That we have the capacity to ask this question is a testament to our progress as a species. Each person will answer this question differently, even though there might be some overlap in ideologies in quite a few places. This is a big question. For some its hard to imagine why anyone at the common individual level would matter at all.
This isn't the only question one really needs to answer in life. But to understand that you have the potential to have a real and significant effect on the world around you is of vital importance to your well being. Knowing that you matter will have a profound impact on the way that you conduct yourself in life. Wouldnt it encourage you to maximize what you achieved in life?
Most of us dont seem to think about this question at all. At the very least they have already assigned themselves some deserved degree of importance and without further adieu moved on to the equally important question of 'What do I want to get out of life'. This too is an important question. It will change depending on your interests and your political/geographical/economic conditions. Answering the question of 'why do you matter' is never a prerequisite to answering this question.
So, Why do you matter?
If you have ever engaged with any other human being in the workplace, at school, at parties, in church, while volunteering, you will have experiences of where you directly effected another person. You will most certainly have experiences of other people effecting you. Your parents or carers being an obvious source of these experiences. You will know how others can harm or improve your enjoyment and experiences of life. This understanding is very important in considering the source of morality.
This knowledge that others can harm or improve your state of life should lead you to the understanding that you can do the same to others. This is a lesson that every toddler learns very early. Sometimes it is good to remember these simple lessons as they can bring clarity to how you perceive the world through the complex eyes of an adult. Remembering this certainly helps me out and it is the basis of my entire view on life.
You matter, and I matter, based on the effects that we can have in the world. It might be the case a person with greater resources can have a greater effect. But does any of this matter if they do not have the capacity for personal control, choice and responsibility to begin with? What is more important than the capacity for control at the minimum level? You matter because as a human being, you are unique in your capacity to intelligently interact in the world.
You can have children, attend school and university, be nice to the people you are serving at the checkout, get involved in your local community. Have a meaningful relationship with a significant other. There are limitless possibilities. Just do your best to do what is best.
So I was walking along in a shop and this caught my eye. I understand that there may be some reason to ever want one of these. But to market a fan which has mp3 playback? Really? What sort of person suggested this at the product development meeting? Why did this idea come to fruition?
This is an expensive product too, at $169 you really are paying for the 'convenience'. But what sort of consumers are we humans, that after having a computer, a mp3 player (maybe with speakers?) smart phones and older technology like CD players, that we would be receptive to this sort of product?
Other notable points of the day, I was listed on the Atheist blogroll! I also discovered (Or was led to) The Atheist Experience
This is very exciting for me! This means that my blog will be getting more exposure!
The Atheist blogroll is a very important resource, its a list of blogs that are all written from an atheist point of view. These cover a varying range of subjects and focuses. If you have an atheist blog that you want to add to this list, please go to http://mojoey.blogspot.com/ and follow the links in the sidebar.
If you are interested in looking at other quality blogs that are members of the blogroll, click the badge on my sidebar. There is some really interesting stuff there and you will be sure to learn something useful or entertaining. This is a free service provided by the man responsible for the blog above.
I look forward to exploring the large number of blogs on this list, and it feels great to be able to identify with a community!
This post directly relates to a number of goings on recently with the internet and my adventure begins here; http://skepchick.org/2011/12/reddit-makes-me-hate-atheists/ Watson writes very effectively, and her choice of title gets precisely the result any blogger wants; page views. She also points out a very serious issue, that there is a culture on the internet which condones the sexualisation of under-age girls. HUGE SURPRISE
I when I started this blog, I always thought that I would be posting from a neutral standpoint. I think the points I make here will go to and from. But I never thought I would even address this sort of issue.
Watson could have done so much with the examples she chose for her post. She could have cited how massive the child pornography racket is on the internet and how these 'jovial comments' do nothing to prevent the issue. She could have provided some good advice for young girls posting on the internet – a 'how to' on preventing this happening. She could have taken a shot at encouraging censorship, started a campaign to have the particular reddit accounts who commented removed or demanded apology. Nup, because the dominant number of atheists are white males, its obviously their fault that women are misrepresented and degraded in the atheist community.
