Our Mission


Third Factor is a magazine, podcast, and community supporting those seeking the higher path in our lives and our world.

We offer content and conversation for incorrigible questioners who feel maladjusted to their environments, and who want to figure out whether that maladjustment is positive or negative. With deep appreciation for the Life of the Mind, we encourage good-faith conversation in pursuit of what is Good and True. We believe this is necessary in a time of widespread disintegration, as we detail in our purpose.

Once our members are reasonably confident that their maladjustment is positive, we encourage those people to figure out how to take meaningful action—to Do the Thing, something constructive that harnesses and channels their intellects, imaginations, and emotions to do what they seek to do in the world.

Now, this point is important: we don’t claim to have the answers.  We can’t tell you which way is up.  What we do offer is a space for the conversation. It’s on the Internet because that’s where so many go to exchange ideas.  We aspire to offer a better form of conversation than you’ll find on the usual social media sites.

Our People

This site is for you if you’re seeking the higher path. We’ve noticed, though, that this tends to be a certain type of person.

They have active intellects, deep emotions, and vibrant imaginations.  They are often energetic or even intense.  That’s the fuel that’s propelling them up the mountain, if only they can get their rockets pointed in the right direction!

They often come out of spaces that seemed like paths up the mountain—careers, creative circles, churches, activist organizations, or other online spaces—after finding that the dynamics there were not what they had hoped.  They weren’t constructive.

However, apart from our core uniting values (which are listed below), they have divergent viewpoints, the better to have conversations about which path is higher. They also have reached a certain threshold of emotional maturity—and expect it of others here.  Emotional dysregulation, after all, tends toward the lower path.

Our Method

We’re figuring this out as we go, but we’ve been at this a few years now, and we’ve got a model worked out with three planks: content, conversation, and purposeful connection.

Content: The foundation of this project remains our articles—and, soon, our podcast, for those of you who prefer that medium.

Conversation: We’ve found, however, that just putting words out there wasn’t enough to meet our audience’s needs.  The real magic often happens in the conversations we have about them.  Our group of volunteer leaders have cultivated a community where fellow questioners, climbers, and seekers of Truth can come together, compare notes, and give each other a variety of forms of support.

We’re committed to listening to all subjective experiences and arguments for objective truth with curiosity.  We encourage people to both consider intellectual counterpoints and to have curiosity about other people.  This is as far as we go in a formal, institutional guide to what the “higher path” looks like.  Other than that, though our founder has her own opinions, Third Factor supports conversation in pursuit of the higher over any specific takes on what the higher may be.

Purposeful Connection: Because your path up the mountain will not be the same as other climbers’, we offer small groups with different emphases that focus our conversation on specific shared purposes.  We’ve seen how this leads to more meaningful connection and more rewarding engagement for each participant.  While each group has its own culture and practice, they tend to involve both text- and video-based interaction, to help the kindred spirits among our wide umbrella get to really know each other.

All fall under our mission, and many members belong to multiple groups.  To see the groups currently on offer, check out the profiles linked under “Community” in the menu above.

Our Values

1. Magnanimity, as we are all doing our best, even as we all get lost from time to time

2. Critical thinking and freedom of inquiry, in support of the pursuit of the Good, the True, and the Just

3. Humility, especially of the intellectual sort (which is really embedded in the above, but is nevertheless worth making explicit)

4. Courage, to support the above when it’s unpopular

5. Excellence, because it’s fallen out of fashion of late, and we’ve recognized the detriment. We aspire to excel at what we do, and we always consider feedback and aim to improve

6. Autonomy, because groupthink gets in the way of the above and because we are all, ultimately, responsible for our beliefs and choices

7. Community, because loneliness is epidemic and if we could do this on our own, we wouldn’t need this site