Innovators World, Warrior World

Evolution of Abrahamic religions Scripture

We know that Abrahamic religions basically mean Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Christianity has Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant major branches plus hybrids like Church of the East (that started as Nestorians), and Islam has Sunni and Shiite major branches. How do we find the moral foundation(s) of these religions? We start with the written scripture for their followers.
Abrahamic religions began with Judaism. Many Jews believe the first Jew was Abraham, a person born in the city of Ur in current day Iraq about 4,000 years ago, 1,000 years before the Hebrew language became a language. We donot know how the Jews created its calendar (the first day was the birthday of Adam or the first human created by God in the Abrahamic religions – this year (2014) is the year 5774 in the Jewish calendar). We also do not know when exactly Judaism started to teach its faith (be very careful reading the words and spellings in Judaism because they can be confusing with multiple meanings). Judaism, like other religions started as an oral (i.e. not a written) teaching, and the Hebrew word for teaching is torah. In other words, we donot know when oral torah began, other than it cannot be older than 4,000 years if Abraham was declared the first Jew, making all Abrahamic religions younger than India’s Hindu religion, for example. This assumes the first language of Judaism was not Hebrew.
2,400 years ago, there was apparently a “great synagogue” meeting to discuss what should be included in the scripture, presumably in Hebrew. The reference that this meeting took place appeared in the Mishnah component of Talmud which was first published 1,800 years ago. This could be the first written draft of the Jewish scripture.
Around the time the Second Temple was destroyed at 70ce, there was concern that Jewish culture may not survive. This fear facilitated a more rigorous effort to write down the Jewish tradition.
1,800 years ago, the first attempt to write the Jewish scripture was redacted by Rabbi Judah haNasi that became the Mishnah, written in Tannaitic Hebrew. This was the accepted core text component of the Talmud which should not change.
1,500 years ago, Talmud’s core text (i.e. Mishnah) added commentaries and notes that are called Gemara. There were two versions of the Gemara – one by Israeli scholars 350-400ce, and one by Babylonian scholars ~500ce. Unless specified otherwise, the Babylonian version of the Gemara is the accepted version of Gemara. These are the commentaries and notes in both Hebrew and Aramaic languages that form the second part of the Talmud. Some core text (i.e. Mishnah) is not supported by commentaries and notes (i.e. Gemara). In other words, Mishnah plus Gemara are the two components to the Talmud. However, the term Talmud could mean Gemara alone, or the Mishnah and Gemara as printed together. The oldest full (Israeli or Jerusalem) Talmud manuscript we know I’d dated 1289ce, known as the Leiden Talmud. The oldest full (Babylonian) Talmud manuscript we know is dated 1342ce, known as Munich Talmud (Cod.hebr. 95). The entire Talmud consists of 63 tractates in 6 orders. In standard print it is over 6,200 pages long.
1,000-1,200 years ago, a group of Jewish scholars led by Aaron ben Moses ben Asher (?-960ce) and Moshe ben Naphtali (890-940ce) created and published the 24 book Masoretic Text Hebrew Bible.
Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Christians all reference primarily the Masoretic Text Hebrew Bible with the acronym Tanakh (5 books of Moses or Pentateuch or Chumash or Torah (Ta in the acronym), 8 books of Prophets or Neviim (na in the acronym), plus 11 books of Writing or Ketuvim (kh in the acronym)). The first seven books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua and Judges) are in the same order for Tanakh, Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Christian Old Testaments. The other 17 books of Tanakh are all in the Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Old Testaments except in different order and sometimes split into two (e.g. Samual and Kings were split into 1Samual 2Samual, and 1Kings 2Kings, etc.). Catholics also used seven books (from Septuagint) which came from the Greek and not Hebrew origin. When Protestants reformed Christianity, they removed the 7 Books of Greek origin from Septuagint that the Catholics used in the Old Testament. Therefore there are 39 Old Testament books in the Protestant Bible.
800 years ago, Mosheh ben Maimon, aka Moses Maimonides (1135-1203 ce) created Halakha or Jewish Law when he lived in Egypt. This version is called Mishneh Torah (not to be confused with Mishnah, Torah, Talmud, Gemara, etc). Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Christians do not use this Halakha, even though Maimonides was known to have influenced Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). For example, Aquinas specifically referred to Maimonides in the book “Commentary on the Sentences.” Aquinas had an important role to incorporate Aristotle’s philosophies and ethics into Christianity.
In summary:
1) Judaism has the Talmud (Mishnah and Gemara), Masoretic Text Tanakh, and the Mishneh Torah (aka Halakha) written between 2,400 – 800 years ago.
2) Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians rely mostly on the 1,000 year old Masoretic Text Hebrew Bible for the Old Testament. The New Testament is a separate story of Greek and Latin versions. For example, the King James English Bible was based on a 12th century incomplete Greek version of the New Testament that includes at least one page of Latin translated back into Greek before the Greek was translated into English.
3) Muslims use a completely separate source for their scripture Koran (or Quran) which traces back to 610ce when Archangel Gabriel facilitated a dialogue between Allah (God) and Mohammad (570-632ce) in a dark cave. The first caliph Abu Bakr (573-634ce) directed Zayd ibn Thabit (610-660ce) who was Mohammad’s personal scribe to collect the verses and produced the first hand-written manuscript of the Quran. Under the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan (577-656ce), Abu Bakr prepared a standard copy of the Quran, both in scripta defective Arabic in simple lines and strokes, completely different than today’s Arabic script. The Arabic script as we know it today, the scripta plena, was not perfected until the middle of the 9th century. Another original version of the Quran was written based on chronological order by Ali ibn Abi Talib (~601-661ce) who was the cousin and son-in-law of Mohammad. The order of the Ali Quran differed from the Abu Quran, but Uthman’s standardized version written by Abu Bakr was accepted without objections. It is believed that Jesus is an accepted prophet in the Quran, but not a God.
It would be interesting to explore the original source of the Quran, especially in the context of how Jesus was recognized as a prophet, not son of God. It seems the two ways Mohammad would know Jesus as a prophet would have to be 1) told by Allah or 2) told directly or indirectly by Jesus followers.

