Excerpt from Most Good, Least Harm: A Simple Principles for a Better World and a Meaningful Life

By Zoe Weil

The Most Good, Least Harm (MOGO) Principle in Practice

I am a humane educator. Humane education examines the challenges facing our planet—from human oppression, to environmental degradation, to animal cruelty, to escalating materialism—and invites people to live intentional, examined, and meaningful lives that solve the problems we face. Humane education includes four elements:

  1. Providing accurate information about the issues of our time so that people have the information they need to confront challenges
  2. Fostering the 3 Cs: Curiosity, Creativity, and Critical thinking, so that people have the skills to meet challenges
  3. Instilling the 3 Rs: Reverence, Respect, and Responsibility, so that people have the motivation to face challenges
  4. Offering positive choices and tools for problem solving, so that people are empowered to make healthy decisions for themselves and the world, and solve challenges

These are the elements I use as a humane educator, and I have incorporated them into this book so that you, too, will have the knowledge, tools, and desire to make MOGO choices. But as the reader, you will first need an element for yourself, the fifth element: to actively and consciously cultivate what I call the 3 Is: Inquiry, Introspection, and Integrity.


In order to align your life choices with your values, you will need to inquire about the effects of your actions (and inactions) on yourself and others. Although we are always stumbling upon knowledge that shifts our choices and life direction, bringing conscious inquiry to life means that we continually ask questions that lead us to the information we need to make thoughtful decisions. Asking questions is liberating because we develop greater understanding and discover more choices with our new knowledge.


As you ask questions and gather information, if you are to make meaningful changes, you will need to introspect—to look inward and see where the confluence of new knowledge and your life choices lies. It is likely you will periodically feel some conflict between your habits, desires, and the truth of what you have learned, but this is why a commitment to introspection is so important. When we dive below our surface desires and habits, we are able to discover our deepest visions, dreams, and commitments, which can also be quite liberating.


As you open your heart and mind to inquiry, as you acquire the information you need to make informed and conscious decisions, and as you introspect, you are then called upon to act in accordance with your new knowledge and your deepest values. This is integrity, and it brings with it inner peace.

Together, these 3 Is help you to bring your dreams and hopes for a healthier and more joyful life—and a better world—to fruition. They make MOGO living possible by informing your everyday decisions, as well as your career, relationships, political involvement, volunteer work, recreation, and all of the ways in which you participate in creating positive change.

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