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The Philosophy of Explanations

25 Apr

God is the steward of the unexplainable. When man comes across phenomena he can neither understand nor explain, he sometimes attributes them to the will of God.

Often, man uses his reasoning to discover the explanation of a particular phenomenon.  Once men can explain it, God is no longer believed to be the architect of THAT PARTICULAR PHENOMENON. Instead it becomes another tiny part in the ever-happening Story of This Universe. This does not account for other phenomena, however, for most humans continues to believe that God makes the unexplainable happen.

Science is the backbone of the philosophy of explanations.  The goal of the men and women of science is to understand the natural world and be able to explain it to all of Mankind. This is a slow, and very gradual process. With enough information, people will probably get to the point where they understand everything the cosmos has to offer. Maybe not.


But we will always keep trying.  “Humans are the best at trying. That we know, anyway.”

Ideology, Philosophy, and Religion

16 Sep

What is the difference between an ideology, a philosophy and a religion? What is the criterion that makes the distinction? Where is the line drawn?

An idealist will think that the ideal in itself is a reason to believe. In his mind the ideal will bring about the governmental and cultural changes that will be necessary to save the people of his village. He will speak ardently about his views, and try his best to explain it to as many people as possible until he gets a following large enough to take over the village.

A philosopher will think that he can give the people of his village a reason to believe in something other than the day-to-day activities of the village. He will argue his views primarily in intellectual circles and usually die many years before his beliefs are adopted by the people of the village.

And religion…well, a religious person “knows” that there is a reason to believe. His knowledge of the afterlife fuels his belief in a moral existence. It is this fear of the oblivious nature of the unknown that is the center of his views. In most cases this one will eventually convince everyone else in the village to believe what he does, whether they want to or not.

On intellectual monopoly:

30 Aug

“There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law. Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.”
Robert A. Heinlein


Liars and Theives

30 Aug

No, I don’t mean politicians, at least not specifically. I watched a little kid pocket a candy bar in the grocery checkout after his Mom had told him he couldn’t have it. I’m sure the kid ain’t all evil, but he’s sure off to a good start.

Honesty is a virtue that is rapidly disappearing in our culture. Children are bombarded with people who lie, cheat, and steal their way to prosperity. The governor of South Carolina told everyone he was going on a hike while he was down knocking boots in Argentina. What are kids supposed to take away from that? Sex is so bad that you gotta lie about it? A rich Jew stole $50 billion dollars from many of his rich, Jewish friends. What kinda sense does that make? They were his friends for petesake! The North Korean government says one thing then does the other. Is that written in their constitution?

I really hope the kid gets caught and scolded for his dastardly deed. Maybe he will learn an important lesson about the virtues of honesty, and the evils of thievery. If not, then I fear society may end up paying for that candy bar and others like it in the end.

1969 – A 40th Anniversary

20 Aug

I was born in ’75, right in the midst of the sexual revolution and, uh, disco. The sixties were over, the war was over, and AIDS was coming. I’d always known that I had just missed something special, but I was too young to understand what it was. Luckily, I was constantly reminded of it by the pop media of my youth. My first favorite movie was Platoon, and my first favorite album was Led Zeppelin II. I even had an English teacher put our class through an entire segment devoted to the counter-culture of the sixties (I did a report on The Doors; the movie had just come out on VHS so I brought it in – that was my report). There was something interesting about the sixties, so interesting, in fact, that it is still felt today.

1969 is remembered to many as the last great summer of man. This summer has been filled with 40th Anniversary celebrations to remind of us of that seemingly magical time. We have revisited the moon landing, we have revisited Woodstock, and we have revisited Manson and his craziness. The guys at Monty Python are getting together to crack jokes at their anniversary party; and I also read, for my fellow technophiles, that it is also the 40th birthdays of both UNIX and AMD.

A lot has happened since Bryan Adam’s favorite summer, some of it memorable, but very little as game-changing as then. It seems to many that our culture peaked a bit in ’69, and has been going somewhat downhill ever since. Heck, we geeks are crossing our fingers, toes, and eyes praying that we go back to the moon. How screwy is that. Maybe it’s time we start making our own headlines of hope, rather than be forced to relive the best of times decades later.

Hope Is

8 Aug

I had the pleasure of witnessing two rites of passage today. One was my daughter’s karate tournament at the local recreation center. The other was the christening a new Catholic baby.

