Your Better Self > Communal Existence > Review > Goodness is Natural

Goodness is Natural

But Injunctions are Hard

The Primal Injunctions are simple and obvious, but often hard. They are hard not just because they run counter to our egocentric drives and wishes, but because there is no let-up. Not only that, they are numerous—and several commonly apply simultaneously. They often run counter to social expectations and the examples of leaders e.g. is everyone always doing their best? does everyone hold ideals? is getting enjoyment promoted as a spiritual necessity?

Egocentricity is a good. We could not do anything without our ordinary everyday unique self. Our wishes, experiences, urges, and needs are extremely important to us and they should be. As mature adults, we must look after ourselves and we must rely on ourselves. Otherwise no-one will be able to rely on us.

While there should be no doubt about the human value of egoism, it is a ground state and the Primal Injunctions exist to urge us to do better. So, in practice, egoism is often the lesser good—which is the accepted definition of evil.

ClosedEgoism and Altruism

Some Precepts are Easier

Precepts, despite their emergence from Injunctions, do not seem quite so demanding. Many are widely perceived as part of natural decency, and commonly taken for granted in social dealings. However, there is a variation in acceptance.


■ Unite with others. The importance of the Golden Rule is widely recognized—so long as it is not taken too far. Even those who are community-centred put limits on the diversity that is tolerable.


Pay Attention Set:  ■ Be Respectful. ■ Be Trustworthy. ■ Be Humane. These Precepts are widely advocated in small groups, organizations and large societies. They do get breached, but then typically generate guilt and shame—which indicates their vitality in the psyche.

Get a Grip Set: ■ Find Your Opportunities. ■ Apply Your Strengths. ■ Discover Your Preferences. ■ Find Congenial Surroundings.  These Precepts show the way to safely manifest your egocentricity in society.


The values of discrimination, commitment, betterment, relationship, evaluation and toleration are widely affirmed. The Precepts that bring these alive are also generally recognized.

Once again, the weakness is found in relation to ■ Seeing Unity.
■ Allowing Coexistence and ■ Valuing Diversity are often more honoured in the breach than the observance, and when breached cause little shame or guilt. (Forcing coexistence and imposing diversity are advocated and even implemented, but that is a social matter outside the focus of this framework.)

■ Tolerate Imperfection also seems to be difficult to manage. It undermines the ideology of instrumental being that views man as a machine; and it runs counter to current attitudes of entitlement and expectations of government to deal with every risk and every ill, large and small.

Views will vary as to how well the other Precepts are being handled by most people:

■ Be Conscientious. ■ Develop Conviction.
■ Raise Standards. ■ Alter Paradigms.
■ Be Genuine. ■ Show Sensitivity.
■ Know What Matters. ■ Elevate Aspirations.

These are all natural tendencies. Exhortations to honour them are apparent in disparate areas of social life as different as marketing and raising a family.

Rise to the Occasion

These are the Precepts that are perhaps the most difficult of all.

■ Stand Up and Be Counted.
■ Make Your Mark.
■ Face Things Squarely.

All of them pit you against your self and your milieu. Adherence to these Precepts can be greatly assisted by others who appreciate the situation you are in, and know you well. But it is always up to you.

Focus on Goodness

It is possible to improve our performance in terms of these Precepts if there is a greater focus on goodness. However, to appreciate what is involved, we must go back to the Injunctions.

It seems that the Injunctions also provide us with a system that enables each of us to produce goodness and rise to moral challenges. If you want to know what is involved, start here.

Originally posted: 15-Feb-2013

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
All Rights Reserved.

comments powered by Disqus