Introduction, Overview, Uncategorized

The Life of a Moral Innovator

We began life without any knowledge, like a blank sheet of paper. Our first experience was probably getting spanked and felt pain which led us to discover breathing on our own. When we first opened our eyes and saw our parents we did not know who they were, until we felt comfortable in their arms, and liked the taste of milk when we were hungry. Some of us did not even get this far if we were abandoned, thus beginning each of our unique life journey.
We could not have survived on our own when we were infants. The love of our parents or guardians gave us opportunities to learn the world around us, and our impressions became our beliefs. We gain experiences as we grew up first in the family, then school and workplace where we met our own peers (friends) and bosses. Many of us went to churches and places of worship which helped us expand our beliefs. Between our new peers and impressions, we enhanced our beliefs throughout our lives.
Four Worlds

We need tools to live among the 7+ billion humans on earth. We learn language(s) to communicate, numbers and equations that one plus one must equal to two, and engage in activities like running in the playground which taught us we can fall and hurt ourselves if we ran too fast. These have been truths that verified our beliefs and became our knowledge. By definition, knowledge lags behind beliefs, because knowledge is the confirmation of beliefs. Therefore, knowledge cannot precede beliefs.
Our tools got more complicated as we grew. We usually have no choice but to learn how to interact with others with skills generically called soft and hard skills. Soft skills are more important in groups like your school or workplace. Hard skills are easier to measure and compare. Numbers evolve to algebra, geometry, calculus, differential equations, transforms, wave harmonics, etc. Applications range from sciences like oil recovery to finance like options pricing. While our life journey can require much strong soft skills vis-a-vis hard skills or vice versa, our life journey requires both soft and hard skills.
The groups that we are affiliated have their own dynamics. We know that societal moral standards were introduced 2,500 years ago across the world, but we still experienced massive holocausts such as 1) the Native Americans (by Christian conquerors) 500 years ago; and 2) the Jews (by Nazi) and Chinese and Koreans (by Japanese) during the Second World War. Even today, US companies as a group is decimating middle class Americans through “trickle-down economics” endorsed by the US government to widen the wealth gap, squeezing more Americans to give up their moral standards that correlate to more use of guns to massacre fellow Americans. Companies like GM knowingly did not fix problems in their cars when the executives were receiving enormous compensation packages; and Toyota paid $1.2 billion penalty for not correcting known defects in a timely basis. Religious institutions (Muslims and Christians) want all humans to become their followers which logically mean all humans will go to hell, ignoring the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.
Our knowledge cannot be based on 100% verification of our beliefs because we have assumptions. We all believe one plus one must equal to two. The nature of encryption, for example, can change all one plus one to equal three, and still communicate meaningful messages, as long as the recipient of the message also knows one plus one equals three. This is the power of the personal relationships between the sender and receiver, just like our personal relationships with God. As long as our personal relationships include the Golden Rule (Do unto others what you want others to do unto you) we have a chance to pursue a world of harmony, respecting individual beliefs. We do the right things to make the world a better place.


