A while ago a pair of young LDS missionaries came to the door and we had a good discussion. Not that I felt any desire to ‘convert’ (as I have read the Book of Mormon and share the same opinion of it as I do of the Bible), but the Articles of Faith that they gave me did got me thinking about my own Articles of Faith (or my beliefs), based on my interpretation of Stoic philosophy.
- That the only things I can control are within me, all else I can only influence
- That I cannot control the outcomes of that which I work to influence, only my efforts, thus I will not be elated or disappointed by what results
- That I can live a ‘good’ life by working every day to make choices that promote rational thought, calm emotions and courageous action, and by avoiding choices that support the opposites of these
- That I do not control fortune, likewise I will not be deterred by fortune but will persevere regardless of circumstance
- That the potential for both good and evil exists within me, it is the choices I make that determine which manifests
- That I cannot understand the decisions of another until I have lived their life, thus I will focus on my own life and path
- That the truth of a matter does not correlate with the numbers who believe in it. The greater the claim, the greater should be the proof, and the burden is on those making the claim.
- That my roles in life are as a provider, a protector, a nurturer and a care giver, first to myself, and then to others, to the best of my ability
- That the only scorecard that matters in life is the one I keep, based on how well I think I have worked to live a virtuous life, not on what I have achieved or possess, nor the opinions of others
- That as Edmund Burke is says, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it”, equally applies to knowledge and rediscovery – that my learning will be a lifelong endeavor
- That desire is the root of unhappiness, by focusing my attention on what I don’t have, rather than appreciation for what I do have. Whenever I am unhappy I will look to what I am desiring for the cause of my discomfort
- That morals are the rules of ‘right’ vs ‘wrong’, based on religion, culture or politics, while ethics are the rules of ‘good’ vs ‘evil’. When faced with a conflict between the moral and ethical decision, I will strive to choose the ethical path.