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That there should be six and not five rules was suggested by Bronislav Vinogrodsky following his Ancient Chinese sources; Rule Seven was suggested by Giuseppe Mascoli as a preventative measure against taking oneself too seriously.
The rules are meant to help those 11 520 real and genuine human beings that according to a very precise estimates of Bronislav Vinogrodsky currently (January 30th, 2016) live on this planet and for expanding the number of those who are willing to leave behind their animal totems and to stop imitating behaviour of various animals (hamsters, wolves, lions, cockroaches, rats, snakes, foxes etc), plants or mushrooms and are willing to enter into Socratic search for what is specifically human. It is admitted that the number of real and genuine human beings might be changing as this is being written and/or read.
The basic rules are devised and compiled for the benefit of all present and future real and genuine human beings in order to facilitate the preservation of their humanness and also for the benefit of those who strive to become human. For those who want to become human these rules are less important than any known or unknown divine laws; to the same degree, they are more important than any elements of past or future political constitutions. These six rules are actually one because Rules Two, Three, Four and Five clarify the meaning of Rule One while Rule Six describes the right attitude towards the Six Rules themselves.
Humans as humans are not and cannot be objects of any positive knowledge or science. The Socratic search for and cultivation of what is specifically human in human beings is one of the driving forces of philosophy as a form of examined conscious life without which human life loses its specificity, turns into imitating other life forms (mushrooms, vegetables, insects, vultures, etc.) or the non-life of machines, and becomes the producer of bullshit.
Bullshit—as a multifarious form of self-stupefying pseudo-consciousness feeding on itself, procreating by imitating others and proliferating rotten speech—is a powerful and infinitely renewable resource. This is because it is automatically produced on a daily basis by each individual darkened consciousness and solidified in external activities, events and institutions, which thoughtlessly promote and activate the continuous production of varieties of deadening bullshit that is difficult to recognise due to its omnipresent, repetitive and imitative nature.
The main front of resistance to the omnipresent influence of bullshit produced internally and encountered externally is the development of an individual way of thinking that strives for non-repetitive and non-imitative forms of conscious life. If there is any meaning left in the word ‘culture’, then at its centre remains the cultivation of this inner line of defence once captured by the Ciceronian phrase cultura animi.
The development of an individual way of thinking may be coextensive with uniquely human forms of conscious self-transformation or self-creation that is unavailable to other living beings, which, unlike very questionable human beings, have a predetermined ecological niche.
Framed from above by known or unknown divine laws, limited from all sides by various laws of nature and pushed from below by stupid or wise criminal laws, the development of individuated thinking needs a bullshit detector that helps to recognise and limit the influence of various forms of rotten speech and imitative pseudo-consciousness both within itself and without. There is no replacement in this regard for an educated soul that forms itself in a simultaneous search for goodness, beauty, wisdom, truth and ultimately strength, fully realising that it strives for the unreachable.
The unreachable horizon of the search for what is specifically human in humans indicates that the process of becoming human may have a beginning, but it has no endpoint. The Six Rules for Becoming Human in no way replace the education and cultivation of the soul but may serve as a safe and self-explanatory guide for practicing conscious life in the practical realm of interaction with other beings, some of whom are involved in the search and cultivation of what is specifically human.
From the time of Plato, one way to understand the minute inner workings of the invisible life of the human soul has been to look at the larger and visible life of the city. While the city is a kind of externalised consciousness or external life of the soul, the life of the city is determined by the interconnection of the inner movements (intentions, passions, interests, instincts) of its inhabitants. Insofar as the city limits the range of possibilities of the conscious life, the soul or the presence of consciousness informs the city and the city forms the life of the soul. In this sense the city is the largest and most complex educational institution invented by humans. Obviously, whatever has educational and formative potential has an at least equally large potential to deform.
Unlike homogenous entities, cities by their very nature resist ethnic, ideological or religious monopolisation. At the same time, cities, being historically much stronger and resilient entities than states, are the main producers, cultivators and consumers of meaningful signs whose inter-related network forms a framework for the conscious life of a citizen. Taken together, these factors—populational and spatial heterogeneity and production / consumption of meaningful signs—channel and colour the educational potential of the city and the forms of life suitable to and attracted by it.
For the most part, the production of meaningful signs, including dreams, visions, aims and goals worth pursuing, takes place in the non-public space of minds interested in and passionate about the invisible life of consciousness; what reaches the public space and influences public opinion are flat traces and often cheapened and weakened by-products of such work. Nevertheless, the invisible, attentive and concentrated work of human consciousness is the only resource available for energising and magnetising city-space and occupying the future. What remains of the city—and where—as an educational institution in the debris of global village, info-bubbles and new tribalism, remains to be seen. For the time being, publicly invisible underground activities are the only source for humans’ continuous conscious life as humans.
