This is how I operationalize the teachings of Ethical Culture, a nontheistic and humanistic philosophy originally developed by Felix Adler, into an actual praxis and way of life. You will notice many parallels with secular and naturalistic interpretations of Buddhism.

 

The interdependent web of all existence, or the Omniverse or the totality of all that is, is that which is worthy of our reverence and highest value. Our social, political, and economic systems need to be reformulated and based on this highest value.

 

We are all connected together, and we need to avoid actions that serve to separate or distance us from each other. We need to get that change of heart so that we can connect and value something larger than simply our own egos so we can be "saved" from our self-centered hell of our own making when we elevate our Love of Self over Compassion towards Others. The essence of true naturalistic ethics, as opposed to the authoritarian dogmatic claims of organized religions, is demonstrating our reverence of the interdependent web of all existence through our love and compassion for others, both personally and collectively. 

 

There is a paradox inherent in the nature of human reality. We are not only individual, autonomous beings in charge of our own destinies. We are also interdependent creatures cultivated by our social environment. If we are removed from their social context, our personal identities and destinies are altered. To succeed, each of us must satisfy both internal personal needs and external social needs. Integrating these two aspects of the self is the challenge of every person and the burden of ethics.

 

As we travel through the stages of life from birth to death, we must learn to create satisfying relationships with people, nature, and the universe, or we suffer the consequences. Personal ethical development comes through a mindfulness of the interactions of our actions and their consequences upon other people and living beings, including those in the future just as our ancestors' actions had consequences on our current living circumstances.

 

So our ethical ideal is not a personified "Supreme Being", but actually an ideal state of “supreme being” to be lived out in the image of an ideal community where each person and living creature is treated as unique and essential to the whole in a state of interdependent, eliciting-the-best relationships necessary for humans and other living creatures of the wider community of life to experience and benefit from being organically. Each also elicits the best from all others. Such a person lives by ethical values derived for that end, whether called the Great Commandment or the Golden Rule or the Ethical Axiom. The result is a whole greater than the sum of its parts, an Ethical Society or Culture.

 

Ethical Culture is eventually achieved through the individual practice of Ethical Mindfulness. To summarize, Ethical Mindfulness promotes a conscious ethical life, without supernaturalism, where one developmentally evolves from a completely egocentric or self-centered view of life to a more unselfish and community-focused view of life. Ethical Mindfulness promotes the Ethical Axiom (the Ethical Culture equivalent of the Golden Rule) which is to act in such a way as to elicit the best in others and thus in myself. Personal ethical development comes through a mindfulness of the Ethical Manifold - the interactions of our actions and their consequences upon other people and living beings (including those in the future just as our ancestors' actions had consequences on our current living circumstances). By being mindful of the interconnectedness of all life and listening to one's conscience, we can open our hearts and minds to transformation. Mindfulness practices such as meditation help to train the mind to make Ethical Mindfulness more of an ongoing habit before one chooses to act, rather than simply responding from habit or reacting from an emotional response.

 

The essence of truth is the impermanent, and also interdependent nature of all life. When we can fully and deeply appreciate this truth, "good" things like compassion for all living things, can arise within us.

 

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Replies to This Discussion

What a load of crap. Instead of thinking scientifically and rationally you can live by the fucking philosophy of some dead guy. Anyway, I have photographic proof that Felix Adler tried to fuck a horse at a watering hole.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

Felix Adler (front right) just after he tried to fuck a horse at a watering hole.

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