Some meditations on my personal life, through some wisdom of the past.
Edward Gibbons: The Decline and the Fall of the Roman Empire
I read Edward Gibbon’s “The Decline and the Fall of the Roman Empire” via quotes from Eugene Ho. I didn’t read the whole thing. Yet, I gained a lot of wisdom — things I want to apply to my own life.
I downloaded all the quotes as a text file. I read it all in a text-editor, and whenever I found a passage or quote I liked, I typed it out. I used a lot of semi-colons; which is easier to type than commas. They aren’t 100% accurate quotes. So don’t quote them, or me.
I wrote this mostly for myself. To uplift my own soul with valor, spirit, and bravery. To help remind myself, the purpose of my life: to uplift others, with love, understanding, and virtue.
So just scan all the thoughts and the bullet-points below. Just imagine like me talking to you, or me talking to myself, kind of in the spirit of Marcus Aurelius in “The Meditations.”:
1. Make my interest and duty the same
My interest and duty is the same; to serve others.
2. The corruption of society
“The name of Poet was almost forgotten, and the Orator (usurped by the sophists). A cloud of critics; of compilers; of commentators, darkened the face of learning; and the decline of genius was soon followed by the corruption of taste.” – Gibbons
Be a poet or an orator in life. Disregard the sophists.
Avoid the critics, compilers, summarizers, and commentators. They will darken the face of learning.
True genius: to create. To not just criticize or comment the artistic work of others.
3. Don’t be a hypocrite
“The most worthless of mankind condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference of age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction.” – Gibbons
It is human nature to condemn in others the same faults we have.
For myself, it is easy for me to criticize the negative actions of others. Yet, I forget my own faults.
I cannot justify that my case is different. I can never criticize another, if I have faults myself.
4. The role of the historian
“Surrounded with imperfect fragments, always concise often obscure, and sometimes contradictory, the historian is reduced to collect, to compare and to conjecture.” – Gibbons
History is more like story-telling. For us as historians to gather the fragments from the past, to compare, to conjecture— and to not make the same mistakes as others did in the past.
5. Learning begets hope
“The revival of learning gave new vigor to hope” – Gibbons
The more we learn, and achieve self-enlightenment, the more hope we have in life. The hope to change our lives for the better.
6. Learn from the mistakes of history
History undertakes to record the transaction of the past; for the instruction of future ages. – Gibbons
What practical lessons can we learn from history, and what mistakes can we avoid?
7. Be single-minded
“We have seldom an opportunity of observing, either in active or speculative life; what effect may be produced, or what obstacles may be surmounted, by the force of a single mind; when it is inflexibly applied to pursuit of a single object.” – Gibbons
Your force of your single mind can move mountains. Be inflexible in your single pursuit in life— of justice, courage, virtue.
Know that you can accomplish a shit-load in this short life of yours. The force of your inner-genius is phenomenal.
The only way to achieve it— believe in yourself (the strength of your single mind), and pursue a single object with all your heart, soul, and energy.
8. The role of a leader
“After 120 years; Romans beheld an emperor who made no distinction between his duties and his pleasures, who labored to relieve the distress and to revive the spirit of his subjects; and who endeavored always to connect authority with merit, and happiness with virtue.”
If you are a leader, make your duty be the same as your pleasure. Labor and work hard to relieve the distress and anxiety of others.
Work hard to revive the spirits of your subjects. Always endeavor to help people find inner-happiness in their heart.
9. Decline of society
What causes a society to decline? Love of luxury, fashion, pleasure, and vain furniture:
“Fashion was the only law; pleasure the only pursuit; and the splendor of dress and furniture the only distinction of the citizens of Antioch.” – Gibbons
10. Your obstacles are imaginary
Don’t be discouraged by fake or imaginary obstacles. A lot of our obstacles in life are self-imposed phantoms, that don’t exist:
“We may rest assured; from the love of glory; and contempt of danger; which formed the character of Julian, that he was not discouraged by any trivial or imaginary obstacles.”
11. Beware flattery
Flattery as one of the most vices:
“The frequent and familiar companions of the great are those parasites who practice the most useful of all arts, the art of flattery; who eagerly applaud each word and every action of their immortal patron; gaze with rapture on his marble columns and variegated pavements, and strenuously praise the pomp and elegance which he is taught to consider as a part of his personal merit.” – Gibbons
Avoid those who flatter you. They will corrupt you.
