December 02, 2012

Ten Noble Maxims

Tal all,

Several of you have asked how I try to embrace philosophy into my life. I think it was best said in these Ten Noble Maxims.

1) The world is what it is, not what we would have it be.

"Should have," "would have" and "could have" are useless phrases. What IS? Always begin with an honest appraisal of what is, not how or what you would like things to be. True change isn’t possible unless you know where you begin from. You CAN change the world, but know what it is you’re changing.

2) To thine own self be true.

Take time to discover your own true nature, who and what you are, and try to become the best "you" possible. If your nature is that of a slave, become beautiful and perfectly obedient. If your nature is that of a Master, master yourself and then learn to master others. If your nature is to follow, become a loyal and trusted follower. If your nature is to lead, become worthy of leading and inspire the best in those who follow you. Do not ignore your natural or instinctual nature, but understand and control it, rather than letting it control you. Plato was credited with the quote, "An unexamined life is not worth living.” It does indeed, come from Plato's "Apology," which is a recollection of the speech Socrates gave at his trial. Socrates is attributed with these words after choosing death rather than exile from Athens or a commitment to silence.

3) Practice honesty and integrity in everything you do.

Let your word be your bond. Give your trust to few, but let that trust be absolute. Have a code of conduct, and stick to it. Be true to those you call friend, for there is no honor without loyalty.

4) Be one with your world and environment.

This includes knowing and understanding your surroundings, understanding its natural ebb and flow. Maintain your environment, and let all your actions be in harmony with it. Know your place in the scheme of things, nature and society, and act accordingly.

5) Give honor where honor is due.

Recognize worth in others and respect that worth. If anyone acts with honor and in accord with their nature and station, give them the respect you yourself would expect in that station. If a woman is by nature free, and acts accordingly, honor her as a Free Woman. If a man is by nature a Master, but acts the part of a liar or servant, give him no respect. If a woman is by nature a slave, recognize the freedoms and limitations that places upon her.

6) Whatsoever you do, do it fully and with your heart.

If any act is worth doing, it is worth doing well. Don’t be satisfied with "good enough", strive for perfection. Whether you are working in wood or stone, writing a paper or software program, cooking a meal, planning a battle or designing a cathedral - take pride in your product and make it the very best you can.

7) Live each day as if it will be your last.

Let no needful thing go undone. Make plans for the future, but with the assumption you might not be there. Love fully, mourn freely, celebrate openly and fight valiantly. Live without regrets.

8) Accept responsibility for yourself, your actions, and those things dependent upon you.

Defend yourself, your rights as you see them, those dependent upon you and your property. Blame none for the consequences of your own actions, or the vagaries of fate, except yourself. Expect no one else to defend or provide for you without a prior arrangement. Understand that the world isn’t fair, nor does it owe you anything. Take charge of your own destiny.

9) Respect in their places wisdom, strength and beauty.

Give anyone or anything that exemplifies any of these three, their due. Recognize and praise these things wherever they are found, in proportion to their worth. It takes wisdom to ordain, strength to perform, and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings.

10) Find some work or purpose and excel at it.

Discover those things in you that are unique and valuable, and glory in them. He is most blessed that loves his work, that spends his days doing what gives him joy. I can hear angry hornets buzzing all ready. I’m not totally satisfied with this list myself; part of it is too wordy, not nearly "elegant" enough. But I somehow doubt the original ten commandments, given to Moses, as we eventually received them, were a first draft.

I wish you all well.