Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Do I have a need for a personal "charter of responsibilities."?

That would be essentially a total disclosure of what I think.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Quest for Purpose (4)

Literature search part

Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, states:  We discover this meaning in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering (and mitigation of more suffering )

Searching for meaning becomes more about attitude that we maintain than the actual whatever we are doing, or the why of doing. For years my company tag line was: providing information to build on. As a geotechnical engineer, that was what I provided, as our core service, but also a bunch more related services. Then I retired and fell into a existential vacuum after doing a few thing that I wanted to do. So I need a replacement for work which I value. Blogging is nice but it is only one part of the solution. 

Some part of the search is displaced by being in the present moment for life activities, sleep, body care, meals, or some entertainment. Some of my days are taken up with care of this property, grass, garden, snow clearing, an bit of maintenance when I am so inclined. 

Studying and learning is a useful displacement, however applying what I learn beyond myself is not part of the use, for the memory is failing so it is difficult to learn and retain information. This is something which was not a problem before age 60, but since the short term memory is a problem. If I read something today, it will be gone later, and I will have no recall of any of this tomorrow. I could not write without spell check and grammar check. Some of that is dyslexia but it is worse, a loss of short term memory. Enough whining, and back to reading Frankl again.     

Monday, November 21, 2016

Quest for Purpose ~ (3)

The quest to derive a current purpose in life has become urgent, well as urgent as a retired person can become urgent. Time is relative, or our valuing of time more likely. What we value, our beliefs, and meaning with engagement, and/or attachment in the conscious mind is the objective. With a why a man can life almost any how, or something to that affect is a quote I recall, but from who, I am not sure. Frankl repeats it, but is not the source.

I just had a read through the UN deceleration of human rights. Cognitive dissonance what? It is a fine but lacking document, it lack a human responsibilities section. Along with rights comes responsibilities that must be spelled out for the people, else wise the social programs will fail from overload. How the social programs required are going to be paid for?

There must also be a section on human responsibility. This IAC document is also lacking. If humans are going to survive they need to control there population and use of resources. In addition, our responsibilities must include some like:
  • All humans need to work toward local or state self-sufficiency, work using mainly quickly (annual growth) renewable resources, and not be a burden on the state.
  • all humans need to educate themselves in science, and scientific method using real evidence, to not cause undue pollution, overpopulation, etc
  • all humans need to be rational, use science, and be sensitive to the physical needs of others.
  • all humans need to learn to protect themselves from emotional abuse, falsehoods created by politicians, businesses, religion, elders, and learn to filter for truth, rational thought,  and scientific correctness.
  • all humans need to learn much, and ever generation needs to learn these same stuff.
Along with this goes a responsibility of the state not to overtax, abuse their citizens,  Over-taxation and general discontent is creating big issues in the world. It is discontent and pollution that will bring down civilization.

My purpose must stay within my responsibilities as a citizen of the world, and be real, not just a fantastical dream. More contemplation is required.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Purpose in Life (2)

Generation of alternatives is the next stage in the decision process. It is more along the lines of useful meaningful work that I need, but I am not willing to punch a clock, nor do sales, nor my old profession, even if I could. My mind is just not sharp enough anymore. It had stopped being fun a number of years ago, but I had to wind down the company, such as it was.

Why is purpose important to have at a conscious level? If we are alive and doing we have a purpose or meaning in our lives. Purpose or meaning is the root of motivation for doing whatever we do. That is coupled with attachment to the purpose or meaning, and engagement in meaning, together these attitudes produce flow in life.

Typical purpose or meaning have connections to something or someone outside of ourselves; religion for some, or some cause or organization for others, often at the exclusion of others. Some are fixated on family, and become immeshed. The other extreme occurs when a dishonest member screws another, splitting family, or religion, politics, morals, other other value splits family. Work or career is often sited as something to become engaged with, but then forced retirement comes along, or no longer capable, or memory begins to fail, or the need for the occupation dries up or decreases... overpopulation, yes. Fixation on some objective is often seen as a driving and motivating force, but fixation can be broken by any number of things, becomes obviously impossible or we recognize our cause is irrelevant.

