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Author Topic: 50 for 50
Darth_Mauve
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In a few months I will turn 50 years old. (7/13 to be exact).

During that half a century I've had many interesting thoughts, epiphanies, and creative conclusions. I've never succeeded in putting those thoughts down where others could see them, consider them, and either learn from them, or teach me where I erred.

I hope to post the 50 most interesting ones over the next few months. They won't be put up daily. I can't promise that strict a schedule.

They won't be put up more than once a day. I hope each will be considered and contemplated.

While some wonder why I only have 50 bits of wisdom after 50 years, more are surprised I had that many thoughts.

I am more used to posting humor. These are not jokes. I'll try to keep a serious face most of the time, but a few bits of silliness may slip through. There is a reason for that, but that reason comes much later.

1) Be Good. Be Happy.

When I was 10 I decided to be a good guy. I was working at some chores--hauling firewood or moving some concrete blocks--a nice mindless enterprise that gave me freedom to think. Don't get me wrong. I didn't spend my childhood hauling cement or cords of wood. This was a limited time requirement. Manual labor was a rare effort on my part, and I enjoyed the free thinking time it left me.

Every book I had read, every TV show I watched, every story I played with all had the same basic meme--you want to be a Good Guy. What else do we let 10 year old children read and watch? But it was more than just Good Wins/Evil Loses that is common in the adventure stories of the day. It was a more basic thing.

The Good Guys were happier, enjoyed life more, and even endured the worst easier, than did the Bad Guys.

I was not a dumb child. This idea was backed up by more than cartoons and adventure movies. What I had seen in life reflected the same truth--Good Guys were happier than Bad Guys.

I knew people who I considered, if not Bad at least not Good. They were greedy or lazy or self-centered. They whined and worried and screamed. They got mad or they got hurt and sought revenge on every trifling imagined slight. They did not enjoy it.

Others, whom I considered good, laughed off injury, ignored insults, smiled through it all, and with real smiles not fake. They shared their good fortune and only reluctantly accepted help with their bad. They embraced honor and the truth with a smile.

They had fun with it.

So it was then that I started living the following: If you try to be good, you will likely be happy. If you try to be happy, you will likely be good.

(That 2nd line may not be self-evident, but it is true. We pardon much in a happy villain. Being happy is a path to being good. Why? That comes much later.)

This does not mean that being good, or being happy, will give you a life free of pain and suffering. Good people lose. Happy people cry. Pain knows no morality. But being good allows you to endure all that is bad, and being happy allows you to bounce back quicker.

The next question, that has taken me decades to finally answer, is "If being good is my goal, what is Good?" Little did I know then that such a question goes back to Socrates if not further.

My answer will come later.

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Darth_Mauve
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2) So many ask to be understood. So few bother to understand.

I set out on a quest to see what defined a Good person. I did not have many tools to measure, or even knew what to measure. Instead I observed people. From continued observation I hoped to gain some answers on how I could be a Good person.

What I learned was that everyone, well most everyone, wanted others to understand them. Sure some were greedy or violent or did bad things, but they knew that if we understood them better all would be forgiven.

These same people never bothered to try to understand others.

I noticed a pattern in fiction, monologuing. Its when the villain tells the hero, or the reader/viewer/audience just what they are planning, and why. What they are really doing is trying to get the hero to understand them.

The villain never tries to understand any one else though. They are too trapped in their own self to be bothered by anyone else.

That is fiction. It doesn't happen in real life.

Except it does.

I've driven with people who will cut off three other cars to get to work a bit early, and then get violently angry when someone else cuts them off. They swear that the other car was out to get them. It was a provocation--a blatant and personal insult directed at them.

When they cut someone off it is an accident. Or, "If they knew how late I was running, they'd let me in."

Criminals and politicians often write books and confessions with one main theme "I did what I did, but if you understood you know it was the best thing I could have done."

Its mostly rationalization.

Its mostly excuses.

But still, so many people want to be understood, and so few care to understand.

Being a Good person meant taking the effort to understand.

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Darth_Mauve
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Justice is not a worthy virtue.

