Several years ago I noticed something I didn’t like. I had been glued to the national news for months and it seemed like every day something new and horrible happened. The more aggregious the story, the more I felt compelled to comment on social media about it. That is what I didn’t like.

I was typically able to resist the temptation to post, but I resented feeling like I needed to. Rationally, I knew I had nothing unique to add. At best I would be amplifying a story that upset me enough to feel the need to post. At worst, I would be virtue signaling. Posting only to make sure everyone knew where I stood on the subject.

Slowly, and then suddenly, I realized I was being manipulated. This is something I have zero tolerance for so I had to make a change. I started by removing the Facebook app from my phone and stopped using it entirely. I tuned my Instagram to focus narrowly on architecture and my Twitter to tech and investing.

These changes made a huge difference. As a result, in the past few years I‘ve noticed less anxiety and more opportunity for clear thinking. I’ve been reading books at a faster pace than ever before and making more time to for things like meditation, exercise, art, and hobbies.

There is still a part of me that is self-conscious about others, particularly close friends and family, assuming that my social media silence means I either don’t care or I hold an unpopular opinion about the issue du jour. The reality is I care deeply about many things and my opinions are constantly evolving.

Rather than try to keep up on social media, a losing battle for me, I’ve decided to write down my core values here. These are long held beliefs that serve as guiding principles for me and remain consistent year after year while I learn, grow, and change as a person.

  • Freedom

    To me, freedom means autonomy. I believe all people should be allowed to choose what is best for themselves. I believe people should be free to express their views in public without fear of violence in response. I believe burning books and silencing dissent is wrong.
  • Truth

    To me, truth is not just about honesty and fair dealing. It is the fabric of reality. It is the constant updating of priors in response to new information. It is evolution. I believe strongly in the scientific method and learning through experimentation by testing falsifiable hypotheses. For me, truth answers the question: Why?
  • Privacy

    To me, privacy is about the freedom to choose how you engage with the world. I believe all people are entitled to privacy and should be able to choose when, with whom, and for what purpose they share personal information.
  • Compassion

    To me, having compassion is about respect for life. How we engage with one another defines the world we live in. I believe all people, animals, and plants deserve respect and should be treated with compassion.
  • Balance

    To me, balance is at the center of the human experience. Death gives meaning to life. Suffering gives meaning to joy. Failure gives meaning to success. Heartbreak gives meaning to love. Good and bad are necessary parts of the whole. I believe a full life, well lived, has plenty of both.