What are my values?
The first thing I value is exploration, the mapping out of frontiers. We have a bit of a blindness I think to the sheer unknown-ness of it all. What appears to be a very well mapped out reality, down to picoseconds and up to light years, is really awash in processes, organisms, and structures that we are yet blind to. There is really a panoply of frontiers for us to strike out into should we look for them.
Similarly I highly value learning. Speaking of unknowns, most of what we know is unknown to me! While I have a particular interest around artificial intelligence and cognition, I am always excited to learn from someone who is excited and knowledgeable about a particular field.
That being said, I’m not entirely satisfied with pure research. I value building, creation as a result of this exploration and learning. The quantification of something is not enough for me. I want to use my hands, to feel the quality of what I build. There is too much emphasis on quantity in science and engineering in my mind. I of course don’t mean we should throw math into the trash, but rather than it is the quality of human life that ultimately matters, and that is something that defies a reduction to numbers.
So those are my values as far as how to spend time. When it comes to people, I value high character. To strive to prudence, justice, temperate, and courage – this is the mark of a good person in my mind. Do I always meet those standards myself? No, certainly not. Character in my mind is not about perfection, of always being on the right side, but rather of the continual practice of virtue.
What I very much do not value is judging people based on their ideological persuasion. Really I am fully uninterested in politics and the culture war altogether. It seems to me that when you look at the effectiveness of people’s time spent on these issues, the ratio of change in the world to time, these are easily the least useful ways you could be spending your time. Once you unhook from media, social or otherwise, you have a much better understanding of what you can reasonably accomplish.