12. Appreciate advantages in life
Human nature is to exaggerate the evils of the present times, and to diminish the advantages of the present times:
There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times. – Gibbons
Imagine our lives. We have the internet. Food, water, sanitation, shelter. Yet we still complain.
13. Seek to serve others
Don’t be a monk— living in solitude, and trying to cut away my own sins. Rather, be an active member of society— to help uplift others:
The lives of the primitive monks were consumed in penance and solitude, undisturbed by the various occupations which fill the time, and exercise the faculties, of reasonable, active, and social beings. – Gibbons
14. Prosperity often leads to decline
Prosperity ripened the principle of decay. – Gibbons
Too much prosperity is bad for us. It makes us soft. And leads to moral weakness. And decline of virtue, and increase of vice.
15. One man has infinite power
“The happiness of an hundred millions depended on the personal merit of one or two men, perhaps children, whose minds were corrupted by education, luxury, and despotic power.” – Gibbons
One person can change the minds of millions.
16. What can we learn from 4,000 years of history?
“The experience of four thousand years should enlarge our hopes and diminish our apprehensions… “
Studying history for 4,000 years— have more hope in life, and fewer fears.
17. Don’t be greedy for gold and money
Don’t have ambition and thirst of gold:
A philosopher; liberal of his wealth and parsimonious of his time, is insensible to the common allurements of ambition, and the thirst of gold. – Gibbons
Rather, be appreciative of the wealth I already have. Be stingy with my time. Only focus my energy on uplifting the souls of others, rather than stuffing my own pockets with gold.
18. Memento mori
After a Roman triumph, an emperor would ride around the city in a chariot— and a slave would whisper in his ear, “Memento mori.” (remember, you are mortal, and you will die), in order to not enlarge the ego of the emperor. To humble the emperor.
The emperor is not a God. The emperor will die.
19. Purify the heart
Study the stoics, and Epictetus to ‘purify the heart’
20. All of humanity is comparison
We compare humans to one another. All ‘personal merit’ is relative:
“Our estimate of personal merit is relative to the common faculties of mankind.”
Practically speaking, don’t compare ourselves to others. No matter how good or bad we are, we will be compared to others. This goes to our wealth, accomplishments, etc.
We will always be compared to others. Even if we are giants, if someone is even bigger than us, we will be seen as small.
The aspiring efforts of genius or virtue; either in active or speculative life; are measured not so much by their real elevation as by the height to which they ascent above the level of their age or country; and the same statue which in a people of giants would pass unnoticed (next to midgets)
In life, we should judge ourselves to our ‘real elevation’. Not to compare our height with others.
21. Seek the truth
Attached to no party; interested only for the truth and candor of history…
Gibbons didn’t ascribe to one party or belief-system. His role in being a historian was to find truth, and candor.
He wanted to:
Contemplate the principles of a science so important to the peace and happiness of society.
To figure out what makes a society happy and peaceful. To learn from the mistakes of foolish past Roman emperors.
22. Too much information
In the space of 1,000 years (ten centuries) the infinite variety of laws and legal opinions had filled many thousand volumes, which no fortune could purchase and no capacity could digest. – Gibbons
We need to simplify information. To change theory and concepts and ideas into deeds, and action.
To keep instruction brief, practical, and to-the-point. To make information easily digestible, to actually apply it to practice.
23. People are foolish
The passions of the people are furious and changeable. – Gibbons
People will never be constant. It is human nature.
24. Avoid thoughts of paradise after death
The road to paradise; a bridge as sharp as a razor, was suspended over the abyss by the master-hand of the theological artist. – Gibbons
Paradise is being alive. Paradise exists now. Don’t believe in a heaven or hell after death.
Do all in my life right now to be virtuous, and to help humankind.
25. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust
The remains of his mangled corpse were delivered to the flames; and his ashes to the wind… – Gibbons
My body will die, perish, and be delivered to the flames at the end of my life. My ashes will be scattered to the wind.
Always remember my mortality.
26. All power is fleeting
If we compute the number and duration of the reigns between Heraclius and Andronicus it will be found that a period of 600 years is filled with 60 emperors. it is thus that the experience of history exalts and enlarges the horizon of our intellectual view.
It is humbling to know that in 600 years, there were 60 emperors. To realize all the ambitions, hopes, dreams, and accomplishments of these emperors just fades into dust.
Who remembers any of these 60 emperors in 2017?
