A Road Map for Life – A Semi-Philosophical Discussion
Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to have a GPS for life? A really good one that could tell you which way you need to turn, what decisions you should make, warn you about roadblocks and detours? Well, guess what? There isn’t one.
We can only move forward and when we come to a fork in the road, make a decision on which way will be the best way to turn. While there is no GPS for this, there are ways we can make informed decisions on which is the best way to go. It is how we make the decisions that is important.
There is an old saying that was used years ago in the programming business, it may still be used today for all I know. I would use it when I was managing an Inventory Control department when people couldn’t understand why the order replenishing system didn’t “work”. That phrase was “Garbage in, Garbage out.” In other words, if you fed bad or wrong information into the system you would get bad or wrong results. Our minds are no different. If we fill them with bad or wrong information, we will get bad or wrong results.
There is a lot of bad information out there these days. We are influenced by marketers, television, the internet, other people, all who have their own agendas. Most of these agendas are based on three separate philosophies. These are:
- Individualism or the “What’s in it for me?” approach to life.
- Hedonism or “If it feels good, do it.”
- Minimalism or “What is the least I can do?”
I am sure there are many more, but these are the three I believe to be the most common. I believe we have let one or all three of these philosophies take over our lives. This has caused us to turn our moral compass upside down, we no longer have a clear distinction between what is right and wrong, instead we practice a moral relativism, that bases our choices on what is right for us at the time, depending on circumstances.
Moral relativism is the view that ethical standards, morality, and positions of right or wrong are culturally based and therefore, subject to a person’s individual choice. We can all decide what is right for ourselves. You decide what’s right for you, and I’ll decide what’s right for me. Moral relativism says, “It’s true for me if I believe it.”- MoralRelativism.com
No longer is there black and white when it comes to making decisions, there is a lot of gray area. How can we then make decisions? How can we make the right choice if what is right could change at any minute based upon what the majority of people feel? How can we decide what is right for us?
I believe the answer needs to be based on primarily one thing, our taking control of our own lives. This doesn’t mean only caring about ourselves and no one else, it doesn’t mean being a hedonist, a minimalist or an individualist, but it means doing what we know in our hearts to be right.
For my whole life, well at least the portion of it where I have been considered capable of making my own decisions, I have always made decisions based on what others thought would be best. I always put their “dreams” and “goals” ahead of mine. This has caused a lot of problems for me in the last ten years or so (longer than that if I really want to be honest) and now I have to live with the results and try to fix them. Whether I will be able to or not remains to be seen. I had to make a tough decision this week and I finally made one based on what is the right thing for me, what I know in my head and heart is the right thing. After all, if you don’t take care of yourself first, you will eventually be no good to others. For me this means starting over from scratch.
Am I suggesting you don’t listen to others? Heed their advice? No, but you need to first define your own rules, what is right for you. This includes determining your own standards for what is right and wrong and basing these standards on sound moral principles. Tried and true standards, not the ever changing standards attached to moral relativism.