The New Ten Commandments
1- Don't kill.
Seems easy? Yes. Simple.
No? I know it's not. Is it only humans we are talking about here or does it include animals and other live beings? What about killing for food? What about killing mosquitoes? What about an ant colony invading your kitchen? Unless you want to live like or are prepared to live like Jains, it's a difficult choice. I'm not going to blame you. Still... Do what you can. The best you can. At the very least, stick to not killing your own kind.
2- Don't steal.
Includes -but not limited to- not cheating, not receiving bribes, not receiving undeserved credits etc.
3i- Don't lie.
Basically Keep Your Word! At all times. And at all costs. This is life, it may happen of course, you may not be able to keep it. Or you may change your mind after a while. If so, if you cannot or will not keep your word, tell the person you gave your word that you won't. With an explanation of why!
Includes -but not limited to- not making false accusations, not accusing anyone without evidence or proof, not betraying the trust of a spouse/friend/family/anyone. On the other hand, the devil does not necessarily deserve your honesty. Those that do lie, are not especially entitled to your truthfulness unless you choose to.
3ii- Make it a point and a life code to abide by Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi's words “Either seem as you are, or be as you seem.”
4i- Don't initiate force.
Includes -but not limited to- not enslaving, not using power to exploit others, not trying to dominate, not torturing, not harming anyone physically or psychologically with words.
Retaliation could be acceptable but needs to be thought out and weighed out carefully. Resort to power only after all peaceful means are exhausted. It might be argued that there is always another peace move you may make. But when someone does not listen to the voice of sense, use of force may be unavoidable. Though it needs to be kept at the minimum possible to bring justice and not used for punishment. Try non-violence.
4ii- Every human interaction should be based on being voluntary and self-determined as much as possible.
5i- People are inherently full of shit and full of good. Condemn the former, try to bring out the latter. Lock the door of the shit in yourself and throw the key into the bottom of the oceans. Let the door of the good in yourself open wide, out it goes into the fresh air.
5ii- You don't necessarily need to do good in the world, just don't do bad. Like the Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinop said to Alexander the Great "Stand out of my light, I don't wish for anything else," Just don't block the sun. It's enough.
6- First and foremost, look at and look for fault at yourself. We have a saying in Turkish: “İğneyi kendine, çuvaldızı başkasına batır.” It translates to “Prick the needle in yourself, the bodkin in the other.” So when you're going to prick someone, start criticism with yourself, even if small.
7- Try and keep your words, your life and your environment as clean as possible. There is enough filth around. Don't add to it. No need to add to it.
8- Try to stop evil with everything in your power. If you can act, act. If you cannot, use words to combat it. Of course evil needs to be defined first. Your evil may not necessarily be the other person's evil. If there is a possibility that that is the case, you first start with the word. Try to explain and convince, come to an understanding first. Then, if unsuccessful, take action.
8ii- Be fair and just in all your dealings. Respect human dignity, and any other life form's dignity. And even the dignity of unliving things for they might have a soul of their own too after all.
9- Be ready to question all the truths you were taught. Use the benefit of doubt liberally, lavishly. First and foremost, assume good intentions. Do not try to impose your values on others. As long as they do not try to impose their values on you, know to respect and tolerate every other person's beliefs, traditions, lifestyles even though they may not be in line with yours.
10i- Learn to use resources wisely, don't waste. And don't let resources sit idly either when there are people in need of those resources. Be willing to share. Not limited to physical property, includes knowledge and experience too.
10ii- Those who benefit from the things others share should naturally be respectful and careful not to damage the things or harm the person sharing in any way.
Let me throw in two bonus commandments for the modern age. Free of charge ;)
11i- Think twice before speaking. Or count to forty one (41).
Think ten times before posting something online. Or count to two hundred five (205).
Ask yourself if it is worth sending it, spreading your idea to the world. Nowadays, we're just publishing our daily conversations on FB and other social media. Seriously... Idle daily conversations should be kept out of comments. When you're publishing anything online, keep in mind that there are people reading comments too. If what you publish would have no meaning for any other than the one you are addressing, please send that as a personal message. In fact, do better, pick up the phone and call; hear your friend's voice, make a human connection.
11ii- There is a quote attributed to Buddha: "If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?" Apparently, it's a wrong attribution. The fact is, many people have said similar things, we don't know who is the original but no problem, it's the meaning that counts. A canonical quote is “Do I speak at the right time, or not? Do I speak of facts, or not? Do I speak gently or harshly? Do I speak profitable words or not? Do I speak with a kindly heart, or inwardly malicious?” These five questions seem to make a good reference point for every word that comes out of our mouths or hands.
Liz Ambruster puts it as "In what you say of another, apply the test of kindness, necessity and truth, and let nothing pass your lips without a 2/3 majority." This doesn't seem a bad one either.
12i- I know that you are in a hurry and have things to do, or you don't have things to do, yet you are still in a hurry. (After all, even following FB Twitter Instagram etc. needs another life.) Even though at the cost of giving up some things, slow down a bit.
12ii- Those who have nothing to do generally end up creating problems for no reason and messing the world. Kudos to the already slow ones who know how to sit still.
This concludes the dozen commandments! ;)
Note: These are the rules a society should run by. No need for more laws. Who reads the constitution and all the laws anyway? I know lawyers don't and I'm not sure even legislators themselves do! At least this is something tangible and a decent length to read.
I believe this list covers pretty much everything. However, it is a work in progress. Please come back from time to time to reread and refresh your memory and to see if there has been any changes.
Note 2: Please contribute your ideas to add to the list if you believe anything important is missing. Thank you.
Note 2ii: Please share your views too if you believe there is a mistake in the commandments and they need to be amended. Thanks again.
PS to Note2: I'm deeply and terribly sorry for the arrogance of writing down commandments. In my defence, just like I am not the one who makes me do the things I do, I am not the one writing these things, somebody else makes me write them. I'm innocent. That somebody, even though may seem too arrogant at times, is also quite self-aware; thus the need for this note.