1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
2. BE TEMPERATE
3. DON’T BE PROMISCUOUS
4. LOVE AND HELP CHILDREN
5. HONOR AND HELP YOUR PARENTS
6. SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
7. SEEK TO LIVE WITH THE TRUTH
8. DO NOT MURDER
9. DON’T DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL
10. SUPPORT A GOVERNMENT DESIGNED AND RUN FOR ALL THE PEOPLE
11. DO NOT HARM A PERSON OF GOOD WILL
12. SAFEGUARD AND IMPROVE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
13. DO NOT STEAL
14. BE WORTHY OF TRUST
15. FULFILL YOUR OBLIGATIONS
16. BE INDUSTRIOUS
17. BE COMPETENT
18. RESPECT THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF OTHERS
19. TRY NOT TO DO THINGS TO OTHERS THAT YOU WOULD NOT LIKE THEM TO DO TO YOU
20. TRY TO TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO TREAT YOU
21. FLOURISH AND PROSPER
True joy and happiness are valuable.
If one does not survive, no joy and no happiness are obtainable.
Trying to survive in a chaotic, dishonest and generally immoral society is difficult.
Any individual or group seeks to obtain from life what pleasure and freedom from pain that they can.
Your own survival can be threatened by the bad actions of others around you.
Your own happiness can be turned to tragedy and sorrow by the dishonesty and misconduct of others.
I am sure you can think of instances of this actually happening. Such wrongs reduce one’s survival and impair one’s happiness.
You are important to other people. You are listened to. You can influence others.
The happiness or unhappiness of others you could name is important to you.
Without too much trouble, using this book, you can help them survive and lead happier lives.
While no one can guarantee that anyone else can be happy, their chances of survival and happiness can be improved. And with theirs, yours will be.
It is in your power
to point the way to a less dangerous
and happier life.
- happiness: a condition or state of well-being, contentment, pleasure; joyful, cheerful, untroubled existence; the reaction to having nice things happen to one.
- chaotic: having the character or nature of total disorder or confusion.
- immoral: not moral; not following good practices of behavior; not doing right; lacking any idea of proper conduct.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
1-1. GET CARE WHEN YOU ARE ILL
When they are ill, even with communicable diseases, people often do not isolate themselves or seek proper treatment. This, as you can easily see, tends to put you at risk. Insist when someone is ill that he or she takes the proper precautions and gets proper care.
1-2. KEEP YOUR BODY CLEAN
People who do not bathe or wash their hands regularly, can carry germs. They put you at risk. You are well within your rights to insist that people bathe regularly and wash their hands. It is inevitable that one gets dirty working or exercising. Get them to clean up afterwards.
1-3. PRESERVE YOUR TEETH
If one brushed one’s teeth after every meal, it has been said that one would not suffer tooth decay. This, or chewing gum after each meal, goes far toward defending others from oral diseases and bad breath. Suggest to others that they preserve their teeth.
1-4. EAT PROPERLY
People who do not eat properly are not of much help to you or themselves. They tend to have a low energy level. They are sometimes ill-tempered. They become ill more easily. It doesn’t require strange diets to eat properly but it does require that one eats nourishing food regularly.
1-5. GET REST
Although many times in life one has to work beyond normal sleep periods, a person’s general failure to get proper rest can make him or her a burden to others. Tired people are not alert. They can make mistakes. They have accidents. Just when you need them they can dump the whole workload on one. They put others at risk. Insist that people who do not get proper rest do so.
2-1. DO NOT TAKE HARMFUL DRUGS
People who take drugs do not always see the real world in front of them. They are not really there. On a highway, in casual contact, in a home, they can be very dangerous to you. People mistakenly believe they “feel better” or “act better” or are “only happy” when on drugs. This is just another delusion. Sooner or later the drugs will destroy them physically. Discourage people from taking drugs. When they are doing so, encourage them to seek help in getting off of them.
2-2. DO NOT TAKE ALCOHOL TO EXCESS
People who take alcohol are not alert. It impairs their ability to react even when it seems to them they are more alert because of it. Alcohol has some medicinal value. It can be grossly overestimated. Don’t let anyone who has been drinking drive you in a car or fly you in a plane. Drinking can take lives in more ways than one. A little liquor goes a long way; don’t let too much of it wind up in unhappiness or death. Deter2 people from excessive drinking.
Observing the points above,
one becomes more physically able
to enjoy life.
- 1.temperate: not going to extremes; not overdoing things; controlling one’s cravings.
- 2.deter: to prevent or discourage.
DON’T BE PROMISCUOUS
Sex is the means by which the race projects itself into the future through children and the family. A lot of pleasure and happiness can come from sex: nature intended it that way so the race would go on. But, misused or abused, it carries with it heavy penalties and punishments: nature seems to have intended it that way also.
3-1. BE FAITHFUL TO YOUR SEXUAL PARTNER
Unfaithfulness on the part of a sexual partner can heavily reduce one’s survival. History and the newspapers carry floods of instances of the violence of human passions aroused by unfaithfulness. “Guilt” is the milder evil. Jealousy and vengeance are the greater monsters: one never knows when they will cease to sleep. It is all very well to speak of “being civilized” and “uninhibited” and “understanding”; no talk will mend ruined lives. A “feeling of guilt” is nowhere near as sharp as a knife in the back or ground glass in the soup.
Additionally, there is the question of health. If you do not insist upon faithfulness from a sexual partner, you lay yourself open to disease. For a very brief period, it was said that sexual diseases were all under control. This is not now the case, if it ever was. Incurable strains of such diseases now exist.
The problems of sexual misbehavior are not new. The powerful religion of Buddhism in India vanished from there in the seventh century. According to its own historians, the cause was sexual promiscuity in its monasteries. More modernly, when sexual promiscuity becomes prevalent in an organization, commercial or otherwise, the organization can be seen to fail. No matter how civilized their discussions about it, families shatter in the face of unfaithfulness.
The urge of the moment can become the sorrow of a lifetime. Impress those around you with that and safeguard your own health and pleasure.
Sex is a big step on
the way to happiness and joy.
There is nothing wrong with it if it
is followed with faithfulness
- promiscuous: casual, random sexual relations.
LOVE AND HELP CHILDREN
Today’s children will become tomorrow’s civilization. Bringing a child into the world today is a little bit like dropping one into a tiger’s cage. Children can’t handle their environment1 and they have no real resources. They need love and help to make it.
It is a delicate problem to discuss. There are almost as many theories on how to raise a child or not raise him as there are parents. Yet if one does it wrong much grief can result and one may even complicate his or her own later years. Some try to raise children the way they were themselves raised, others attempt the exact opposite, many hold to an idea that children should just be let grow on their own. None of these guarantee success. The last method is based on a materialistic idea that the development of the child parallels the evolutionary history of the race; that in some magical way, unexplained, the “nerves” of the child will “ripen” as he or she grows older and the result will be a moral, well-behaving adult. Although the theory is disproven with ease—simply by noticing the large criminal population whose nerves somehow did not ripen—it is a lazy way to raise children and achieves some popularity. It doesn’t take care of your civilization’s future or your older years.
