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.

What even is it.

Growing up we were told to not be jerks. As our kids grew we try to teach them to not be jerks. I was wandering this morning about the nature of the word jerk, specifically what is a jerk?

There was a movie starring Steve Martin titled the Jerk. The movie told the hilarious story of a naïve innocent country boy who moves away from his family to the city. I always wandered who the jerk was in that movie? Steve Martins character was always helping and learning and lacked a cynical attitude that seems like a prerequisite for being a jerk.

After some quick internet searching I learned that the title was inspired by Dostoyevsky‘s The Idiot. So in the movie the Jerk it seems like the Jerks may have been the men and women in society that took advantage of the protagonist. In Dostoyevsky‘s The Idiot well that’s another discussion for another day.

A jerk is a motion that yanks something into a different direction. A jerk is also a person that is rude and obnoxious and abruptly annoys others with words or actions.

The world would be a better place if. People live their own life and let others to live their own lives

Poornima Rawat

Not being a jerk can be hard sometimes, although on the surface it seems easy, just leave people alone. It can be hard to allow loved ones to make mistakes that you have made. People are sympathetic by their nature, it is this nature that makes it hard to not step in and give unsolicited advice or guidance. Support and unsolicited advice can seem the same but they are not. Support is helping out loved ones when they reach out to you not prior to.

Not being a jerk can be hard and dealing with people that are being jerks can also be hard. Everyone seems to have an opinion sometimes and those opinions are voiced and directed towards people making waves.

Sometimes it helps to keep somethings in mind. Remember that it is impossible to move without making waves. Remember that jerks usually have the best of intentions and finally remember that: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Today make some waves, shake off the jerks and don’t be one.

There is something off…

22 years ago I sat with my kids and watched a cartoon character voiced by David Spade dance around the palace that he lives in until he bumped into a citizen. The character told the citizen that he threw off his groove then he had employees throw the citizen off the cliff. As the citizen fell he yelled sorry.

The movie was “The Emperors New Groove”. The movie explains how a self absorbed Incan emperor changed his “groove” and learned to see outside himself and acknowledge others. Here we are sitting on Friday and I have felt a little off my groove all week. I really wasn’t sure why I was off my groove or how to get my groove back.

Of course like any other problem in my life I was able to solve the problem through the lessons learned from an animated movie. I am just now getting my “groove” back and I am getting it back by focusing on others.

It doesn’t make sense but often the best way to help yourself is to help others.

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Help yourself by helping others

John Templeton

The secret to a happy and groovy life is in helping others.

The small things

I can remember watching a great sci -fi series called The Fringe on TV. The series protagonist was the son a scientist and played by Joshua Jackson. The unit that the scientist, his son and an FBI agent were part of investigated cases that happened on the fringes of reality. The show lasted for five seasons it was created by JJ Abrams and was a blast to watch.

One of the story arcs of the show had the protagonist traveling into another dimension. Parallel dimensions are explained brilliantly by Neil Degrasse Tyson in this video. Basically (very basic indeed for sure watch the video by Neil Degrasse Tyson) if you imagine everything you know to be reality the earth, the solar system, the galaxies the super clusters all of that has a copy that exists in a different plane if you can imagine a stack of plates our existence is in one plate and other existences are in the other plates. Switch out existence with dimension and you have parallel dimensions. You are in all these dimensions but somethings are different.

In the TV show The Fringe the dimension that he show traveled between had coffee but it was incredibly expensive. Coffee seems small and inconsequential but it is truly a blessing for me. I enjoy every drop of coffee and sometimes I can (insert gasp here) take it for granted, until I purchase some gas station coffee then I realize how good my coffee at home is and I fully appreciate good coffee again.

Life can get complicated, messy and busy, so much so that we take things like coffee for granted.. Don’t do that, gratitude is inarguably good an good for you. Gratitude makes you happier and healthier and it is free!

If you feel like you need something to be grateful for find a cup of coffee (not from the gas station) and take a sip. If coffee doesn’t work look in the mirror. You are very special. The odds of you being born are 1 in 400 trillion! You really are special everyone really is and no matter what that agro a$@hole says you deserve a trophy. Be grateful that you are you and here on earth.

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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The will to what now?

