Psychologist Jordan Peterson caused a sensation a few years back when he wrote a book with a chapter that featured this advice: “Clean your room.” That was turned into a meme: “Make your bed.” Whatever you may think of Peterson, what he was essentially saying was, “Don’t save the world until you’ve got your house in order.”
That is sound advice. The self-governor believes that “governance begins at home!”
First, a person seeks to manage and even improve their own self – to develop self-control.
Then (and only then) can they care for a family, which is also a form of governance. Our homes are the primary Department of Health, Education, Housing, and Welfare. The self-governor also wants to leave a legacy of both wisdom and wealth to their progeny. And even more than that, they want their family members to know that they’re loved.
Once the home base is covered, the self-governor can turn his or her interest to the world beyond.
But as we leave our primary domain, something begins to happen. We become increasingly ignorant. Not stupid, but ignorant. Ignorance is a natural state, cured by learning lessons and understanding context. We begin by admitting that it’s hard to know one’s self, so how much harder is it to know others?
When we see the faults and apparent failings of others, we should view them with humility, and treat differences with tolerance. We lack a complete picture of another person’s values. We don’t know what’s driving them. If you or I were to have their problems and traumas, who knows how well we’d be handling the situation?
The further we get from home, the “stranger” a person is to us. Giving strangers unsolicited advice, let alone attempting to control their lives, makes one a busybody and meddler. The self-governor doesn’t dare help “govern” the lives of people he or she has never met!