Li: ritual, propriety, etiquette. Hsiao: love within the family (parents for children and children for parents. Yi: righteousness--the noblest way to act in a situation. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards others. Chung: loyalty to the state and authority. --Confucius (Kong Fuzi)

All articles appear in reverse chronological order [newest first].

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I believe the past is relevant, sometimes more than others of course. In most cases we are seeing history being repeated, so it is most relevant.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Please, please, please, no more inspiration… New Years or not, no more resolutions…

Every New Year million of people take on the task of setting forth resolutions for the comming year. Resolutions that range from the simplistic to the complex, from the mundane to the famulous, from the satirical to the serious.

Many of these resolutions take the form of promises to ourselves, others, or God.

Many of us seek sources for these resolutions; personal experiences, goals and aspirations failed or forgotten, literature, the bible, our heroes.

Happy New YearTo push ourselves towards carrying out these resolutions we write them down or to put external pressure on our selves to keep us from backsliding we share these resolutions. We further endeavor to embrace the completion of these resolutions by embracing like minded people or philosphies that echo our efforts. We use the words or practices of these people and philosophies as inspiration.

The irony of New Years resolutions is that the process is practiced by everyone to a certain degree. The degree that it is practiced is strangly emphasized by the time of year, eventhough we make resolutions year round. To pressure ourselves, under the guise of ‘encouragement’ we embrace the use of inspiration.

So, every New Year, we are exposed to, or choose to expose others to, our resolutions and the accompanying inspirational messages that follow. As anyone on facebook can attest to, there is no better way to bombard our ‘freinds’ with these inspirations than Facebook. What used to be accomplished through cards in the mail, then a phone call and then e-mail, can now be accomplished by broadcasting them over the internet.

The problem is we are now afflicted with this sharing of inspirations (evidence of personal resolutions) on a daily basis. Resolutions have been popularized by the New Year, but in reality, have never been limited to to the New Year. We make resolutions throught the year, monthly, weekly, even daily. The unfortunate reality now is that we can support our personal resolutions on a daily basis by sharing our inspirational message with ease. No trip to the drugstore for an inspirational card, and no time need be spent on composing an original inspirational message. Its now just a google search, or a bookmarked web site, followed by a click and we have shared our inspiration with everyone who needs to share our commitment.

This does no harm. Nobody has to read them or be inspired by them. If it serves to keep someone, the ‘author’ or recipoent, on track then it is a possitive thing. We see it everyday and it does no harm, but please save us from that freind who can’t decide on an inspiration for the day or a signifigant moment. All wee need is one Facebook freind who insist on 10 inspirational messages every morning, or the one who plays catch-up with 30 inspirational messages whenever they miss a day. (Arn’t they the ones who always fret over you not responding to a particular inspiration or even menial post of theres?)

Having said all that I must confess that I suspect I to am guilty. Of course if you read what I posted you would realize that mine were different… more sincere, more inspiring, more to the point, not as prolific, an definatly important.

I’m just saying.

OK, instead of a New Years resolution, or a year ending/beginning New Years message, I propose a challenge. A year ending challenge to where or how you seek inspiration. Do you seek inspiration from sources that reafirm what you beleive? Or do you accept a chalenge to seek inspiration, in whatever form, from a source that you expect to disagree? Click here to accept the challenge.


A New Years Challenge Instead Of Resolutions:

by Glenn Littrell

OK, instead of a New Years resolution, or a year ending/beginning New Years message, I propose a challenge. A year ending challenge to where or how you seek inspiration. Do you seek inspiration from sources that reafirm what you beleive? Or do you accept a chalenge to seek inspiration, in whatever form, from a source that you expect to disagree with?

This is a challenge with no expected outcome, no purpose. It is not meant to convert anyone, to change anyones mind, to get you to admit anything or concede anything. You are the sole judge of what, if anything, is proven or realized. You are free to ‘grade’ if the challenge was productive.

Is there a point? Maybe. Let’s call it an experiment. Below are several podcast of discussions on “Believers and Doubters”. Each discusses different sub-topics concerning the main topic and each are addressed by someone of a different philisophical/religious persuasion. Each podcast is from 7 to 12 minutes long. The object is to select a podcast, listent to it, and consider its meaning. Make of it what you will.

But here’s the challenge: Don’t select the podcast that is most likely to support your current view. Based on whatever criteria you choose, the sub-topic, who it is discusing the topice, or even the length of the podcast. Whatever your criteria is choose the podcast that you deem the furtherest from what you would expect to agree with. You can listen to them all, but make the first one, or the only one, is the least one that appeals to you.

Here are the choices::

  • What’s The Difference Between Believe and Faith.  Billy Graham, Christian Minister. 
  • Is Doubt Essential To Faith? Lesley Hazelton, Agnostic Jewish writer.
  • How Does A Person Go From Beleiver To Athiest? Julia Sweeney, actor and writer. 
  • What Can Atheism Learn From Religion? Alain de Bolton, Atheist and Author.
  • Are There Any Universal Beliefs And Truths? Devdutt Pattanaik, Hindu Mythologist. 

Too often when we seek information we seek information that confirms our beliefs, our opinions. Sometimes we may seek information with no concern for confirmation, we’re just looking fo an explanation, a starting point before forming our opinion. In both cases, we tend to limit what we learn because we seek confirmation or because we rely on one source.

If you believe, as is the gist of this challenge/experiment, that sources of information can be biased then you should consider that all sources can be biased. In fact, no source can be completely unbiased. It is virtually impossible to a certain degree and for too many of us we tend to accept as ‘least bias’ that source which affirms our beliefs.

