First Principles: Quid Pro Quo

This night rotation has put me into a certain headspace — introspection, extrospection. Luckily, the neurochemicals are lining up and I’m seeing a few things more clearly. Spending an unhealthy amount of time alone, and I’m not too happy about that, but in this conjunction of moments, I’m relearning a few truths about being a human in a human society.

I’m slowly remembering how to not be alone. The rules are buried under the years, but I roll back and pull them up; in the act is a sense of discovery, looking at strangers and acquaintances as opportunities for growth. I’m remembering what I’ve forgotten:

First Principles:

  1. Friendliness before Friendship.
  2. Friend before Lover.
  3. By comforting, you will be comforted.
  4. By feeding, you will be able to eat.

That first rule, friendliness, I’ve been giving that the slip for years. I’ve come to rely on my caustic bitterness to protect me with a shield of sarcasm and defiant defeatism. That program has done me more disservice than protection. I’m friendly enough to get along great with people I already know (by then they’ve already become accustomed to my grumpy attitude). But what about people I don’t know? I built this wall around myself; lower on the acquaintance side, higher on the stranger side. All this time I’m feeling weary about them not seeing what I have going on inside the wall. Of course they don’t see.

But their ability to see me is not so important; I shouldn’t forget that (it’s a selfish idea, really). First Principles. What do I see in them? What’s going on in their lives? What is their internal state? Is there anything I can do (within reason) to help? Friendliness. As best as I can figure, by becoming invested in others, I gain value. Friendship.

The key is to have compassion. All I have is right now, and people are speaking to be heard. Hear them. People want more of whoever wants them. By paying attention, I will never be bankrupt. Those are the First Principles; everything else grows from there.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?