Things to do
0.- Presentation - Ideas and their utilities.
This note was written as an appendix to "Survive loving. A universal ethical principle. " But the author decided not to include it in the book as it was too personal.
However, the author believes it is convenient to make it public, in this personal web format, conserving the intention and the colloquial language as well.
I.- The basic ideas and their application
Let me recap the three ideas I talk about in the book for you:
Our species Homo sapiens has the vital objective to survive.
Extended-Altruism is the most effective and efficient method to try it.
The Universal Ethical Principle would be as follows: It is good/better what, altruistically done, is good/better for the survival of our species.
I list their possible utilities:
1.- These ideas do not answer the questions who we are, where we come from or where are we going, but they do answer the important questions of: what we should do and how to do it. At least in our vital level of animate and rational living beings.
1- Let me point out again that the what we should do – survive – and how to do it – altruistically – are not mere inclinations or tendencies. These are priority vital imperatives, the basic and natural norms for human beings since the beginning of time.
2.- They may serve as a common foundation for Humanity in this new era of seeing the species as a global collective. This stage has already began some years ago, but our in crescendo fraternal humanity still has not a explicit and accepted universal idea or basis that points out to its common objective and the means to achieve it.
3. These ideas are universal and neutral. They can be utilized and applied by believers of all religions, by agnostics and atheists, without any of them having to renounce their particular beliefs.
4 .- According to the above, they can serve as a basis for people of different faiths to be able to work together. Especially to develop, through them, common and universal ethical standards that go as far as possible.
5.- They reinforce the beliefs of the religions of the Book, since they confirm the be fruitful, and multiply of the Genesis and the mandate on humans to use and take care of the creation. And they complement other doctrines (Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism...). They also confirm the precept of loving thy neighbor. All our neighbors.
6. These ideas confirm and complement the theory of evolution, providing the foundation and purpose which the theory previously lacked. They also avoid falling into the naturalistic fallacy, and clear many doubts that the theory of evolution was unable to do up till now.
7. - They frame, justify and increase human freedom by giving a firm and common criterion to which resort to plan, decide, and judge, human acts.
8 .- And at the same time reduce relativisms. And they can avoid mistakes, abuses or injustices of those who dictate the norms: uses, customs, laws, mandates...
9. They also confirm that altruism/love is the most effective and efficient tool available to human beings to try and survive as individuals, as groups and as a species. This method is postulated by the physical sciences, in its various partial aspects, and by different religions and belief systems.
10. They confirm the recommendations of ecologists, humanists, the UN, papal encyclicals and other entities.
11.- They clearly advocate universal brotherhood. Man is a member of the same humanity with a common goal. And with the same imperative of the species itself, to practice all, in all its scope, broad group altruism.
12. They provide a basis for the equality of all people in terms of basic rights and obligations. I further develop this point below.
13. These ideas indicate that the first thing we have, as human beings, are obligations – the imperative duty to contribute to the vital objective of the survival of our species.
14.- And to fulfill this obligation all people has the right to live as much and as best as possible. And the duty of helping our neighbors to live as much and as best as possible. Individual and group well-being improve the survival capacity of the individual, the group and the species.
15.- According to the above it seems that for the basic objective it is good to become better: healthier, wiser, holier. And all men have implicit, and must have explicit and real, the same right to try it.
16. Consequently, all natural and legal persons, groups and collectives, public and private entities, religions, civic movements and so on, have the moral obligation to incorporate and act towards the priority objectives. Each entity is to act in accordance with its particular activity and possibilities, and help others to do so as well.
17.- These ideas can also help to rethink some of the theoretical questions about good and evil, goals, values, virtues, vices, goodness, love... All of this at man's level as a living being . Without entering into possible ultimate or transcendental goals that exist or may exist. Neither what values, virtues, vices, etc. can represent in those possible levels.
18. From what has been said in the previous point, it does not seem that these ideas have any theological implications.
19.- In summary, these ideas are useful, politically correct and easily salable. They are compatible with the scientific doctrines in force and with good religions. And they can serve as a common base for improving structures and coexistence systems, both the ones of the species globaly, as the group and individual ones.
The growing globalization will accelerate the feeling of belonging to the same species and the development of universal ethical standards: customs, fashions and trends of consumption, social relations, laws and trade agreements, doctrines and theories, uses of science...
The vital imperative, implicit in the issuers and the receivers of the new norms as well as the old, would serve to ensure that these norms are in accordance with with the universal principle of ethics. Unfortunately, certain issuers of norms – such as powerful political leaders and groups – may try to block or oppose the growing sentiment of brotherhood for personal interests, harmful to the objective of the survival of the species.
Hence the urgency to manifest and put into action the universal principle of ethics. For this reason, I feel obliged to request the help of those who may be reading this. Let me also venture to share with you a list of possible tasks for each of the three groups of readers I mention in the introduction of the book.
1.- Tasks for thinkers.
