Monday, May 15, 2017

Lucky Accidents

The greatest discoveries in every life are not those merely confirming what one hopes to know -- but is the unexpected, unanticipated, and unforeseen.  Merely to confirm what one already hopes, is merely to confirm what one already knows -- and the great learning, is discovering worlds and possibilities one had no idea existed before.  

That is the limits of human understanding -- thinking what they know, is all that can be known, and never bothering to find out anything more.  It doesn't matter how much they know -- because what they don't know, is infinitely greater.  It takes a truly intelligent person to realize that -- but that is all they need to know.  When one knows they do not know, then they can easily find out -- because that is the inquiring mind.  The mind too full of its own knowledge -- which is usually not working, simply denies that everything is not as it should be.    

That is the mind in denial of everything as it truly is.  Everything goes wrong despite of everything they do -- and not because of everything they do.  The outcomes are always random -- and they are quite proud of that enlightenment, and resulting self-righteousness.  If only the world knew, everything they knew, all would be right with the world.

And so they develop "ideals" apart from the actualities of their actual experiences -- and think they are quite noble for it, and feel quite justified on imposing that reality on everybody else -- because they know better than all the rest.  Most simply recognize them as delusional people -- whether they are old or not.  That is what we've come to expect of "old" people, and it is quite alright that they continue in that way until the end -- because they are avoidable.  That is the familiar isolation of the old -- that they simply become irrelevant and harmless to nobody but themselves.

That is quite acceptable, and even the "norm."  Young people even hope to have that right when they are "old," and not be forced to conform to any reality anymore.  Whatever they want to believe, is what they are "entitled" to believe -- come what may.  "They've earned it," the sympathetic are heard to say -- as though that was enough to absolve them from any consequences.

But the world doesn't work that way -- no matter how much they wish it could be so.  There are always consequences -- causes and effects.  Even ancient people called it the law of karma.   Later thoughtful people observed that there was a reason for everything -- even while the priests insisted that it happened on their say so, as the favored disciples of the great deity.

More often than not, the great discoveries of the world, was a lucky accident of its time -- that some perceptive person noticed, because they didn't know better.  Those who did know better, were already certain that nothing new could be discovered -- because everything that could be known, was already known, and so there was "nothing to see."

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Knowing All the Wrong Things

Knowing all the wrong things is not the same as knowing only one right thing.  The one right thing enables one to find the other right things, while knowing only the wrong things, provides no such foundation for any other exploration.  One is on constantly shifting sand -- a fantasy island of one's own delusions -- and never questioning the difference.

In any dispute between the two, one will always choose what they wish to believe -- over what the actuality is telling them.  In that manner obviously, things can only get worse -- no matter how much they do.  They even come to believe that nothing matters, and nothing can ever make a difference.  

The less one knows, the more certain they are that they know everything there is to know -- even though using that knowledge, results in catastrophic results.  Such people just plow ahead harder -- never suspecting that the fault might lie in their understanding -- and not the effort.  So they apply even more effort and force -- as surely what can overcome any lack of understanding.

Predictably, as they go through life, they only seem to get worse -- and never any better, and all those they choose to hang around with, confirm similar "results."  In fact, their choice of "associates" and "acquaintances," are chosen mainly on the qualification that those chosen, are even worse off than themselves -- and so can be more easily exploited -- in a very vicious circle and cycle.  That is the dysfunctional society of why some people fail -- in almost every aspect of their lives, and drag everybody else down with them.  Nobody has a clue -- that something terribly wrong is happening.

That is simply how the world is -- and there is no changing that, no matter what, and one should (over)eat, (over)drink, and be (over)merry, while one still can -- before one can't (as a result of that over)indulgence, and never having a clue what one's part in it played.  No matter how "guilty," they will protest their "innocence" -- thinking that is enough to make it so.

In their world, the "facts" are what they can get anybody else to believe.  Of course the most obvious of these, are the pathological criminals -- but less obvious, are those who are better at convincing everybody else otherwise.  In fact, that is their source of pride and joy -- manipulating everybody else's opinion.  But alas, they cannot lie to themselves -- and the truth reveals itself in their daily living.

