Your Manifesto?

A manifesto is “a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer,” according to Merriam-Webster. Here’s a popular example, widely shared, of a platitude-laden manifesto intended to inspire its readers, called the Holstee Manifesto

 

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You may find something (or even a lot) to like in this list of truisms and admittedly rather egocentric exhortations. I admit that I do (though “all emotions are beautiful” is unequivocally not one of them). But come on, people! The whole point of a manifesto is that you compose your own statement of “intentions, motives, or views.”

 

Sure, I may admire this list of precepts that architect Frank Lloyd Wright issued to his protégés working with him in his studio:

 

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But I’d hardly claim it as my own, since it’s as much the process as the product that makes a manifesto a manifesto, don’t you think?

 

And it seems to me that now more than ever, it’s essential that each of us identify the core ideas or principles by which we aspire to live our individual lives and which we are willing to recommend to others.

 

Perhaps the simplest way to start on such an endeavor — even if it’s just something you toy around with in your mind — is simply to commit to some first words. Here are mine, by way of example:

 

Absent our individual commitments to wisdom, courage, and self-restraint, justice is impossible.

Absent justice, community is impossible.

Absent community, human happiness is impossible.

Absent at least the hope of happiness, life is not worth living.

 

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