What are we meant to take away from her post? That all women in the atheist community are ultra feminist? As the director of Skepchick, she really does represent a large number of us. Or should I say, misrepresent?
Before reading her post, I wasn't a member of Reddit. So of course I had to go have a look at the 'travesty' for myself. And after four decent hours of lurking and getting involved in conversation I really don't see how that comments responding to the one post = the atheist community on reddit. Thinking about it, its really rather insulting.
As an atheist with a reasonably developed system of philosophy, my personal concern is simply getting on with life. I am tired of the 'does god exist' arguments that are repeated everywhere on the internet in a vain attempt at reasoning with the faithful. Visiting other blogs, hanging out on youtube channels like Potholer54 are great, they generally present well developed views and a good variety of intellectual content. The reason that I enjoyed visiting Reddit, and the reason I will go back to the atheist subreddit is because its clearly just a place to chill out, its for the funny ones, for those who don't have the time or the inclination to commit to a blog. For the less articulate atheists among us who need advice. We need a break from the ultra intellectual every now and then. Don't we?
Either way, she got lots of views, had another moment in the spotlight, pissed off the @AmazingAtheist and others. Now I am going to link a very good blog post from someone with a much more balanced opinion on the issue http://owningyourshit.blogspot.com/2011/07/patriarchy-shmatriarchy.html Thanks to @AmazingAtheist for tweeting that, I feel a billion times smarter after reading it.
The day was very quiet. After such lovely weather yesterday and this morning I am dismayed that it is once again becoming cloudy and stormy.
My good deed for the day - Walked past a beetle that I noticed was upside down and couldn't correct itself. So I put him the right way up. Ok, so I didn't feed anyone who was hungry or do something 'huge' but I feel really good anyway that I took the few seconds to help out a defenseless little beetle.
I also received a great tweet from a reader that really made me feel good about myself and the work that I have been doing. Best moment of the day!
Attended a little get together at a friends house. It was great to visit and great to meet some new people too. My day was spent mostly reading and writing and getting out of the house was good for me. Really happy I had the opportunity! It is amazing what good a little human contact does. One thing that went really well for me today was that I reached 290 blog views. It has become a bit of a hobby of mine to sit back and watch the stats tick.
When this post came up at one of my favorite websites I jumped at the chance to challenge myself to complete #30. I will be following other suggestions to the best of my ability. I hope the changes will show to people who know me.
This serves as a reasonably interesting filler I hope. Depending on the day I might have more or less to say. Particularly as I reflect on what went well for me. I like the idea of having a little snapshot of life and this fits in well with the focus of my blog. I will still be posting on 'bigger' ideas and thoughts just as regularly. I need to get into a good writing habit before I go back to University!
What does death mean to me as an atheist? Why do I prefer this over a religious alternative?
Death to me is mechanical. Death marks the end of my life and signifies that all of my physical and mental processes have stopped. To me there is no afterlife or anything beyond. No heaven and hell. The only way that I will last beyond death is in the memories of the people who knew me and in the material things which I have written or created.
Does this leave me depressed? Thinking that I wont be able to go on living forever? To think that one day, everything I know will be extinguished?
No, not depressed. Maybe a little afraid, after all I am only 22 years old and should hope to have many years in front of me. Most importantly I see this one relatively short existence as my only opportunity, my only life. Everything contained within it amounts precisely to who I am. My actions and thoughts and motivations are everything I have to identify myself. What good I do is as equally important as the bad things I do. Whether by choice or through ignorance.
Why do I choose this over the religious alternative? I choose to identify with atheistic principles because the alternative is not acceptable to me. Religion takes away my responsibility for myself, my rights and wrongs are determined for me by that divine 'objective' set of morals. Responsibility for the way I choose to repent, apologise and repair my wrong doings is also taken away.
