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10 things I have learned from my mistakes

Back in the Dark Ages of the early 1990s, somewhere between the Punic Wars and the invention of the Segway, I wrote down, with all the arrogant presumption of youth, what I thought of as 10 principles to live by. A Code, I thought at the time. In fact, I don't think I was able to come up with 10 points at all, instead resorting to what basically became a list of anti-communist polemics framed by some Ed Abbey quotes and Iron Maiden logos.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, especially the proliferation of Iron Maiden logos.

So what have I learned in the intervening 25 years? If you ask around, probably not a whole helluvalot. I have figured out one or two things over the years though, usually from having done it the Wrong Way[tm] for so long and with such enthusiasm that I've stumbled backwards and unwillingly into Understanding. So here you go: 10 things I've learned from my mistakes, presented here in the hopes that it will save some other poor bastard a whole pack of trouble. Comments, gripes, and sketchy propositions can be made here.

	- You must know that a man can have only one invulnerable loyalty, loyalty
	  to his own concept of the obligations of manhood. All other loyalties are
	  merely deputies of that one. -- N. Wolfe
	- Never eat at a place called Mom's. Never play cards with a man named
	  Doc. And never lie down with a woman who's got more troubles than 
	  you. -- N. Algren

1. Affirm life in everything you do.

	- And when the hourglass has run out, the hourglass of temporality, when
	  the noise of secular life has grown silent and its restless or ineffectual
	  activism has come to an end, when everything around you is still, as it is
	  in eternity, then eternity asks you and every individual in these millions
	  and millions about only one thing: whether you have lived in despair or
	  not. -- S. Kierkegaard
2. Assume good faith.
	- From the Wikipedia guideline. 
3. Achieve things, don't need them.
	- Here, we trade achievements, not failures – values, not needs. We're
	  free of one another, yet we all grow together. Wealth, Dagny? What
	  greater wealth is there, than to own your life and to spend it on
	  growing? Every living thing must grow. It can't stand still. It must
	  grow or perish. -- A. Rand
4. Win the long war; dig the hole first; keep your powder dry.
	- The end is important in all things. -- T. Yamamoto
	- The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the
	  summer; -- Proverbs 30:25
	- How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With
	  pleasure. -- A. Dumas
5. Laugh.
	- If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll
	  kill you. -- G. Shaw
	- I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it
	  laughing. -- H. Melville
	- Take me with you. For laughs, for luck, for the unknown. Take me with
	  you. -- P. Beagle
6. A thing wrong generally is wrong specifically.
	- Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will
	  that it should become a universal law. -- I. Kant
	- Journey before destination. -- B. Sanderson
7. You will learn more from those who oppose you than from those who agree.
	- It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything
	  else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is
	  called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be
	  able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his
	  own. -- T. Yamamoto
	- Absorb what is useful. Disregard what is not. Add what is uniquely your
	  own. -- B. Lee
8. Be responsible so that you can be irreseponsible.
	- In dreams begin responsibilities. -- W. Yeats
	- I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I
	  tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free
	  because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I 
	  do. -- R. Heinlein
	- Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same. Leave it
	  to our bureaucrats and police to see that our papers are in order. 
	  -- M. Foucault
9. Without love, none of this makes any damn sense.
	- Love is so short, forgetting is so long. -- P. Neruda
	- You can't stop a man
	  from loving too much
	  I'm still licking stamps
	  from trying it once -- L. Cohen
	- When love is not madness it is not love. -- P. de la Barca
	- Free love is priced right. -- E. Abbey
	- The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places;
	  but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is
	  now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater. -- J. Tolkien
	- Sex should be friendly. Otherwise stick to mechanical toys; it's more
	  sanitary. --R. Heinlein
10. You are forgiven.
	- Forgiving and being forgiven are two names for the same thing. The
	  important thing is that a discord has been resolved. -- C. Lewis