a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories

BERNI JUST BROUGHT ME a sheet of paper titled “Ten Rules for Being Human.” Unfortunately, it had been photocopied so many times that the letters were all a blur, so I couldn’t read it without squinting like Mr. Magoo. (I’d ask, “Who passes crappily-rendered stuff like this around?” but somebody gave to Berni and she gave it to me, right?)

Not being much of a squinter, I looked up these so-called “rules” up—which is why Grate Grommett in Heaven gave us the internet—and found their author’s website. The author is Cherie Carter-Scott and her site is Awakin (“Waking up to Wisdom In Stillness and Community”).

These rules appeared in her book, If Life is a Game, These are the Rules (Broadway Books, 1998). This book’s sub-title is “Ten Rules for Being Human as Introduced in Chicken Soup for the Soul,” which you shouldn’t allow to scare you away.

These may read like decades-old, New Age platitudes, but they are all more or less true—all the trueness may vary from rule to rule.

Here are Carter-Scott’s rules. Each one is followed by a quote that I chose for a variety of reasons (including an occasional non-sequitur-ness).

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MrMagoo cell 1000 crop

Okay, so I didn’t have to squint as much as Magoo, but it felt like it! This is an original production cel (10¼ x 12½-inches) from the United Productions of America (UPA) Studios. It features two images of Magoo and a businessman (who looks like he belongs in a monster movie) and was used in a Mr. Magoo cartoon from the 1950s. This cel and other animation art can be found at the Van Eaton Galleries website.

Rule 1

You will receive a body. You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.

“Sadly, the signals that allow men and women to find the partners who most please them are scrambled by the sexual insecurity initiated by beauty thinking.” – Naomi Wolf

Rule 2

You will be presented with lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.

“Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.” – Buddha

Rule 3

There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that work.

“Don’t ever trade your liberty for another man’s offer to do your thinking and make your mistakes for you.” – Poul Anderson

Rule 4

A lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can then go on to the next lesson.

“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble—it’s what you know that just ain’t so.”Mark Twain

Rule 5

Learning does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

“Some of the worst mistakes in my life have been haircuts.” – Jim Morrison

Rule 6

There is no better than here. When your there has become a here, you will simply obtain a there that will look better to you than your present here.

“The Sixties are gone. Dope will never be as cheap, sex never as free, and the rock & roll never as great.” – Abbie Hoffman

Rule 7

Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

“You mirror what the world mirrors to you.” – Jennifer Lopez 1

Rule 8

What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you.

“I’ve got this feeling to be free—I pick and choose the life I want and that’s the life for me. Clambake, gonna have a clambake!” – Elvis Presley

Rule 9

Your answers lie inside of you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Rule 10

You will forget all of this at birth. You can remember it if you want by unravelling the double helix of inner knowing. 2

“I have lived with several Zen masters, all of them cats.” – Eckhart Tolle


StepsIntoCave 1000

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of the page is of an entrance to Crystal Cave in Iceland. I chose this image because Cherie Carter-Scott has a photo of steps leading down into a cave on the page with “Ten Rules for Being Human” on her website. Even I like a little consistency from time to time.



1   About that “Others are only mirrors of you” thing: I was going to drop a few well-known names (Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler or Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahmer or even a couple of US Presidents) to point out that anyone remotely resembling being normal can hate another person without it reflecting anything you love or hate about yourself but then I found J-Lo’s statement and thought, “Who needs to mention those monsters when I can mention a beautiful woman instead?” So I did!

2   The double-consonant-before-a-suffix in “unravelling” is common in British English usage (BrE) and The New Yorker. (Don’t ask.)




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