Richard Lemmens website

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Richard's Golden Rules

This a small collection of rules that have proven so valuable time and time again that they have earned gold status. Golden rules should never be ignored. You can run from them, hide from them, flutter and whine around them but eventually you have to acknowledge them. Learn them for your own benefit.

  1. Stick to objectivity.

    When trying to resolve an argument or dispute that you yourself are no part of, you can gather information from various sources. Listen only to objective third parties for opinions, assessments, estimations, ratings and of course also facts. When it comes to parties that have an interest in the dispute, be it large or small, ignore them entirely, except for factual information - and double-check even that. Don't even bother to start listening to their opinions, appraisals, estimations and the like, they are always biased and unreliable. Always.

  2. Never listen to sales people.

    This is an extension of rule #1. Sales people are permanently biased, no matter how honest they seem to be. Their interest is of course the sale, not the buyer. The best among them even believe their own lies, so cannot be accused of lying on purpose. Accidentally, this list is not for sale.

  3. Tackle a problem's cause, not its consequences.

    When a problem rears its ugly head, you can try to work around it and thus save the day. But eventually another situation will arise where you will meet the problem anew in a different form. You can keep on inventing workarounds, but the trouble will equally persistently keep coming back at you. Better to tackle the cause and to the eliminate the problem itself, even if that requires a tiring, boresome, difficult or painful solution. In the long run, it always pays off.

  4. Garbage in, garbage out.

    If your basic materials, tools, input, ideas, axioms, or whatever else you use to make or produce something, are shaky, incomplete, corrupted, or otherwise flawed, the result is doomed to be likewise. The only way to reach the right endpoint is to start from the right starting point. In a way, this rule is a different form of rule #3.

  5. Read The Fucking Manual.

    If somebody made something elaborate that is difficult to understand, but went through the bother of supplementing it with a manual or some other kind of instruction, then read and learn it. Don't think that you are smart enough to understand it by just playing around with it - or that you should be able to when you find that you are not. If the manual is there, it was written because the author knew you would need it, so use it, you apes.

  6. Write The Fucking Manual.

    If you made made something elaborate that is difficult to understand, go through the bother of writing a manual for it, or some other kind of instruction. Don't presume that other people, who have not shared your own long intimate commitment to the creation of the something, can telepath into your head and see it just like you do. Help them out by using the medium that has helped mankind out for the last few million years: language. Write a manual.

  7. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    Wait, who said that? It was George Santayana. The man himself is now part of history, but his wisdom still stands out, like many others. Many things, claimed to be "new" by their advertisers, have in fact been invented before, often several times. Many errors made in the past are again being made in the present. History holds valuable lessons for everyone, as long as you view its stories with the scepticism of rule #1.

  8. The only way to the ultimate truth is science.

    Because science questions and verifies everything. If there is a truth, science will find it, and question it, and establish its relativity, because no truth is absolute. Science questions even itself. And even this rule, for which no scientific explanation has been provided.

  9. Never underestimate Helen.

    And that is as much as I will say on this subject.