The Natural Standard for Social Conduct

What is your standard with regards to your conduct towards others?

There are many cultural standards.

Religious standards.

Civic organization standards.

Family standards.

Legal standards.

Is your standard based upon religious principles?

Is your standard based upon the principles of a civic organization?

Is your standard based upon family codes of conduct?

Is your standard based upon whether such is legal or illegal?

Perhaps the code for your personal conduct is based upon some other standard I have not listed.

I would like to suggest that in spite of the many different and various standards at our disposal, that there is; inherent to each every one of us, a basis for a universal standard for our social conduct.

The moment we are born we communicate consistently with regards to this standard as such applies to us, and soon thereafter we show an external application with regards to the same.

I daresay that so long as we are in our right minds, we never depart from this standard for our conduct.  Or shall I say that this natural standard never departs from us.

The standard that I reference is that which is based upon our seemingly inherent and most definitely natural aversion to discomfort of any degree whatsoever.

Every new born baby that cries is expressing a natural aversion to discomfort.

That discomfort may be the twinges in the gut of hunger, the dryness in the throat of thirst, the aches in the gut prior to a bowel movement, or may even be the discomfort of the soiled diaper after the fact.

That discomfort may be the feeling of being cold, may be the feeling of being too warm, may be the feeling of being tired, or may be the feeling of being alone.

Regardless:

Baby don’t like discomfort!!

Nor does ANYONE!!

As we develop, yet while still at an early age, most everyone eventually comes to feel a sensitivity towards the sufferings of another.  Even the sound of an animal in pain is the source of distress for most all of us, hence everyone at some point expresses the capacity to extend our natural aversion for discomfort to fellow beings.

Thus, a NATURAL standard is formed for our social conduct before we even deliberate the matter.

That standard being: It is naturally BAD for others to suffer, for the simple reason that it is naturally BAD for me to suffer.

It seems to me that upon examination, every standard which is a good standard is compliant to  this NATURAL standard.

In fact, I daresay that all standards for social conduct should be regulated by this natural standard.

For example, if a person goes by a standard that allows people to torture or be tortured, then that standard fails as a proper standard for that person’s conduct.

Or let us say that a person lives by a standard that allows people to suffer in poverty without being assisted while in their time of need, then that standard likewise fails as a proper standard for that person’s conduct.

Why?

Because:

It is naturally BAD for others to suffer, for the simple reason that it is naturally BAD for me to suffer.

Speaking for myself, I live by (or at least to live by) the following code of conduct:

  1. I attempt to avoid causing anyone undue suffering.
  2. I regard anything that does not cause others undue suffering as “right” (or at least “all right”)

For me, the question is never “is it legal”.

For me, the question is never “is is scriptural”.

For me, the question is always “will anyone suffer”.

Therein lies my code of conduct.

What’s in your conscience?

Dave Henderson

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2 thoughts on “The Natural Standard for Social Conduct

    • Erik,

      I just read your excellent article about Spirituality which contains the 10 Secular Values. Outstanding!! Much better than Moses Ten Commandments in my opinion!!!!

      Thanks for your read and your comment!!

      Dave

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