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Leaving the world a better place

Enter here to explore ethical issues and discuss the meaning and source of morality.
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lewist
Posts: 4402
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 8:53 pm

Leaving the world a better place

#1 Post by lewist » October 15th, 2008, 8:51 pm

I spoke with my elder son on the phone tonight and he mentioned something he recalls from Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Hocus Pocus to the effect that as human beings the only thing we can try to do is to leave the world a better place than we found it.

The question is, how do we do that?

As Humanists we know that this is our one shot at life and that the only ways we live after death are - for some - through our children or - for all of us - through the results of our actions when we were alive. As with other Humanists it is an established part of my personal philosophy that I wish to live a good life but without hope of any kind of reward afterwards. I do work at it in small ways, but is that enough?

How do we leave the world a better place? I think Mr Vonnegut did, as an example to other Humanists, through the philosophy of his works and through the pleasure he gave and gives to those who read his books, dealing often with the horrific but making us smile as he does. What about us ordinary five eighths? Taking myself as an example, I will never be a great author or the like. I do a little for charitable causes but do I really make so very much difference?

What are the thoughts of my TH friends? What do we all do to leave the world a better place?
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Alan C.
Posts: 10356
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 3:35 pm

Re: Leaving the world a better place

#2 Post by Alan C. » October 15th, 2008, 11:06 pm

Lewist
What are the thoughts of my TH friends? What do we all do to leave the world a better place?
I plant lots of trees (amongst lots of other things) will make a more detailed post tomorrow, It's late :sleep:
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

MedMae
Posts: 167
Joined: March 14th, 2008, 9:46 am

Re: Leaving the world a better place

#3 Post by MedMae » October 16th, 2008, 11:44 am

lewist wrote: What are the thoughts of my TH friends? What do we all do to leave the world a better place?
Thats why I chose a career in science.
Complexity is just simplicity multiplied to a point which exceeds a particular level of comprehension. - Theowarner

Gottard
Posts: 1306
Joined: October 3rd, 2008, 3:11 pm

Re: Leaving the world a better place

#4 Post by Gottard » October 16th, 2008, 2:58 pm

Lewist,
my suggestion is:
Behave as if you would live for the next 900 years. ....and don't worry more than necessary!
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

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xman
Posts: 355
Joined: January 8th, 2008, 8:28 am

Re: Leaving the world a better place

#5 Post by xman » October 16th, 2008, 7:59 pm

I try to live every day as if it's my last. Love now, for tomorrow I'll die.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oghj7y4hluU

X
Always remember, it's your right to have a SUPER day.
If you're wrong, call me ... I'll have one for you!

Critical Thinking - http://www.skepdic.com/refuge/ctlessons.html

Gottard
Posts: 1306
Joined: October 3rd, 2008, 3:11 pm

Re: Leaving the world a better place

#6 Post by Gottard » October 17th, 2008, 11:28 am

Thank you Xman,
I saw your suggested video and got acquainted with Rajaton, nice song and voice!
As often happens two opposites join/attract; one day and 900 years may be the same, the interpretation is different.
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

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Paolo
Posts: 1474
Joined: September 13th, 2008, 9:15 am

Re: Leaving the world a better place

#7 Post by Paolo » October 17th, 2008, 11:40 am

Plan for the future, live for the present and learn from the past.

Simple, but somehow the planning and learning parts tend to get missed out by a lot of people, leading to all sorts of problems...

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Leaving the world a better place

#8 Post by Nick » October 17th, 2008, 6:09 pm

lewist wrote:I spoke with my elder son on the phone tonight and he mentioned something he recalls from Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Hocus Pocus to the effect that as human beings the only thing we can try to do is to leave the world a better place than we found it.

The question is, how do we do that?
The first thing I'd say is, don't be hard on yourself. Transient things are of value too. As Keynes said, in the long run we're all dead. I think it is perfectly OK for you to live your life in the moment. If you leave little trace of your life, it doesn't necessarily make it a lesser life,. An idea I like, is to consider your life as parentheses in a sentence: by being there you can add to the sentence, but if you are absent, the sentence gets on just fine.

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