What did I learn from all this understanding? Many many people were seeking justice. They demanded justice. They committed crimes and insults and degradations of others and themselves all for the virtue of Justice.

But the Justice they sought could never be accomplished. It was not an Eye for an Eye--it was an Eye for an Ear, or two dollars for the one they took, or that man did this to me so the next man similar to him must pay.

Justice is a natural impulse that burns in us all, but our desire to impose it on the world more often leads to further injustices not fewer.

When justice is forced upon us, especially what someone else considers justice, we almost unanimously call it Injustice.

Justice is not a worthy virtue, for it sacrifices all other virtues to impose its cause.

This is not to say that injustice is a virtue, or that justice is something we should not strive for. To live a Just life is a great goal. To be Just oneself is a virtue worthy of a good person. To live off of injustice is the mark of doing bad things. It is a bad thing.

However, to impose that Just-ness on others, while not usually a bad thing in itself, is not a good thing and often leads to terrible things.

This is why every religion recognizes the selfishness that Justice often encourages, the impossibility of a limited person being able to create true justice in a complicated universe, and why the demand we leave final justice in the hands of God or some ultimate omniscient mythical judge.

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Darth_Mauve
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The Circle of Plot.

Evil is defeated by Good.
The success of Good leads to Apathy.
Apathy fathers Ignorance.
Ignorance breeds Evil

And the wheel goes round and round


This I noticed from my days of reading and watching various fictions.

Again, then I noticed the same thing happened in real life. We are each shown evils in this world and strive hard to defeat them. Once defeated we relax our guard, turn our backs, use all of our energies to defeat the next evil. We become apathetic to the evil we've defeated. As time goes by we forget about that evil, how to defeat it, and how bad and evil it really is. Suddenly we discover the evil and the circle goes round.

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Darth_Mauve
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Horrendous Evil is not the result of a Vice. Its the result of extreme uncontrolled Virtue.

Terrorists who kill children and blow up hundreds do so in the name of their faith--a virtue.

Or they launch rockets at hospitals in the name of Patriotism--a virtue.

They attack hotels and buses seeking Justice--a virtue.

The Nazi's marched millions into gas chambers--trying to protect their families, their clans, their squads and their battalions.

All around the world brutal men in brutal lands beat and torture political opponents using and believing any or all of those virtues give them the right to inflict that pain.

It may be rationalizations, excuses, and simply lies we tell others, and our selves, but it is also the ideas that keeps people going, that allows them to commit acts of evil.

If these virtues can lead to so much evil, how then are we to know what to do to be good?

The answer is out there.

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Darth_Mauve
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Every person is unique, so don't compare yourself to anyone else in any way.

Neither Evolution, nor God created billions of clones. Each person is unique in a variety of ways. They react to medicines differently, to pain differently, to love differently, and to the same facts differently. Why then do we expect them all to walk the same path we are walking?

The guidelines and rules that define your path to heaven, to wisdom, and to success will not work for anyone else but you.

Because your hard work paid off with a successful business does not mean that a failed business is the result of another person's laziness.

The Dogma which serves you well in getting closer to God may only hinder another from finding faith.

The goals you have chosen may be great for you, and for millions of others, but they are not the goals of everyone.

Don't judge others on where they are along the paths they walk, for you don't know the twists and turns those paths have taken them.

Yet if we can't tell others how to live, why do I write these life lessons down? Because they are broad enough to encompass all the paths I've seen.

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Darth_Mauve
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You can never truly know how much another person loves, fears, understands or is in pain.

This is obvious. Each of these are personal things that occur in our brains or our minds. Obviously we can't know how much a person loves another, or fears a situation. Yet I constantly see people acting as if they knew.

"He can't love her, she's to poor."

"She's not in real pain. She's just faking it."

"They're not really afraid of spiders. That's just silly."

"They didn't forget my birthday. They are just being mean."

Before you accuse another of faking it, remember that you really don't know. You are the one working in ignorance, and since everyone is unique, just because it doesn't effect you that way doesn't mean it won't effect them.

