Archive for the 'Good stuff' Category

Another possible scenario

February.2. 2019

Now, there’s another possible scenario; possible, but not necessarily plausible.

The Gods of our ancestors are higher life forms from other parts of the universe. They are, in a sense, super beings because they have attained a high level of technological advancement but they’re not the supreme Super Being who created everything.

Rather, they’re creatures like us, created by the great Supreme Being.

Their mastery and knowledge of the inner workings and hidden forces of the universe have enabled them to manipulate space and time effortlessly.

It’s very possible they came to the third planet of our rather ordinary star, and seeing it was perfect from every standpoint, decided to create the garden and place in it the first two human beings.

This would explain the small-mindedness and the wrathful God of the early Biblical books.

This ‘god’ was just an ordinary being or beings like us, prone to anger and displaying an insecurity which constantly demands respect and obedience from his ‘creations.’

It’s even possible that this ‘God’ or ‘gods’ created the conditions that made life possible on this planet, and possible they created the planet itself. Their technological advances may have been that much superior to ours.

When you consider the number of stars in the known universe and the law of probability, this theory does not seem so far fetched.

It is very probable that there are many other intelligent life forms out there among the myriad stars, and considering the age of the universe, some of them probably light years ahead of us in terms of technology.

The theory also explains why the ancient ‘gods’ always had to descend and ascend from heaven.

Why would a Super Being who created everything in the universe have to physically descend and ascend from earth?

Surely he/she/it is beyond space/time and could just miraculously appear anywhere in the universe?

Unless, of course, if they are physical beings who exist in physical space.

All harmless conjectures.

As I mentioned earlier, our capabilities are indeed too limited to understand any of these deep questions.

All we can do is ponder and debate plausibility.

Knowing that at the end of the day, it’s all going to be a huge waste of time.

Because whatever conclusions we arrive at is sure to be as puerile and as implausible as what our ancestors had arrived at in their efforts to explain the world around them.

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The bogeyman in the closet

February.2. 2019

Earlier, I had laid out the scenario for a universe consisting of a gazillion stars and the creator of this humongous universe deciding to also create a garden paradise on a small planet circling one of these stars.

It is true, anything is possible, and this scenario could be very possible too.

But is it plausible?

No one can fathom the mind/innerworkings of the creator/God/mechanism that created this universe so all we can do is debate plausibility.

The unspoken factor in all this is man’s incredible powers of imagination.

Man’s mind is infinite in its capacity to dream up all kinds of scenarios.

Sometimes, these scenarios are in the metaphorical category, sometimes there’re just way out wacky—things people make up to teach moral lessons, and sometimes they’re just pure fantasies.

Anything is possible.

It’s possible there’s a tooth fairy, or a bearded obese guy in a red suit on the North Pole.

But is it plausible?

My preference is for the theory of changing understanding/consciousness creating scenarios that reflect these changes in understanding/consciousness.

For instance, let’s say when you were young, you were told that there’s a bogeyman living in the closet at night.

So you were terrified.

But one day, you shine a light into the closet and you realize that there’s no bogeyman.

What do you do?

Do you still persist in believing in the bogeyman myth even though your light is telling you that there’s no bogeyman?

Think of science as the light and our fears, superstitions, and religions as the bogeyman that lives in our minds.

The usual response when science is brought in to debunk old myths is usually “a little knowledge is dangerous, or you’re getting too smart for your own good.”

To which I say, when I shine a light in the closet and there’s no bogeyman, what do I do? Do I continue to pretend that there’s a bogeyman in the closet?

A synopsis

December.1. 2018

Consider this plot for a blockbuster movie.

It’s a time before time and space.

Nothing but a Super Being alone in a deep void.

And then one day, the Super Being decides to create a universe and along with it gazillions of stars.

How many?

Just a wild estimate, but in our galaxy alone, the Milky Way, there’re over 250 billion stars, give or take 150 billion.

And that’s just one galaxy.

Now, imagine over 100 billion galaxies, each one of them filled with hundreds of billions of stars.

To put this in perspective, this is about:

250,000,000,000 x 100,000,000,000 stars

Truly a blockbuster setting.

Now imagine that in this humongous immensity, the Super Being decides it would be good to create a small garden, a paradise, on a small planet circling a small sun on the fringe of one of these billions of galaxies.

And in this paradise, he places two human beings.

A man-child and a woman-child whose only reason for existing is to do nothing but enjoy the paradise.

But every blockbuster needs a villain to create some conflict.

So an anti-hero enters the scene.

Well, you know how the story goes. He hoodwinks the woman (of course it has to be the woman, the story is obviously written by men) and the man-child and woman-child get thrown out of paradise.

But in the process, they gain something more precious—knowledge.

Now the story shifts to the main conflict of the plot—how do they get back into the garden, or rather, how do their progenies get back into the garden?

Well, for that to happen, a redeemer has to appear.

So the Super Being sends his son to help his poor creations regain their paradise.

Never mind that up to that point, there have been no mention of a son…

So the son comes and dwells among the creatures he had created before time existed, along with the trillions upon trillions of stars…

Long story short, he redeems the whole world by undergoing a gruesome death at the hands of his very creations.

You would think the plot would end there but no, that’s not all.

The real climax is yet to come.

He will come again and this time, he will establish an earthly kingdom and reign for 1000 years. (Why 1000 years? Because it sounds better than 10,000 years.)

And still that’s not all, to make sure that this is the blockbuster of all blockbusters, you have to throw in a period of seven years of rapture and tribulation before the earthly kingdom can happen.

So who wrote this story?

It’s a team effort culminating with a particularly imaginative writer who lived on a small island in the Mediterranean.

In another place and another time, the author would’ve made quite a name for himself as a fantasy author.

But in the first and second century, his writings captured the imagination of some bureaucrats at the time, and they decided to adopt it as part of a new religion.

Never mind that his wild and fantastical scenarios have more to do with his own wild imaginings and dreams than the ideas of the man whose name they co-opted for the new religion.

Like every blockbuster, every religion needs a bogeyman and some dastardly fearsome endings and the writings of this man fit the bill exactly.

That’s the total summary, the backdrop to the gift that keeps on giving.

The story has everything going for it.

Love, betrayal, villains, innocence, loss of innocence, gore, heartache and of course, redemption.

The perfect recipe to tug at the hearts of people who yearn for meaning and purpose in life.

And the perfect vehicle to perpetrate whatever evil deeds you may have in your heart on poor unsuspecting folk.

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 on top of your world.

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 on top.

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, because if they want to, they could make our lives miserable.

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.

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.