[All the Living Morally articles are: “Must Choose,” “Own Mind,” “Must Learn,” “Must Think,” “Be One’s Best,” “Must Work,” “Be Free,” “Right Relationships,” “Mind Own Business,” “Self Defence.” Links will be added as articles are published.]

This article continues the discussion of the practical application of the ten moral principles described in the article, Principles to every day life and the advantages of living by those principles.

Moral Principles Are Practical

Moral principles are reality based. They are determined by the reality of physical existence and our own natures as human beings. The purpose of those principles is to guide our choices and actions to achieve success as human beings and to be all we can be. The ultimate purpose of moral principle is the enjoyment of our lives.

Must Work

The article, “The Only Path To Success And Happiness: Knowledge And Work,” describes the moral necessity of work like this: “Reality (or nature) does not supply human beings with any of the requirements of their life—neither food, clothing, shelter, medicine, wealth, or knowledge. Everything a human being wants or needs to live successfully and happily must be acquired and produced by intentional conscious effort. Living, for a human being, means producing all that one’s nature requires to survive and prosper.”

The Rewards Of Working

The material rewards of productive work are obvious. They are all the material things your earned wealth makes available to you, beyond the fundamentals of food, clothing, and a home, there all the things money makes it possible to do and have which are required for a successful life: means of transportation, tools and machines, the means to prepare for emergencies, and the ability to cover the expenses of living fully.

The most important rewards of productive work are psychological: the reward of knowing you are worthy of all the material things you enjoy, because you have earned them; the reward of knowing you are competent to provide yourself with all you require to live and succeed in this world; and the reward of your knowledge of your own self-worth. The knowledge that you are worthy of your life, your success, and all you have is the reward of personal integrity without guilt or regret, the purest form of joy and happiness.

The Penalties Of Not Working

Whatever you have and enjoy in life, whether wealth, goods, services, pleasure, or position, had to be produced by human productive effort. If you have not earned or produced them yourself, you had to acquire them by stealing them or cheating them out of someone else who did earn or produce them. Whatever you have acquired in life without producing or earning makes you dependent on those who can and do produce what you have and enjoy. It means you can never know if you are worthy of the life you enjoy at someone else’s expense, and that you are more than likely incompetent to live your life without depending on others.

If you do not do the productive work required to live and survive, there is no way for you to escape the consciousness of your own failure as a human being, knowing you are living as a worthless parasite and a kind of slave to those others your life depends on.

What you are is what you have made of yourself. If what you have made is only a being dependent on the victims of your scams and the “charity” of others, what you have made yourself is something worthless. It is possible to fool others about what you actually are, it is not possible to deceive yourself about what you really are.

Productive Work Is Its Own Reward

The joy of productive work far exceeds just its material and psychological rewards. Productive work, after all, is what human nature is all about, producing and achieving and making oneself the best human being one can be. It is the only thing that truly satisfies our human nature and the desire to really be something of value and importance.

Of all the pleasures this world and our life makes possible, the joy of accomplishment and achievement are supreme. There is nothing that can take the place of learning how to do something difficult so well that it becomes “easy” and a joy to do. Whether it is some physical operation, like learning to operate a complex machine, or a mental operation, like learning how to use a programming language, or how to cook, or how to hunt, or how to fish, or how to make love.

What we do is what we are. No matter how simple or profound, it is what we have accomplished by our own effort that defines our life and who we are. Without productive work no real satisfaction in life is possible, nor any true happiness.