I’m neither deserving nor entitled to any special praise for the things I have done or come to know, those only by accident of circumstance or dogged persistence.
That last, by the way, could just as well be called foolish obstinacy – and it has!
I’ve conquered the worst effects of my illness, blogged for several years on successful, active venues, met fantastic people, learned much, and enjoyed the heck out of it all. All of that through persistence, or foolish obstinacy. Whatever. It’s my absurdly driven nature in coming from a culture with a ‘doing’ over a ‘being’ lifestyle.
That persistence, whatever it may be called, is worthy of no special praise or blame itself. I know that I could never have managed well on my own without the aid of others, those once known and those known still, those present and those now long since gone from the proscenium of life:
Thank you, Kate. Thank you, Mr. Trommater. Thank you, Mr. Hile. Thank you, Anneliese. Thank you, Sharmishtha. Thank you, Christopher. Thank you, Aliman. Thank you, Ani. Thank you, Mr. Gelacio. Thank you, Rocky. Thank you, Vikram. Thank you, Mr. Powell. Thank you, Ernie. Thank you, Mr. Hensley. Thank you, Mr. Pribble. Thank you, Mr. Matirko. Thank you, Todd. Thank you, to all of my friends online and known face-to-face, and thank you to my family, who have supported me and put up with my silliness for literally decades.
I persevere only because the alternative, the failure to do so, is far worse, far more strenuous, with far greater consequences. That alternative is giving up, craven submission to an accident of brain chemistry, the worst possible outcome I can imagine. And I can imagine more than I’d like.
That is why I choose science, skepticism and humanism.
Science, for factual views; skepticism, for the appraisal of those facts and whatever truth they may bear out; humanism to frame ethical and social views.
These things serve as a source for wonder, a path to seeking something as close to the truth as can be managed given the uncertainties of the world, and as a useful, rational, and yes, objective ethical compass, objective in its universality in my species.
What is my grounding?
The evolved moral sentiments of my species deriving from the survival needs of intelligent social primates, manifest in the cross-cultural use of the Golden rule. To treat others as one wishes to be treated oneself. No one religious tradition or culture owns that concept, by the way.
Why be moral?
Because people matter for their own sake, because the feelings and needs of others count for something. To be moral because I can be, not because I want a reserved mansion or a planet to rule or to be blissed out of my mind in some remote hereafter or a future life.
Human beings matter for the only reason they really need to: because I’m human. Humans are my peeps. That’s not speciesism, just good sense and basic empathy.
What will things be like in future? Who knows, but the journey to the very end of existence, however short or long it turns out to be, will be interesting indeed.