Something else is going on here

I have just watched the first two episodes of Amazon Prime “The Lord of the Rings:The Rings of Power” television series. Let me tell you something, I am only two episodes in and this show is spectacular!

So far we have been introduced in story form to, Elves, Harfoot and dwarves also I think we got glimpses of Orcs. Every story line has a lot of stuff going on. Lives are being lived, romance is kindling friendships and rivalries being formed and although the stories are separate they are all connected. I know that the stories are all connected because, the series is set thousands of years prior to the the trilogy by Tolkein.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kiierkegaard

The ability to look back on events that have already happened and believe that we can predict the future is called hindsight basis. Engaging in hindsight basis is very tempting.

It is important not to engage in hindsight basis because history does repeat itself but we cannot predict the future based on history. So then what should we do when trying to learn from history and make judgement calls today right now in our stories? Of course we should do the right thing and what is that?

The right thing is the thing that will harm the least amount of people and help the most. The right thing is something people have struggled with since the times of Plato and Kant.

I am not foolish enough to believe that I can answer the philosophical question of what the right thing is in this blog post. Spike Lee couldn’t answer that question in his 1989 masterpiece, Do the Right Thing.

Instead of engaging in Hindsight basis when considering what to do we should learn from the past. One thing that we have can do is learn from the past. A major lesson from the past is that kindness wins always in the long run and that kindness makes the difference.

Why it is ok…

The team was down by 2, there was less than five seconds on the clock, both feet were behind the three point line, the player pulled up and missed the shot. He started to hang his head and started to feel down but his team mates wouldn’t let him they cheered for him and made him feel like the champion.

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed

Michael Jordan

In 2007 I took my kids to the movies to watch the Disney movie, “Meet the Robinsons”. The movie was all about an orphan boys adventure traveling through time. The boy was a scientist and when he traveled to the future he meet a pretty strange family. One member of the family was working on something and when he helped that family member he did not actually fix the problem but made it a little worse. The family saw the failure the boy stood with bated breath and then the family cheered concerning his failure.

Do not be afraid to fail. I worked for a few years in a manufacturing plant, The plant had hourly goals for production and when goals were meet they were marked as green. One of the engineers told me something interesting. He said that, “we learn way more from from red hours than we do green ones”.

Today you and I and everyone everywhere will fail let us all learn adjust and try again and despite our failures we will be champions.

“Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” ― Oprah Winfrey

Paradise Lost

When I was dating my wife she bought me a print of Muhamad Ali standing over Sony Liston and a copy of the poem / book Paradise Lost my Milton. The print is hanging up in my office at work and the book is on our bookshelf.

I am a big fan of the poem Paradise Lost. The fall of humanity, Lucifers’ revenge for being sent out of heaven.

The thing about Paradise Lost and the Christian creation story that I find most strange and there is a lot to find odd, talking snakes and all, is that God placed humans on earth. In the creation story God creates everything, then puts life on earth, humans are the last created creatures and they are the ones who are given rules to abide by on earth. Satan was kicked out of heaven prior to the creation of everything and wants revenge. Satan takes on the image of a serpent and tempts humans to disobey God. The humans succumb to temptation and God punishes the humans. The punishment for humans is almost the same as the punishment for Lucifer or Satan, banishment. Humans are banished from their home the garden of Eden. The garden of Eden is on earth.

The earth is an incredible planet. Planet Earth provide us with life, and protects us from space. Everything we have ever needed to survive and thrive has come from the earth. I do not know if it is irony or not, I do know that it is tragic, but humans have destroyed more than 97% of the earths ecosystem. Humans have not lost paradise, we have burned it away.

Why did humans do this and why do we continue to do this? Because we were tricked and continue to be tricked everyday. Instead of learning to live in harmony with the Earth we have learned to destroy the earth and carve out our living at the cost of the earth.

We still have a chance at paradise, we were not kicked off of the Earth. We just need to stop being tricked. A life that is zero waste, respects all life around us, works towards sustainability and understands that we must always be growing, that is a life that is lived without being tricked.

“We don’t have a lot of time on this Earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way! Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements!”

Peter Gibbons
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A little bit different

Construction on our route to work, a spilled coffee cup, hour changes at the local restaurant these are all things that can throw off our daily routines.

Routine:

noun

  1. a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.”I settled down into a routine of work and sleep”

Many of us have settled into routines it is simply a way of life. Routines can be good they can help us get things done in a cumulative way but what happens when our routines are disrupted?

Most of react poorly with disruptions to our routines and that might not be so great. Sometimes the best thing for us is a disruption from our routine. Robert Nardelli was next in line to be the CEO of all of GE when he was passed over. His routine was just beginning to be changed. Nardelli, who was then in charge of GE Power Systems, got a call from Ken Langone, a GE board member who is also an influential director at Home Depot. “You probably could not feel worse right now,” the raspy-voiced Langone boomed, “but you’ve just been hit in the ass with a golden horseshoe. And I’ve got the horseshoe.” Within a week, Home Depot’s board pushed out co-founder Arthur Blank and installed Nardelli as CEO. Robert has gone on to be CEO of Coca cola, and Chrysler.

