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Rule 2: Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping (12 Rules For Life)

Rule 2: Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping

Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping
Adam and Eve

Self-inflicted Pain

Dialysis is painful to go through, people have it because they don’t take their medication. There are some good reasons for this. These people might be depressed or alone, but they sometimes treat their pets better than they treat themselves. And that’s terrible. The origins of this tragedy might be found in the story of Adam and Eve.

How We Understood the World

Before the scientific method was invented, people tried to arrive at truths about how to live to maximize their chances of survival. The idea of science was alien to them, the same way their mythological stories can seem alien to us. The world to them, and even to us, is not made up of matter – it is made up of what matters. The most real things to human beings, in the past and in the present, are pain, emotions, and meaningful events – not rocks, molecules, or atoms.

Order vs Chaos

Chaos is the unknown. We experience it when something tragic happens and spins our world out of order – like the end of a relationship, getting fired, or losing hope on your dreams.

The opposite of chaos is order – a state in which all things are predictable. It is explored territory. It is familiar and under our control. It is stability, success, and friendship.

In mythology, chaos is the underworld. It is the dragon or the whale. Order is the redemptive journey of the hero.

Order and chaos, unlike inanimate objects, are perceived as personalities.

We do not perceive objects and then infer their purpose. We perceive an object’s purpose before or during the time we perceive it. The hyperactive agency detector within us identifies the tools in our environment before we can be consciously aware of them.

The ideas of ‘male’ and ‘female’, ‘parent’ and ‘child’ are deeply embedded in us. They are very old. We are social beings; the most important things to us are not inanimate objects but other people.

Nature is what selects – it is comprised of other beings who in turn select us (through judgments and opinions). It is only natural for them to make up our reality.

Order is masculine while chaos is feminine. Order is necessary to build societies, but too much of it can lead to totalitarianism. Chaos is necessary to spur change and innovation, but too much of it can lead to decadence.

The hemispheric structure of the brain (left and right brain) represents the division of chaos and order. One side is responsible for routine while the other for novelty.

You must have one foot in order and another in chaos. You need to be present in mastered territory and unexplored space to be in perfect balance. This is how you can improve and find meaning in what you are doing. This is also what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls ‘Flow’. 

The Snake

The snake in the story of Adam and Eve represents chaos. It also represents Satan, and our natural proclivity for evil. Despite the walled garden, despite our best attempts at shielding ourselves from malevolence, we cannot protect ourselves from the evil that lives within us.

Parents cannot protect their children by blocking out the outside world. The only way to protect someone is to help make them stronger. Fear is impossible to get rid of, but over time, you can become more courageous. It is better to fight the serpent and to have a reason to pay attention than to live a boring,  pointless life.

Eve is tricked by the snake to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She is told that she will become like god, but the serpent didn’t tell her that she would become godlike in only one way. Eve becomes self-conscious and then proceeds to awaken Adam.

This story has never changed. Women have always been making men self-conscious.

We evolved acute vision thanks to snakes. The snake offered Eve fruit. And fruit happened to have transformed our vision into being able to locate ripe fruit by seeing color. Adam and Eve are then ashamed to walk with God. Then, God asked why they were hiding, to which Adam comically blames Eve for giving him the fruit, and then blames God for bringing him Eve!

Man is made self-conscious by woman and blames God. After he is shamed by woman, he develops a resentment towards all of creation, the creator, and his lowly self.

Downfall

Our knowledge about our own vulnerabilities gives us the capacity to harm others. Animals kill each other out of necessity, but human beings can use imagination and creativity to maximize the amount of pain his victim will feel – only because he can imagine the ways in which he is personally vulnerable.

If you know how to hurt yourself, then you know how to hurt others.

But maybe our downfall isn’t the fact that we have gained knowledge of evil, but that we refuse to walk with God (as Adam hid in the garden) despite our propensity for evil. Instead of thinking that the problem that plagues the world is that people are self-interested and vain, it is more accurate to say that they are plagued with shame and self-contempt.

Returning to the problem discussed at the beginning of this post, people won’t take their medication or properly take care of themselves while sacrificing everything for others, because they don’t think they deserve to be valued.

Redemption

‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ are not prescriptions to be kind. They are instead equations. They do not call on you to be weak for that will make you a slave, but ask you to stand up for yourself, embrace your own imperfections, and accept the flaws in other people.

Despite the suffering people encounter, they put in the work consistently and bravely keep the world moving. The correct attitude to have is to be appreciative of them and of yourself.

To treat yourself with dignity and respect is your duty, because you have a role to play for the betterment of humanity.

Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

Read 12 Rules For Life

Rule 2: Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping (12 Rules For Life) 1

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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