Study history, to live a better life— today.
Also to realize, Gibbons wrote about thousands of years of history in some days. The history of thousands of years can be read in some hours. 600 years has rolled on by, so fleeting:
In a composition of some days; in a perusal of some hours; 600 years have rolled away – Gibbons
The duration of life is ‘contracted to a fleeting moment.’ Death is always beside the throne. If you are a criminal and commit a crime, you will always lose your prize.
To also know, ‘immortal reason’ will survive forever:
The duration of a life or reign is contracted to a fleeting moment; the grave is ever beside the throne; the success of a criminal is almost instantly followed by a loss of his prize; and our immortal reason survives and disdains the 60 phantoms of kings who have passed before our eyes; and faintly dwell on our remembrance. – Gibbons
27. Use ambition (in a good way)
The observation that in every age and climate, ambition has prevailed with the same commanding energy. – Gibbons
Ambition is usually bad. The ambition of kings who conquered in the past has actually prevailed. But to remind myself, to be ambitious— for good. Virtuous industry, and virtuous ambition.
Ambition almost always prevails. This surprises a lot of philosophers. While the philosopher condemns the ‘vanity of ambition’ — we ‘try to understand the motive of this universal desire to obtain and hold the scepter of power/dominion.’
Why do we all have a universal desire for power?
28. Keep it simple
Study the simple teachings of Jesus:
In the long night of superstition, the Christians had wandered far away from the simplicity of the Gospel; nor was it easy for them to discern the clue, and tread back the mazes, of the labyrinth. – Gibbons
Don’t get lost in the labyrinth of religion.
29. Technology can lessen our toil
Our toil is lessened; our wealth is increased – Gibbons
In the past, they had slaves, and modern technology to lessen their toil.
Therefore, we should embrace technology that lessen our toil. Increase our wealth, to pursue more virtue, wisdom, and happiness.
Consider the dominion that humans had over animals, like the ox, or the sheep:
By our dominion over the useful animals; the Arabian shepherd had acquired the absolute possession of a faithful friend and a laborious slave. – Gibbons
Embrace useful animals. Embrace useful technology. Make technology our slave. Don’t let ourselves become a slave to our technology.
30. Study the Arabic poets
The Arabian poets were the historians and moralists of the age; and they inspired and crowned the virtues; of their countrymen.
Arabia was free; the adjacent kingdoms were shaken by the storms of conquest and tyranny.
The ancient Arabic poets were great. What were their past virtues, living in the desert, with little. Strength in poverty and simplicity in life.
31. Solitude leads to genius
Conversation enriches the understanding; but solitude is the school of genius. – Gibbons
Solitude is the school of genius
To develop our wisdom and understanding, we need more time in solitude. Conversation is good to enrich our understanding, but solitude is key.
32. Don’t live for the future
The human fancy can paint with more energy the misery than the bliss of a future life. – Gibbons
We have more energy and bliss, thinking of a blissful life after death. In heaven, or in a future life.
Rather, we should best embrace the benefits of now. Not after we die.
33. Pain and pleasure are fleeting
With the two simple elements of darkness and fire we can create a sensation of pain; which may be aggravated to an infinite degree by the idea of endless duration. But the same idea operates with an opposite effect on the continuity of pleasure… – Gibbons
To be a human is more than avoiding pain, and pursuing pleasure.
We can live in pain our entire lives. We can live in pleasure our entire lives.
But after we die, we will no longer feel pain or pleasure.
Why keep pursuing pointless pleasure? How many times can I excite my endorphins by letting certain foods and compounds pass through my throat?
Don’t fear pain. You’re strong enough to endure it.
34. Study other planets
Earth is just one planet. The universe is infinite, and constantly expanding.
To think of other planets, and to study astronomy is to realize how little we are as humans:
The sublime science of astronomy; which elevates the mind of man to disdain his diminutive planet and momentary existence. – Gibbons
To elevate my mind to disdain my little body, and my little fleeting time on the planet Earth.
To use the little body, little time I have, to do a (few) great things.
To try to make a dent in the universe.
35. Make my own art
Don’t be an art collector; make my own art. Don’t be lazy:
They coveted the works of art; which they were too lazy to imitate and too indigent to purchase. – Gibbons
36. The tomb awaits us all
We are all bounded by the same (ultimate) fate of death:
Of human life, the most glorious or humble prospects are alike— and soon bounded by the tomb. – Gibbons
No matter how glorious of a life I live, or how humbly I live, we all share the same fate— the same tomb.
