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Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirly gmail daughter com

Monday, June 26, 2023

Maybury's Laws for the Low Road


You who are on the road 
Must have a code that you can live by...

-- From Teach Your Children Well by Graham Nash

Do all you have agreed to do.
Do not encroach on other persons or their property.

-- Richard J. Maybury's Two Laws

Maybury's Laws for the Low Road

Along any road -- but especially the Low-- a Code is a fine travelling companion.

The further we walk with a Code, the more we internalize its virtues. Cloudy, moral dilemmas condense and wash away leaving pellucid vistas of arid clarity.


A Code cuts through the BS. It blows away the smoke. Guides our choices. Walk far enough with the Code and really, truly we begin to see more clearly, reason more cogently and react more instictively.

But that goes for most any Code. The Samurai had theirs. Fascists have theirs. Predatory capitalists have theirs.

A good Code, by my estimation, helps us ease on down the road. And nothing, me again, nothing  eases our way on any road more than earning and giving Respect. This goes double along the Low Road.

We earn respect through integrity, which in turns makes us reliable. Respect is something it costs us nothing to give, but elevates every relationship it touches. Along the Low Road, we are often assumed to be both disrespectful and unworthy of respect. To ease down this road, we must earn it. To give it freely is to inspire it.

Which brings us to Maybury's Two Laws.

Do all you have agreed to do.
Do not encroach on other persons or their property.

These two laws are about as good a Code as I've come across. The first earns Respect; the second confers it.

Let's look at them in turn.

Do all you have agreed to do...

This is a pretty durn good idea. 

If you don't follow through with what you've agreed to do, your are living down to expectations. Even those who like and love you will not turn to you in their time of need, nor likely be there in yours. You'll be kept at arms distance by most. The next gig will be hard to land. Opportunity will flee.

Let your word be your word. It's that simple.

This doesn't mean you have to agree to anything, much less everything. Be selective about what you agree to... only those things you expect and intend to fulfill. Another's need is not, of itself, an obligation. But, according to this Code, your word is.

Of course, the best intentions don't always work out. But if you cannot fulfill a promise, promptly communicate your inability, your regret and work to make it right. 

Few will begrudge us a good faith effort.

Do not encroach on other persons or their property...

This one's a doozy!

'Encroach'... that's a great word, but what does it mean? I think it's something we each have to answer for ourselves. But we each of us know when it happens to us... turn it around.

'Property'... I've known many's a Low Roader -- and even more High Roaders -- who play free and easy with what constitutes another's property. Our entire culture, having commodified everything, struggles with the notion. The phrase 'the Haves and the Have Nots' gives a glimpse into the the moral mush involved.

Here too, we must find our own meaning. And best do it before that tempting morsel is discovered, unattended before us! The answers we improvise in that moment are likely to be facile.

And that's where a Code helps out. It helps cut our own BS as well as that of others.

What's In It for Me?

These Laws... they're more like guidelines, really.

They're not handed down from God. They're not really enforced across the reach of their jurisdiction. So why follow these and why follow these?

Well... I speculate that the more of us who follow this Code for more of the time, the better the world will be for all of us in it.

I further speculate that, if this Code were a meme released into some evolutionary substrate (human culture, say), it would multiply and come to dominate, outcompeting its rivals.

[You see what I'm doing, here, right?]

Finally, I speculate that we will prosper as individuals if we follow this Code. 

I have followed these Laws for decades, now. It comes natural... maybe that's why I'm drawn to them? Or maybe I'm the result of them? Anke seems to have come that way!

Despite our drifting, dreaming life, we are known to be reliable for that to which we commit. Despite our (technical) poverty, we are known to be trustworthy. Despite sailing full and by without an engine, we are known to be punctual.

And that comes back to us, with interest.

As we travel the Low Road, we follow the Code not because we are good, nor because the Code is righteous...

We're simply selfish.