A child is a little bit like a blank slate. If you write the wrong things on it, it will say the wrong things. But, unlike a slate, a child can begin to do the writing: the child tends to write what has been written already. The problem is complicated by the fact that, while most children are capable of great decency, a few are born insane and, today, some are even born as drug addicts: but such cases are an unusual few.
It does no good just to try to “buy” the child with an overwhelm of toys and possessions or to smother and protect the child: the result can be pretty awful.
One has to make up his mind what he is trying to get the child to become: this is modified by several things: (a) what the child basically can become due to inherent make-up and potential; (b) what the child really wants to become; (c) what one wants the child to become; (d) the resources available. But remember that whatever these all add up to, the child will not survive well unless he or she eventually becomes self-reliant and verymoral. Otherwise the end product is likely to be a liability to everyone including the child.
Whatever one’s affection for the child, remember that the child cannot survive well in the long run if he or she does not have his or her feet put on the way to survival. It will be no accident if the child goes wrong: the contemporary society is tailor-made for a child’s failure.
It will help enormously if you obtain a child’s understanding of and agreement to follow the precepts contained in this book.
What does have a workability is simply to try to be the child’s friend. It is certainly true that a child needs friends. Try to find out what a child’s problem really is and, without crushing their own solutions, try to help solve them. Observe them—and this applies even to babies. Listen to what children tell you about their lives. Let them help—if you don’t, they become overwhelmed with a sense of obligation which they then must repress.
It will help the child enormously if you obtain understanding of and agreement to this way to happiness and get him or her to follow it. It could have an enormous effect on the child’s survival—and yours.
A child factually does not do well without love. Most children have an abundance of it to return.
The way to happiness
has on its route the loving and
the helping of children from babyhood
to the brink of adult life.
- environment: one’s surroundings; the material things around one; the area one lives in; the living things, objects, spaces and forces with which one lives whether close to or far away.
- materialistic: the opinion that only physical matter exists.
- evolutionary: related to a very ancient theory that all plants and animals developed from simpler forms and were shaped by their surroundings rather than being planned or created.
- moral: able to know right from wrong in conduct; deciding and acting from that
- precepts: rules or statements advising or laying down a principle or principles or a course of action regarding conduct; directions meant as a rule or rules for conduct.
- obligation: the condition or fact of owing another something in return for things, favors or services received.
HONOR AND HELP YOUR PARENTS
From a child’s point of view, parents are sometimes hard to understand.
There are differences between generations. But truthfully, this is no barrier. When one is weak, it is a temptation to take refuge in subterfuges and lies: it is this which builds the wall.
Children can reconcile their differences with their parents. Before any shouting begins, one can at least try to talk it over quietly. If the child is frank and honest, there cannot help but be an appeal that will reach. It is often possible to attain a compromise where both sides now understand and can agree. It is not always easy to get along with others but one should try.
One cannot overlook the fact that almost always, parents are acting from a very strong desire to do what they believe to be best for the child.
Children are indebted to their parents for their upbringing—if the parents did so. While some parents are so fiercely independent that they will accept no return on the obligation, it is nevertheless true that there often comes a time when it is the turn of the younger generation to care for their parents.
In spite of all, one must remember that they are the only parents one has. And as such, no matter what, one should honor them and help them.
The way to happiness includes
being on good terms with one’s parents
or those who brought one up.
- honor: to show respect for; to treat with deference and courtesy.
- compromise: a settlement of differences in which each side gives in on some point while retaining others and reaching a mutual agreement thereby.
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE
There are many people one influences. The influence can be good or it can be bad.
If one conducts his life to keep these recommendations, one is setting a good example.
Others around one cannot help but be influenced by this, no matter what they say.
Anyone trying to discourage you is trying to do so because they factually mean you harm or are seeking to serve their own ends. Down deep, they will respect you.
Your own survival chances will be bettered in the long run since others, influenced, will become less of a threat. There are other benefits.
Don’t discount the effect you can achieve on others simply by mentioning these things and setting a good example in your own right.
The way to happiness
requires that one set a good
example for others.
- example: someone or something worthy of imitation or duplication; a pattern, a model.
- influences: has an effect upon.
- influence: the resulting effect.
SEEK TO LIVE WITH THE TRUTH
False data can cause one to make stupid mistakes. It can even block one from absorbing true data.
One can solve the problems of existence only when he has true data.
If those around one lie to him or her, one is led into making errors and his survival potential is reduced.
False data can come from many sources: academic, social, professional.
Many want you to believe things just to suit their own ends.
What is true is what is true for you.
No one has any right to force data off on you and command you to believe it or else. If it is not true for you, it isn’t true.
Think your own way through things, accept what is true for you, discard the rest. There is nothing unhappier than one who tries to live in a chaos of lies.
7-1. DO NOT TELL HARMFUL LIES
Harmful lies are the product of fear, malice and envy. They can drive people to acts of desperation. They can ruin lives. They create a kind of trap into which the teller and the target can both fall. Interpersonal and social chaos can result. Many wars began because of harmful lies.
One should learn to detect them and reject them.
7-2. DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS
There are considerable penalties connected with swearing or testifying to untrue “facts”; it is called “perjury”: it has heavy penalties.
The way to happiness
lies along the road to truth.
- truth: that which agrees with the facts and observations; logical answers resulting from looking over all the facts and data; a conclusion based on evidence uninfluenced by desire, authority or prejudice; an inevitable (unavoidable) fact no matter how arrived at.
- lies: false statements or pieces of information deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood; anything meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.
DO NOT MURDER
Most races, from the most ancient times to the present, have prohibited murder and punished it heavily. Sometimes this has been broadened to say, “Thou shalt not kill,” when a later translation of the same work has found it to read “Thou shalt not murder.”
There is a considerable difference between these two words “kill” and “murder.” A prohibition against all killing would rule out self-defense; it would tend to make it illegal to handle a serpent coiling to strike the baby; it would put a race on a diet of vegetables. I am sure you can see many illustrations of the difficulties raised by a prohibition against all killing.
“Murder” is another thing entirely. By definition it means, “The unlawful killing of one (or more) human being by another, especially with malice aforethought.” One can easily see that in this age of violent weaponry, murder would be all too easy. One could not exist in a society where oneself or one’s family or friends were at the mercy of some who went about casually taking lives.
Murder justly bears the highest priority in social prevention and retaliation.
