Mind is a Vehicle

Image that your mind is a car, and you are the driver.

This car can get you wherever you desire. It can also get you where you don’t desire, if you neglect clarity on your destination or are lazy in your maneuvering.

What a wonderful vehicle the mind is. It requires a lot of upkeep, and if we take good care of it, we can travel to magnificent places.

That being said, imagine if you never stopped driving. Perhaps from time to time you’d slow down, or even idle, but you’d never get out of the car. Inevitably, you’d  spend a lot of your time driving in circles. Big circles, small circles- whatever it takes to stay safe while in motion. It would be harder to enjoy the places you travel to. Not having time to step back and reflect, it may cause you to rush the process of choosing your next destination.

This is how many of us use the vehicle of our thinking- unable to stop.

Thinking is our creative power, the thing that allows us to change our surroundings. However, thinking is different from enjoying where we are. We must be present and paying attention to what is here and now in order to enjoy life to its fullest. The mental concept of an experience is not the same as the actual experience. Similarly, driving through the redwoods to say we’ve done it and thinking about how we’re going to be able to brag to our friends about it is not the same as getting out of the car and walking though the trees.

Thinking is also tiring. It is the hardest work we can do. If we don’t take time to get out of the car, we will get exhausted.

So appreciate the vehicle you have. Take advantage of it. Just remember, you’re here to enjoy it, and if you’re always in a rush, you’ll never get anywhere.

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Suggestions Not Necessary

“Bad People” ignore other people’s input, and therefore don’t understand the effects of what they’re doing.

I believe that it’s pretty rare for a person to do what they think is bad, and impossible for a person to do what they think is wrong.

People become “bad” by disconnecting from others, and adopting a narrow view of life. They still want to create, enjoy, and take care of their own- but when somebody loses sight of the big picture, they can start taking actions without understanding the consequences. That often means not understanding that other are being hurt by one’s action, and always means not understand that one is ultimately hurting themselves.

Dictators, for example, do what they think is right. The just have a unusually high belief in their own worth, and a low belief in the worth of others. They think that other people are incapable of making decisions as good as their own, and thus they dictate. It’s not that they want to ruin everything- they just don’t see the power in other people, and therefore disable it.

I myself became guilty of this. I basically decided that nobody around me was adequately addressing global issues, and therefore nothing their desires, thoughts, and ideas were basically inadequate. I just wanted to help people- but because I stopped respecting the viewpoints of others, I ended causing a lot of harm.

I know that you’re trying to do the right thing. If people are understanding your good intentions, it may be because you aren’t listening to them. Know that regardless of their strengths and weaknesses, they have the same basic power as you, and their unique circumstances give them strengths you lack. Set your ambitions aside for a moment, really listen to others, and your results may improve tremendously.

Scientism

Science can be a dangerous religion.

When I say religion, I mean a dogmatic set of beliefs that extends to things that have not been proven.

Science, actually, is a structured learning process, and is basically flawless. It challenges us to question everything, and prove something before preaching it.

Scientism, what I’m calling the religion of science, is the result of failing to carry out the scientific process. Some scientists get proud, lazy, and eventually stop questioning their beliefs sufficiently. What results is consensus in the scientific community that is incomplete. Some respected scientists, today, act like they’ve already figured it out.

Us humans, even the best of us, have not yet figured it out. It’s an amazing quality of us people that we always think that we are the chosen generation or something. Religious fanatics shout that the world is ending- for us, now. Aren’t we special? In the same way, scientific fanatics think that we’ve pretty much figured everything out. Not noticing that similar sentiments existed a century ago. The religious and the scientific are susceptible to the same basic human vanity.

Scientism needs humility because so many of humanity’s problems have not been solved. People are hungry, and uneducated, and miserable on a tremendous scale, despite the awesome scientific achievements of the last century+. One must admit, with so many undesirable circumstances, that the amazing scientific culture of mankind is not perfect.

Our application of science will be much further along when it has better integrated with spirituality, and found the benefits that the currently unscientific arena has been demonstrating for a long time. Meditation is one ‘spiritual’ thing that science has been catching up with. For a long time now, people experienced the benefits of silently observing the structure of their thoughts. A lot of scientists have finally measured, analysed, and scientifically proven the massive value of meditation. This makes little difference to those who’ve been enjoying the benefits of meditation for centuries, but finally, even those who require the current scientific establishment’s approval to experience something can enjoy meditation as well.

Science as a process if perfect. It holds no opinions. It’s only interest is truth. Humans are flawed, and our use of science is as well. Our ‘scientific’ opinions are flawed.

Anybody who thinks that they’ve already figured it out is in trouble.

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Image 1 Source: http://images.christianpost.com/full/77447/c-s-lewis-and-scientism.jpg

 

 

Alternatives to GDP

“The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”

-JFK

I remember, as a youngster, looking at a ranked list of countries by their GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The US was at the top of the list, which affirmed what I’ve heard about America being simply the tits. As I grew older, learned that money doesn’t make people happy, and then learned that many people have not yet realized that money doesn’t make somebody happy, I began to question some of the common judgements of a nation’s quality.

Google defines GDP as “…the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.” So basically, GDP measures how much financial wealth is produced in a country.

Image Source: http://www.romeconomics.com/gross-domestic-product-explained/

 

Here are some things that increase GDP-

-Suicide

-Murder

-Arson

Here are some things that don’t increase GDP:

-Human Health

-Environmental protection

-Peace

 

All that being said, GDP is a pretty silly way to measure the well being of a country. An important fact? Absolutely. An accurate measurement of human happiness or general well-being? Not at all.

This map shows the GDP of every country:

Image Source: https://www.themittani.com/features/eveonomics-part-2

I thought it would be a good idea to have some other metrics to measure the well being of a country. And, like most really good ideas I have, some badass has already done it. Here’s a quick read to look at some alternative measurements of a country’s well-being:

http://www.consultmcgregor.com/documents/resources/GDP_and_GPI.pdf

This next graph shows the growth of the GDP in the United States, as compared to the Index of social health, an alternative measurement that includes infant morality, child abuse, teenage suicide, wealth inequality, and twelve other social factors.

Image Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwjOm5CMvrzMAhVN7mMKHfEYBBoQjxwIAw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fvq.vassar.edu%2Fissues%2F2002%2F01%2Ffeatures%2Fsocial-health.html&bvm=bv.121099550,d.cGc&psig=AFQjCNGmtAMQu_-PFNC8XrYr8LJOQrwZ8w&ust=1462316071023606

What this this graph tell you about the our perceptions of America?

Just another reminder that the solutions we need are out there. Check it out, learn from it, and spread the good word.