Monday, November 04, 2013
Monday, December 10, 2012
The issue of sex education in schools has arisen again. Several pertinent points :
1. If we disempower kids they will they want to be adults sooner.
2. Adults don't grasp the role of sex; so few advocates are going to match the populist extorted agenda of lobbyists.
3. Dispersed school authority over sex education gives parents and principals the power if student assignment to schools was at the parent's discretion.
4. A school system which dumbs down the student mind is going to leave children jaded in their relationship choices. Adults are having relationships and sex for the wrong reason...exactly to whom would you have kids turn? A political or populist decision will make less sense than any other. Better for kids to question and be given the minority perspective.
So what do I think? I think sex is overrated between adults because thinking is underrated. Anyone who thinks sex adds spice to a relationship needs to engage their mind.
John C. Maxwell: "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care about them”.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
If you can read this... Thank a Teacher.
If you can read this in English... Thank a Soldier!
And for life and everything else you have... Thank God!!.
"Love him or hate him , he sure hits the nail on the head with this"
Monday, January 03, 2011
Call me a 'hater' Cindy, or dare I say 'negative', but your blog is hogwash. People are stressed out because of the Xmas rush & shopping congestion. The notion that there is some value in repressing how you feel is pseudo-science. The appropriate response is to recognise the nature of any indignation. You call it 'hate', I call it people with 'narrow-minded' agendas. There is no hate involved.
How to get over it? Don't substitute others agendas or values for your own. Those people exist. The good news is that if you have good judgement, you don't have to marry them. But given that 50% of people get divorced, maybe they would steer a better course if they repudiated pseudo-science.
More broadly, unless we have more healthy social or institutional structures, i.e. like better education, government and corporate values, then we can expect to conflict or be confounded by unreasonable or concrete-bound thinkers. In this respect, your ideology is part of the problem.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
1. Sense of reality: By that I mean people's perspective or how they relate to reality. People either have a subjective or an objective sense of reality, and this impacts on their attitudes. Consider them:
(a) Subjective: These people consider reality as a product of their consciousness, which has primacy. This means that they wish things which depart from reality, as if they had control of reality, or if their mind was divorced from reality. Examples are: The idea that what's right for you is right for you, what's right for me is right for me. This is of course a repudiation of science and objectivity, and people usually do this as a departure from judgement (external standards) or responsibility. I also note that this type of person is very selective about what they hear and read. They will only read material which agrees with their views, so this serves to keep the mirage alive. These people are people-orientated, because they would prefer to seek subjective validation from people whom they know are going to provide it, rather than validation from any achievement in fact.
(b) Objective: These people have a great respect for facts, an objective truth. They place facts above their own beliefs, which they attempt to reconcile with the facts. These people give primacy to the truth, and they have confidence in their ability to do so, so they are problem-solvers in this regard. They thus have the confidence of judging evidence from any perspective with impartiality.
People can display objectivity and subjectivity in different context as well. The reasons why people might do this are:
1. Fundamentality: People can have fundamental values which depart from more concrete premises which are difficult to refute. For this reason there can be some discomfort to attacking these if they don't reconcile with your concrete premises.
2. Compartmentalisation: Ask yourself how a politician can support competition in the private sector, but not support it in parliament. Contradiction, which they quarantine because it does not serve them.
3. Vulnerability: People will tend to be more concrete-bound, when they are in a stressful situation or feel vulnerable. This tends to pull them towards subjectivity, but it depends on the person.
4. Accountability: People who are ultimately held accountable tend to be more objective, but they can also preserve some subjectivity as well, e.g. Minimising their personal responsibility, pleading how sorry they are (insincerely), etc.
So the point I am making is that each of us has a perspective of reality that is shaped by our early experience. People build up a hierarchy of knowledge which is robust or shaky to the extent that it has firm structure, i.e. Coherence of ideas, correspondence to facts. Critical to this is clarity of definition and a great deal of evidence. We are of course born with very little evidence. We are also raised with embedded ideas derived from our parents, peers and broader society. It is not until 12 years of age, more or less, depending on our experience that we are able to challenge other people's ideas. Some people will not have a handle of their contradictions until they are in their 40s, others never learn. They instead evade being challenged or keep the company of people who similarly don't like to be challenged.
The problem is that people don't appreciate the value of challenging their embedded ideas until they do. Even then the value might not be readily apparent because they don't live in a vacuum. In a social context they can be alienated for holding a different value system. They too readily tolerant the status quo, in the process neglecting to reflect on the fact that they are affirming the status quo.
One cannot grow unless one challenges ideas. Synthesis is the basis of empiricism, but deductive reasoning requires differentiation. Unless we are prepared to differentiate ourselves from others there is limited scope for intellectual development. Instead science descends to groundless correlation, ideas are held out of context, and you end up with the modern science and parliament. In a sense, you asked for it.