We are all equal in birth, and in death.
37. Don’t be thirsty for power
In every age; and more especially in Asia; the thirst of power has inspired the same passions and occasioned the same disorders… – Gibbons
Being thirsty for power— we can never quench our thirst. We will ruin other nations, trying to be hungry for power. Lead to death, famine, and misery.
38. Awaken the spirits of the people
With the Crusades— the Roman emperor woke up the people. Of course, for a wrongful goal. But interesting to note how it changed the psyche of the Roman people:
When Peter the hermit painted the sufferings of the natives and the pilgrims of Palestine; every heart was melted to compassion; every breast glowed with indignation when he challenged the warriors of the age to defend their brethren, and to rescue their savior. – Gibbons
Many Crusaders picked up their swords, to fight the Arabs of the middle-east.
My takeaway point: make sure that I have a heart that will ‘melt to compassion’ to the suffering of others. For my ‘breast to glow with indignation’ according to the injustice done unto others. To help rescue others.
39. Seek happiness for the people
The wishes and interest of the people; whose happiness is the first object of government. – Gibbons
The purpose of a government isn’t to enriched the monarch or emperor. Rather, to help fulfill the (virtuous) wishes and interest of people. To help make people become happy.
Gibbons in describing a statue; probably some of the most beautiful poetic lines I’ve read:
Snowy arms; rosy lips; swimming eyes; arched eyebrows; the harmony of her shape; the lightness of her drapery; and her flowing locks that wavered in the winds. – Gibbons
- Snowy arms
- Rosy lips
- Swimming eyes
- Arched eyebrows
- Harmony of her shape
- Lightness of her drapery
- Her flowing locks that wavered in the winds
41. What evils to eliminate
We need to eliminate thirst, hunger, and being naked. But wealth is always relative:
Thirst, hunger, and nakedness are positive evils; but wealth is relative.
To be ‘wealthy’ is just an opinion.
What is wealth? To have $40,000 or $400,000?
If you have $400,000 — you are poor compared to the guy with $400,000,000 (400 million).
You can have 1 billion dollars, but you are poor compared to the guy with 10 billion, or the guy with 100 billion, or the guy with 10 trillion dollars.
We need money to fight off thirst, hunger, and being naked to the cold. We need money for our basic needs. But remember, all wealth is relative.
So don’t seek the vanity of wealth.
Be rich to myself. Don’t expose myself to the greed and vices of others. Don’t increase my wants. Increase my satisfaction, and appreciation and thanksgiving:
A prince, who would be rich in a private station, may be exposed by the increase of his wants to all the anxiety and bitterness of poverty. – Gibbons
To have more artificial needs is poverty. Because poverty is not having something, it is not having something.
So a millionaire can be living in poverty, if he is comparing himself to a billionaire.
42. Trade scatters riches; Knowledge dispels prejudice
Before trade, your wealth depended on your birth. Also if you were born in poverty in the past, you could never gain knowledge— which dispels prejudice:
Before the introduction of trade; which scatters riches, and of knowledge, which dispels prejudice; the prerogative of birth is most strongly felt and most humbly acknowledged. – Gibbons
43. Avoid more stress and responsibilities
A king has infinite wealth, but infinite worries, anxieties, and stress:
Fatigued with business, or deceived by negotiation; maintaining a thousand hounds, a thousand hawks and a thousand huntsman; was sufficient to sully his fame and disarm his ambition. – Gibbons
Why fatigue ourselves with senseless business, to increase our pile of gold?
Or to let others deceive us in business?
Do I really want to maintain owning a thousand cars? To have a thousand cares? To feed the mouth of a thousand servants?
44. One man can fuck up a lot
One evil emperor can fuck up the lives of millions:
The disorders of the moral are sometimes corrected by those of the physical world; and an acrimonious humour falling on a single fibre of one man may prevent us to suspend the misery of nations.
Similarly, one great emperor can prevent the suffering of millions.
The single fibre of one man can change a nation.
Know that you have the power to change the hearts of millions. The single fiber of you can change the fate of the world.
45. Virtuous action
What is virtue?
