Here's a thought experiment I offer to some people who seem to be stuck intellectually: can anything be more important than the wisdom to correctly rank the importance/value of things? How would you know?
You have to rely on this ability to even try correctly ranking something else as being of higher importance.
I think this ability must surely be one of most important things. And it's a subset of epistemology.
But discovering what is most important is only a means to an end. What end is that? Achieving whatever is most important. Science hasn't yet discovered what is most important to humans (though it theoretically could). So we have to do our best given the facts available.
Here's my work-in-progress list of important things for humanists/progressives to pursue improving:
Make People More Reasonable:
- Without correct discerning and thinking, we’ll make more errors when trying to figure out what other things are most important, and how to achieve them.
- What kinds of things do people need to learn?
- How to think for themselves, and avoid errors of thought
- Important/useful things, and how we know those things
- Especially about the next important items on my list: Economic stuff (what policies should they vote for? How to use their own money to make money, etc.), and Social Stuff (like ethics, boundaries, social skills).
- Why they should be progressive, rather than regressive or stagnant. What that means, why they should care, etc.
I think what is "next" most important is something larger that actually includes the ability to reason about what is most important. So it sort of is the most important thing. And that is: maximizing your satisfaction about yourself and the world. Rationality is a means to those ends, and something to feel good about yourself for having and striving to attain more of.
Everything else that follows is also a means to that end:
- Learning to feel good about the good in our lives. Otherwise it (whether a little or a lot) is wasted.
- Civilization/community. Starting from basic, to ensuring Human rights, all the way to better attaining and securing the all needs and then desires of each person. And what follows is really a subset of this.
- Make lives more free from economic worries, bad jobs, etc.
- Money can usually be used to get most other things you need
- Social Needs, Can basically take care of the rest of your needs