Category Archives: Education

The Road to Any Damascus is Laden with Potholes

The search for reality is the most dangerous of all undertakings, for it destroys the world in which you live.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

I don’t know anything about this person, but I can say from my own personal experience, it’s absolutely true. If life has taught me anything, ”don’t steer clear of the tough questions, or even those you don’t have answers”. There are many more questions than any of us currently have answers, and even some in which we think we do, we may very well be wrong.

behaviorial-change-intention-chart

For most of us, perception is reality. It drives our everyday decisions, but moreover, through assumptions, attitudes, observations, intentions, and habits, our behavior is altered. We do become what we think, so perhaps that’s the thing that creates within me, a desire to find out for myself. I know that I don’t have answers for many of life’s tough questions. I gain insight through the help of others. Ultimately, it falls on me to make my discoveries and choices.

Whenever you contemplate your own existence, how you or others perceive the world in which you live, it may not match reality. Furthermore, you may not even be aware of your misconceptions. Worse still, if you do nothing to challenge your own assumptions or those of other people, you’re stuck in a fundamental crossroad between reality and wishful, maybe even harmful, thinking.

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!
~ Nietzsche

I’ve posted personal information before about my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”). I’ve also posted that I left that organization over 20 years ago. I still have a few friends who are members. None of my adult children, at the time of this writing, have any affiliation with that organization. It’s their own choice. Their mother still believes in this religious organization. I left it a few years after my divorce. Those two events aren’t connected.

What do Mormons believe about general inquiry & introspection?
The LDS Church “Mormons” believe that freedom of choice, “agency” is an eternal principle. Agency is the fundamental right of any individual to choose between good and bad, and to act for themselves.

Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.” ~ 2 Nephi 2:27.

The LDS Church (easier to abbreviate than the longer official title), informs its members to read official “canonized” religious texts, ponder, and pray for personal answers to any questions they might have. They’re to develop a personal relationship with God. The religion is based on inquiry and individual revelation. If however, you come up with a different answer than that which has been given through official channels of communication, then you’re to accept the church answer, and re-think your own in attempting to further understand the basis of your differences.
For more information specific go here:
https://www.mormon.org/beliefs

question_button_imageThe purpose of giving you that brief background, if you’re not familiar with the organization, isn’t to examine any religion, it’s just to examine specific portions of their beliefs, and learn how your methods of finding answers, compare. It’s not so important that you have specific knowledge about any religion for this post to be relevant. What’s important is asking, how do you gain insight about the world around you, and how do you challenge your own beliefs? Most of us come to a “world view”, fairly early on in our life. We may revise it along the way, but peer (the society in which we live) pressure, often steers us into a general consensus with those to whom we associate.


How do you decide what’s correct and what’s false?
If you’re honest, at least with yourself, you know that’s not an easy process. So what do you read, listen to, or watch to help guide you in life’s journey? If you choose to respond, I’m looking for things more in depth than, you go for long walks in the woods. I’m not suggesting that you don’t or that it’s not a good idea. I’m looking for more specifics. What do you do?

“Your true educators and cultivators will reveal to you the original sense and basic stuff of your being, something that is not ultimately amenable to education or cultivation by anyone else, but that is always difficult to access, something bound and immobilized; your educators cannot go beyond being your liberators. And that is the secret of all true culture: she does not present us with artificial limbs, wax-noses, bespectacled eyes — for such gifts leave us merely with a sham image of education. She is liberation instead, pulling weeds, removing rubble, chasing away the pests that would gnaw at the tender roots and shoots of the plant; she is an effusion of light and warmth, a tender trickle of nightly rain…” ~ Parker Palmer

There are quite a few followers to this blog. Some have made it official by clicking on the link below, to follow. I’m not asking you to follow me, I see the statistics, but most of you are silent. I know better than assume you don’t have an opinion. I want to read yours. Don’t be bashful, be candid. Please, if you’re just someone that wants to come in and shout and stomp so that you can get attention, take your circus elsewhere. I’m looking for people who have taken the time to think this sort of thing through. cartoon-people-clapping

I’m also not looking for this to be about an open forum on religion. I’ve heard the canned answers, the public sermons, the pat answers. Let’s make this interesting.


Advertisements

Do We Have a Gun Problem?

The reaction by the public varies after another school or public place shooting. Whenever such a horrific crime occurs, there’s a huge outpouring of emotions, which is understandable.  There are all types of opinions expressed on what should be done, but before we decide on a solution, shouldn’t we first understand the problem?

The U.S. population increased from 133 million in 1945 to 313 million in 2012. A 235% increase in population.

