Personal Philosophy of Life

What do you most value in life and why?

I value my family relationships with my two sisters, my children, and my two-year-old grandson more than anything else in my life. My son is eighteen; my daughter is twenty-five and is currently expecting my second grandchild. On a personal level, I work very hard to support my family and to fulfil my other commitments, including my academic work. Therefore, I value my free time because that is what allows me to enjoy quality time with my loved ones and other important people in my life.

As a medically trained professional, I have learned that one's health is extremely important and that one should never take one's good health and good fortune for granted. Many people take their lives for granted until they are faced with a devastating personal illness or injury; afterwards, it is too late to really appreciate how important it is to appreciate your life while you can.

What moral beliefs influence your choices and your behavior towards others?

In my opinion, the most important moral principle influencing my choices and guiding my behavior toward others is the so-called "Golden Rule" to treat others as one wishes to be treated by others. The importance of this principle to me is not necessarily a function of any religious belief; rather, it is simply a convenient mechanism for trying to appreciate situations and circumstances as objectively as possible instead of from my personal perspective. I believe that if more people simply lived by this one rule, many of the problems and instances of injustice that we regularly encounter in society would be eliminated.

What gives your life meaning?

Seeing my children become happy and successful in whatever they choose to do gives my life more meaning than anything else. Philosophically, I do not necessarily believe that my life, or any human life, has any greater inherent meaning or value than any other form of biological life. I believe that human beings are much more highly evolved than other non-human forms of biological life, but my biological studies and medical training have convinced me that all biological life is equally meaningful (or meaningless, depending how one looks at things).

Therefore, I believe that it is up to the individual to find a way to make life meaningful. Personally, I have decided that by working as a nurse I can establish meaning in my life through helping others, particularly in times of crisis and uncertainty. In my opinion, the greatest possible meaning that we can fulfil in life is to contribute positively to the lives of others. In my professional life, that means doing my best to help my patients get through their ailments; in my personal life, that means doing everything possible to help my family members get the most out of their lives and achieve their dreams.

How do we find truth?

Going back to my earlier answer about my moral values, I believe that the principle of objectivity is also the most important tool for accurately identifying the truth and distinguishing factual circumstances and logical conclusions from implausible circumstances and illogical conclusions. I understand that it may not always be possible to know the complete truth based on the available information.

In that regard, I try to approach my understanding of situations the way sculptors sometimes describe their craft: when sculpting an elephant from clay, for example, the sculptor does not shape the clay into an elephant as much as he removes all the rest of the clay that is hiding the shape of the elephant already in the block of clay. To ascertain the truth, I try to eliminate non-truths as much as I try to identify the truth, much like the sculptor who cuts away the "non-elephant" portions of the clay. In the field of logical reasoning, that is very useful because it is impossible to prove the truth but it is often very easy to disprove falsehoods. While I may not always be able to know the complete truth about situations, I can often come very close to a comprehensive understanding simply by eliminating all of the identifiably false non-truths.

Do you believe our choices are free?

Absolutely. I understand that our choices and our outward behavior are greatly influenced by our natural inclinations, our learned beliefs, and all of our previous experiences, particularly our formative experiences. However, as mentally competent adults, we are all morally responsible for…