The stupid, the evil and the insane seek to solve their real or imagined problems with murder. And they have been known to do it for no reason at all.
Get behind any demonstratedly effective program that handles this threat to Mankind and push. Your own survival could depend upon it.
The way to happiness
does not include murdering or
your friends, your family or yourself
- murder: the unlawful killing of one (or more) human being by another, especially with malice aforethought (intending to do so before the act).
DON’T DO ANYTHING ILLEGAL
“Illegal acts” are those which are prohibited by official rules or law. They are the product of rulers, legislative bodies and judges. They are usually written down in law codes. In a well-ordered society, these are published and made known generally. In a cloudy—and often crime-ridden—society one has to consult an attorney or be specially trained to know them all: such a society will tell one that “ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.”
Any member of society, however, has a responsibility, whether young or old, for knowing what that society considers to be an “illegal act.” People can be asked, libraries exist where they can be looked up.
An “illegal act” is not disobedience to some casual order like “go to bed.” It is an action, which if done, can result in punishment by the courts and state—being pilloried1 by the state propaganda machine, fines and even imprisonment.
When one does something illegal, small or large, one is laid open to an attack by the state. It does not matter whether one is caught or not, when one does an illegal act, one has weakened one’s defenses.
Almost any worthwhile thing one is trying to accomplish often can be done in perfectly legal ways.
The “illegal” route is a dangerous and time-wasting shortcut. Imagined “advantages” in committing illegal acts usually turn out not to be worth it.
The state and government tends to be a rather unthinking machine. It exists and works on laws and codes of laws. It is geared to strike down through its channels at illegality. As such it can be an implacable enemy, adamant on the subject of “illegal acts.” The rightness and wrongness of things do not count in the face of laws and codes of laws. Only the laws count.
When you realize or discover that those about you are committing “illegal acts,” you should do what you can to discourage it. You yourself, not even a party to it, can yet suffer because of it. The firm’s accountant falsifies the books: in any resulting commotion, the firm could fail and you could lose your job. Such instances can grossly affect one’s own survival.
As a member of any group subject to laws, encourage the clear-cut publication of those laws so they can be known. Support any legal political effort to reduce, clarify and codify the laws that apply to that group. Adhere to the principle that all men are equal under law, a principle which, in its own time and place—the tyrannical days of aristocracy—was one of the greatest social advances in human history and should not be lost sight of.
See that children and people become informed of what is “legal” and what is “illegal” and make it known, if by as little as a frown, that you do not approve of “illegal acts.”
Those who commit them, even when they “get away with them,” are yet weakened before the might of the state.
The way to happiness
does not include the fear of
being found out.
- pilloried: exposed to ridicule, public contempt, scorn or abuse.
- propaganda: spreading ideas, information or rumor to further one’s own cause and/or injure that of another, often without regard to truth; the act of putting lies in the press or on radio and TV so that when a person comes to trial he will be found guilty; the action of falsely damaging a person’s reputation so he will not be listened to. (A propagandist is a person or group that does, makes or practices propaganda.)
- implacable: not open to being quieted, soothed or pleased; remorseless; relentless.
- adamant: hard; not giving in; unyielding; something which won’t break; insistent; refusing
any other opinion; surrendering to nothing.
- tyrannical: the use of cruel, unjust and absolute power; crushing; oppressing; harsh; severe.
- aristocracy: government by a few with special privileges, ranks or positions; rule by an elite few who are above the general law; a group who by birth or position are “superior to everybody else” and who can make or apply laws to others but consider they themselves are not affected by the laws.
SUPPORT A GOVERNMENT DESIGNED AND RUN FOR ALL THE PEOPLE
Unscrupulous and evil men and groups can usurp the power of government and use it to their own ends.
Government organized and conducted solely for self-interested individuals and groups gives the society a short life span. This imperils the survival of everyone in the land; it even imperils those who attempt it. History is full of such governmental deaths.
Opposition to such governments usually just brings on more violence.
But one can raise his voice in caution when such abuses are abroad. And one need not actively support such a government; doing nothing illegal, it is yet possible, by simply withdrawing one’s cooperation, to bring about an eventual reform. Even as this is being written, there are several governments in the world that are failing only because their people express their silent disagreement by simply not cooperating. These governments are at risk: any untimely wind of mischance could blow them over.
On the other hand, where a government is obviously working hard for ALL its people, rather than for some special interest group or insane dictator, one should support it to the limit.
There is a subject called “government.” In schools, they mostly teach “civics” which is merely how the current organization is put together. The real subject, “government” goes under various headings: political economy, political philosophy, political power, etc. The whole subject of “government” and how to govern can be quite precise, almost a technical science. If one is interested in having a better government, one that does not cause trouble, one should suggest it be taught at earlier ages in schools; one can also read up on it: it is not a very difficult subject if you look up the big words.
It is, after all, the people and their own opinion leaders who sweat and fight and bleed for their country. A government cannot bleed, it cannot even smile: it is just an idea men have. It is the individual person who is alive—you.
The way to happiness is hard
to travel when shadowed with the oppression of
tyranny. A benign government, designed and run for
ALL the people, has been known to
smooth the way: when such
occurs, it deserves support.
DO NOT HARM A PERSON OF GOOD WILL
Despite the insistence of evil men that all men are evil, there are many good men around and women too. You may have been fortunate enough to know some.
Factually, the society runs on men and women of good will. Public workers, opinion leaders, those in the private sector who do their jobs are, in the great majority, people of good will. If they weren’t, they long since would have ceased to serve.
Such people are easy to attack: their very decency prevents them from overprotecting themselves. Yet the survival of most of the individuals in a society depends upon them.
The violent criminal, the propagandist, the sensation-seeking media all tend to distract one’s attention from the solid, everyday fact that the society would not run at all were it not for the individuals of good will. As they guard the street, counsel the children, take the temperatures, put out the fires and speak good sense in quiet voices, one is apt to overlook the fact that people of good will are the ones that keep the world going and Man alive upon this Earth.
Yet such can be attacked and strong measures should be advocated and taken to defend them and keep them from harm, for your own survival and that of your family and friends depends upon them.
The way to happiness is
far more easily followed when
one supports people
of good will.
- will: bearing or attitude toward others; disposition. Traditionally, “men of good will” means those who mean well toward their fellows and work to help them.
SAFEGUARD AND IMPROVE YOUR ENVIRONMENT
12-1. BE OF GOOD APPEARANCE.
It sometimes does not occur to some individuals—as they do not have to spend their days looking at themselves—that they form part of the scenery and appearance of others. And some do not realize that they are judged by others on the basis of their appearance.
While clothes can be expensive, soap and the other tools of self-care are not that hard to obtain. The techniques are sometimes difficult to dig up but can be evolved.
In some societies, when they are barbaric or become very degraded, it can even be the fashion to be a public eyesore. Actually it is a symptom of a lack of self-respect.