Based on Vilnius’ May theses discussed at the Vilnius Club on 18 May 2017.
Rule One: No bullshit
Rule Two: No lying
Rule Three: No pretence
Rule Four: No pressure
Rule Five: No rush
Rule Six: No corrections, explanations or justifications
Rule Seven: There is no permanent rule here; instead it changes on a daily basis in a completely arbitrary way and is valid for at least one day. So far the following arbitrary, changing-every-day, sabbatical (so called gratefully acknowledging Alexander Lavent’s help who at the right moment explained the notion of sabbath to several non–Jewish people) rules have been successfully implemented for a great benefit of all involved persons. In brackets – inventor’s name, if known, and the place where the rule was invented, if known.
Jan 26: No cats (Giuseppe Mascoli, Franco Maca restaurant, London)
Jan 27: No formal meetings longer than 50 minutes (Anthony Julius, Africa House, London)
Jan 28: Never interrupt unless extremely witty (Sasha Kazes, Langan’s restaurant, London)
Jan 29: No attachments, no strings attached, and no strings (Juris Sīlis, Jelgavas tipogrāfija, Jelgava)
Jan 30: Do not imitate others (Bislan Abdulmuslimov, Monterosso restaurant, Riga)
Jan 31: Nothing superfluous (Arnis Rītups, Riga International Airport, Riga)
Feb 1: Do not offend anyone unless it is necessary (Arnis Rītups, Institut francais, Villefranche-sur-Mer)
Feb 2: Keep your mind in hell and do not despair (Noted by Starec Siluan and transmitted by Yeoromonah Sofrony, Mount Athos)
Feb 3: Be attentive while dreaming (Arnis Rītups, Villa Franca)
Feb 4: After a fight one has to feast (Ancient custom still alive in Caucasus)
Feb 5: To every thing there is a season (anonymous as recorded in Ecclesiastes 3:1, translated for King James Bible)
Feb 6: Love God and do whatever you want (Augustine, Hippo)
Feb 7: Enjoy whatever you are doing or drop it (Alexander Piatigorsky, London, paraphrased by Arnis Ritups, Villa Franca)
Feb 8: Act courageously or stay calm (Common sense)
Feb 9: Remember, a sincere enemy can become your friend (Ancient wisdom)
Feb 10: The relations with friends should exist in the distance of two freedoms (Raivo Bitenieks, Liepāja)
Feb 11: Use sincerity as a fuel for energy of consciousness (Bislan Abdulmuslimov, Zaļā street, Riga)
Feb 12: Everything in the world should happen slowly and incorrectly so that a human being may stop being proud of himself. (Venedikt Erofeev, Moscow)
Feb 13: Live beautifully (Common sense)
Feb 14 (St. Valentine’s day): Fuck with mind not dick (paraphrase of a rule invented by Youri Knorozov, Moscow)
Feb 15: Surprise a friend (on the basis of the main rule of Sergei Diaghilev rephrased by Arnis Rītups, Berlin)
Feb 16: Reaction to a situation without understanding is always premature; with understanding – often superfluous (paraphrase of a thought of Alexander Piatigorsky formulated by Arnis Rītups in a train Lyon-Marseille)
Feb 17: Do not take more than you give (on the basis of texts by Clive Staples Lewis formulated by Tim Rice in an unknown location)
Feb 18: Do not fly too close to the sun (a lesson given to Ikarus and Daedalus, learned by Karlson, recorded by Astrid Lindgren, Stockholm)
Feb 19: Be the example of your thought; if necessary – use words (paraphrase of a rule of Saint Francis)
Feb 20: Say what you mean and mean what you say (Shahla Tarrant, Sanremo)
Feb 21: Help any person you know if you feel that now is a difficult time for the person (Magomed Musaev, Beaulieu–sur-Mer)
Feb 22: Give as a gift something you want to own (Ancient wisdom)
Feb 23: Remember – when you do not think clearly and precisely, Satan is playing with you (a principle used in some Italian circles in the Middle Ages, reactualized by Merab Mamardashvili, Moscow-Tbilisi)
Feb 24: Always leave a choice to a friend, never to an enemy (Wisdom of Ancient warriors)
Feb 25: In any given situation act in accordance with the moment’s structure (Rauls Zitmanis, Riga)
Feb 26: Do not let your principles to become your tyrants (Stendhal, almost)
Feb 27: Get rid of one of your fears (Gunta Bāriņa, Tel Aviv)
Feb 28: Love to pay (Yefim Ostrovsky, Moscow)
Feb 29: No Rule Seven applies.
