While I’m currently reading 12 Rules for Life by the internet’s current favourite controversial intellectual, Jordan B. Peterson, I thought I’d share my (perhaps rather less weighty) 6 rules for life:
- Only drink coffee between the hours of 9am and 1pm. Tea may be drunk between 6am and 9am, and again between 1pm and 6pm.
- Colds are best remedied and indeed avoided by vitamin D, not C, and a diet saturated in fruit and veg.
- Keep physically active during the day.
- Write everything down. If you’re in doubt about the use of the word ‘everything’ here, err on the side of caution and write down as much as you can. This best serves things like to-dos, appointments, ideas, reminders, lists, agenda items, journal entries, dreams etc etc. but it really can apply to everything.
- If you’re an introvert, learn how to talk as much as possible. If you’re an extrovert, learn how to listen as much as possible.
- There is no vegetarian meal that is not significantly enhanced by bacon.
Rules 1–3 roughly outline how I’ve learned to manage my physical energy and health. 4 and 5 have more to do with my mental health and how I’ve learnt to grow as a person (I’m an introvert). 6 just had to be said. I expect there are more which, if I discover them and think they’re worth sharing, might warrant another post here.
On a side note, the book is great, I tend to agree with a lot of what Peterson has to say, but stumbled across this article yesterday by Giles Fraser pointing out some uncanny similarities between Peterson and fourth-century theologian (and many say, heretic), Pelagius. While I wouldn’t go quite to the extent that Fraser does in preferring Augustine’s approach over against Pelagius’, the comparison is instructive.
Finally, a much better list of rules for life can be discovered in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7) which might make Augustine (and Fraser) uncomfortable as Jesus preaches a clear, uncompromising ethic clearly expected of his hearers; but then, as theologians have asked through the centuries, how can this really be lived out except by grace? Or Paul might also add, by the Spirit. I think Augustine (Fraser) might have a point – the ethic espoused by the Christian founder cannot be truly lived except ‘within his life’ – letting the life of Jesus be lived through us, rather than expecting it to come from ourselves.