My main intention in publishing this work is to verify and disseminate my ideas, so that they may be beneficial to those who want to use them. Each of my three main ideas may correspond to certain kinds of experts:
The basic idea may correspond to experts in evolution, anthropologists, ethologists... And philosophers of nature and science...
Broad altruism is treated by very diverse specialties: ethologists and anthropologists could go first and then the experts in the brain. And also philosophers and humanists. Avoiding reducing the term to any of its various meanings.
The universal ethical principle comes from the basic idea, which is a natural life norm. It seems that once this is affirmed as the basis of the behavior of all living beings, in man -animate and rational living being- it becomes a moral foundation. It can correspond to anthropologists and philosophers specialists in meta-ethics.
I would ask the experts who are reading this to discuss, debate and verify my ideas in public and private forums, using their academic authority. I would also appreciate their comments, both positive and negative. Additionally,
I would also like to thank the readers for sending me information about possible interested experts, or entities (forums, universities...) to whom I can send copies of the book to ask them for help in this contrast work.
2.- Tasks for people who do things.
These ideas are not theories that only serve to exercise the intellect. They suppose things to do. Criteria to take into account. Ideas that are already working, mostly, through the partial ethical standards of all people, groups and groups in our world: workers, freelance professionals, private companies, public bodies, agencies, cities, states, unions, the UN... And above all, they are criteria to be taken into account by all the creators and disseminators of norms: thinkers, politicians, churches, communicators, social engineers, official and factual powers, civic and humanist movements...
I am now addressing to the people who do these things to tell them that if they have seen and understood my ideas, they can and should serve to make criteria in their activities.
In general it will be continue to be done the same and in the same way, unless what they is being doing, or the way its been done it, is not good for the survival and well-being of our species. Or is improvable, a lot or little.
There can be doubt, in specific cases, about whether what is done or omitted is more or less better for the primary objective of life. But in general it is known if it is good or bad. And above all, in case of teleological doubt, can be applied the "love and do what you want". Or the good will, or the benevolence, or the love to thy neighbor, or the universal brotherhood, or the Christian charity... The lifelong deontological ethics applied teleologically. With the well-being of our neighbors as a goal. That now we know that it is a good strategy to survive as a species.
It is also clear that the world is segmented into individuals, companies, collectives, countries... that compete with each other within the law of individual and group survival. And that the altruistic subject, isolated in a collective where there are one or several selfish people, can have problems if it fails to neutralize the selfish ones. The matter is already well studied: by ethologists and in business schools. You have to choose. As usual. But now knowing that the primary duty, as a member of our species, is to do it well. And thereby improve the welfare of all: ours, the shareholders, colleagues, customers, suppliers, society in general...
I beg men that do things that think what their application would entail. And use them if they think they are beneficial for their collectives and for the whole species. I will also appreciate your comments no matter their type.
3.- Tasks for all.
Previous note. This section is especially atypical. I include it to give a broader view of the possible individual use of our new ideas.
What follows resembles a repertoire of elder tribal councils, in the style of some self-help manuals. They are not norms nor contrasted criteria. It is an example of a personal and subjective application of the basic ideas.
First of all, I remember the universal ethical principle for individual use. That is very simple: "Do, with altruism/love, what is good/better, for the survival and well-being of our species". Or something like that.
If you have come this far, dear reader, you will have realized that, like the other living beings, that you are vitally programmed to collaborate with your species by transmitting life. Actually, your life is a link in the many chains that make up the vital mesh of the human species. It may seem little. But its a lot. And, look at it as you want, but since you were born, or before, you have had the imperative duty -which you are already doing better or worse- of trying to conserve and transmit the life you have received: directly and/or helping your neighbor to do so. (DRAE: Neighbor: Person, considered with respect to any other human being as part of humanity.)
Note: These duties are natural, based on the vital imperative. Those who match you as a living creature. If you are a believer, or have other transcendent objectives, you will have, differentially, the duties that your beliefs or objectives will order you. I say differentially because, in general, natural duties will coincide in everything or much with others that you may have, especially if your beliefs are good. End of the note.
An idea that you do not usually hear. And I remind you not to be deceived or suffer thinking that they take something away from you: first you have obligations, then rights. As a man, you have the duty to try to fulfill the universal ethical principle. And because that you have the obligation and the right to procure for your life. Procure for what you need to feed yourself, protect yourself from the cold and heat, take care when you are sick, defend yourself, etc. And for that you can choose many means. You are a lively and rational being, very free, very complex and very intelligent. Much more than the other living beings. For good and for bad.
And you can and must be farsighted. You can find the necessary means to live here and now. And as do moles, squirrels and ants, try to get more means and save them for the future. Many? The more the better, as long as you get them honestly and give them good use.
You have the obligation and the right to try to get those means you need and that you may need in the future. But always honestly. Because you are a social being. You live with others. Therefore, you must keep some rules whose base you also have in your vital programming. And for the account that you have.
