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* Last edit of this page 20/05/2012


We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves to be like other people. Schopenhauer


The basic principle in a manifesto is: what we focus on tends to expand itself

Here are five manifestos from brainpickings blog


1. Example of a two word manifesto:


When learning to Do Less:
Go with the flow. Imagine the effort required to swim upstream compared to moving with the flow of a river. If you go with the flow of things, rather than against them, you will naturally do less, and with less effort.

Don’t force things. A common mistake — trying to hard, forcing something that doesn't want to be forced, forcing people to do things they don’t want to do. A lot of effort, action, and time is wasted. Instead, find a smoother way — think of water, which flows around things rather than trying to force its way through them.

Find the pressure points. In martial arts, instead of using maximum force, you are wise to find the points in the body where less force can be used to greater effect, whether that’s to cause pain or imbalance or some other effect. Well, I don’t advocate finding pain, but the idea of pressure points is a good one: if you can find the little spots where a little action can change everything, can go a long way, you have mastered the Do Less philosophy.

Let others do. Give others the room and freedom to move, to create, to invent, to learn, to work, to do, on their own. Less time, effort and action spent trying to control others means that you do less, but let others make things happen. It means letting go of control, but that’s a good thing. Other people have creativity, imagination, dedication, good ideas too.

Let things happen. Often our actions interfere with events that would happen without our actions. In other words, if we took no action, things would happen without us. Sometimes it’s better to let things happen. Step back, don’t act, things will happen without us. Source & more on 'Doing Less'

A simple addition to this manifesto adds another dimension:




1.1 An elegant version of Do Less is here: Smile, breathe and go slowly

Here is Leo Babauta's manifesto, and book: 'The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential in Business and in Life'. All content on his site is free to use in any way you like.


2. How to Write a Manifesto

Manifest tr. v. - to show or demonstrate plainly.

If you build your manifesto around a strong foundation or core, it will tend to grow itself, even as you daydream.

Core values and beliefs are implicit in any manifesto.

The act of writing one will unfold those values in you, perhaps in layers like an onion or a fractal. They tend to become explicit.

I have thought carefully about the essence of manifesto in the yoga context and have written about it here on my sankalpa page.

Keep the language simple. Use shorter and more vivid words, those that are more concrete and direct.

For example, tell vs. relate; talk vs. converse or discuss; get vs. acquire; buy vs. purchase; worried vs. perplexed; true vs. accurate; near vs. adjacent, and build vs. construct. More language examples here.

Contradictions and inconsistencies can be interesting to read when they contain a paradox, such as, 'you only keep what you have given away'. Mark Twain's version was, 'if you want love and abundance in your life, give it away.'

What you don't say or say only by allusion is also interesting or not. A too explicit statement leaves little to the reader, little to wonder about.

The context of a manifesto is a powerful frame. 'Our business is risk' alludes to different values and outcomes when used by an Insurance Company compared to say, a Star Trek mission into the unknown.

Knowing that a manifesto came at the end of a life rather than the beginning alters the frame.

Culture is an assumed context for a manifesto. In a 'can do' business culture like China and America risks are framed very differently from those same ventures in a heavily regulated market like Germany or Australia.

I retrieved the following article on 25/02/06 from for my rural and remote readers in Canada and Australia, which may help guide you.

The following is a brief outline of things to consider when writing your own manifesto. These guidelines are meant as little more than a framework for you to hang your ideas on, so don't worry if they don't cover everything. A manifesto is a highly personal thing; you may want to alter the framework to suit what you have to say.

Remember, above all else, this is your chance to express yourself, have at and have fun.

1. Have something you feel strongly about: Doesn't really matter what it is. It can be a political or social issue or cause, your opinions on a sport, a hobby, or other activity, or something else entirely. All you need is to have a strong opinion on it.

2. Have some points you want to make: I'd suggest at least five, since a two point manifesto seems kind of short to me, but really, have how ever many you need to get your feelings out.

3. Be clear and concise in your writing: Nobody's gonna care what you have to say if they can't understand how you say it. Know what you want to say and say it. Get someone you trust to proofread for you to make sure you're saying what you want to say. (And be prepared to defend your position, especially if they don't necessarily agree with you).

4. Spell check, spell check, spell check!: This is especially the case if you're writing on a political or social issue. Since the Internet is largely a text-based medium, spelling is has become a measure not so much of intelligence but of a person's ability to express him or herself articulately. If you're not a very good speller yourself, use a spell checker or ask a friend who is a good speller to give you a hand.

5. Use slang and jargon carefully: Slang and jargon can be confusing to those who aren't "in the know." If you're writing about something that has a lot of slang and/or jargon associated with it, you might want to include a glossary or otherwise explain the terms so folks who aren't in the know can follow along.

