...You asked me, "What is the true meaning of life?"
So I ask you, "What is true meaning?"...
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  1. "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - John Dalberg-Acton

    When I think about what's going on in society right now, this quote comes to mind. But now I wonder if it is the power. Any vision for which you need power over others in order to achieve is no vision at all. Like the saying, "If you need violence to enforce your ideas, then your ideas are worthless." From that perspective, it stands to reason that someone who sought power was already corrupted by the illusion of control, and deceit of ego.

    Some people have good intentions. Their ego-mind tells them, "if I become this, I will have the power to stop that." But this too is false. For example, if it takes aggressive policing to bring peace, then that peace is fragile because somewhere the police presence breeds distrust. Somewhere, someone is growing unsettled.

    Also, one cannot rule out human fallibility. People have a natural tendency to get used to certain states and circumstances, even authority. Some people will simply get used to getting their way, especially if the system allows for them to be privileged.

    This entry isn't about police officers or privileged people, but power and the human relationship to it. Does power corrupt, or does it take a corrupted mind to seek power? Is a blend of both? Can any power be lasting?

    As I see it, the only true power is creative power. The innate ability of a person to create himself or herself in a way that suits them. It is the same force that enables them to reshape their lives, to build constructs, to expand horizons. It draws on primal creative energies more potent than will power. And I think this power is non-tempting, non-corrupting. I think the pursuit of this personal power is vital. But wouldn't my previous postulations make people who seek this also corrupted?

    Perhaps it is as Marilyn Manson said, "Corruption and enlightenment are no different." Hmmm... Under this premise, power could lead to enlightenment. But what, then, is the relationship between enlightenment and power over others? What can come of that? And why would an enlightened mind seek something so illusory? Huh... Just food for thought.
    Hubardo likes this.
  2. Gay marriage legalized in the United States, huh? This has made a great many people very happy, and many unaffected parties are very excited. Many people are upset by this given their position on homosexuality or their religious views. As for me, I am glad equality under social order and law is being recognized for a substantial group of people who will love or lie just that same as anyone.

    Many are arguing and will continue to argue that homosexuality is wrong for this reason or that (be it religious, or grounded in some other research). That's fine, it is their understanding. Many are arguing that gay marriage is illegitimate due to religious definitions. Fair enough. Marriage has long been held as a religious ceremony, with many couples marrying in a religious institution in accordance with their faiths, believing their vows ordained by their vision of God. Historically and culturally, marriage has maintained a level of religiosity.

    However, what people forget is that marriage has also been considered a business engagement between two families. In some cultures the woman is given to the man's family with a dowry for taking her into his home with the promise that he will love, protect, and provide for her. In others, the man has had to buy his wife. In many cases, royal families married their sons and daughters for political matters. Furthermore, marriage has a social context alongside (and even outside of) it's religious one, making it viable that people today can be married under a social institution without religious pretense.

    In the U.S. - as shady, backwards, and false as things can be here - there is this a pretense known as "separation of church and state." This means that the gov't has no religious affiliation and shall protect the rights of the people and act without religious bias. Moreover, this means that no state entity should try to define or legitimize marital status by any religious conceptualization and should honor the right of two people seeking that social status. Any decision that marriage should be one man and one woman is practically arbitrary, as gender and sex are no indicators of a persons ability to fulfill their spousal role and uphold the social contract.

    What I'm getting at is this: Regardless of anyone's personal views on homosexuality, the state is obligated to protect the right of the people indiscriminately. That does not mean churches should be forced to hold weddings and ministers should be obligated to officiate. It just means that the gov't recognizes and extends this social status equally and unbiasedly to all people in the legal sense. With that understanding, it does not matter what anyone believes. It doesn't matter if you approve of homosexuality or if I think it's unnatural (for argument's sake). Nobody is asking that question. The question is whether an entire social group is considered equal to the rest of us under state law. Finally, the definitive answer is 'Yes.'

