People often ask me where my morals come from, since I don’t have a religion. I rejected my mother’s and stepfather’s religion (Christianity) years ago, when I was a kid. Then, my reasoning was that a just God, a God who was truly the pinnacle of everything good, would not allow such suffering as I was blindly dealing with and could not comprehend then. And certainly He would not allow the far worse suffering that millions around the globe go through every day. That was my reasoning then. I still hold that sentiment today, though I’ve found numerous small reasons why I disagree with Christianity (and other religions) as well.
My morals come from decisions I make from my observations of the world. The old Roman doctor’s motto “First, do no harm”–I may not be a doctor, but I have taken it heart. I go out of my way to not cause others pain, and I wish to ease the suffering of others whenever I can, though lately I have been wondering what the point of it is, really, when the world is just going to create more suffering. It’s due to the nature of humans, I have realized. People are inherently selfish, greedy–looking out only for themselves and sometimes a few people close to them. Note that I don’t call them evil. Good and evil are human constructs; they don’t exist in nature (is the lion evil for eating the zebra? I don’t think so). And yet even I still use the terms, when describing something that goes against my own morals, which I tend to stick to against all else; it’s something I’m proud of myself for. But sometimes the world just seems like too much, and maybe this is my psychotic depression talking, but sometimes I’m not certain this is a world I even want to live in. Sometimes when the feeling is especially overpowering, I half-wish a great meteor would strike the Earth and wipe out the human race, leaving only ancient ruins for the next species to evolve on the planet to ponder at. Maybe the next species would get it right. Probably not.
That’s pretty dark, and incredibly misanthropic, I know. But sometimes that’s just who I am–a misanthrope who paradoxically continues to strive for good in the world, even if I don’t believe it will ultimately make any difference. People will continue to wage genocide, people will continue to live large while others starve, people will continue to hate/fear what they don’t understand, and that includes other people, such as the mentally ill.
Speaking of hating and fearing what we don’t understand, and linking back to earlier talk about atheism, I certainly don’t understand death (no one alive does) and part of me certainly fears it. For all I know, to die is to cease to exist–a flame simply gone after burning brightly describes it well. For a while, I feared death so much that I feared sleep (dying unware is what I really feared here–at least when you’re awake and you have a heart attack, you feel it coming). I literally developed insomnia; I would stare up at the ceiling from my bed until my brain finally force-quit my body into its sleep mode. Eventually, I came to hope that maybe, somehow, there is something after death, and that eased my mind a little–it still does. I know it’s irrational, but what else is there to hope for? I can’t stand the thought of not existing at all. So in that way I’ve come to terms with death.
I’m nearing the end of my rant now. I have things to do for my psychology class. Isn’t it funny; part of the reason I’m even going into the field of psychology is to help people. I wonder what that says about me.
Maybe part of me still has some hope for the world, after all.