At the tournament, I watched while children as young as six competed for glory. They hoped to win one of the little medals the karate people gave out. They hoped for those medals as if they were made of real gold.

The little warriors met on the mats like gladiators sparring on an even battlefield. They wore protection for their hands and feet, and a few of them even had helmets, perhaps hoping to resemble characters from their favorite video games. They punched and kicked with the precision of artists creating a masterpiece.

The crowd looked on with rapt attention as the children battled it out for tournament supremacy. I heard someone make a comparison to ultimate fighting. This was my first tournament, but the comparison was easy to see. The kids fought as hard as any athlete. I sure hope my daughter wins one of those medals.

It was all fun and games and everybody was smiling, until one of the kids kicked a little too high and hit his opponent in the face. The hit kid and fell to the mat with a loud splat. The crowd cringed and groaned, holding its collective breath in the hope that the little boy would be OK. The kid barely missed a beat, though. He was already getting up, punching and kicking the whole time. He still hoped to win the match.

Many children fell to the mat that day. It was just another typical tournament for the children. Those kids played in fighting because they hoped to win. They hoped to survive the day. That is what we humans do.

Indeed, many of the kids left with medals; I hope they treasure them forever. My daughter won two medals and was as happy as I’ve ever seen her. I am so very proud of her, and I hope she continues with her karate training. I hope she can one day be a black belt.

The christening was a different sort of an event, but an event nonetheless. There were fewer onlookers than a normal mass, yet the gathering seemed to pay closer attention than normal. The parents and godparents stood before the priest and passed the baby from gentle arm to gentle arm.

The priest rambled on about original sin, eternal blessings, and what not. The baby didn’t know what was going on, though. He even cried a little as the holy water ran over his head. The baby doesn’t yet know that the water represents hope. He was absolved of all his sins that day. He is as innocent as they come. It is a blank slate many older people hoped for almost every day. If only that priest would pour a little of that water on my head.

The onlookers hoped the best for the new child and his family. The parents are charged with the task of raising the child, hoping forever that he will be a great man one day. That is the best any of us can hope for our children.

That was not the end of my day. I decided to take a nap, hoping that I could get some rest before dinner. However, I was awakened after only a few minutes to the news that an 8-year-old neighborhood boy had been missing for the last four hours. On a normal day I would have hoped the kid was at a friend’s house, perhaps playing video games, totally in ignorance of all the excitement of his disappearance. But the tournament had brought in many outsiders to our quiet little neighborhood, and you just never knew nowadays.

I didn’t know the child, so I grabbed my daughter and went out to join in the search. Everyone involved hoped beyond hope that we could find him before we lost daylight. The police were called in. Everyone searched. Everybody hoped.

Soon enough, the child was found. He had gone to a water park with a friend and hadn’t alerted his parents. Everyone sighed in relief. The boy was unharmed. His mother embraced him, crying. I hope she will be able to get over the traumatic events of the day.

The adults gathered all the children and told them how unsafe it was these days. We told them that merely hoping they will be safe is not enough. They would have to be diligent and always aware of their surroundings. The kids listened to us then ran off to enjoy the rest of the summer day, leaving us old folks to hope they understood our message.

That was how I spent my weekend, and I’m sure you’re hoping that I will wrap this up pretty soon. I just want to say one more thing. Hope is always there, as long as I have breath in my lungs, blood in my body, and a functioning brain I will always have hope. I’ll hope for the best for my wonderful wife and my amazing children; and I’ll hope for the best for myself. I’ll always keep hoping. I just hope you understand what I mean.

Visit Sarah’s facebook page to see Jada triumph at the tournament. Jada’s the yellow belt.

If you want to see the christening, then you need to watch the Sex in the City episode, “Unoriginal Sin.”

He is Everything. Everything is He

24 Jul

I wrote the following as a comment on Digg this morning:

“He is Everything. Everything is He. Have you ever heard the story about the guy walking through the desert and looks back at his footprints? Of course you have, everyone has. So this fella looks back and sees that every time there was a downhill slope there were TWO sets of footprints, but every time there was an uphill slope there was only one. So the dude says to God, he says, ‘Hey, Why is it that you walked with me when the trail was easy but you deserted me when the trail was hard?’ and God replies, ‘Whadaya mean, He says. ‘When you were goin’ downhill I kept you company, but when you were going uphill I carried you!’

