The Abe Lincoln/Will Rogers Manifesto
Sunday, September 16, 2007
I've been thinking for a while that I might list some of my basic tenets and principles -- oh, just for information's sake -- or maybe you might actually find some of it interesting enough to try it out as a philosophy.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that most everything I wanted to express had already been said.
So, here is:
Most Likely, a Work in Progress
- "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time." ~ Abraham Lincoln
- This actually gives me daily hope. Whenever I get to angsting about war, fundamentalist religious nuts, and other forms of group insanity, I remember that the vast majority of the people that I actually know are not idiots. I remember that, even in eras that looked very, very bleak in human history, ultimately, the devices of oppression did not prevail entirely, or forever. I remember that I heard some old farts sitting in front of Safeway last week, saying: "Oh, the 'news' -- that's all a bunch of crap anyway. It's all owned by rich folks."
- "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." ~ Will Rogers
- This is the counterpoint to item 1 in the manifesto. Yes, it has been my experience that humans do "self-correct" over time -- but it's also been my experience that it is important for me to be a conscious part of that self-correction, because I have discovered that saying: "See?! I told you so!" while being hauled off in leg-irons is not nearly as enjoyable as dusting off my hands after doing what I can and saying: "Ok, then, that worked out well."
- "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." ~ Abraham Lincoln
- Basically, just another interpretation of the Golden Rule. I think it's stupid for me not to apply the standards that I expect from others to myself. I do it sometimes, but I still think it's stupid when I do it. Goes along (kind of) with another Will Rogers quote: "Everything is funny when it's happening to someone else."
- "Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip" ~ Will Rogers
- I have a personal precept/goal to not say anything about anyone behind their back that I wouldn't say to their face (even if I don't like them). It's a hard row to hoe, sometimes, but I've found that it's helpful in keeping me awake and aware about how I run my mouth (or my typing skills). Let me make it clear that I (often) do not meet this goal to my own satisfaction, but I still hold and aspire to it.
- This also touches on being willing to be "held to account" for what I think, speak/write, and do. Sometimes sucks in the short-term, but it's usually very helpful to my sense of fulfillment and integrity in the long-term.
- Note that Rogers says "you would not be ashamed" -- there's crap in my life that I know "some people" won't "approve" of -- however, if I'm not ashamed of it, this simply leads me to the next item of the manifesto:
- "If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what's said against me won't amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference." ~ Abraham Lincoln
- The bite-me-in-the-ass difficulty of this section of the manifesto is that I absolutely know that sometimes, I really have not done the VERY best I know how, or the very best that I could. I know that sometimes I slack off and fall asleep at the wheel, or let my wit-demons take control of me and use my intelligence as a weapon rather than a tool, or let someone else step out to "take the heat", while I breathe a sigh of relief that it isn't me in the inferno. Still, I aspire to this nonchalance and sensibility about criticism. I know that the only real chink that can exist in my In Vulnerability is when I am uncertain whether I've actually adhered to my own standards and principles.
- And finally -- a bon-mot from Will Rogers, to his niece, upon viewing the Venus De Milo: "See what will happen if you don't stop biting your fingernails?"
Posted byPortlyDyke at 9:02 PM