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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Go to school, get a car, get a job, go to college, get married, get a house. Rush, rush, rush.

Does this sound familiar to you? That you feel like you have to do these things in a certain prescribed order from your birth to your death? And that you have to do these things as fast as possible?

Well it does sound familiar to me. The pressure, the advice, the need to go on and plan for college at five, to start driving at sixteen, to just move along and get a life at warp speed. And if you do not do it now now now, if you are not Bill Gates by the time you are thirty, well then you are a failure. Your life has no meaning. At least that is the way that it sometimes feels living it in our modern high-tech society.

Humans live longer then ever before, our life spans are growing by leaps and bounds, but yet everything is prescribed for us for virtually the first half of our lives. And beyond. At least that is what society seems to expect from us.

But speaking as someone who has taken a bit of a slow path to ones life I have experienced both the good and the bad. I have felt inadequate as my class mates were preparing for college and I was sitting there wondering what the point was. I have thought and wondered, and the only conclusion I can come up with maybe one should take the slower path.

Our lives are whirlwind enough without adding any extra pressure to them.

Sure we need jobs, to participate in the economy, to learn and to grow, and to maybe go to college. We need to learn how to be productive members of society. Sure I acknowledge and except the concept. Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country, saith John Kennedy.

But do we ever sit here and wonder why? Why must these things be done now? And in any particular order?

My life to this point has been both a blessing and a curse, and for this very reason. I have sat here and wondered on the deeper meanings of life and the divine and our place in the modern universe, yet I am not where most of my peers would consider saneness.

But it occurs to me that we are encouraged to rush. From about the time we are five to about the time we are twenty-five, to make all these lightning fast decisions at a blink of an eye. Meanwhile we compile massive debt, massive obligations, and we are told by society that if you do these things you will be a success, and then we get angry when we are not Bill Gates and we do not have that much of a job, or a future all prepared for us.

I have heard the constant complaint that our lives are moving too fast, that we need to slow down and relax and appreciate things. Well is this not the reason?

Why must we go to college at 20? Why not wait until we are at 30, or 40, or even 50? Sure one could die tomorrow but if many of us were to die tomorrow many of us would die without a college education or are just starting one. If we got any job under the sun then we would still die poor.

This is not an invitation to give up, but to say, if by some freak accident you really were to die tomorrow then why not take your time?

Why do we not slow down and consider things more? Instead of rushing through life at warp speed why don’t we look around and actually consider the universe around us? What got us into the position we are in, and what can get us out.

Yes I am very blessed. I can write and bring you these blogs every day and hope someone reads them, notices them and says ‘hey let me give you a job.’ Or that I can practice and then apply myself eventually.

But in realizing this there is not a one step solution for life, not a one size fits all formula. It is messy.

And if you have to flip burgers for a few years, or if you have to work with your Dad in a business, until you can pay your own way, for anything…marriage…house…job…college…why shouldn’t you?

And in the process you might learn some other things.

Again I have no real solutions, but I have advice. Take a break, learn, grow, make some money, make yourself strong and secure in your life before you stat any major project.

And don’t rush.

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A higher education, or continuing education, is one of the most important decisions you can make in our lives. It is something that could end up determining what our careers are, what our jobs are, how much money we make, and what general path our lives take after from the moment you go and every moment after. Or at lest that is the way it is supposed to work. Get interested in something, study for it, then pursue a career. But yet with it being such an important decision do we really consider the cost?

I mean sure parents think about this for a while, or are supposed to, I remember my Dad considering our options when I was five or six. Which I consider to be quite insane, but that’s beside the point.

But no, do we really sit here and think about the cost? Or more importantly the why? After all there are some rather convenient Government programs all set to take care of us so why even bother with details of financial planning. Let them worry about it!

One thing I do know. Financial costs for college are rising. (Source) At my College (Link), and hell even NPR is taking notice of the fact, (Link).

But hey they even said that it could outstrip current Government efforts to provide for us so you know what that means right? *sigh*.

But I am told we need this. Hey you don’t want to be a failure in life right, you do not want to flip burgers forever, hey you need this to succeed and get a descent job. I have heard this all before.