The basis for deciding if a source is biased or not is not whether it agrees with us, but to discern how relative the information when compared to other sources. Of course, if we make the comparison between ‘like-minded’ sources then our affirmation will be proven in that context, but it will nonetheless be biased.

Notice the many themes spoken of in the podcast: doubt, faith, belief, etc. Yet none of the themes are spoken of by the Christian, the Hindu, The agnostic Jew, or the Athiest as being absolutly, completly or exclusivly important. They all speak of the importance of doubt, faith and belief, not the absoluteness of any, but the importance of all.

I guess the experiment here is

  • did you listen to all of the podcast?
  • did you come away with something from listening to all, more so than if you had just listened to the first one that appealed to you?

If I’m wrong then nothing gained, but hopefully, we can agree that multiple sources can help inform not just a better opinion, but also a more informed and better opinion.

The speakers that were interviewed in the above podcast from NPR Radio were selected on the basis of a Ted Talk that they had given. To here their complete talk use the links below.

TED is a global community, welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On, we're building a clearinghouse of free knowledge from the world's most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other, both online and at TED and TEDx events around the world, all year long.
In fact, everything we do — from our Conferences to our TED Talks to the projects sparked by the TED Prize, from the global TEDx community to the TED-Ed lesson series — is driven by this goal: How can we best spread great ideas?
TED is owned by a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation. Our agenda is to make great ideas accessible and spark conversation.

click to hear their original, complete Ted Talk:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Mary Did You Know

reposted from 2012

-click the arrow to start the video-

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

AND THAT'S HOW THE FIGHT STARTED...........................

One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift...The next year, I didn't buy her a gift. When she asked me why, I replied, "Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!" And that's how the fight started..... 
ab (2)

My wife and I were watching “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” while we were in bed. I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have Sex?' 'No,' she answered. I then said, 'Is that your final answer?' She didn't even look at me this time, simply saying, 'Yes.’ So I said, "Then I'd like to phone a friend." And that's when the fight started...

I took my wife to a restaurant. The waiter, for some reason, took my order first. "I'll have the rump steak, rare, please." He said, "Aren't you worried about the mad cow?" "Nah, she can order for herself." And that's when the fight started..... 

abaker (10)

My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table. I asked her, "Do you know him?" "Yes", she sighed, "He's my old boyfriend.... I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since." "My God!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?" And then the fight started... 
When our lawn mower broke and wouldn't run, my wife kept hinting to me that I should get it fixed.  But, somehow I always had something else to take care of first, the shed, the boat, making beer… always something more important to me. Finally she thought of a clever way to make her point. When I arrived home one day, I found her seated in the tall grass, busily snipping away with a tiny pair of sewing scissors. I watched silently for a short time and then went into the house… I was gone only a minute, and when I came out again I handed her a toothbrush. I said, "When you finish cutting the grass, you might as well sweep the driveway." The doctors say I will walk again, but I will always have a limp.
My wife sat down next to me as I was flipping channels. She asked, "What's on TV?" I said, "Dust." And then the fight started...
Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat up to the van, and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad all day. I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed... I cuddled up to my wife's back, now with a different anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible." My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?" And that's how the fight started... 
cartoons (6)

My wife was hinting about what she wanted for our upcoming anniversary. She said, "I want something shiny that goes from 0 to 150 in about 3 seconds." I bought her a bathroom scale. And then the fight started...... 
After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's License to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman that I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later. The woman said, 'Unbutton your shirt'. So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair. She said, 'That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me' and she processed my Social Security application…When I got home, I excitedly told my wife about my experience at the Social Security office...She said, 'You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability, too.' And then the fight started... 
My wife was standing nude, looking in the bedroom mirror. She was not happy with what she saw and said to me, "I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment.' I replied, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect." And then the fight started........



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hateful Rhetoric For The Enemy, Our Friends, And Our Fallen,

UPDATED 12-12-15:

“…London Mayor Boris Johnson, another Conservative, on Wednesday called the businessman “out of his mind” and said he was playing into the so-called Islamic State’s hands.”

“When Donald Trump says there are parts of London that are no-go areas, I think he’s betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him, frankly, unfit to hold the office of president of United States,” Johnson added.

“Benjamin Netanyahu has joined a long list of international leaders to reject Donald Trump’s comments about Muslims, while championing Israel's "respect" for all religions and citizens' rights.”

“Eight deployments later and still in the Marine Corps, Hadzic has become disturbed by the rising anti-Muslim sentiment in this country after the recent Islamic State attacks in Paris and last week’s San Bernardino shootings. GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, a candidate Hadzic used to support, has called for barring Muslims from entering the United States.”

Captain Humayun S. M. Khan of the 201st Forward Support Battalion, 1st Infantry Division. A Pakistani Muslim born in the United Arab Emirates, he moved to Bristow, Virginia, and later graduated from the University of Virginia, joining the Army to help pay for law school. Captain Khan lost his life in Baquabah, Iraq on June 8th, 2004 when a car bomb exploded at his checkpoint. In a show of incredible bravery, he ordered his unit to take cover while he approached the vehicle alone, prompting the suicide bombers to detonate their deadly payloads. Thanks to his intuition and selflessness, his was the only American life lost that day. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and laid to rest with full honors. “His colleagues and superiors remembered him for his courage, honesty, sense of humor and grace while in the field, even under pressure” reads his obituary.

For Muslims in the U.S. military, a different U.S. than the one they swore to defend

Benjamin Netanyahu 'rejects' Donald Trump's comments regarding Muslims and says Israel 'respects all citizens' rights'

Aspiring Statesman Donald Trump Has Already Pissed Off U.S. Allies Around The World

Father Of Fallen Muslim War Hero Teaches Trump A Lesson About American Values


Saluting Muslim American Patriots


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