That is why some people age badly and some don't -- the truth of what they tell themselves.  If it doesn't matter, then that will reveal itself -- in time, when it is least convenient and propitious to do so.  It may seem for a while that one can get away with anything they please, but it catches up to them.  Each is his own worst victim -- or beneficiary, of all they have done -- and nobody gets away with anything.  

That is the most powerful argument for living the best life one can -- not for the sake of anyone else, and the approval of others -- but the quality of life one provides for themselves.  The world is, what one is.  That is the simple truth.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Times Are Changing -- Again

The key to a long and successful life is always changing and adapting -- and not just once and thinking one need never change again.  That is always the fatal formula -- why even the powerful dinosaurs that once ruled the earth, are all extinct.  They couldn't adapt fast enough -- or at all.  They were perfect for a certain time and conditions, and when those changed, they had no skills for changing.

That is the important lesson for any time -- and conditions; one has to be prepared for change, and to change again, and as long as they are, remain viable, fit and able to whatever challenges arise.  The sadness, and the sad lesson, are those reliving their youth, as the only way it can be -- thinking it will always be that way, even if only in their minds, which becomes their self-isolating and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Those are the people who age badly -- while good aging, are people changing with the times -- to be their best at any time.  That formula is just as obvious -- as well as the look of one always changing, adapting, perfecting their responses.  As long as one can change, adapt, improve, they have more than a better chance of being successful -- and surviving.  That's what success is.  There is no other.

It isn't some other static, immutable, unchanging metric for all time and ages.  It is the very ability to re-create oneself -- as needed, and as appropriate -- that is fitness, in a very real world, as the only place that matters.  That is the ultimately and consummately successful individual.  That is the person creating the parameters -- of any given age, time and place.

Those of the old, will insist that one has to repeat the patterns of the past -- as the only way it can ever be -- insisting it is since time immemorial, of which they also claim to be the heirs and caretakers of that legacy and culture.  But time passes them by -- no matter how much of the old they accumulate -- thinking one day, it will all be relevant again.  It never works that way -- no matter how much of the old they accumulate and repeat -- and remember.

All that is gone -- and something new and very different rules the day -- and that is what they now have to learn and master.  Those who won't make it -- will go into denial, refusing to acknowledge the present realities -- increasingly living only in their minds and memories, as though that was enough of a survival response to remain in the game and flow of life -- rather than the certain death it has always been.

Some prefer that certainty to any change -- but it is in embracing change that is the way -- and not simply doing what they have always done before, as though that was enough to ensure their survival or prosperity -- especially if it hasn't worked before!  But by then, they've become these obsessive-compulsive personalities that just go through the motions -- without relevance and acknowledgement of the current realities.  They pine for another time -- of their greatest glory, whether it actually ever was.  Their memories and thoughts are all they think necessary -- to cling to, until they are no more.

At one time, that may have been the predominant mode of thought -- but alas, that too has passed on.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Growing Better

Time, like life, is individually what each makes of it -- as well as what each has been uniquely given to work with.  In that way, we are equally bound to our own abilities -- and the ultimate expression of them.  It doesn't matter then that we are not born with equal abilities as all the others -- but uniquely our own, and that is what we have to work with.

That is the beginning and ending of every life.  With each having their own unique parameters, the relevant question is whether one is growing better -- or worse, as the only sure guideline of how life is going.  And that changes with time and experience.  It doesn't mean simply being a better or worse version of what one was as a twenty year old -- as the immutable yardstick.

And if in fact one lives their life right, the person at fifty is quite a different person entirely from the one they were at twenty -- knowing very little, and having still their whole lives ahead of them.  That is true of any extraordinary growth achieved in any life: the person they became, was unimaginable at any more youthful and inexperienced age.

On the other hand, those who did not grow much, always seemed the same, predictable, repetitive, obsessive-compulsive personalities -- until the day they prematurely met their untimely end.  The sadness of such lives, is that they frequently caused great pain and hardship for those affected by those lives.  Life was always this constant struggle against their own demons -- and everybody else was collateral damage.

