October 5th, 2007



Today, someone sent an email forward where a person who had turned 60, had written a set of behaviour rules for himself (ok, ok, politically correct..hesself or hirself.) Several of them impressed me a lot, but one that struck me profoundly was: "understand humility".

Humility...such a difficult thing to achieve. In today's world of have-it-flaunt-it or even, don't-have-it-flaunt-it, humility is little understood. Humility goes even beyond modesty..modesty makes you realize that you haven't amounted to all that much, humility is recognizing that in most others are some qualities that you can yet only aspire to. The problem about humility, as with other virtues, is that it is so easy to adopt the appearance of it, while remaining far from it in reality.

The human being seems to need, forever, to want to feel superior to someone else, in some respect..skin colour, looks, wealth, ancestry, learning, intelligence, bravery, physical prowess....it is so difficult to tame the ego and realize that there will always be others who will be better persons than you though they might not have what you consider your strength. Humility is thus the ability to see what is good in the next person...the person who achieves humility, I think, will be serene and truly happy, because the humble person will be less involved with hes own self, and will see the good in others.

I think most of us only get a glimpse of humility once in a while...perhaps when faced with the symmetry of a flower; when a beggar in front of one's car helps another old person along the footpath;when one is really faced with an act of selflessnes....the rest of the time, we are caught up in the "maya" (illusion) of our own abilities, talents....and superiority.

The whole list of Principles of Adult Behaviour

With the permission of udhay, here's the whole list that I talked about in an earlier post , along with Barlow's introduction:

>I didn't think I would live to 30 either. I was shocked, shocked I
>tell you, to find myself on the eve of my 30th birthday, weirdly
>alive. In this, I was quite out of step with most of my friends to
>that point, more than half of whom were already back in the sweet
>realm of infinity and love. Chickenshits. If you're going to
>volunteer in the first place, go right into the Special Forces.
>In any event, it occurred to me that, past 30, I could no longer
>defend my peccadillos on basis of youth. I would have to acquire some
>minimal sense of responsibility. While I didn't want to be a
>grown-up, I wanted at least to act like one in the less toxic and
>stultifying sense of the term.
>So, I sat down around 2 am on October 3, 1977 and I drew up this list
>of behavioral goals that I hoped might assist in this process. Now,
>thirty years later, I can claim some mixed success. Where I've
>failed, I'm still working on it. I give these to you so that you can
>provide me with encouragement in becoming the person I want to be.
>And maybe, though they are very personally targeted, they may even be
>of some little guidance to you.
>Anyway, this is what I wrote that night:

>1. Be patient. No matter what.
>2. Don't badmouth:
> Assign responsibility, never blame.
> Say nothing behind another's back you'd be unwilling to say,
>in exactly the same tone and language, to his face.
>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 yourself can deliver.
>7. Tolerate ambiguity.
>8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
>9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than whom 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. Do not
>endanger it frivolously. And never endanger the life of another.
>13. Never lie to anyone for any reason.
>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. Never let your errors pass without admission.
>19. Become less suspicious of joy.
>20. Understand humility.
>21 Forgive.
>22. Foster dignity.
>23. Live memorably.
>24. Love yourself.
>25. Endure.
>I don't expect the perfect attainment of these principles. However,
>I post them as a standard for my conduct as an adult. Should any of
>my friends or colleagues catch me violating any one of them, bust me.
> John
>Perry Barlow
>October 3, 1977

Perry Barlow, obviously, turned 60 on Oct 4 this year...wonder what he thought of turning 60, if he could hardly visualize himself turning 30!

udhay...any other insights about Barlow, other than the fact that he was one of the first people to whom you sent email?