The philosophy of our age is you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. On the surface this statement looks fairly sensible. It looks like freedom of speech, of action. But can you have true freedom with no (or little) boundaries?

‘As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone’ is a subjective boundary. You can put it where you like and justify almost anything, as long as it feels right to you. But what if my behaviour doesn’t feel right to someone else? What if I am hurting someone and they are so politically correct, so polite that they can’t say anything? And this philosophy doesn’t apply to everyone.

Take the swear word ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ for instance. If you’re a Christian and someone swears with these words, it can be highly offensive but most people continue to say it regardless. And who are we to say who is going to be hurt and who isn’t? It’s subjective and we don’t know everything.

Our individualistic society is a little blind. We’ve lost a beautiful sense of community and compassion. I know the past was far from perfect but I kinda miss manners and lovely words and the respect that all brought. People were unafraid to show that they cared. They would bring meals, make phone calls, write letters and were careful (in public at least) with what they said. Or perhaps I’m remembering some kind of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ type of reality that never really existed.

To be frank, I really don’t think many of us stop to consider whether we are hurting people. We’re kind of desensitised to that kind of compassion because we’re individuals now and we have rights. The individual always trumps the group/community. It’s a stubborn, narrow view of the world in my opinion.

We are not islands. We have been made to live in community. It’s a beautiful thing. So perhaps the new philosophy should be ‘Do what is beneficial not just to you but to your community – speak life into those around you, be generous, be considerate and don’t be afraid to love.’ It’s a little long-winded, I know, but you get the gist!

What philosophy do you think the world needs to adopt?

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