Friday, November 21, 2014

Life's open secret: Do the right thing!

An old friend called after a couple of months.  Somehow or the other, every conversation has at least one piece about how I live my life without a god or a religion to guide me.

I explained that it is really, really simple, the way I see it.  All I have to do is this: make sure that I do the right thing.  The dharma that the Hindu philosophers refer to.

I am sure you agree with me.  If not, you are not doing the right thing ;)

See, even here I can't help but kid around!

Ok, kidding aside, to me to go through life is, thus, wonderfully simple without all that baggage of god(s) and religion(s).

Of course, doing the right thing is not really simple.  For one, how do I know that "x" is the right thing to do and not "y"?  It becomes a challenge.  A challenge that forces me to think about options "x" and "y" and conscientiously arrive at a decision.

And even if I have decided that "y" is the right thing to do, well, I still have to do it, right?  The awesome thing for an atheist is that there is no hell or god's fury to worry about if I chose not to do "y."  Yet, as an atheist I end up trying as much as possible to do the right thing.

It is worth quoting Steven Weinberg, again:
 Living without God isn’t easy. But its very difficulty offers one other consolation—that there is a certain honor, or perhaps just a grim satisfaction, in facing up to our condition without despair and without wishful thinking—with good humor, but without God.  
A wonderful satisfaction, not a grim satisfaction, that I thought and did the right thing.  And then for the chips to fall where they may.

And, yes, to do all that with good humor.  Well, with atrocious humor as well. Like this one that one of the grocery store checkout clerks told me a while ago:
Q: What's red and smells like blue paint?
A: Red paint.
Do the right thing and keep laughing.  That's all there is to it.

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