I feel insulted that I could ever be absolved of my wrongs simply because I am sorry, simply because we have that supposedly ultimate being there willing to take them away at the cost of a human life. I do not choose that and given the option I would not choose it. So I may be condemned to hell for refusing this 'gift' and scapegoat. At least I will have been entirely responsible for the choices that I have made.
But since I reject the principle that there is a supernatural element to the afterlife, or life at all. I really don't have a problem. I am not troubled by rejecting God and I can continue on my merry way. This view of mine in no way diminishes the value of life. It increases it. In my view and by these principles there is nothing more valuable than the platform of life on which we exist and there is no reason to do anything other than to simply live for its own sake. We cant shift responsibility for our actions on this divine being and we cant justify anything simply because it will lead us to glory in the afterlife.
I guess I want to pose a question now to the theists out there. As I have a small readership I don't expect many responses. The question is this; If the religion you belonged to promised no afterlife, none at all. That death was simply the end of your existence. Would you be able to justify the 'objective' morals and truths that your God imposes? And if you could justify them, would you be inclined to follow them? Knowing that at the end of it all you would simply not exist anyway? Why or Why not?
I received a Hitchens book titled 'Arguably' for Christmas. First time I have ever enjoyed reading an Introduction! The book is a collection of Essays and I am working through them in cover to cover order. Even though there are some that have awfully tempting titles a bit further along.
I have finished off the first four essays. Hitchens is enjoyable to read and his subject matter is so interesting. As I am an Australian reader and the first part of his book covers American themes - not something I am well versed on or really care about too much. I didn't think I would really enjoy what he had to say. Instead I find myself learning some interesting things and being entertained.
Looking forward to reading more! It is a mammoth book so it should last me until at least new years.
I know this title will illicit many
responses. What I want to make clear is that I respect Father Bob
Maguire, I feel he has made a great contribution to Australian youth.
It his faith and his convictions that have carried him through his
life and inspired him in his work. His dedication to the Australian
people and those who the Australian people welcome from afar is
irrefutable. He is not a victim and I don't want to portray him that
way. He clearly understands his place and the work he undertakes.
This is my opinion, but I feel his work speaks for itself. Check out
his website http://www.fatherbob.com.au/
What I mean to say by my title is that
I wish to consider for discussion whether or not being an instituted
member of the Catholic Church has ultimately hampered his capacity
and his resources to help those that have been the object of his hard
work for so many years. I base my concerns on how the hierarchy of
the Catholic Church are so easily sweeping aside this beacon of
Christian decency, faith and dedication and removing him from his
technical responsibilities as Parish Priest simply because of his age
– at least that's what the Papers are saying and it seems to be the
Don't get me wrong, without the
Catholic Church, Father Bob wouldn't be a Father Bob, it is his
identity, it is the base of his life, his valuable life. It is
entirely his personal choice what he does and he has done far better
than so many in their long years. He is clearly capable of making
good decisions. The support of his Parishioners and his Church HAVE
probably contributed much to his resources over the years. But now
the Church has made a decision for him which he clearly doesn't think
is in the best interests of himself and his Parish. He even appeals
to his supporters to take action on his behalf, to let the Church
know precisely what its decision will mean for those living in the
It is clear he is dedicated to the
Church, it is admirable, as an atheist I certainly don't have that
kind of conviction.
This is a clear division though, of
'people power' versus 'the institution'.
The institution, the Catholic Church.
Is a male run, male dominated Monarchy. The instituted leaders of the
Catholic Church (Bob being a member of that leadership) receives its
authority from God as defined by the Bible and various doctrine
instituted over the years of the Church's foundation. The Catechism
being the dominant manuscript. These have resulted in the Church
having mostly clear rules, mostly clear ideologies and has caused it
to be effective in leading its lay members over a good thousand years
or two. There may be more to say about precisely how effective it has
been in preserving its message through its actions but that isn't the
purpose of the discussion.
