These Goals are Meant to be Appealing and Significant

Imagine two neighbors of different religions, cultures, or races. Are they living comfortably together or is one trying to get the other to move away? If the latter, is the effort subtle or vicious? We’ve seen recent examples of a vicious effort; it was called ethnic cleansing. Ethnic cleansing is an extreme response to distrust and dislike between neighbors of different backgrounds.   Go to
a discussion of the first goal.

Now, suppose each neighbor knows that both are trying to live up to these six goals, that the six goals are respected by people of both backgrounds. Each neighbor becomes aware of significant aspirations that both have in common. Do you still see one neighbor trying to get the other to move away? It could happen but it is a lot less likely, isn’t it?

I wrote these goals for myself but, at the same time, I tried to create goals that people of almost any religious belief or nonbelief would love to be able to live up to. That's because I wanted both those neighbors to find these goals appealing. I wanted goals that would stretch me in significant ways but I also wanted goals that would let people of different backgrounds be aware of significant shared aspirations.

Most people will be able to think of a significant goal that is not present among my six. The reason may be that I felt that there are plenty of good and honest people in the world who would not quite agree with that goal. The reason also may be that I felt that goal was covered well enough by the others. Finally, the reason may be that I made a mistake.

The fact that I didn't simply copy the Ten Commandments is due to the first reason. Much of the world does not belong to any of the great religions which grew from the Old Testament. I wanted to reach everybody without taking the time to explain things like how people can believe one must not kill and yet still go to war.

There are no goals among these six that explicitly prohibit lying or murder. The reason is not that many good and honest people would disagree with such goals. Rather, the reason is that these two goals are covered pretty well by the other six: you cannot tell a serious lie or commit murder while trying to exercise your will in harmony with others and while trying not to hurt them.

The second goal, "neither hurt others nor be overly touchy", is more flexible than "thou shalt not kill". It forces you to balance killing against other kinds of hurt. It admits that there may be circumstances (such as war) in which killing is justified. I have the utmost respect for those would never kill under any circumstances but few people aspire to such sainthood.

The third reason you may know of a significant goal that I have missed is that I may have made a mistake. This possibility may cause you to ask "who are you to be writing such daily goals?" My only answer is "a curious soul who has knocked around the world a bit." It is a weak answer to a poor question. The worth of these daily goals is not lessened because I am a nobody who cannot always achieve his own goals. The worth of these daily goals is determined by the variety of people who find them to be appealing and significant and who aspire to achieving them.

Ask whether you think you could improve yourself by trying for these goals. Then, ask whether you could find some common ground with anybody else who is sincerely working towards these goals. My feeling is that your answers to these questions will be "yes" and "probably".

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