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Created June 22, 2016 18:54
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Principles of Adult Behavior

  1. Be patient. No matter what.
  2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
  3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
  4. Expand your sense of the possible.
  5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
  6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
  7. Tolerate ambiguity.
  8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
  9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
  10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
  11. Give up blood sports.
  12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
  13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
  14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
  15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
  16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
  17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
  18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
  19. Become less suspicious of joy.
  20. Understand humility.
  21. Remember that love forgives everything.
  22. Foster dignity.
  23. Live memorably.
  24. Love yourself.
  25. Endure.

~John Perry Barlow, 2013

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artsyca commented Feb 8, 2018

I've come to a lot of these intuitively, through a lot of pain.

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inders commented Feb 8, 2018

+1. LGTM.

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What would be an example of #5. I can't think of any that don't involve science or time travel.

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fuaxio commented Feb 8, 2018

I am not a native english speaker. What does

Give up blood sports.

refer to ?
i am sure it does not mean blood sports literally.

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What would be an example of #5. I can't think of any that don't involve science or time travel.

@vgivanovic: death is an example

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@vgivanovic - Have a look at the dichotomy of control in stoic philosophy to get a deeper understanding of #5.

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bvanasse commented Feb 8, 2018

As a native english speaker, I'm still confused as to how 'blood sports' relates at a transition to adulthood. Is this a reference to literal blood sports, hunting or professional sports like boxing or UFC? Does this extend to any form of violent entertainment including video games?

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DannyB2 commented Feb 8, 2018

Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.

Don't assume. But be willing to be convinced by sufficient evidence.

Remember that love forgives everything.

Real monsters do actually exist. You probably won't encounter any. Don't delude yourself that they don't exist.

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subtubes-io commented Feb 8, 2018

Give up blood sports.

I think that is meant to be taken as you might understand it.
When he wrote these he did not mean for them to apply to others, simply to himself.
They are not commandments, they are ideals he elected.
He was a very private man, so I would focus on how they applied to him and think about how they might apply to you.

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To me, blood sports suggests vicious or otherwise dishonorable "games" in personal or political arenas. In other words, being nasty to others and taking enjoyment from it.

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Xiddler commented Feb 8, 2018

My understanding of #5 comes from an old woman from the Aran Islands. When asked to what she owed her long life (101) she said: "For the things I could do something about, I did them; for the things I could do nothing about. I left them alone."

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petdance commented Feb 8, 2018

@vgivanovic: Biggest example of #5 "Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change." is the thoughts, actions and feelings of others.

See also:

See also: the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

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@jamestomasino Thanks for the reference.
@petdance, @Xiddler: As I posted, I realized that I was being too oblique. Sorry. What I was trying to say was that I think that if someone wanted something badly enough, then they could get it. Gandhi, Mandela, MLK, went up against the most powerful forces in their worlds, forces that others said they couldn't control. Yet, in some fashion, all were successful; well, maybe not MLK, sadly.

There are millions of examples of people only realizing they dreams after 20, 30 years of effort, when everyone around them said, "Give up. You can't win." But they didn't and they did.

I think Barlow underestimates what people can do. That being said, there are many times when I think the effort of changing someone's mind isn't worth it, and here, Barlow's advice is apt: Don't waste your energy on it. But this is small potatoes stuff. I don't think Barlow's (or the Stoics, for that matter) are right for Big Picture issues.

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lsaffre commented Feb 9, 2018

I don't understand #19 Become less suspicious of joy. Can somebody explain?

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Fastidious commented Feb 9, 2018

@lsaffree, I understanding it as "enjoy life."

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lsaffre commented Feb 9, 2018

Thanks @Fastidious. TIL: to be suspicious of sth = to distrust sth. I now understand #19 better.

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Wenzhi commented Feb 9, 2018

@fuaxio I didn't know about it, too, but here you go:

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bramswenson commented Feb 15, 2018

He actually wrote this in 1977 just before his 30th birthday:

Edit: And thanks for posting it!

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