“Freedom, morality, and the human dignity of the individual consists precisely in this; that he does good not because he is forced to do so, but because he freely conceives it, wants it, and loves it.” Mikhail Bakunin
If we were all to individually cause as little suffering as possible and to spread as much goodwill as possible, the world could be transformed.
Ultimately, the finitude of life is the real foundation of morality – since our lives are relatively short-lived, time so precious – we should strive to suffer the most minimal amount possible, we all want to maximize our well-being and happiness. The most powerful similarity we share with the rest of animalkind is a preference every living being shares – striving to avoid pain, suffer as little as possible and be comfortable.
If an individual animal being is caused unnecessary suffering, that individual is forced to waste its most precious resource – time and experience. An individual’s very world is put on hold when it has to suffer – pain and torment is is such a great theft of the things most valuable – time and comfort. As a society – both human and the wider ecosociety of conscious creatures – more commonly referred to as “the wild” – we owe it collectively to all to minimize suffering. This is the foundation upon which our theories regarding how to treat life ultimately originate.
The more you give, the more everyone gives – cooperation and generosity is the optimal strategy for life – the more you give, the more good is perpetuated, tit-for-tat with the rest of society. Being friendly, courteous, kind and peaceful really helps the life around you and also helps promote more compassion, fueling the good.
Perhaps giving a kind listening ear to someone, offering a piece of bread to a duck, or rescuing a trapped spider instead of killing it – these actions all leave the recipient better off, as well as the giver of goodwill. These two-way, beneficial relationships improve both the individual who is doing good – they receive glowing happiness and contentment, knowing that you leave all people and animals feeling better for having interacted with you – as well as the recipient who has a basic need fulfilled from the good deed.