by Peter Johnson
This is the third, and perhaps the last in a series of opinions/editorials featuring one person’s view of the human condition; specifically how this condition controls how we go about our daily lives and interact with others in our communities. I came across a piece titled: ‘The 10 Non-Commandments’. These are my thoughts on those thoughts.
- Be open-minded and be willing to alter your beliefs with new evidence.
Is it becoming more the case that too many people judge a particular ‘truth’ or ‘fact’ as valid and unquestionable because of the number of ‘likes’ that it has received? Critical thinking is a skill, it is something that has to be taught, to be learned. It has to be exercised, taken out for a walk frequently, to be developed. If I state that this skill is rarely seen these days, is that true? Is it a fact, just because I have stated that it is so?
- Strive to understand what is most likely to be true, rather than what you wish to be true.
Coming into an argument or discussion with preconceived notions or wishes will only cloud your thinking. It will not give you clarity. What if your daily news source was exclusively Fox News? They have just admitted that they have lied, repeatedly, to their viewers to the tune of $787,000,000—that U.S. dollars. The loyal followers of this network will be loath to accept that they have been played the fool. Despite mounting evidence, they will insist that the courts are corrupt, judges have been compromised, and only they possess the truth. They make lack evidence, but they have their own ‘truth’. It seems they skipped school the day the lesson on, “Maybe you’re the one who is wrong if everyone else sees things differently’, was being taught. Maybe they skipped a lot of school.
- The scientific method is the most reliable way of understanding the natural world.
This, in the opinion of many academics and pedagogists, is one of the most important things to teach to ALL children. It is the root of scientific discovery, and knowledge. It is the cause of the advancement of mankind into the Industrial Age, and then, into this modern era – the Atomic Age? The Space Age? Something is not true just because someone has said it over and over. It is only theory. It is only true if it can be verified by scientific analysis, i.e. testing. The test is to have others repeat the process and get the same results. The same with opinions: they have to be verifiable. One’s opinion is merely that, nothing more.. as is the case for all of this.
- Every person has the right to the absolute control of their own body.
The most infamous ‘old boys club’ in North America, is the Republican Party, in the U.S. And this body passed legislation affecting women’s access to birth control and abortion? What’s wrong with this picture? Everything.Perhaps those who wrap themselves up in patriotism, tightly clenching a bible, should spend more time reading the words of The Teacher in the New Testament, rather than some of the words in the Old(e). I prefer the Canadian preference that features a healthy separation of Church and State.
- God is not necessary to be a good person or to live a full and meaningful life.
Parenting is a huge responsibility. It takes a back seat to nothing else. It’s critically important. What is a parent’s most important responsibility,.after keeping their children healthy and safe? Teaching, modeling how to be a good person? In addition to being a life-long learner, showing their children why the rules and laws of society should be not only examined, but followed.
- Be mindful of the consequences of all your actions and recognize that you must take responsibility for them.
Young children think that by saying, ‘I didn’t mean it’, they get a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card. Nope, Nope, Nope. What they have to be taught is responsibility. ‘You did it, the results are yours.’ Many adults never get this lesson learned properly (another day of school skipped, perhaps?). So, before one acts, one should consider the possible outcomes, right?
- Treat others as you would want them to treat you. Think about their perspective.
The good ol’ Golden Rule, right? It’s still ‘golden’. Ah, but the second part: there’s the fly in the ointment. I think we are talking about ‘compassion and empathy’ here. Along with honesty, these are two of the most important personality traits/characteristics that we should be impressing upon our children, according to my saintly mother. Adults that have these in great measure make wonderful friends, those without them… well, perhaps they join sketchy political organizations and generate conspiracy theories….yes? No?
- We have the responsibility to consider others, including future generations.
Imagine for a minute, those people who drive around in their enormous motor-homes, towing a car, as they head off to ‘Inflict themselves’ upon the North American continent. They might as well have written in huge letters on the side of their house-on-wheels their philosophy about sharing, compassion, empathy: ‘After me, all the rest of you can come first. See ya, suckers!’
- There is no one right way to live.
As I just pointed out, there is certainly a wrong way to live; or a multitude of wrong ways to live. And yes, surely, there are many right ways to live. For some, perhaps, the difficulty arises when they can’t differentiate between the two.
- Leave the world a better place than you found it.
Number 10 pretty much summarizes the previous 3 points. Eleanor Roosevelt said: ‘Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.’ Making those around you better by influencing them with your thoughts on ideas… on possibilities… possibilities about how to make things better, will make the world and your small community a better place than it was before. I think the 10 non-commandments are as worthy of consideration as the better know 10….keeping in mind that, God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy. Thank you for the song and the title, Billy Cunningham.