You are right Jedi, we should not be concerned about what others think about us.
I think we should help others and be kind. This is a very thought provoking discussion.
The word noble is derived from the Latin nobilis, originally meaning well-known, famous, celebrated, which later came to mean excellent, superior, of high rank. Historically nobility required a title, conferred by a monarch or inherited. Nobles were expected to set examples of loyalty to their monarch and bravery in battle, ready to sacrifice life for honor.
What might be considered a noble life today? One in which personal interest or advantage would be sacrificed to the greater good. Pretty much the opposite of what is done in investment banking and Congress.
What, interest in money and power aren't noble pursuits? :P I'm just in a mood to question whether there is anything actually noble about any human endeavors. Certainly if there is, it is to be found in some notion of "the greater good". But let's see if there is any such thing. Why would it be any better or worse to help out many people rather than just one? What makes the ends of a collection of people any more noble than that of an individual? If we are miserable sops as individual, aren't we just a group of miserable sops taken together?
I thought a noble existence is one that is nonreactive. Generally, "noble" is a term for those that don't compromise on their values or are not troubled by the more common concerns of the base population. Unfortunately, those values aren't valued equally across the spectrum of humanity. I'll pass on nobility.
You're thinking of the "noble gases" which are inert and impervious to the attractions of passing ions anxious to bond.
What do I consider to be noble? The first thing that comes to mind are acts of heroism which actually put the rescuer at risk, and in which he has no thoughts of his own safety. Such as running into a burning building and rescuing children from a burning home. But is this noble or just an act of mindlessness or unconsciousness of what the loss would be to his own family were he to die in that attempt? I think nobility is stepping above the average consciousness of the masses. Stepping out of the crowd mentality. Still, the concept of being of service to others for me is definitely entwined with the concept of nobility. Living a noble life is about always reaching for the highest level of clear consciousness that I can be in and acting from that point of clarity in any given moment in my life. Leaving all the bs, history, chaos out of it. It is owning completely who I am and my talents and moving through life with that internal ownership. To me that is living a noble life.
Valerie, I very much like this idea of yours that nobility is raising one's level of consciousness. I have certainly felt that this has a great deal to do with living a noble life. As Socrates said, "the unexamined life is not worth living". But is it necessarily the case? Let's examine what it means to have a higher level of consciousness and see whether that leads to a more noble existence. Certainly it's all a matter of degree, one person's elevated consciousness is another's depravity. Are we talking about being able to see the world more objectively? If so, then maybe this leads to nihilism and despair. It ic certainly what has led me to question whether any of our motives can truly be considered noble. My thinking has led me to ask whether all of human endeavor isn't just an immense exercise of ego. We live as if our lives were inherently valuable, we simply take it for granted that our existence is good and see the world from an inside-out perspective, constructing our world's around the idea that we are "good", that what we ought to do above all else is exist, survive, and thrive. But of course the existence of a great many people is evidence to the contrary that human life is inherently valuable. What is it that separates the noble one's from the ignoble? I'm rambling I know, but an elevated consciousness, one that makes us aware that our value is not to be taken for granted, could in theory lead us to behave in ways which are more sustainable and more inclusive of other species and modes of existence, and this is certainly as far as I can see in the direction of what our species would need to do if it could rightly consider itself noble (and on this criteria alone, will likely fail miserably and reveal humanity to be, on the whole, a largely detestable creature). And then you could push it even further, asking whether existence itself is at all valuable. But then, I am forced to conclude that it is all that could be valuable, and of all possible experiences, the ones had with an elevated consciousness are assuredly the most noble. So, thanks Valerie! :-P