The Most Important Things
The principal things I believe in are Love and Truth. I have usually felt that Love is the most important of these, but lately I have come to believe that Truth is at least as important as Love. Perhaps they are equally important. Without both, neither peace nor happiness can be attained, personal relationships fail, businesses go bankrupt, leaders become corrupt, wars break out, the center doesn't hold, and things fall apart. But the combination of Love and Truth is a powerful force for good, and can overcome many of life's most evil and unpleasant trials.
Truth: Science As A Tool For Good
Science is not the same thing as technology.
Technology is the search for new ways to apply human knowledge to create new machines, substances, and objects to meet human needs, to improve human lifestyles, health, lifespans, or well-being, or to feed human desires, greeds, or addictions.
Science is the search for new knowledge, and for clearer and more accurate understanding of things. In other words, science is the quest for truth.
Science is greater than technology. Technology is not self-sustaining. When the underlying science is forgotten, technology collapses.
Telling the truth consistently sustains human communication and trust by preventing misunderstandings and suspicions.
Telling lies not only destroys the reputation of the speaker, but creates an environment of distrust and fear.
It is best to tell the whole truth to all persons, under all conditions, except for those rare occasions when it is necessary to lie in order to save human life. If a person tells the truth consistently, he or she will build a reputation as a truth-teller, and will be respected, revered, and looked-up-to by other persons. But if a person tells lies, he or she will be despised as a liar, and his or her statements will be ignored as being unreliable.
Furthermore, lies of omission, inaccuracy, or distortion are almost as bad as purposefully telling complete untruths. If one is unsure about something, it is better to say "I'm not sure, but I think...", or even "I don't know.". Having a reputation as a person whose "facts" are unreliable is almost as bad as having a reputation as a liar. So it's best to either tell the truth, the complete truth, and the accurate truth, or to admit, "I don't know."
Love: Caring As The Motivating Force For Good
Love is caring. Love is an overpowering urge to protect, defend, and nurture something or someone. Love is the force which motivates people to heal rather than maim, to build rather than destroy, to comfort rather than torment. Love is the cohesive force which tends to bind people together, just as hate is the divisive force which tends to drive people apart.
Love is the force which motivates most good human actions, just as Hate is the force which motivates most evil human actions.
(Sometimes the consequences of human actions belie the underlying motivations, but generally the above statement is true.)
Without Love, life is nothing but sadness, emptiness, loneliness, and purposelessness. Love is the one thing that makes life truly worth living. To be happy in life, find what you Love, and follow it. Money doesn't matter. The expectations of others don't matter. The morés of society don't matter. Only Love and Truth matter. Follow what you Love, and you will be happy.
The Interdependence Of Love And Truth
Truth is necessary to support Love. For without Truth, one does not have the power to protect what one Loves. Truth is power. Truth allows you to see clearly the reality around you, instead of bumbling around in the dark, and it is this clear sight that enables one to protect, defend, and nurture what one Loves.
Conversely, Love is necessary to support Truth. For without Love, what would be the motivation to care about truth? It is only Love that gives one the desire to know the truth. It is only Love that makes one care about whether a given fact-claim is true or false.
Without both Love and Truth, one cannot be happy in life. These two things support each other and nurture each other. Without one, the other cannot survive. That is why I have chosen to build my personal philosophy and ethics around these two concepts, rather than around religion, or morality, or laws, or rules, or currently popular fads and prejudices. Such things come and go like dust motes on the wind of time; but Love and Truth remain, always.
If you base your life on hate and lies, they shall destroy you. But if you base your life on Love and Truth, they shall set you free.