DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN GOOD AND SOUND LIFE PRINCIPLES
I've always thought it important to live well. And I know that this was more than not being happy. I know that pursuit alone was a trap of sorts. Not really. Not really a trap. But a dead end. Not that really either. Happiness alone is like a veneer. Pretty to look at, especially on others, yet without much depth or substance of its own. We sense our living is shallow and ephemeral. Lacking anything of much goodness or meaning. Nothing that can last. And I think we all want to last in some way.
A good way to last. Or if you've outgrown this need, then a good way to have peace, is to live a life of purpose. A life devoted to more than just living, or even living well.
There are many ideas of purpose. Some say God or Gods. Many say this actually. And no wonder why... It's the easy answer. And a bit of the lazy answer. All the heavy lifting is done already after all. All we need do is believe. Such a seemingly small price to pay. Yet this price is everything. There's your trap. Especially if your god isn't even real.
Philosophy is another route. No belief – or very little – is needed. We instead employ reason to the task. Now we're getting close. For reason is the tool we need. After all, what makes sense is all that makes sense. The rest is superstition, fear, precedent or dogma. With these you may as well prepare now your own unmarked grave. As your life will be as note-less as anonymity to both history and the far more important future influence and reverberation of the life you do now live.
So now reason is your clear instrument. Put aside the rest; fear, superstition, dogma, tradition, instinct, comfort, peace even. Trust just your capacity to observe. And to make sense of what actually is. Noting and putting aside what is not. Weighting objectively what is true to find its real character and its qualities and its flaws. And then to accept these despite how they make us feel, or what they tell us of life and the universe, or ourselves and our place here however small or great, or fleeting or forever.
And when you've found there these things then note them as your record of truth. Don't be surprised or suspicious of plagiarism if your new ideas look or feel or sound like the ideas of other past thinkers who arrived at the same end as you somehow. Consider this a boon. A confirmation of a sort from another life. Another coordinate and instance of triangulation upon the same sound conclusion made more solid still by the sighting of another. Catalog this observation. Maybe classify it as perhaps an objective or a principal for your life. Think on it more and remember it to yourself often. Test it always. Never let it become dogma. Speak of it with enthusiasm if you are so inclined. Yet always remember to cite any exceptions or suspicions you may have of its truth. And be ready to dispense with it the moment it proves false. Just as you would with claims founded on superstition, faith, or dogma, when you have good reason to believe your ideas has become one of them, or must be supported by any of these, or is simply clearly, no longer true.
So then, what you keep are your truths; held tentatively like something possibly dangerous, yet for now seemingly tame, true and safe to live with, use, share, and even love. Tentatively, carefully, always wary of falsity.
One-by-one gather your discovered and perhaps hard-won truths. Collect and compile these things as they make sense. Arrange them in some order to perhaps build one upon the other. This is your code. Your list of objectives and principals towards the well-lived life. First your objectives; the things you seek to do during the course of your life. Your reason for being. Not some fearful, superstitious shirking or hiding or dodging to avoid what we fear, or do not know, or do not want, even if it be right and true. Not the weighty prescription of dogma we neither vet nor question, nor the warm suffocating tapestry of tradition arguing always from "the way it is simply done." No. Yours is a prescription of your own hard work and design. A personal constitution of willful determination, formed and found of conscious thought and hard work, tested daily for truth, soundness and sensibility, and administered daily like summoned memory of the best we've yet ever been and an example to ourselves and others of the better man or woman we can yet become.
Notes from my muse
While our distant descendants will likely look back on us as barbarians, while we’d probably regard them as weak, politically correct weenies. Isn’t it more likely they’re the ones who are right?