Exercising and working, one can become very messed up. But this does not rule out getting cleaned up. And, as an example, some European and English workmen manage a style of appearance even when working. Some of the better athletes, one notices, look good despite being wringing wet with sweat.
An environment disfigured with unkempt people can have a subtle, depressing effect on one’s morale.
Encourage people around you to look good by complimenting them when they do or even gently helping them with their problems when they don’t. It could improve their self-regard and their morale as well.
12-2. TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN AREA.
When people mess up their own possessions and area, it can slop over into your own.
When people seem to be incapable of caring for their own things and places, it is a symptom of their feeling that they don’t really belong there and don’t really own their own things. When young, the things they were “given” had too many cautions and strings attached or were taken away from them by brothers, sisters or parents. And they possibly did not feel welcome.
The possessions, the rooms and work spaces, the vehicles of such people advertise that they are not really the property of anyone. Worse, a sort of rage against possessions can sometimes be seen. Vandalism3 is a manifestation of it: the house or car “nobody owns” is soon ruined.
Those who build and try to maintain low-income housing are often dismayed by the rapidity with which ruin can set in. The poor, by definition, own little or nothing. Harassed in various ways, they also come to feel they do not belong.
But whether rich or poor, and for whatever reason, people who do not take care of their possessions and places can cause disorder to those about them. I am sure you can think of such instances.
Ask such people what they really do own in life and if they really belong where they are and you will receive some surprising answers. And help them a great deal too.
The skill of organizing possessions and places can be taught. It can come as a new idea to someone that an item, when picked up and used, should be put back in the same place so it can be found again: some spend half their time just looking for things. A little time spent getting organized can pay off in speeded work: it is not the waste of time some believe.
To protect your own possessions and places, get others to take care of theirs.
12-3. HELP TAKE CARE OF THE PLANET.
The idea that one has a share in the planet and that one can and should help care for it may seem very large and, to some, quite beyond reality. But today what happens on the other side of the world, even so far away, can effect what happens in your own home.
Recent discoveries by space probes to Venus have shown that our own world could be deteriorated to a point where it would no longer support life. And it possibly could happen in one’s own lifetime.
Cut down too many forests, foul too many rivers and seas, mess up the atmosphere and we have had it. The surface temperature can go roasting hot, the rain can turn to sulfuric acid. All living things could die.
One can ask, “Even if that were true, what could I do about it?” Well, even if one were simply to frown when people do things to mess up the planet, one would be doing something about it. Even if one only had the opinion that it was just not a good thing to wreck the planet and mentioned that opinion, one would be doing something.
Care of the planet begins in one’s own front yard. It extends through the area one travels to get to school or work. It covers such places as where one picnics or goes on vacation. The litter which messes up the terrain and water supply, the dead brush which invites fire, these are things one need not contribute to and which, in otherwise idle moments, one can do something about. Planting a tree may seem little enough but it is something.
In some countries, old people, the unemployed do not just sit around and go to pieces: they are used to care for the gardens and parks and forests, to pick up the litter and add some beauty to the world. There is no lack of resources to take care of the planet. They are mainly ignored. One notes that the Civilian Conservation Corps in the US, organized in the 1930s to absorb the energies of unemployed officers and youth, was one of the few, if not the only project of that depressed era, that created far more wealth for the state than was expended. It reforested large areas and did other valuable things that cared for the US part of the planet. One notes that the CCC no longer exists. One can do as little as add one’s opinion that such projects are worthwhile and support opinion leaders and organizations that carry on environmental work.
There is no lack of technology. But technology and its application cost money. Money is available when sensible economic policies, policies which do not penalize everyone, are followed. Such policies exist.
There are many things one can do to help take care of the planet. They begin with the idea that one should. They progress with suggesting to others they should.
Man has gotten up to the potential of destroying the planet. He must be pushed on up to the capability and actions of saving it.
It is, after all, what we’re standing on.
If others do not help safeguard and improve the environment,
the way to happiness could have no roadbed to travel on at all.
- safeguard: prevent from being harmed; protect.
- morale: the mental and emotional attitude of an individual or a group; sense of well-being; willingness to get on with it; a sense of common purpose.
- vandalism: the willful and malicious destruction of public or private property, especially anything beautiful or artistic.
DO NOT STEAL
When one does not respect the ownership of things, his own possessions and property are at risk.
A person who, for one reason or another, has been unable to honestly accumulate possessions, can pretend that nobody owns anything anyway. But don’t try to steal his shoes!
A thief sows the environment with mysteries: what happened to this, what happened to that? A thief causes trouble far in excess of the value of things stolen.
Faced with the advertising of desirable goods, torn by the incapability of doing anything valuable enough to acquire possessions or simply driven by an impulse, those who steal imagine they are acquiring something valuable at low cost. But that is the difficulty: the cost. The actual price to the thief is high beyond belief. The greatest robbers in history paid for their loot by spending their lives in wretched hide-outs and prisons with only rare moments of “the good life.” No amount of stolen valuables would reward such a horrible fate.
Stolen goods greatly reduce in value: they have to be hidden, they are always a threat to liberty itself.
Even in communist states, the thief is sent to prison.
Stealing things is really just an admission that one is not capable enough to make it honestly. Or that one has a streak of insanity. Ask a thief which one it is: it’s either one or the other.
The road to happiness
cannot be traveled with
BE WORTHY OF TRUST
Unless one can have confidence in the reliability of those about one, he himself is at risk. When those he counts upon let him down, his own life can become disordered and even his own survival can be put at risk.
Mutual trust is the firmest building block in human relationships. Without it, the whole structure comes down.
Trustworthiness is a highly esteemed commodity. When one has it, one is considered valuable. When one has lost it, one may be considered worthless.
One should get others around one to demonstrate it and earn it. They will become much more valuable to themselves and others thereby.
14-1. KEEP YOUR WORD ONCE GIVEN
When one gives an assurance or promise or makes a sworn intention, one must make it come true. If one says he is going to do something, he should do it. If he says he is not going to do something, he should not do it.
One’s regard for another is based, in no small degree, on whether or not the person keeps his or her word. Even parents, for instance, would be surprised at the extent they drop in the opinion of their children when a promise is not kept.
People who keep their word are trusted and admired. People who do not are regarded like garbage.
Those who break their word often never get another chance.
A person who does not keep his word can soon find himself entangled and trapped in all manner of “guarantees” and “restrictions” and can even find himself shut off from normal relations with others. There is no more thorough self-exile from one’s fellows than to fail to keep one’s promises once made.
One should never permit another to give his or her word lightly. And one should insist that when a promise is made, it must be kept. One’s own life can become very disordered in trying to associate with people who do not keep their promises. It is not a casual matter.
