All of the main organised religions have their set of rules. For the past two thousand years they have been used to bash people around the heads with and help someone to judge someone else. There’s nothing worse than knowing that you want to judge someone but not having the tools at your disposal.
The religions were on top of this from early on and gave a clear set of guidelines in which to live your life by. They promised ultimate salvation etc etc if you followed them but I think the boundaries are somewhat greyer these days. Look how many murderers are praying for their souls on death row.
For those people that don’t just have one book in their library there needs to be a set of guidelines that can be used to remind us all of the correct way to live. I’m not talking about beliefs, I’m not talking about tradition or ceremony, and I’m not even talking about someone telling you how to live. This is common sense and it simply shows a nice way to live and get along with the other people that you have to share the world with. After all, unless you want to fight everyone that’s different, you may as well try to get along.
Thankfully, the philosopher Alain De Botton has stepped up and provided a list of ten guidelines that Atheists, as well as those that have other books they listen to, can use. Right and wrong is something that we all inherently know. We all live in the same world and deep down we know the difference, however we vary in our appetite for getting away with things. We have different excuses and justifications for doing what we do but underneath it all, right and wrong are still right and wrong.
If you aren’t completely sure of how you should live then you need to read the list below. If you are sure then again you need to read the list below just to be certain. Show them to people you know and if any come as a surprise you need to ask them to think again, this might be why they don’t have many friends.
So, the 10 guidelines are:
- Resilience. Keeping going even when things are looking dark.
- Empathy. The capacity to connect imaginatively with the sufferings and unique experiences of another person.
- Patience. We should grow calmer and more forgiving by getting more realistic about how things actually tend to go.
- Sacrifice. We won’t ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don’t keep up with the art of sacrifice.
- Politeness. Politeness is very linked to tolerance, the capacity to live alongside people whom one will never agree with, but at the same time, can’t avoid.
- Humour. Like anger, humour springs from disappointment, but it’s disappointment optimally channelled.
- Self-Awareness. To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one’s troubles and moods; to have a sense of what’s going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs to the world.
- Forgiveness. It’s recognising that living with others isn’t possible without excusing errors.
- Hope. Pessimism isn’t necessarily deep, nor optimism shallow.
- Confidence. Confidence isn’t arrogance, it’s based on a constant awareness of how short life is and how little we ultimately lose from risking everything.
These are valuable. Print them off and Sellotape them to the insides of your eyelids. If everyone remembered these ten things then the world would be beautiful. If you don’t want to stick to them then fine but do it for me. We all have to share the world with each other.
Let me know what you think about these guidelines. I’ve been following Alain De Botton for a while now and he’s a clever guy, really insightful and speaks nothing but an extraordinary amount of sense.