The Ten Commandments of Character

luc

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FOTCM Member
Hi all,

In George Simon's book Character Disturbance: the phenomenon of our time, he presents "Ten Commandments of Character", which I think summarize nicely many of the goals of proper self-work that are discussed here. So I share them here for discussion - emphasis in the original book, I just underlined the "titles" of the commandments and added numbers to make the discussion easier:

Character Disturbance: the phenomenon of our time said:
The Ten Commandments of Character


[1.]
You are not the center of the universe. Rather, you are but a small part of a greater reality more vast, complex, and wondrous than you can even imagine. You inhabit space with many other persons, creatures, and objects of creation. So, despite your tendency to think otherwise, it’s definitely not all about you. Be mindful of how you, your wishes, desires, and especially your behavior impact everyone and everything else that exists. Conduct yourself with both caution and concern for the consequences of your very presence on the rest of creation.

[2.]
Remember, you are NOT ENTITLED to anything. Your very life is an unearned gift. Strive to be truly grateful for the many gifts you’ve received. Regard life and the miracle of creation with appropriate awe and appreciation. Gratitude will enable you to develop a sense of obligation to value, preserve, and promote life and to respect all aspects of creation. Knowing how inherently indebted you really are will keep you from feeling entitled.

[3.]
You are neither an insignificant speck nor are you so precious or essential to the universe that it simply cannot do without you. Know where you fit in the grand scheme of things and keep a balanced perspective on your sense of worth. Thinking too much of yourself is as dangerous as thinking too little of yourself. Do not dismiss your accomplishments, but don’t laud yourself or lord over others any position or good fortune you’ve managed to secure. Avoid pretense. Keeping a balanced sense of self and being genuine will help you stay humble and avoid false pride.
Remember, you are not synonymous with your talents, abilities, or physical attributes. They are all endowments (i.e. fortunate accidents of nature, “gifts” of God, the universe) entrusted to you.

Recognize where things really come from and give credit and recognition where credit and recognition are truly due. Who you are and how you are defined as a character are in large measure determined by what you do with what you’ve been given. The credit for your life and innate capabilities belongs to nature or, ultimately the creative force behind nature. The credit for what you do with all you’ve been given goes to you. This is the essence of merit. Honor the life force within you as well as all who might have nurtured your potential by using your gifts for the good of all. It’s not so much the outcome of your actions that matter either, for that’s also not entirely in your hands. It’s the effort you make that matters most. Judge yourself on your merits. Having appropriate reverence for what you’ve been given and honoring the creative force through your actions is the essence of both genuine humility and healthy self-respect.

[4.]
To know, pursue, speak, and display the truth to the best of your ability, have the utmost reverence for the truth. Unnecessary and brutal full disclosure is never required of you, nor is sharing every ugly thing you know to be true. But you must be ever mindful of man’s incredible capacity to deceive himself as well as others, and the temptation we all face to secure what we want and avoid what we don’t want through deception, cheating, and conniving. Avoid short-cuts and the temptation to manipulate. Honestly and humbly acknowledge and reckon with your mistakes. Always take the honest and sincere course.

[5.]
Be the master of your appetites and dislikes. You were meant to survive and prosper, but you were never meant to be pampered or indulged. Your ability to experience pleasure and pain is meant to help guide you through life, not govern your life. Taking pleasure for its own sake is almost always a pathway to destruction. Avoid greed and excess. Be willing to endure necessary discomfort. Sometimes, one has to embrace hardship in order to grow and love. There are two great drives within us all: the pleasure-seeking drive, and the drive to thrive (i.e. to live and prosper). We are born aligned with the pleasure principle, and the vast majority of us remain aligned with it for most if not all of our lives. We leave the comfort of the womb in fear of life until we get our first taste of pleasure, and then live in fear of death unless our pain becomes too great. But we have the power to subordinate our will to gratify ourselves to life’s greater cause. No man can serve two masters. One of our two great drives must always be subordinate to the other. The unbridled pursuit of pleasure for its own sake (hedonism) is always the pathway to psychological ill-health and spiritual death. Most of us need to be reborn in spirit or to remake our lives on a different operating principle. Cherishing and advancing life (i.e. loving) and placing the call to love above all that might please or displease us is the surest mark of good character.

[6.]
Be the master of your impulses. Be “mindful” of both your inclinations and behavior. Temper your urges with reason and foresight. Neither rush into action nor into judgment. Think before you act. Think not only about what you’re about to do but also about the consequences. You need not be paralyzed into inaction simply by taking time to contemplate the soundness and rightfulness of the choices you might make. And remember, you do not have to act on every urge.