Mar 1: What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you. (Jean Cocteau, Villefranche-sur-Mer)
Mar 2: Remember that salvation and solution are found at the same place as danger and problems (Helderlin, almost)
Mar 3: Hide in plain sight (Edgar Allan Poe, unknown location)
Mar 4: Be, think, speak and act as simply as possible but not simpler (Albert Einstein expanded by Arnis Rītups, London)
Mar 5: Do your thing, your way (Oleg Alekseev, Riga).
Mar 6: Think! (Grenfell Prince, London).
Mar 7: Live fully (Episcopal Church in Manhattan).
Mar 8: Find a friend (common sense).
Mar 9: Act at the level of the impossible (Sergey Adoniev, Riga).
Mar 10: Occupy the future (Arnis Rītups, Kiev).
Mar 11: Wait attentively and let it be (ancient Chinese wisdom).
Mar 12: Habit deadens, be wrong (Samuel Beckett, as recalled by Richard Pevear, Paris).
Mar 13: Learn to forgive from those who have forgiven you (a practice of the Orthodox Church).
Mar 14: Ask questions and listen (Ignas Staškevičius, Palanga).
Mar 15: Keep in the flow (ancient Chinese practice articulated by Bronislav Vinogrodsky, Moscow).
Mar 16: Become an island (Buddha speaking in relation to Culapanthaka as recorded in Dhammapada, Verse 25).
Mar 17: Remember, no man is an island (John Donne, almost).
Mar 18: Do not write more clearly than you think (following Niels Bohr, formulated by Alexander Vilenkin, Liquid Art House, Boston).
Mar 19: Read the events of your life as corresponding to your state of consciousness (in accordance with the introduction to the siddur, the Jewish prayer book).
Mar 20: Do not hurry; you are already here (Alexei Khvostenko, Leningrad).
Mar 21: Manage only yourself (Abdul Abdulkerimov, Menlo Park).
Mar 22: Enter the unknown (Andrew Fischer, California).
Mar 23: Rise above yourself (Thomas Leonard, Phoenix, Arizona).
Mar 24: Just don’t take yourself seriously (Archbishop Benjamin, San Francisco).
Mar 25: Go till the very end of your pain (Arnis Rītups, Palo Alto).
Mar 26: Look from the future (unknown origin).
Mar 27: Rise up with ease (Magomed Musaev, Menlo Park).
Mar 28: Don’t look back (Bob Dylan, probably).
Mar 29: Know your limits (ancient wisdom).
Mar 30: When in doubt, tell the truth (Robert Cottrell, London).
Mar 31: Leave no trace (Larry Harvey, following his American sources, Black Rock City).
Apr 1: Break a rule every day (Anthony Gottlieb, New York City).
Apr 2: Do not scare the horses. Or children. (Tom Luddy, Cafe Zoetrope, San Francisco).
Apr 3: When giving to others, expect no return (Sasha Alexander, San Bruno, California).
Apr 4: Do not eat what is bigger than your head (Gints Grīnbergs, Boston).
Apr 5: Ask where suffering is. And drinks. (Davia, Cafe Zoetrope, San Francisco).
Apr 6: It is never too late to do what you do not have to do at all (Alexei Khvostenko, Leningrad).
Apr 7: Do not forget the seventh rule (The Rulers).
Apr 8: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself (Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia).
Apr 9: Dare to understand (Immanuel Kant, Königsberg).
Apr 10: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step (Lao Tzu, near the border).
Apr 11: Be ready for the unexpected (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, New York City).
Apr 12: Be aware of the depth and width of your ignorance (Arnis Rītups, San Francisco).
Apr 13: Put the question marks deeper (Ludwig Wittgenstein, Cambridge, probably).
Apr 14: Be of good cheer, be not afraid (Jesus of Nazareth, a lake in Palestine).
Apr 15: If you very much want to say something, say it tomorrow (street wisdom).
Apr 16: Memento mori (Sir John Falstaff, Boar’s Head Inn, London, and Lydia Voronina, Liquid Art House, Boston).
Apr 17: Throw away the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ (Arnis Rītups, Lower Manhattan).
Apr 18: Be attentive to your thoughts; they are the origin of actions (Ainars Gulbis, Krišjāņi, Rumbas rural municipality).
Apr 19: Look into the roots (Kozma Prutkov, various places).
Apr 20: Sit and ask yourself what will be your next thought (almost Frank J. Kinslow, Sarasota, Florida).
Apr 21: Ask more from yourself than from others (common sense).
