The 10 Commandments or the 11 Ways of Wisdom: Take your pick
August 4, 2013
Arthur Jackson, author of “How to Live the Good Life: A User’s Guide for Modern Humans,” and “The Humanist Chapter of the Future and the Future of Humanism,” has been a long-time participant in all levels of Humanism – local, national, and international. He will provide our Sunday Forum, “The 10 Commandments or the 11 Ways of Wisdom: Take your pick.
ELEVEN WAYS OF WISDOM – Arthur Jackson
1. Recognize that Human Beings Are the Ultimate Reference System.
2. Endeavor to maintain and develop the human species. Support efforts to develop Enlightened Communities. (Communities promoting authentic happiness for all its citizens.)
3. Seek to understand. Pursue Wisdom.
4. Recognize that all knowledge rests on faith/beliefs and must always be open to questioning.
5. Strive to make the best choices possible.
6. Know and struggle to improve yourself; work to be physically and psychologically healthy.
7. Develop and adopt a perceptual framework in which pain does not prevent the achievement of authentic happiness.
8. Help and be helped by other people.
9. Work to increase knowledge and all creative and artistic endeavors. Adopt an inspiring life goal.
10. Support efforts to ensure that every child is provided a loving, nurturing environment and all the things necessary to achieve authentic happiness.
11. Work to achieve authentic happiness. Make of your life a spiritual quest.**
**Spiritual Quest (The quest for wisdom): For Science of Ethics this involves accepting oneself as a natural being evolved in a natural world with the power of symbolic language which provides the ability to look beyond our current knowledge and experience and draw inspiration from that vision. This is a naturalistic definition of the spiritual, and the transcendent, but identifies with the eternal, with the ultimate, with the infinite, with truth/Truth.
ELEVEN WAYS OF WISDOM – Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of AHA:
1. Recognize the Human Standard.
2. Improve society.
3. Pursue Wisdom.
4. Question and confirm knowledge.
5. Make choices deliberately.
6. Improve yourself.
7. Overcome suffering.
8. Facilitate people helping people.
9. Set aside space for creativity to thrive.
10. Ensure every child has a chance.
11. Pursue authentic happiness.
Arthur writes that this program is meant to examine the Ten Commandments in a way most Humanists and other freethinker rarely do, and present a science-based alternative for providing moral guidance in today’s world. You can view the uncensored Ten Commandments here.
As intended, Arthur’s presentation initiated much discussion and research for alternative “Commandments.” Below are a few examples.
Bertrand Russell’s “Commandments” in 1951:
1: Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
2: Do not think it worthwhile to produce belief by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
3: Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.
4: When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
5: Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
6: Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
7: Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
8: Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
9: Be scrupulously truthful, even when truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.
More information is available at this link:
Alain de Botton’s 10 virtues for atheists are:
1. Resilience. Keeping going even when things are looking dark.
2. Empathy. The capacity to connect imaginatively with the sufferings and unique experiences of another person.
3. Patience. We should grow calmer and more forgiving by getting more realistic about how things actually tend to go.
4. Sacrifice. We won’t ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don’t keep up with the art of sacrifice.
5. Politeness. Politeness is very linked to tolerance, the capacity to live alongside people whom one will never agree with, but at the same time can’t avoid.
6. Humour. Like anger, humour springs from disappointment, but it’s disappointment optimally channelled.
7. Self-Awareness. To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one’s troubles and moods; to have a sense of what’s going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs to the world.
8. Forgiveness. It’s recognising that living with others isn’t possible without excusing errors.
9. Hope. Pessimism isn’t necessarily deep, nor optimism shallow.
10. Confidence. Confidence isn’t arrogance, it’s based on a constant awareness of how short life is and how little we ultimately lose from risking everything.
More information is available at this link:
There are many other attempts to define “Commandments” for the non-religious. Most of them are easily available on the internet.