Not to affect others in this disastrous way, is a good and successful life -- from the beginning to the end.  That doesn't mean undoing all the good, or taking it with them to the grave -- as also their "entitlement" -- before they go.  They leave net positive -- so their posterity, can move beyond those constraints of tradition and custom.

In this way, all of life grows better -- and not simply preying on the less able -- as a zero-sum game simply repeating itself for eternity.  There is movement towards better -- and not simply random movement signifying nothing, as though it is the same thing -- and even the height of sophistication and enlightenment.  Obviously, that is the mark of despair -- that one cannot distinguish the difference, and thinks that is an achievement in itself.

That would be the failure to distinguish the authentic from the inauthentic, or false.  Authenticity is revealed in the truth of that living -- whether it solves the problems of its own living, and not merely one success at the cost of all the others.  That is the balance one hopes to achieve -- when one is "firing on all cylinders," and not simply one -- for however long that lasts.  Usually it doesn't last too long before it destroys all the others.

Nowhere is it more obvious and spectacular than the short-lived athletic lives that sacrifice everything for that fleeting moment of glory as the one they hope to recapture all the rest of their short-sighted lives.  And they are encouraged by those who should know better -- but really don't, until it is too late to do anything about it.  Those people just get worse -- without knowing any difference.

When does one irrevocably become one of them?  Frequently it is associated with age -- but not necessarily.  Some begin at a very young age -- to exhibit this failure to grow and thrive.  They may even at one time been very promising.  But they never turned the corner -- and with time, grew farther from that promise -- rather than ever actualizing (owning) it.

This burden of self-actualization was passed on to every succeeding generation -- as the unfinished business of humanity -- with no serious intent to actualize it by any particular individual, only in the vague abstraction.  Thus, it was just a noble fantasy -- and not the reality of most lives, and especially, the most thoughtful lives.  And in fact, the thoughtful life was dismissed as the ultimate fantasy -- rather than the solution to most problems in one's life.

If that focus could be given to one's own living -- instead of distracting it into so many ways of amusements and entertainments that divert that attention, life would have quite a different ending for many more -- rather than the dire prognosis we've been led to accept as the inevitable fate for most.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Until Something Works

We remember Thomas Edison for the one time he succeeded -- and not the thousand times he failed -- but each failure was different until he succeeded, and not just failing the same way every time.  The more different ways one fails, leads them eventually to success -- and not just failing the same way over and over again, ensuring their failure.  That is the difference between success and failure -- and not that one never makes mistakes, or fails to try.

One learns from failure -- until something works.  And then when something works, one merely repeats that -- and moves on to learn something else, something new and different.  In this way, energy is released and refocused to something else, the next challenge that stands in the way of ever-improving life.

That is what evolution is about -- finding a way to win, and not merely resigning oneself that it doesn't make a difference, and nothing matters.  Yet some people regard that as the height of intellectual sophistication -- that they can no longer discern the difference in anything -- the true from the false, up and down, left and right, the authentic from the inauthentic,  

It all averages out they proudly proclaim. So why try harder -- when the least amount of effort will do, and better yet, why do anything at all, if the reward will be the same for all -- regardless of merit and effort.  In fact, such people think that the more useless they become, that they have won the game of life -- because then everybody else will have to do everything for them, and they no longer have to do anything for themselves.

Naturally such a life is a self-fulfilling prophecy -- and they become more useless to themselves, more dependent on others, less free and independent -- which means doing for oneself, as much as possible.  There is a certain joy in being able to do things for oneself -- as well as survive and thrive under many challenging conditions from which many others might perish.

It might be as simple as being able to cross the street by oneself -- with some assurance of safety -- rather than just stepping into traffic regardless of what others might be doing.  The safest person in such an event, is one who is aware of what everybody else is doing -- and not merely preoccupied with what they want to do -- thinking that everybody else's responsibility is to look out for them.

