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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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


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.

Only God

I remember growing up and seeing a key chain. The key chain belonged to my maternal grandmother and I think it said something like “only God can make a Tomato”. I think I am really not sure what the vegetable was, I know it had to do with the sovereignty of god and faith. My grandmother and mom were huge proselytizers for the Christian faith, my mother still is.

I remember hating tomato’s growing up I have come around to tomato’s and enjoy salsa and tacos however you will not catch me eating a BLT.

Last weekend was a holiday weekend here in the United States and my wife, 2 dogs and three kids all left the city and spent time in our camper near the river. While swimming in the river and walking the dog I thought about how foolish we humans are and I thought about that keychain. Humans have been given almost everything they need to survive and thrive from God, nature, mother earth or providence depending on your belief system and humans have paved it over.

The tomato key chain and our weekend enjoying the natural world also makes me think about the poem trees by Joyce Kilmer



I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

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Don’t get me wrong humans are capable of many amazing things even creation, but all of humanity’s acts of creation pale in comparison to what has already been created and perhaps the best thing humanity can do is participate not in destructive creation but disruptive innovation and environmental conservationism.

Disruptive innovation and environmental conservationism focus on being a responsible citizen of the earth and understanding that we were given everything we need to not only survive but thrive.

Altogether now

Yesterdays wordle answer was fungi. This got me to thinking about how amazing trees are. Did you know that the trees use fungi to communicate with each other sort of like a world wide web? Scientists are calling it a wood wide web. There is an amazing article in the Smithsonian magazine all about some research into trees. I think the more we learn about trees the more we will respect them. I am a firm believer in the power of education. Education provides an understanding and respect for what we study.

If you ever begin to feel like you are becoming apathetic or even cynical educate yourself. Learn as much as you can about everything and you will discover that education is like a sympathy machine.

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family

Kofi Annan

One thing that seems to always be present in everything I have learned is that.. everything is connected and when those connections are broken society breaks down. Education informs, creates sympathy and connects us to each other. beings working together to learn more and become more, helping each other in person on line and in life. Just like the trees that send messages through the fungi humans do the same. We let others know about the changes in the weather and traffic patterns. We encourage each other and we learn from and about each other.

Imagine where society would be today if, we focused on connections through education opposed to division through polarization of beliefs.

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When my wife and I started dating I was a huge fan of watches. I have all kinds of watches and time pieces different styles colors and brands. I went for two months once and never wore the same watch two days in a row. When Apple released the Apple watch I bought the first generation and last year for my anniversary my wife bought me the newest Apple watch (best anniversary gift ever). My wife has joked with me on more than one occasion about the watches, not about my obsessive nature but because I have never believed in time. I am not alone in this believe that time does not exist and it is not a crackpot theory like the flat earth one either. Think about time and try to define it…. Impossible right?

Time may not exist however we can run out of it and I am always wishing that I had more of it in my day.

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Time is a created thing. To say “I don’t have time” is to say “I don’t want to”

Lao Tzu

I have a list of things I want to do and I often find that I have issues with getting everything done that I want to do. I know I am not alone in this predicament. Instead of time management I beleive I need to focus more on priority management. If I can place the correct priorities in the correct order chance are high that I will be able to reach my goals.

The great athletes never focus on the clock when they are competing. Ignoring the clock can help us fool our brains.

You can accomplish anything I really believe that I believe that more than I believe that time is real.

What did you do???

My wife was helping my step daughter write a resume. A good resume will show your education, experience and what you have been able to provide to the companies you have worked for as far as value.

Basically the resume will show what you have done. Let’s say that you implemented a new training program and that program has been used by all trainees you would put something like; “Created and implemented training program responsible for 80 + new managers and supervisors”.

Work and life can become a sort of hamster wheel. We wake up and go through the motions nothing seems to change and we seem to be in the same place we where yesterday. Building or updating resumes gives us a chance to take stock of what we have done professionally and that is important because, even if we do not see it we have done some things.

It is important that you know that your work matters and makes a difference.

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No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence

Martin Luther King Jr.

All work should help others, the only work that would not matter then would be work that hurts other. Let us call work that hurts others bad work. So it is good works that matter and if you do good work you will make a difference for others.

Never stop doing the good work you are doing. Godspeed and good luck

Friday afternoon

Last Friday I had to work late. A class was graduating from their training and getting promoted from recruits to fire fighters. My role was to ensure all the technical work for the graduation went off without a a hitch and it did. Curtains opened closed on que, sound was perfect and video flawless.

In the control room I heard the whole presentation and later that night while speaking with my wife I mentioned how graduations are important. It is important to celebrate accomplishments and finishing fire fighter training is a big one! I have noticed that a big part of a few graduations involves the mindset of being better when you get through adversity. I asked my wife though if she thought adversity ever ended? I am not sure that it does. Let me explain, if life is a game than it is an infinite one. Games have a beginning and an end and our lives while they have an end in death and a beginning in birth their really isn’t a point in time when we stop and take stock of our “points” and determine a winner. Life is a gift really more so than a game. We have a chance to learn and experience the sensation of being a sentient being in our universe and that is pretty cool. Part of living is adversity, it could be health woes, financial woes, or relationship ones and we will learn to live with and mitigate this adversity however we will always have to deal with health, finances and relationships. As long as you are living you will have to deal with life and life can be great or hell. You never really get through adversity you are more likely to rise above adversity and again mitigate the adversity as best you can. In the corporate world goals are often called “Big Rocks”. The concept behind “Big Rocks” is that the corporation find a way to sail around or above the BIG Rocks in the river they are traveling in. I know this can seem like a matter of semantics getting through or rising above but I think that when we approach a situation as a obstacle we must get through we become a destructive force doing harm to others and ourselves. If we approach a situation as a rock opposed to an adversary I cant help but think that we will have a better world view and mental state.

“You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

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One of the most important things

I have had many different positions in my short career one of these positions was a manager for a development team. The team was a rather large group of computer programmers all of them were quite young too. I think the average age of my teams was 24 years old. The developers were pretty smart and had a good grasp on the programming tools and languages we used however they lacked some of the skills involved in effectively interacting with colleagues’. After realizing this I took time every Monday to motivate the teams with a meeting that involved going over one life skill. I still remember one meeting in particular in which I told the team that no matter what job and where they worked the most important skill they could posses and use was going to always be a positive attitude. That was true then and is still true today. With a positive attitude nearly anything is possible. The inverse is also true a negative attitude will make the smallest task a chore and bring progress to a staggering halt. The only attitude we can ever control is our own so I encourage you to accentuate the positive today>

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“You can often change your circumstances by changing your attitude.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Your dreams are…

What are your dreams? Dreams can be thoughts and imagines in our minds when we are asleep, and or, cherished aspirations, ambitions or ideas. In Max Barry’s book syrup the protagonist mentions that every adult has at least 3 million dollar ideas a year. A million dollars is truly life changing. Their idea is a dream. Only five percent of the United States is inhabited by millionaires. What happened to all the ideas or dreams?

Some people pursued and reached their dreams, some pursued and failed and others didn’t even start. Why not start? Lots of reasons, no opportunity, bad timing, and worst of all, lack of faith.

I encourage everyone to try and fail. You will have the experience and maybe when you try you will not fail and then you will have the money. Try often too, the analysis of experience is the best teacher. You may do something bigger than earn a million dollars your idea or dream could change the world.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dream

Eleanor Roosevelt
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