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Three rules to live by

Over at Write from Karen the eponymous Karen poses an interesting question:

"What three main rules, standards, or morals do you live by?"

It's a simple question, but it set me to trying to isolate my own answers, and I think I have.

1. Be responsible/honest, i.e., the sort of person that others can rely on to do what you've said you'd do, and the sort of person who can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning.

2. Be polite/pleasant in dealings with the external world, unless and until people prove themselves in need of correction. (In which case, defend yourself/punish at will, with some grace if possible.)

3. Don't make the world a worse place. Of course, if one were to make the world a better place it would be all to the good, but I think we're obliged at least not to make it any worse for our being here.

So, I think that's pretty accurate, though I worry that number 3 is merely a sort of restatement of numbers 1 and 2. If anyone else answers Karen's question, do let us know.

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You cornered the market on 'nobility' with your responses, Debra -- I would certainly *wish* to have the good character to live that way. My less noble responses are here:


I don't know that I've cornered the market on nobility here. Remember, I'm perfectly happy to punish evil-doers, and I don't think we're obliged to make the world a better place.

It's true, too, that I can't echo your number one.


Ah, you see, I wouldn't argue the lack of morality to my number 1, but still I embrace it. I think it is a very basic, primal thing that would drive me to support my own. Of course I would attempt to be a positive and moral influence but if the situation became critical, morality be damned. I wouldn't support a family member's casual misbehavior but I'll be there at the final battle and I won't be on the sidelines.


I think I'd have to see specific scenarios on this one.

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Reading Herodotus: A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

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