Wisdom Day 22.a, July 2016: 30 Precepts of the Sages

I’m giving you thirty sterling principles—
    tested guidelines to live by.
Believe me—these are truths that work,
    and will keep you accountable
    to those who sent you. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verses 20 & 21, The Message,

Thirty Precepts of the Sages, Thirty Sterling Principles! It just struck me this morning that I’ve sought for years to learn a myriad of principles, some by sevens, some by threes, and even 21 immutable laws. These are all great, so great, in fact, that they brought to mind the really immutable laws, the Big Ten, the ones that are so controversial they are more and more often banned from public display. When bureaucrats decide something is so dangerous it should not be available to the public, that becomes even more important to me, knee-jerk rebel that I am, or is that just Jerk Rebel? Rebel Jerk? Hmmm? Maybe all of the above.

Anyhow, such was the inspiration this morning, that I wanted to see what you think of this list of thirty that is much less in the bureaucratic cross hairs than the Big Ten are. These Thirty Sterling Principles, the Thirty Precepts of the Sages, begin in Chapter 22 of the Book of Proverbs.

One thing that really surprised me was the fact that the very first Precept of the Sages deals with the poor and the weak:

Don’t walk on the poor just because they’re poor,
    and don’t use your position to crush the weak,
Because God will come to their defense;
    the life you took, he’ll take from you and give back to them. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 22, Verses 22 & 23, The Message,

In none of the many other lists of principles for success have I found the top item to be something about how to treat the poor and/or weak. This is a bit of a puzzler. By comparison to the tech leaders of Silicon Valley, among others, I am poor. But actually I can look all around and see people much worse off than I, both nearby and far away. Am I somehow walking on them, using my position to crush them, without realizing it? I don’t think so, but then maybe I deceive myself. I heard one time from a clergyman that “The terrible thing about self-deception is that it’s so deceptive.”

Taking Extreme Ownership may be one way of overcoming self-deception. Hearing The Message might also prove helpful, especially for grasping the Thirty Precepts of the Sages. The following are some resources to those ends:



Also published on Medium.

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