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Darth_Mauve
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The 10 Commandments are missing 3 words in each Commandment. Those words are, "In Your Society".

Lets look at everyone's favorite commandment--well if not favorite, the one everyone mostly agrees with:
"Thou Shall Not Kill." By the end of the book where the commandments are given, God is ordering the Israelites to kill every male in the non-Jewish towns that they are conquering. God is even punishing Jewish soldiers for not killing everyone as ordered. How can these two ideas fit together?

Its because there is an assumed phrase not in the text. That phrase is--"In your society."

You are not supposed to kill other Jews, as that would be murder. Killing outsiders--others who are not Jewish, others not in the Hebrew society, is allowed. It is War. It is slaughter. It is not the assumed definition of Murder.

Killing criminals is allowed. They have broken the law. They have broken the rules of society so they have left it. This is similar to the Norse idea of "Outlaw". Once you commit a crime you have rejected law and rejected your society. As such you are out law and the laws you rejected no longer protect you or your property.

Thou shall not steal--from your own society, but raiding others, sacking others in war, etc is just good business.

Thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife, but you can steal and enslave the people on the other side of the mountain, because they are not really people.

The Old Testament and Torah talk a lot about slaves. This can be seen as an attempt to bring these people who help run their society into that society.

The New Testament is all about redefining what is considered as one's society to be much more inclusive. Jesus considers Criminals, the Poor, the Ill, and even the Foreign as members of his Society.

Judaism is a clannish religion which emphasizes the requirements that must be met to remain in that society. Christianity removes the Clan from the idea of Society and endeavors to expand it to include everyone.

[ April 17, 2014, 04:26 PM: Message edited by: Darth_Mauve ]

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Darth_Mauve
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9)Judge other by whom they judge as fully human.

If what I said above is true, that moralities biggest limitation is whom people define as true people, then judging whom they define as true people says a lot about that person.

Most people will say that all humans are people. That doesn't stop them from considering different degrees of humanity. These lesser humans are defined by their nationality, race, religion, political beliefs, or tribal connections.

Class is a good one. Its ok to steal from the poor because their poverty is their fault. Its ok to steal from the rich because they stole it from the poor first. Justice, as listed earlier, is not a great virtue, but it is a great excuse.

Anything that makes someone different than ourselves is an option to make them seem less than ourselves.

Those we deem less than ourselves we deem outside the rules of morality.

Its OK that they were thrown in jail by mistake, they are black. Its ok that we scammed them, they are Western. Its ok because they aren't real.

I guess the term I'm looking for is Brotherhood. Whom do they consider their brothers tells us much about them. Whom do you?

I think its best to broaden that sense of brotherhood to be as wide as possible. To think that others who look different than you are like your brother is hard, but we are doing it. To think that others who think differently than you are actually your brothers is much harder.

Here is a bit of history.

3 Great Religions began with a similar premise--that enlightenment was available to anyone. Nationality, tribe, race, nothing barred one from finding that enlightenment and being part of that movement.

The Christians took this notion, finding brothers and sisters where ever they went, and they went to the ends of the globe.

Buddhists took this notion, finding brothers and sisters where ever they went, and they went to the ends of the globe.

Muslims took this notion, finding brothers and sisters where ever they went, and they went to the ends of the globe.

Yet each eventually dropped this notion, not so much seeing the humanity in all others, ready to be enlightened, but seeing the "Other" in humanity and seeking to destroy it.

That is when these three religions ceased expanding. They limited themselves to those who believe vs everyone else. They limited themselves from enlightening the world, to converting the heathen, destroying the backslider, and removing the enemy.

Secularism isn't a religion. Its an idea, where enlightenment, whether scientific, psychological, or philosophical, is available to every human. It does not seek to convert, and as long as Secularists don't try converting the heathen, it will continue to grow.

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Darth_Mauve
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Beware of False Dichotomies

This is a simple one.

The human mind loves seeing the world in binary, black and white, simple decisions.

Often others try to fool us by offering simple sounding solutions that are based on what appear to be simple choices, but they are lies.

"Vote for me or for the end of our country."

"Use our deodorant or never have sex again."

