Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The 10 Commandments of VIRTU3

  1. Live virtuously at all times.
  2. Act only with good intentions towards yourself and others.
  3. Act only in accordance with the rights of yourself and others.
  4. Act only in ways that will yield positive results for yourself and others.
  5. Do not act with bad intentions towards yourself or others.
  6. Do not wrong yourself or others by your actions.
  7. Do not act in ways that will yield negative results for yourself or others.
  8. Do not use good intentions to justify wrong actions or negative results.
  9. Do not use right actions to justify bad intentions or negative results.
  10. Do not use positive results to justify bad intentions or wrong actions.


  1. Since hindsight is used to judge #4 and #7, we can only act in ways that we believe are likely to result in positive consequences and avoid actions that we believe are likely to result in negative consequences. It is interesting that many people violate #10. I call it "post-justification" because they weren't really worried about the outcome when they performed the unethical or immoral act. They see some good result and say, "See....that's why I did it."

  2. With #4 and #7 it's important to continuously validate one's beliefs about expected consequences against observed reality. The adages about doing the best you can given human limitations always apply.

    #8-10 are all aimed at people who seek an affirmative defense for behavior they know to be wrong.

  3. #4 and #7 as well as #2 and #5 seem to be the same to me, so it may only be 8 commandments. Part of the beauty of the Judeo-Christian 10 commandments is their specificity. Covetousness is a wicked trait and will rot your mind from within. I don't know if people would think to insert a trait like jealousy into this set of commandments because it's not "doing" anything, it's more a mental act and a lot of people easily separate mental action from physical action. Perhaps I'm wrong about that, I don't know. It's a good list and it can easily be applied to anyone. Like the 10 commandments of my faith, it would take a bit of thought to internalize these new commandments in a way that would allow a person to truly apply them to their day to day life. The only thing it seems to be missing is the internal, psychological element of self correction and governance. Actions are not all that define our character; our moment to moment thoughts are what seem to define us.

    1. #2, 3, and 4 are positive obligations, while #5, 6, and 7 are negative obligations. You can certainly act indifferently towards someone which wouldn't violate the negative obligations, but would fail to live up to the positive ones.

      I don't disagree with you about the psychological side of things, but (as Greg Swann often says) all action goes from the inside out. Your first actions are the internal psychological ones, which don't have to lead to externally noticeable activity to count as action in my book. Cultivating bad intentions towards yourself or others is harmful to you even if you never act on them.