Top 10 Pieces of Advice I Just Made Up for Myself (See If Any Help You)

Came across this while reading Katie Couric’s insightful new book, The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives. Thought it was worthy of passing forward. Written and submitted by writer and feminist organizer, Gloria Steinem.


10. If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but you think it’s a pig… it’s a pig.

9. Marx was smart about a lot of things, but not about his embrace of “the end justifies the means.” Actually, the means dictate the ends. We won’t have laughter and kindness and poetry and pleasure at the end of any revolution unless we have laughter and kindness and poetry and pleasure along the way.

8. Laughter is the most revolutionary emotion – because it’s free and can’t be forced. Fear can be compelled. Even love can be compelled if we’re kept isolated and dependent long enough. But laughter comes from an “Aha!” place of sudden understanding, when known things come together and make something new. Einstein had to be careful while shaving because when he suddenly had an “Aha!” he laughed and cut himself.

7. There’s more variation among human groups than between human groups. “Masculine” and feminine” are created roles, just as are ideas of race and class. So when making any generalized statement about women and men, substitute, say, Gentiles and Jews, Whites and Blacks, or Rich and Poor. If it’s still acceptable, okay. If it’s not – it’s not.

6. For 95 percent of human history, spirituality placed god in all living things. God was withdrawn from women and nature to make it okay to conquer women and nature. As a smart Egyptologist said, “Monotheism is but imperialism in religion.” Here’s the good news: What humans did, humans can undo.

5. Religion is too often politics in the sky. When God looks like the ruling class, we’re in deep shit. When there’s a limited priesthood, it’s deeper. When we’re told to obey in order to get a reward after death, it’s deepest. Now that Doomsday religions have coincided with Doomsday weapons, it may mean life or death to return spirituality to religion.

4. The Golden Rule was written by smart folks for people who were superior: Treat others as you would want to be treated. Women and men who’ve been inferior need to reverse it: Treat yourself as well as you treat others.

3. Labeling makes the invisible visible, but it’s limiting. Categories are the enemy of connecting. Link, don’t rank.

2. All five of our senses exist only in the present. We can’t fully live in the past or the future – or even in Computer Land. Right now where you are is all there is.

1. If even one generation were born without ranking and raised without violence, we have no idea what might be possible on this Spaceship Earth.

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