Moral Innovator Decisions

Life is a continuous learning process.  We strive for continuous improvements when making decisions, and we usually find from experience that we have blind spots.  Moral Innovators make decisions based on what we think is the right thing to do to make the world a better place.  While we can believe that we never make mistakes because we decide based on the best available information at the time we make decisions, the shortcoming of this view is the fact that often we make assumptions (based on our beliefs) when we make decisions.  It is these assumptions that can either be validated or wrong. 

All humans were born on earth without knowledge.  For about the first 20 years of life, we develop “beliefs” that hopefully we can reinforce/validate through our experiences.  When we go to schools, workplaces, places of worship, and other places to make friends, we gain experiences and learn different perspectives of the “truths” as we know them.  Since each one of us has difference experiences, we are exposed to different “truths.”  When we validate our beliefs with our experiences (or truths), that is when we gain knowledge.  It is important that we understand this (see the Venn Diagram below):

               Knowledge Venn Diagram        

KEY POINT:  We try our best to make decisions based on knowledge, but many decisions must be made with assumptions.  We buy name brands because we assume they have higher value (last longer, look prettier, comes with a warranty, etc).  We buy a home because we assume the house will appreciate and the interest expense and taxes can be deducted from income taxes, lowering the total cost of ownership.  We pay taxes and expect services from our government.  We donate time/money to religious institutions to reinforce our moral standards and faith.

Remember there is one Golden Rule endorsed by most religions, agnostics and atheists:

Do unto others what you want others to do unto you

Each of us may elect to have our own personal relationship with God, and that cannot be questioned.  However, religious institutions (Churches, Synagogues, Temples, Mosques, etc.) that help us define our relationships with our faith have additional motives to strengthen our beliefs sufficiently to receive our donations of our time or money to support their cause(s).  Moral Innovators do not blindly follow what we are told in religious institutions which often confuse beliefs with knowledge.

We know that Christianity did not start in English.  Professor Bart Ehrman found verses in English that were never in the best known original language of the bible.  So, if we read only English, and English has these verses that were not in the best known original version, we have been reading something that should not be in the bible.

The next question is:  How important are these missed verses and/or mis-translated verses?  We know that Mormons believe the Garden of Eden is in St. Louis, Missouri.  Professor Ehrman shares that King James Bible was translated from poorly copied manuscripts to provide more leniency to adultery for the Anglicans in Britain.  We know that Protestants excluded the Septuagint in the Old Testament compared to the Catholics.  We know that Syria, Ethiopia and other countries have different books for the bible.  We know that there is no archaeological evidence to support the stories in the Exodus which is a central theme of the bible.  We know that Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh predates the bible.  We know that a story similar to Noah’s flood is in the Epic of Gilgamesh.  We know that a place like the Garden of Eden is in the Epic of Gilgamesh.  We know that there were millions of humans on earth when both the Jews (through their calendar) and genealogy calculations (by Irish Archbishop Ussher (1581-1656)) based on the bible point to the first human Adam was on earth 6,000 years ago. We know the original Sumerian cuneiform writing was not Semitic, and Sargon I was the Semitic Akkadian Conqueror who changed the writing that evolved to eventually English.

If we focus only on beliefs instead of knowledge, the most obvious issue is the fact that both Muslims and Christians want to convert all humans on earth to their faith.  It is not possible to believe in both Islam and Christianity at the same time.  Since Muslims condemn non-Muslims to go to hell, and Christians condemn non-Christians to go to hell, it is logical to conclude that all humans would be condemned to go to hell, a lose-lose proposition. 

Comparing Abrahamic religions to others:  We know that Hindu (Sanskrit) writing is older than the first known (Hebrew) writing of the Bible.  We know that Chinese writing (i.e. not cave paintings) started close to 10,000 years ago with symbols (the most well-known is the Tai Chi symbol in South Korea’s flag today), and counting with strings and knots (that the South Americans called the Quipu about 5,000 years ago) before the Chinese started writing as we know their writing today.  The Chinese also wrote the first known controlled use of fire by hominids was 1.8 million years ago in Shanxi Province, China, in a November 1998 article of Acta Athropologica Sinica.

