I've been going through some self-examination on where I stand in terms of morality lately.

A few weeks ago, I started looking for another home church in SD, but I've given up (once again). I can say that Korean churches are the most awful thing ever - they all seem encompassed by drama of some sort, which really detracts from what you're really there for.

In high school, I was the closest thing to being a religious fanatic, and I look back now at embarassment towards that time. My thinking was so judgemental and high-and-mighty (when I hadn't proved anything at all). Part of that rubbed off in college, when I started disliking the church when I saw the hypocrisy of people claiming to be good Christians, and being anything but in real life. I saw too many people trying to give off the external image of being a good Christian, while hiding a part of their life that I didn't feel was consistent with the teachings.

My church had a huge split my sophomore year of college, and I pretty much stopped going after that. Since then, I haven't seen much to re-encourage my faith in churches - my parents church had some drama, and the offshoot of the church I used to go to has gone through some massive drama lately, too.

I tried out two churches in the SD area, and tried to find a connection to the churches, but I couldn't. The messages weren't consistent with my thinking towards life anymore. I've grown far less interested in the salvation of my soul (far too esoteric).

It's really no surprise that by the my old standards, I've grown far more obsessed with worldly things. Focusing on success, career, and finding happiness in the material things of this world would have been frowned down upon by past Roy.

A short tangent: one important distinction I've distinguished over the past year has been the concept of "nice" and "good." I used to be obsessed with being a "nice" guy, but now I realize how misguided that was. Conceptually, I had confused with being "nice" with being "good", which I believe is a moral imperative for all humans. To me, goodness is about improving the lives of the people around you and not taking advantage of people, whether it's people you know or complete strangers. Goodness can manifest itself in "nice" actions, which is why I confused being "nice" with being "good."

But now, like religion, people wrap themselves with that "nice" moniker when they're just projecting an image of being nice. Trying to be nice is being interested in others' perceptions of you, while being good is done with the interest of self-satisfaction without caring what others think of it.

Trying to be a nice guy ended up with me being a passive-aggressive spineless person at the mercy of others feelings. It's almost worse in terms of personal growth, as you're layering in an additional layer to your personality that hides your true character. And for what end? I want to be good, and if people think I'm nice because of it, that's cool. But goodness is an internal imperative that tries to breed an unselfish attitude towards the world.

Back on topic. The pursuit of materialism and the worldly things is not without a downside: overfocusing on that aspect of life makes you overly selfish and shuts you off from making the world a better place.

To me, I'm tempering my worldly pursuits with an increased emphasis on trying to be good - this is the balance that I'll need to maintain in my life to stay grounded.

Random acts of kindness, acts of private generosity, discovering truth, and attempting to understand the plights (big & small) of those around you and acting to help are imperatives that drive my life.

. . .

So what about morality? What's stupid of me in the past was that I used to think that the personal actions of those around you defined their morality. I used to look down upon people who drank, smoked, did recreational drugs, gambled, chased women, and such.

I think the biggest shift in my thinking lately is that I no longer apply a moral filter to the actions of people around me. People choose the decisions they make, and it's none of my business to judge them based on those actions. As long as you're truthful and honest about who you are, and what you do doesn't hurt others, go wild! (Spoken like a true Libertarian, I suppose)

I can say that my compass of personal actions is quite a bit different than what I expected. We'll continue to see how much I change.

. . .

The one thing I will still be disapproving of are people who don't try to reach their potential, or try to improve themselves. We live in the greatest country in the world, at the pinnacle of humanity, with the resources and tools to make an impact in so many different ways.

Conan's quote from his final show is awesome:

"All I ask of you is one thing, and I’m asking this particularly of young people: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism- it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen."

Figure out what you want to do. Work hard at it. Be a good person. Make the world a better place. That's it.

My favorite quote comes from Barbara Hall, and has been something I want to abide more towards (it's so simple!):

You're alive. Do something. The directive in life, the moral imperative was so uncomplicated. It could be expressed in single words, not complete sentences. It sounded like this: Look. Listen. Choose. Act.

Posted by roy on February 7, 2010 at 04:01 PM in Personal | 5 Comments

Related Entries

Linked Entries

These are Tabulas entries which have linked to this particular entry.

Want to comment with Tabulas?. Please login.

Comment posted on February 9th, 2010 at 07:45 PM

will worship in the hallowed church of roy. (authenticity is for lovers.)

p.s. me <3 coco.
Comment posted on February 9th, 2010 at 10:41 PM
i can never tell when you're being sarcastic or not
Comment posted on February 10th, 2010 at 05:45 PM
well shit. i think where i often get misinterpreted is when my lack of seriousness gets mistaken for a lack of sincerity. in my crazy-ass world, i don't see the two as being mutually exclusive. (it's how i roll.) and in print, i guess that can come off as sarcasm. which sucks...you should devise a mechanism roy where that doesn't happen. printed word must strive to be more nuanced!

anyway, you were doling out truths like it was nobody's business. i commend you.

p.s. go heels? er...i mean, GO HEELS!
Comment posted on February 10th, 2010 at 11:49 PM
awesome. i'm honored that you felt that way. how you been?

Jeremy (guest)

Comment posted on February 9th, 2010 at 03:07 AM
The false ego is what you described as "trying to be the nice guy."

The ego is a part of the self, not an extension nor a separate, equal part. It's what we would like to project of ourselves to others, and what we would like to repress from showing to others and even ourselves. These things that we hate about ourselves are our own inner-demons, and often times fear is used to 'distract' us and shift or hatred and blame upon other people. You don't call someone a "loser" because that person is a loser; you call him that to group or label yourself outside of who that person is, when in reality we usually hate each other because we see our own faults in other people, or because we would like to be more like someone else.

In today's world and society, we have been fighting and blaming the SYMPTOMS, not the CAUSE, of the ego. The culmination of populations of humans projecting this ego has brought immense pain and suffering, for even if oppressed governments are taken out by the people (revolution), another will inevitably take its place (think Mao). We don't fix the actual cause of the problem.. ever. We always look to our leaders to blame, or other countries, or institutions. But, god forbid, we ever blame ourselves. Facing our own demons and our own wrongs is the hardest thing anyone can ever do, and it only feeds the parasitic ego to project more of what we fear.

I think thus that morality is the realization and acknowledgement of the self, acceptance of the self, and eventually the loving of the self. You cannot project love - TRUE love, not 'love' projected because of the ego - into the world without first loving yourself.