The way to happiness is
much, much easier to travel
with people one can trust.
FULFILL YOUR OBLIGATIONS
In going through life, one inevitably incurs obligations. Factually, one is born with certain obligations and they tend to accumulate thereafter. It is no novel or new idea that one owes his parents a debt for bringing one into the world, for raising one. It is a credit to parents that they don’t push it any harder than they do. But it is an obligation, nevertheless: even the child feels it. And as life continues to run its course, one accumulates other obligations—to other persons, to friends, to society and even the world.
It is an extreme disservice to a person not to permit him to satisfy or pay off his obligations. No small part of the “revolt of childhood” is caused by others refusing to accept the only “coins” a baby or child or youth has with which to discharge the “weight of obligation”: the baby’s smiles, the child’s fumbling efforts to help, the youth’s possible advice or just the effort to be a good son or a good daughter commonly pass unrecognized, unaccepted; they can be ill-aimed, often ill-planned; they fade quickly. Such efforts, when they fail to discharge the enormity of the debt, can be replaced with any number of mechanisms or rationalizations: “one doesn’t really owe anything,” “I was owed it all in the first place,” “I didn’t ask to be born,” “my parents or guardians are no good,” and “life isn’t worth living anyway,” to name a few. And yet the obligations continue to pile up.
The “weight of obligation” can be a crushing burden if one can see no way to discharge it. It can bring about all manner of individual or social disorders. When it cannot be discharged, those who are owed, often unwittingly, find themselves targets for the most unlooked-for reactions.
One can help a person who finds himself in the dilemma of unpaid obligations and debt by simply going over with him or her all the obligations they have incurred and have not fulfilled—moral, social and financial—and work out some way to discharge all of those the person feels are still owed.
One should accept the efforts of a child or an adult to pay off non-financial obligations they feel they may owe: one should help bring about some mutually agreeable solution to the discharge of financial ones.
Discourage a person from incurring more obligations than it is possible for him or her to actually discharge or repay.
The way to happiness is
very hard to travel when one
is burdened with the weight of obligations
which one is owed or which he
has not discharged.
- obligation: the state, fact or condition of being indebted to another for a special service or favor received; a duty, contract, promise or any other social, moral or legal requirement that binds one to follow or avoid a certain course of action; the sense of owing another.
Work is not always pleasant.
But few are unhappier than those who lead a purposeless, idle and bored existence: children gloom to their mother when they have nothing to do; the low-mindedness of the unemployed, even when they are on “relief” or the “dole” is legendary; the retired man, with nothing further to accomplish in life, perishes from inactivity, as shown by statistics.
Even the tourist, lured by a travel agency’s call to leisure, gives a tour conductor a bad time if he has nothing for them to do.
Sorrow itself can be eased by simply getting busy at something.
Morale is boosted to high highs by accomplishment. In fact, it can be demonstrated that production is the basis of morale.
People who are not industrious dump the workload on those around them. They tend to burden one.
It is hard to get along with idle people. Aside from depressing one, they can also be a bit dangerous.
A workable answer is to persuade such to decide on some activity and get them busy with it. The most lasting benefit will be found to arise from work that leads to actual production.
The way to happiness is
a high road when it includes industriousness
that leads to tangible production.
- industrious: applying oneself with energy to study or work; actively and purposefully getting things done; opposite of being idle and accomplishing nothing.
- relief: goods or money given by a government agency to people because of need or poverty.
- dole: the British term for government relief.
- production: the act of completing something; finishing a task, project or object that is
useful or valuable or simply worth doing or having.
In an age of intricate equipment and high-speed machines and vehicles, one’s survival and that of one’s family and friends depends in no small measure upon the general competence of others.
In the marketplace, in the sciences, the humanities and in the government, incompetence2 can threaten the lives and future of the few or the many.
I am sure you can think of many examples of these things.
Man has always had an impulse to control his fate. Superstition, propitiation of the right gods, ritual dances before the hunt, can all be viewed as efforts, no matter how faint or unavailing, to control destiny.
It was not until he learned to think, to value knowledge and to apply it with competent skill, that he began to dominate his environment. The true “gift of heaven” may have been the potential to be competent.
In common pursuits and activities, Man respects skill and ability. These in a hero or athlete are almost worshiped.
The test of true competence is the end result.
To the degree that a man is competent, he survives. To the degree he is incompetent he perishes.
Encourage the attainment of competence in any worthwhile pursuit. Compliment it and reward it whenever you find it.
Demand high performance standards. The test of a society is whether or not you, your family and friends can live in it safely.
The ingredients of competence include observation, study and practice.
See what you see, not what someone tells you that you see.
What you observe is what you observe. Look at things and life and others directly, not through any cloud of prejudice, curtain of fear or the interpretation of another.
Instead of arguing with others, get them to look. The most flagrant lies can be punctured, the greatest pretenses can be exposed, the most intricate puzzles can resolve, the most remarkable revelations can occur simply by gently insisting that someone look.
When another finds things almost too confusing and difficult to bear, when his or her wits are going around and around, get the person to just stand back and look.
What they find is usually very obvious when they see it. Then they can go on and handle things. But if they don’t see it themselves, observe it for themselves, it may have little reality for them and all the directives and orders and punishment in the world will not resolve their muddle.
One can indicate what direction to look and suggest that they do look: the conclusions are up to them.
A child or adult sees what he himself sees and that is reality for him.
True competence is based on one’s own ability to observe. With that as reality, only then can one be deft and sure.
Has there ever been an instance when another had some false data about you? Did it cause you trouble?
This can give you some idea of the havoc false data can raise.
You could also have some false data about another.
Separating the false from the true brings about understanding.
There is a lot of false data around. Evil-intentioned individuals manufacture it to serve their own purposes. Some of it comes from just plain ignorance of the facts. It can block the acceptance of true data.
The main process of learning consists of inspecting the available data, selecting the true from the false, the important from the unimportant and arriving thereby at conclusions one makes and can apply. If one does this, one is well on the way to being competent.
The test of any “truth” is whether it is true for you. If, when one has gotten the body of data, cleared up any misunderstood words in it and looked over the scene, it still doesn’t seem true, then it isn’t true so far as you are concerned. Reject it. And, if you like, carry it further and conclude what the truth is for you. After all, you are the one who is going to have to use it or not use it, think with it or not think with it. If one blindly accepts “facts” or “truths” just because he is told he must, “facts” and “truths” which do not seem true to one, or even false, the end result can be an unhappy one. That is the alley to the trash bin of incompetence.
Another part of learning entails simply committing things to memory—like the spelling of words, mathematical tables and formulas, the sequence of which buttons to push. But even in simple memorizing one has to know what the material is for and how and when to use it.
The process of learning is not just piling data on top of more data. It is one of obtaining new understandings and better ways to do things.