The world, and life, does not work very well that way.  Every individual has to be their own first line of defense -- being aware of what their unique vantage/perspective can provide to the larger community and culture.  Early on in life, that is mostly provided by the larger to the individual -- but at some point it is hoped, the best individuals will greatly reward that investment into those formative years.

A few don't get there as fully "mature" people -- at any point in their lives, which should be a great concern for those responsible for that function and learning.  But in order to do so, they have to be able to tell the difference -- and not despair that no matter what they do, nothing makes a difference.  It won't as long as they keep doing the same thing -- hoping for a different result.  Nothing works that way.

Instead, they have to do something different -- and notice the differences that result -- good or bad, because both are equally important in providing information that gets them closer to the results they want.  The mistake is to persist only in believing in the outcome they want -- rather than the actual results, that they will deny as being valid.

Their beliefs (ideology) prevail over everything their actual experiences are telling them.  The actual may even be derided as "anecdotal" -- or having no scientific basis because the properly designated "experts" have not discovered or thought of it first, and gotten funding for their studies.

Science is not about a hierarchy of experts but the access to the truth by anybody, and particularly those not indoctrinated by the current thinking which oversees this problem only getting worse without end.  Obviously, that current thinking, is what doesn't work, and one should be free, to explore other solutions that might -- confident that there is nothing to lose by maintaining the status quo, and accepting the dismal prognosis as a certain fate.  It's not surprising then, that many people find their own "cures."

Very often, it is one of a kind -- at the right time, place and circumstances -- when nothing less will do.  And if it works, one stays with it -- until it doesn't, and then one has to discover again, what works.  And failing that, not proclaiming proudly to all, that nothing works, and nothing can make a difference.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

You Have to Change to Get Better

Getting better is change.  That's why doing the same things over and over -- expecting a different result, is the very definition of insanity.  Yet many live their lives hoping to disprove this age old observation -- thinking maybe, that they can be "first" at something for the first time in their lives.   Well-meaning advisers may even encourage them to persist -- at what they are doing unsuccessfully -- thinking that if they persist at it long enough, they are bound to be successful -- misunderstanding that is the reason for their failures.

The most commonplace in most lives, is this experience of aging -- badly, and hopelessly, and thinking that things can never get better again, and there is nothing they can do about it -- so justifiably, they do nothing about it.  They simply want to get better -- without changing, and of course, that  is the definition of absurdity.

Yet that is the conversation one will have with everyone who does not get better -- because that is their core belief -- and life expectancy -- that predetermines their outcomes and everything they do, and experience in life.  So it is not a matter of doing more or less -- of what they already do -- with unfavorable results, but adjusting the understanding before doing anything further.

It's not a bad idea to question everything one does -- and paring down to the essentials, and the known qualities in that life, and beginning all over again from that solid base.  Over the course of time and one's life and dealings, one has often come to accept errors as the truth -- therefore leading them astray and off the fruitful path.  Periodically, all that has to be weeded out -- retaining only the pearls of wisdom, and getting rid of the clutter that now overgrows and overwhelms their lives.  That is invariably the lifestyle of the acquisitive and accumulative personalities who think that is the goal and objective in life -- and therefore think that the answer to everything, is simply "More" -- without end.

Eventually, they just run out of space to store everything, and nowhere is that more true than in the finite space of their memories -- even with the latest devices available.  At that point, memory fails to serve them well -- because they need a better method of distinguishing the most essential from the superfluous -- and mistaking that, never get around to the essential and critical -- no matter how much they do.

That means asking all the right questions from the very beginning -- instead of assuming all continues to be valid.  The fact that things aren't working out satisfactorily -- should tell one otherwise.  They may have worked before, but they no longer work now -- which may be the first realization that what one thought worked before, may not have before either -- and the real reason for their previous success, was for another, greater reason -- that reveals itself in time and age.

That is particularly true, obviously, in the realm of conditioning and athletics -- where frequently champion athletes, succumb prematurely, a few short years after their previous success, and apparent invulnerability.  The frequent cause of death, is heart attack and/or failure, exacerbated by overexertion, enlargement of the heart, and thus the weakening of it.  Usually once such people are in recovery, they are advised not to participate in activities that overstrain the heart again -- but rather than do nothing, could devise movements that do not strain the heart at all excessively, but shifts the demand onto all the other muscles to enhance the circulatory effect, since that is a basic function of all the muscles as well.  

