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ObCom Ontology

The philosophy upon which the Objectivist Commonwealth is based.

ObComOnt
Image from Bernd Helfert

Introduction

One of the forerunners of ObComOnt was developed circa 0 AT, in much the same way that Euclid's axiom-based mathematics are a primitive forerunner of the modern discipline. However, compared to ObComOnt, the early system initally lacked a number of important aspects, such as a language based on the ontology, and development of the various layers not just by description but by formal symbolic logic; and it was characterized by a memetic campaign that has had, at best, mixed results. ObComOnt has a number of features that the ObCommers consider indicative of its logical superiority to other ontologies, such as using a minimal number of axioms... though they also tend to ignore what others claim are flaws.

The language based on this ontology is a sort of symbolic system or 'mathematics of objectivism', which lets them rapidly communicate even complex concepts within their belief set in a very logical and defined manner. According to adherents, it is impossible for a modosophont, and difficult for any biont, to understand this ontology sufficiently to be able to avoid infringing upon the rights of others; only transapients of S1 or higher can do so.

Godel's Incompleteness Theorem proves that any well-formulated system can be complete, or consistent, but not both. ObComOnt is consistent, and, though not "complete" in a mathematical sense, is considered by its adherents to be complete enough to cover any conceivable situation.

Details

Based on the "One Axiom", from which are derived the First Three Corollaries, from which are derived a basic metaphysics, from which is derived an epistemology, from which is derived an ethical system, from which can be derived a political system and an aesthetic system.

Roughly translated, the One Axiom is "Applying reason to the evidence of one's senses can lead to useful conclusions", and the First Three Corollaries are that the universe exists objectively, that minds exist, and that paradoxes don't exist.

The ethics of ObComOnt are goal-oriented, with each sub-aspect of the system helping to achieve the goal of "sentient life". A typical justification for this goal is that nearly any other goal which a sophont wishes to achieve depends on that sophont surviving long enough to try to achieve it; and, more generally, for sentient life to continue to exist so that sophonts continue to exist to have any goals at all.

In order to survive, sophonts rely not on claws, or camouflage, or armour, or any particular physical attribute; but on their minds. However, thinking alone is insufficient; a sophont must be able to apply the results of their thoughts, free from the interference of others. Specific sorts of such freedoms-from-interference have been noted, and are called "rights". The most fundamental such right is to be able to exercise control over one's own body, generally interpreted as meaning having ownership over oneself, and called the "right to life". Some of the extensions or corollaries of that first right are freedom of action, the right to own things other than one's own body, to set one's own values, to free thought and free speech, and the right to defend one's rights should they be infringed.

This ontology allows for a variety of political systems, depending upon the natures of the members of that polity. However, it does not allow for any political system - politics are viewed as a subset of ethics, and thus must contribute to the ontology's central ethical goal, and, in general, whichever system maximizes the "rights" described by ObComOnt is considered to be the system which maximizes the chances of achieving the ethical goal.

For hu-dominated Objectivist Commonwealth polities, "citizenship" (or other-cultural equivalent) usually includes an explicit contract between individual and government (as opposed to a one-sided "oath"), in which one of the duties the new citizen agrees to includes becoming a member of the "Unorganized Militia", subject to being called to duty in certain specified circumstances. (Most such polities also include an "Organized Militia", who receive certain benefits, such as access to OM armories, in exchange for undergoing occasional training; and "Self-Defense Forces", full-time dedicated professional soldiers and warriors.)

Applying the ontology in a rigorous way allows for a formal definition of what rights best serve the goal of "one's life", and, taking into account various details about the nature of various sorts of intelligences, what laws would best inform the citizens about what actions would be considered violations of others' rights. The result is roughly similar in topic area to the Sephirotics' "Sentient Rights Protocols", and in many areas nearly identical, but as they are based on different axioms, the ObComOnt Rights Protocols diverge from the SRP in a number of areas... and lead to results which some outsiders find puzzling, some find fascinating, and others find horrifying.

According to ObComOnt, art is anything that is made to communicate an idea besides "just saying it". Good art is that which communicates true ideas (ie, compatible with the ObCom ontology), and does so effectively; bad art either communicates false ideas, or communicates good ideas poorly.

Divergences

Information has filtered down from higher toposophics to modosophonts that, at about the S5 or S6 level, ObComOnt reaches a limit, and requires an additional axiom to cover new issues raised at that level. However, it is also reported that there is insufficient evidence to definitively choose between four such axioms, and there exist some transapients at that level which favour each such axiom. While the actual problem cannot be described to modosophonts, nor what the differences are between the solutions, the four different camps are described, by convention, as the Blues, Whites, Reds, and Greens. That portion of their activities understandable by modosophonts seems to indicate the differences in the behaviour of the different camps is more a matter of degree and emphasis, then anything qualitative - their behaviour still remains within the bounds of the overall ontology.

Modosophonts have exaggerated the subtle distinctions in behaviour by the high-level transapients, and self-identify with the various camps. Greens emphasize increasing the power of their polity through increasing industrial and commercial power; Reds emphasize military might; Blues with memetic influence; and Whites with defending the rights of all sapients. Alliances between the factions can influence foreign policy, such as Whites and Reds combining to intervene militarily to defend the interests of a subjugated people, or Blues and Greens creating a memetic campaign to convert a valuable star system to ObComOnt.

 
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Development Notes
Text by Daniel Eliot Boese

Initially published on 17 January 2011.

 
 
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