Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Merry Christmas!

(Haven't figured a way to improve on my annual Christmas post, so, once again...)

The Winter Solstice continues to be one of the most enduring moments for reverence and celebration.  The darkest day of the year has come and hence forth each day shall be filled with more sunshine.  I'm not aware of any civilization that did not make a big deal of the turning point of the year.

So, of course, this became the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus who became the Christ.  It's pretty well accepted that Jesus was born not in winter, but in the spring and six years earlier than our calendar suggests.  Since Pisces, the fish, was an early Christian symbol, I'd surmise that the birth occurred under that astrological sign.  This is all irrelevant, of course.  The historical Jesus Christ was one of a handful of master teachers known to us, and his instructions on how to live a more wonderful life have proven itself repeatedly.

Mischief arose when the teachings of this Master were edited, blended, codified, and otherwise rendered theological and political.  All the latter are man-made.  Some of the recent history of organized Christianity is not pretty - the Albigensian Crusade, Spanish Inquisition, and burning witches come to mind, and of course the scourge of ISIS.   But this is man acting against man and not reflective of Jesus' teachings, principle of which is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

It is fashionable now to minimize the impact of Jesus or even seriously question his existence.  I distinctly recall through the years the "absence of evidence" of an historical Jesus.  Why, if the teachings and movement were so profound, many ask, does the principle source for historical information in the region shortly after the death of Jesus, mention him in only a brief paragraph? 

The source is Josephus, who wrote a voluminous history of the Jews called "Antiquities."  Recently I purchased the complete works of Josephus, because I like history, and because I was curious to read the rare, fleeting, mention of Jesus in the decades following his death.  It is a brief paragraph.  But what a paragraph! 

3. (63)  Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works - a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.  He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.  He was {the} Christ; (64) and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and then thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.

That's an account given when many who knew Jesus were still alive.  He must have made quite an impact to earn that paragraph so quickly.  Note:  It is possible that various translations of the paragraph may have embellished the telling.

The history is irrelevant.  It is the teachings that shifted much of human consciousness and continues to do so.  Jesus taught that thinking (prayer) was the road to a wonderful life.  Thinking is very personal, therefore the relationship to God that Jesus taught, had to be personal as well.  That, of course, didn't go over well with Priests or any positioned person to whom obedience and, well, worship were required.  Radical stuff, actually, especially the notion of treating others the way you wanted to be treated, irregardless of how they treated you.

So, to celebrate the Christ Mass, is a good thing.  It is a Merry Christmas.  It is a Happy Holiday.  It is as pagan as it gets, for the celebration is ancient.  Adjacent to Christmas, in our modern calendar, is the New Year!  Really, rejoice that the great Teacher came to teach us joy, then embark on a fresh, new year that uncluttered with the mistakes (and erroneous thinking) of the previous year.

Why, there's even a host of robust celebratory music to accompany the season.  Joy to the World!  Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

That Time of Year!

It’s that wonderful time of the year to become conscious of how much we have to be thankful for.  Thanksgiving is a holiday that everyone can fathom and celebrate.  To give thanks costs nothing and the rewards are dis-proportional.

Thank you.   Two words fraught with meaning.  To say or think “thank you” is to give conscious attention to someone/something that has improved your moment.  How do you feel when someone says to you “thank you!”  How do you feel when you say to someone “thank you!”    It feels good.  And, isn’t feeling good what it’s all about?

Do  you want to feel good?  There are only two answers:  Yes and No.  How do you answer that question?  “Well, George, of course I want to feel good.  But…”  Nope.  Can’t do that.  No buts.  Either you want to feel good or you don’t.  The “but” means that you can only feel good when/if some person or condition permits.  “How can I feel good when so many people are unhappy?”  Or sick, or oppressed, or _____________.   Is there a lingering condition in the back of your mind that you must/should “feel their pain?”  The twisted logic is that by sharing the misery of others you somehow (magically) reduce their suffering.  If that’s true, then contract a terrible disease at once, so someone who is diseased will be healed.  (It doesn’t work that way.)

It’s more likely you can contribute to the well-being of others by being happy.  Like any emotion (or attitude) happy radiates and can be sensed.  You know this – how often has someone with case of the red-ass entered the room and you knew all about it?  And, the opposite.  But, back to Thanksgiving.

Many folk routinely give thanks for their food before they eat.  An interesting study would be a measure of gastro-intestinal disorders between those who appreciate their food and those who can’t/don’t/won’t.

Appreciation and gratitude are “thank yous.”   It takes little effort to appreciate your moment.  The smell of coffee, or popcorn, or flowers.  Someone’s smile.  Music.  Fresh air.  Your car.  Your plants.  There are many things in your moment that serve you well and can be consciously appreciated.  Consciously means thought energy reinforcing the pleasing thing/condition.  The Law of Attraction ensures that as you give your attention (thought) to something, you bring more of it into your experience.

Thank you by thank you, gratitude by gratitude, appreciation by appreciation, the world is transforming.  It is said that the preponderance of grateful/appreciative thinking now outweighs the negative/fearful.  Like compound interest, the better it gets, the better it gets.  And you’re a part of that.  Thanksgiving is a good time for a reminder.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Appears that Major "Bumps in the Night" are underway.

Finally, this is the 21st Century I was expecting.

