This post started out as part of a discussion on Facebook with a friend of mine, who suggested I make it into a blog post, which was a capital idea. Here it is expanded a bit, clarified, and with typos removed. Thank you, Zor’ra. ~Troythulu
One thing I’ve noticed, and it’s really hard to avoid cynicism about it, is that deep down we all have a little politician inside us, always looking to put a favorable spin on things and preserve our egos and reputations. Granted, some amount of ego is actually adaptive as long as it’s not carried too far, like to the point of arrogance and narciscism, but rather when its needed to keep us from terminal depression about our own existence.
I think that the best of us are those who strive to minimize the ‘politician within’ and maximize our diligence in being open about those things we should be. What I think matters is not just being honest, but doing it in a way that doesn’t leave us vulnerable, and in recognizing we can’t always expect even ourselves to live up to all of our expectations.
Humans are motivated to believe, and we are motivated to protect our own social regard and self-esteem if we allow ourselves to be. This is natural, but it can cause problems when our facades strongly conflict with the way things really are and start to crumble, getting us into serious trouble.
I don’t think that I’d ever want to hurt anyone I know… It just doesn’t sit well and leaves a really ugly feeling inside even thinking about it. Not an attempt at humblebragging, just noting my reaction to what goes on when certain things cross my mind in a bad mood. I’m no better then anyone else, except hopefully myself as I was the day before.
We can be better than moral pondscum, but we need to put in effort to without becoming self-righteous about it. Morals, and I’m thinking solid, reliable ethical values and principles, don’t come ready-made from millennia-old holy books or the pronouncements of clergy. I have my doubts that our morals come ultimately from anyone but other human beings, whether ancient or modern, theistic or not.
Given the inconsistency and inconstancy of even religious morals over time and across faiths, we seem very much to be on our own, whether we like it or not, whether we think it or not.
Sometimes I can get a bit frustrated with things, even angry, but I no longer try to apologize for my feelings and perceptions of things; It’s a waste of time trying to deny what I’m like inside, and much better to own up to it.
Are there things about me that I don’t or won’t reveal? Certainly. Some things are no one’s business but mine, so long as no wrong is committed nor any harm done. [Update] Nothing scandalous or illegal either, just things neither interesting nor wise to post on a public forum, the TMI principle at work. But I think that we all have skeletons in our closets; it’s just that some of them are bigger and scarier-looking than others.
That gives me pause when there’s that irritating, nasty urge to judge people that sometimes floats into and out of my stream of awareness.
I’m no shining exemplar of secular ethics.
None of us are.
And I think that’s worth noting.