And maybe they are right. After all getting educated can’t hurt, can it? Well maybe a debate for another day.

But what has this idea, this notion if you will, done to us? What has it done to the cost of our education? That you have to get an education otherwise you will have a remedial job for the rest of your life and you will be some dumb hick.

Let me put it to you this way: Ever heard of the concept of supply and demand? OK maybe you haven’t.

What about in Oil?

Oil is something that we, currently, depend on for our society.

Everything from our clothes to our transportation to our energy supplies. Everything. It is a part of us. Something we need cheaply and efficiently if we expect to keep our current lifestyle going.

OK judge this how you will but what happens when the supply of oil drops? Or the demand of oil goes up?

Prices go up. We suffer, we have to consume less. And eventually the prices stabilize. Well maybe.

Is college magically exempt from this formula?

Everyone is supposed to go to college, everyone has to want it, and most people do it. The demand increases…well through the roof. There are more people going all the time. After all the population is still increasing.

But even if you can’t go, if you can’t afford it in your own, just wait there are these wonderful Federal Programs that you can take. Thus the demand is increased ever higher, through artificial Government means to boot.

Fewer spaces needing to be filled. More teachers, more classrooms, more classes, more time, more effort, more resources, being used up. Costs go higher, the higher the costs, the more the demand, the more the need for higher tuition and fees to pay for it.

Is this the whole story? Probably not. The state of the cost of our higher education is pretty complicated and I am sure there are no easy solutions. I just know that we have been sold an idea. An idea that we have to go to college or some ‘formalized’ education after high school in order to be successful. I know this idea makes it so parents get cranky and demand you go to college and kids usually agree. Now now now, before the penny drops.

I know what this does in every other economic principle, and I know that there is no way this idea can possibly deflate our education costs.

I think and suspect that everyone does not have to go to college, and if so they should wait. Until they can afford it and in a style that best conforms to their own lives. With their own finances not relying on Government’s help. But learning, and building a life, for themselves, and not being any more or less a failure because of it.

I even know of people who did not go to college and are very successful, like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. Or they tried it out and succeeded on their own. Glenn Beck is in this last category. Or they went to college and found success in another field unrelated to their original area of study, Michael Savage is one of them. I have read several authors who are.

Wasn’t Tom Clancy an accountant?

While this is old news by now I think it is something really worth mentioning. That we cannot make excuses for the actions of others. I believe I have talked about something similar before but it bares mentioning again.

Simply put, We Cannot Make Excuses. Not for the actions of others, not when they might have a legitimate cause, not when they are out to kill us. We cannot make excuses, and we cannot obfuscate and say that the people who want to kill us, and have our way of life destroyed.

Just who is making excuses though? It might be a teeny surprise, but it looks like Ron Paul is making excuses. At the Debate on September 12th 2011, the CNN Tea Party Debate he had an exchange with former Senator Rick Santorum about what is going on in the world and the middle east.

(Anyalisis and Debate) (His Blog)

The argument here is through our ‘imperialism’ or through our ‘interventionist Foreign Policies’ that we have created Cuba, Iran, Castro, Osama Bin Laden, and most of our problems in the Middle East. That the threat that we are facing is entirely of our own making.

And yes. Our Foreign Policy from years gone by to the present has not been the best. We have created some horrible situation and we have messed in other countries affairs. We have supported vicious tyrants like Hosni Mubarak and even Saddam Hussein and others. We did support Afghanistan and the fight against the Soviets of which Osama Bin Landen was also a part.

But we cannot be held responsible for creating all evil.

Have we done wrong? Yes.

Have we made mistakes? Yes.

Should we have a debate on our Foreign Policy? You bet your ass.

Were we an impetus and a reason why the ‘Arab Spring’ rose up against their Governments? Partially yes.

But did we create the virulent Antisemitism exhibited in the Middle East? (Source), (Source), (Source),

Is this not evil?

Did we cause Osama Bin Laden to launch a terrorist attack on us to kill innocent people? Ron Paul thinks we did. Do you?

Yes we can, and should, have the debate on what is a proper and just Foreign Policy. But we have to be realistic. And most importantly, stop making excuses for the actions of others.