    And to those who are offended by the decision and feel like this devalues the very concept of marriage to date, stop making it about you. Turn off the ego-mind, let go of who you think you are, and look at the world around you. So much more is going on than what you think marriage is. The sacredness of marriage comes from two souls coming together in the presence of existence and vowing to cherish and uplift each other. For the spiritual person, this understanding brings reverence to marriage that the state is not obligated (nor expected) to acknowledge - it is personal. People who marry for the "wrong reasons" or out of "poor understanding" (in your eyes or mine) still deserve the right to do so.

    These are my thoughts. With that, I'll leave the hype alone. Congrats to all those who stand to benefit from this overdue decision. If only such decisive action could be taken concerning the anti-black sentiment perforating from the very pores of this country. (No offense to the loving people not involved in the hatred. Nothin' but love for ya.)

    ‪#‎SharingLove‬ ‪#‎SaringThoughts‬ ‪#‎Namaste‬ ‪#‎Hetepu‬
  3. You ever watch a show or read a book, and by the end of it you've come away feeling that you've learned something? I'm sure we all have or will at some point. In any event, that's what this one is: a small reminder inspired by something I've been watching. (And if you're curious that something is Naruto. The first series is on Netflix, and I couldn't pass up a chance to re-watch one of my favorite childhood shows. :rolleyes:)

    I had a few takeaways from this show this time around. This one comes from something the protagonist, Naruto, said to his young friend, Konohamaru, who sought the fastest way to reach their shared dream of becoming Hokage (the greatest ninja of the land and leader of the village). He said there are no shortcuts. And he's right.

    When it comes to our dreams, there are no shortcuts. If, for one person, they come quickly, then so be it. But if they do not, so be it as well. For most of us it takes time, and that means patience. It takes hard work - focus, diligence, persistence. It also takes faith to overcome all the times we will doubt ourselves along the way and serenity to accept when some doubts have truth to them. And last, it takes integrity to stay true to your vision and your path. Many forces will distract you on the path to your dreams, and some will change you. You have to have the resolve and self-awareness to grow from this and not be hindered. That's what it takes to see your dream to the end.

    Oh! One more thing: at some point your dream will be challenged and you will have to decide for yourself what your dream really means to you. That's when you learn how far you will go for it and hopefully, gain the will to keep it alive. You may also learn something about yourself.

    Given this forum is full of ambitious people, I hope someone can come away from this with a little clarity. Asé. Hetepu. :agreed:
  4. I was reading a discussion earlier about whether "critical thinking" can really be taught in schools. Many people said yes, and I was inclined to believe them as a prospective English teacher (seeing that "developing critical thinking skills" is among the stated goals of many English departments). But those who said no also had an interesting argument that it's about the natural inquisitive nature of the person. In other words, they have to want to know.

    After reading the discussion I began to wonder what "critical thinking" really means, and now I think most people, particularly the students who are trying to "learn it," have the wrong idea. So this is about what it means to me. I believe it can be taught, but not the way we've gone about it. It should be taught by fostering students ability to assess things for themselves and then build a case and sense of confidence in their own perspective.

    Look at the word "critical." The root, "crit" comes from Latin "criticus" (which may be a derivative of the Greek work "kritikos" or "krites," meaning a judge). A critic is a judge, one who tests the merits of something. The suffix -al implies likeness, so to be critical is to be like a critic. Therefore, to think critically is to make determinations from one's own mind by assessing the merits and qualities of some thing.

    To me critical thinking is about the person, and the way he or she perceives, processes and determines truth of the world and everything in it. It's not about learning to see from this perspective or that, but looking beneath the surface of a text or a claim or an idea to make connections from the evidence using one's own reason. Learning about other perspectives is only the starting point, but in the end, yours is the one that matters. It's about what you find after looking from as many angles as possible (close, wide, overhead, underneath, whole, in parts, etc.) with your own eyes

    In literature, this often means asking about who's writing, when are they writing, to whom are they writing, and in what form. It does not mean adopting a Marxist, feminist, naturalist or modernist lens (for example). We can use these questions formulate judgments about the texts meaning, purpose, and more. In science it often mean asking if an idea is in keeping with other scientific findings, and more importantly, if it match the evidence presented. It does not mean accepting a conclusion as fact because there is data, but reviewing the data to see if it supports the conclusion.

