In an effort to regain some much needed perspective in my outlook today, I went through and started jotting down some things that mean a lot to me. As it turned out, it started to look like a good new 10 commandments. A while back I posted Richard Dawkins’ list of new 10 commandments, and while that list is great, I wanted to come up with something a little more personal to me. So, without without further adieu, here’s what I came up with today:
My NEW 10 commandments:
1) Hate not, lest you be hated in return. (Sounds rather biblical don’t you think?) – Through personal experience, I’ve noticed that people, who are bigoted and hateful, really seem to be very miserable in their own lives. I realize that’s a broad-brushed generalization, but it’s truly based on my own personal first-hand observations. I believe if those folks would lose their hatred, their own lives and perspectives would take a turn for the positive.
2) Have unending compassion, tolerance, and forgiveness towards your fellow man – don’t go through life holding grudges. Life is too short to not be able to forgive and forget. Be tolerant of the differences between people of different walks of life. I don’t want them trying to change me, so why should I go out of my way to try to change them. Have tolerance and understand towards ALL people. People of differing race, religion, sexual orientation, etc are all human beings and deserving of the same basic human rights as everyone else. PERIOD!
3) Give! – Be charitable as much as humanly possible. We, in the west (and a lot of the industrialized world) have SO much. There’s always time, money, services, etc that we could spare to help our fellow human beings in need.
4) Value Education and pursue it daily – never stop learning. If not only for yourself, but for the betterment of human society as a whole. Our species will move forward and solve the world’s problems only if our collective understanding and knowledge increases. Learning is a value to everyone, not just the individual.
5) Live in the moment – One of the things that I’ve learned to appreciate about Eastern Philosophy (Buddhism) is their teaching of living in the present moment. Let the past be the past. Don’t worry too much about the future. Just live every moment and be fully aware in that moment. It’s a huge challenge, but I’ve found a lot of relief and beginnings of some inner peace by trying to apply some of this to my life.
6) Never intentionally cause harm to another living creature. – This is a hard one. I’ve found over the last few years incredible value in all living creatures. For example…I am NOT a fan of spiders, and in years gone by I wouldn’t think twice about smashing them to oblivion when one crossed my path. Now, I will actually go out of my way to capture and release them somewhere else instead of killing them. That’s just one small example. I do, though, have some hypocritical thinking when it comes to matters of diet. I do believe that we (humans) are omnivores. We have evolved on a diet of meat and plant life. I sometimes do, though, feel guilty about eating meat now, but I haven’t been able to work out a way around that without becoming a vegetarian, which isn’t exactly appealing to me. Obviously, a work in progress here.
7) Question Everything – this one was on the Dawkins list, but I think it’s definitely one that doesn’t need to be changed, omitted, or otherwise. Always find your own answers. Never take anything for the truth based on authority. In the immortal words of Thomas Jefferson: Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear. (Wait! Did I just take that based on authority?!??!)
8 ) Love those closest to you unconditionally – Family and close friends are the most important thing there is to me. They are the people that know me best, and yet still accept me and love me with all of my shortcomings. At the end of the day, all of the meaningless squabbles are just that…meaningless. Those closest to us are all that matter.
9) Waste Not! – On our tiny, spinning ‘Pale Blue Dot’, resources are not limitless. With a population of over 6 billion, we all need to do our part to cut back and conserve where possible.
10) Live life as if there is no tomorrow! – And there might just BE no tomorrow. We are incredibly fortunate to be alive. Consider the countless billions of stars and planets in the universe, and to the best of our knowledge at this point, WE are the only self-conscious, intelligent life. What an amazing thing. It’s also the ONLY life we get. In my opinion we should live life to the fullest EVERY day. Live, Laugh, Love as my wife’s tattoo says. A better mantra I can’t imagine!
I am currently about half-way through reading Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion (yes, i know…what the hell took me so long?!?!?). It is truly VERY well written and I am thoroughly enjoying it.
I’ve just recently gone through his section that talked about a ’10 commandements’ more suited for our modern society. Since, obviously, the biblical ones are not only VERY outdated, but also, not all encompassing and really rather narcissistic from ‘god’s’ perspective.
Anyway, I wanted to post the new list of 10 commandments (based on the list that Dawkins provides in the book) because I think they are really are more applicable to modern life. Here is the list, along with some of my own commentary in parentheses where applicable…
First Commandment: Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you. (Ah yes…the golden rule. Applicable, I think through ALL ages)
Second Commandment: In all things, strive to cause no harm.
Third Commandment: Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect. (A worthy, albeit challenging, goal)
Fourth Commandment: Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted. (this has an ‘eastern philosophy feel to it that I really like)
Fifth Commandment: Live life with a sense of joy and wonder. (this is a big one for me. I think when I was young, I HAD this sense of wonder. This amazement with the world and the universe. Though the years of my fundamentalism, a lot of that was taken away and lost. Now that I’ve shed that oppression, I can feel some of the sense of joy and wonder coming back, and it really has been awesome)
Sixth Commandment: Always seek to be learning something new. (yep…a daily pursuit for me)
Seventh Commandment: Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.
Eighth Commandment: Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you. (another challenging rule for me personally. It’s hard, but getting easier, to take the mentality that other people are allowed to have opposing viewpoints. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I’ve always been passionate about my beliefs (that damn fundamentalism!).
Ninth Commandment: Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.
Tenth Commandment: Question everything. (and then question it again!)