Current illustrations:  Our definition of human rights and our desire to apply this definition worldwide within our democratic government is an assumption.  We need facts from our data base to convert this assumption into common knowledge.  Hedrick Smith’s book “Who Stole the American Dream” claims we are losing

1)     our democracy as our government listens more and more to the wealthiest 1% of Americans who captured 93% of our gains in 2010, the first year of the current economic recovery , and

2)     the breadth of our wealth as our middle class has suffered through the widening wealth gap.

While the USA sponsored the Marshall Plan after World War II, we can no longer afford to spend trillions of dollars on ill-defined missions.  USA chose to support Yassar Arafat to represent the Palestinians, ignoring the democratic majority elected representatives from the more radical Hamas in certain regions.  USA supported Nationalist China, South Vietnam, Philippines’ Marcos and Iran’s Shah that did not have the majority support of the Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipinos and Iranians, respectively.  USA has very bad intelligence to pursue terrorists with ill-defined missions in Iraq and Afghanistan when Osama bin Laden lived for years in Pakistan and Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction.  USA lost credibility and wasted trillions of dollars without winning the support of the local people.  We should demand clear mandates from Syrians and Ukrainians to define the objectives of interest with majority support of the local people as we discuss involvement from USA and our allies. 

If we estimate we spent US$5 trillion in these ill-defined wars in today’s dollars, each of the 300 million Americans (including every infant) would get $17,000, and our deficit would be that much lower.  Using Hedrick Smith’s wealth allocation, the 1% of Americans who commanded 93% of gains in 2010 surely did not pay for 93% of the US$5 trillion to finance our wars.  That, in a nutshell, is not reflective of a democracy where the voter turnout is more typically 50% in recent elections.  The Tea Party, with a minority of the Republican Party, shut down our government in 2013.  This is Minority Tyranny.

Let us take a step back and expand our search for knowledge, instead of relying on beliefs and assumptions which will lead to conflicts instead of harmony.

Innovators World, Merchants World

Moral Innovators perspectives on China

In April 2011, at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel (just south of Tel Aviv), a team looked at a one million year old sediment from Stratum 10, Excavation 1, Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa.  When they found ashes, they believed they found the first evidence of controlled use of fire by hominids, claiming that the finding was older than the first controlled use of fire in an open-air site around 800,000 years ago, and much older than the first controlled use of fire inside caves 400,000 years ago.  This was published in the Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences in April 2012, and reached other publications like Nature, The Atlantic, and ABC News.

In 1960-61, or 50 years before the examination of the South African sediments, a team of Chinese excavated a 1.8 million year old Xihouducun (西侯度村) cave site in Shanxi Province, China.  They not only found fossils and bones, there was evidence that food was cooked in both open-air and in caves.  This was published in the November, 1998  issue of Acta Anthropologica Sinica (人类学学报). 

This illustrates lack of knowledge, as the South African archaeologists took action based on their beliefs.  Moral Innovators seek knowledge, which requires the confirmation of beliefs.  Without the proper knowledge, it is difficult for Moral Innovators to do the right things and make the world a better place.

China is our only continuous civilization that survived among the four ancient civilizations.  Except for a brief period of time 750 years ago (during the Yuan Dynasty) when revenge drove Chinese Mongolians to capture Aleppo and Damascus, China has not ever exhibited global ambitions.  This is illustrated when the Chinese Mongolians left a trail of marriages including an offspring who is the mother of the founder of India’s Moghul Empire Babur in the 16th century.  Even with the bigger and more impressive armada 100 years before Columbus sailed to the Caribbean, the Chinese elected to destroy her own armada before 1492.

Until the world industrialized 200 years ago, Chinese were successful exporters with superior products and frugal importers (e.g. the Silk Road).  Exploitation within China such as over-taxation and corruption led to revolutions and uprisings for the next dynasty and government.  The brutal Qin Dynasty united China 2,200 years ago and lasted only 15 years.  Most of the subsequent dynasties started with the support of the people until another cycle of over-taxation and corruption led to more revolutions and uprisings.  Moral standards introduced by many different schools of thought were consolidated into modified Confucian thought, with pockets of Taoism and moral standards from various religions like Buddhism.  Government supported monopolies (or today’s State Owned Enterprises) have existed for at least 2,000 years, and the present legal system has been in place also for 2,000 years.  There have been many overlapping laws which obfuscated jurisdictional authorities and gave civil servants the flexibility to choose the applicable law.  This facilitated corruption and bribery at all levels of government.

