Separate the Life Model from the Person


There is a tendency among those who strive for constant self-improvement to look down upon, or otherwise judge, those who have poor or antiquated life models.

By “life model” I mean a perspective on the world, such as:

  • Paganism

  • Atheism

  • Janism

  • Christianity

  • Mormonism

  • Catholicism

  • Islam

  • Secular Humanism

  • Nihilism

  • Libertarianism

  • Foon

As someone who biases towards Secular Humanism (if I had to pick from those above), I have in the past looked at people with “flawed” life views as highly broken.

“How could they possibly see the world that way”, I would ask. My natural (and I’m arguing now, incorrect) jump was to say,

While this can still be quite true if one’s model directly infringes upon their day to day faculties—specifically those around compassion and fairness and logic—I’ve found that it’s usually not the case for most people.

People compartmentalize their life views much more than people think.

Further, and to the direct point, any flaws taken on by these models should be considered separate from the person’s worth and output. Not completely separate of course, if they’re interfering greatly with their moral character, but as much as possible.


Simple: 99% of great people who have lived and been good parents and citizens and artists and people of Earth have lived under a flawed model.

  • Newton was a crazy person

  • Martin Luther King Jr. was a Christian

  • Francis Collins believes he saw the Trinity in a waterfall

  • Many of the great philosophers were Pagans

  • Many great leaders living today are Muslim

The natural bias here is that these people are wrong about those beliefs, which is my view, but you don’t have to accept that to understand my argument.

I’m simply saying that we should consider models as something that get handed to someone early in their lives, and that they usually never change.

And given this knowledge we should (mostly) judge them by what they do within those models rather than looking at the efficacy of the model itself.

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