understand the way to obtain successes, and this is true in all things. Many of the revelations you will find in this book came about as the result of my own recognition of mistakes in the manner I perceived the world, myself and other people.
It is important to understand it is not entirely your fault if you have wrong ideas about life and your place in the world. This would mean you have been the victim of bad teaching. You have either not been taught critical thinking skills at all, or you have been taught nonsense that masquerades as it. Yet I promise that if you can endure the mental discomfort you experience while reading this book you will develop critical thinking skills because I have structured this book in such a way to ensure you receive a quality education in what logic is and how to employ it in your daily life to make better decisions that will improve the quality of your life, and those of others, too.
In this book you will identify things you need to learn and you will discover things that you need to unlearn. I will show you the path to success in life through rejection of ideas that limit you from achieving the success you want and the embracement of those ideas which will enhance your ability to accomplish goals. I will also point out to you the errors of logic you may routinely make and how these errors often lead people to adopt inherently flawed ideas that can drive a person into madness if they hold onto these ideas too tightly. If you read this book in whole you will be a better, more happier and successful person because you will be better able to judge good and bad decisions in your life. If you do not read it in its entirety you will not gain these benefits.
Now, in society today there has developed an unnecessary amount of emphasis placed on respecting differences in ideologies, even if these differences lead to justifications for murder, rape, fraud and other kinds of atrocities. You will find no tolerance for such evil deeds in this book. No excuses will be given for such depravity or allowances made out of a desire to compromise. The darkness of lies cannot abide the light, and tries to thwart the light of truth at every turn. No compromises can be made with those possessing a vested interest to deceive.
To put it bluntly, this book is not a safe space for your emotions to rule over your logic. This book requires you to discipline your mind and allow the analytical part of you to sit in the driver seat. Only by doing this will you be able to protect yourself from the treachery of those who would imprison your mind in the chains of deceit. Emotional thinking has its place, but it is not of equal value when we must do something like read and comprehend complex information. This is because the region of your brain responsible for emotions inhibits the part of your brain that allows you to think critically; this is a result of evolution because when we are faced with danger, we need to make quick decisions even if they may not be well thought out. It is an evolutionary advantage in a dangerous situation that we act quickly to save our lives, which is why when faced with danger our brain gives itself over to the regions responsible for emotional thinking. So for very valid reasons and when appropriate, the parts of the brain that control things like hyperarousal (also called the fight-or-flight response) inhibit the function of the brain that allows us to employ deduction and induction because these types of thinking, while superior, take longer to process information, which can lead to our deaths if we pause in thought too long without taking actions. But humans do not only enter emotional states when we are in danger; we can put ourselves into these states with excessive worry or anger, which results in the same impairment of the brain regions responsible for logical thinking. I am explaining this to you because many people mistakenly believe they can be completely rational and emotional at the same time. You cannot. It is biologically impossible to do so. As such belief systems that claim a person must have ‘balance’ in emotions and logic are fundamentally misguided. Emotional thinking should only be used for those tasks it is suited for, and logical thinking employed for all others.
This is only important to know because as you read this book you should not be in danger and therefore have no imperative need to think emotionally. Thus, you should set yourself into a neutral state of mind as you read this book, and try to suppress any sort of emotional thinking while reading it. Emotional thinking will prevent you from understanding the lessons of this book in the correct context.
In this book you will also find the techniques necessary to eradicate evil thoughts, even if you lack the empathy that comes naturally to other people. In this way Chivalric Humanism is useful to people who possess traits that may be regarded as antisocial personality disorders, as Chivalric Humanism provides logical reasons for why individuals should strive to do good. You will also find that this book has solutions to many problems people face every day. So I tell you that if you are able to tolerate any initial emotional discomfort you have when reading this book and give your mind a chance to absorb what I have written then your efforts will be rewarded.
It is important to always remember that I can only show you the way. You must be willing to complete the journey.
Above all, this book provides a moral framework that I believe is necessary for the unification of the human race to occur because it promotes the abandonment of all of the prejudices that prevent such unification from happening. These are all of the reasons why you should read my book in its entirety, from the first page until the last.