In 1945 there was an estimate of 47 million guns. At the end of 2012, it is estimated there were 347 million. That’s a 738% increase.

The number of firearms confiscated and destroyed or sold to buybacks, wear, abuse, neglect and are lost, are not figured in, so the total number may be lower than 347 million.

The term homicide is used when a human being is killed by another human being. Criminal homicide takes several forms, for example murder; but homicide is not always a crime, it also includes affirmative defense, insanity, self-defense or the execution of convicted criminals. Gun deaths are only a portion of the total number of homicides.

Taking into account all homicides in 1950 compared to 2012, we see a slight increase. This number as defined above, doesn’t just isolate homicides by firearm, it includes everything, criminal as well as non-criminal. The number of homicides in the US per 100,000 in 1950 were 5.1 • The number for 2012 ▪▪ 5.4

Even though we had a large increase in population, and an even larger number of known available guns, there doesn’t seem to be a significant statistical increase in homicides.

In the decade following the banning of handguns in the UK in 1997, the number of recorded violent attacks increasd by 77% to 1.2 million in 2007- or more than 2 attacks every minute!

The war on drugs in the United States has taken on a civil, enforcement, criminal, judicial struggle apart from all others. The results to the ban of illegal drugs, as well as theft and reselling of legal drugs has gone on unabated. Deaths from drug overdoses in the United States significantly increased from 17,000 in 1999 to 41,000 in 2012.

If the claim is, we have a gun problem, where’s the evidence? We have had an increase in population of over 235%, and an increase in known available firearms of over 700%, yet the overall homicide rate has barely increased.

Moreover, shouldn’t we be looking toward solutions to prevent murders in our schools that seem to be working at airports, government buildings, and sports venues? It seems reasonable to suggest that preventing someone from entering a school with a weapon is more effective than a sign which claims the area to be a gun free zone.

 

 

The Things You Should Know How To Do

old-red-tractor-nostalgia-158689.jpegListed are some of the basic things you should know by age 18. These are for men & women, gender isn’t an excuse or an exception.

These aren’t in any specific order.

1. Build a fire. At the very least, know how to light a grill. How to safely extinguish the fire you started.

2. Change a flat tire. Replace a windshield wiper. check your automobile or truck fluid levels, including oil, coolant & brake fluid.

3. Enjoy the company of older people. Listen to what they’ve done or learned. Understand that with age comes the knowledge that some of the things you’re doing or thinking right now, they probably did too, and some of that may not be productive or beneficial to you.

4. Learn to do basic clothing and accessories care. Know how to clean your clothes and shine your shoes. Be able to do basic mending, such as sew on a button. Know how to iron a shirt, skirt or pants.

5. Use basic hand tools properly / safely. You don’t need to necessarily know how to weld, drill different materials, or operate a drill press, but you should at least know how to use non-powered tools. Things such as screwdrivers (different sizes / shapes including star & torx), pliers, cutting pliers, wrenches, sockets, hammers, files, sandpaper (coarse & fine), paint brushes, rollers, drip trays along with clean-up, and tire irons, should be within your ability by 18 or at least age 21.

6. Read and assemble things you might bring home like bookshelves, cabinets.

7. Use a lawnmower, even if it’s the old fashioned manual. It’s a good idea you know how to use a gasoline lawnmower safely too.

8. Drive a car safely, preferably manual but at least one with an automatic transmission. Understand speed limits and why there are things such as turn signals. (They’re not just for decoration). Parallel park a car. Drive safe in a parking lot.

* Please don’t be one of those idiots that turns on their four way flashers because it’s raining or snowing, they’re to be used in an emergency such as you’re stalled on or off the road. *

9. Have basic manners. Be polite, the world doesn’t revolve around you, even if you become famous. Know how to eat in public so you don’t scare a date or look like you belong in an over the top comedy.

10. Clean your apartment or house. Start in the kitchen and bathrooms. Know how to disinfect surfaces and clean floors. Later graduate to advance studies in dusting and vacuuming.

11. Know how to cook for yourself and maybe another person. Remember, you should be able to do this without mom and dad watching over you.

12. Manage your money. Understand your after tax income, spending priorities, routine bills, and balancing the checkbook. Later you might learn the importance of having some savings for those unexpected emergencies and your retirement.

13. What to do in case of a fire. Know your exits, have a plan.

14. Basic small wound care. What do you do for a scrape, a cut or a burn. How to handle a sprain or strain.

15. Escape a sinking vehicle. Mistakes and accidents can happen, be prepared for this one.