It makes sense to comment on the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece suggestions from the Oracle at Delphi published on stone stelae about 570 BC because they were in a profound way the foundation of our Western Civilization. They were widely published and thus the Greek-speaking people learned how to read and write their language. They were the first common people of the world to ever have that opportunity. Fortunately, the Sages chose to publish something that could be easily learned in small dollops of wisdom. Mostly they were word pairs in the form of common-sense suggestions for proper ways to behave. Earlier Hammurabi had published harsh laws on stones that were placed about his kingdom with proscriptive demands coupled with terrible punishments for failure to obey his laws.
The Sages’ ideas were more like moral ideals that ordinary people could think about and apply to their daily lives. They were not coupled with cruel physical punishments like Hammurabi’s laws, but with positive personal rewards. The rewards were in this world and were similar to a karmic feedback for behaving well, but the benefits are to come to the person in this life and in a tangible way. These ideals must have worked well because over the next couple of centuries Greece flourished from a remote rocky peninsula to the intellectual source of the world for the next two millennia.
The Seven Sages of Greece tip #133 is a good example of why these ideas helped these early Indo-European People (PIE) become so well organized and powerful. #133 states “Use your life as an opportunity for good deeds.” Many people throughout history have wondered about the meaning of life in general and their lives in particular, and even to this day a common question is “What is the meaning of life?” Some say to serve the gods, some to serve the church, some to serve your government, some to serve your family and let the rest be damned, and some say to serve your self alone. That last one is very popular these days and many public people will say with a calm assurance that “Greed is good!” They claim that idea, first proclaimed by Adam Smith in 1776 in his book The Wealth of Nations, is the foundation of humanity’s super success at dominating the world. Their proof of success is that the population of humans has grown from less than a billion to almost eight billion people.
I would rather live in a world where people’s life goal was:
Use your life as an opportunity for good deeds.