Archive for the 'Good stuff' Category

The failure of morality 2

October.9. 2018

So what’s the solution?

Take out morality and adopt an unabashed total self-serving approach to life.

Forget the good of mankind, the common good, or any other phony pseudo altruistic religious mumbo-jumbo.

Instead, be unabashedly self-serving, look out for number one. No need to pretend.

There’s a choice here.

You can do it the old fashioned way which is to ruthlessly grab whatever you see, and do whatever it takes to ensure that you get what you want.

Which may or may not include cheating, lying, scamming, extorting, assaulting, you name it, it’s all fair game to you.

Since morality has become obsolete, you’re free to pursue anything you want, with unbridled greed and lust.

Never mind that this will upset other people.

They’re losers, weaklings, not worth your concern. (I’ve even heard one guy proclaiming that morality is for losers. Really? We’ll wait for Mr Mueller’s report.)

The goal here is to satisfy every one of your needs and urges without any concern for others, because you’re the most important person in the world.

In the short term, this strategy will work, and you will probably be number one.

The only problem is, all that lying and cheating and scamming and assaulting involve victims.

And victims have long memories and they will harbor resentments.

For example, if you cheat someone of his life savings, don’t expect that person to forget it in a hurry.

All that forgiving garbage may be good for Sunday school, but your victims’ resentments will simmer on and will find an outlet one day.

This will lead to a universal law—the law of return.

The return will come in unexpected ways and when you least expect it. Maybe not in a tsunami, but it will come.

(If you don’t believe me, if you think this is mere superstition, maybe some of these names might ring a bell—like Madoff, Cosby, Kaddafi, Marcos, etc etc.)

And you will no longer be number one.

Now there’s a second way to look out for yourself but this method is a bit more complicated.

And it involves a fundamental shift in your thinking.

Which is that looking out for yourself is not a solo enterprise but one that involves the whole universe.

Because we don’t live on a deserted island.

Everything we do interacts with the universe and produces repercussions. These interactions and repercussions are what will really determine our fate, not our own small selfish efforts.

In other words, our future happiness and well-being are as dependent on the actions of others as they are on our actions.

This leads to one inescapable conclusion.

To look out for ourselves, we must do good onto others, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because we want them to do good onto us.

You might call this the enlightened approach to life.

And it’s totally based on a self serving agenda (with no phony self-righteous moral overtones).

You’re looking out for yourself but in order to look out for yourself, you’ll have to look out for others first.

Advertisements

The failure of morality

October.8. 2018

One of the reasons communism failed was not because its ideals were bad.

On the contrary, its utopian ideals are actually based on lofty principles that hack back to the teachings of the great teacher two thousand years ago, who espoused a doctrine of ‘the meek shall inherit.’

Communism failed because it didn’t take into account human nature.

Human nature is inherently self serving.

No amount of political sloganeering can change that fact.

You can appeal to people’s sense of patriotism or their duty for the common good, but at the end of the day, few people will be moved by altruistic ideals.

Instead, people are motivated by their self interest, or as Americans call it, looking out for number one.

The same is true of morality.

Morality is supposed to be based on doing what is right, for the common good of mankind.

But as is evident from the state of our current affairs, it has failed miserably.

Nobody cares about it.

You have clergymen who are supposed to protect the innocence of young people, actively engaged in corrupting them.

You have a political system that should be there to protect the country but instead is used primarily by many to line one’s own pockets. (Can anyone say tax cuts?)

You have the rich exploiting the poor, the powerful exploiting the weak, and in general, everyone’s doing what they can to look out for number one, and they don’t care who they tread on in the process.

So what’s the solution?

That’s for the next post.

The root of all evil

October.7. 2018

The root of all evil is not money or power but egocentricity.

Egocentricity is self over others. You’re only concerned with your needs and wants and not the needs of others.

Every source of evil arises from self-centeredness.

Take for example, a thief who steals from others.

You could say that it’s greed that’s driving the theft.

But greed in itself will not cause someone to steal; it’s the disregard for the other person that will drive the action.

For example, perhaps you see someone’s beautiful brand new bike and you want it for yourself.

But something in you says, wait a minute, how would the other person feel when he finds his bike has been stolen?

This empathy for the other person will in itself cause you to stop your action no matter how much you may covert it (And if it doesn’t, then it’s not true empathy.)

Because you care for the other person and you do not want to inflict pain on him.

Few people are born with total egocentricity and blatant disregard for others, so sometimes they have to rationalize their evil intentions.

The most effective rationale is to dehumanize the other person.

When you diminish a person, you’re relegating him to subhuman status and therefore, in your mind, your ‘compassion’ does not extend to that person.

You can still feel compassion for your neighbors who belong to the same group as you, you can even go to church on Sundays, but because these other people are ‘lesser’ than you, they are not entitled to your compassion.