Those who get along in life never really stop studying and learning. The competent engineer keeps up with new ways; the good athlete continually reviews the progress of his sport; any professional keeps a stack of his texts to hand and consults them.
The new model eggbeater or washing machine, the latest year’s car, all demand some study and learning before they can be competently operated. When people omit it, there are accidents in the kitchen and piles of bleeding wreckage on the highways.
It is a very arrogant fellow who thinks he has nothing further to learn in life. It is a dangerously blind one who cannot shed his prejudices and false data and supplant them with facts and truths that can more fittingly assist his own life and everyone else’s.
There are ways to study so that one really learns and can use what one learns. In brief, it consists of having a teacher and/or texts that know what they are talking about; of clearing up every word one does not fully understand; of consulting other references and/or the scene of the subject; sorting out the false data one might already have: sifting the false from the true on the basis of what is now true for you. The end result will be certainty and potential competence. It can be, actually, a bright and rewarding experience. Not unlike climbing a treacherous mountain through brambles but coming out on top with a new view of the whole wide world.
A civilization, to survive, must nurture the habits and abilities to study in its schools. A school is not a place where one puts children to get them out from underfoot during the day. That would be far too expensive for just that. It is not a place where one manufactures parrots. School is where one should learn to study and where children can be prepared to come to grips with reality, learn to handle it with competence and be readied to take over tomorrow’s world, the world where current adults will be in their later middle or old age.
The hardened criminal never learned to learn. Repeatedly the courts seek to teach him that if he commits the crime again he will go back to prison: most of them do the same crime again and go back to prison. Factually, criminals cause more and more laws to be passed: the decent citizen is the one that obeys laws; the criminals, by definition, do not: criminals cannot learn. Not all the orders and directives and punishments and duress will work upon a being that does not know how to learn and cannot learn.
A characteristic of a government that has gone criminal—as has sometimes happened in history—is that its leaders cannot learn: all records and good sense may tell them that disaster follows oppression; yet it has taken a violent revolution to handle them or a World War II to get rid of a Hitler and those were very unhappy events for Mankind. Such did not learn. They reveled in false data. They refused all evidence and truth. They had to be blown away.
The insane cannot learn. Driven by hidden evil intentions or crushed beyond the ability to reason, facts and truth and reality are far beyond them. They personify false data. They will not or cannot really perceive or learn.
A multitude of personal and social problems arise from the inability or refusal to learn.
The lives of some around you have gone off the rails because they do not know how to study, because they do not learn. You can probably think of some examples.
If one cannot get those around him to study and learn, one’s own work can become much harder and even overloaded and one’s own survival potential can be greatly reduced.
One can help others study and learn if only by putting in their reach the data they should have. One can help simply by acknowledging what they have learned. One can assist if only by appreciating any demonstrated increase in competence. If one likes, one can do more than that: another can be assisted by helping them—without disputes—sort out false data, by helping them find and clear up words they have not understood, by helping them find and handle the reasons they do not study and learn.
As life is largely trial and error, instead of coming down on somebody who makes a mistake, find out how come a mistake was made and see if the other can’t learn something from it.
Now and then you may surprise yourself by untangling a person’s life just by having gotten the person to study and learn. I am sure you can think of many ways. And I think you will find the gentler ones work best. The world is brutal enough already to people who can’t learn.
Learning bears fruit when it is applied. Wisdom, of course, can be pursued for its own sake: there is even a kind of beauty in it. But, truth told, one never really knows if he is wise or not until he sees the results of trying to apply it.
Any activity, skill or profession, ditch-digging, law, engineering, cooking or whatever, no matter how well studied, collides at last with the acid test: can one DO it? And that doing requires practice.
Movie stuntmen who don’t practice first get hurt. So do housewives.
Safety is not really a popular subject. Because it is usually accompanied by “be careful” and “go slow,” people can feel restraints are being put on them. But there is another approach: if one is really practiced, his skill and dexterity is such that he doesn’t have to “be careful” or “go slow.” Safe high speed of motion becomes possible only with practice.
One’s skill and dexterity must be brought up to match the speed of the age one lives in. And that is done with practice.
One can train one’s eyes, one’s body, one’s hands and feet until, with practice, they sort of “get to know.” One no longer has to “think” to set up the stove or park the car: one just DOES it. In any activity, quite a bit of what passes for “talent” is really just practice.
Without working out each movement one makes to do something and then doing it over and over until one can get it done without even thinking about it and get it done with speed and accuracy, one can set the stage for accidents.
Statistics tend to bear out that the least practiced have the most accidents.
The same principle applies to crafts and professions which mainly use the mind. The lawyer who has not drill-drill-drilled on courtroom procedure may not have learned to shift his mental gears fast enough to counter new turns of a case and loses it. An undrilled new stockbroker could lose a fortune in minutes. A green salesman who has not rehearsed selling can starve for lack of sales. The right answer is to practice, practice and practice!
Sometimes one finds that what one has learned he cannot apply. If so, the faults lay with improper study or with the teacher or text. It is one thing to read the directions; it is sometimes another thing entirely to try to apply them.
Now and then, when one is getting nowhere with practice, one has to throw the book away and start from scratch. The field of movie sound recording has been like that: if one followed what recordist texts there have been, one couldn’t get a bird song to sound any better than a foghorn—that is why you can’t tell what the actors are saying in some movies. The good sound recordist had to work it all out for himself in order to do his job. But in the same field of the cinema there is a complete reverse of this: several texts on cine lighting are excellent: if followed exactly, one gets a beautiful scene.
It is regrettable, particularly in a high-speed technical society, that not all activities are adequately covered with understandable texts. But that should not stop one. When good texts exist, value them and study them well. Where they don’t, assemble what data is available, study that and work the rest of it out.
But theory and data blossom only when applied and applied with practice.
One is at risk when those about one do not practice their skills until they can really DO them. There is a vast difference between “good enough” and professional skill and dexterity. The gap is bridged with practice.
Get people to look, study, work it out and then do it. And when they have it right, get them to practice, practice, practice until they can do it like a pro.
There is considerable joy in skill, dexterity and moving fast: it can only be done safely with practice. Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe.
The way to happiness
is best traveled with
- competent: able to do well those things one does; capable; skilled in doing what one does; measuring up to the demands of one’s activities.
- incompetence: lacking adequate knowledge or skill or ability; unskilled; incapable; subject
to making big errors or mistakes; bungling.
- practice: to exercise or perform repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill.
RESPECT THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF OTHERS
Tolerance is a good cornerstone on which to build human relationships. When one views the slaughter and suffering caused by religious intolerance down all the history of Man and into modern times, one can see that intolerance is a very non-survival activity.
Religious tolerance does not mean one cannot express his own beliefs. It does mean that seeking to undermine or attack the religious faith and beliefs of another has always been a short road to trouble.
