Inspired by the Pomocon gang, now posting at their new digs at Culture11. This is also deeply influenced by my notes from a class, so all respect and credit to my great teacher, Dr. Eleanor Godway.
1. My first responsibility, and my greatest priority, is my own existence.
2. I will recognize that this existence has no inherent meaning, but that my actions will give it meaning. Nothing and no one can instill my life with meaning, not philosophy, creed, code, honor, family, community, country or God.
3. My existence will therefore be forever mutable. I will always be able, for good or for bad, to change what the meaning of my life entails. Kierkegaard wrote of a monk who lived on a mountain and drank nothing but dew. One day he traveled down to town, had a single drink and became an alcoholic. I likewise live on a precipice, where everything I value about myself is at constant risk. There is no consignment to a meaning I do not want, but likewise there is no rest.
4. I will likewise judge those around me solely by their actions alone, and not by their associations, their attributes, or their utterances.
5. I will remember that like myself those around me are always mutable and changing. They have never become anything. They are in the process of becoming.
6. My responsibility for the choices I make amounts to no less than this: as man has no meaning and no purpose beyond the meaning and purpose men make, I must be an exemplar for man-- in my actions I not only create the meaning of my own life, I define what I believe it means to be a man.
7. I must remember that I will fail again and again to create the meaning of my own life in a way consonant with my beliefs about morality, ethics, interpersonal relationships, justice and fairness.
8. The recognition of this failure will in no way excuse it.
9. This above all: I will find within myself the courage to be human, even while everything around me asks me to be otherwise.
How do these beliefs effect my political beliefs? Forthcoming, I hope.