Family is not a factor, and I was raised in the era where we talked openly of overpopulation and pollution. I was raise in relatively poor conditions, and early on realized I would not subject any child to what I underwent growing up, hence the no children stance. Some of those cold and savage conditions effected me in other ways, personality issues, relationship issues, and the like, bringing us to where we are today. One of my close cousins was a modern hermit until he died.   

One other item that has come up out of this political discontent around the world. Canada also has this issue, but in Canada with multiple parties, some 35 to 40 percent of the popular vote are in control, where as with Brexit and US election you need 50 percent. The Liberals are in power here with the support of the natives on the Dole, with I think 38 point something of the popular vote. The liberals offered something for everybody, but are searching for ways to borrow enough cash to make it work. They are short of delivery and are now looking at tole  roads. Oh well.

Hobbies are supposed to be fun, and anything that I tried was for a while, but then they became chores. I could do any number of renovations around home, but I have no desire to do. I could turn wood, or other wood related projects, but why? There is no purpose in those things for me anymore. I can sit and whine on a blog for a couple of hours a day perhaps, but that too has it's limits, and is of little value to anyone, beyond me filling time up.  I do a bit of traditional archery, but no interest in competition. Walk the dog a couple of time each day is about all my hips can take. I did film photography, but digital does not appeal much to me. Most of that is Photoshop anyway, and what does one do with all the images? I have file drawers of film and pictures down stairs that no one cares about. That is a lot that I am not interested in, without a purpose for the effort. So there is more negatives or what I will not be doing unless my attitude changes.

To visit relatives and some friends is a strain with their god talk. I need to be on an anthropological expedition mode of thinking. Until I became a atheist from just not caring agnostic, this was not a problem. It is amazing how much christian beliefs have seeded the English language.

I struggle with writing, and could not do it effectively before the computer and auto-correct. When I was young and working as an engineer, I depended on several wonderful secretaries, and then we hired a typist, who soon left from overwork with redoes.  Oh well, life goes on. Reports on onionskin anyone? Carbon paper anyone?  And forms on Gestetner. Hand drafting, and log tables, slide rule before the calculator in 1973. Oh well, I am dated, past my best by date. I have half of a museum around here. Technology has changed the offices in my lifetime. We adapted, but how many times can we do it? It is time for more adaption.

Comments are welcome.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Purpose in Life

This blog is about to take a turn for a bit. Bear bare with me if you can. My displeasure with the modern food system has not left, and some vitriol posts may be coming, if and when I get to writing them.

This purpose of life bit is an exercise in renewal of self, to refocus on what is important as viewed from a old codger prospective. I think it is important to think about things like this from time to time, especially as we undergo major changes in our life. What has happened in my life? Well I have retired, done a few things that I always wanted to, become a strong atheist, from an agnostic/not caring position, and have had a bit of time to read, think and write about stuff. I have encountered free time, which is something new for me. A conscious purpose in life is one of the necessary foundations for building the remainder of my life.

Now biologically we can say that the human has no purpose beyond reproduction and supporting the development of the human species. This is fine to a point, but when we examine the past we see civilizations flourish and die, as long as the remains have been around. Jared Diamond and others have examined this, and we can say that in most cases, the downfall was brought about by overpopulation in the environment the civilization existed in. There are no old great civilizations thriving today. We are likely doomed from overpopulation, pollution, and depletion of resources. It is also common that the civilizations continue in a reduced state long after the collapse below the peak.

Now to get back, to purpose, from this we can see that reproduction and development of the human species is a "genetically driven" purpose, so that suggest that anything we do that drives society forward is purpose, and aids in the advance of society, and is therefore valid purpose. Even being a burden on society drives development of social programs of the government and the do-gooders, just as the robbers drive the insurance, home alarm, home security business. So almost anything is helpful to society in some form. Some only give purpose to others in society, and this also contributes to society. In other word, almost anything contributes to society to a point. Those who are not a burden on society do more service than other who are primarily a burden. Oh well, in the end we all just die anyway.

