Sunday, February 20, 2011

RULE 14: KNOW THYSELF (And Everyone Else)

Tonight’s rule comes from my third favorite character in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (right behind George Carlin and Napoleon): Socrates. Although he was not of noble blood and had no handicap preventing him from working, this humble Grecian spent the majority of his time basically putzing around Athens and talking to people. What made him awesome and not a bum was his innate ability to call B.S. on people. His favorite target was a league of debaters called Sophists who taught people how to win arguments through rhetoric rather than through actually being right. Socrates thought this was dumb. He set out to make every Sophist in Greece look like a total tool by debating with them until they exposed their core beliefs (which were usually pretty Weak Sauce). He was so dang good at this that the Sophists eventually put him on trial for “corrupting young people’s minds”. When found guilty and forced to choose between death and exilation, he chose death.

Why? ‘Cause this cat was REAL.

Which brings me to you. Are you real with yourself? Are you able to really recognize who you are?

Look at this picture:

This is a graphical interpretation of the social hierarchy of the typical modern American high school. The “Light” category represents the prettiest and most popular kids at school. The “Dark” category represents the counterculture, those who have been (or have felt) rejected by the mainstream world and now do their best to avoid looking anything like it. The “Left” and “Right” categories are crude representations of people’s artistic (“right-brained”) or analytical (“left-brained”) tendencies.

Now, try to put yourself on that chart. Where do you fall? Do you consider yourself popular or outcast? Are you moved by the world’s beauty all around you, or are you drawn to the nuts and bolts therein?

Now, ask yourself what your friends would put you.

Most of us find it very hard to put ourselves in boxes, and in truth, we’re such complex creatures that it’s not fair to do so. But now, consider your closest friends. Think of the people you CHOOSE to hang out with the most. If that group of people was ONE person with ONE personality, where would it go on the graph?

Above is a more elaborate version of the chart, intended to expound upon the personality types of different groups. (The theorems behind it all are rudimentary at best, but you get the idea.) The personality of a GROUP of people can be generalized very easy, because as the number of a group of people increase, the more our survival instincts will tell us to act like each other, and the strongest personalities will always lead the way.

NOW, think of the girls you’re always trying to date. Put them somewhere on the chart. Are they anywhere near you and your friends? If you’re honest with yourself, the answer is probably NO, because
you want to date someone better or more interesting than you. Well, guess what? We all do. We just can’t. The sooner you accept that fact, the better off you’ll be.

If you answered YES, but you still can’t get a girlfriend, than one of two things is happening:

1) You’re wrong because you’re stupid.
2) You’re missing something important about yourself, since after all, no one can analyze theirselves unbiasedly. Maybe you’re not that popular or good-looking. Maybe you talk too much. Maybe you have anger issues that scare people away. Maybe you bring people down because you dwell on your life problems rather than allowing yourself to grow from them. MAYBE you’re wasting your life away pursuing certain kinds of women for all the wrong reasons, namely, to become something contrary to your core self.

So really, this is kind of like a meta-rule that encompasses a lot of the other rules.

What I want you to do now is go to your closest, truest, and most loving friends and ask them about yourself. Ask them what they like and don’t like about you. Ask them what kind of friendship they need from you. Tell them to be brutal, and don’t let your feelings get hurt. You need to get to know yourself and accept where you fit within the social structure. If you fight it, you’ll never find contentment.

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