That is how one directs prodigious development to a certain area -- in priority to every other.  Understanding that, one should think long and hard at what one now wants that to be --  and not thoughtlessly, how they can simply burn more calories, as though that wastage was a good use of the human body, or any valuable resource, for that matter.  

That means rethinking all one's activities and expenditures as frequently as one is inspired -- as well as when they are absolutely forced to -- when their continued existence depends on it.  This forethought beforehand, allows a margin of reserve, when the margin for error is critical, and makes the difference between survival and extinction -- and before that, a neverending downward spiral of getting worse, and feeling there is nothing they can do about it themselves.

At that point, life is usually not considered viable -- which means meaningful.  Even plants respond to light and nourishment, and move in that direction -- and continue to do so, until there comes a time it does not respond so.  But before then, the gardener does everything they can, to see if they can change those conditions t get better.  They don''t just hope for a change in the outcome without doing anything different.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Best of Times

Every species knows that to experience the best in life, they have to be at their best -- at all times, and especially so as they grow older -- otherwise, they just are not going to be around.

That doesn't necessarily mean being the Alpha Male -- which is necessarily a high risk occupation of constant challenges and endless responsibilities.  But even alpha males know there comes a time when it is right to step aside to a lower profile niche position there is less competition for.-- thereby retaining their usefulness to the greater society.  That is usually exhibited by the ability and willingness to take care of others -- or just to take care of themselves so as not to be a liability to the group but an asset when sheer numbers require as many able bodies as available.

That doesn't mean just being a warm body is sufficient.  Frequently, all that is required is just to show up -- at the right time and moment.  That mere presence is often enough to turn the tide of an outcome.  Of course that is life on the grander scale -- than the pettiness most have come to accept as their lives.

Thus the quest for a greater sense of participation in the lives of all others, has become an integral part of contemporary lives we know as "entertainment," and distractions from our actual lives.  Many come to prefer those fantasies over the possibilities of actualizing their own lives to the greatest extent possible.  They in fact become incapable of distinguishing the fiction from the reality, the virtual over the actual.

The actual is how we manifest our own lives -- and not how much we identify with some other fictional or ideal -- wishing it was true for us.  Many have lost this ability to distinguish between what they know to be true, from how they actually live that truth -- which then becomes a greaat problem in society.  What they do may be the opposite of what they think they are doing -- or hope to convince others is what they are doing.

When that difference is pointed out to them, they will get angry and demand that one believe as they are instructed to, and not what their own senses are telling them.  In fact, they are frequently told not to believe their own senses -- in favor of what the self-proclaimed authorities would have us believe were handed down directly from the Most High personally, to convey to the masses.

Invariably, that message is to abandon one's own judgment and capacity to judge and discern such matters for themselves -- in favor of what the experts proclaim them to be.  As a result, very few come to know themselves well -- because they believe what others tell them they are, rather than finding that out for themselves -- as the ultimate quest of every meaningful life, and as Socrates said, "the only life worth living."

That is one's own -- and so why not the best?  That's really the only thing that makes sense -- making the best of one's own life -- no matter what one has to work with.  Very few begin with absolutely nothing, and very few begin with absolutely everything, and so the first task, is finding out what exactly one has -- and beyond that, their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Thus every wise advice, has consisted of the instruction, "to know oneself" -- instead of presuming to know everyone else.  That is their business and order of the day.  That is in fact, how one distinguishes the wise from the unwise -- how much they know themselves, and not how much they want others to think of them.

The latter will always be miserable -- because what they know is useless to themselves, because they cannot prove it on themselves.  They are powerless to act on their own problems -- and can only project them on to others to solve.  They can solve all the imaginary problems of the world, but never any real ones -- particularly in their own lives.

Those who can, are living in the best of times -- doing the best they can, and that's all that matters.