A while ago, and thus this blog may suffer, I was thinking about just what is the difference between good and evil,and what is the spectrum between these two polar opposites. Especially since we live in a world that is smack dab in the middle of the two extremes.

I think it is a realm that has four different ends to it. You have the creation/ destruction end, and you have the balancing of your internal needs with your external ones, all needing to be kept in balance.

Creation and destruction is an obvious one, but it does not always have the most obvious implications to it.

We need to balance these two factors out.

If we just spent all our time creating and creating and could just constantly create to the ends of the Earth then we would run out of resources on this planet, and then we would create ourselves to oblivion.

If we constantly destroyed then the planet would be a burning cinder and nothing would be alive and there would be no civilization.

And we must balance our internal and external desires.

If we just lived on what made us feel good what made us feel good, our urges in other words, then we would take and take and take.

We would have sex when we wanted. We would eat what we wanted. We would go in and steal and destroy with no regards for any other soul or person. As long as it would make us happy, it must be right.

But if we constantly lived to serve others without securing our own needs we would be destitute and poverty-stricken with no way of doing much good for anyone else. Even ourselves. A lesson that we all must take to heart.

We could not secure our lives, our liberty, or our property.

War is a good example for this.

What good is in war when war just destroys and kills?

Well what are you fighting for? Are you fighting to destroy something, a nation, a religion, a culture, a group of people? Or are you fighting for principles and to create a better future and preserve a way of life?

Tyrants destroy. They just destroy and live high on their people taking what they want from them in order to satisfy their own desires whether it is political ideology or just personal fancies. They have no regard for their own people or anyone else around them.

But good societies and people often try to preserve and build something, we often work together and no one may steal from another.

But a balance must be struck. Because if we do something that is either too much for us, or too much for others, then we will lose ourselves and not do anything. If we do not allow destruction to take place then we will eventually run out of things and become complacent.

Only through our choices can we determine what we are doing, where we are striving for.

Science and Religion, two forces in the Universe seemingly so opposite where they cannot be reconciled. So different that they can never meet. One about the ‘blind faith’ that people have in the supernatural magic spirits that live in the sky, and the other is based on ‘logic and reason.’ But they are closer then you might think.

In fact in my religious and scientific conversations during the last year or so I have come to realize just how closely entwined these two aspects of our lives are. They are both a search for answers. They both try and find humanities niche in the universe and explore our relationship with the world around us.

And both are examples of human frailty, but also humanity striving for excellence.

Both can be manipulated by weak humans with agendas, both can be wrong in their assumptions.

And both are capable of extraordinary growth when we realize that we have been wrong in either venture.

Science has been wrong on the facts in the past. Whether it is new information on evolution that we did not know, and preconceptions that have been shattered.

It has been manipulated and used time and time again whether it is the Piltdown hoax in evolution (source) (source) (Also check), or the recent Climate Gate scandals when it was revealed much of our assumptions about global warming and climate change were based on faulty information.

Or just wrong. As far as the errors in the methods and equipment we use to test things, or errors in human bias.

Or the examples of priests and preachers in ancient days who would keep their flock in the dark about biblical principles to manipulate them for political and personal gain. Same thing, religion can be manipulated, and religious people can draw wrong conclusions.

And our understanding of God, the universe, and the divine have also grown. Our religious and moral understanding of scripture and even the world around us has grown.

Both have grown.

Both have grown as a result of one another.

I think it is even safe to say that both need each other. Because both has something that the other one does not.

If we are to survive as a people we need to understand these two aspects of society, and not constantly attack them.

I think without realizing it, whether or not we as individuals, or we as a country, have let Keynesian economics infiltrate our economic systems. I think we have let the idea that credit is a good thing, or that debt is a necessary burden, infect our society.

Regardless of the system we have, be it a capitalist one, or a socialist one. Either way we are being encouraged to spend radical amounts of money on many goods and services, whether we have the money, or not. And if we get into trouble, why that is a right, why we need that, why lets rely on the Government to provide it for us.

From healthcare or an education or a lot of other aspects of our society.