Nardelli learned to deal with routine disruption and allow the disruptions to unlock creativity and discovery. Whatever is disruptive now I know you can handle it and I think with the right attitude it could be a golden horseshoe.

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You have to create your own luck. You have to be aware of the opportunities around you and take advantage of them.

Bruce Lee

Always be

The movie Glengarry Glen Ross was an adaptation of a play with the same name. The movie and play show the cutthroat side of the sales industry. A famous line from the movie is “Always be closing”. The line has been repeated all over the world by everyone in sales.

In the cutthroat world of sales this is pretty good advice because if a sales person doesn’t close a deal they don’t get paid and if they don’t get paid they don’t eat. Most people who know me know that I am not a big fan of capitalism for this reason here. Capitalism is meant to divide up and manage resources equitably through placing a dollar amount on resources and then forcing consumers to work for the dollar amount by processing, or selling the resources. The problem with capitalism is that it doesn’t work. If the goals of capitalism are equitable resource allocation and proper resource management it doesn’t work. Proof is in the socio economic state of every capitalist nation on Earth. Capitalism puts money first not the person, it seems that the true goal of capitalism is to make a very few amount of people wealthy and leave all others in want.

If our species plans to survive we will need to show some kindness. Instead of Always be closing good citizens should take up the mantra “Always be kind”. Instead of amassing capital that we can trade for resources we should be focused on making sure the resources are managed and shared with our neighbors. If people do not care for each other or the natural resources then one could argue that we do not deserve either.

Instead of focusing on money we should focus on kindness and resource management. Instead of being consumers we should be citizens, kind citizens who care for each other in deeds not just words. Try today to “Always be kind”.

Why do we trick or treat

Here in the United States Halloween will be at the end of next month. All the kids and adults will dress up as some type of ghost goblin or monster. The ghosts, goblins and monsters will march down the neighborhood knocking on doors. As the door opens the ghosts, goblins, and monsters will shout trick or treat and then be rewarded with candy from the house. My niece asked about how the tradition got started. I told her that a long time ago kids would dress up as ghosts and go to the farmers house and if the farmer would give the ghost a treat so that they would have a good crop. It was a guess and only half right. It seems that the children dressed as ghosts would knock on the doors and offer to pray for the dead for a treat. Trick or treating had very little to do with the crops. I will have to let my niece know that.

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I still think that IU made a pretty good guess. Crops were and still are a pretty big deal. I mean they keep us alive. Religion was also a pretty big deal and is also arguably a pretty big deal. However with crop domestication and organized religion. Crops and religion are often afterthoughts in modern society. I no longer need to know where my food comes from or what happens to a soul after a person dies. There is the grocery store and church’s for that.

I am all for progress of humanity but I often wonder about the price we pay for the progress. With plant domestication our cities grew and people could focus on other things. There was no longer the need to forage and gather for food. However plant domestication tends to ruin the plants microbiome and the environment where the plant is grown. It can be well argued that plant domestication has peaked and the progress that has been brought through plant domestication is negated by the negative affects of the process. Religion has moved from temples and looking to the stars with questions to studying of texts. I fear that the lack of questions and abundance of “answers” in modern religion has lead to a stale, unforgiving religion that maybe doing more harm to society than help.

I am in no means advocating for a return to the old ways I am however ready to say that we must change and adapt if we plan on surviving as a species. Change is a process and it is part of growth. Just because something was done a certain way does not mean it was the best way. Never stop questioning learning or growing.

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change

Confucius

No such thing

Russia has invaded the Ukraine and the headlines in much of the western hemisphere and Europe are strongly against the invasion. Chinese headlines primarily concern the missteps taken by Putin and the invasion of the country. The absence of condemnation for the invasion of Ukraine is often immediately seen as a moral failing of the main stream media in China by the western hemisphere however, one would do well to keep in mind that the eastern hemisphere does not have a morality issue with what they see as a “just war”. Again there is the knee jerk reaction to take some moral high ground especially in the United States but it may be important to keep in mind that the United States has invaded at least 69 countries since 1776. That is a lot of “just war”. The invasions are merely the tip of the iceberg for the United States of America. The United States has also sponsored terrorism and paramilitary operation all over the globe since the 1960s. Invasion’s and terrorism are tools of nations for social control. Scratch that last statement, the major tool for social control by nations is violence. When a nation uses violence to gain social control the term for justification of the use of violence is “just war”.

I say this as a former solider and I truly mean it, war, whether you are serving on the side of the victor or the defeated, is a crime.

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.