Philosophers since the times of ancient Greece have disputed with one another about the nature of God, Man and the universe. The opinions of authorities ebb and flow: just now the philosophies of “mechanism”1 and “materialism”—dating as far back as Ancient Egypt and Greece—are the fad: they seek to assert that all is matter and overlook that, neat as their explanations of evolution may be, they still do not rule out additional factors that might be at work, that might be merely using such things as evolution. They are today the “official” philosophies and are even taught in schools. They have their own zealots who attack the beliefs and religions of others: the result can be intolerance and contention.
If all the brightest minds since the fifth century B.C. or before have never been able to agree on the subject of religion or anti-religion, it is an arena of combat between people that one would do well to stay out of.
In this sea of contention, one bright principle has emerged: the right to believe as one chooses.
“Faith” and “belief” do not necessarily surrender to logic: they cannot even be declared to be illogical. They can be things quite apart.
Any advice one might give another on this subject is safest when it simply asserts the right to believe as one chooses. One is at liberty to hold up his own beliefs for acceptance. One is at risk when he seeks to assault the beliefs of others, much more so when he attacks and seeks to harm them because of their religious convictions.
Man, since the dawn of the species, has taken great consolation and joy in his religions. Even the “mechanist” and “materialist” of today sound much like the priests of old as they spread their dogma.
Men without faith are a pretty sorry lot. They can even be given something to have faith in. But when they have religious beliefs, respect them.
The way to happiness can
become contentious when one
fails to respect the religious
beliefs of others.
- mechanism: the view that all life is only matter in motion and can be totally explained by physical laws. Advanced by Leucippus and Democritus (460 B.C. to 370 B.C.) who may have gotten it from Egyptian mythology. Upholders of this philosophy felt they had to neglect religion because they could not reduce it to mathematics. They were attacked by religious interests and in their turn attacked religions. Robert Boyle (1627–1691), who developed Boyle’s Law in physics, refuted it by raising the question as to whether or not nature might have designs such as matter in motion.
- materialism: any one of a family of metaphysical theories which view the universe as consisting of hard objects such as stones, big or very small. The theories seek to explain away such things as minds by saying they can be reduced to physical things or their motions.
Materialism is a very ancient idea. There are other ideas.
TRY NOT TO DO THINGS TO OTHERS THAT YOU WOULD NOT LIKE THEM TO DO TO YOU
Among many peoples in many lands for many ages there have been versions of what is called “The Golden Rule.”
The above is a wording of it that relates to harmful acts.
Only a saint could go through life without ever harming another. But only a criminal hurts those around him without a second thought.
Completely aside from feelings of “guilt” or “shame” or “conscience,” all of which can be real enough and bad enough, it also happens to be true that the harm one does to others can recoil on oneself.
Not all harmful acts are reversible: one can commit an act against another which cannot be waived aside or forgotten. Murder is such an act. One can work out how severe violation of almost any precept in this book could become an irreversible harmful act against another.
The ruin of another’s life can wreck one’s own. Society reacts—the prisons and the insane asylums are stuffed with people who harmed their fellows. But there are other penalties: whether one is caught or not, committing harmful acts against others, particularly when hidden, can cause one to suffer severe changes in his attitudes toward others and himself, all of them unhappy ones. The happiness and joy of life depart.
This version of “The Golden Rule” is also useful as a test. When one persuades someone to apply it, the person can attain a reality on what a harmful act is. It answers for one what harm is. The philosophic question concerning wrongdoing, the argument of what is wrong is answered at once on a personal basis: Would you not like that to happen to you? No? Then it must be a harmful action and, from society’s viewpoint, a wrong action. It can awaken social consciousness. It can then let one work out what one should do and what one should not do.
In a time when some feel no restraint from doing harmful acts, the survival potential of the individual sinks to a very low ebb.
If you can persuade people to apply this, you will have given them a precept by which they can evaluate their own lives and, for some, opened the door to let them rejoin the human race.
The way to happiness is
closed to those who do not restrain
themselves from committing
- “The Golden Rule”: although this is looked upon by Christians as Christian and is found in the New and Old Testaments, many other races and peoples spoke of it. It also appears in the Analects of Confucius (fifth and sixth centuries B.C.) who himself quoted from more ancient works. It is also found in “primitive” tribes. In one form or another it appears in the ancient works of Plato, Aristotle, Isocrates and Seneca. For thousands of years it has been held by Man as a standard of ethical conduct. The versions given in this book are newly worded however, as in earlier wordings it was thought to be too idealistic to be kept. It is possible to keep this version.
TRY TO TREAT OTHERS AS YOU WOULD WANT THEM TO TREAT YOU
This is a positive version of “The Golden Rule.”
Don’t be surprised if someone seems to resent being told to “be good.” But the resentment may not come at all at the idea of “being good”: it may be because the person factually has a misunderstanding of what it means.
One can get into a lot of conflicting opinions and confusions about what “good behavior” might be. One might never have grasped—even if the teacher did—why he or she was given the grade received for “conduct.” One might even have been given or assumed false data concerning it: “children should be seen and not heard,” “being good means being inactive.”
However, there is a way to clear it all up to one’s complete satisfaction.
In all times and in most places, Mankind has looked up to and revered certain values. They are called the virtues. They have been attributed to wise men, holy men, saints and gods. They have made the difference between a barbarian and a cultured person, the difference between chaos and a decent society.
It doesn’t absolutely require a heavenly mandate nor a tedious search through the thick tomes of the philosophers to discover what “good” is. A self-revelation can occur on the subject.
It can be worked out by almost any person.
If one were to think over how he or she would like to be treated by others, one would evolve the human virtues. Just figure out how you would want people to treat you.
You would possibly, first of all, want to be treated justly: you wouldn’t want people lying about you or falsely or harshly condemning you. Right?
You would probably want your friends and companions to be loyal: you would not want them to betray you.
You could want to be treated with good sportsmanship, not hoodwinked nor tricked.
You would want people to be fair in their dealings with you. You would want them to behonest with you and not cheat you. Correct?
You might want to be treated kindly and without cruelty.
You would possibly want people to be considerate of your rights and feelings.
When you were down, you might like others to be compassionate.
Instead of blasting you, you would probably want others to exhibit self-control. Right?
If you had any defects or shortcomings, if you made a mistake, you might want people to be tolerant, not critical.
Rather than concentrating on censure and punishment, you would prefer people wereforgiving. Correct?
You might want people to be benevolent toward you, not mean nor stingy.
Your possible desire would be for others to believe in you, not doubt you at every hand.
You would probably prefer to be given respect, not insulted.
Possibly you would want others to be polite to you and also treat you with dignity.Right?
You might like people to admire you.
