Thursday, January 28, 2016

What can you control in your small world?

My own little world revolves around
family and friends. I try to make it
a good place to be.
My friend and I were talking yesterday about how hard it is to be civilized. Really, really hard. As civilization has evolved, man has learned that it is not okay to act like a caveman anymore. Living with other people peacefully has left us with tasks and restraints that our baser being does not want to obey. And, surprisingly, is it not the big things that get us.

It is our behavior with those around us, what we think as we look out our front window, feeling superior to those less fortunate and our tendency to act on our anger that creep up on us. Being a good person is very, very hard.

In fact those humans that wrote the bible talked about those instincts back when civilization was emerging  tells us how slow we are to civilize ourselves. They are not listed as such in the bible but do appear in Proverbs. From what I can find they may have been collected by scribes of King Hezekiah, who reigned from 715 to 686 B.C. I suppose they could be the root of all evil. They are:
Envy: the desire to have an item or experience that someone else possesses.
Gluttony: excessive ongoing consumption of food or drink.
Greed or Avarice = an excessive pursuit of material possessions.
Lust: an uncontrollable passion or longing, especially for sexual desires.
Pride: excessive view of one's self without regard to others.
Sloth: excessive laziness or the failure to act and utilize one’s talents.
Wrath: uncontrollable feelings of anger and hate towards another person.
These are not the big things that we think about in today's world. Notice there is no mention of terrorism or war or theft or shunning. The fact that we want what another has is not something we necessarily think of as a big thing. It is when we act on these impulses that we get ourselves in trouble.

But as my friend and I continued to talk, it occurred to me that making things better in our world is all about what we as individuals can control. It all happens in our very small personal theatrical stage.

Controlling our weight, keeping our space and ourselves clean, being less confrontational and angry, spending less money and giving up greed, being happy not envious of other's successes, remembering to never make another feel unworthy because we are prideful and last but not least, being virtuous in our personal lives are all situations that are very close to home. And no one else save our self can control those urges.

It really is all about our own little world. Could it be that if we actually did what we ALL could to be better as individuals, the rest would follow?

What do you think.

It is a thought!  


Note: I just want to tell you that I am not a church goer and do not belong to any particular religion. But, when it comes to ethics and virtue, one cannot do better than study the world's religions. I just happen to be more familiar with the Bible than any other book on religion.


  1. Excellent reminder and very true, our individual actions have long range consequences on ourselves and those around us. The more of us that try to avoid these behaviors in ourselves rather than ignoring or celebrating them makes a better society.

    1. Yes we are the bits that make up the whole. When we do the right thing the whole benefits. I love that thought don't you?

  2. I, too, am not religious but if we all avoided those "seven deadly sins," it would go a long way to improve our world and our society.

    1. You get it don't you? Thank you for your comment.

  3. No man is an island. We learn that in this life. Our decision impact others for good or for bad. Like you, I try to create a place of refuge and rest and peace for all who enter my home and my world. I was just writing about this in my journal yesterday. While my husband and I don't have a perfect marriage, I do believe we have created a place where we can both retreat from the world and experience rest and peace. My children tell me that my home is such a place of healing for them. We all need to provide what good we can to a hurting, broken world.

    1. You are so right Sally. We are usually in control of our own small world and it is our choice as what that place is. I for one think that if we all worked on our own place the world would indeed be a better place.

      You family is the true gauge of your success and I think you are doing something very right.

  4. I agree with you except for the part about the high standard represented by the ethics of the world's religions. I see religion as more an obstacle to ethics than an aid to ethics because its impetus is on promoting its own little tribalistic niche at the expense of others.

  5. I love to hear diverse reactions to what I say. Thank you for your input.

    1. I share your love. If I didn't, I couldn't write as I do.

  6. I could not agree with you more. It was fun to study many different religions and find that the "seven deadly sins" were common to most of them. The more we are different, the more we are the same!
    I enjoy celebrating my vision of God through my religion. The unfortunate part of not continuing in any religion is I am finding the "stories" of why it is important to be moral beginning to disappear. It is nice to think kids will just "get it", but I was finding that was not the case in my last few years in the classroom.
    Thank you for the thought provoking post!

    1. You know I understand what you are talking about. Remember when we heard about classes taught in ethics from our parents. I wonder if we don't need to return to that type of program somewhere in a school curriculum...I also wonder if it would be even possible. Darn!


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