There is a limit on what the people will support, and we may be at that limit, hence Brexit, Trump. Rather than a tax revolt, we are doing a political revolt, starting in England and now the US. As a Canadian, we saw the NDP in Alberta and Trudeau in Ottawa. When more than one half of the voting population think there is a problem, we will have a dramatic shift, not necessarily correcting the problem. We are at one of those shift points. In Canada we have the natives on the dole that shifted the balance of power with our multi-party system. Oh well, itewajda.

Now in order that I can get myself behind the new purpose, it must motivate me. That means I must value the prospects, and find no obvious blocks without work arounds. It must have meaning and purpose, to which I can become attached and engaged with, and have a positive attitude about. The new purpose must fall withing my skill set, more or less, and within my meager means. It must also be within my beliefs and values. Being atheist prevents god or religion becoming a purpose or providing meaning. Dueling hypothesis was the final straw in removing all doubts as to the no god hypothesis is much more likely. I personally think Eastern (Buddhist, Confucians, Hindi)  morality and  ethics leave Abrahamic morality and ethics (jewish, christian, muslim) in the dirty ditch, sucking swamp water, but that is just my opinion having read about both.   

So what is my purpose? From the criteria, anything that helps society in some way is a logical choice. Now to generate alternatives, add more criteria along the way if necessary.  Your comments are welcome.

PE Pussy Graber

Pretty thin skinned this fellow. If he expects an apology for this,  he is out to lunch.

“Vice President-elect Pence, we welcome you, and we truly thank you for joining us here at ‘Hamilton: An American Musical.’ We really do,” Dixon said to further applause. “We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and work on behalf of all of us. All of us. Again, we truly thank you truly for (sharing) this show, this wonderful American story told by a diverse group of men and women of different colors, creeds and orientations.”

 This is the fellow the US picks as a leader?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Wrong Hypothesis

I learned that a hypothesis that I based much of a lifetime of work on is actually incomplete, it is wrong under some conditions. We learn as we go no. It is all history now, but the feeling of finding out a major hypothesis of our life is wrong is quite a shock.

Frankl's insight is that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. Of course, if we find pleasure meaningful, for some, pursuit of pleasure is meaningful. Pleasure is specific, while what we personally find meaningful is general, making the US constitution equivalent to a hypothesis that we just realized as incomplete, but we still understand it.

Then there are the dueling hypothesis of god/no god. Before this can be addressed we need to decide on what is evidence. If we eliminate all holy books as hearsay, then the no god hypothesis has much more support and credibility. When we just review all the available evidence, the case is clear, there is no god. I understand how this hypothesis is impossible for some to accept, it goes against all that they have believed all there lives. The only solution for them is to die off. Oh well.

So is there a direct connection between what we find meaningful and our actions. The simple answer is no, since staying on a diet is next to impossible. Eating and desiring food is much more of a physical/primitive instinct that is even our belief system, but our beliefs are much closer than is our reasoning mind. So if I am to make not eating meaningful to myself in some way.... Who knows?    

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Truth or Bullshit

I have no dispute with 64 oz being about the required water, but the source of this is in dispute.

The earliest source of 64 oz per day I have seen is from the US civil war, how big should a standard canteen be? The decision was two quarts was the minimum that a cavalry or infintery could get by for a day on, so that was the canteen size selected. Nothing but experience, no science.

This is not much different from the Greek goatleg of water from 2000 plus years ago.

So 8x8 is not a modern concept, but something that is about right, as demonstrated over time. Many of us overweight people run a bit dehydrated, so to drink more water is not out of line recommendation. A big glass of cold water does tend to force an end to a meal.  