"Follow our dogma or spend eternity in Hell."

None of these are the two only options. Vote for the other fellow and the country will survive. Your body odor is not the key to romance. And there are far too many variations of belief and dogma for any one rule or law to be the one key to heaven.

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Darth_Mauve
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All Dichotomies are False Dichotomies

There is always a third choice.

Some disagree. In our binary, bi-polar world they can point to many things that are dichotomies.

The most basic example, that light is on or its off. Sounds simple. Sounds like there can be no third option. But what if the bulb is blown? The switch is on but the light is not shining. That's cheating, some would argue. If the bulb is blown then its the same as the light being off. But if you are working on the wiring the important thing is not the light that shines, but the current in the wires. What if the surrounding light is so bright that it drowns out the light the bulb produces? Is it on? Dimmers set a whole range of what "on" means.

Either your pregnant or your not. Except for that time after the sex but before the test results come in. During that time, like most young woman who are sexually active know, you are like Schrodinger's cat, both Pregnant and Not. There are also false-pregnancies of course. And the big question, the dangerous one--when does one actually become pregnant. Is it at conception? Before, during the act? After?

Either you are dead or you are alive. What do you count someone in a Coma? Brain Dead? Vegetative State? Kept alive by machines only? Missing and presumed dead? If your heart stops beating for a second did you die? A minute? Six minutes? There is a lot of drama in that area between living and dead.
You are male or female--unless you are a hermaphrodite, or transgender, or in some way made sexless. There are religions and languages that demand this binary decision--Male or Female. The lengths they go to limit that choice to 2 are funny, if they weren't so frustrating.

That choice is good or it is evil. Here is the problem with Good or Evil. If you do something that is not Good it is not automatically evil. Living in that Good/Evil Black/White world means that you are missing important things. I don't mean Grey. Grey is just a measurement of Black vs White. What you are missing is Color.

In a Black and White world, what is Green?

So when ever I am offered only two choices--A or B-- I almost always choose C.

I call that "The Path of the 3rd Way."

Doesn't it sound mystical?

But its just being smart.

Some call this thinking outside the box.

Some call this blasphemy.

Some are happy in their black and white world. The brain is a binary computer who find 2 option problems easy to solve. Forcing it to consider a multiple of other options is tiring. Besides, its easier to predict others, lead others, control others, when they have only two choices.

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BlackBlade
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I don't know how I missed this thread for so long but I've gotta lotta reading to do. Thanks for writing it.
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Darth_Mauve
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When given only choice 1 or choice 2, always pick choice C

I know. I said this in my last post. Its important.

The secret to brilliance is the ability to find that third choice, and the tenacity and impudence to use it.

Every successful military leader finds the option their opponent is not prepared for, does not defend against, and can't fathom until its too late. There are tons of books that basically say, "Don't fight the last war." It means don't use the tactics and strategies of the previous conflict. The opponent knows what they are, and if they are brilliant, they have devised something new.

Why is this a failure repeated through out military history? Because the human mind is used to picking from a menu of choices, not great at creating new ones. Those who do create new ones usually win.

The same holds true for business. It is true for games. It is true for life in general. If you are successful then you know how to play the game by the rules given. When someone breaks those rules then your success is threatened. Even if you are less than successful, someone else breaking the rules can result in you losing worse.

Picking #3 when you were told to choose A or B is breaking the rules.

Success is more likely if you break those rules, but only if you do so with skill, with fore-thought, and with a plan.

Remember though, I want to be a good guy. Can good guys break the rules? Yes, good guys can break the rules, as long as doing so does not do anything bad.

Morality is a choice. Choose to be moral or choose not to be moral. If you let others set the rules, and you only obey the rules, then you no longer make any choices. You have relinquished that option to those who make the rules.

What I said previously, that true evil only occurs when a virtue is taken to extremes, fits in nicely here. Obeying rules is a great virtue, but if the rules are created that ask you to do terrible things, obeying those rules makes you a terrible person.

So if you have to choose between Terrible A and Horrible B, finding a third option, one that is better, is being truly virtuous.

