Friday, December 19, 2014

Ten Non-Commandments

Recently, there was a rather well-publicized contest (at least within the Atheist Community™) to come up with ten new "non-commandments" that secularists, atheists, and humanists--unhappily blurred into a single kind of entity--should aim to follow. The context was based upon a new book by Lex Bayer and John Figdor (commentary about publicity stunts suspended), Atheist Mind, Humanist Heart: Rewriting the Ten Commandments for the Twenty-first Century. Obviously, the book aims to list non-commandments for heathens to follow, or not-adhere to, or--never mind.

In the spirit of the enthusiasm, here are ten "non-commandments" I might suggest, as I've been pondering this silly exercise for a little while now because of the contest.
  1. Don't go in for commandments. (This one is the only one I would call a commandment, and so it applies autologically as well--sometimes rules are okay.)
  2. Try to take the risk of thinking for yourself--particularly, realize that your team is more likely to be wrong than you are.
  3. Aim never to be boring or boorish.
  4. Do what you can to be honest with yourself, especially do whatever you can to avoid pretending to know things you do not or cannot know.
  5. Try to live long and well, but know that you will die and let that inform your life.
  6. Seek to do whatever kindness you can.
  7. Strive to minimize the harms generated by your actions, particularly those performed in service of your own benefit.
  8. Do all you can to respect the dignity and autonomy of others.
  9. Try not to let it bother you that the promise of ten fell short at nine; that's life.
Cheers! Happy holidays and whatnot from me to all of you.