Act Like a Human

Here is an excerpt from The Questioning Way adopted for posting here on the blog.


Act Like a Human

A human is a part of the environment. He tends to act the same way as other parts of the environment. Like other animals, he acts in his self-interest. Like other animals, he prefers the path of least resistance. A cloud is a non-sentient bit of nature. A person is a sentient bit of nature. Observe the behavior of other animals, and in them you will see the behavior of man. Like cats, we are curious. Like dogs, we are loyal to our allegiances. Just as bees, we are social creatures. We sing like whales, build metropolises like termites, we are territorial like ants, and bury our dead like prairie dogs. Like many animals, we have great compassion for our young. Like many creatures, we stand by our chosen mates to the death.
Study the world. In it, you will find your own nature. When you are closest to your own inner nature, you are also closest to the basic rightness of the world because your most inner nature is a piece of the world. Man is at his best when he is at his most natural. Think of who you know that has the greatest measure of peace with himself and the world. Is this person not also the most ethically disciplined person you know? And for those of you who fear humans are too violent, think about all the people you know. How many are good people? How many have killed someone other than when fighting a war? How many of the people you personally know are axe murderers? Don’t fall for the bad news on TV. You aren’t a bad person, and most of the people you know might have their idiosyncrasies, but almost all of them are good people. Look around at the people you know and wake up to the fact that everyone on the whole planet is pretty much just like you.
As someone who believes he needs to conduct himself by his own set of rules, by a self-proscribed morality, here are the rules I’ve made for myself. I follow them with as much dedication and determination as any Christian who follows the Ten Commandments. It is my belief that just as every man has the capacity to love, so, too, every man has the capacity to act honorably.

Rules for Decent Human Behavior

1. There is something right and something wrong in virtually everything you encounter. Find both. Look for the truth in things, and remember that it almost always lies somewhere in between.

2. Live well-balanced on three legs. Do this by everyday spending as much time each day as you can at each of the following tasks:
a. Working or creating something
b. Relaxing by doing something enjoyable
c. Talking to someone you care about

3. Keep your life as simple as you can.

4. Always remember that hidden within almost every problem is an opportunity.

5. Always be kind, considerate, and fair. Bring no harm. Do not hold on to resentment. Never let go of hope. Remember to share. When you have to compromise, maximize everyone’s benefit, minimize everyone’s loss. Do not do anything you cannot respect others doing. This is called acting with honor.

6. Be aware of people’s weaknesses, but concentrate on their strengths. Keep your own affairs tidy, let others tend to theirs. If you cannot find something to respect about someone, it is your shortcoming, not theirs. This is called seeking what is reasonable in yourself and others.

7. When you are in charge, run things with as much kindness as you can muster, and keep your rules as few and simple as possible.

8. Always value people over institutions or items.

9. Prefer letting be to meddling.

10. Be true to your word.

11. Do not ask for a favor you cannot return in kind.

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