So, if you have to choose between Mediocre A and Neutral B, finding a third option, one that is better, is being truly virtuous.

So, if you have to choose between Great Option A and Fantastic Option B, finding a third option, one that is better, is being truly virtuous.

So, if you have to choose between Great Option A and Fantastic Option B, looking for a third option, and not finding one that is better, so going with A or B, is being virtuous, because you didn't abdicate your moral options to those who suggested A or B.

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Darth_Mauve
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The only thing that laying blame dose is free you from solving the problem.

If you blame poverty on the poor, you have not done anything to reduce poverty.

If you blame abuse on the abused, you have done nothing to stop the abuse.

Every sadist blames their victim. They wanted it, they asked for it, they deserved it. Laying blame means that the sadist doesn't have to stop.

One of the biggest arguments in the present "Climate Change" debate is whether Humans are to blame for the changes in climate. Why? What matters who is to blame for the change? What truly matters is what is to be done about the changes occurring. Still, we waste time arguing about fault, about who is responsible, but not much about what we are to do.

Laying blame is just the lazy scared and useless thing to do.

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alicia
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I LOVE this. Thank you for acting on a great idea, and thank you for a life of wisdom.
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Darth_Mauve
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Be a Captain, not a Manager

I've recently watched some interesting videos. One was about the fictional perfect captains--the "Horatio Hornblower" series. The other was about some of the worst captains--great disasters at sea stuff.

I've been reading and this idea about what a Captain is kept coming up. What makes a good captain? Captains get a lot of perks, the biggest slice of the profits, the biggest cabin, etc, etc. What do they do to earn those extras? They TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

That is it. They take responsibility, but not just for the safety of the cargo. They take responsibility for the safety of the ship, the completion of the mission, the safety of his crew, the safety of the seas-as the Captain rescues other stranded sailors. The Captain is responsible for all of this and more, and for this heavy load of responsibility he is granted the pay and perks of his Captaincy.

We used to call them Captains of Industry. They were mighty leaders who took on the responsibilities of their companies, their industries, their employees and their communities. They earned great perks and fees because they were responsible for their companies.

Then there are managers. Managers read books, take courses, work hard all to make sure that they are never held responsible for failures. They manage to accept only one responsibility at a time, at most. They are responsible for their small piece of the company doing what they've been told to do. In all other things they deny responsibility, shirk it, pass it off on others, and blame everyone else.

Managers manage the employees. Captains take responsibility for them. Managers manage their products. Captains except responsibility for them.

Most small business owners are great captains, caring for their companies, employees, customers, and communities.

Most managers, in small or large businesses, care only about the perks, and how not to be blamed for the problems of their customers, employees, communities or companies.

Steve Jobs was a Captain of Industry.

Most commonly known C level people were.

Most who have failed in the past, but moved on to success are Captains.

Most managers are to blame for all the perceived evils of capitalism. They want the perks without accepting the responsibility.

Be a Captain in your life. Don't just manage it.

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Darth_Mauve
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Don't look for who's at fault. Find what needs to be done to insure the problem doesn't reoccur.

This is the difference between a manager I worked for and a Captain I've followed for years. The manager circled the office searching for people he could blame problems on. The Captain who called me aside when I caused a problem just said, "What went wrong, and what are You going to do to make sure it won't happen again."

Since that time I've always lived with my eyes looking for what needs to be done, and not who is to blame. When I hear some politician or expert focused only on who to blame and what to blame I ignore them. They are unworthy.

Try to be worthy.

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Darth_Mauve
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There is nothing in this world that is totally your fault. There is nothing in this world that in some way is not your fault.

Two in one here.

With these two guidelines I've learned to recognize the need to prioritize, to neither be buried in guilt nor be totally heartless.

Two hundred girls were turned into property of some bandit hiding behind his faith. I want to help those girls, to stop that idiot, to do something, but I can't. There is practically nothing I can do short of buying a gun, leaving my family, and going to Africa to hunt the idiot down.

