Money is not the root of all that kills. Ignorance is the root of all that kills, and knowledge is the basis of wisdom. Every action is the product of a thought, and every thought is a mental equation. Just like with mathematical equations, you can’t get the correct answer without knowing all of the variables. So if there’s ever a problem in your life, you’ll have a better chance of solving it by gaining new knowledge than by praying. You should also be wary of faith-based religions that tell you that it’s taboo to learn about certain subjects. Ignorance will only cripple your ability to cope with the harsh realities of life. As Isaac Asimov said, “If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.”
2. Irrational Thinking
Intelligent people still make mistakes even when they have all the information they need to solve the problems in front of them because in order to answer questions you have to know how to ask questions. You have to analyze the variables in the equation and calculate their logical conclusion objectively. Failure to do so will yield incorrect results. This is as true in math as it is in life. Thinking illogically will cause you to act illogically. Acting illogically is the definition of screwing up in life. When a large group of people acts illogically, they screw up the world. So be very wary of anyone who demonizes logic or reason. They’re a danger to themselves and others. People who think logically solve problems. People who solve problems make the world a better place for everyone.
Sometimes humans harm each other unintentionally or with good intentions. As atrocious as these transgressions may be, they weren’t done in malice. So we can say they were wrong but not necessarily evil. Legally the difference between manslaughter and murder is intent to kill. But what causes someone to want to kill someone else? I would argue that the most common cause is selfishness. Even when you’re committing a non-lethal crime such as stealing, fighting, trolling, slandering or abandoning someone, you probably have a selfish motive. There are times when it’s good to be selfish, but as a general rule, the more selfish a person is the more likely they are to harm others intentionally or unintentionally.
Sometimes people hurt others with selfless and good intentions. A good example would be parents who beat their children to teach them responsibility. There are very few instances in life where anger will improve your judgment and help you make the wisest decision. More often than not it will cloud your judgment and undermine your intentions. Even in the situations where anger is warranted, it’s best to channel that anger into motivation to analyze the problem in front of you logically and enact a well thought out solution.
Responsibility is doing that which will help you the most in the long run. This definition contradicts what I said earlier about selfishness being a “sin”, because doing what helps you the most in the long run is inherently selfish. I don’t see this as being hypocritical. I see it as being a paradox. I would make a categorical imperative that everyone should do what’s best for them in the long run as long as we add the condition that it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s quest for fulfillment. Whenever any individual fails to take care of their short or long-term responsibilities they lower the quality of their life in the present as well as the future. This causes unnecessary harm to themselves and lowers their life’s overall potential, which is all the more tragic because their loss of fulfilled potential makes them a burden on the rest of society instead of a boon. When a large group of people behaves irresponsibly then they become a massive burden on society.
We elect leaders to solve the world’s problems, but often times our leaders end up creating more problems than they solve. Sometimes, we just fail to assign someone to solve very important problems. Then all of society goes on watching television wishing those problems would get solved while saying to themselves, “but it’s not my responsibility.” The world’s problems are everyone’s problems. That makes them everyone’s responsibility. Also, we all possess the capacity to think and to act. The ability to solve problems makes us responsible for solving them regardless of whether or not anyone else has blessed us with the authority or permission to solve them. We’re still responsible for solving problems even when we’ve been ordered not to by our leaders. Indifference to the world’s problems is complicity in the world’s problems. Failing to help others in need is morally equivalent to actively hurting them.
Your life is full of problems, and your life is your responsibility. Your world is full of problems, and your world is your responsibility. In order to solve any of these problems, you have to learn as much as possible and question everything objectively. The answers to life’s questions are too important to take on faith. At any rate, nobody has the authority to tell you that you can’t seek answers to life’s questions for yourself. Taking answers on faith makes you a slave to the people who sold you those canned answers. You’re capable of more than that, and you have a responsibility to fulfill that potential, which means you have a moral obligation to not base your beliefs on faith.