[7.]
Perseverance, patience, and endurance are not really virtues in themselves. A man intent on robbing a large bank may spend hours or days meticulously planning and executing his caper as well as waiting for the best time to strike. And even some criminals remain of solid resolve in dealing with life no matter how many incarcerations or life losses they’ve experienced. Daring is not the same as courage or forbearance. Nor is obstinacy the same as strength of will. Still, it is imperative that you develop solidity and strength, as well as rightness of purpose, with respect to your will. Your will says “yes” or “no” to every temptation you face, and that will can be strengthened with practice. But merely exercising and strengthening will is insufficient. It’s important to adhere to principles of rightful conduct. That way, when the time comes, you can “put on the brakes” when you’re tempted to run pell-mell into trouble or “push” yourself to take a difficult but correct path.

Willfulness in the service of justice and righteousness is indeed a virtue. To accept moral and social obligation, to work, and to persevere in service of the welfare of others, to pursue justice and live righteously (i.e. to love), are indeed the most noble ways to exercise your will. So, pledge yourself to principled living and stay the course. Faith in something bigger than you really helps. And faith and commitment are the antidotes to fear.

[8.]
Neither your tendency to anger nor your instinct to aggress is inherently evil, although wrath is a “deadly sin.” Anger is nature’s way of prompting you to take action to remedy a disquieting situation. You have the right to look out for your welfare. But you also have an obligation to consider the welfare of others. Some things in life really do have to be fought for. It’s important to learn when and how to fight. When you must, fight fairly. Above all, fight constructively and for a truly just cause. Do not strive simply to win, injure, or to gain advantage over others. Expend your aggressive energy in a manner that builds instead of destroys. Take care to respect the rights, needs, and boundaries of those with whom you might struggle. Most especially, appreciate when it’s in your best interest as well as the interest of others to back-down, back-off, concede, or capitulate. Managing your aggressive urges thoughtfully and effectively is the task of a lifetime. Yet it is a task that, when well-done — perhaps more than any other task you face in life — defines your character.

[9.]
Treat others with civility and generosity. Behave responsibly and with positive regard, even to those who do otherwise to you. While respect should rightfully be earned, treating others in the decent and genuinely loving manner that you would want for yourself — this is the most important of all virtues. It should be done freely and without reservation. You don’t have to condone or embrace everything someone else does to behave nobly yourself. Nor do you have to make yourself a victim by subjecting yourself to constant mistreatment. Rather, you need only remember that your character is defined not so much by how others regard you but rather how you treat them. And it takes a strong sense of generosity and a deep abiding faith to treat others with the kind of positive regard we wish for ourselves.

Most of us are plagued with anxiety about whether we will have enough, be supported enough, be valued enough, or prosper to the degree that we would like. But we need to remember that our very existence is not an entitlement but a gift. And despite the way it might appear at times, no one in this life has really been “cheated” or denied. Despite whatever hardships we might have been dealt, we have also been blessed with abundant gifts and resources. So, we need not envy others or greedily pursue our own welfare to the detriment of others. And from those to whom much has been given, much is expected. So, for the sake of our own well being, we must bring generosity and free giving into all our relationships. We must treat others not necessarily as we think they deserve but with the level of care, regard, concern, and love that we truly wish for ourselves.

[10.]
To the best of your ability, have sincerity of heart and purpose. Be honest with yourself about whatever you do and the reasons you’re doing it. And be straightforward with others. Let your intentions be noble and transparent. Harbor no hidden agendas. Avoid hypocrisy and the tendency to cast yourself as someone or something you are not. Although you need not broadcast your every desire, sincerity is a prerequisite for developing integrity of character.

Teaching children the ten essential commandments of character is a difficult and lengthy process, even in the best of circumstances. But there is little doubt in my mind that the disintegration of the archetypical, nuclear family is one of the main reasons for the extent of character pathology we see today. Kids do best when they have stable, committed caretakers, upon whom they can rely for support as well as direction. When parents are committed and reliable, strong emotional bonds form between them and their children, who are inherently “dependent” upon them for almost everything for many years. That bond is essential to guiding children through the inevitable power struggles and conflicts that ensue when parents attempt to enforce discipline, rules, and structure. Children will only subordinate their wills and internalize principles promoted by their parents if they can truly come to believe and trust that it’s in their best interest to do so and when they experience a healthy degree of anxiety about possibly losing the support or approval of their parents when they misbehave. When children are fortunate enough to have loving and responsible parents, as well as siblings with whom they can experience the essential dynamics of living in a social world, most will eventually learn to be responsible.

