As I have discovered late in life, everyone is regulated by a self-imposed set of values. Whether their values are stringent or liberating, everyone without exception has placed a lower case 'g' god at the center of their universe. Whether this lesser god is a vocation or an addiction, or whether it is
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Reward & Punishment is a system that governs the people. It is dependent on enticement or persuasion and tends to feed the individual's ego with desires or it attempts to manipulate the ego through fear. It does not necessarily seek long-term results and prefers short-term pleasures. Our lesser god, the central anchor (in this case a social contract) will reward us when we do right or punish us when we go astray. Here's a glass of wine for good behaviour or a glass of vinegar when we falter. Or maybe its a pat on the back for good work or a slap on the hand for misconduct. It is purely conditional. You are unable to function accordingly without a reward in sight or without the fear of being punish when you do wrong. So within the confinement of this system, the only way we primates can govern ourselves accordingly is by chasing the dangling banana in front of us (reward) while a ravenous lion gives chase behind us (consequence or punishment). Albert Einstein, arguably one of this planet most brilliant mind in history stated that “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.” There must be a better way.
Most certainly there is. The alternate to the reward and punishment system is the beneficial principal. It governs itself lovingly. The beneficial principal seeks advantageous long-term results. It is sacrificial, supportive, and grateful of others. It will accept pain if it promotes long-term stability for itself, its social cell and social cell-cluster. It will reject short-term pleasures if it does not produce long-term beneficial results. It is motivated to love and to live in peace.
"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”
It does not require a reward or fear to keep them in line because it esteem all life and relationships. It would not nor could not ruin an individual and its livelihood. A person with genuine love benefits from altruistic acts of benevolence. Mother Teresa was quoted as saying; “let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” The beneficial principal gives unconditionally and don't look back. This precept is rooted in the golden rule that has been taught by the wise through out history. It crosses all philosophical, religious, and humanistic boundaries. It is the only way and the truth to life.
Choose to govern yourself lovingly! Choose to anchor yourself with the greater god; the God of Love.