Monday, March 19, 2012

Does anyone know the truth?

Our line of sight to the realities of this world, what we determine to be true, depends on more factors than we can ever account for.

Everything we do, we base upon our perception of the truth, even when we try to run or hide from the truth. Our knowledge is limited, leaving us to make decisions based on what we know, and what we think we don't know.

We gather our perspectives of the world, try to filter out the biases, apply logic and reason, and come up with some probabilities. The broader our perspective, the more time we have been given to identify the patterns, the better our chance of making reasonably accurate predictions. For all our lack of knowledge about this world, it is still very predictable.

There are three main ways we learn about our world, through experience, were we are able to test our observations, through observation where we are able to witness the events taking place, and through what others tell us. Most of the information we get comes from others. It then follows that our ability to determine good sources from bad is completely critical to our ability to sight the truth.

There are very specific ways that we establish what is true, what is real.

The biggest factor is repeat-ability.  That is what the scientific method is all about.  Most of what we know and believe was put together in our brains as infants, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting the world.  These are our base experiences that we have learned through a great deal of repeated experience.    That we can communicate with each other, and come to an agreement about most of reality only confirms our perspectives of reality.  There are always subtle differences in our perspectives of the world, but there is enough to agree upon.  We further test our perspectives of reality through games and sports, and our overall ability to make things happen.

Then we encounter more subjective things, taste in music, art, literature, philosophy, religion, abstract thought.  When we communicate these things, we find far greater interpretations of reality.  These abstract concepts can not be easily tested in the physical world. Mainly we share our perspectives through discussions and debates, such as these forums.

Then there are those things we can not confirm through repeat-ability.  Rumor, myth, events and observations of phenomenon encountered by normal rational people, by all accounts, except for the experiences that no one else can confirm to exist.  These experiences can be any number of well known things, from a dream where we feel that we are encountering something real that exists at a higher plane of existence, to clairvoyance and telepathy, sightings of UFOs and aliens, bigfoot, ghosts, spirits, dejavu.  These are experiences few people ever claim to have witnessed.  

What is repeatable, and widely known, we designate as fact.  What is subjective we leave to opinion.  Unusual phenomenon is is viewed with widely varying opinion.  

The thing is, that the unusual, the unproven, phenomenon, myths, create speculation, claimed by many to support abstract beliefs, philosophy, art, religion.  Much of this has a long history, it captures the imagination, entertains.  A great deal of the most popular tales are also the least credible.  Some of these beliefs have a very profound impact on culture, justice, law and order, society.  Often, at the very least these tales are cautionary tales that express ideas and concerns that for what ever reason can not be put in more concrete terms.  Even a great deal of science includes concepts that are primarily straight out of imagination, unproven, many concepts, unwitnessed by anyone, simply conjectures based on speculation of phenomenon observed through scientific experimentation, and examination of artifacts.

When we ask about the truth, the complete truth, these phenomenon are considered by many.  Some people dismiss phenomenon outright, others believe completely, and those in the middle choose to keep things open.  

It is important because these things have very significant impact on moral considerations of what is right or wrong.

Is there such a thing as God, life after death?  Is religion important?  Is science important?  Is there such a thing as morality, right or wrong?  Does life have meaning?

Our personal philosophy, our individual perspective of the truth, is how each of us determines these things for ourselves.  

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Passion and Attitude are more important than beauty, intelligence, physical prowess, talent, or peace.

Most of life is about maintaining our passion and approaching things with the right attitude. This is an area that most philosophies ignore, or treat only as a side notion. Peace is great, but passion is better. The key is not to let your passions burn out of control, but more importantly, not to let it die. Our world is a place that runs in cycles, and so does our passions.

Its our passion that drive us through life, and attitude that allows us to take it all on. Our primary goal should be to hang on to our passion, and maintain the proper attitude. Living is Defying Inertia.

All that we do, and all that we make out of our life in this world, comes from our passion to make these things happen, and bring our dreams alive.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Pursuit of Common Sense

Living is defying inertia.            It is good to have drive, as long as you do not drive yourself to madness.                         Truth is the only real currency.           Nobody knows the real truth.                              The struggle for survival is inherent to our nature.                  It isn't that far to our barbaric past.                     You are the only person responsible for the life you live.                        It is that simple.                               Morality is the foundation necessary
to establish trust. 
It is not just a religious concept.                   No one nor anything is perfect, except perhaps God.                 Which is what makes a sense of humor so important.

The parents that raise you and - the children that you raise - 
are the best things - you will ever have going for you. - And the stirrings of our dreams.                                      The balance between women and men has greatly shifted.            Of course you already knew this.                        
Virtues take work to develop, - and patience is the key. 
Good things come to those who wait, but sometimes it seems the wait will kill you. 

