The Trial and Error Business of Life

Life is an endless series of social engagements.  Our values are thus results of trial and error on the job training in the business of life.  Circumstances and situations shape and mold our values.  No society or individual’s circumstances and situations are the same, hence no society’s or individual’s values are the same.

Religious and cultural value systems may aid the individual in terms of general moral teachings, yet one’s moral code is incorporated into the trial and error business of one’s personal life, and thus remains but a personal value.  No religion or culture has a Copyright on goodness, hence such matters are personal and are incorporated into the trial and error business of one’s personal life.

There is no preset purpose to one’s life or inherent meaning to our existence.  We are natural beings who exist within the framework of natural principles.  Thus the meaning one attaches to one’s own life is for that individual, the meaning of life.  

And so the process of the trial and error business of life and the endless series of social engagements continues….

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A Theory of Secular Ethics

It is my theory that morals and ethics are based on natural principles.  It follows then, that I believe such standards are developed and maintained by natural processes:

Morals and ethics are of course guideline’s for personal social conduct.  For the individual, such distinguishes that which is seemingly right from that which is seemingly wrong.  An understanding of the natural standard for proper social conduct is the foundation for the process by which natural morals and ethics are developed and maintained.  In this regard,  I suggest that the universally natural aversion for suffering is the logical standard by which conduct is generally deemed right or wrong.   I furthermore suggest that the natural effects of social experience and a raised awareness of the effects of suffering are means by which one’s morals and ethics are developed and maintained.

Our natural aversion for suffering of any degree is evidenced by most every decision we make throughout any given day.  The clothes we wear, the setting of a thermostat, and other such simple decisions we make on a daily basis such as whether  to open or close windows, when to eat, and when to relieve ourselves are but a few examples which demonstrate that the founding principle for each such decision is a seemingly natural aversion to suffering shared by us  all.  The baby cries when hungry and the dog seeks shade on a hot summer day for the same reason we make most every single decision of any given day:  A natural aversion to suffering of any degree.

Our natural aversion to suffering in general is demonstrated by the compassion which develops naturally from within most every person as we develop socially.  Few and far between are the people who are not internally distressed at the sights or sounds of the suffering of any sentient being.  It seems to me that the experience of being exposed to the suffering of sentient beings fosters an empathy for our fellow beings which is a natural guide for our social conduct.

Thus, matters of “right and wrong” are not judged by whether actions adhere to or violate a written doctrine or even a societal law.  Natural “right and wrong” are matters of effect.  The effect which assesses the rightness or wrongness of an act then being whether such action causes unnecessary suffering. I honestly cannot think of a single incident of “right and wrong” which is not based to some degree on the concept of suffering or discomfort.

Naturally moral and ethical conduct then is not referenced so much by what one does, but rather by how one’s decisions affect others. Moralists such as Confucius and Jesus reportedly encouraged their followers to practice principles of reciprocity in their social dealings, and rightly so.  For in so doing we of humanity maintain ethical conduct suited to our natural empathy for the suffering of others.

Such is the way of moral and ethical conduct based upon our natural aversion to suffering of any degree AND by anyone.

We Are All The Same

 

Some are in it for the money,

Some are in it for the fame.

Silly fools are these,

We are all the same.

Some say there is an afterlife,

Some say we’ve lived before.

Eternal bliss or damnation,

Or ever passing through another door.

Some say there is a god,

Some say they just don’t know.

Some say it’s irrelevant,

As onward time does go.

Whatever the case may be,

In a state of constant change.

Of one fact I am sure,

We are all the same.

 

Merely To Be

“You merely are to merely be,”

These were the words he said to me.

“I am sorry sir I do not understand”

Was my reply to the old man.

“You asked for my thoughts,

Did you not?”

As I nodded, he coughed and gazed at me,

“Well that’s what I think”, continued he.

“I merely am to merely be?”

“Don’t overthink life Davey Lee”

Apparently the old man had no more to say,

He merely smiled and walked away.

Existence

I am a skeptic with regards to god;

I am a cynic with regards to civilization.

I think most social problems;

Are of our very own making.

I am an optimist with regards to people;

I believe in humanity.

I think all that there is of goodness;

Is derived from within you and me.

Institutions are our undoing;

Civilization is too uncivil to me.

Church and State are compatriots;

To manipulate and condition the minds of the free.

No flag do I salute;

No god do I embrace.

No people are my own;

Except the entire human race.

When I breathe my last;

I believe my being then shall end.

If you are now breathing;

Then I regard you as my friend.

If harm you intend me;

Then avoid you I will do.

If peace and harmony please you;

Then I will converse with you.

Good luck with this thing called life;

It happens only once I think.

In terms of time unfettered;

Our span is but a blink.

Be happy, be well, be free;

Enjoy the life you live.

Be content to merely be;

Are the limits of the advice I give.