Tuesday, October 11

Principles

(Based on a comment I made elsewhere)

As I get older and see the situation I'm in I find it harder and harder to recommend any particular kind of lifestyle let alone a "good" one to the few young 'uns that I know and may have an influence over. On the other hand, I don't condone anything else either and so absolve myself of any responsibility. Yes, it's pretty comfortable sitting on this fence of mine.

On the contrary I tell people to make mistakes (although not to intentionally make them), and to even get certain things out of their systems (and then only if absolutely necessary and provided they know what the consequences of their actions).

I guess the question is whether principles and morals should exist purely for their own sake or instead to achieve an ultimate goal. The thing is that the latter isn't guaranteed whether you have principles or not. In fact you can have a still have a good result regardless of how you live your life. So what use are morals and principles then?

The only real reason to have a moral code is for your own self and not for anything in return. That's probably the most selfless, and so purest, form of having them. Still, I can't help but feel it's a tad unfair. I mean you're told that if you act good then good things will happen to you, but then that's totally contradicting what we've said above and so can't be true.

Nah, the way to do things is to have principles if you want to, but then to not expect anything in return. Your goals have to be achieved by other more practical means - unless of course these other means break your principles in which case you're probably almost totally screwed.

EDIT: After reading this back I've wondered whether perhaps I've not been clear enough. I mean hey, I'm all for being thought provoking (aha ha), but it's also worth being clear every now and then. Anyway, I thought of an example that kinda illustrates what I mean.

Back during my Deutsche internship I met quite a few new friends. Amongst them were a couple from Cambridge, the then typical Hindu-Muslim pair. I managed to get close (or maybe presumptuous) enough to ask them where they were going, and back then their reply totally baffed me. They said that they both knew the score; that the relationship had one, maybe two, years max left in it before they both would mutually end it. It would be hard, but it was inevitable and they both understood that.

I was stumped. Why would anyone put themselves in this situation? I mean what was the point? Sure they were happy in the short term but you could see them both anticipating the pain of big day when they'd have to say goodbye. Don't get me wrong; I've no problem with mix-religion relationships, but if the relationshipees themselves can't accept it, why even begin one?

Now though it makes more sense. It's not the details themselves that I understand; this isn't really about religion. No, this is about the risk and reward. I now understand why one would, and possibly even should, go ahead and have these experiences anyway (and I'm not just talking about relationships here. The same applies to jobs, education and almost anything else), since you'll almost always end with something even if it doesn't appear so. Just because this couple weren't gonna get married or have more of a long term relationship does not mean what they had was worthless.

If there are no regrets and if you become more of a fuller person afterwards then it's not a mistake or error in judgement. No, it's just learning how to live your life.