This is the rationale that has caused one group of people to feel it’s perfectly okay to enslave another group of people.

It’s allowed entire nations to perpetrate genocide on other people (in the not so distant past too).

It’s the same rationale that causes otherwise ‘good’ people to do evil things.

When you somehow rationalize to yourself that your needs have precedence over the needs of others, you have effectively given yourself permission do anything you want with them.

If you read the daily news, every crime story will have as its basis, self gratification and self absorption.

From financial scams to outright theft, to random school shootings, to evil perpetrated in the name of religion, every act of evil comes from this basic precept:

Other people do not matter, my needs come first.

Function vs form

October.6. 2018

When it comes to things, I prize function above all else, including form. If it doesn’t work well, it’s a piece of junk. Even if it’s perfect form wise, it’s still just a beautiful piece of junk.

I had mentioned the summer of looking for #14, and the happy ending to that search.

Well, here’s the object that started the odyssey.

number14

Borneo machete (parang) made by #14

number14blade

The blade with the faint outline of #14

number14handle

The handle

This fearsome looking parang (machete) is extremely good at splitting coconuts. In its previous life, it had probably cracked open a few thousand of them.

It used to lie underneath the kitchen sink in my mother’s house in Borneo. Now, it’s found a hallowed place among my other tools in my garage.

Unfortunately no fresh coconuts in South Texas so I use it to whack at the weeds in the front yard which it does beautifully and effortlessly.

But imagine function and form merging into one.

That’s perfection itself.

And that’s what I found a few years back.

I was on a hunt for a quiet clock, one which I didn’t have to take the battery out when I’m recording late at night in my living room.

And I found it in this beautiful looking clock, a Braun ABW 30 designed by Dieter Rams.

abw30

Not only is this clock a work of art, it keeps perfect time.

And most of all, it does this almost soundlessly.

That set me off on a quest for more Braun timepieces and I found its perfect mini counterpart in this beautiful watch, an AW 20, another masterpiece by Rams.

aw20

phonewatch

Yes, the date is off by a day because I haven’t brought it forward since the end of September (September has only 30 days), but the time is still precise (attested to by the phone) and the last time I set the watch was in March 2017!

I like to think that I am not a materialistic person but I must admit, I’m a sucker when it comes to things that add functionality to life.

And if they add a touch of class and beauty, so much the better.

Just what is a low life?

September.27. 2018

So I found out the other day that the no-collusion Twitter guy has some other choice words in his vocabulary besides the word ‘tremendous.’

Just what is a low-life?

Here’s my definition.

It’s someone who sleeps with porn stars.

Someone who can’t say something without lying.

Someone who will sell out his country for a few bucks (well, maybe a few billion bucks.)

Someone who denigrates everyone with childish insults.

Someone who gets laughed at and don’t even know he’s the joke.

The purpose/7

June.6. 2018

In the history of mankind, there’s one man, one man alone, who had figured out the secret of life.

He understood that it all comes down to energy.

Because energy is behind every action, every expression, every thought.

But there’s good energy and bad energy, and to live a fulfilling life (which he called the kingdom of heaven) you must expend good positive energy.

This was at the heart of his teaching.

If you want to be surrounded by love and goodness, you must treat your fellow men with love and goodness and this requires effort, which is just another word for energy.

If you want to realize your full potential and multiply your talents, you must put in time and effort, and this also means expending energy.

He was deeply aware of how the energy you sow today will be returned back to you in kind tomorrow.

And if you don’t use your energy, whatever you have left will be taken away from you.

But what energy are we talking about?

Certainly not physical energy, the kind you can measure and put in your automobile tank.

No, it’s energy that comes from your spirit.

Spirit as in when you’re full of life and spirit—when you’re filled with an inner energy.

The wise man knew that the key to a fulfilling life lies in your spiritual energy and how you nurture and harness it to produce a life of abundance (which is another word for fulfillment or the kingdom of heaven).

If you want to read more about how this spiritual energy operates, here’s a book you might find useful.

The Laws of Spiritual Energy

Of if you prefer the hard copy, you can get it here.

IMG_027.jpg

Amazon.com

The purpose/6

June.5. 2018

Continuing from the previous post.

The one thing that makes everything worthwhile.

What might that be?

Going back to the earlier ‘if you have a guitar, play it’ assertion.

Yes, there’re different ways to play the guitar.

You can play it at the basic level—maybe strum a few chords or pluck a few notes here and there—if that makes you happy, that’s good enough.

But you can also coax the most sublime melodies and harmonies from those same strings.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to learn how to do the former but to do the latter requires dedication and effort and time.

It’s the same with everything else.

You always have a choice, you can exist at the basic level or you can strive to go to the highest level.

One involves minimal effort, the other maximal effort.

So why do the latter when you can do the former?

Because effort and reward are tied together. The amount of effort you put into any activity is directly proportionate to its reward.