Then there is the lay majority. The
families who compose parishes around the world, who embody
Catholicism in their daily lives and are devout. In this men and
women are said to be equal, (maybe) . It is demanded that in being
devout that they identify with the Catholic Church's teachings, and
follow them in the strictest practicable way. There are some who
sensibly realise that some of these demands are too high, and choose
to live equally good lives, but without the restrictive particulars.
In all of the lay majority it is considered the first and dominant
thing to be concerned with is that Jesus loves all unconditionally,
and that he embodies what it is to be a perfect human being.
Logically and in my hypothetical
situation; these two do not match. Thanks to our liberating
experiences and our 'blessed' opportunity to be born into a
democratic nation. We seem to think unconsciously that the power of
the people should also extend to this Monarchy that is the Catholic
Church. I simply don't see how someone who is devout should expect
this. The Pope claims to have direct unquestionable power from God.
UNQUESTIONABLE? That means that he knows best and you shouldn't
question it. By extension, those who act in the Popes name, down the
hierarchy all have that unquestionable power from the unquestionable
resource. Shouldn't you simply agree?
How does this tie back to Father Bob
and his situation right now? Its only my opinion, Father Bob may
disagree with me. But I see him as a person of the People, for the
People and in the name of God. What I see the Catholic Church as? For
God, in the name of God, and in this system, all of his followers
merely lambs, children and servants to his divine will as instituted
by this Church. Might I go so far as to say slaves?
In this time where the Church would
present these challenges to Father Bob, wouldn't it be simply more
effective that he be free, under his own will in the name of God (as
that is clearly his preference) to continue his good work? What I am
suggesting I don't even expect Bob to entertain. It is heresy. Why?
Because the Church defines this as clearly contradicting its will. A
good servant should never contradict the will of the master. It is a
non democratic system. Father Bobs situation is a clear demonstration
that the Church is imperfect in it's capacity to serve those that
dedicate their lives to it. I am not talking about one person now, I
am talking about all of those people who Father Bob has engaged with
and whose lives he has helped to improve.
Disclaimer: This is a BLOG post, I am
clearly no expert, I haven't been vetted by any institution and I am
only taking advantage of the liberties the internet allows in sharing
my OPINIONS. You may agree or disagree. You may challenge what I say.
I am happy to talk about it. I also reserve the right to avoid
talking about it as I have the duty to myself to maintain my sanity.
For this post I will be monitoring comments. Keep them civil please. Anonymity will also be suspended for a short time. Sorry to those who I can normally trust to preserve their sense of personal responsibility.
It's amazing how my mood can go from to enthusiastic and hopeful to crashing in such short a space of time. I am writing to you amidst one of these crashes. I'd like to be able to cover this in a more objective light. But really this is just one of those things involved in being a Cog.
My self esteem has been pretty low over the last few months. Its been so low that I haven't cared at all about anything much. Thanks to some hard work by some great professionals I find my self esteem, self worth and general mood about everything has become more positive. I guess that as a result of this, things that I didn't concern myself with when I was 'down' are now meaning a lot more to me. Things like friends, social interaction and having people around me. I guess I was absent as myself from my social circles for so long that people simply learned to live without me. If there is any time for a human being to feel pathetic, singular and imperfect its now. This is just one in a long line of previous Friday nights where I have held myself back because of how I've come to be so singular, because of my inadequacy to maintain social connections. It hurts quite a lot.
This has extended to my inability to keep a job, and certainly hampered my job searching efforts.
I guess I am just going to embrace how I am feeling now and go for a walk along the River, this is only low self esteem. It doesn't last forever but it sure as hell doesn't feel so good now.
So it's Christmas time, I am frantically trying to get together Christmas gifts, prepare for lunch (making a tiramisu) and convince my partner that it will be fun to be among my sisters three bouncy children while they explore their new toys.
I completely reject the existence of God and yet I celebrate a holiday associated with the birth of Jesus. I must have something messed up somewhere? Probably. Keep in mind that I also deny completely the existence of Santa.
