I see this thing as a part of Beta Culture — a basic resource about living day-to-day. Something like Wikipedia, written and evolved by reader/contributors, and containing a great deal of advice and direction — which everybody is wholly welcome to ignore.
But … you know, a body of objective wisdom about life. Jeez, we get so much hyped and over-hyped shit thrown at us every day, about how we should live, how we should act, what we should wear … it’s like that mass of stuff we might once have learned from our parents and grandparents, or even savvy peers, is drowned in the noise of the crap projected at us through Internet-radio-TV-magazines-billboards-etc. So that EVERYBODY knows how cool it is to get your belly-button pierced, or why you should never give oral sex on the first date (unless it’s true love!), but nobody knows how to safely clean your ear with a Q-Tip.
Or how to apologize. How to deal with grief. How to walk on the roadside next to traffic. Or any of the ten thousand other things that go into the living of real life, rather than the shotgun-scatter of acts and attitudes we’re taught so we can serve as convenient consumer-units for corporations, compliant citizen-puppets for governments, or mindless donor-thralls for churches.
I wanted something for US, something WE designed, to allow us to live better lives for OURSELVES.
Because … well, because who else is going to do it?
I advanced the idea of The Book of Good Living, and then promptly did nothing about it.
Mainly, I think, because it was too big a bite. I couldn’t see myself starting it. I mean, where the hell DO you start something like that?
Here’s my start, my experiment. I want to throw one small thing out and see what sort of input it will garner. Feel free to comment, correct, add to, take away, critique or compliment. Let’s see what we can do with it.
Walking / Being a Pedestrian:
As a pedestrian, never-never-never trust your life or well-being to the people operating vehicles near you. Don’t assume every driver, or any driver, has good vision, good judgment, good driving skills, or good will.
If you’re walking or otherwise physically in or near a roadway, assume every driver is distracted, in poor health, immature, prone to lose control, or simply doesn’t notice you. Do not, for one second, take your attention away from vehicles moving toward or near you.
Further, as a pedestrian, treat the safety of every child, baby, wife, husband, pet, friend or loved one accompanying you as being at least as important as your own. Keep watch for them as well as yourself.
Notice I haven’t said anything about crossing only at crosswalks. Others might argue, but as an adult who is already freakishly aware of the dangers of traffic, such a rule just seems silly to me.
Although I might put in something about not impeding traffic by, say, crossing only when you’re not impeding the flow of traffic — for instance, don’t start crossing when you know the light is about to change so that you’re delaying drivers who are about to get a green light. (Maybe crossing the street would get its own, related entry.)
I think the goal in making a Book of Good Living, if it’s possible at all, is to make each BOGL entry as clear and simple as possible in its most basic formulation, maybe with these arguable refinements added as successive addenda.
Anyway … Thoughts? Suggestions? Refinements? Reformulations?