Friday, September 26, 2008

Thanks again Mr. Bush

Banks and investment groups are failing because of their own greed and you want to write them a blank check - for how many billions?
So once again the American people suffer. We pay for your war; we pay for your mistakes; we pay for your greed; we pay for your ignorance. History will not be kind to your administration – rightly so.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Let go and let...

If you live in a primarily Christian society, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Let go, and let God.” I have always taken the meaning of this to be don’t worry so much about micromanaging your life because bad/good things will happen that you can’t possibly predict and therefore have any control over. You should trust that God is looking out for you; accept his will and go on with your life.
There’s a very Buddhist feeling to that. You can remove God from that sentiment and plug in the ‘Universe,’ not in the sense that the Universe is interested controlling any aspect of Human fate, but that the Universe is what it is and has no concerns or motives.

Let go and let universe

I bring this up because happiness (as least for me) is something I struggle with. Yes, I know I ended my sentence with a preposition; let go grammarians. It is all of the little and big aggravations of daily life that take away my awareness of why I should be happy--or at least not so bothered and annoyed (see the previous post about fairness).

I think that the key is detachment from the world in which we were conditioned to exist; the world that was constructed by our predecessors. I’m not talking about running away to the jungle, living naked and eating berries. It’s similar to the way that Buddhists and Christians are taught to live; it’s a matter of focus.

<begin aside>The teaching of Buddhism and Christianity are the most familiar to me. I have studied both. When I refer to the teaching, I am referring to the ‘ideals’ put forth, not the actual Buddhists or Christians walking and breathing. In my experience the real world practitioners are less than ideal. <end aside>

The teachings instruct to focus beyond this life; that this life is less important than the existence after death. By accepting that and setting our focus beyond the ‘pettiness’ of this world, we can live a happier life, less bothered by the problems humanity.

To me it seems unfortunate that an afterlife (of sorts) has to be postulated in order to deal with the here and now. I know that in Buddhism there is no afterlife like that of the Christians, but there is an ‘after-this-place’ that serves a similar function at least for my point. I am trying to consider focus in my personal philosophy. Instead of focus after this life, I am trying to focus on this life as a whole.

To do this a level of detachment from the emotions caused by annoyances must be maintained. Emotions confine us to the here and now like nothing else in our lives. (On reflection, perhaps pain concretes our feet to the here and now more than even emotions—but emotions can be controlled). If I can focus (or at least be aware) beyond the here and now, then perhaps I can assess the individual annoyances against the whole and then, perhaps, I can let them go more easily.

Let go and let happy

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The concept of Fairness

The concept of fairness is difficult for me to let go. The idea is of course a construct of humans. It sprang from our desire to make some sense of the world around us. Likewise, I think religion came from the same place, and perhaps it is the source of the concept of what is fair.
The universal forces act as they act, regardless of human feelings or concepts. So if we cannot expect fair treatment from the extraneous world then at least we *should* be able to expect it from other like minded people. That is if only they can see past their personal need, want, feeling of justification, greed, etc.
So where are these like minded people? They fade in and out.
They all can seem to find justifications as to why they deserve better and therefore do not have to be fair. I do not wish to be hypocritical and point all fingers outward; I too am guilty, more often than I'd like to be, of such thoughts and actions. I try to recognize it in myself and take the opportunity to change or rethink my action.
Do not think that philosophy or religion are the answers. They may be used as tools to gain the personal strength of character necessary to grasp and promote fairness. Philosophy and religion can help teach the concepts to people unexposed by their particular upbringing. But to make fairness a part of your daily thoughts and actions takes personal practice and fortitude.
Fairness and other 'humanely' concepts, like compassion and kindness, are worth the effort otherwise we're reptiles.
And I for one am tired of sharing my world with human reptiles.