I don't celebrate Christmas because its the day that has been designated as Jesus' birth date. In my family Christmas is a time for family, gifts (being the consumer focused time it is), food and alcohol. Precisely in that order. I have a fulfilling time and so does the rest of my family.
So I will be celebrating Christmas - but not in the religious sense. I'm not going to re name it, re label it or call it Xmas because I am intelligent enough to recognise its source. It is a religious holiday and sacred to many. But for me another day, another very expensive, fattening day.
Merry Christmas everyone! No matter how you celebrate it!
"Christmas is the Disneyfication of Christianity" Don Culpitt
This question comes again from the list 95 Questions to Help you Find Meaning and Happiness. I like this question because it offers me a nice quick blog post in the busy Christmas period. Because it asks such a small question. How would you answer it? Id love some comments below. This also relates to the comment discussion I had with Anonymous here.
So In one sentence, what do I wish for my future self?
I wish my future self to be able to live in the moment and enjoy the small things as well as having a fulfilling job that earns a reasonable wage.
It certainly is a challenge to sum up your hopes and dreams in one sentence!
The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time - Abraham Lincoln
This blog post is in reference to my previous one, regarding the question of 'What do I need most right now?' I am pretty happy with how I explored the content. But what I do still want to work through is how I almost made a critical error in the conclusion of my discussion.
Rather than the conclusion I came up with, which was What I need most right now are personal goals I instead, almost embarrassingly decided that what I needed most was objective recognition or in another sense, a way of objectively recognising my success. I don't know if the ramifications of this are apparent to you immediately, it wasn't until I was half way through writing the last blog post that I realised precisely what the implications of saying this were.
When I boil it down though, what I was initially asking for was some way, outside of myself to judge how I was doing in life; University exam and assignment results, success within the organisation I volunteer for, how many visits I get to this blog. Just for starters. What I almost did, was commit myself to measuring how well my life was going based on outside forces, on how other people viewed me and my work. I'm glad I stopped myself and went in a different direction.
I think the key result between this conclusion and the one that I think I will stick with is that goal setting is a way of measuring the success of my life on a smaller scale, I can look at my everyday life and look at how I am doing. This makes my self improvement on my own terms (as outlined in my previous post), giving me responsibility and control.
Before I begin I'd like to ask you to consider this question for yourself (just take a few moments). I found this question among a list of a few questions I would like to tackle and expose my answers to here on this blog. I am going to change the wording in this question to read What do I need most right now? I intend to discuss this question in a very personal light.
So what is it that I feel I need most right now? A number of things come to mind, money would be nice as I have a few bills piling up with no consistent way to pay them, my laptop recently died and as I am heading back to Uni, having my own computer would be a big help in study and production of work. A job would probably solve both of those problems, so maybe a job is what I need? Maybe I want time to speed up. I go back to Uni in February after a semesters break and I am keen to finally finish my degree. Unfortunately for me, I don't really see time speeding up as a solution to anything - I wouldn't want to miss the full enjoyment of Christmas with my family. Part of me feels that greater discipline would benefit me, or even better if someone could magically wave a wand over my head and make me a person of action - If that were to happen maybe I would have a spotless house and a healthy exercise regime.
So maybe what I need is an attitude adjustment. As I write these words I sigh to myself and say 'but thats so hard'. Really, I understand why I say that. Because its the same thing I say when I do consider getting my chores done or going out for a jog, or doing something I know needs to be done but for some mysterious reason I always end up leaving - to the detriment of my personal condition. What can I do to repair this? My first consideration is a goal and reward system of thought which would provide me with personal direction.
I could probably talk about a million other things that I might need. But in my current state (which will most likely change) I am going to stick with this answer; What I need most right now are personal goals and methods in which to reward myself. I think that I have just determined something which I probably knew all along. I want to take the next step now and begin to act on my realisation. How am I going to set up a personal goal and reward system and maintain it? Well this website gives a thorough, reasonable look at setting those big goals and smaller daily goals.