    Being critical often means being skeptical, but that is not a bad thing in and of itself. It means having a mind to doubt, and doubt opens doors for questions. These questions questions lead to discovery. It's not about right or wrong, but this process, which inevitably opens and empowers the mind. Only an open mind can think critically because only an open mind is daring enough to look for it's own answer. Critical thinking, then, is a function of the free mind, an intelligent expression of individuality. (Keep in mind intelligence is not a matter of what you know, but how you think, and no two people have to think alike.)

    So can critical thinking be taught? I say yes, but only insofar as one is willing to teach individuality and to foster curiosity and the belief in one's self. A better question might be if it can be learned. That answer depends on the individual, their willingness to trust themselves and their innate desire to learn. In the end, this is all my take, but I do encourage you to have your own opinion.
  5. Hi guys. Looks like I'm taking a brief stop in my thinking chair.

    I've finally begun to break ground into new ways of thinking. I'm not finished yet, of course (could I ever really be?), but one of the things that's been pressing me a lot lately is the idea of the authentic self. People today spend more time sharing quotes and pictures and hiding on the internet than developing their own thoughts and expressing what's inside of them. At times I can't help but wonder if there is anything original in them in the first place.

    It's time to be more authentic and start expressing ourselves. Get into yourself, discover who you are, how you flow, how you resonate. Form an intimate relationship with yourself and realize your entire being. That in itself will help you understand your own importance and that of everyone else. It's about ALL of us and EACH of us. It's about love for the outer and the inner, the all and the one.

    We are so destructive simply because we do not know our own value. We are bound by conflated egos, but true self abides deeper than this superficial idea of self. Find self and you find connection to something more. Then illusion fades and you recognize (re-know) the importance and equality of all life.

    Simply by awakening to our own selves, we will foster traits like compassion, wisdom, harmony, and intuition. We'll recognize the complexity of life at varying scales and, perhaps, our place(s) in it, as a part of it, not the apex. (Creation is continuous, ongoing, and we are participants and facilitators.)

    The world is desperate for authentic people, original people, people who can bring their unique perspectives to our complex problems. We need physicists every bit as much as we need biologists and philosophers and teachers and movie directors and painters and singers and mothers. We each have something the world needs, and we are out of balance because most of us are trying to be something we are not--and worse, we aren't even aware of that.

    It's time to tune out the distractions, turn down the chatter and background noise. We have to flip the intake switch to output so we can become empty. In this emptiness we will find how full we really are, that we have abundance to spill out into the world.

    You don't have to wait for someone else to say something; there is a value in putting things into your own words. That thing becomes yours, your discovery. Not in the possessive sense, but that in that you have come to it on your own and the experience will expand your consciousness and promote further freedom of thought. Freedom is one of the highest aspirations.

    Love and freedom go hand-in-hand as two of life's greatest pillars, two things we are born with and have no right to encroach on. Individuality, the knowledge that you are not the same as others, unique to your point in space and time, unique to your awareness and ideas (even if shared by others), is freedom of mind. And that is what the world is lacking. The mind needs to be free in order to evolve, and evolution is the function of creation.

    One needn't even affiliate with a religion or believe in souls or a higher power. One must simply believe in his or her self and take responsibility for his or her own trajectory. The only other necessity is that you meditate, by which I mean take time every day to be in total stillness with yourself, to facilitate the emptying and self-recognition. Just relax and be, and be aware of your being. Whatever spiritual ideas comes of that, then, is right for you.

    This is my truth, a discovery I made all on my own. Sure I had help in the way of planted seeds here and there, but it's something that budded within my consciousness when I began to nurture it. I'm thankful for the chance to share it with you, even if no one cares to read it. Self-expression isn't about the reception (who sees it, who likes it, etc.), but the state of uninhibited being. ;)