Sunday, July 02, 2006

Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people.

I've just posted a copy of Robert Fulghum's credo, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten". You might have seen it before but I found it for the first time yesterday. Apparently it was hugely popular in the late 1980s. (See this article from TIME magazine.)

There are reprints and quotes all over the net. In a sense this makes me feel okay about ripping it off myself - because "ripping it off" is what I've done. Posting it is a copyright violation, isn't it? I think it is. I assume it is. I've probably just stolen something. And I've done this to show you an essay which says in part, "Don't take things that aren't yours."

Hmm. And yet... And yet... I feel justified in posting it. Mostly, maybe, because I'll never have to face the consequences of having stolen something. It doesn't feel like stealing something.

Added to this is the fact that most versions online show only the "rules" themselves, and don't include Mr Fulghum's reasons for writing them. But knowing how and why he wrote the piece affects your reading of it. So in my own mind I've done the good thing, not the bad - righting wrongs, rejoining halves, fixing something broken.

Still. Nevertheless. However. It's messy, isn't it? And it seems like everything always bloody is. Everywhere you look: messiness, complexity, confusion. And I think that's why it's such a huge relief to read things like this credo. Just for a minute you can hope that all our many complications and uncertainties and worries in fact just hide the truth: that living, at heart, is simple:
Share everything.

Play fair.

Don't hit people.