Karl's Opinion Page

Karl's Rules

Written 4/7/99

Now, these are rules I have lived by for years and years, but I figured it was time to write them down.

Karl's Rule No. One: It is the choice of the individual to be happy. Be happy.
Detail: There are two components to one's happiness level at any given time. First, there are the external factors, some of which one can control, some of which one can't. These will cause one's happiness to change, often radically, over time. One can't do anything about winning the lottery or losing a loved one.
The other component, however, is dictated by onesself. This is the internal factor. If the external factors lead to variation, the internal factor is the mean or median that they vary from. This internal, average happiness level is at least partially in one's control, and thus one can, indeed, choose to be happy, or at least happier. Example: smile. Even if there is no reason. Note that it makes you marginally happier. Smiling releases endorphins, which physically do make you happier. One should always choose to behave in a manner that increases one's base happiness level.
Note that this is *not* referring to external factors. I am not endorsing drugs, candy, sex, etc etc. As far as outside things that make one happy, that's an individual choice. I am only referring here to one's attitude, the basic reactions to everyday things that comprises the general everyday outlook. That is where one's internal happiness lies.

Karl's Rule No. Two: Individual Variation will overrule any generalization one makes.
Detail: I like making generalizations. The unspoken "all" that begins statements such as "Women like..." "Men don't do..." "Asians use...", etc. However, it is always the case that in generalizations about people, and usually other living things, the fact that many members of a group adhere to a rule means nothing when one is dealing with individuals. If one meets any single person, the rules and stereotypes one applies to the groups that that individual belongs to may or may not apply, and it is dumb to think that they do, or behave in a manner which assumes them.
Note: don't start thinking stupid rebuttals such as "All women breathe oxygen" or "All Incas lived on Earth". Rule Number Two is itself a generalization, and as such, Rule Number Two applies.

Karl's Rule No. Three (aka Karl's Razor): When presented with multiple courses of action, decide between them based on what you, in the future, will be glad that you did.
Detail: It's not a panacea, but I have found that many decisions are made much clearer/easier when Karl's Razor is applied to them. When one is not sure what is best to do, a different perspective is often useful, and Karl's Razor simply states that a worthwhile perspective to look from is one's own persepective, but placed forward in time.

That's the first three. If you find them ponderworthy or even useful, you're welcome.