So let me have a go at it now. I am going to begin with a big goal, and under that goal I am going to set out the smaller goals that will help me achieve it.
1. Finishing my university degree
To finish my university degree, a Bachelor of Arts with a major in philosophy. Would be to finish a major chapter in my life and would open up so many doors for me. Finishing my degree means that I have better employment options and is also an accomplishment in itself.What goals will I set to help me on the road to finishing university?
Reading often - reading subject matter that will prepare me for reading the tough stuff that is often presented in lectures. So sub goal - read a little bit each day.
Writing often - I cant write a good essay if I only polish one off at the end of each course. Sub goal, continue regular blog posts - reward myself by noting how many readers I get.
Do ALL of my homework - I wont be able to work on this until I actually start back. Hopefully the previous two goals will set a good disciplined pace.
2. Keeping my home clean, tidy and well presented.
This speaks for itself, a tidy home means I enjoy my surroundings more. I really spend a lot of time at home so this means I have lots of time to;
Keep doing small and regular chores which over a course amount to a clean house. I think I often set myself this goal and often I fizzle out after a mammoth effort and then it degrades. MUST BE CONSISTENT! How might I reward myself with this?
3. Be physically health and fit
I am most certainly not the figure of good health. I am 'heavily set' and have a bad habit of emotional eating. I don't often do a lot of physical exercise and would benefit from a fair bit more. As such, my minimal goals are going to be (in the beginning)
Jog once per week: As a start I know this wont really help a lot, but I want to do this in conjunction with
Swimming for an hour or more at least three times per week. I find that it should be practicable for me to wake up in the morning, put my swimmers on, take my partner to work and then drop by the pool on the way back. Three times per week.
Eat better. Make a conscious decision to not purchase any indulgent foods more than once per week (We all need a treat now and then) Also I must search for equally enjoyable foods that might be a bit nicer on my waistline.
4. Spend more time with friends
Over the last few months I have been rather reclusive and not such a great person to be around. As such I have really fell out of touch with a lot of people. And as I am a social creature I think a little more interaction might do me well. My sub goals then become;
To initiate conversation with friends - This might be over facebook, a chat program, text messaging or if I see them on the street. My intention will be to say hi and to catch up on how things have been with them.
To do my best to attend every social event I'm invited too. Money is an issue for me at the moment, so there may be some I simply cannot afford to attend.
Within the next two months stage my own social event.
These are some big goals, and hopefully some more achievable little goals that I will be able to follow. For the moment I have, in my own mind adequately discussed and determined What it is I need most right now. As people change, as I change maybe this will too. I might revisit this in a few years. Maybe after I am satisfied that a number of my goals have been achieved.
I found today probably one of the most important websites I think I will ever see in my life. http://www.marcandangel.com/ presents thought provoking articles and masses of content. In a time where my blog is new and my hopes for its continuation are high. I feel that reflecting on this website might just help me improve myself and provide me with what I need to produce a comprehensive look at my own life and my place within my community, both local and global.
Whether or not I am a 'good person' is of great concern to me. I often consider my actions retrospectively and am pretty self critical. Studying philosophy has probably compounded that, what is more convenient as a study subject than myself anyway? I am very certainly an atheist, and very certainly (and proudly) I claim that no religious doctrines govern my actions.
So in a world where so many subscribe to a moral code supposedly set forth by God. How do I determine whether or not my actions or beliefs are morally right or wrong and what motivation do I have to perform morally right actions in the first place? I feel this question is pretty mindless - to ask this assumes that humans are mere animals, or children who don't know better when their master or parent is absent. Those that ask this question should really examine themselves, and consider why it is they would imply this, and why their doctrine would encourage them to think in this matter.
