12 Rules for Life
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos
We’re pack animals, beasts of burden. We must bear a load, to justify our miserable existence.
To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. Then you may be able to accept the terrible burden of the World, and find joy.
You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obliged to take care of yourself.
“He whose life has a why can bear almost any how.”
Talking yourself into irrelevance is not a profound critique of Being. It’s a cheap trick of the rational mind.
We cannot navigate, without something to aim at and, while we are in this world, we must always navigate.
Faith is not the childish belief in magic. That is ignorance or even willful blindness. It is instead the realization that the tragic irrationalities of life must be counterbalanced by an equally irrational commitment to the essential goodness of Being. It is simultaneously the will to dare set your sights at the unachievable, and to sacrifice everything, including (and most importantly) your life. You realize that you have, literally, nothing better to do.
You no longer have to be envious, because you no longer know that someone else truly has it better.
Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
A child will have many friends, but only two parents—if that—and parents are more, not less, than friends.
People often get basic psychological questions backwards. Why do people take drugs? Not a mystery. It’s why they don’t take them all the time that’s the mystery.
And you might think that’s harsh. But training your child not to sleep, and rewarding him with the antics of a creepy puppet? That’s harsh too. You pick your poison, and I’ll pick mine.
Watching people respond to children restores your faith in human nature. All that’s multiplied when your kids behave in public.
And if you’re not thinking such things through, then you’re not acting responsibly as a parent. You’re leaving the dirty work to someone else, who will be much dirtier doing it.
Parents have a duty to act as proxies for the real world—merciful proxies, caring proxies—but proxies, nonetheless. This obligation supersedes any responsibility to ensure happiness, foster creativity, or boost self-esteem. It is the primary duty of parents to make their children socially desirable.
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