I have been reading Noam Chomsky lately I am in the middle of a great book of his titled, “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance (American Empire Project)”. The book is a good read, Chomsky lays out the groundwork for a thesis which is, the United States of America has engaged in an an Imperial Grand Strategy since the beginning of the second world war and that the strategy has been developed since the days of George Washington and his conquest of the Iroquois nation.

Hegemony is the dominance of one society over another. It is hard to argue against the fact that the United States has not been in the Hegemony business. English is the most widely spoken and used language in the world. 1.5 billion people in the world speak English and the current population of the United States of America and the United Kingdom is only 396 million. Some will argue for American exceptionalism and that the ideas of democracy and a republic are so lofty that others 1 billion 1 hundred four million people are so taken with republican ideas and democracy that they speak English. Keep in mind that democracy was invented in 500 BCE in Athens and some would argue that the French ideas of democracy. liberty and equality are almost identical to those of the United States. Why doesn’t the whole world speak French then? Some would argue that the French have abandoned colonization while the United States has embraced it with wars on almost every continent disguised as peace keeping, nation building, liberation movements.

All this reading and researching into Hegemony and colonization got me to thinking about Nietzsche and his will to power.

[Anything which] is a living and not a dying body… will have to be an incarnate will to power, it will strive to grow, spread, seize, become predominant – not from any morality or immorality but because it is living and because life simply is will to power… ‘Exploitation’… belongs to the essence of what lives, as a basic organic function; it is a consequence of the will to power, which is after all the will to life.

from Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, s.259, Walter Kaufmann transl.

I am not positive but a will to power concept lacks something that if humanity is to survive needs to have and that is faith in a higher power or humanity. It makes sense that a society that does not have faith in others will find it that societies responsibility to use their perceived power to enforce their cultures and norms on other societies. The United States started with land management and the slaughter of the indigenous peoples and have not taken their foot off the gas pedal since.

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Instead of learning from others the United States has tried and is succeeding in homogenizing the entire world. There is little besides voting that I can do to stop the spread of the United States but in my personal life I will try to be more open minded to others and understand that every living being is exceptional and deserves to be treated that way.

We can learn a lot from other living things if we understand that we are not omniscient.

Our Village

When I was younger I watched a movie called “Patton”. Right in the beginning pf the movie the general tells the third infantry division why the United States will win the war. The speech is riveting. In his speech he mentions that Americans are not individuals but part of a community and we can achieve so much more together.

Sometimes I hear people mention how their success or failure comes from their own efforts and I cringe. This is the most un true statement I have ever heard in my life. A persons failure or success is a collective action achieved by actions or inactions of the collective. People are social animals and they are designed to help each other survive and thrive. If you are not acting in the best interests of your neighbors (which is everyone you meet) you are not acting the way that you were designed to act.

It takes a village be a good villager.

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This book is amazing

I am about a third of the way through an incredible book called “What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything” written by Rob Bell. The book is a treatment of the Bible that I’ve never read before. The author turns the book over and over and throughout every story, poem and letter he points out how the books through line is hope, love, redemption and reconciliation. If you are reading a story, poem, letter or song in this book and do not experience hope, love ore redemption than you are missing the point.

When you read a story letter or poem with the purpose of finding this through line of love and redemption you experience hope. If you read a story without this perspective it can be dark and abysmal and make you feel hopeless. The bible can be violent and give you nightmares if you are not approaching it with that filter. The author explains why the filter is rightfully applied, mostly because of history context and culture.

One of the worst things we can do in life is lose hope. Lost hope can result in a cynical apathic life and may even lead to depression. How can we in the face of so much bad news find hope? Through education and learning the “whole story”. Often we only hear the headlines and nothing else but stories are layered and nuanced and one viewpoint of a much larger thing called life. Next time you feel like throwing in the towel I encourage you to dig deeper learn more and find hope. Hope was at the bottom of pandoras box,

“Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.”

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

Like a gift

My wife and I watched a movie called “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, the movie is all about a young man who restores a hotel in India and opens it up as a retirement home. Many ex pats from the UK live there and comedic misadventure ensues.

One of my favorite lines from the movie comes from a conversation between two of the hotels residents. One resident hates the country the people and the hotel another one loves all of it. She asks the resident who loves the experience why he loves it he responds that he loves the people because the look at life as a gift.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

When we approach everything as gift life changes and we change. Gratitude is one of the most powerful ways you can make a change in your life. With gratitude we can truly live our lives and experience everything.

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