When you did something for them you would possibly like people to appreciateyou. Correct?
You would probably like others to be friendly toward you.
From some you might want love.
And above all, you wouldn’t want these people just pretending these things, you would want them to be quite real in their attitudes and to be acting with integrity.
You could possibly think of others. And there are the precepts contained in this book. But above you would have worked out the summary of what are called the virtues.
It requires no great stretch of imagination for one to recognize that if he were to be treated that way regularly by others around him, his life would exist on a pleasant level. And it is doubtful if one would build up much animosity toward those who treated him in this fashion.
Now there is an interesting phenomenon2 at work in human relations. When one person yells at another, the other has an impulse to yell back. One is treated pretty much the way he treats others: one actually sets an example of how he should be treated. A is mean to B so B is mean to A. A is friendly to B so B is friendly to A. I am sure you have seen this at work continually. George hates all women so women tend to hate George. Carlos acts tough to everyone so others tend to act tough toward Carlos—and if they don’t dare out in the open, they privately may nurse a hidden impulse to act very tough indeed toward Carlos if they ever get a chance.
In the unreal world of fiction and the motion pictures, one sees polite villains with unbelievably efficient gangs and lone heroes who are outright boors. Life really isn’t like that: real villains are usually pretty crude people and their henchmen cruder; Napoleon and Hitler were betrayed right and left by their own people. Real heroes are the quietest-talking fellows you ever met and they are very polite to their friends.
When one is lucky enough to get to meet and talk to the men and women who are at the top of their professions, one is struck by an observation often made that they are just about the nicest people you ever met. That is one of the reasons they are at the top: they try, most of them, to treat others well. And those around them respond and tend to treat them well and even forgive their few shortcomings.
All right: one can work out for himself the human virtues just by recognizing how he himself would like to be treated. And from that, I think you will agree, one has settled any confusions as to what “good conduct” really is. It’s a far cry from being inactive, sitting still with your hands in your lap and saying nothing. “Being good” can be a very active and powerful force.
There is little joy to be found in gloomy, restrained solemnity. When some of old made it seem that to practice virtue required a grim and dismal sort of life, they tended to infer that all pleasure came from being wicked: nothing could be further from the facts. Joy and pleasure do not come from immorality! Quite the reverse! Joy and pleasure arise only in honest hearts: the immoral lead unbelievably tragic lives filled with suffering and pain. The human virtues have little to do with gloominess. They are the bright face of life itself.
Now what do you suppose would happen if one were to try to treat those around him with
and did it with integrity?
It might take a while but don’t you suppose that many others would then begin to try to treat one the same way?
Even allowing for the occasional lapses—the news that startles one half out of his wits, the burglar one has to bop on the head, the nut who is driving slow in the fast lane when one is late for work—it should be fairly visible that one would lift oneself to a new plane of human relations. One’s survival potential would be considerably raised. And certainly one’s life would be a happier one.
One can influence the conduct of others around him. If one is not like that already, it can be made much easier by just picking one virtue a day and specializing in it for that day. Doing that, they would all eventually be in.
Aside from personal benefit, one can take a hand, no matter how small, in beginning a new era for human relations.
The pebble, dropped in a pool, can make ripples to the furthest shore.
The way to happiness
is made much brighter by
applying the precept, “Try to treat
others as you would want them
to treat you.”
- virtues: the ideal qualities in good human conduct.
- phenomenon: an observable fact or event.
- boor: a person with rude, clumsy manners and little refinement.
FLOURISH AND PROSPER
Sometimes others seek to crush one down, to make nothing out of one’s hopes and dreams, one’s future and oneself.
By ridicule and many other means, another who is evil-intentioned toward one can try to bring about one’s decline.
For whatever reason, efforts to improve oneself, to become happier in life, can become the subject of attacks.
It is sometimes necessary to handle such directly. But there is a long-range handling that seldom fails.
What, exactly, are such people trying to do to one? They are trying to reduce one downward.
They must conceive that one is dangerous to them in some way: that if one got up in the world, one could be a menace to them. So, in various ways, such seek to depress one’s talents and capabilities.
Some madmen even have a general plan that goes like this: “If A becomes more successful, A could be a menace to me; therefore I must do all I can to make A less successful.” It never seems to occur to such that their actions might make an enemy out of A even though he was no enemy before. It can be classed as an almost certain way for such madmen to get into trouble. Some do it just from prejudice or because they “don’t like someone.”
But however it is attempted, the real object of such is to make their target grow less and fail in life.
The real handling of such a situation and such people, the real way to defeat them is to flourish and prosper.
Oh, yes, it is true that such people, seeing one improve his lot, can become frantic and attack all the harder. The thing to do is handle them if one must but don’t give up flourishing and prospering, for that is what such people want you to do.
If you flourish and prosper more and more, such people go into apathy about it: they can give it up completely.
If one’s aims in life are worthwhile, if one carries them out with some attention to the precepts in this book, if one flourishes and prospers, one certainly will wind up the victor. And, hopefully, without harming a single hair on their heads.
And that is my wish for you:
flourish and prosper!
- flourish: to be in a state of activity and production; expanding in influence; thriving; visibly doing well.
- prosper: to achieve economic success; succeeding at what one does.
Happiness lies in engaging in worthwhile activities. But there is only one person who for certain can tell what will make one happy—oneself.
The precepts given in this book are really the edges of the road: violating them, one is like the motorist who plunges off onto the verge—the result can be wreckage of the moment, the relationship, a life.
Only you can say where the road goes for one sets his goals for the hour, for the relationship, for the phase of life.
One can feel at times like a spinning leaf blown along a dirty street, one can feel like a grain of sand stuck in one place. But nobody has said that life was a calm and orderly thing: it isn’t. One isn’t a tattered leaf nor a grain of sand: one can, to greater or lesser degree draw his road map and follow it.
One can feel that things are such now that it is much too late to do anything, that one’s past road is so messed up that there is no chance of drawing a future one that will be any different: there is always a point on the road when one can map a new one. And try to follow it. There is no person alive who cannot make a new beginning.
It can be said without the slightest fear of contradiction that others may mock one and seek by various means to push one onto the verge, to tempt one in various ways to lead an immoral life: all such persons do so to accomplish private ends of their own and one will wind up, if one heeds them, in tragedy and sorrow.
Of course one will have occasional loses trying to apply this book and get it applied. One should just learn from these and carry on. Who said the road doesn’t have bumps?
It can still be traveled. So people can fall down: it doesn’t mean they can’t get up again and keep going.
If one keeps the edges on the road, one can’t go far wrong. True excitement, happiness and joy come from other things, not from broken lives.
If you can get others to follow the road, you yourself will be free enough to give yourself a chance to discover what real happiness is.
The way to happiness is a high-speed road
to those who know where the edges are.
You’re the driver.