I believe in the values of being a member of human race. Since I was at least 10 or 11 and was aware enough to coherently conceptualize abstract beliefs, I believed I had an obligation, a debt owed for my random or divine chance to live. I’m sure that being Jewish, born during WWII, and raised by a Russian immigrant, who escaped the anti-Semitism at the turn of the century provided the essential context and building blocks of my personal philosophy. His early death when I was only 13 clarified for me that only I controled my destiny. It wasn’t a very complicated belief system then and 55 years later, it still isn’t a very complicated belief system. There is no higher power, no saving grace, nor fear of damnation or hope of salvation driving, coercing, influencing or rewarding this belief. There is no Church, no new wave spirituality, no drums, no circle dances, no resurrection of ancient Gods … just “I exist, therefore I have responsibility to humankind, to my planet and to myself to use my existence to do something of substance and usefulness”.
I suppose this is what most would call secular humanism, or perhaps even a universal morality which exists beyond social construction. Maybe it is a basic human need to create. It really doesn’t need a label…it simply is. It is not dependent on anyone or anything. There is no mystery as to what decisions and actions it prescribes. If you are rational then you understand what you need to do to be humane. If you have humanity you have what you need to do to be humane.
It is a principle, a code, a destiny, a journey. It is an unending struggle to get it right and to forgive yourself when you do not. It is the golden rule, it is a path to enlightenment, it is good citizenship globally applied. It is effective management of personal resources to optimize utility to others and satisfice personal need.
But most essential…it is a personal code, imposed by myself upon myself, internally monitored, rewarded and punished; a nearly perfect self-perpetuating mechanism for living a life worth finishing.
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