The world lost a great man today. John Perry Barlow was a hero of mine. He wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead, co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and helped shape the internet and the freedoms therein. Though I never had the honor to meet him personally, he greatly shaped my views of the world. Rest in peace, John.
What follows is a reprinting of John’s famous principles for adult behavior. May his words echo forever, so that he can keep striving to make the world a better place, even in death.
Principles of Adult Behavior
- Be patient. No matter what.
- Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
- Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
- Expand your sense of the possible.
- Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
- Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
- Tolerate ambiguity.
- Laugh at yourself frequently.
- Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
- Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
- Give up blood sports.
- Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
- Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
- Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
- Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
- Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
- Praise at least as often as you disparage.
- Admit your errors freely and soon.
- Become less suspicious of joy.
- Understand humility.
- Remember that love forgives everything.
- Foster dignity.
- Live memorably.
- Love yourself.
- John Perry Barlow, 2013