Well, sir if life were that easy to begin with the world would be a whole different experience. Life isn’t about learning how to take care of yourself, understanding and knowledge of others is of vital importance to create a socially functionable person. Some people are born into situations where they have responsibilities that others depend on them for, and that fact is out of their control in some cases. Situations differ, look at everyones perspective before focusing inward.
Right now there is a huge focus in the environmental movement on people making changes in their individual lives, to reduce their personal contribution to global warming, pollution, and other problems. Personal change is hugely important, and doing whatever you can to reduce your negative impact on the planet is a worthy goal. However, individual lifestyle changes will almost certainly not be enough avoid environmental catastrophe. The reason is that many of the most important threats to the planet are built into the way our society currently runs, meaning that addressing the problem will require societies to make fundamental shifts in how they work. For instance, according to leading climate scientists the most effective thing we could do to stop global warming is to eliminate coal-fired power plants. Yet most industrialized nations and many developing countries still rely on coal for a huge percentage of their electricity needs. It isn’t enough for individuals to simply reduce the amount of electricity they use; we also need to confront the source of electricity generation, replacing coal-fired power plants with renewable energy systems. Individual changes are important and should be encouraged – but to really save to planet, we need people to get involved in creating political, economic, and social change on a large scale.
I love that this question touches on so many things important to me… Might I recommend Jean-Paul Sartre and his philosophy concerning the morality of atheistic existentialism. I know, atheism and existentialism should go hand in hand but they don’t… not entirely and Sartre can explain it:
“If, however, it is true that existence is prior to essence, man is responsible for what he is. Thus, the first effect of existentialism is that it puts every man in possession of himself as he is, and places the entire responsibility for his existence squarely upon his own shoulders.” (From Sartre’s essay Existentialism is a Humanism… see link below)
What Sartre is basically saying is that without God humanity is forced to accept responsibility not only for their own actions but for the whole of humanity. Thus, in order to answer your question more directly I’ll point you in the direction of Immanuel Kant and his principle of the universal imperative, aka the first maxim of the categorical imperative… “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” If you desire to lie then you must consider everyone in the world will lie at which point humanity would be unable to function… everything people said would be noise. Therefore, consider a world in it’s entirety where human beings took absolute responsibility not only for themselves but for everyone else… including the unborn… would that change the world? Most certainly it would… for the better? almost without a doubt… good luck.
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