Abusive and neglectful families have always been capable of inflicting significant emotional scars on children. But no amount of alternative social structure and support can match a healthy, intact family when it comes to learning all the basic social tasks like respect for authority, social give-and-take, and the principles of right and wrong. Here’s an ever-increasing problem for teachers in schools today: Many of their students are so under-socialized that they are completely “unprepared” mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to learn. This unpreparedness is in large measure because of their impoverished home environments.

[...]
 

casper

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I read the book two years ago, a great book, helped me to understand myself.
You might be interested in an interview which was published a few months later after the publication of the book, link:
http://www.chumplady.com/2012/06/an-interview-with-dr-george-simon-on-character-disturbance/

Quote:
"CL: Are some people more prone to being manipulated than others? What makes people a mark?
GS: People with a conscience are especially good marks. There are certain tactics that I outline in “In Sheep’s Clothing.” Favorite [tactics] like “shaming” and “guilt-tripping” cannot possibly work on someone without a conscience or unless that conscience is pretty active. You must have the capacity to feel guilt. If you don’t feel shame, there is no way an invitation to shame or guilt can work with you. Of course there are people who are more vulnerable to manipulation — it’s the decent folks. It’s because they have a high level of conscientiousness. There are others who are vulnerable, too."
 

itellsya

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Hi Luc,

Thank you for taking the time to post this. All ten are significant and relevant to my own life and thinking, and having it laid out so clearly and beautifully is helpful, but i will need a bit more time to ruminate on it. In particular, that which i've highlighted, are the programs, issues and gentle reminders that really struck me. His conclusion also ties in with my own experience growing up, and they are also the areas where i need to work on. (I’ll get the book)

It's interesting because in many ways, though i always had faith there was something greater and to the best of my ability i tried to seek it out, life seemed to send me on a detour; it probably wasn't the right time. And so in order to overcome the coping mechanism of hedonism, i did kind of experience a spiritual petite mort (if that's the correct term)/disintegration. Though my own experience did provide the contrast to truly feel gratitude for life as it is now, which is quite the motivator. I have the forum to thank for much of it.

So i'll probably come back to this, but i wanted to say thanks. :)

I think it is a great guide for anyone wishing to provide any child a good foundation of how to be human. When i interact with children now, which isn't that often, i am even more aware of how important it is to Be a good example.

luc said:
Hi all,

In George Simon's book Character Disturbance: the phenomenon of our time, he presents "Ten Commandments of Character", which I think summarize nicely many of the goals of proper self-work that are discussed here. So I share them here for discussion - emphasis in the original book, I just underlined the "titles" of the commandments and added numbers to make the discussion easier:

Character Disturbance: the phenomenon of our time said:
The Ten Commandments of Character


[1.]
• You are not the center of the universe. Rather, you are but a small part of a greater reality more vast, complex, and wondrous than you can even imagine. You inhabit space with many other persons, creatures, and objects of creation. So, despite your tendency to think otherwise, it’s definitely not all about you. Be mindful of how you, your wishes, desires, and especially your behavior impact everyone and everything else that exists. Conduct yourself with both caution and concern for the consequences of your very presence on the rest of creation.

[2.]
• Remember, you are NOT ENTITLED to anything.[/u][/b] Your very life is an unearned gift. Strive to be truly grateful for the many gifts you’ve received. Regard life and the miracle of creation with appropriate awe and appreciation. Gratitude will enable you to develop a sense of obligation to value, preserve, and promote life and to respect all aspects of creation. Knowing how inherently indebted you really are will keep you from feeling entitled.

[3.]
• You are neither an insignificant speck nor are you so precious or essential to the universe that it simply cannot do without you. Know where you fit in the grand scheme of things and keep a balanced perspective on your sense of worth. Thinking too much of yourself is as dangerous as thinking too little of yourself. Do not dismiss your accomplishments, but don’t laud yourself or lord over others any position or good fortune you’ve managed to secure. Avoid pretense. Keeping a balanced sense of self and being genuine will help you stay humble and avoid false pride.
Remember, you are not synonymous with your talents, abilities, or physical attributes. They are all endowments (i.e. fortunate accidents of nature, “gifts” of God, the universe) entrusted to you.

