To my daughter: develop your own ethical framework

From papa to Emily,

As you embark on your adult life you’ll find need of principals and ethics to guide you. From your mother you’ve received the fact of being Japanese, which identity is self-contained with a quite complete system of morals and a very mature world view. You’re very fortunate to have this; though keep in mind that this is a highly specialized system which may not always fit outside the rarefied cultural atmosphere of Japan. From me you get The Good Life, which is my best effort at a system of living designed to promote a life of virtue, which is defined as improved objective well being for yourself and others. As your parents, it’s our duty to suggest and offer you our best model and system to help you get started in life. But it’s your responsibility to evaluate these to assess their worth and merit; to determine if the tenets we offer are true; and to reject any unsound claims without fear of consequence or social sancture. Beware the many readi-made systems which are out there, especially the religious ones, which lure and tempt with welcome society, offer relief from worry, guilt and death, and perhaps even explain away your doubt with dogma, and the mind-numbing agent of faith. Find your own way if you can. Begin with what your mother and I have given you, though never relinquish your adult responsibility to think, act and decide according to your own best discretion regarding what is true and real as opposed to what is simply comfortable and safe.

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