Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, sports, and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
People Like Us offers six rules that a character's father told him to follow in life. The concept seems interesting, though not sure about the number -- seemed a bit high -- so I tried to set forth a few of my own. Turns out that around six might be right, though some basic rules (ala the two greatest commandments) can be imagined to window things down to fewer than that. Here is a possible list:
Don't be a dick. Basic rule in life. The word is crass, but with reason -- it isn't just being wrong or anything. It is being a real jerk. You can make mistakes, everyone does. It also is not a matter of weakness. Some people have limitations that are not character flaws. Different from being a dick.
Do the little things. They might add up. That's just a bonus. The point here is that it isn't that hard to do the little things and they can mean a lot sometimes. If not, they are something and there is no real good reason not to do them. Little things also can be little saving things during a lousy day or time in your life. [Addendum: Don't know if it is a "little thing," but doing a good job is important to me, even for what many might not see as important or worth the effort. To me, this isn't "too much to ask."]
Life is complicated. If something is important or a matter of some dispute, chances are that there are complications. There are various nuances. It is not black and white. Not even this rule is, since certain things are pretty black and white. Like not murdering people. But, all killing isn't "murder." See also, "assassination." [Addendum: Successful films and everything are also complicated since they have so many parts. Thus, my continual mention of supporting cast and other parts of a good film.]
Treat people as individuals. This includes realizing they are human. They aren't perfect. It might take a bit of effort to understand where they are coming from, etc. Since they are human. Also, being human means basic rights and respect. You don't have to like them or anything. They might be scum in many ways. But, they are still people and have basic rights.
Be guided by certain values. Life to have any meaning or value that is more than merely living requires being guided by certain values, be it religious, philosophical, moral or whatever. This is a basic catchall, but it also means living by a certain basic code or philosophy. In effect, have some basic purpose. [Addendum: Again, not sure if this is part of it or new rule -- maybe eight simple rules? -- but a positive mindset going into things is a basic value here for me.]
Be honest and don't b.s. B.s. is not lying as such but a basic failure to respect the truth. A certain degree of knowledge is required here, a respect for education and learning. Not being informed is the path to b.s., since you need to know certain basic things to not have an "indifference to how things really are." [Addendum: Going with #3, you are not going to be totally honest; have perspective here and someone is not a "liar" if they aren't perfect. A certain degree of privacy is also a good thing.]
I can play around with these rules some but they seem to get to some of the things of certain importance. I can add some mega rules like not doing harm -- it is related to why I'm a vegetarian, but to me at first blush it is doing a little thing. It is something I can do, like voting or trying to keep informed about certain issues. Also, in effect, I think animals that are worthy of respect are a sort of "person," so rule #4 fits there. Do not many people consider companion animals (pets) a type of person?
Anyway, no list is likely to be comprehensive or it will be so vague that it would be of limited value. Thus, the catchall Ninth Amendment or reference to "liberty" under the Due Process Clause.