[5.]
Be the master of your appetites and dislikes. You were meant to survive and prosper, but you were never meant to be pampered or indulged. Your ability to experience pleasure and pain is meant to help guide you through life, not govern your life. Taking pleasure for its own sake is almost always a pathway to destruction. Avoid greed and excess. Be willing to endure necessary discomfort. Sometimes, one has to embrace hardship in order to grow and love. There are two great drives within us all: the pleasure-seeking drive, and the drive to thrive (i.e. to live and prosper). We are born aligned with the pleasure principle, and the vast majority of us remain aligned with it for most if not all of our lives. We leave the comfort of the womb in fear of life until we get our first taste of pleasure, and then live in fear of death unless our pain becomes too great. But we have the power to subordinate our will to gratify ourselves to life’s greater cause. No man can serve two masters. One of our two great drives must always be subordinate to the other. The unbridled pursuit of pleasure for its own sake (hedonism) is always the pathway to psychological ill-health and spiritual death. Most of us need to be reborn in spirit or to remake our lives on a different operating principle. Cherishing and advancing life (i.e. loving) and placing the call to love above all that might please or displease us is the surest mark of good character.

Abusive and neglectful families have always been capable of inflicting significant emotional scars on children. But no amount of alternative social structure and support can match a healthy, intact family when it comes to learning all the basic social tasks like respect for authority, social give-and-take, and the principles of right and wrong. Here’s an ever-increasing problem for teachers in schools today: Many of their students are so under-socialized that they are completely “unprepared” mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to learn. This unpreparedness is in large measure because of their impoverished home environments.

[...]
 

luc

Ambassador
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FOTCM Member
Hi itellsya,

Thanks for sharing your experience. I find the book very helpful indeed, because it sheds a bright light on Character-disturbed people and what's wrong with society, and gives us tools to recognize and deal with them. Most importantly though, like you, I recognized many things in his description of character-disturbance in myself, especially in my past, but also many things I still need to work on.

itellsya said:
It's interesting because in many ways, though i always had faith there was something greater and to the best of my ability i tried to seek it out, life seemed to send me on a detour; it probably wasn't the right time. And so in order to overcome the coping mechanism of hedonism, i did kind of experience a spiritual petite mort (if that's the correct term)/disintegration. Though my own experience did provide the contrast to truly feel gratitude for life as it is now, which is quite the motivator. I have the forum to thank for much of it.
That was well put, thank you for sharing. Me too, I think I had faith in something bigger when I was young, but this got twisted/corrupted and so I sent myself on a very destructive path. It became all about "being special", "becoming famous/rich/adored", "getting everything for free just because I'm so great", "finally get what is my right to get" etc. When I look back, the "life" I lived then almost seems like that of a drug-addict who lives in his dirty cave getting a fix, yet imagines he lives a great life. What "feels good" becomes desirable, while all the rest is ignored.

Needless to say, I did a lot of damage to other people while in this state, either directly or just by not tapping into my potential. And although my upbringing and ponerized society contributed to this negative development for sure, I don't blame them, I have to blame myself: I was gifted by nature with a very powerful mind, so I could have figured things out. Instead, I used it to "get by" in life without putting in the needed effort. Basically, I cheated the universe - it gave me this ability, and I just took it and ran away with it. As it is said in the book "Darkness over Tibet", the worse sin against one's soul is to use spiritual powers (aka. knowledge/gifts that we receive from the universe) for egoistic purposes. Just as Simon says: "from those to whom much has been given, much is expected." I had to fall hard, and I did!

Interestingly, when I found Laura's work, things suddenly started falling into place in my mind, and I just knew that life is much bigger. This faith that this existence is not pointless after all finally helped me break through the mud in my brain, emotions and body. It just "clicked" and the truth of many of the Ten Commandments (though I didn't know them) became obvious. So yes, Character-disturbance is indeed "the phenomenon of our time" I think, it's the psychopathic mindset infecting everyone as described in "Political Ponerology".

On a related note, a couple of weeks ago, when driving home, I had a powerful realization (osit): I found myself in an instant looking back on all those situations in my life where I felt awkward, insecure, frightened, angry, paralyzed, especially in social situations and work settings. And I thought: it's okay to feel like this! It's okay to be a normal human being. Trying to escape and reject these feelings and align oneself with "society", with the "cool guys" and the "winners" is actually a path to Character-disturbance I think. No, it's okay, beautiful even. We "normals" have to unite. We have to provide each other with a reference, a framework which tells us that all this is okay - to feel alienated by our society, and especially by all those character-disturbed "cool guys" and "winners".