Yet if I do that 10,000 other things that I am also responsible for will fail to be taken care of. I feel guilty for not helping, because there is nothing in this world I am not somewhat responsible for. I am not so guilty as I would be if I didn't remember that there is nothing I am totally responsible for.

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Darth_Mauve
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Many people hate Math because it can definitively prove them wrong.

I remember my first real paycheck. I thought I had worked so long, and so hard, that I was in for big bucks. Then I looked at my small check and swore someone was stealing from me. Where did all my good money go? Then I did the actual math. I multiplied hours by wages, and subtracted taxes. My paycheck was correct. My conviction that the great company I worked for was stealing from me was gone. I was wrong.

Unlike politics, philosophy, or religion, ones ability to be right or wrong is not dependent on stubbornness, will, or wit. You can debate whether an action is moral or not, if it is good for the soul, the country, or the faith. You can't argue that 1 + 1 = 2.

Now some people abuse this absolute certainty with math.

Economics is just Math + Politics.
Polling Statistics are Politics disguised as math.
Numerology and Biblical Number Code is Religion disguised as Math
Even the "Success Theology" where "Everything good you do will be returned to you 7 fold." faith is Religion disguised as math.

Just because they use numbers doesn't make them math.

But what is worse than people trying to use math to promote their beliefs, is those who refuse math in favor of their beliefs.

When someone refuses to except the math, or distorts it shamelessly, in order not to be proven wrong, they are still wrong, but now I will double question anything else they say.

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Darth_Mauve
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Talk to your waitress as you would a friend.

Of course I mean more than a waitress. I mean everyone.

My father had the great ability to treat everyone he met as a friend. He talked to them, and listened to them. The result was that by the third time he encountered the same waitress, nurse, attendant or anyone, they treated him as a friend.

We got the best service anyone could imagine.

He was not a generous tipper. He came from a time when a dollar was generous, and he couldn't understand that 15% was not too much. Yet he get better service than those who tipped much better.

He always got the biggest slice of pie.

He always got the best prepared steak.

He always got the extra candy thrown in, for the kids, or the biggest watermelon at the stand, or the best hospital care.

He made it fun for the people servicing him to do their jobs. He brightened their days. He made them feel human--and sometimes that's more important than money.

I've seen people having loud obnoxious conversations on their phones while paying for their gas at a gas station. They never recognized the attendants, never took a moment from their call to make eye contact. How rude.

Of course if you consider them just another drone they consider you just another wallet walking by.

If you do treat those who serve with respect--well it could mean a better, longer life.

My father played jokes on the staff at the regions largest hospital. He went from being just another patient in an overcrowded ward, to being Al--a person. He got extra attention, extra effort, extra scrutiny. When things went wrong--when he was officially lost (not dead, just misplaced in the big hospital) they went out on their own time to find him. His meds were never late. His food was always hot. His care was always first rate--and he survived 40 years longer than his father--who had the same genetic illness, but not the same view on those who cared for him.

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Translation is the most important art

Translation is the art of taking a thought or an idea, a word, a letter, and making it understood with as much meaning as possible, by another person.

The first translators, primitive men or earlier, created language to translate their ideas to each other. Great advances were made when we went from being an individual hunter/gatherer to a tribe, thanks to that language.

Writing was created as translation of ideas over time, and it is flawed to the point of being wrong as often as being right.

Language itself is a concept that must be translated from person to person, differing moment by moment even within one person as new ideas, new terms, and new points of view are discovered, so translating across languages, and across time is a great artistic feat.

I say chair. What I am thinking of is a wooden chair with three vertical slats, painted a rustic white. What you hear is chair--a padded comfortable recliner with sturdy metal frame buried under springs and fluff. When I say, "He lifted the chair over his head." I picture a normal person doing a normal deed. You picture a muscular hulk performing a super-hero stunt. This difference was because we pictured different words when I said "Chair".

While communications is never exact, translation of the basic ideas is always the goal.

Numbers are the most exact communications. They are universal on our world. 1 is 1 and 2 is 2. This makes the translation of math the easiest idea, and has helped hard math based sciences spread around the world.

Art is the translation of a feeling or an emotion, via an image or sound or other physical form.

