The Ten Commandments are a moral code, designed to guide behaviour in a society

What if a future anthropologist had no access to this document except for oblique references in literature and had to recreate them from what he could learn from our behaviour?

Here is what Jack D. Forbes came up with in his book "Columbus and Other Cannibals" (1979)

1. Thou shalt make a profit.

2. Thou shalt disown thy parents when they become old and send them away to perish alone; but thou shalt put on an expensive funeral for them for appearances sake.

3. Thou shalt deceive with false looks and flattering word, for appearances are everything.

4. Thou shalt gather to thyself alone as many material things as thou can obtain.

5. Thou shalt save and hoard, sharing not with others unless for thy own self interest.

6. Thou shalt adulterate the foods which people eat, and deprive them of healthy sustenance.

7. Thou shalt take whatever thou can from the forest, from the earth, from the air, or from the defenceless and weak.

8. Thou shalt kill whenever it profits thee, and thou shalt exalt killing and violence since all progress results therefrom.

9. Thou shalt be arrogant, aggressive, and bold since such qualities insure success.

10. Thou shalt not worry about thy sins for the Almighty has arranged a means whereby thou can be forgiven, even at thy deathbed.


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