6. Grammar: No, you're not writing this for a grade and yeah, you can be informal in addressing your audience, but you are writing for public consumption which means you'll be exposing yourself to an audience tougher than any English teacher you ever had. Believe me when I say there are folks more interested in HOW you said something than in WHAT was said.

7. Don't Be Wishy-Washy: A manifesto is a"public declaration of intentions, opinions or purposes." It's not a place to waffle or hem and haw. Speak your mind, state your beliefs and opinions clearly and loudly, but:

8. Remember, opinions are like ass holes, everybody's got one: An opinion is, variously, "a belief based on grounds insufficient to produce certainty"; "a personal attitude or appraisal" or, "the formal expression of a professional judgment". Opinions, even educated ones, are not facts. Facts can be proven, opinions can't. Facts are verifiable, opinions aren't. • Fact: Cheeseburgers are made by placing cheese on a cooked hamburger patty and allowing the cheese to melt into the burger some. • Opinion (mine): Cheeseburgers are gross. State your opinions, but acknowledge, either in your manifesto itself or in a note of some kind, that other people's opinions may differ. It's my opinion that'll help make the world a better place.

9. Expect to be misunderstood: Once again, this is especially true for folks writing political or social manifestos. In a few cases, you may get email from people who've read your manifesto and either ignored or forgotten rule #8. Some may never have been made aware of the concept in their lives. A lot of people, many through no fault of their own, believe their opinions and life experiences are the only correct ones. This, they feel, means they know best how the world works and you're some ignorant fool who needs to be shown The Way. And you'd better be grateful that they're here to 'help.'

Now, there's a tendency, particularly in the United States, to think that only the politically and/or religiously conservative can behave in this fashion. I'm here to tell you, that in my experience at least, no political or religious persuasion has the market cornered on being a jerk.

On the other hand, what you'll probably run into most often are people who honestly disagree with your opinions or who, through no fault of their own, misunderstood what you said. I once received a letter from some people using my agnostic page for a school project who asked me what had made me come to dislike the church, even though my page specifically states that I don't dislike any church. Misunderstandings like these will happen, particularly if you're writing on a controversial issue. If you get honest questions, answer them honestly and politely. You may be the first person of your particular viewpoint this person has talked to and, rightly or wrongly, you will help create their opinion of others who hold your opinions. A little politeness can be very persuasive.

As for those rude folks I talked about first, personally, I'd say ignore 'em, but then…I'm not always good at turning the other cheek when it comes to getting blasted. Politeness can help you out here, especially if you're talking on a message board or other public forum, since you at least, will come off as the mature adult in the conversation.

10. Don't hide yourself: This is a public declaration of your feelings, after all. Hiding behind anonymity, unless you have a justifiable reason for doing so, such as physical danger to yourself or loved ones, smacks of cowardice. It's one thing to disguise your identify because expressing your views may get you beat up or fired or cost you your home; it's another to do so because you don't want folks knowing you really do think Kirk is better than Picard.

If you have to remain anonymous, use an alias at least, it'll help give the reader someone to identify with.

Some Other Things To Keep In Mind:

(or, a cheat so I can keep the points to ten…)

Don't lie or fabricate details to try and make your case look better. Let the evidence speak for itself. Otherwise, it's not really evidence.

Back up the facts you use; offer sources so your reader can see where you're drawing your conclusions from and make up their minds for themselves as to whether you're right or wrong.

Play nice: Expressing yourself does not mean stooping to insulting others. The Net has more than enough people who're trying to turn the Information Superhighway into the world's biggest kindergarten without you helping it along.

Different does not mean wrong. And Right does not mean "better than you."

Good luck with your manifesto and have fun expressing yourself! Source

3. More on manifesto

Mythic Quest seed questions

The University of Hawaii's Illuminated Life® Workshop and some of their seed questions

4. More examples of manifestos:

The cartoon as a political manifesto

A simple visual manifesto that suggests without words:



A manifesto from 'Instructions for Life' by The Dalai Llama

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R's: Respect for self, respect for others and responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.

7. When you reallize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend sometime alone every day.
9. Open arms to change, but don't let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, hoorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmostphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.

19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.


Max Ehrmann's Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann 1872-1945

Desiderata, plural of Latin desideratum: something desired as essential.

Ehrmann, born in Terre Haute in 1872, made his living practicing law and business (deputy prosecuting attorney of Terre Haute at one point, credit manager for a family owned overall manufacturing firm for 10 years). But his real love was writing, especially philosophical poems and plays. He composed "Desiderata" in 1927, he wrote in his journal at the time, out of need to remind himself how he wanted to live his life. Source


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