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Principles of Adult Behavior

3rd Oct 2022 in

Principles of Adult Behavior

by John Perry Barlow

Among many, many other things, John Perry Barlow was a lyricist for the Grateful Dead. He was also a poet and a "cyber libertarian" political activist. He was a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He was a rancher in Wyoming, running his family's ranch for about 20 years. He was one of the earliest fellows at Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society. He did so much more. Here's the Wikipedia article on Mr. Barlow.

Barlow's ancestors on his father's side were Mormon pioneers and he was raised as a devout Mormon on the ranch his great uncle had homesteaded in Wyoming. He was prohibited from watching television until he was in sixth grade. His parents then allowed him to watch televangelists. Barlow's life took him far away from that path, however. While in college at Wesleyan University, he spent time with Andy Warhol and was a frequent visitor to Timothy Leary's facility in Millbrook, New York where he would explore the hallucinogenic world of LSD with Leary and his students. Those are just two examples of the different path Barlow followed throughout his life. (Later in his life, he stated that he had consumed acid over 1000 times.)

Here then, written ca. 1977 when he was about 30, are John's 25 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.

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