That is not to say we should use this as an excuse to be lazy, or to avoid working on our skills to deal with jobs, society and so on. But in a certain sense, we probably will never really fit into those ponerized systems, into this age of character-disturbance. We are shy sometimes, we are intimidated, we are unsettled, disgusted even, and we have to constantly hide these feelings. In that moment when I drove home, just two streets before reaching my destination, our house, I thought that it doesn't have to be this way. In a sane environment, our normal "quirks" wouldn't be something to be ashamed of, which drives us towards character-disturbance. It would be considered as something that makes us human, beautiful even. And so I arrived home...

FWIW
 

luc

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casper said:
Quote:
"CL: Are some people more prone to being manipulated than others? What makes people a mark?
GS: People with a conscience are especially good marks. There are certain tactics that I outline in “In Sheep’s Clothing.” Favorite [tactics] like “shaming” and “guilt-tripping” cannot possibly work on someone without a conscience or unless that conscience is pretty active. You must have the capacity to feel guilt. If you don’t feel shame, there is no way an invitation to shame or guilt can work with you. Of course there are people who are more vulnerable to manipulation — it’s the decent folks. It’s because they have a high level of conscientiousness. There are others who are vulnerable, too."
Thanks for that quote casper! This is very important I think - it reminds me of the "Socio-Empath-Apath Triad", described here: http://www.sott.net/article/268449-Empathic-people-are-natural-targets-for-sociopaths-protect-yourself

There is also an interesting interview on sott radio with the authors of the book "The Empathy Trap" who wrote the article: http://www.sott.net/article/270014-Behind-the-Headlines-The-Empathy-Trap-Understanding-how-predators-manipulate-peoples-strengths-and-weaknesses
 

charlotte_light

The Force is Strong With This One
[1.]
• You are not the center of the universe. Rather, you are but a small part of a greater reality more vast, complex, and wondrous than you can even imagine. You inhabit space with many other persons, creatures, and objects of creation. So, despite your tendency to think otherwise, it’s definitely not all about you. Be mindful of how you, your wishes, desires, and especially your behavior impact everyone and everything else that exists. Conduct yourself with both caution and concern for the consequences of your very presence on the rest of creation.
This is so difficult for people to follow these days especially with the prevalence of narcissistic celebrities in pop culture. Take the Kardashian family for example. They are the perfect of example of the OPPOSITE of the values outlined here in the ten commandments of character. Selfies, facebook, and gratuitous self promotion are all valued and rewarded now in society. Is this a coincidence? I think not.
 

Laura

Administrator
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FOTCM Member
monotonic said:
How about making the Ten Commandments into a poster that we can print out or order online?
Great idea. And I'm bumping this thread up.
 

Arwenn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you for posting this luc- it's on point considering the Millenial mentality we are seeing more of. I have a millenial at work who started a few months back, and who'd definitely struggle with the first three commandments. :rolleyes:
 

MichaelM

Jedi
FOTCM Member
Thank you for the article. Tried searching the web for a concise summation of all the 10 commandments but only found the series of links of "teaser" descriptions of each commandment. Posts by Dr. George Simon (same author as the book) on a psychology oriented website. Thankfully he has his posts tagged so you could have a url with a link to all 10 commandment postings by him.
http://counsellingresource.com/features/tag/series-on-developing-character/
 

Gaby

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FOTCM Member
luc said:
Hi all,

In George Simon's book Character Disturbance: the phenomenon of our time, he presents "Ten Commandments of Character", which I think summarize nicely many of the goals of proper self-work that are discussed here.
It was great reading this again. This book is one of the most helpful readings available nowadays. It really takes care of the precious snowflake syndrome that is a phenomenon of our time.
 

happyliza

The Living Force
I was thinking of putting quotes (as constant reminders) and as prompts for visitors etc - even to start discussions hopefully - on the wall in my loo (along with happy family/friends/absent friends) photos and artwork from when my kids were young).

So this is a brill idea. I definitely will frame one. Desiderata is nice but truly over used now.

I also intended putting snippets up of quotes from The Wave, the C's and our studies. Can move them around too for proximity haha. Already just put a magazine holder in (with Dot Connector and similar). Plus those promoting Cyprus of course!

A transformation, from just a functional place, to a place of happy memories and inspiration!
 
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