I was taking my morning walk, the earbuds plugged in and listening to a PLAYLIST called 1970s (pop music). After a few rousing oldies, Neil Young began singing “Heart of Gold” and I started listening a little more attentively (especially when it got to the line: “And I’m getting old”)!

Neil Young, as he was then

I want to live,
I want to give
I’ve been a miner
for a heart of gold
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old

Suddenly I realized I have been searching out the concept of a heart of gold for almost a lifetime. I’m 75 years old in a matter of weeks and I still have NOT given up! In the 1960s and 70s we thought we could change the world. We DID change the world. But not enough I fear. Drugs swept upon the stage, people went crazy, crime exploded (there’s always a market for forbidden substances; didn’t Prohibition teach us that!)

Meanwhile the Vietnam war was dragged out on the public media and we became inured to pain and violence, as killing and real-life murder was featured graphically on the small screen. Who can ever forget the moving footage of Quang Duc, a Buddhist monk, who burned himself to death on a Saigon street in June 1963, to protest alleged persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government. John F. Kennedy said in reference to a photograph of Duc on fire: “No news picture in history has generated so much emotion around the world as that one”.

But then there was also 1968 news footage of a South Vietnamese general summarily executing a Vietcong leader, unashamedly, in front of the TV camera. We had reached a level of public brutality that made Humankind seem like savages or animals.

And as for the poor 9-year-old girl, Kim Phuc Phan Thi, running screaming down the road after being drenched in burning napalm: it’s probably the most iconic war image of all time…

A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. The terrified girl had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing.

Is that not the most comprehensive, though vile, summary of the whole process of war: young and innocent people hurt and killed, Nature raped, the Good Green Earth stripped and violated? I shudder to recall some of this. And of course, there was plenty more.

The only reason I feel I can share this last horror with you is that Kim Phuc Phan Thi (still known as the napalm-girl) moved to Canada, made a recovery of sorts, and in 1992 she was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She attributes the switch to Christianity to have helped her conquer hatred and fear.

My Small Contribution

Well, recently I have been working on a major healing gift for Mankind: “The Gentleperson’s Guide To Good Behavior”. It’s about being kind, it’s about doing the right thing, it’s about being caring, being honest, being courageous… it’s about having a heart of gold!

It will be a significant book but you can get preview glimpses of some of the content by downloading it an as eBook: my gift to you. This is a recent revision. You may have seen something similar before…

What’s in it? Well, for one thing, The Golden Rule and The Platinum Rule

Everyone (I hope) understands the so-called “Golden Rule”. It appears in all the world’s religions and philosophies. It is simplest stated as: “Treat other people as you would want them to treat you,” or “Do unto others… etc.”

It’s brilliant and simple in its logic. Why should you get special treatment if you are not willing to accord it to other people?

Even kings, queens and presidents have to acknowledge this one. Bloody and heartless rulers only last a certain time and then they are busted. And their first reaction when carried off to the dungeons is usually screaming for the mercy that they would not show to others.

Another way of looking at the Golden Rule might be: treat others how they would want to be treated, rather than how you want to be treated!

But there is a better twist to the Golden Rule, which Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar has christened “The Platinum Rule”: treat yourself the way you’d like others to treat you. The Platinum Rule may be far more important than the way that you treat others, because inevitably the way that you treat yourself determines the way that you treat others. Be kind to yourself, honor yourself, and you’ll find you do it automatically with others.

In the converse, individuals who are hard on themselves, bitter and self-critical, rarely make good travelling companions in life. They carry their self-hate poison deep inside but inevitably it spills all over the highway!

The Two Most Basic Needs

Back in 1965 psychiatrist William Glasser MD pinpointed what seem to me to be among the most fundamental of all human needs. These must be honored. These are the basis of Glasser’s “Reality Therapy”:

  1. The need to love and be loved.
  2. The need to feel that we are worthwhile, to ourselves and to others.

I think these should always be borne in mind and others helped to become secure in these needs or be helped in adopting them.

As Glasser pointed out, although the two needs are separate, a person who loves and is loved will usually feel that he or she is a worthwhile person and one who is worthwhile is usually someone who is loved and who can give love in return.

But there is an important caveat, with which I agree wholeheartedly: to be worthwhile, we must maintain a satisfactory standard of behavior. 

That’s what my Gentle Person’s Guide To Good Behavior is about…

Download a copy here.

The final rule, #20, and perhaps the most non-negotiable rule of all, goes as follows: Choose Love, Always.

In all situations, interactions, negotiations, encounters, plans or decisions, choose love. She is your friend. She is your very nature. You ARE love. To act against love is to deny your humanity.

Love to many may seem the soft option, something nice, warm and fluffy, into which we can retreat when we are hurt. But love, real love, is a tough warrior, resistant, hard as adamant, and cannot be hurt. When love is present and breathing, all will be well. Trust that.

You might think me naïve. But if someone doesn’t think naïve thoughts, then only the selfish and cruel thoughts will survive.

With love to all,

Prof. Keith Scott-Mumby

The Official Alternative Doctor

Still searching for a Heart of Gold!