There are a number of ethical and moral theories that I will refer too, some I feel strongly about, others I feel are convenient and provide a point of view that others may lack. Virtue ethics, set forth by Aristotle, and Utilitarianism determined by Mills are by far my two 'picks'. I hold very strongly that I never perform a moral act with fear of God in mind, I don't believe in damnation or eternal life in heaven. I have only one short life in which to leave my print on the world before I pass into nothingness. I have no way to be absolved of my bad decisions, my 'sins' stay with me all my life and are just as much a part of me as the good things I do.
If I don't act out of fear of God, then what is my main motivation for being a 'good person'? I feel I have a pretty reasonable and standard answer. I act to always to maintain or improve my standard of welfare and to enjoy what I have in life. Welfare has a very broad definition, and the beauty of it in my eyes is that it is malleable. In my personal opinion, having a tertiary education, a loving male partner and an active role in my community all contribute to my personal sense of good quality welfare. The same may not be true however for somebody else. What also positively contributes to my welfare is stable government, good medical care, adequate nutritional food and a warm, secure place to sleep at night. These things, it can be said have an influence over everybodies welfare, but its almost impossible to have personal control over many of these instances.
Being happy, enjoying my life is also of great importance to me and having a high standard of welfare only encourages that. It is no wonder then that Hedonism and Utilitarianism aim to promote happiness as inherently good. Being happy is an indication that something is going well in my life, seeing others be happy is an indication that their lives are on a positive path and seeing people who are unhappy shows me that perhaps there are people out there far less fortunate than myself.
This consideration for others is key in morality. If I were the last human being alive on the planet I would surely have no reason to act any particular way other than how I pleased. I could take what I want from wherever I wanted. I could do whatever I should wish. But I am sure that due to the lack of possible victims my capacity for immoral action would be hampered. The reason that morality is such an important consideration is because it requires us to recognize that our actions impact people other than ourselves this understanding is an amazing function most likely brought about by our evolution as a social species.
I begin my assessment of a morally related situation by considering the effects on me. This is important because I do not want to sabotage myself. I would never want to willfully make a decision that would lead to my harm in any but the most extreme circumstances and ideally I would always want to ensure that I received most benefit. I also want to ensure that I can rationally accept and defend any position I have in line with all of my beliefs and understandings. After considering this, and checking it all out I can then take time to look at how my actions might impact others, whether harm would come to them on account of me, whether they receive any benefit, or if I would be responsible for leaving them at a particular disadvantage. Taking into account the laws of my government and social conventions is also pretty important because I am quite sure that being in prison would not classify as an improvement in my welfare or as a happiness inducing situation, even though I would have a few years where I would never have to stress about how fashionable my wardrobe is.
Does following all of these checks result in me being a good person? Do they result in me doing or believing good things? I follow Virtue Ethics to provide myself with yet another check. This system sets out all of the qualities, or 'virtues' that the model of a good human being would posses. What I really like about this system is that if you work hard enough, any human being at all can posses these virtues. You can find virtues in almost anyone - in the average person they will be generally balanced, but in some they may be twisted or particularly off centre. Criminals with a well developed sense of discipline are often some of the most dangerous people you will meet.
I guess I have spoken very generally here to cover the foundations of my personal moral code. I am sure that the God fearing person would claim that I have no right to freely determine what I know is or is not good action. There are volumes I could write concerning my stance on abortion, gay marriage, free speech and theft. I have a fair bit to say about what a waste of oxygen that parliament question time has become. I guess if anyone really wants to know what I think, they will ask. But in the meantime I am content to explore the massive little personal piece of the universe that I hold so dear.
"Aim above morality. Be not simply good, be good for something." - Henry David Thoreau
Being previously unenlightened to his work, I feel utterly devastated at his recent death. My only consolation is knowing I have much reading to do and much to discover about Hitchens, his works are a new (to me) frontier to explore.
I aim to fill this blog with my own content to cover my view of what it is to be a single member of a larger local and global community. I always strive for reason and the 'middle road' - extreme discussion is educational, extreme action is abhorrent. I hope my essays will adequately communicate my views and if I could be a shadow of what Hitchens was, then I would surely have reached a height I have previously felt out of reach.