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Part 9: What Makes a Good World?

How do I believe the world should be for it to be a good place?
What are the important things we should aim for to make this true?

(Note: This section is a little different from the others and it may be that you feel it is not relevant to your personal philosophy. It is entirely up to you whether you wish to include it or not.)

Much of what your personal philosophy will have to say about other people is how you believe you should behave towards them and not what other people should believe about their behaviour. It's natural for us to think that if everyone had the same moral beliefs and ideals as ours, then the world would be a much better place, but My Personal Philosophy tries to avoid taking you down this route. Nevertheless, you will have ideas about what makes, or would make, the world a good place for everyone. 'World' here means the world of people - your family, your neighbourhood, your wider community, your workplace or place of study, your country, and so on, as well as our planet as a whole.

So, try to keep the above in mind when you compile your beliefs concerning this part of your personal philosophy. You will probably value some guidance here, and so may find the information below helpful.

What Makes a Good World: Suggestions


As with all other parts of your personal philosophy, you only need cover those ideals and principles that are most important to you - your priorities. Otherwise, you may end up doing a considerable amount of writing - which is OK if that's what you want to do. So let's look at some areas of life that you may feel are important to consider when thinking about what makes the world a good place.

  1. Diversity; freedom of belief and expression
  2. Health and wellbeing; care of the sick and injured and their recovery
  3. Equality
  4. Fairness; this may include the consequences of wrongdoing.
  5. Harmony between different groups, communities, countries
  6. How people in general come to feel about themselves and their value in society
  7. Quality of everyday life
  8. Children
  9. Old people
  10. The natural environment, including animals; the built environment

Some guidelines

Although this part of My Personal Philosophy is described as 'What makes a good world', you may find it easier to have in mind not the entire world (although sometimes this may be the most appropriate) but 'the world' at a more local level - e.g. your community or country.

Try to steer a path between being too general and being too specific. For example, we may all agree that a good world is one in which everyone is happy. But perhaps this is a bit too broad or too idealistic and hypothetical. Maybe you could narrow it down by saying what conditions could be in place that would promote people's happiness. So, you could say something like a good world is one in which people feel respected and valued in their own right.

On the other hand, it is probably best to avoid reference to how people should behave or think. In the last example, you could say that a good world is one in which people respect and value one another, but this is saying what you believe should be in everyone else's personal philosophy. The statement at the end of the last paragraph does not do this; it is about the desirable outcome, rather than the way that outcome might be achieved.

Let's look at another example. You may believe that for the world to be a good place, parents should do their best to help their children feel loved and secure, to teach them right from wrong, and so on. This may well be true, but once more this is an instruction to people about how they should behave. Think what the desired outcome is and rephrase this ideal accordingly: 'A good world is one in which children feel loved and secure, know the difference between right and wrong…' and so on.

A more extreme illustration might involve mixing up your political opinions with your philosophical beliefs (admittedly these will overlap). For example, you may believe that it is a good thing for wealthier people to pay higher taxes. Why? What is the desired outcome? Perhaps you have in mind equality and there not being a wide gap between the material wealth of the population. Many people may agree with this but have different ideas about how this can be achieved. Once again, it is suggested that you word your belief in the form of your ideal outcome.

So it's mainly about what outcomes are desirable rather than the means whereby those outcomes are achieved. But don't go too far by being too general and idealistic in your outcomes. Yes, a good world is one in which everyone is happy, but in what ways?

If you have a strong religious faith then you may feel that the world would be a much better place if everyone shared this faith. Or, if you are not at all religious, you may believe that a good world is one in which there are no religions. Again the risks in both these cases is that you are prescribing what people should believe and how they should behave and that your outcome is too idealistic and can never be achieved in reality. You may, however, feel very strongly about the matter or religion and faith, so it is up to you whether you refer to this. Perhaps you can find a way of expressing your belief which is less prescriptive and general.

When you are ready, go to your 'My Personal Philosophy' record and begin writing up your beliefs under the heading 'What I believe makes a good world'. You don't have to write very much about this now unless you want to expand on your beliefs - you can do this later.

Return to Part 1: What it's all about