Joy, Growth and Choice

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Joy, Growth and Choice is a short chapter (pages 111-114) of the book A Cosmist Manifesto by Ben Goertzel. It is named after the three primary values that Cosmism advocates, according to Goertzel.

"By Cosmism I mean: a practical philosophy focused on enthusiastically and thoroughly exploring, understanding and enjoying the cosmos, in its inner, outer and social aspects - Cosmism advocates:

  • pursuing joy, growth and freedom for oneself and all beings
  • ongoingly, actively seeking to better understand the universe and its multiple aspects, from a variety of perspectives
  • taking nothing is axiomatic and accepting all ideas, beliefs and habits as open to revision based on thought, dialogue and experience"[1]


"Joy I have analyzed as the feeling of increasing unity, togetherness, order. We want more and more new patterns to be created and we want them to get bound together into unities and wholes, to have the joy of coming together. We want there to be minds that can experience this joy ̶ the joy of coming together with their environments and each other."


"Growth is perhaps the simplest: the creation of new patterns, out of old ones. I don't want stasis. Nor degeneration. Some old patterns may need to cede to the new, but overall there should be an ongoing flowering of more and more new patterns. Note that growth is not just the constant appearance of new patterns ̶ it implies some continuity, in which old patterns are expanded and improved, yielding new ones that go beyond them."


"Choice is the most complicated of the three values I've identified ̶ but it's also the only one that implies the existence of integral, individual minds in anything like the sense that humans have them. You could have growth and joy in a Cosmos without individuals ̶ but choice requires individual minds. Valuing choice means valuing individuals that decide. These individuals don't need to have illusions of all-powerful, unpredictable free will ̶ they may well be more realistic about understanding their choices as being associations between their internal dynamics and broader entropy reducing dynamics in their region of the Cosmos. But still they have their own intentionality.

Compassion, in this view, comes down to valuing joy, growth and choice in a way that goes beyond the boundaries of one's individual mind, body or self.

A Cosmos of individuals, choosing their actions and experiencing joy, growing in a joyful growing Cosmos ̶ this is close to being the crux of what Cosmism values. Living life in a positive way: living life in a way that promotes and embodies universal joy, growth and choice.”

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