Universal Ethics > Research > Ideals > Ideals XRef > Ideals Elaborated

Description of Ideals

Below are a list of basic ideals. In each case, there is a wish stated from the ideals survey ("In my ideal world..."). Following the wish is a more detailed description of what is involved in fulfilling the ideal.

These ideals are meant to be achievable by means that are possible now or in the foreseeable future. Thus, these ideals are part way between a pure fantasy (in which everyone and everything is perfect) and the real world. The ideals represent a better world where some challenges may still exist. Achieving these ideals would be wonderful, but it would take effort to achieve and ongoing maintenance to keep it that way.

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Sustainable Ecology

I wish to live in a world where the ecology is sustainable forever.

The ecology includes all natural resources, including plants, animals, microrganisms, minerals, water, and air.

The ecology is sustainable if people preserve it forever, without depleting resources that will be needed in the future or converting the resources to undesirable forms.

In this ideal world, no person shall suffer damage to their health or livelihood due to pollution.

Also, the natural life shall be preserved for ongoing generations of people to enjoy, without end. Plants, animals, and micro-organisms often can be useful to people in ways that are hard to predict. Once a species becomes extinct, there is currently no means to bring it back. Therefore, in a sustainable ecology, sufficient members of each species shall be preserved so that they can be repopulated.

Disaster Relief

In my ideal world, people will help me when I need it and I will help others.

Currently there are places where people are suffering, but due to circumstances they are not able to overcome this situation by themselves. In the ideal world, this would be solved.

In the event I were in that same situation, I would want someone to help me. Therefore, in the ideal world people will assume responsibilities to help others. This will move the situation of the world toward an ideal state in which suffering is eliminated.

Knowledge; truth

In my ideal world, correct information will be readily available to all those who can be trusted to use it for good rather than evil.

Typically people wish to be given the truth, although there are some exceptions. For example, a not quite perfect world would have imperfect people who might use knowledge to build weapons and hurt people. Also, people wish to keep some information confidential, such as bank account numbers or other such information which, if released, could be used to cause them harm or embarrassment.

If a person can be trusted to do good, however, then their ideal world would accommodate this wish: I wish to live in a world where others would always tell me the truth, so that I can gain knowledge from others with confidence and so that I will not be misled into doing something that brings harm to me. Others can trust that I will not misuse any information that they reveal to me.

Kindness

I wish that others would always be kind to me. I value other people and animals who are kind to me and I have their best interests at heart.

In the ideal world, suffering is minimized. Notice that this includes some animals as well as people. In the category of "animals who are kind to me" we find pets who love their masters.

In a fantasy world there would be no animals or diseases that prey on people, but in a more achievable "ideal" world, we could expect that some of these might still be present and that it would be necessary for people to defend against them. Those creatures might not consider this to be kind, but this ideal exempts them from the standard of kindness that would otherwise be applied to them. This exemption does not totally eliminate the obligation of people to avoid causing suffering, however. A person who is motivated to cause unnecessary suffering in animals is a danger to people too. In the ideal world, people are required to minimize suffering to animals even in situations where it is permitted to destroy the animal.

Healthy Body

In my ideal world, all people will live a healthy and long life, free of pain and suffering insofar as possible.

In this ideal world, all people can get medical assistance when they need it.

Also, in this ideal world people would not feel socially obligated to risk their health by fads such as smoking, consuming alcohol, or consuming harmful drugs.

Healthy Mind

I want to have a healthy mind, and to be surrounded by people who also choose to preserve their sanity.

A healthy mind is one that is motivated to make good decisions and that is capable to carry them out.

In an ideal world, every person does their best to have a healthy mind. If a person has an unhealthy mind, they become unreliable and may become dangerous to other people around them.

An unhealthy mind can be caused by over stimulation of some motivators, such as anger, hate, or lust, resulting in an unbalanced condition. Therefore, in the ideal world, people will not take delight in watching pictures or videos of others who are suffering, and nor will any person or animal be subjected to suffering or sexual abuse for the entertainment of spectators.

It is also detrimental to a person's mental ability to take mind-altering drugs for non-medical purposes or to consume toxins such as alcohol. Therefore, in the ideal world people would not feel socially obligated to impair their mental capability by doing those things. Instead, people would be nurtured so that they feel good about themselves as-is. People would only give up their ability to think for valid medical purposes during an agreed period of time, such as when a person is made unconscious for the duration of a surgery.

In summary, nobody shall be tricked, seduced, or manipulated into adopting behaviours that disable their ability to think clearly or that influence them to harm innocent people.

Friendship

I wish to have one or more good friends or companions. I wish to live in a world where each person can find a friend who shares their interests and values.

