On solving the world's problems


I think it’s cool to discuss worldviews, even though I think the nature of the Internet makes it a bit of a minefield. Things have a tendency to be taken out of context and blasted through the social media no-man’s land.

Oh well, taking that risk and diving in…

“The only hope is God” – what does this mean, concretely? Hypothetically, what steps could Snowdrift.coop undertake to align better with this worldview?

Later you said, “If humans are bad by nature, and the only hope is God, then good is bringing them in contact with God.”

Same questions apply. Hypothetically, what concrete steps could Snowdrift take to align with the worldview that contact with God is good?

I am personally reluctant to share my worldviews because they tend to adapt over time. One worldview that will remain consistent as long as I am contributing to Snowdrift, however, is that creating a novel mechanism for supporting public goods is a worthwhile effort. That may sound like a tautology, but not quite. By that statement, one can affirm that I am doing this work of my own free will (or its nearest approximation), and I’m doing it for considered reasons. I do hope that gives some people inspiration.


Indeed. This is one of the reasons that we have intentionally not made the public[1] sections of this forum open to discussing any topic; the category where the broadest topics are allowed is this one, #general-discussion. Its scope is:

This thread walks the line for what’s on-topic. In the future it may be a useful reference for deciding whether a given post is off-topic. I haven’t stepped in to remind people of this because the conversation, while briefly off-topic, has repeatedly come back around to Snowdrift.coop-related stuff.

  1. There is a private section of the forum, #restricted:lodge, where the off-topic rules are more relaxed (currently: anything goes). It’s only accessible to “regulars”, aka people who have trust level 3 (tl;dr, active on the forum for a while).
    This is a default feature of Discourse, and I think it’s a good idea, to reduce the “taken out of context and blasted across social media”, since all participants are more invested in the community already.
    That said, the requirements are tuned to a forum of larger size than ours, so it takes a while for someone to interact with enough posts here in order to reach trust level 3. ↩︎


Right well, I didn’t say you did - but it was definitely intentional as effectively a reductio ad absurdum argument, because if you unilaterally can’t support socially-advantageous projects that aren’t religious, the Snowdrift community would be wasting it’s time in trying to convince you to participate, regardless of how great Snowdrift is.

I figured you’d have a position that involves redefining “good” because I grew up in a religious background too. Alas, it’s all up to you, then, on how literally you interpret “brings us closer to God”. On one extreme, only churches and charities could qualify. On the other, anything that could bring joy to anyone you love (so, everything) could qualify as “bringing you closer to God”. So it’s up to you how strict you want to be about your religion’s dogma. But do note, that without interpreting it too literally, “brings us closer to God” ends up describing nearly the same set of endeavors as my more general “good” definition above, so the distinction may be just a distraction.

It already does. Let’s say that one is Christian. Christian music typically involves worship and thus brings people “closer” to the Judeochristian God, yet Christian music is often very “indie” and is subject to all of the same economical problems as the rest of the music and art we’ll support. Thus, Snowdrift will help Christian music artists, which will “bring people closer to God” like photm wants.

So far I have trust level “member”. How do I know what “3” is?

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These are very good questions. At the same time, they are very hard to answer, or they have no answers. This is because in spiritual matters, funding/finances is not where the battle takes place – it’s rather about devoted hearts.

You could argue that some FLO materials could “produce” devoted hearts in a way, e.g. high-quality theological training or worship songs or sth like that.[1] However, the creation of these materials is a spiritual matter as well – it’s not about finances, but theologians who are wholly devoted to the truth.

Sure, there is a lack of finances here and there. But there’s also spiritual issues in the same places, and those issues are where the outcome at the place is decided.

  1. I would wonder whether devoted hearts can really be produced in this way, but ignoring this for a minute... ↩︎

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On the broad topic here, I was just listening to something discussing the range of attitudes about global problems.

Some people have egalitarian philosophies and care about working together. There’s also a radical-individualist philosophy (especially common in the United States) which tends to be wary of all sorts of global collective problems. So, a pandemic for example. To deal with a pandemic, we have a massive coordination problem. We cannot address it through individuals just acting in their own selfish interest (even when some might accept the science and thus do a lot of individual prepping and isolation, which is at least better than denying the medical science).

So, on the initial question about assuming human goodness: I think such assumptions are similar to assuming that everyone can act selfishly and somehow the aggregate individual actions will magically work out for the greater good. I reject such assumptions.

So, Snowdrift.coop has an interesting place in all this. We are focusing on collective action in contrast to the radical-individualists. And yet because our approach is purely voluntary (not government mandated taxes or legal policies), we have generally gotten support from radical-individualists. They don’t see in us a threat to their worldview. So, we’ve achieved a sort of coalition situation. We are compatible with a wide range of worldviews. And I’m okay with that. I don’t need to agree with everyone involved as long as I feel hopeful enough that our work is leading in a good direction for the world. And I find it interesting that we’ve found a place for positive interactions of people with different worldviews.