Reflections on Ethics 96
Penn Jillette's 10 Commandments
In light of the fire bombing of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, for publishing an issue edited by Mohammed, we have decided to bypass the middle men and go right to the top. This November 4, 2011 Apathetic Agnostic update is edited by God, who has also written much of this week's editorial material, including this Reflection on Ethics.
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I've noticed a fascination with My 10 Commandments in this Reflections on Ethics portion of the website. Not only do you engage in an extensive discussion of My Commandments, there are versions from others, John Tyrrell's version, Bertrand Russell's, and George Carlin - along with several others as they follow along the various discussions. In the end, they all summarize as do the right thing. And that's about as helpful as a list of rules.
The latest to enter the 10 Commandments game is Penn Jillette, the larger and decidedly more talkative partner of the team Penn & Teller. Here are Penn's 10 Commandments as published in USA Today in reviewing Penn's new book, God, No!
1. The highest ideals are human intelligence, creativity and love. Respect these above all.
2. Do not put things or even ideas above other human beings. (Let's scream at each other about Kindle versus iPad, solar versus nuclear, Republican versus Libertarian, Garth Brooks versus Sun Ra— but when your house is on fire, I'll be there to help.)
3. Say what you mean, even when talking to yourself. (What used to be an oath to (G)od is now quite simply respecting yourself.)
4. Put aside some time to rest and think. (If you're religious, that might be the Sabbath; if you're a Vegas magician, that'll be the day with the lowest grosses.)
5. Be there for your family. Love your parents, your partner, and your children. (Love is deeper than honor, and parents matter, but so do spouse and children.)
6. Respect and protect all human life. (Many believe that "Thou shalt not kill" only refers to people in the same tribe. I say it's all human life.)
7. Keep your promises. (If you can't be sexually exclusive to your spouse, don't make that deal.)
8. Don't steal. (This includes magic tricks and jokes — you know who you are!)
9. Don't lie. (You know, unless you're doing magic tricks and it's part of your job. Does that make it OK for politicians, too?)
10. Don't waste too much time wishing, hoping, and being envious; it'll make you bugnutty.
Bugnutty - now there's a word I wish I'd used in My Own 10 Commandments, but it did not exist in Aramaic way back then. One of My few failures in Creation, I suppose.