Path of Virtues 
Patience           Empathy           Charity                  Humility              Forgiveness 
Path of Vices 
Paranoia          Indifference          Greed             Arrogance              Hypocrisy 

When we let others take advantage of us, we let them take advantage of the people who love us and everyone around us.           Stand up for yourself, it feels good.            Our lives depend upon the world we live in.         We are all in the same boat.       Addictions drain the joy out of life. Learning to control ones appetites is that slippery slope down which we most often slide.                         There will always be jerks to deal with.             We all play the jerk now and then, some more often than others.                   We have to take care of our minds and bodies.        I know you know.       If we want respect we have to give respect.               Another fine mess we get ourselves into.

When we must discriminate, it should be for the right reasons.        Things we catch ourselves doing.                 Charity enriches the world, keeps us going, while greed turns us into people who can not be trusted. Give and take a few now and then.                    Humility makes us stronger.                Humility may be the hardest virtue to master.                Getting things done is a matter of doing.          Theories are nice, but the ability to put them into practice makes all the difference.                                               
Hypocrisy is the door through which all evil marches.     and the blackest hole of delusion. 

Hard work teaches us discipline and tenacity. As much as we sometimes hate
 to do it.                          Boredom is a serious problem.                  Seriously! 

An idea is a genie in a bottle.               Where do you think that nuclear genie came from?
We live in a world of tangents.    Which often provide effective ways to avoid boredom.
True, loyal, and trustworthy friends are incredibly valuable assets.                 And even better relatives. 
We are predators by nature.                      Why pretend differently. 
Time continuously marches forward.              No matter how hard you try. 

 Our shared perspective of the world is how we identify reality. 
Our common sense perception and interpretation of all that is.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Pursuit of Common Sense

Modern technology has removed us from the natural arena, and placed us in an artificial environment of our own creation. This has added a new and unique twist to the way we interact, and is possibly one of the greatest changes we have ever faced. This new world created by technology seems to have endless possibilities. It is a place where forward planning and automation increases the gap between actions and consequences, where the gray areas between what is said and what is done have expanded to a point where the connection is often almost untraceable.

The twentieth century was an era of excess, not only of drugs, sex, and rock-n-roll, but also of monster trucks, giant mansions, and celebrity worship. Ours was a disposable society where consumption was necessary to keep the gears of our market economy turning. Industrial pollutants threatened our environment, while poverty and ghetto violence isolated and segregated us behind our televisions and jobs. Our only alternatives were totalitarian systems where opportunity was essentially removed. We found ourselves living in global conflict between these two extremes. The world's super powers engaged in a cold war rivalry based on competing economic philosophies, where the people of the third world were often used as pawns. Hovering above this conflict was the very real threat of nuclear war and the destruction of life as we know it. Among the first lessons we learned was how destructive technology can be. Once released from its bottle, the nuclear genie could not be put back. It was as if we could not go forward, nor could we retreat.

During these times, it seems that the principles which guided our society for generations, had been scattered and tangled by the machinations of our modern world. Electronics and combustion engines reshaped the world between generations. Maybe even more rapid technological expansion awaits us in the future, but in this era, people in developed countries escaped from the daily struggle for survival, into an age where we mainly ponder how much is enough.

In the past, parents worked at home, either on the farm or in the cottage, working the family trade. The influence of parents over their children was far greater than it is in these modern times, where parents work outside of the home, and children are more influenced by media than their own parents. Combined with the advance of technology, and the rapid change in how people live their lives from one generation to next, it seems that all too consistently, our traditional roles have failed us.

Jet age travel has resulted in the cultures of world being thrown together in a stew. Your neighbors and coworkers could be from anywhere on the planet. Music, food, beliefs, and practices were tossed into the pot. We know first, the ways of the land and the people where we were raised, and that shapes our perspective of the world and all that is in it. In this stew we discover that the differences are not so great, although they certainly exist. We began to ponder who and why we are, and the stirrings of old gods raise their heads. It is good that we should ponder the fate of our immortal souls, but the universality of why we choose how we live goes beyond all of this. 

The ways of the past have lead us to this new place, where we must now find a new way forward. Yes, we should take into consideration all that we have learned from the past. We don't have to abandon the old ways, just add the lessons we are learning from this new place. New age religions and philosophies have sprouted up everywhere, seeking to find a new way forward. The old gods must now learn to live amongst each other in peace, and we must come to grips with the new gods we now face. Not only must we learn how to deal with the nuclear genie we have released, we must learn to deal with all of the repercussions that come from technologically advanced world. 

Beyond all schools of thought, exists common sense, inherent truths that can be seen from all perspectives, looking directly at the reasons why we live our lives the way that we do. We need a perspective of the truth, respective of beliefs, culture, religion, science, coming from a shared common sense understanding, if we are ever going to close the large gaps between actions and consequences, what is said, and what is done. Our multicultural communities need to find a common ground, an understanding of truth and morality to forge better role models, for this rapidly evolving new world. I have tried to find and define what I feel are critical truths of this modern era, and to write them down so that I have them available when I need them, to help me navigate through life. Hopefully, others might find these useful as well.