Friday, January 09, 2009

A Superseding Commandment

There's always a big to-do about the Ten Commandments. Put them in courthouses, make public displays, blah blah.

But few people commit murder, and coveting isn't necessarily detrimental to mental health--it often leads to achievement. Not all fathers and mothers deserve to be honored. The name of the lord is taken in vain all the time without much effect one way or the other except to vent the speaker's frustration, which might be beneficial.

So let's try an eleventh commandment: gain a benefit, return a benefit. This is for the edification and moral/ethical instruction of all people who are continually takers and rarely givers, who, if they see an opportunity to get something, seize it without regard for their own obligation to be honest and decent. This might be considered a version of "do unto others," but stating it this way adds a dimension of reciprocality. "Do unto others" has the doer always doing; gain a benefit, return a benefit makes it possible for the doer to get some benefit from the world; the do-gooding is not one-sided.


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