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08 January 2007

Four agreements...


I recently sat with Citizen Une and heard a remarkably profound set of simple guidelines for everyday life. It was from a book titled The Four Agreements, but I can now recall hearing these truisms in many management, self-help, spiritual and even junior officer manuals. They are;


1. Make sure your word is impeccable - I read this as DWYSYWD (do what you say you will do). Be honest and true in your speech


2. Don't take things personally - For me this means don't let your first emotion obscure things (I personally have a rule one - Don't Panic)


3. Don't assume - An easy misstep to make when you ignore item two.


4. Do your best - I think I heard this in Little League.


What is stunning is that almost all of these principles can be found all around us. They are ingrained in Western culture and critical to an accepting society. Several posts back I wondered if anyone had a human equivalent to Asimov's three (actually four) laws of robotics. As I have pondered the varying differences in thought throughout the world, nowhere have I felt a clear outline for "good" behavior existed, and thus my inquiry of you to help provide it. Why do people seek something, which to me is already staring us in the face? One answer comes from Robert Todd Carroll.



"Most people would be better off if they followed some of the sensible recommendations of the "alternatives": eat less and don't stuff yourself with fatty and sugary foods with near zero nutritional value, relax, don't smoke or drink or use other drugs to try to make you feel better, don't take things so seriously, treat other people kindly and with respect, spend more time with friends and family building relationships, quit worrying about being so successful and rich or famous, be concerned about what you put into your body and what all of us are putting into our air and water. Philosophy can serve these interests. But most people also want some sort of assurance that this is not all there is, that This is NOT It"

Human nature - nothing free can be worthwhile and it is easier to ignore the sublime and simple.

4 comments:

Scootmaroo said...

I wonder if we search and search for something, that as is said in the Wizard of Oz, is right in our own backyard, because somehow societal pressure and choices blind us to the obvious? We are so (and I put myself into this category as well)conditioned that "money and things buy happiness", that looks are all you need to get ahead in life, and our opinion is better than everyone elses, that we are blinded to simple truths through our own greed and desires.....we can only be reminded of them when they come in a "trendy" packaging, which makes them look like an acquistion. See, I have this profound knowledge from mexican mystics...and you don't. (BTW, I do like the four agreements. It got me through a lot shit say about five years ago spring :).)

Lauren said...

I have this book also. It sat on my shelf until I read it not too long ago. It's a good book but there's a deeper (albeit less wordy) axiom which can be remembered:

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

I just applied this concept to all 4 points ("agreements") you just mentioned; they all can fit. But you ask, 'why do people seek something which is staring them in the face?' Maybe it depends on what they THINK they are seeking. Most people think that life is supposed to be flawless: it's not. It's complicated, but not impossible.

I like a quote from the old movie "Roadie":
"Everything works if you let it".

Scootmaroo said...

Oh Movie Quotes!

"hey, hey...don't cry. Remember wherever you end up, there you are."

Citizen Deux said...

Okay, movie quote duel....

"It's full of stars..."