Friday, November 4, 2016

Willpower Failure

Does the willpower fail, or is it the disconnect between willpower and action?

Just how do we define the will? Frankl, in the doctor and the soul, says the will is our ability to make choice, which is also what Epictetus suggest we have control over, absolutely. If the power to choose is really the soul, the geist, the mind, then when I overeat, there is a disconnect between the body and mind, for I am aware of doing wrong, but keep doing it regardless. I become possessed by a force outside of my mind, and my body just does it.

During meditation, I can separate my mind from body, I have control over the mind, but my body still wants and does. It is not, therefore, a willpower failure but a disconnect between mind and body that occurs.

In Sam Harris's work, he found nothing he could relate to as free will, but he was dependent on the body for measurement, so he was not isolating the will, but including the body/mind interface in what he was measuring. In order to make eating a fair choice, we need to provide an alternative to eating at all times. That choice must be as enjoyable and fulfilling as eating... well after our metered meal. 

Retirement may be a bad concept, as one really needs something to do. In engineering, as a technical specialist, loss of memory or rather failing memory is not a good thing. Other professions may not be as heavily dependent on memory, but for my own safety and others, I need to give it up. Now I need replacement activities, but lack the desire and/or interest to do much. Oh well, in the end we all just die anyway.

So I guess this whole post is just about how wrong collective thinking about willpower failure is. It is the connection between will and physical action that has failed, and much of that is not through the individual, but through the collective thinking, education, we receive, informally. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What is Important Today?

mental wanderings without purpose

Frankl in search of meaning got me thinking. Philosophy and meaning, what else is there? The object of logotherapy is to modify/increase meaning to make life more, better, without effecting the philosophy. But so many of us suffer from philosophical issues, might it not be simpler to just create and load a whole new logos, rather that patching up the old one piecemeal? Really, since it is self loading, it must be piecemeal over the existing, one concept at a time.

So what would a new cultural free logos look like? Could it be cultural free? No, it could not be culturally free, for the existing human operating system was loaded during childhood/student/youth/young adult/adult/old adult stages, and is immersed in culture. Any new logos would contain elements of the culture or digital culture from which it came. It come down to what is the ideal philosophy/meaning to paint onto life in the present environment, and present time.

We are in control of our decisions, but we can only chose between available or conceived options. We have control of our attitudes which is a big part of how we react to life, and every situation. Since we have control of our decisions, and attitudes, we have control over our opinions, and what we accept or reject. This gives us control over our beliefs, values, ethics, characteristics we emphasize, and those we suppress. That gives us control over our desires and aversions, motivations, and a number of other mental or geist issues. Once we start to even think about getting the body to do something, we can only influence the physical part of us.

There is one of my problems, conceived options. I do not generate options readily. I could just sit here and drink tea, or I could write a bit, or....

Our mind is logically responsible for only that which we have control over. It is therefore illogical to "take responsibility" in the absolute sense, for anything we are not in complete control of, yet the law expects that we will. Responsibility is therefore only an approximation of control, and is only what others would like to control, not actual control, only proximate control. So we only take proximate control at best of anything beyond our mind, and therefore can only have proximate responsibility. 

The logos would need to a encyclopedia type of book. To impose order on a wind ranging group of concepts would be near impossible. AC Grayling has made a effort of writing clips on many subjects, but does not go near the basics. The logos must lay out concepts which then can be picked up individually, with both the up size and the down side discussed. Many concepts have both, which provide rational limits on the characteristic. Consider charity; families can easily get into finical difficulty if we are too charitable, trusting, gullible. Many of the modern charities are essentially business that pay the administrators very well.  We need compassion, but not get stupid about it.

So what is the next move?

As a retired person, my views may be slanted. My impending death (0 to 23 years) should provide a sense of urgency of action, or so says the stoics. Yet, much of the time, I just do not care, tomorrow is another day. Today is day 24676. Oh well, in the end we all just die anyway. Growing old is optional, death is not. After we consider death, all else is more positive. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.