Law is an attempt to set rules up in a form that all can understand them perfectly. The result is legalese which sounds overly complex and difficult, when it is actually just trying to be perfectly exact and translatable.

However translation itself is an art. Words don't always exactly match over languages, in either meaning or rhythm or context. Nor do they match over time. The word Gay has come to mean many things over the past 100 years. Even these words I'm writing now don't exactly translate the thoughts that have been in my head.

Basically, what I want to say is, "All Art is Translation. All translation is art."

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All morality is relative.

One of the most common arguments for literal interpretations of holy text is that without hard, definitive lists of right and wrong, humans will see morality as relative.

I am not a literalist for many reasons. One is basic logic:

Holy Texts are translations across languages, cultures, and time.

Translation is an art practices by humans.

Humans are not perfect.

Whatever perfection that was in the original Word has been weakened by the imperfect translations of us humans.

The world and the book stores and the airwaves are filled with those who claim to be able to decipher and translate the true meanings of those holy texts and how they resonate in our modern lives.

Translation is relative. So when you listen to the imam, preacher, rabbi or yogi you are listening to their relative morality.

It strikes me as more honest if you rely on your own relative morality, fully aware of your own biases, prejudices, and self interests that may color your picture of what is truly good, and what is truly evil.

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There are absolutes in Morality

This seems to be a contradiction with my previous lesson. If morality is relative, how can their be absolutes.

For a long time I assumed there were absolutes, but I could not define them. For every absolute that I vocalized, I thought of situations where it seemed more moral to break them.

This is a search that has gone back since at least Socrates. "Are the lows the Gods give us just because the Gods give us them, or do the Gods give us them because they are just?"

Yet, there are similarities in religions around the world that point toward absolutes.

I have found 4 absolutes that I'll go over later. These absolutes are a bit theoretical, so the relativity comes in how we achieve or avoid those absolutes.

The difficult part of these absolutes is that these four must be worked in harmony. If you focus on 1 of them, and ignore the other ones, you do terrible harm.

Relative morality is also how we balance those 4.

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Ignorance is one of the Absolute Evils

Ignorance is Evil.

Not being ignorant. That is something we are all guilty of. In fact, the only true cure for ignorance is omniscience. No, being ignorant is not evil.

Spreading ignorance, encouraging ignorance, destroying knowledge are all evil.

I am a very easy going individual. I don't get angry over most things. Yet, there are things that really got me very angry, and most often, those things were the encouragement of ignorance. I felt that such was evil.

And as I considered it, I realized that Ignorance and Evil shared many attributes.

Love is the most powerful force in the universe, or so we believe, yet love is often thwarted by simple things. Fear, stupidity, chance and self absorption are the main things that defeat love--and stupidity and chance were most often due to ignorance.

So is Ignorance greater than Love?

Why do we fear the dark? It is a basic fear that goes back to our prehistoric days, when deadly things lurked in the darkness. We do not know what is in the dark. We are ignorant of what exists in the dark. It is that ignorance that we fear.

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Entropy is one of the Absolute Evils

Entropy has a specific scientific definition. What it boils down to is that everything ends, collapses, all energy slows down, etc.

It is a bleak look into a cold, bleak future.

Every bit of destruction, every collapse of structure and waste of energy feeds entropy. Even in creation, we feed entropy. It is like a mythical monster that despite our best efforts, can never be stopped.

It is the Hurricane that sinks a city.

It is the Earthquake that topples buildings.

It is the bomb that transforms a city into dust.

It is, in its most personal form, death.

Even knowledge and wisdom--the walls we raise against ignorance--fall to entropy. Every moment there are more things that we will never know, and never can know.

When is a person of faith a person of evil? When they use that faith to create entropy--as in death and destruction.

Destruction is derived from de (anti) and Structure. Removing structure is Entropy.

Some will argue that you must destroy something to make something new. That may be. You may need to do a little evil in order to do a bigger good. Too often we consider that initial breaking as the good we are doing. Rebellion and war are not good, even if they are to destroy a great terror. It is the building afterwords that is the good.

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