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The only rules that matter

Overheard: “it’s so much better doing things neatly and properly, even stupid things.” -the (fictional) dowager duchess of denver

So in my first post back, I warned that some of my posts would be rules for a satisfying life. I have more opinions on how to live a happy and satisfying life than any thirty-year-old should. In theory, I should be well past the hormone-fueled, passionate certainty that drives adolescents and university students. I should also (God willing) be a few decades from becoming “Old Man House”, shouting at the neighbourhood children from the rocking chair on my front porch.

That’s why these rules come with a few caveats. The first is that they’re descriptive rather than prescriptive. I’m Catholic (and mediæval) enough to to think that (a) the best rules are descriptions of the world as we would like it to be, (b) sometimes it is better to bend or even break rules than to follow them precisely, and (c) we’re all best served by being liberal with forgiveness. I’ll expand on some of those thoughts later, perhaps. I also reserve the right to revise the rules as I learn. I could call this evidence-based policy-making. But I won’t, because I’m far too sceptical of PR-driven governmental buzzword-creation (ahem).

Anyway, there are two fundamental rules, which I co-opted shamelessly from Allison D.:

  1. Don’t be an idiot
  2. Don’t be a jerk.
If you keep those two rules in mind, you won’t go far wrong. All the other rules I’ll propose are really just my thoughts on how to apply the two fundamental rules to specific circumstances. I suspect that we could call idiocy a specific form of jerkiness, and be left with one rule…but I’m not desperate enough for a TOE to distill my moral code even further. At least not right now.

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