- To chastise the proud
- To protect the weak
- To reward the deserving
- Banish vice and idleness
- To cherish the labor of mankind
- To encourage honorable industry and learning
- To increase the revenue of people without increasing taxes
To chastise the proud; protect the weak; reward the deserving; banish vice and idleness; cherish the labors of mankind; encourage industry and learning; increase revenue without increasing taxes— duties of a prince. – Gibbons
To summarize, to not let people fall victim to self-pride. To help those who are living in poverty. To only reward those who deserve the prizes. To admonish those who are lazy, and living in idle vice.
To cherish the hard work and hustle people put in. To encourage others to learn virtuous things, to learn empowerment. To help others increase their own personal wealth, for helping themselves.
46. One actor can change the whole play
The most important scenes will depend on the character of just 1 single actor:
In human life; the most important scenes will depend on the character of a single actor. – Gibbons
If life were a play, you are the leading actor.
Your actions will change the course of the film or the play.
What will you do in life, and what will you not do in life to make that big change?
What virtuous action will you do in life, to uplift the souls of your fellow brothers and sisters?
47. Study philosophy
“Unlock the treasure of antiquity; of a musical and prolific language that gives a soul to the objects of sense. And a body to the abstractions of philosophy.” – Gibbons
Unlock the hidden treasures of the past. To study ancient philosophy (Stoicism, sayings of Jesus, Zen/Taoism).
To learn the language of the past. To think of the word “virtue” to lead your everyday.
Don’t study abstract philosophy. Study practical philosophy, how to become a better person everyday. To subtract a little from your vices everyday.
To know that if we cultivate our inner-wisdom and reason; we will be less prejudiced, less hateful, and less intolerant.
48. We need freedom to pursue our curiosity
Children are given freedom to pursue their curiosity. That is true wisdom.
What passions can I pursue in life, if I don’t need to keep working like a slave?
In Europe the lower ranks of society were relieved from the yoke of feudal servitude; freedom is the first step to curiosity and knowledge. – Gibbons
“Freedom is the first step to curiosity and knowledge.”
Don’t do anything that lessens my freedom in life. Don’t trade my personal time, energy, or freedom for more money. In-fact, it is better to trade money to have more freedom and time.
49. Dream of doing my passion
What is my passion in life? And do I dream of pursuing my passion?
So strong was my passion; that the lessons which I had imbibed in the day were the constant subject of my nightly dreams. – Gibbons
Use your short life to hustle and follow your passion. Dream of doing your passion at night. Then you will wake up with vigor, and energy to pursue your passion.
50. Overcome your predecessors
As an artist; may I hope to surpass the works of my predecessors!
Don’t just follow in the footsteps of my past masters. Hustle hard, to one day equal them. Then strive to overcome them. To be better than them, and to drive humanity forward.
51. Don’t be feeble
Be strong; or you can never persuade or lead anybody:
The feeble can seldom persuade. – Gibbons
If I am conscious of my own strength; I will have great courage.
Remember, I am stronger than I think I am:
Courage arises in a great measure from the consciousness of strength. – Gibbons
52. Pity the past
We contemplate the decline and fall of the Roman Empire; on Rome— contemplate her fortune at first with admiration; at length with pity, always with attention. – Gibbons
Learn from from the foolish mistakes from the past Roman Emperors, and of Rome.
53. How to prevent my own decline and fall?
Some things to avoid:
- Avoid superstition
- Avoid vice
- Avoid ignorance
- Avoid fear
- Don’t disdain honorable industry
54. Fuck wealth
The wealth; whose constant increase must have rendered them the sole proprietors of the earth; was alternatively bestowed by the repentant father and plundered by the rapacious son. – Gibbons
My father will give me wealth; and I shall squander the wealth. This cycle happens forever.
Rather, I should seek to inherit the wealth I’ve been given, and increase the wealth. To share it with others. To not waste my precious fruit.
54. Fuck ambition
Ambition is a weed of quick and early vegetation in the vineyard. – Gibbons
Don’t let greed, ambition, and negative emotions fuck up my garden.
55. Let your meteor ascend
Imagine yourself like a meteor. Great, and worthy of admiration. And your meteor is ascending— into the heavens.
56. ADVANCE in life
If the one advances; the other retreats. The one appears an animal fearful of the land; the other a creature apprehensive of the water. – Gibbons
Never retreat in life. Always advance. Don’t be a meek animal that is fearful of the land; or fearful of the water.
57. Enlighten yourself
Don’t think of ‘enlightenment’ as some silly, new-agey, concept.
Rather, to ‘enlighten’ yourself is just to shine light upon yourself.