I was having a conversation with somebody that I know and they told me that to get anywhere in this society you need to have a credit. Now they were not advocating this as being right, but stating the fact that this society encourages you to have a credit score. And to get credit you need to incur a debt, and then be able to pay it off.

Now not all debt is bad, if you can handle it. It is a matter of degrees. That if you HAVE TO do something you should do it, if it’s a matter of life or death or for temporary gain. As long as you can pay that debt off easily and within your income area. That is common sense.

But to have it be a condition of being a part of society? I do not think this sounds like a winning strategy. In fact this sounds like a Keynesian strategy.

And when you are supposed to have a debt in your day-to-day life, or as some badge of honor, then that is wrong. When the Federal Government has a debt to fund all of its programs around the country then that sounds like a dangerous path.

When you have program after program or when you have to go out and get for yourself, health care, college, a home, a strong military, on and on and on. There is a point when this becomes a burden, there is a point where this becomes unsustainable.

When it is easy for us to ‘spend what we want to get what we want’ it rapidly goes from safe and secure, to unstable.

We have to reverse this trend. We have to go from just spending these heinous amounts of money, to saving, to becoming secure, to where we do not have to go off and get something if we do not have the money to pay for it.

Because otherwise we will just keep spending, we will just keep on acting like an economic philosophy we claim to despise.

I was at a tax day tea party event last year, and while it was interesting and I learned a lot about the political process and picked up a few pieces of memorabilia, one aspect stuck out to me in particular.

Joe the Plumber came up to speak, sort of surprise guest, and gave a speech about the current political happenings and his personal experience. But there was one bit that stuck out to me. He said that there was ‘nothing new under the sun.’ Which happens to be a quote from the bible. (verse)

At the time I found this odd, so odd that I cocked my head back and shook it in puzzlement. I mean sure history repeats in some form but look at all that humanity has accomplished. Was our sky scrapers or combustion engines or fission devices on this planet in years past? Don’t answer that. 😛

At the heart of this matter is a question, whether or not there is a God or some ultimate truth out there.

If the answer is yes, then there is nothing new under the sun, if no, then there are lots of things that could be considered new under the sun.

You see if you believe, like I do, that there is a God, an ultimate arbiter of good, evil, and truth then knowledge is out there. For all too discover it. Sure we may have individual and unique ways of looking at it and taking what we will from that knowledge, but it is out there. There are facts, and a divine truth out there. Things that are correct, and proper, and true.

If someone comes to you and tells you that they are the ultimate arbiters of truth, knowledge,that they and only they can tell you the truth about science, knowledge, history, and God, then they are probably trying to sell you something. Something that I believe should not be bought.

Especially in the modern information age.

Knowledge does not belong to any institution, be it a church, a business, a college, a school, or a Government bureaucracy.

You can use almost anything at your fingertips to find knowledge, truth, and put you on the right path to further knowledge.

Now this does not mean that these institutions cannot be helpful and cannot teach. They can, and have done so successfully for millions of humans for generations. They are there to help, to teach, to educate on a wide variety of topics from religion to science to history to art. But they are not the only things that can. The seed of knowledge can be planted almost everywhere, even doing the most simple of tasks.

Like tonight for instance I was reading the Ace Combat Wiki and came across a class of ship that I never heard of, I looked it up on the internet, and there it was, wala. I learned something new, from a web article on a fictional game. Now this may be a poor example because there is no principles or nothing really practical, but, well I do not know what is practical, and it serves as an example of step A can lead to B.

You can learn as much on philosophy and good moral behavior from a simple TV Show or Movie franchise like Harry Potter, Stargate SG-1, or Babylon 5, that you can from any priest or philosophy class. Or, for that matter, your parents.

You can learn all about religious history, religious principles, and religious rituals from Wikipedia or random internet articles, even from debates on online forums like Facebook or other areas I visit. You can learn more here then a class on World Religions, that cost a lot of money to boot.

You can learn about proper writing techniques from reading Tolkien, Rowling, or Clancy, rather than taking a creative writing class.

Or about scientific terms and forums from crime scene shows or science fiction then a class on Chemistry.

More about politics and US History from a talk show host then a professor lecturing in a classroom.