More effort means more reward, more reward means greater satisfaction, and greater satisfaction means greater fulfillment.

As someone once said, the reason we do something is not because it’s easy but because it’s hard, because hard produces greater reward and consequently greater fulfillment.

This is just one perspective. You may disagree and that’s fine too.

The purpose/5

June.5. 2018

There’re as many approaches to living a fulfilling life as there are people. And no one is to say that one is better than the other.

If what you do gives you a fulfilling life, that’s the only thing that matters.

My own approach has always been to ground it all on hard reality.

The reality of having to pay bills every month, paying taxes, getting to work on time every day, meeting all my deadlines, doing the yard when the grass gets high, dusting the house, clearing the cobwebs, and all the other menial things of life.

Why is this important?

Because if you don’t take care of this stuff (which can best be described as the business of life), you’ll end up wasting time and energy, fighting the resulting resistance.

Resistance as in, if you don’t pay your taxes, life could get complicated and you’ll waste valuable time and energy working with the taxman.

Some people of course thrive on complications, (such as the current No-Collusion guy on Twitter), but I prefer to travel with the wind on my back, which means as little resistance as possible.

After the business of life (which you might call the material side of life) are the relationships of life (which you might call its spiritual side).

And these too require constant maintenance, failing which you might find life not so fulfilling.

One of my mother’s favorite sayings is “More things more trouble” to which I would add “More friends more trouble.”

This will make more sense with another saying of hers, “Got come got go.”

(You might notice these sayings are all four words in length. It’s a peculiar characteristic of many Chinese sayings, like “Long time no see.”)

“Got come got go” means that if you want things to come in, first they must go out. In other words, all relationships are based on mutual benefit.

This is another real life story. I once knew a guy who was all about himself. He didn’t care much for others. His was the classic case of looking out for number one.

Life was fun, until one day when he found that he wasn’t so attractive any more. The old charm was still there but he didn’t have what it took any more.

So yes, you might think being alone is good now, but to be old and alone is not as much fun as you may think, and probably not very fulfilling.

(Which brings to mind the current epidemic of loneliness. Maybe caused by the other epidemic, that of looking out for number one?)

Finally the third compartment.

The reason why I prioritize taking care of the first two compartments, the business of life and the relationships of life, is so I can pursue this third compartment of life.

All three compartments provide fulfillment, but none more so that this third compartment, which is the source of fulfillment itself.

It is the one thing that makes everything else worthwhile.

The purpose/4

June.1. 2018

A fulfilling life means a life lived fully, in every sense of the word.

This means experiencing it in all its beauty and wonder, all its ugliness and squalor.

Because this is what life is all about.

Beauty and ugliness, wonder and squalor, good and evil, truth and lies, joy and sorrow, happiness and pain, these all describe the reality that is life.

(This may sound philosophical but trust me, there is no philosophy here, just the hard facts of life.)

And the ability to live life to its fullest involves embracing them all.

Otherwise you’ll be missing out.

You’d be like old King Midas who wanted to experience only one experience.

Take beauty and ugliness.

Life would be a living hell if we’re only surrounded by beauty. Or if all we experience is joy. How boring and unfulfilling would that be.

(True, in the heat of the moment, sometimes it’s hard to accept this reality.

If all you see is pain and ugliness, no one can blame you for wishing that life should only be happy and beautiful.)

The inability to accept the reality of life sometimes leads to denial. It leads to wishful fantasizing.

It allows conmen to fool you and manipulate you.

It is the reason why religions exist to exploit you.

It is why some people choose to live a life of forgetfulness, drowning themselves in addictions, as opposed to a life of wakefulness, where you’re experiencing life in all its glory.

That’s of course a personal choice.

Whether you prefer to live in denial or in self-fulfillment.

The purpose/3

June.1. 2018

You might think of life as a journey (yes, another well worn cliché which you’ve probably heard of many times before, but bear with me) that takes you from one place to another.

Temporally and sometimes physically too.

Every journey has two basic components.

First, a destination, then the means to getting there.

The destination is usually not a problem. (If it’s a problem, then perhaps you should stop reading right now because none of the following will make sense.)

The means to getting there is usually the problem.

Because it requires three essential elements, absent which will mean certain failure.

First, it requires energy which we might call the engine component (the engine is anything that generates power to drive you forward).

It requires knowledge of the way to getting there, which we might call the navigator component.

And finally it requires a control mechanism that coordinates all this and gets you there, something we might call the captain component.

Yes, you got the analogy, it’s like a boat which you have to navigate it through calm and treacherous waters.

So if you want to reach your destination, better make sure you have a captain that will ensure that what needs to get done is done.

A navigator who will steer you through rough waters and away from rocks.

And most importantly a means to propel yourself forward.

Simple premise, and absolutely critical to living a fulfilling life.

Because fulfillment implies getting to your destination, whatever it may be.