To not be distracted by pursuing money, power, and influence.
Rather, to enlighten yourself— know your purpose in life. Your purpose in life in helping serve others, and uplifting humanity. To help spread love, understanding, and wisdom with others.
Aspire to free others from self-imposed mental slavery.
58. Let religion empower you; not weaken you
“In the trammels of servile faith he has learned to believe because it is absurd, to revere all that is contemptible, and to despise whatever might deserve the esteem of a rational being; to punish error as a crime, to reward mortification and celibacy as the first of virtues; to place the saints of the calendar above the heroes of Rome and the sages of Athens; and to consider the missal, or the crucifix, as more useful instruments than the plough or the loom. In the office of nuncio, or the rank of cardinal, he may acquire some knowledge of the world; but the primitive stain will adhere to his mind and manners: from study and experience he may suspect the mystery of his profession; but the sacerdotal artist will imbibe some portion of the bigotry which he inculcates.” – Gibbons
- Be rational
- Don’t see celibacy as a virtue
- Appreciate the past heroes and philosophers/sages
- Appreciation for useful tools that empower humanity
- Acquire knowledge of the world
59. Wheels of fortune are always revolving
The changing wheels of fortune; which spares neither man nor the proudest of his work; which buries empires and cities in a common grave. – Gibbons
Fortune is like a wheel. It always turns. Turns to good; and bad.
No matter how rich or powerful, I will always find myself in the common place— the grave. With the hundreds of Roman emperors from the past.
60. Don’t retrograde
If I don’t advance in life; I will retrograde:
All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance. – Gibbons
Advance in life. Strive to learn more, to create more, to empower others more. To hustle harder, to be less wasteful of time.
To spend less time online shopping, more time online writing.
To spend less time comparing yourself to others, to spend more time creating art.
To spend less time thinking about negative bullshit from the past. To think today is a new day, and you can start fresh. Carte blanche.
To create today like today is your last.
When you make art, treat your first like your last, and your last like your first. Which means, re-discover that inner-hunger you had when you were 18 years old, a starving college student, or an ambitious intern. To have that inner-hustle; and not become complacent in life.
61. Monuments will all crumble
No matter how high I build statues of myself, it will all crumble:
The art of man is able to construct monuments far more permanent than the narrow span of his own existence. Yet these monuments are perishable and frail. In the boundless annals of time his life and his labors must equally be measured as a fleeting moment. – Gibbons
All life is a fleeting moment. So make it worth it. Don’t care about your legacy; just hustle hard today, and create something beautiful, and share it with others.
62. Fuck metals
What good is gold, silver, platinum, or green money? What are dollars? What are commas, zeros, added to your bank account? You can’t eat it.
Of course you need some money to have some basic comforts in life. But past that; money is a distraction.
A vase or statue of those precious metals gold and silver might tempt the vanity of some barbarian chief. But the grosser multitude, was tenacious only of the substance. – Gibbons
Us silly humans— we have a hunger for these ‘precious metals.’ Now, we care less about gold— we care more about money.
Don’t be hungry for money; be hungry for virtue and wisdom.
63. Don’t repeat the past
A history of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; the greatest, perhaps, the most awful scene in the history of mankind.
Don’t let yourself decline, or fall. Don’t let your life history be an awful scene.
Make your life beautiful, elegant, and poetic.
Hug your children today. Kiss your partner. Call up your parents, and show your love.
Make small talk with a stranger, and ask them how they are. Show genuine interest in others.
Make your love for humanity your mission statement. See every stranger as your brother or sister. Every elderly person as your grandma or grandpa. To treat others like you would like others to treat yourself. To not do unto others as you don’t want others to do unto you.
To love all of humanity, to forgive endlessly (70×7 times, like Jesus said), to do honorable industry/hustle (to create the work you were put on earth), to uplift the souls of others (through your advice, wisdom, writings, speech), to continue to learn and enlarge your understanding.
To dispel superstition, to dispel avarice, and the hunger for more followers, likes, money, power, influence.
To know that you will die. At best, you might live to be 120. Probably you will live to 90 if you don’t catch some weird disease, cancer, or something else. But who knows, you might lose your mind at age 55, just like your Dad.
So Eric, don’t waste any precious moment. Stay hungry, stay foolish. Find that inner-hustle you had when you were 18. Keep serving others, don’t forget where you came from, and make love your mission statement.