All of this can plant the seed in your mind for you to go out and gain knowledge on your own. Which I suppose is the problem.

People have come to rely on something, someone they trust be it a professor or a priest or an accredited scientist, no matter the cost. We have come to rely on these people as a society for our livelihood, for the betterment of our lives, the current wisdom is you must have a degree if you want to have any good job. That you have to attend lectures and seminars to gain a certain skill.

Really?

The path I advocate is one of hard work and self-reliance. It is one of questioning life and trying to find your own path.

Trusting but verifying. Be it your parents, or almost any other institution that is out there.

After all time and time again the human race has been taught the lesson, do not let power get concentrated in the hands of the few. Do not let an organization or institution be the keys to all knowledge. This has bitten us each and every time.

After all, popular wisdom holds, we are not supposed to trust the church on morality or every day principles, oh no. Look at what they have done! They have molested little kids and threw scientists in jail…several…hundred…years…ago. They are monsters! Unreasonable! Ignore them!

Trust the scientists instead!

But wait don’t, some of them, lie about global warming data? Or have invented entire species to try to gain scientific renown in evolutionary circles?

Don’t trust your parents, or charity, or even your neighbor to take care of you or to try to teach you proper morality or facts on life, oh no you need the Government mandated and supported programs, and here is free Government cash to let you in!

And here I thought we were complaining about the woman who praised Obama over his stash.

In short there is no one size fits all solution to life or the knowledge in life. It is my belief that we have come to rely on a certain set number of institutions to provide all the answers to our life, that we even have to participate in them if we hope to succeed in life.

That does not sound like a winning strategy to me. And I know that it’s not true either.

And that is the Fundamental Truth, of Our Time.

Again this was the conversation I had way back in the day, one of my classmates was talking about Bush and how he had ruined their life. Or at the least made it unnecessarily difficult on them.

Now I do not think Bush can ruin your life, or Obama, or any other Government. Unless they physically line you up against a wall and shoot you, you can still make a difference. Your life is still your own.

But the Government can make things unnecessarily harder for you.

Through IDs, through requirements to do this or that to be a ‘productive member of society,’ through endless bureaucracies and paper work and hoops you have to jump through to get a simple thing done. Yes they can make it harder for you to start out.

Through bad fiscal policy. Through massive and punitive taxation, rising inflation, and irresponsible spending policies that lead to ever-growing debt. Making it harder for those who are getting started to pay for their basic necessities.

And through piles of legal paperwork that you have to sift through and be in compliance with if you want to do anything like go to college, drive a car, or start a business. Why on Neil Cavuto’s show recently he had a speed reader on going through the thousand of pages of government regulations that business have to go through to stay in business and to start in the first place.

He was one of the fastest readers out there and looked like he deserved the title but even by the end of the show he had barely made a scratch in the endless documentation. Though Neil interrupted him constantly which might have had something to do with it.

Some of these things make sense, and some of them do not. Some of them work for our society and our modern times. And some do not work and are an unnecessary hindrance that only complicate an already complicated process….known as life.

But this does not matter. Because if you let these things get you down and ruin your life then you give them power, which is what they want. Your life is ruined, nothing will exist to make it better, you will just sit there and die.

Or you will become bitter, deem that the whole system needs to be destroyed and set out to do just that no matter the cost to anyone around you.

Or you can pole-vault those difficulties, rise past them and try to use them while working to change and reform the system to make it better for all. To make it fairer and more even.

We have the choice. Whether or not we let these ‘societal obligations’ get to us, or whether or not we rise past them.

Throughout my life I have had conversations, debates, and discussions on the politics of caring. On what it means to care or should people care or how they should care or what they should do when they care about one another. Whether it is your Government, or just your day-to-day lives, I have had the conversation on what is the right thing to do.

You see caring does one of two things.

First off it allows people to do things for you and about you, to try to help you deal with your every day life.

But then it becomes something more. When someone cares about you they expect you to do things. To bend to their will that not only do they care about you and want you to succeed but they want you to do what they think is best to help you in the exact manner they do it.

I guess the classic (though poor) example is of cleaning your room. You want something from me? Well you have to keep the house spotless.