You should be aware that I was not born wise. Nor was my philosophy created in a vacuum. I did not wander up a mountain, meditate on life and realize some grand universal truth. Rather my perspective is shaped by my life experiences, which includes reading the literature left behind by many great thinkers across many different cultures throughout human history, and holding my own debates with peers while observing and participating in modern society.
As many individuals do, I started my life as a child who was taught the institutionalized superstitions of the culture I was born into, and over time peeled away at these delusions, sometimes exchanging them only for new delusions which themselves later needed to be cut out of me, until I became the person I am now who is able to recognize delusions and self-correct my thought processes.
Throughout my life I engaged in many intellectual debates on myriad topics. Some of the people I debated with assumed that I simply enjoyed arguing and that these arguments held no deeper purpose, yet these people did not understand me. As a seeker of knowledge I came to appreciate that through dialogue one can shave off ignorant ideas and zero in on truth. Several of my books, including this one, have significant chunks of them which were written as a result of such debates and these are things I would not have written down had they not been part of a dialogue. In the process of these debates I challenged the ideals that people held dearly, and in doing so sometimes lost the friendship I had with that individual who sought to reduce the cognitive dissonance these debates with me triggered in them by removing me from their life. This is tragic, but an outcome I came to understand is not unexpected when dealing with people who are unwilling to accept undesirable truths and who prefer the comfortable lies. I chose not to indulge in the comfortable lies with them and therefore they could not tolerate my presence because I reminded them of the undesirable truths they wanted to ignore. I made my own choices and came to know that to obtain knowledge requires effort and sometimes even sacrifice. This is often a sacrifice of pride to accept we are wrong but occasionally even the sacrifice of friendships in order to pursue and obtain truth, for others will often hinder your path in order to protect the comfortable lies they cling to.
It would be nice if the path of knowledge were not lonely. It is not that the path of knowledge need be lonely but it often has parts that are, especially when we tread into those unexplored territories that others will not follow us into. The simple truth of life is that, at the time that I write this book, most people in society primarily think emotionally and do not think logically, even though they are capable of it. It is popular to engage in emotional thinking and so the majority still do this, and they shun those who prioritize rational thinking because it exposes their mistakes.
I became wise through my own dedicated efforts and quest for knowledge in the service of the greater good. I believe that most any human is capable of attaining wisdom if they follow the method of analytical thinking expressed in this book. Using this method applied to your own experiences you can obtain a better life and obtain wisdom.
Now, there are many people who are greatly concerned with matters of justice and wish to combat that which is wrong. Yet in order to stand for truth and right one must first know how to find truth and determine right. Humans cannot rely upon instinct to solve all problems, because our instincts are not honed to naturally perceive the truth of the universe. We must instead rely on our collective wisdom to build technology and evaluate moral decisions; this knowledge is not inherent in us but rather passed to each other. It is something that must be taught and learned.
Measuring morality is different from measuring the laws of the universe like gravity, heat and volume but we can still use logic to create an accurate measure because morality is a human concept. Therefore, we can define its parameters and the challenge is only in how to best construct the system.
After reviewing numerous moral frameworks that are popular in my time, I came to the conclusion that the vast majority of moral frameworks have been created for the wrong reasons. They have often been designed with the intention to justify beliefs which the philosopher already possesses — we see this in Christian belief systems such as Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witness and Charismatic movements. We also see people form new frameworks with the intention to deceive and manipulate others — we see this in groups like Scientology, Mormonism, the People’s Temple and numerous kinds of guru cults. Lastly, we see moral frameworks which have been created based on the rationalizations of the mentally ill who have great difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality — we see this in groups such as Heaven’s Gate, Aum Shinrikyo and Family International.
While some readers may note many of these moral frameworks are new and some are even obscure, the fact remains these are examples of relatively new moral frameworks that gained popularity in the age of science. As such they serve as good examples to deconstruct to understand what kinds of frameworks have been able to gain traction in the modern age.
My approach to creating Chivalric Humanism is aimed in a desire to find the optimal moral framework for humanity which will lead to a universal prosperity in a global society. I imported ideas which are useful for this goal and discarded those which were useless. The framework is consistent and free of contradictions that undermine the trust in the rules which cause distress for people. That said, to learn this framework you must be willing to empty your cup. You must learn how to recognize the blind spots in human consciousness and employ systems to overcome these limitations.
Let us begin.
Carey Martell July 19th, 2021