Anyway, I would hope that people preserve a desire to read and analyse a broad body of literature; not just with that which they will agree with. If you read material you don't agree with, challenge it. Understand how the reader came to think that way. For instance, I am currently reading 'The Power of Now' by Eckhert Tolle. Everyone is talking about this book. It is well written, but I would suggest the book will drive you to repression, just as this type of material has done in Asia. That is not a reason to not read it...but rather to read the counter-arguments and more importantly to develop your own. Basically I don't read books anymore. My joy is in writing and pulling apart others arguments.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Money is a means of exchange that facilitates trade. Before we had money people had to barter for the things they wanted – causing a mismatch of wants. The divisibility, the portability and universally acceptance of money overcomes this constraint. Some would argue that had driven us to want to much, and in the race to achieve, we have lost sight of the ultimate value. So should we blame the bank or the manager of the money?
Money is a value traded for other value. Trade is inherently selfish since your prime concern is the satisfaction of personal wants – you offer a ‘value for value’. Of course you don’t mind if others benefit from trade, and trade would not proceed if they didn’t, but that does not change the fact that the trade is motivated by self-interest. This was Adam Smith’s conception of the ‘invisible hand’
Money is an inanimate object so it carries no moral significance – just as other inanimate objects like guns are not evil – they are merely tools that can be used by good or bad people.
I am currently reading a very good book – ‘Master Your Money Type’ by Jordan E. Goodman which highlights the psychology underpinning our attitudes to money. And the anti-materialism of religion and socialists grumbling about the ‘evils of money’ is highlighted as a reason for people developing destructive spending patterns. Consider the entrenched Catholicism of the Philippines where financial literacy is at a low point. People are generally self-indulgent and make little provision for the future. Its no surprise that they are poor. Might those attitudes towards money arise from the Catholic sentiments towards money – as the only Catholic countries that seem to buck the trend are Ireland and Chile. Well I would argue that attitudes to money are just one manifestation of it. But you cant argue people are all Catholic….everyone is a compromise because religion is such an anti-life set of values. Basically its about living a set of values divorced from your nature.
We all get it eventually – just some are more cynical about it – which is a matter of personal integrity. It is only in recent years that some Catholic countries have become more practical? Even the Philippines is changing. Reading from the Philippines’ Business Week Sept 7-8th 2007, Reverend Antonio Cecilio Pascual saids ‘Money per se is not evil’…that it ‘is actually our attitude with regard to money and the accumulation of material things that makes money evil’. Well I am not a religious man, but I can agree with that. Your attitude to anything (including money) is a moral judgement. All human action is based on a moral premise. The implication of this statement is that our motives are more critical than the goal.
The problem with religion is that it broadly offers no such guidance. Religion would have us believe selfishness and judging others is evil, and faith offers no value since it is merely acceptance without evidence, confidence or any sense of reality. If there were any sense of reality, you would be less virtuous. But neither am I in favour of a self-indulgent or fear-motivated attitude to money that places subjective values above the reality of human nature.
Rev Pascual perhaps lacks an understanding of philosophy because he makes no case for what types of motives are morally wrong and which are right, but that’s ok, the book above might fill in the gaps. He saids: “Education and knowledge nowadays are sought to outsmart, outpace, ‘out-knowledge’ one another so that one can be ‘successful’ as soon as possible and become rich as soon as possible” – the implication is of course that competition drives people to sin, so people loose a sense of prospective. I would argue that it’s a lack of their ability to think which develops as a response to collectivist philosophies like religion that call on humans to sacrifice their minds and values to the service of others and God. Why else would people try to impress others but because of a value system that places above self. That’s why they loose their sense of reality. Critical thinking is the gatekeeping mechanism that prevents contradictions from entering your mind. That is the basis of egoism and sound thinking, but that’s what religion poses is a threat. But really a true egoist does not define their value in terms of others standards – the superficial values of ‘non-self’ that the Reverend is concerned about.
He also says “How many parents actually try to seek good education for their children will actually become social workers and help a lot of poor people? To actually raise our kids so that they can help those in need?”. I did not think it was the parents role to decide what career a child should pursue, but you might ask why a great many clergy see imposing values on others as moral. Well since ‘fear’ is offered as a value in religion, so manipulation is a practical consequence. The sordid sex crimes in western orphanages being a case in point. But according to religion, these clergy are ‘only human’.
Next point: “Money is sinful….when it becomes an end in itself, when it is no longer just a means”. I would suggest that there is an always an end, and just the Reverend has failed to identify it. Any action is motivated by some thinking. In this instance I would suggest money serves the ‘means’ of impressing others, looking ‘successful’ in other people’s eyes. The paradox is of course is that religious undermines people’s mental efficacy, and thus makes them more beholden to what others think, and thus less likely to manage monetary matters effectively. It doesn’t help that ‘money is evil’.
