Showing posts from 2020

Think for Yourself

“If a person gave away your body to some passerby, you’d be furious. Yet you hand over your mind to  anyone who comes along, so they may abuse you, leaving it disturbed and troubled—have you no  shame in that?” —EPICTETUS, ENCHIRIDION, 28 Outsourcing your thoughts to other people, like the present day news media which generates  consent by providing its own opinions, reasons, and arguments instead of you yourself going and  finding the source in the wild and deducing from evidence you gathered yourself.

Literally, What Your Crutch Word Tells Me About You

 Literally is a crutch word people use (overuse) to add emphasis by placing the same intensifier in front of some figurative word or phrase which cannot be taken literally. They do this because they want to be taken seriously and as a filler for lack of evidence. Like stating that something is a “fact”. If you have facts all you must do is quote them or cite them. Anytime I hear or read someone saying “literally”, “it is a fact”, or “let me be perfectly clear” I instantly disregard what they are saying because it tells me are just giving you their own opinion and trying to make it sound believable, they are repeating what they heard somewhere else, or they are flat out lying.

On this day of Thanksgiving 2020

  On this day of Thanksgiving, we are supposed to make time to be grateful and give thanks. But how is it possible to be grateful for a year that has been as difficult as 2020? A pandemic that is claimed the lives around the world. Not to mention wildfires, hurricanes, contested elections, civil unrest and horrible moments of inhumanity seemingly everywhere you turn. We did not want these problems. But they did happen. And while they are not all our fault, it is up to us what we do with them, what we turn them into, how we manage to become better for them. On the surface, much of what we are upset about or wish had not occurred is so unpleasant that gratitude seems impossible. But if we can zoom out for that more complete view, understanding and appreciation can emerge. First off, you are alive. That is the silver lining of every bad situation and should not be forgotten because our time here could end at any moment. Second, everything that has happened and is happening is brin

Keep calm and take a birds eye view of history

  I know you might think this is the end of the world or that the country will fall apart if Biden wins. Believe me, it will not. I speak from the wisdom of someone who has been around for almost 50 years and 9 presidents (very few good, most mediocre, and some bad). There will be many more that will come and go in the rest of my lifetime. But once you look back at the arc of history things are not that bad. The span of human history includes the rise and fall of civilization, plagues, tyrants, wars, political violence, tragedy and so much more. Living through history is no easy thing. It was not easy millennia, centuries, or even decades ago and it is not easy today. The last thirty years alone have included the bursting of multiple financial bubbles, terrorist attacks, impeachments, wars, genocides, pandemics, and technological disruptions. Given that we live life day to day, all these ups and downs can exhaust us, even break us. They can make us doubt our faith—in institutions

Have a Discussion rather than an Argument

From Ancient Greece to the late 19th century, rhetoric played a central role in  Western education in  training orators, lawyers, counsellors, historians,  statesmen, and poets. Even high school students were  taught rhetoric.   Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic. It is one  of the three ancient arts  of  discourse. It's aim is to study the capacities of writers  or speakers needed to inform, persuade, or  motivate particular audiences in  specific situations.   Rhetoric typically provides a method for understanding, discovering, and  developing arguments for  particular situations.  According to the art of rhetoric, " argument " is  the activity of logic thus any profitable (good, true, competent,) argument is a manifestation of the  reasoning process.  With the loss of rhetoric in  our modern education system we have also lost or  modified the meanings of  some of our words related to it. For instance, our modern i

Fake News and Media Bias

  I saw a recent article posted on Social Media by a a news aggregation site called "Raw Story". Of course their stories are anything but 'raw'. In fact they aggregate news from AFP and Reuters as well as summarizes news from other sources.   Just like most of the mass media these days, they cite another media outlet (Vanity Fair) who cites two more outlets (Bloomberg & Axios) who then consist of statements like "an anonymous source...", "someone close to the White House said...", or my favorite line the Axios article: "One person who spoke with the president interpreted his thinking this way"   This from Media Bias/Fact check site: "Overall, we rate Raw Story Left Biased based on story selection that favors the left and Mixed for factual reporting due to half-true, false and unproven claims, as well as promotion of mild pseudoscience misinformation."   I see media bias and people's bias going in a

Do Your Best

Doing your best is always worth it, even though you don not "win" every time.

How to be more open minded and understanding


How should we consume news?

This past week of “lock down” I have pretty much cut myself off from the news. I wasn’t super strict with it, I just shut off the TV and steered away from sites online. While some relevant news may have slipped through unintentionally, I just move on. If you haven’t noticed, the sensationalism of today’s mainstream media tends to focus on stories that are geared to make us fearful or emotional. And yet for every negative news story out there, there are a hundred more things happening around us that aren’t necessarily getting coverage. In our technologically connected world it is not so easy to just block out the “news” so how should we consume it without being overwhelmed by it? First, we need to realize that we live in an eternal 24-hour news cycle, which is now more often than not, the same stories are repeated on CNN/Fox, websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Everywhere we go, media follows us and according to some research, this may even be damaging our mental

Amor Fati

We must make the most of a world to which most of what happens is not up to us and, in fact, seems to go contrary to how we would choose if it were. We can get angry and announce our disapproval. We can throw our hands up, curse the sky, and tell whoever will listen about how unfair this or that is. But as much as we argue, we can’t alter reality. So, we must embrace it. We must love it. All of it. Amor fati . “There it is.” And then do our best. And then make the most of it.

How are you going to remembered?

My goal in life is not to be happy but to be useful, to be needed. Because to be useful and needed makes me happy. Happy moments come and go as life comes and goes. When my life is over my happy moments will end but my usefulness can live on. In the lessons I have taught my child, in the knowledge and experience I pass on to others, in the memories and reputation I leave with those who survive me. This is not to say that I do not want to be happy but that my focus is not on immediate happiness itself. For immediacy and happiness both end. My usefulness can also make those around me happy and this adds to my legacy which will survive me. How are you going to remembered by those who survive you? “ What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. ” - Albert Pike

Trying to Kick Start my Brain

So here is the deal. I have always wanted to be able to write but have never been very creative. I am more logical then inventive. I can solve problems using different resources but just can't seem to pull ideas out of thin air. I have also wanted to be known, not famous just acknowledged. So I have been trying to create a web presence hoping people will discover my name. So now I am trying to put them together by creating a blog. As I come up with original thoughts and ideas I can share them with anyone out there who might be interested. Hopefully this endeavor will help me achieve both goals. In order to get my creative juices flowing I am going to try and force myself to write on here at least twice a week to start. On Wednesdays I will post quotes I have read that inspire me and write my own comments about them. It will be titled "Words to Live by Wednesday". On one other day of the week I will post a writing based on a book I purchased at Books-a-Milli