Or in the Government, the Government cares right? But then you have to pass papers and requirements, you have to fill out paper work, you must have a credit in order to get the most basic of things.

So in order to have this great and caring Government assistance you have to jump through hundreds of different hoops which may not serve you or your interests.

This is true for college, and a wide variety of institutions.

And meanwhile, in either case, they have to spend money. So not only do they care about you, but they are willing to compromise common sense and economics in order to achieve their dreams when their could be a better way.

Whether this comes to health care, or college, or anything else that they want from you.

After all the aid is out there anyways so why not use it?

Now caring and love and charity are very good things to have for individuals and societies.

We need to love our brother and help them out in times of need, this is something that our humanity demands of us.

But its a balancing act, there must be a balance.

Between caring and love, and stifling someone’s free expression or providing for them until they are incapable of providing for themselves.

If I may be so bold, a God like balance.

You see it is clear from me from my biblical knowledge, (though this is incomplete), that God just does not usually act in the ever day lives of man. That He chooses to act at certain pivot points, for individuals and societies.

Like Job or the parting of the Red Sea.

God rarely moved and does not need to move in our day-to-day lives.

He could just come down right now and take us to heaven this instant and save the world.

But He chooses not to.

He chooses to let us live and give us the free will to stumble, He helps, yes, but He does not run our lives.

This is the kind of love and caring we need to do.

The Diversity Alliance The New Righteous Amongst the Nations

Last week Glenn Beck held the Restoring Courage Event in Israel to help stand with the Jewish people, the Israelis, and to help provide an example to the rest of the world see Israeli courage and then learn from it. There are several lessons that can be taken from the events as a whole. And you can watch it on GBTV.com or read articles and transcripts from it on The Blaze for further reference on the stories I will be talking about in this blog.

But there are two principal lessons that can be taken from this event.

The first is one that I touched on in the New Righteous of the Nations.

We cannot just protect the Jewish people for the sake of the Jewish people. We cannot be collectivists like the Anti Semites and Israeli haters are right now. We must be individualists. We must do this to save the individual from all those that would smear and destroy anyone who is Jewish for being Jewish.

The second example is from the Diversity Alliance. A previous blog that I did (which you can see above) that goes into the politics of diversity and turn it into the politics of unification. And how you cannot get a unity while trying to divide everyone into their subgroups.

You cannot get a country out of politics and groups that constantly espouse a philosophy of division. You cannot get peace by divvying up a state or a city into separate groups into the hands of ethnic or political groups. Which I thought that was what the Israelis were being accused of in the first place.

It struck me as particularly telling that during Restoring Courage Glenn relayed, and handed out, three medals based on three people based on the ideals of faith, hope, and charity. One to the Fogel Family, one to a restaurant which is co owned by an Arab and a Jew, and a philanthropist/ store owner who sells good, and gives out free food and services during Muslim holy times so Muslims can properly celebrate their religious obligations.

(Link) Read the last paragraph and do your own research for the specifics.

In the case of the store they were targeted by a radical Islamic sect who were opposed to their sense of unity.

This is odd, there is a group who espoused unity and the ability to work together and serve people no matter their religion, who was bombed by a group claiming to want freedom from oppression.

In fact it is interesting because Rami Levi, the Jewish store owner, also serves the community regardless of religion. As there are also members of the Israeli Knesset who are Arabs and members of the Muslim faith (who even came out against Restoring Courage).

So Israel seems like a place of great unity no matter which faith or ethnic group you belong too. Yet there remains groups that want to divide it up? An Arab Nation and a Jewish Nation?

Yes while the nation is ‘Jewish’ in a lot of respects and named after the original home land of the Jewish people, and in the same place to boot, it is welcoming to all faiths.

And yet people want to divide it up? And along largely religious and ethnic lines to boot.

For what purpose? How will this improve the situation by taking a nation that is to a large extent ‘secular’ and respectful for the rights of all? And turning part of it into what?

Again I believe the answer lies in unification. Not division. That is the Israeli people want to work out their own problems they need to do so as a people, Arabs and Jews, Muslims…and well Jews again. And be a beacon for the rest of the world.