This is an old parable and it sure makes a lot of sense. He is with us always, and He doesn’t mind carrying us……He literally has nothing else to do but be everywhere all the time.

He IS Everything. Everything IS He. That’s written in ALL the books, I’m sure of it. I haven’t read them all, but I’m pretty sure that His omnipotence is a recurring theme. God created the universe in His own image. God is the universe. He is Everything. Everything is He. It’s the only way any of those books make sense.”

I dunno, I may have been off the mark. I’m curious to know where you think I made a mistake.

Plan B’s

20 Jul

The great thing about knowledge is that it is possible at all. For example, my cat, Jimmy, knows only a few things – he doesn’t even know any tricks. Since he’s just a cat, he lacks the capacity to learn much more.

It’s easy to see the comfortable joy there must be in being a cat and not needing to know much. On the one hand, I am in envy of Jimmy the Cat, for he will always be safe as long as I am around. I pay the rent, I buy the food, and I keep the predators at bay. All the cat needs to worry himself with is chasing cat toys and enjoying his little life to its fullest. On the other hand, however, he lives at my mercy, yet he doesn’t even know it. Chaos is always only a few unfortunate choices away, and you never know when a bad choice may come to affect you. If I were to lose my house (which may happen), I would probably have to send Jimmy away. Of course I’d find someone caring, and tolerant, and also very very patient. Jimmy would live a descent life with someone else, but without me to assure him that everything’s gonna be OK, his perception of his fate would always be uncertain.

Now, if Jimmy were smart – in fact, if he had ever bothered to pay any attention, at all, to any of the hardships to affect us recently – then he would best get busy preparing himself for dire possibilities. If he were really smart, then he’d have some kind of “Plan B” ready to go in case all should fall victim to chaos. But that’s the rub: he’s just a cat; he’s a really sweet and well-behaved cat, but ultimately he’s still just a cat. He unwittingly takes his existence for granted, for he lacks the ability to think otherwise.

People have that ability to think otherwise, and we have it in droves. There’s an ultimate game show going on, let’s call it SURVIVAL. The premise: “Life exists on Earth in myriad forms. Whomever SURVIVES, wins. Everybody likes to WIN.”

everybody likes to win.

whether it’s winning the love of a former enemy

… or a friend …

even if it means winning the respect of one’s peers.

even if it means winning a gift card to sears

… or a day within a family …

(imagine if you won the big game or a statue from the academy)

to win.

quite honestly, it’s the only reason we bother gettin outta bed.

We like to win 🙂

SURVIVAL is the easiest game there has ever been, and, so far, we’ve been racking up points. Most of us don’t pay attention to it (hell, many of us condemn it), but humanity is always doing what it can to defeat nature. In doing this, humans remain firmly on our quest of of winning the game of species SURVIVAL.

(remember … we like to win)

It’s in our nature to be innovative and to create new ideas from the lessons that came before us. We always learn … throughout our lives and throughout the history of man. The more that I learn, the more that I cannot afford to be blind to any possible “Plan B’s” that may make things a little better.

My wife taught me recently how much easier it is to drink water if I do it through a straw.

Duh! Right?

Now, when I sit here writing this stuff, I’ve always got a straw in my mug of water next to me. There’s always music playing, and Jimmy the Cat is sitting at my feet staring up at me.

Neither the convenience of the straw nor the love of a good pet need be your motivation. Just always be on the lookout for one or many “Plan B’s.” Always be on the lookout for an easier, more efficient, more economical, more user-friendly, more renewable, more eco-friendly, and … dammit … more PROFITABLE way!

It feels good to do good things

For my fellow humans.

I do better,

And feel better,

For my fellow humans;

plus I get paid.

Knowledge is possible so that our species can win the game, and humans are cruising on the expressway to victory – maybe even on overdrive. Humans are tool users who can forge anything out of anything else, as long as there is knowledge, a need, and a profit available.

Jimmy wishes that he knew as much as I do. Then again, does he? Hell, he knows so little that he doesn’t even know what he’s missing. There are lots of people out there who don’t know what they’re missing. Many of us find it hard to break the chains created from the erroneous things that we are taught. Many of us cannot find a way to truly think for ourselves.

Think for yourself.