Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Decency Manifesto

The world is a cruel and harsh place. In spite of this, a few of us realize that our fates and those of our species depend on how quickly we are able to lift ourselves out of our lowly behaviors, and start acting with a higher degree of civilization.

Some people foolishly believe that money, power or fame are the keys to success, but many of us know that the only real measure of our worth comes from how the world sees us. Greed and selfishness are only the keys to loneliness.

Throughout all of the trials, troubles and tribulations of this life, we can all choose to walk a path of decency. It is a choice that each person has to make for themselves, and it is that prevailing choice that defines us. We can all choose to be decent, but few of us have the real strength to see it through. For those that try, it is an admirable road.

Being decent means:
  • accepting that there are other people around, lots of them.
  • having real empathy for others, and using it were appropriate.
  • knowing that the means are far more important than the accomplishments.
  • choosing to reserve judgment.
  • forgiving others for their faults.
  • not just mindlessly following the crowds or trends.
  • seeing the other perspective, especially when it's difficult.
  • choosing not to exploit an advantage just because it is available.
  • standing up for what is right, because it is right.
  • trying hard to understand, even when it is complex and difficult.
  • never expecting a reward, never being bitter about not receiving one.
  • understanding that quick fixes only ever make the problem worse.
  • letting go of bias and bad information.
  • taking responsibility, even when it is unpleasant.
  • doing it correctly so that it lasts.
Some people have huge piles of stuff. Some people have great tracts of land and gigantic houses. Some people have servants to do all of their bidding. But none of these things is sufficient enough to make up for inflicting any pain or suffering on innocent people. None of these things justifies horrible actions or rude behavior. And all of these things act as a reminder of how they were acquired. We cannot easily wash our hands or rewrite the past. We can't just simply act better tomorrow and expect a brighter future. We will always wear the stigma of our actions, good or bad. It is our choice. One that we are constantly making.

Inevitably, for most of us, the price of being decent won't be a big promotion, a shot at the top, or even our share of the pie. Decent people choose to behave better whenever it is necessary, which is also when it is most awkward. Decency is a hard path.

For those that try, we will just have to accept that our rewards come from far simpler things. The respect of the people around us, our guilt-free conscience and even the idea that we are leading the way forward for our species, gradually helping them to ascend from our origins.

Being decent isn't the way to wealth and power, but it isn't a path into darkness either. It's simply the greatest single thing we can accomplish with our short lives. The world needs more decent people, in fact it is in desperate need of them. It doesn't hurt to try.

Disclaimer: The use or abuse of this text for any or all 'decent' reasons is encouraged. Do the right thing!


  1. I totally agree.But can't stop thinking about money.

  2. I'm not really interested in money, but freedom from the rat race, now that's something worth drooling over ....