The Truth About Values

We often consider our morals and values to be fairly synonymous and deeply rooted in our spiritual faith.  This comes from a modern understanding of spirituality in which a divine entity or force dictates what is universally important, and things outside of that list that we feel are important are just mundane human priorities.

I reject that notion.  I reject it partially because I reject the existence of a deity or supernatural force directing the workings of the universe, especially one which cares about the choices I make in life.  I also reject it because morals and values are, by their very nature, focused on shaping our actions in this life, in the present reality.  Morals and values are not about pleasing a higher power, they are about expressing our spiritual truths through our interactions with others.

So, if I were to list my own personal 10 commandments, what would be on that list?

  1. Help others by making their lives safer, freer, and more stable, not by trying to force them to agree with you.
    Spirituality should guide us to provide tangible help to others, not stand in for that help.
  2. Learn as much as possible.
    Questions are more important than answers.  It is the questions which lead to answers.
  3. Listen to what other people think, but don’t always believe them.
    We aren’t gods, we’re not always right.  But other people aren’t always right, either.  No matter who they are.  Always be willing to listen, but develop the skill of discerning valid opinions from crazy talk.
  4. Admit when you are wrong.
    Refusing to own up to mistakes only makes them worse.
  5. Only give advice you’d be willing to follow yourself.
    Don’t be a hypocrite.
  6. No double standards.
    If I want others to act a certain way, I should act that way myself.  
  7. Direct change, don’t fight it.
    Change is inevitable.  Adapting to change is how we evolve.  Causing and directing change to create good is how we help humanity evolve in a positive direction.
  8. Standing up for yourself is important, but standing up for the greater good is more important.
    The more people who will directly benefit in a tangible way from your actions, the more important those actions are.
  9. Want people more than you need them.
    It’s better to be wanted than needed.  Needs change.
  10. Don’t try to control other people.
    Influencing others is a skill you can learn, but you can never truly control anyone but yourself.
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