reasons for everything that happens, for anything anyone does
or feels. If I carefully explore every life experience, I can learn
to understand these "laws of behavior," become tolerant, and
even discover how to change myself and some of the things I
don't like. I want to be wise.
I want to be honest, both with others and myself. I want to live
my life with a full awareness of the truth, no delusions or
fantasies. I don't want to shut my eyes to anything but least of
all to my self-centeredness and greed and to others'
frustrations and needs. If I can see clearly through my selfish
blind spots, I will be loving, giving, responsible, and self-
disciplined. I want to care for others face to face and at a
distance by making this a better world.
I want to love--and show it! I will love my family, my friends,
strangers, people who are very different, and, in fact,
everyone. A life-long duty is to learn enough so I can give my
children security, confidence in their own judgment, and a
loving spirit. I will help my friends grow for I will profit from
good, thoughtful, able, devoted friends. The heart that gives,
gathers. I will fight injustice. As long as there is a good mind
wasted anywhere in the world, as long as a potentially loving
heart is self-centered or filled with hatred, the world is being
cheated. I want to make a difference.
Comment: this philosophy of life emphasizes caring for and
doing for others more strongly than the last one. It is more
demanding. It does not mention happiness or "doing your own
thing." It explicitly opposes self-centeredness and assumes that
long-range satisfaction with life rests on doing good rather than
Writing your own philosophy of life
You have studied enough now--Kohlberg's stages, Morris's Ways of
Living (Table 3.1), Rokeach's Means and Ends (Tables 3.2 and 3.3),
my comparison of happiness and helping, experts' opinions, and two
sample philosophies--to write a first draft on your own philosophy of
life. Take only 30 minutes or so. Start with a basic decision about
which will take top priority in your life--your happiness or helping
others. Both are valuable and must be considered. Then decide on
other important values for you. Socrates and Plato thought that
wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice were the cardinal virtues.
Similarly, modern moralists have emphasized doing good, happiness,
wise and just use of knowledge, appreciating beauty, affection (love
and friendship), fair distribution of wealth, achievement and the good
use of power, personal freedom and rights, and other values. At the
other end of the continuum were the Christians' seven "deadly sins:"
greed, lust, sloth, envy, gluttony, hate, and pride.