a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories

Es­ti­mated reading time is 4 min­utes.

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).

Cherie Carter-Scott’s Ten Rules for Being Human may read like decades-old, New Age plat­i­tudes, but they are all more or less true. Click To Tweet

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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