Philadelphia means the city of brotherly love. Using a rudimentary understanding of Greek language and thought, it is safe to say that philosophy is some sort of love for wisdom. It is my understanding that the passion for knowledge and wisdom inevitably leads to the construction of a personal philosophy, something that does not only inspires the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, but also a means to develop a practical guide or approach to life. Thus, my philosophy is an upgraded universal moral law combined with a prioritization scheme that ranks children, spouse, parents, friends, and relatives as more important than wealth and social status.
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In the beginning it was all about knowledge acquisition. Children are unable to develop a personal philosophy without the ability to understand how the world works. It is impossible to create an effective and practical philosophical framework without insights into human nature and a clear grasp of the inner-working of interpersonal relationships. After a certain point, after successes and failures, after triumph and humiliations, a pattern emerges. It is only after the passage of time when a mature person begins to develop a personal philosophy designed to create the right environment that in turn leads to a better life.
My personal philosophy is based on a Kantian ethics, a framework developed by a German philosopher named Immanuel Kant. At its core, Kantian ethics underscores the importance of a moral law. I use the basic framework of Kant’s philosophical musings and mated it to my own version – one that is forged in failures and frustrations. Just like Kant, I believe in a universal moral law that applies to all human beings all over the planet.
Belief in a universal moral law is an oversimplification that requires a certain level of modification for the purpose of efficiency and practicality. Therefore, my personal philosophy skips the basic arguments about right and wrong. There is no need to talk about good and evil, because human history provides ample records of people that suffered because they ignored and disobeyed the basic moral law. In my opinion, a universal moral law must contain the principles of honoring parents, respect for human life, a loathing for making false testimonies, and the abhorrence against theft and covetousness.
I believe that the basic moral law outlined earlier is a good starting point. However, it is incomplete. It is my opinion that a brilliant but unscrupulous person may satisfy the basic principles embedded in the aforementioned moral law, and yet at the same time, commit something as destructive as insider trading or accounting fraud. Consider for instance the human stories involved in the Enron and Arthur Andersen corporate scandals. It is not difficult for brilliant people to see the world from a different perspective. For those who see things in black and white, Wall Street fraudsters are stealing money from ordinary people. However, due to the white-collar criminals’ technical and corporate savvy, they are able to create an alternate reality that soothes their conscience, assuring them they are within legal limits. Thus, it is important to modify and upgrade the universal moral law.
In my opinion, it is not enough to simply follow the rules. It is not enough to say, I did not dishonor parents; I did not commit murder; I did not steal or acquire something in an illegal way; and I did not make false accusations and false testimonies. In order to prevent the deadly consequences of white-collar crime, gossip, slander, and sexual harassment related crimes, it is imperative to enhance the philosophical framework with some sort of prioritization scheme. I believe that people should prioritize their children, their spouses, if they have one, their parents, close friends, relatives, and the members of the community where they belong.
The Best Life Possible
The prioritization scheme sets it apart from other philosophical framework. Aside from adhering to the principle of the universal moral law, it is also important to consider every action and its consequences. Thus, the standard is more difficult. It is no longer enough to follow the basic rules, avoid jail time, and strive to become a model citizen. In my philosophical framework, success metrics are not measured in terms of titles, riches, and accomplishments. Success metrics are measured in terms of the happiness and success of the children. This is the top priority. A close second is the happiness and success of the spouse. This is followed by a reminder that every decision or strategy must be implemented without ignoring the parents’ honor and legacy. This is followed by the need to nurture relationships outside the home, such as friends, neighbors and the other members of the community.
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A Better World
I believe that strict compliance to this standard guarantees a positive turnaround in the homes and community. At first glance, it seems like a difficult challenge. However, after considering the implications, the upgraded version of the basic moral law enables the person to focus on the most important things in life. There is less pressure to accumulate wealth. There is less pressure to attain a certain social status. In addition, the decision-making process is simplified. All decisions or strategies that are not beneficial to the long-term growth and development of the children are automatically dismissed as non-essential. In addition, if the person is willing to go all the way, he or she will consider the long-term success and happiness of his or her respective spouse. The end-result is a more stable home, a perfect recipe for creating a better world.
It does not require a social scientist or an economist to figure out the root cause of social ills. Unstable homes and destructive personal relationships are the common starting points in deviant or violent behaviors. These problems are never going to go away by increasing the family’s wealth or status.
My philosophical framework is based on Kantian ethics and mated to a prioritization scheme that considers the welfare and future success of children, spouse, parents, friends, relatives and the other members of the community. The list is in descending order of importance. At first glance, it seems as if the framework is an extremely difficult standard. Nevertheless, it is the only way to move forward, because it forces the person to identify the most important things in life. Consequently, the philosophical framework outlined earlier is not only a reliable moral compass that leads to a happy and fulfilled existence, it is also a framework that causes a positive turnaround in families and the community. Thus, increasing the number of people subscribing to this type of lifestyle also increases the probability of experiencing ever widening ripple effects that will eventually create a better world.