You have come to the world with the foundation of how you should behave living in society. You are programmed to live. To count on the others. To be altruistic. For your own good. And to make it easier for you to fulfill your obligations to live and to help transmit life. You had and you have this implicit foundation, but now you have it also expressed. And with that you have some basic rules of your own to judge the external norms of your environment: uses, customs, fashions, laws...
Note: And from my experience I can tell you, in addition, that it is very interesting and fun to see the world and its people with the glasses of these ideas. Make the test, with a little practice you will see and understand better what happens near and far from you. End of note.
Some ideas to be good and happy.
As you know, you are happy when you do what you think you should do. The problem, until now, was that maybe you did not have an explicit basis of your natural law, that tells you what you have to do and how to do it. Now you know it. As you are a clever and intelligent being, it would not be necessary to tell you much more. But you are also very free. For good and for evil. Therefore, and if it helps, I'm going to tell you some things about it. They are not dogmas of faith. They are some old man's occurrences. For what they can serve, as a complement and contrast of your own knowledge and belief.
1. You are a lively and rational living being. And very free, given our nature. A being of the species man, male or female, who wants to be happy. On that life, freedom, reason, soul and wishes of happiness, that you have, consider the following points.
2.-Assume that, inscribed in your nature, you have the imperative to live to help the survival of your species. And with it, the conservation of life, which is not about accomplishing it, that wold be better, but only about trying, as you surely are already doing: in a good way and with joy.
3.- Also, take in consideration that being a social living being of the human species, you have the duty to try to fulfill the previous point by being altruistic, that is to say by living with love and good will with the alter, with the others, with your neighbors .
4. Once you have understood and incorporated the above, you will need to check if your current, implicit moral standards match up. This internal review will take time, so do it when it's convenient for you, or when the need arises.
5.- If you are already happy, surely you already have and are fulfilling, knowing it or not, good implicit norms. And you may have had the good fortune that the explicit norms (commandments, customs, laws...) of the groups to which you belong (family, friends, religion, work, city, region, state...) are also good. Do not change.
6 .- If you are not happy enough, you should review how you and your moral standards are in light of the universal ethical principle. And act accordingly.
Possible courses of action to take as a result
7.- A first thing is to accept yourself. In all aspects: material and moral. For what you have to do, and how you have to do it matters little to be tall or short, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, smart or less smart, white or black, believer or non-believer, Chinese or American, young or old, healthy or sick, man or woman... Being how you are now, accept yourself and your environment and circumstance. It's the best you have at the moment.
8. Once you have recognized and accepted yourself, in your environment, think about the implicit norms that you know you need to change in order to comply with the universal principle of ethics, within your individual capacity.
9.- If you have doubts about the rules that you must change, consult: first with yourself more thoroughly. And with the rules of your religion if you are a believer. And then, if you still need it, with someone you trust that you think can know. And in the end you can consult me and I will answer you as much as I can or ask for help from someone expert.
10.- It is possible that your resulting norms, according to the universal ethical principle, are not compatible, in some case or concrete aspect, with the external norms of your environment: family, friends, work, society, religion, etc. Follow what you can with your good standards. And in what you can not: render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's.
11.- In summary, it is about being as effective as possible for the survival of the species. Within what each one can do. Slowly but surely.
12.- It's also about being efficient and good at what you do or do not do. That you act with broad altruism, good will, love... It is the condition for you to be happy, as well as effective. But neither is it about assimilating good to silly, to soft, to poor... You must be good but, if possible, smart, strong, rich... The more the better.
13. It has often been said that to do good deeds and do them well, you must try to be better in every way – to be wiser, healthier and kinder. I would add two more comparatives to the list: try to be happier and more affluent.
14.- If you have desire and will it is not a bad program to try the five eses. But it's not about being perfect. Trying that can be a serious mistake that would make you unhappy and inefficient at the same time. Saint Teresa warned her novices. It's almost enough to not do anything bad. With that and live well already the basic objective is fulfilled. This point is very important. Think about it to stay in the right place. Remember the need to have vital ease. Try to always improve, but do not want to be or do what you can not. Or that it is so difficult that the possible result does not compensate the cost of trying it.
15. Above all, love yourself. If you lovingly accept yourself and your circumstance, you will be happy, and you will be able to love and make your near and dear ones happier too.
16. To finish up, I'd like to tell you something that one good, happy woman used to say to another woman, also good but unhappy: “The best cure for sadness is vitamin P – people. Occupy yourself more with others and less with yourself. Paying attention to others takes away all your own troubles.”
I believe that this idea was also held by Mother Teresa of Calcutta and many other saints, believers and non-believers. That as I usually say are the most selfish and the smartest because they expect, and always obtain, the greatest reward: happiness in this life. And in the other if it exists. But is not necessary to become perfect. By truthfully trying and with joy is usually enough. Thereto.