Next point: “A lot of people become rich because they do not care about other people”…they ‘resort to sins to further accumulate money & power”. I don’t think money does isolate people – in fact successful people are usually very attentive to client/customer needs. Sometimes its superficial, and perceptions have primacy over real service, but surely religion which subjugates facts will only elevate this thinking. Look at the Philippines. Walk into any store and you get the empty expressions of respect like ‘Good morning Sir” that is intended to make you feel like a king, but ask them a question and you will have to repeat yourself 3 times…its not a dialect problem – they don’t listen to other Filipinos either. They treat the office or store as a playroom. It’s a testimony to their sense of reality – which is overwhelming social and not purposeful.
Friday, September 07, 2007
You might wonder where this sense of struggle comes from. Well I think its been entrenched in me for a long time. For a starters its well-known in the Philippines that Australians are tight with money. I can understand that...the origins of Australia were based on struggle, there was endless droughts so colonial Australia had alot of difficulty establishing an independent food supply. We had to depend on stockpiles or Mother England. And for a century more we very much looked to the English Empire...we looked to England to protect us, and then the USA. It took several decades before we became financially independent, not until we discovered gold and nothing else mattered :). But exploration is a risky business too, so little surprise that most of the money to finance activity had to come from England. Even today Australian mining companies are listing in England because Australians have an aversion to risk - now they have a problem investing in foreign lands. The English have no such aversion. So even today the sense of scarcity, tragedy and self-doubt persists in the Australian psyche. The anti-intellectualism of the nation is an extension of that on an epistemological level (PS: I dare say you wont hear that word from another Australian).
Contrast Australia with the USA where crops readily grew since water was plentiful. Americans are big on 'the grand symbolic' gesture. Whereas an Australian would be saying 'Whats the bloody big deal' or 'Why all the fuss?'. The other big element was my aspirational family upbringing which placed am emphasis on savings & investment...so I was always living for the future....and investing the proceeds. As a result since leaving school I have worked about 8 years (as an employee) and done little else productive for the balance of 8 years. I've spent most of that time investing and trading with my savings...was doing ok until my current GF dragged my attention off the markets. Written alot, not never put my mind to publishing. Its not that I dont like working...in some sense I'm always working...I could even show you a picture of me working, but in ernest I just couldn't stand working for 'dicks in finance'. So what was a critical analyst to do...but as he is trained to do...so I analysed and came to the conclusion that these 'dicks in finance' were not going to let me get ahead because I was good at what I do...and made them feel inadequate. Of course I'd prefer to invest millions and get fat commissions where I deserve them, but I'm tired of looking for it. When you meet more than a dozen 'dicks in finance' you start to see the pattern.
Now when I watch people and I observe how they think, I recognise that they approach life with a sense of 'tightness' or 'generosity', and I mean this not just with respect for money, but with respect to their broader value judgements as well. Well having grown up in Australia you might not be surprised to find out that no one ever showed any appreciation or recognition for what I did. Now I read the 'self improvement' books and they say you should praise 5x more than you criticise. I frankly reject this approach. I think this is what creates 'finance and other dicks' because they are unable to accept criticism. Thats one aspect...the other is a deluded (subjective) sense of reality. Thats what creates economic bubbles, and yes you can attribute those to financiers as well. These people actually think they are good because they appear successful to others, they work with Merril Lynch or something. They inflate market outlooks because thats what they profit from. They dont get generous bonuses unless the market expands...so little wonder the market is geared to expansion. If you are critical of the market outlook, you are a pariah, and quickly marginalised. But the other aspect is just how easy it is to make money when everything just keeps going up. You no longer have to be analytical, you just have to be a salesman. You have to sell it. That was another issue...I'd have thought people want to know the arguments for and against an investment. But thats not how 'dicks in finance' work. They write to convince irrespective of the merits because they get paid for raising money...and few people make money in falling markets as falling markets undermines confidence. Well this builds all manner of false economies which is beyond the scope of this post.
So I am a great believer in a balance of criticism and praise when and if they are deserved. But I've come to realise that few people truly have a sense of objective reality. They only hear criticism. There have been times I have made a statement 8-10x and its not been heard, but they will readily hear the bad news. I suspect when 'markets are climbing the wall of worry' breaking out of a downtrend, its the same thing.
Now the amazing thing about the Philippines is that people here are very generally very good at praising others, but they have their fair share of criticism as well. Now you might think that these people are surely great listeners, but paradoxically they are the worst. I used to think it was because they didn't get my accent, but thats not it. When I observe Filipinos talking to other Filipinos, they dont listen at all. So this drew my attention to flaws in the Filipino culture too. People here lack a sense of purpose, lack a sense of organised structure or discipline, they blow as the breeze takes them. Those that are more aspirational go overseas, and Christian guilt if not close family compell them to send half their savings home.
So that still leaves me still trying to find out where I belong...but I do love that I can buy an apartment here sooo cheap. Living here is not as cheap, but its not bad. Yep...I'm that tight.
PS: Refer to 'Tools for Life' for how to apply the Principles of Ketchism to your life.