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Everyone wants to do the right thing but what that is varies with every person, and with every moment of their life. Individuals must make choices as to their behavior even when they have no knowledge as to what any of the various factors may be, which are influencing their behavior, or what is going to be influenced by it or what the outcomes will be. Whenever a person’s behavior involves other people, which ultimately all human behavior does, then it comes under the rubric term, ethics.

What is the right thing to do is an intellectual puzzle beyond the comprehension of the greatest philosophers, but it must be and is solved every moment of life by the most incompetent person who ever lived. The vastness of the field of ethics is implied by the catalog list of ethics topics in Wikipedia which anyone can wear out their eyes upon, but it is only a catalog, it is only a map of a very large territory which is infinitely complex, but a territory which every individual must somehow traverse every moment of their life.

The most general guiding principle, found worldwide is similar to what in Western traditions is called The Golden Rule. The King James version is, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12. But there are many variations found in other traditions. The word which most people slur over is the term “should” and tend to ascribe what is implied when Confucius said in the Analects XV.24: “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” But the term “should” goes much deeper in that it means much more than what would give you pleasure or relieve you from pain, but rather it means what will help you achieve your highest attainable growth toward maturity. When looked at this way it means doing to this postulated other person what needs to be done to your own personal self to enhance your own growth toward your highest attainable goal. This means to strive to become perfect in the perception of your ideal being.

Only you can know your ideal being, and only you can know what would please this being, but it is for that being which you should “do in all things whatsoever.” When you practice this method you can improve your inner self, and become a better person. The Happiness Scale gives an ascending list of personal qualities which may be helpful, but in practice you should develop your own goals, and consider this only as a point of departure.

The question of, “What is the right thing to do now?”, is always with you personally. You are on your own path, but the way you treat other people can help you to find your way, and find yourself, and help you become what you yourself would consider to be closer to your ideal self.