Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A New Meme: Your Daily Principles

My good friend Olly from Without Hyphens has meme-tagged me. This particular meme-tag is of Olly's own creation, and it's a pretty good one too! Check it out:

I got to thinking recently about the idea that all of us, as humans, have principles we live by daily. These aren’t your over-arching beliefs necessarily, but rather the things that you do daily as a part of those beliefs. So, for example, it’s not that I’m an anarchist, but things I do daily in line with that. I’ve kept it to 5 on my own, but there’s no hard rules on this meme; name as few or as many as you’d like! Likewise, no limits on how few or how many (if any) people you tag… do whatever is comfortable!

I think I'll make a slightly shorter list of three daily habits, and list them in order of importance. While my list is a bit more abstract than Olly's I do feel that they meet the qualifications of his meme-tag in that they are daily life practices that are derived from actual principles that I hold. I have found much satisfaction, success, understanding, and happiness by applying these three practices to my life, and I think that everyone else can benefit from them as well. Here we go!

1) Apply universality to all social interactions. When I am interacting with other people I check the fairness or rightness of the situation in part by turning the tables, or putting the involved parties in each other's shoes. I ask myself how I would feel about the situation if the roles were reversed. This helps me understand the other person's perspective, the equality of the interaction, and helps me to determine what corrective action to apply if needed.

2) Regularly question and test your own beliefs. The merit of a belief is not found in how fiercely one believes it, but in how well it stands up to scrutiny. Similarly, the confidence and security one has in their belief is found not in how passionately they defend it, but in how willing they are to let it stand on its own merit.

3) Win by converting your opponent, not attacking him. While this principle is not my most important one, it is certainly my favorite. Kill 'em with kindness. Hide your sword with a smile. You attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Build bridges, not walls. It can be stated many different ways, but the idea is the same. When facing an opponent, the strategy is to paint both of you as being on the same side, while painting his position or ideology as actually being against the both of you. Framing the situation as you and your opponent vs. the ideology/argument in question, and not simply as you vs. your opponent, paves the way for your opponent's conversion.

Now comes the part where I spread the meme by tagging five other people. After much consideration, I have decided to tag the following bloggers:

Francois Tremblay of Check Your Premises

Austin Cline of atheism.about.com

Krystalline Apostate of Biblioblography

Dr. Zachary Moore of Goosing the Antithesis

Zhwazi of Bored Zhwazi


Anonymous said...

Nicely done Aaron! I particularly like the universality.. I think that we all could stand to do this a little bit more, if for no better reason than to learn from those we come in contact with, rather than just dismiss them as "opposing".



breakerslion said...

Very moral. Words to live by.

wade419 said...

very admirable. good and concise, too. I was going to say which one I liked best, but I like all three!

and my experience with #1 is that sometimes people don't understand when you're trying to see things from others' shoes - why aren't you just looking out for yourself? It's the golden rule, but sometimes people just don't get it...

oh, and check out my response under the "perverted preacher" post.