Tom Delonge announces a new approach to science, technology, and entertainment based on artifacts and knowledge obtained from what have previously been called Unidentified Flying Objects. 
The video introduces a novel concept of a public institution to develop and introduce technology worldwide with the potential for dramatic, and very positive, results for Mankind.

A summary of the event is provided by long-time television journalist George Knapp, who has covered the "UFO" beat for decades.

This effort, coinciding the The Disclosure Project driven by Dr. Steven Greer, M.D., indicates that just perhaps the era of profound secrecy and unjust "protection" of information is in the first stage of ending.

I have read Delonge's novel "Chasing Shadows" and it's quite a good read.  So, the entertainment part of the Academy is off to a good start.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Guest Blog - The Play Writes the Thing

Yours truly guest blogged about playwriting for Author Dan Baldwin's weekly "learn how to write" newsletter.


Dan Baldwin
Effective Writing Tip of the Week
Guest Blog – George Sewell
The Play Writes the Thing

To be, or not to be, a playwright?  An author or writer is not another name for the one who pens the words, spoken aloud, to an audience, alive, for one moment only, in time.

Okay, that was mischief.  Yet contained in that mischief are prime characteristics of writing for the theatre – it’s quite different from other creative writing formats, screenwriting included. The novel can be experienced by a reader over time, and read again.  Same for short stories, magazine articles, website posts and other media.  But not theatre. 

Like a concert, the play exists for a short time only – a time where performers act out a story to an audience, seated in a place for such an experience.  After a while, the curtain comes down (or the lights fade out) and the performance ends.  Gone, forever. Only those gathered in that space for that time will have the experience. Granted, another performance of the play is scheduled, but because the audience will be different, and other variables may affect the performance, it cannot be the same show as the one presented earlier.  Theatre is by definition live; it is the presence of living performers and audience that create that special electric experience found in no other medium.   Think of the play script as a blueprint for that event.

Now if that makes any sense, then you’ve got the basics to write a play.   Although there are plays that have little dialogue (it’s the live energy of the performance received by an equally live audience that does the magic) it is the words, spoken or withheld, that make the play.  Some writers have an ear for dialogue, some do not.   All writers create characters.  For the playwright, the characters are meant to be seen, on stage, in the flesh.  And the rascals know it!  Be prepared, as you write, for your creations to jostle about, seeking a more dominant position in the evolving script.

Seriously.  Talk to any playwright and you’ll hear how a character, perhaps slated in support of the plot, manages to con the author into more dialogue, more stage time...upstaging the other characters.  It’s lively writing! 

Rowdies all
You’ve tamed your rowdy creations and herded them into the first draft of your play (short, full length, doesn’t matter).  Now you need to hear it.  You will benefit greatly from assembling actors to read the script aloud.  It’s not what’s on the printed page that counts – it’s how the words printed on the page are heard by an audience.  In this case, you.

You might be delighted with what you hear.  It might scare the hell out of you.  This reading is for your benefit.  The fun of crafting the play begins.  You have the story firmly on the blueprint.  The dialogue cues actors about the personalities you created for them to mimic.  Caution:  Egos ahead.  Theatre people are hugely talented, lovable, greedy, and prone to “fix” every script they find. 

Case Study:  “Lawyers”.  Lawyers was a comedy written by yours truly and Micah Hackler.  The story centers on a hapless fellow caught up in a litigation society run amuck.  Imagine a legal establishment enmeshed with the internet, keeping a close eye on you.  It was a futuristic foray when written.  In the premier production, the script was played straight, that is, normal. Contemporary characters, in contemporary costumes – the comedy deriving from the “fish out of water” experiences of the protagonist.  It was well received, even by the local Bar association.

Another production, in another state by a university, had a different approach.  Nothing was straight in this version.  The characters were costumed like cartoons; the visuals were cartoonish, such as a Judge’s gavel the size of a baseball bat.  It was well received by the audience.

The point is that the story via dialogue came through to the audience regardless of interpretation of staging.  It did scare the hell out of the playwrights, however.
Satisfying when your characters come to life

Let your show begin! 

(George’s website is well worth a visit for anyone interested in writing and/or committing philosophy.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Some Thoughts on Thinking

Thoughts on Thinking over Time

Heraclitus of Ephesus (ca 535 - 475 BCE)   Greek philosopher.  Believed change was central to the universe.
"You cannot step into the same river twice."

Epictetus (ca 55-135 CE)  Greek Stoic philosopher.  “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them.”  “Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable.”

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  playwright. “...for there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.”  Hamlet, Act II, Scene 1.

George Berkley (1685-1753)  empiricist.  “The only thing we can perceive are our own perceptions.”

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)  Economist.  “When someone persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind.  What do you do?”

Emmet Fox (1886-1951) minister, author.  “People are trying to change outer conditions but leaving their consciousness unchanged, and it cannot be done.”

Charles Fillmore (1854-1948) philosopher, mystic.  “Your mind, body, and affairs are the expression of your thoughts, so, if you are unhappy, change your mental habits.”

John A. Wheeler (1911-2008)  physicist.  “We inhabit a cosmos made real in part by our own observations...our observations influence the universe at the most fundamental levels.”

Everything begins with a thought.  A wag once wrote "Things not thought never came to pass." Whatever you wish to "pass" in your experience must be preceded by a like thought.

So, think about it.