During the industrialization, Christians led by British East India Company (with monopoly power authorized by the British government) forced the import of opium into China against Chinese laws.  Even though overlapping Chinese laws often confused the jurisdictional authorities, it should be very clear that our moral obligations could never endorse the forced selling of opium in China against Chinese laws.  The forced selling of opium in China clearly violates the universal Golden Rule:  Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.  To illustrate:  We currently have laws against illicit drugs.  Would the US government want the forced selling of cocaine into the USA?  200 years ago, different Christian nations Germany, Russia, USA, France, Canada, Italy joined Britain and recruited the rogue nation of Japan to jointly pillage China.  Besides the countless unrecorded atrocities, there were at least eight unfair treaties that forced China to pay over 70,000 tons of silver as well as giving up land or privileges to foreign governments (these treaties ended in 1949).  The land and privileges given up by China includes giving the Christians exclusive rights to buy land and freedom to spread Christianity in China (this was in the Nanjing Treaty which ended the First Opium War and was translated by the son of the first USA Protestant Missionary Robert Morrison).  Japan colonized Taiwan for 50 years until 1945 (the end of World War II) in another treaty.  Issues still outstanding today include Japan’s unilateral decision to annex Ryukyu Islands as Okinawa (then leased the land to USA as a military base).  With the backing of the USA, Japan is adamant on holding onto China’s Diaoyu Islands by calling them Senkaku Islands.  These are examples of USA and Japan seemingly taking action on their beliefs without understanding the truths, leading to conflicts that can easily escalate.  Moral Innovators would assemble truths and facts to confirm the beliefs, so decisions can be made based on knowledge, not based on faith or beliefs.

Since 1978, China sacrificed the environment and offered low cost labor to earn US$4 trillion foreign currency reserves, again demonstrating the combination of profitable exports and frugal imports.  No one should impose policies upon China against Chinese laws.  Moral Innovators hope that China will be a full participant in this globalized world to increase knowledge, so we can do the right things together and make our world a better place.

Henotheist World

Moral Innovator perspectives on India and Henotheism

Moral Innovator

For over 5,000 years, India and China as we know them today have been characterized by foreigners in the English language. We need to view them from the perspective of the local people. The original Sanskrit Sindhu (meaning a large body of water – referring to what we know today as Indus River) was changed by Persians (today’s Iranians) to Hindu to describe “people east of the river” before the anglicized name India.  Hindu was describing a group of people with their way of life, not a religion.

Before our industrialization less than 200 years ago, India and China built advanced civilizations related to commerce and trade that accounted for 50% of the global GDP as recently as the year 1820.  The key difference between India and China today is India’s very young self-governance (less than 100 years). Whereas China grew as a unified nation beginning 2,200 years ago, India…

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Henotheist World

Moral Innovator perspectives on India and Henotheism

For over 5,000 years, India and China as we know them today have been characterized by foreigners in the English language. We need to view them from the perspective of the local people. The original Sanskrit Sindhu (meaning a large body of water – referring to what we know today as Indus River) was changed by Persians (today’s Iranians) to Hindu to describe “people east of the river” before the anglicized name India.  Hindu was describing a group of people with their way of life, not a religion.

Before our industrialization less than 200 years ago, India and China built advanced civilizations related to commerce and trade that accounted for 50% of the global GDP as recently as the year 1820.  The key difference between India and China today is India’s very young self-governance (less than 100 years). Whereas China grew as a unified nation beginning 2,200 years ago, India continued with regional warlords.  Some regions were colonized as early as 2,500 years ago by many foreigners like Persians, Greeks (or today’s Macedonia), Chinese Mongolians, and Christian Europeans.  Even though Buddha was born in Nepal where Buddhism is still the official religion today, Buddhism is typically associated with India, along with many other religions like Jainism and Sikhism.  When India gained its independence in 1947, it came at a cost of losing Pakistan and Bangladesh.  India would have been the most populous country on earth if its population includes Pakistan and Bangladesh.

