I am following up on my post yesterday about the Eternal Imperative.  I riffed off of Kant’s Categoral Imperative to offer a basic rule for morality, in three different formulations.

*Act as if you were part of a story that involves your ancestors and your posterity.

*Act as if you were working towards an ultimate goal that you could will everyone would be working towards.

*Act as if you eventually would come into a relationship with everyone past, present, and future.

Here are two more formula that I think are equivalent to those three.  But they are not obvious.

Act as if you had zero time preference.


Any good thing a person wants, if they consider that thing in light of eternity and work towards as much enjoyment of it as is possible forever, will bring them to the gospel and morality.  Goodness converges.  It doesn’t matter if its something small or great.  It could be personal contentment, family happiness, personal beauty, sex, a taste for good cooking.  Whatever it is, maximizing that thing throughout time will lead to maximizing everything good throughout time.

You likely think that this requires some specific knowledge of revealed parts of the gospel.  It doesn’t.  It just requires knowing that we and all our experiences are all eternal.  It just requires knowing a bit about  our nature.  Then it inexorably leads you on.

Everything wins.  Everyone wins.  There are no trade-offs.


Act to honor your ancestors, to be honored by your posterity, and to earn the respects of your worthiest peers

“Act as if you were going to enter into a relationship ….”– but what is the nature of the relationship.  The answer is love and glory.  Love–we care for them and their well being.  Glory–we admire their achievements, they admire ours.  Love is something we automatically think of when we think of relationship, but glory is just as important.  Love without glory is like trying to have a stick with only one end.

Acting to increase your glory in light of eternity solves the dilemma between universalism and particularism.  Universalism is too abstract.  It allows people to ignore their particular obligations and to do evil in their particular sphere on the plea that it aids some kind of universal obligation.  In other words, universalism is not particular enough.  But particularism is too particular.  Dedicated particularists end up amputating possible future friends in their devotion to where they are at now.  Glory squares the circle.  Because you wish to regard and be regarded by all who are worthy of regard, it drives you outward, it expands your mind and  your circle further and further.  But because you wish to be regarded by them, it drives you to do well in the circumstances where you are.


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