The Teachings

Ancient tools for managing evaluative diversity

The Teachings are a set of tools used to balance evaluative types in Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Science, and perhaps other institutions as well. The fact that all eight of these institutions employ this same set of tools raises the question of whether it is possible for a society to flourish long-term without the Teachings, without the humility they facilitate, and without the active evaluative diversity which humility permits.

Humility is itself a balance between relinquishing power and maintaining one’s identity. Being humble is different from being closeted (i.e. when one hides one’s identity), but it nonetheless resolves conflict. If humility is spread across all evaluative types, then none is oppressed and there is a truly rich collaboration. Thus, among social creatures, humility is extremely valuable. However, it may be difficult to obtain without the help of the Teachings.

Less institutional tools exist for managing evaluative diversity, but the Teachings are time-tested, so excluding them from one’s management strategy could be risky. As their name suggests, to implement the Teachings involves communicating them. That may require translating them into other languages, explaining them, motivating learners to attend to them (especially when the communication is a reminder), and/or creating learning capacities and environments.

The full set of Teachings includes:

To balance individualism: The Teaching of Altruism
To balance reason: The Teaching of Mysticism
To balance inherited norms: The Teaching of Social Change
To balance negotiation: Expecting the Unexpectable
To balance institutions: Rules Against Rule-Following
To balance relationship: Imitating Non-imitators
To balance gadflies: Deviating from Deviance