I read this years ago when I was in my 20s and going through my self-help/astrology phase. As it so happens, I spent several years immersing myself in every pop psych idea that came around – Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, Simple Abundance, The Artist’s Way, Codependent No More, The Rules (which were then and are now total and utter bullshit) – in addition to quite a few others. I suppose I did learn a thing or two, but nothing that would not have presented itself with a decent application of common sense. However, I am a studious type by nature, so reading every book I could find on the subject, even if I thought most of them to be snake oil, appealed to me. Over the years I have retained the bits that make sense to me and disregarded the overwhelming majority of the bullshit.
But there are a few that have been profound enough, either in that they are deceptively simple things that are worded in such a way as to make them hit home or that they are new and fascinating ways of looking at old things, to have made an impression. One of these is found here. It really is worth taking the time to read through this site. I pulled a good deal of information from it when I was writing a letter to my daughter on her 18th birthday. The other is the Ten Rules for Being Human, which I have listed below.
A word about Patel’s Corollary. It was written as a response to the Rules by my wonderful and witty friend. I hope he does not mind me posting it here. I did it to show off his unmatched brilliance. Besides, he is simply hilarious – one of the many reasons I love him and am lucky to call him friend.
Ten Rules for Being Human by Cherie Carter-Scott
1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it’s yours to keep for the entire period.
2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, “life.”
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately “work.”
4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.
5. Learning lessons does not end. There’s no part of life that doesn’t contain its lessons. If you’re alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.
6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.”
7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.
9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life’s questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.
10. You will forget all this.
Patel’s Corollary to Cherie Carter (hyphen) Scott’s Ten Rules for Being Human by Paresh Patel
1. You will receive a body and you will hate it no matter what. Even a 50 lb anorexic thinks she is too fat. Oh and people, fat people are not jolly. They are just FAT!
2. You will learn lessons. The most important being which ever gender you belong to you will consider the opposite one out of their damned minds!
3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. This is the motto of our public schools. Exactly why our literacy rates are abysmal, our math comprehension is atrocious, and our general understanding of anything at all is deficient. We will also make you feel better by giving you a trophy even if you came in last place. Oh, and we will give you a graduation ceremony out of kindergarten so that we can make a profit on the pics of 5 year olds in cap and gowns. P.S. please tell Ms. Cherie Carter (hyphen) Scott that she writes: “There are no mistakes” in the 1st sentence and then the 2nd starts “Growth is a process of trial, error…” The definition of error is mistake.
4. Lessons are never learned. The only way to stop making the same mistakes is to die. Deep down we know this so we unconsciously choose to never learn the lessons. It is a mixture of vanity and the survival instinct.
5. Learning lessons does not end. See above. All this means is that life tries to shoot you dead with more than one bullet.
6. “There” is no better a place than “here.” So those of you who go on and on about how they are glad to have left Dothan, Alabama are full of s**t?
7. Other people are mirrors of you. Please remember this the next time you round up 6 million Jews and 6 million non Jews and schedule them for a gassing. People who stand in front of mirrors should not throw stones. People who stand in front of Hitler probably should.
8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you will ever need. The problem is, however, all of the instruction manuals are in a language nobody can read. The only instructions our species can get right is that Peg A goes into Slot B, which equals 9 months of gestation.
9. Your answers lie within just look, listen, and trust. Unless that answer comes up “Let’s go up into a clocktower with high powered rifles and longe range scopes and teach everyone on campus a lesson.” We ask that you please, please, please disregard.
10. You will choose to ignore this. You will only forget if you drink the whole bottle of gin.