India’s moral standards took shape after the Indus Valley civilization, during the Vedas (or knowledge) period between 2,500 and 4,000 years ago.  While the original oral communications cannot be dated, ancient Vedas written words (puranas or ancient times) are older than the written Torah in Judaism.  Vedas has six parts:  1) Shiksha (phonetics, phonology and morphophonology); 2) Kapla (ritual); 3) Vyakarana (grammar); 4) Nirukta (etymology); 5) Chandas (meter), and 6) Jyotisha (astronomy).  It was the rituals Kapla that united the Hindu community into a single civilization.  The Grihya Sutras (domestic ritual), Srauta (ritual of offerings with Verdic chants or Yajna) and Dharma Sutras (righteousness thread), along with Varnashrama Dharma (classes of men) have been Vedas traditions that defined common and criminal law, code of social behavior and relationship, property rights, as well as the social doctrine that prescribes the suitable activities or different stages of life.  Life is divided into four periods, brahmacharya (period of celibate education), grihastha (domestic life), vanaprastha (retirement) and tapasya (ascetic search for divine life).

Ramayana (Rama’s Journey on human values) and Mahabhrata (on the 18 day Kurukshetra War possibly 8,000 years ago) were two epic stories introduced during the late Vedas period 2,500 years ago,  when chaturvarnya (doctrine of the four colors) emerged as a conscious organization of the Hindu society that is now known as the caste system.  The four castes are:  1) Brahmin (to learn and guide); 2) Kshatriya (to fight and protect); 3) Vaisya (to trade); and 4) Sudra (to be common people).  In addition to the four colors, there was a caste of the non-colored called Avarnas or Panchamas (the non-colored), representing a large mass of people who were denied social rights and were held as “unclean.”

Moral Innovators seek knowledge on how best to work with our world.  India is undergoing many changes at this time, including the removal of the caste system, the introduction of democracy as a form of government, and presenting India as a self-governed nation.  The potential is incredible, as illustrated in its ability to demonstrate nuclear capabilities within a short time of China’s demonstration of nuclear capabilities.  India has successfully creolized monotheistic and polytheistic religions living together in a henotheistic world.  The challenge for Moral Innovators is to keep up with the ongoing changes.  Until Indians know how best to work with the Indian government and faiths, the current diaspora will likely continue where Indians continue to shine with their knowledge outside India.


Who are Moral Innovators?

Moral Innovators thrive with knowledge of who we are in the world.  We do the right things to improve our world.

Knowledge, in this context, starts with faith or a belief, but must be confirmed with truths before we gain knowledge.  This does not mean faith is bad.  In fact, faith always precedes knowledge and usually helps us establish moral boundaries.  In a religious context, your faith is your personal relationship with God which cannot be questioned.  Care must be taken in your faith only when there are institutions of faith that interpret faith for you.  That’s when we need truths before we gain knowledge.  In Christianity, a clear example is the Jewish Exodus.  The Bible that we read today says there were at least hundreds of thousands of humans crossing the desert.  However, there has not been archaeological evidence to support this exodus.  Until we find the truths, we can either take the Bible as a fictional storybook or be mindful of this lack of evidence until the truth emerges.  All major religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc.) started with oral faith through stories that eventually were documented by believers.  The earliest writing we know today includes Sumerian clay cuneiforms which may have survived by being the sources of stories in Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). In China, written history started with symbols and knots on strings for counting well before the written language emerged.  The Chinese documents have also been destroyed along the way.  In all, we do not have credible written history longer than about 3,000 years.

We have to work hard to gain knowledge because the process requires experience.  None of us has knowledge at birth.  We started with curiosity which accumulates faiths or beliefs, before our experiences give us truths that turn our faiths/beliefs into knowledge.  The harder we work, the more likely that we may gain more knowledge (but it is not a guarantee).  For the very poor and the very rich humans, working hard has very different meanings.  Most very poor humans rely on faiths/beliefs, while most of the very rich (especially the children) have distorted impressions of hard work.  There are rare exceptions like Buddha who started off as a prince but elected to live an ascetic life for most of his life.  All major religions started with more very poor believers than the very rich because hope is a motivator to hard work, and religions give us hope.

We improve the world by working hard and know the details of our areas of interests.  No human being can make improvements without knowledge.  However, the improvements can mean improving yourselves, without improve the lives of others.  Dominican Friar Bartolome de las Casas (1484-1566) has been recognized as a pioneer of Universal Human Rights after he himself participated in the abuse of the Native Americans under the Spanish Encomienda laws.  His proposal (which he rescinded prior to his death) was to transport slaves from Africa to the Americas.  Stanford University Emeritus Professor Sylvia Wynter saw las Casas as the reason a young 18-year-old Charles V of Spain granted permission to bring the first 4,000 African slaves to Jamaica in 1518.

That is where the universal golden rule comes in: 

Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.

Once we succeed following this golden rule, we are Moral Innovators.