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simply being human

Return to Sender?

June 28, 2012


Truth can come to us in many ways if we’re open to new learning—but it can be hard to embrace when it differs with our current thinking.

This quote from Carl Sagan addresses the conflict between truth and beliefs—how fear and pain make people resistant to change:

“We kill each other, or threaten to kill each other, in part, I think, because we are afraid we might not ourselves know the truth, that someone else with a different doctrine might have a closer approximation to the truth.

Our history is in part a battle to the death of inadequate myths. If I can’t convince you, I must kill you. That will change your mind. You are a threat to my version of the truth, especially the truth about who I am and what my nature is.

The thought that I may have dedicated my life to a lie, that I might have accepted a conventional wisdom that no longer, if it ever did, corresponds to the external reality, that is a very painful realization.

I will tend to resist it to the last. I will go to almost any lengths to prevent myself from seeing that the world view that I have dedicated my life to is inadequate.”

The answers are out there—if we’re willing to accept the messages.

“Truth is universal. Perception of truth is not.” Anonymous

Aren’t you going to open it?

Confessions of a Flesh Eater

June 27, 2012


I ate dead animals. I didn’t kill them—but I consumed their carcasses—I liked it. Cows, pigs, chickens, fish—it was open season. I never really questioned it—that was just the way it was.

Why not eat them? Everyone else did—I learned this from my parents who learned it from their parents. It’s what humans do to survive—it’s necessary and natural for our species. Or is it?

I wanted to know. How would I feel without beef, pork, fish or fowl? Could I survive? Would I thrive? The only way to find out was to stop eating animals for a month and see what happened. So after a lifetime of using animals for food, I decided to eat differently—not out of guilt, but curiosity.

My thirty day vegetarian experiment evolved into a vegan diet when I and stopped eating dairy and eggs—that was almost five years ago. A plant-based diet works for me. I feel better physically and mentally. It reduces my risk for disease and clears my conscience—no other animal needs to die, for me to live.

By questioning my eating habits, I discovered a new truth about what kind of food I needed to eat to survive and thrive—vegetables, beans, nuts, grains and fruits—it’s necessary and natural—for me.

Challenge your habits—there are alternatives.

If you’d like more information about the benefits of eating a plant-based diet, I recommend The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.

“Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.”
Franz Kafka, while admiring fish in an aquarium

I don’t have a bone to pick with anybody—it’s about personal choice.

Taking It Public

June 27, 2012


There’s a line in the movie Hall Pass, where Owen Wilson’s character talks about how he exercises at home—but he’s thinking of “taking his workouts public” and joining a gym.

His statement made me realize that I was in a similar situation—doing my mental exercises at home—working things out in my head. It was time to take it public and start a blog. If jogging is good for the body—then blogging will be good for the mind.

A blog gets you out of your head and onto the cyber stage. It’s an ongoing open mic night—where you can present your writing, poetry, photography, music, videos, comedy, dancing, storytelling or anything else you’d like to share. It’s an opportunity to express yourself to the online world—show and tell on a global scale.

My blog could be a huge success or a non-event. But that doesn’t matter—it’s my mental health club—putting my thoughts in writing are my workouts—they may not be as good as I’d like yet—but that’s the point of exercising.

What do you think?  Are you ready to take it public?

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”  – Aristotle

tap-tap-tap…Is this mic working?

Question Everything! Why?

June 24, 2012


I’m a skeptic. I question things, but not for cynical reasons. I’m searching for truth, challenging the status quo and my own beliefs. It’s a dynamic process that never ends—but evolves.

We’re part of a universe in motion. Everything changes—it’s a fact, a truth. We “know” this through our experience, not by our belief alone.

Change is the reason to question everything—truth is a moving target—sh*t happens—what’s different now? Ongoing learning helps us make better choices for ourselves and society.

In politics, candidates who change their position on an issue are called ” flip floppers”—they were for it, now they’re against it. According to their opponents, this is a bad thing. I see it as a sign of intelligence—a confident person open to influence, someone willing to evolve their thinking and alter their beliefs based on the most recent facts. That’s a good thing.

Bill Clinton addresses this issue in a speech at Georgetown University in 2006:

“We believe in a politics…dominated by evidence and argument. There is a big difference between a philosophy and an ideology on the right or the left. If you have a philosophy, it generally pushes you in a certain direction or another. But like all philosophers, you want to engage in discussion and argument. You are open to evidence, to new learning. And you are certainly open to debate the practical applications of your philosophy.

The problem with ideology is if you got an ideology, you already got your mind made up, you know all the answers, and that makes evidence irrelevant and argument a waste of time, so you tend to govern by assertion and attack. The problem with that is that discourages thinking and gives you bad results.”

“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” 
Albert Einstein

Any questions?

On Good Taste and Creativity

June 20, 2012


Ira Glass on good taste and creativity.

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

This is great insight for any creative endeavor.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  – Sylvia Plath 

I’m going to need more paper.

Hello! Is Anybody Out There?

June 15, 2012


We are here→ Pale Blue Dot

This Carl Sagan video puts our place in the Universe into perspective. It inspires me. It reminds me about how awesome it is to be alive. It makes me think.

Socrates said, “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”

My blog is my voice to the “youniverse”—filled with things that make me think. It’s a place for me to share interesting images, quotes, thoughts and ideas about life. It’s a place to have a conversation.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”Carl Sagan

We’re all in this together.

Welcome to my blog!