Apr 22: Learn to promise without promising (Rolands Priverts, Riga).
Apr 23: Think philosophically; ask questions (John Durham Peters, Berlin).
Apr 24: No rules (Siegfried, London).
Apr 25: Fuck them all but above all, yourself (Jan Ritsema, Riga).
Apr 26: Remember that every change is a chance (John Cage, almost).
Apr 27: Do not think too hard (Simon Gordon Clark, Uzbegims, Riga).
Apr 28: Do not take anything personally (Manuel Schoch, Zürich).
Apr 29: If you have nothing to say, sit down and shut up (Valery Veryaskin, Riga).
Apr 30: Never insult anyone by accident (Robert Cottrell, London).
May 1: Get in touch with your inner misanthropist (Hephzibah Kaplan, London).
May 2: Teach to learn (Angelo Cricchi, Riga).
May 3: Do not take anything for granted (Benjamin Disraeli, Salt Hill).
May 4: Invent a rule for yourself (Peter XVI, San Bruno, California).
May 5: Do one thing at a time (Ron Padgett, Manhattan).
May 6: Go slow (Kathryn Simon, New York).
May 7: Keep secrets (Madelief ter Braak, Berlin).
May 8: Remember that every man is a variation of yourself (William Saroyan, New York).
May 9: Create (Tatyana Migdal, Princeton).
May 10: Love animals (David Datuna, New York).
May 11: Spend 40 minutes with your tongue out without putting it back in (Ieva Misevičiūte, Manhattan).
May 12: Love in such a way that the person you love feels free (Thich Nhat Hanh, Village des Pruniers, France).
May 13: Keep your soul dry (Heraclitus, almost).
May 14: Remember the inner life of other people (David Hoinski, Que Rico Pollo, Harlem).
May 15: Just be (Yogaswami, as recalled by James George, Toronto).
May 16: Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever (Mahatma Gandhi, probably).
May 17: Figure out what your deepest belief is and spend the day thinking it’s false (Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, The Library at the Public Theatre, New York City).
May 18: Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none (William Shakespeare, London, probably).
May 19: Make eye contact with a tree (Ron Padgett, New York).
May 20: Be cheerful while you are alive (Ptahhotep, Aneb-Hetch, Egypt).
May 21: Do not blame anything on others or circumstances (Robert Sturua, Moscow).
May 22: Do not pay attention to your mind’s constant chatter (Vedic wisdom).
May 23: Never rate (Andrey Arkhipov, San Francisco).
May 24: Remove a dead raccoon before it decomposes (practical wisdom).
May 25: Do not type before you think (Alan Lightman, Liquid Art House, Boston).
May 26: Know the right moment (Pittacus, Mitylene).
May 27: Befriend the people who are searching for answers; run away from those who have them (Albert Einstein recalled by Kamran Elahian, Three Seasons, Palo Alto).
May 28: Assume that everything happens for your highest good and learning (Providence).
May 29: Know to help when needed (Lilavati Ramayya, San Bruno, California).
May 30: Do not think that tomorrow it will be better (Merab Mamardashvili, Tbilisi).
May 31: Keep in mind: This too shall pass away (Anonymous, Edinburgh).
Jun 1: Do not assume and do not judge (Olga Borissova, London).
Jun 2: If you do not blame yourself, nobody will blame you (Father Michael Meerson, Manhattan).
Jun 3: When you are pushed, pull; when you are pulled, push (Anonymous).
Jun 4: Do not forget that what you see depends on your point of view (Edward Drapkin, Carmel, California).
Jun 5: Know thyself (Thales, Milet).
Jun 6: Learn to love and accept others without moulding them after yourself (Jeanna van der Lina, San Bruno, California).
Jun 7: Take care of the important things (Solon, Athens).
Jun 8: Know how far you can go too far (Jean Cocteau, Villefranche-sur-Mer).
Jun 9: Act intelligently or shut the fuck up (Jonathan Howard, New York).
Jun 10: Carpe diem (Margaret Blackburn, following Horace, Manhattan).
Jun 11: If you are able not to speak, do not speak (Rimantas Kociunas, Birštonas).
Jun 12: Live in your thinking, not in changing moods (Alexander Piatigorsky, London).
Jun 13: Spend 14 minutes in meditation on the question asked by Tristram Shandy: Is a man to follow rules—or rules to follow him? (Valdis Ābols, Riga).
Jun 14: Ignore the obvious (William Saroyan, New York).
Jun 15: Be gentle to yourself (common sense).
Rules submitted will be carefully considered by a secret committee and, if deemed appropriate, included in the full list of 365 arbitrary rules.