Ernest Hemingway

Often war is started by the leadership and carried out by the followers. It is imperative as a nation that we demand no war from our leadership. As strongly as we cry out against the Russian invasion of the Ukraine we as a group should also speak out against the United States invasions.

I want young people to be hesitant to glorify war and to demand of their leaders justification for the sacrifices they ask of our citizens.

Walter Dean Myers

Violence cannot be the answer. Violence is psychologically attractive for human beings and leadership has tapped into this when convincing men and women to commit acts of violence. The only issue is that violence is not sustainable. Violence involves the dehumanization of the victim of the aggressor and it is in this dehumanization that violence is most damaging.

There are these “rage rooms” that are becoming more popular now. A rage room is a safe room where a person can go and smash plates, furniture anything they can get there hands on. This is a great way to vent out aggression, however venting aggression should be coupled with understanding the roots of the aggression. Is your aggression healthy or is it rooted in some un faced childhood trauma?

The path to peace and away from violence has to start by looking inward. Again violence is easy to be a part of but we have to, if we as a species are going to survive and thrive, askew violence and embrace peace.

G o d or d o g

Yesterday my wife and I watched the movie DOG. The movie follows an US Army ranger who has had a traumatic brain injury and must take a fallen comrades dog to his funeral. The dog is also a solider and the dog and the US Army Ranger have suffered physical and emotional trauma from war.

The solider decides to drive the dog to the funeral. During the road trip the solider and the dog meet another solider and dog who have suffered trauma. The fellow solider lets him know that it is important to talk with someone about the trauma. anyone one wether it is God or a dog because without out talking it through bad things can happen.

Talk therapy also known as psycho therapy was first discovered studied and researched by Sigmund Freud in the early 1890s. Freud understood that life can be painful and confusing and that talking through our relationships and situations helps give us clarity and peace.

Computer programmers will often speak to rubber ducks when writing out complicated code. By speaking out our thoughts we can actually hear them and understand why we think the way we do. Many people do not realize what has caused their trauma and how that trauma has affected their lives.

In church as a younger person I always wondered about pray. In pray we would thank and ask for support from God an omniscient being. Why pray? If God knows everything than why do I need to mention anything to God? It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized prayers were not for the God that they were aimed at but the believer. It is through prayers (if you are praying right) that you discover epiphanies and self actualize.

Never be so busy that you cannot take the time to talk through your situations and relationships, with your God, dog, friend or rubber ducky.

Now what

My parents carried cash for everything, cash and checks. When I was in middle school my uncle went o and on about an ATM machine and explained how an ATM card was not a credit card to my parents. Now you are hard pressed to find a person with more than $100 in cash on their person. Money has pretty much been automated.

Restaurants, hotels and health care have taken the reigns as the most labor intensive jobs in the United States. Think about that these jobs are service oriented and produce no physical products. Factory work is far less labor intensive now.

What does it all mean? Well, I think we are currently living at the start of a post scarcity economy. Products and food are in abundance, the need to scrap by or fight for everything we get is now truly a manufactured need and not a real one.

Living in a post scarcity economy means that there should be a shift to better resource management instead there is a shift to service jobs. The lower class is serving the upper class (please bear in mind that the upper class is usually in this position because of birth right).

There is some hope though… I have watched a whole generation resign when covid came and went (sort of people are still struggling with covid but it seems it may be starting to become endemic). After the “great resignation” I watched a whole nation participate in quiet quitting (this is where you simply perform the bare minimum at your position). The transformation from resigning to quitting should change again to setting up a work life balance.

As this article states work life balance is a myth, and what is happening is more of a career or job that is not for money but satisfaction. Within the next generation I predict the end of money and the start of work that is for the purpose of work only.

So now what? I plan on spending more time at home and work doing things that make me feel accomplished than simply paying me money. I plan on doing more work to help others instead of helping myself to the over abundant supply of stuff and I think the world would be much happier if we all did the same thing.

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I get by with a little….

This week there were two stories that really made me proud to be part of the human race in the news and about a dozen and a half that made me shamed, but let’s focus on the two that were awesome.

The first story involved the resilience of the Grasshopper Sparrow. The bird was on the brink of extinction when conservationist and a Florida zoo stepped up. The birds were breed and raised in captivity then release into the wild. The survival rate of the birds is a happy surprise to the experts who have been involved in this birds comeback story.

The second story is about the founder of Patagonia and the future of his company. Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia is giving away his company. Patagonia will not go public it will be placed in a trust that is set up for the sole purpose of fighting climate change. This is remarkable and good news.

The two stories that made me smile this week remind me of a Beatles song titled “With a little help from my friends”. The song was written by Joe Crocker and the lyrics explain how everyone gets help from their friends every once and a while.

The Florida zoo and the billionaire businessmen both seem to be friends of the natural world and the natural world needs friends right now. Imagine how much better off the world would be if we were all friends to it….

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