It may seem that the existing world offers this opportunity, but many people find our world to be very cold and lonely. This is especially true for a person entering a new school, a new city, or a new job, but it can also happen anytime. The modern world is one in which many people live isolated in their houses or apartments with only their television or computer to be their friend.

People in the ideal world are friendly in their interactions with others, and are pleased to offer friendship to others who are in need of it.

Also in the ideal world there shall be means available for people with similar values and interests to find each other. Nobody is to be left out; there will always be someone with similar values and interests to be a friend for each person.

Family

I wish to have a loving family, where the parents will love the children always and care for them as long as they need it, and where the parents are committed to stay together always in love and friendship. This ideal applies to my family that I was born into as well as a family that I may create as an adult.

Brining this ideal to pass requires that people take care when choosing a mate, to ensure that they have compatible values and similar interests, so that their friendship and love will be durable. In the ideal world, people will always take this care and be sufficiently certain of their mutual love so that they can make a public commitment to stay together prior to producing any children. Traditionally, this commitment is known as "marriage".

In the ideal world, families will also nurture their relationships, so that the home will be a place of love and respect for all members.

Sometimes the ideal doesn't exist for everyone despite intentions. Family members may die and a person may be left alone. A person may be tricked into entering a relationship where one partner doesn't love the other. A relationship can begin with love, but fall apart due to selfishness or other challenges. Many books have been written about addressing these problems. Sometimes a failing relationship can be rescued and other times it is better abandoned. But regardless, the ideal sought is still the same: that each person shall have or become part of a family where there is a love among the family members.

Defence; courage

I wish to live in a world where I am not at risk of being intimidated, hurt or killed by others. In the event that there exist any persons or animals that thrive by preying on people, in my ideal world the people will cooperate to prevent those individuals from harming others.

This ideal is pretty self evident so I have not added any further explanation.

Beauty and Music

In my ideal world, everyone shall have the opportunity to enjoy places of beauty, music, or quietness according to their preferences, while taking care not to interfere with the differing preferences of others.

This ideal is meant to apply to any of the arts.

Physical Maintenance and Fitness

In my ideal world, each person shall have the opportunity to do those things that keep their body well maintained and fit, such as to have sufficient exercise, rest, and sleep, to consume a nutritious diet, and to expend energy in a safe and enjoyable means as they wish.

This may seem like something that anybody can do, but in the real world people sometimes lack the opportunity or the capacity. People typically have a desire to enjoy recreations such as sports or dance, and the ideal society will create opportunities for people to do those things without arbitrary discrimination. Insofar as possible, this also needs to include people with disabilities (recognizing that the "Ideal" world of the near future might not be able to fully overcome all disabilities).

In the ideal world, societies also provide a means for children and adults to obtain the things they need to maintain themselves in good condition, such as good food and a comfortable place to sleep.

Industriousness

I wish to live in a world every person can fulfil their potential to achieve things of value to themselves and other people; no adult shall be denied the opportunity to work in an effective way to satisfy their needs for food, clothing, and a comfortable environment in which to work and rest.

This ideal is pretty self evident, and unfortunately the real world has some big gaps from this ideal. Some children and adults lack the opportunity to even get an education, while others do get an education but are denied from achieving their potential due to racial or ethnic discrimination. Others find that they are trained for jobs that have no vacancies, so they end up unemployed despite their best intentions.

Fairness

I wish to live in a world in which the rewards of each persons' efforts are distributed fairly, according to agreed upon standards, and nobody is arbitrarily denied benefits offered to others in their society.

The real world through most of human history has had problems with distribution of wealth. There tend to be anomalies in most past and current economic systems whereby people are not always rewarded according to commonly accepted standards--such as rewarding effort or accomplishments. Often the greatest rewards in business, entertainment, sports, and politics are distributed as a lottery instead of by any rational criteria (not to mention lotteries themselves, which are totally arbitrary!). This can result in situations where some people gain extreme wealth with no particular justification, while meanwhile others struggle, work hard, and live in poverty.

In the ideal world, this would be solved. Rewards would be distributed fairly, not influenced by luck or irrelevant differences such as ethnic background, nationality, race, or their location.

Fairness would also be applied to other parts of society, and in particular to the judicial system. Just as rewards must be distributed fairly, similarly penalties must be fair so that nobody is arbitrarily penalized, denied freedom or denied other opportunities.


These ideals are meant to be achievable within means that are known today. Achievement of the ideals would satisfy standard motivators that are found in people, as illustrated in the ideals-to-motivators cross reference chart. Another way to say that, is that achievement of the ideals produces happiness!

We advocate a win-win approach, whereby people cooperate to spread happiness across time and space. An effective way to accomplish that is to use an ideals-based methodology for decision making.