This I Believe

ryan - Issaquah, Washington
Entered on December 16, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
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“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

— (The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition.).

This old saying, paraphrased from the Christian New Testament, summarizes my personal philosophy and helps to guide my thoughts and actions. The core idea behind this saying can also be found in the Hindu and Buddhist Law of Karma, as well as in science: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

For many generations, people have believed in some form of punishment or reward for doing good or bad in their personal life. Many religions promote this idea as well, such as going to heaven if you do something good or banished to hell if you commit sin. I don’t believe in heaven or hell or, for that manner, the afterlife. I believe in something closely related to the concept of Karma. The idea of Karma is that you are rewarded by positive things in your life if you are doing what is moral and humanely correct. On the other hand, if you commit a misdeed, you could be punished by some negative consequence in your life.

How can one avoid these rebounds of misfortune, if he or she doesn’t know the difference between what is corrupt and what is just? I believe there is no book or person that can tell you what is absolutely ethical, because even man-made laws can be wrong. Laws and commandments are only arbitrary guidelines of social conduct that change depending on where you are in the world, fabricated by people that may have different values than yours.

I reached these thoughts about what is right and wrong through logic. For example, if I felt bad about doing something, I deduced that my action was most likely wrong. In addition, my thinking was reinforced by observation: I observed Karma and the effects of Karma on others and in my own personal experiences. When I did something wrong, shortly afterwards I noticed that bad things would happen to me. When I began to see others have the same cause-and-effect experiences in their lives as mine, I concluded that this must be a fundamental law of the universe.