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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Epicurean Delight



As a self-proclaimed Cognitive Philanthropist, how did I miss second century Greek philosophical philanthropist, Diogenes of Oinoanda?  Fortunately, I caught up with him while reading the current issue of Archaeology magazine.  The article is "In Search of a Philosopher's Stone" by Eric A. Powell.  It's a summary of a remarkable find in 1884 by two French epigraphers exploring the Turkish town of Oinoanda.  Scattered among the Greco-Roman ruins were inscriptions in stone, written by Diogenes of Oinoanda, an Epicurean who wished to share with the rank and file, his formula for living a successful and happy life.    As he wrote:  "The majority of people suffer from a common disease, as in a plague, with their false notions about things, and their number is increasing...I wished to use this stoa to advertise publically the (medicines) that bring salvation."  The "medicine" is Epicurean thought.

The inscriptions on the stoa were huge - 25,000 words designed to be ready by anyone and everyone.  What's curious is that there are no known contemporary references to Diogenes.  Certainly this unconventional gift to his fellow man was well known at the time.  Although a man of means and conscience, Diogenes didn't have to spend part of  his estate on the treatise.  He wanted to do it as a philanthropic service.

Epicurus
Diogenes knew that people were not disturbed by situations but by their thinking about the situation.  A version of  "a thing is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so."  To improve one's life experience meant changing one's thinking.  Epicurus had explored a viable philosophy some four hundred years before.  In essence, happiness is the highest goal of life.  The pursuit of happiness is the purpose of life.  Happiness could be derived from an understanding of  how the Universe functioned, how nature was governed, and Man's place in the whole.  Then, as now, those that got it, got it.  Those that didn't, couldn't.  Diogenes at least wanted all to have access to such thinking.


Powell tags his article with an inscription:  "Not least for those who are called foreigners, for they are not foreigners, for, while the various segments of the Earth give difference people a different country, the whole compass of this world gives all people a single country, the entire Earth, and a single home, the world."

Fine fellow, this Diogenes of Oinoanda.

If you have the time, here's a translation of much of what Diogenes had inscribed:


Monday, May 18, 2015

Must, Got to, Can’t, Should, Ought!



I must lose weight!  I’ve got to cut down on (fill in the blank.) I can’t continue doing (something you like)!  I ought to spend more time (doing this or that)!  I should (fill in the blank.)   Or, some version of  “breaking or beating old habits.”  How do you feel having such thoughts (intentions?)

If someone comes up to you and says “You’ve got to do this!” what’s the first thing that goes through your mind?  Your immediate reaction:  The hell I do!” you think.  You didn’t have to work at it.  As soon as those dreadful words “got to” were hurled, you immediately, instinctively, resisted them.  A bit of anger flared at the same instant for protection, didn’t it?  You were prepared to defend your freedom and identity.  That’s part of what makes us human.  Now, where it gets dicey is when this instinctive reaction is directed not at some external threat, but at yourself.

You react to your own thinking in the same way you react to the words spoken by another.  If you think to yourself words such as must, got to, can’t, should, ought, then you  risk resisting yourself.   That resistance becomes your point of attention rather than what you desire.  In a fight against yourself, you lose.

So what to do?  First, practice thinking and speaking to yourself as you would want others to speak to you.  Second, speak and think about what you desire, what you want, rather than what you lack or what your fear.

This is a good time to practice what you want.  Re-consider your intentions.  For example – “I must get up earlier each morning,” or “I must go to bed earlier each night.”  The issue is time.  How about:  “I desire to have all the time I need to do what I choose to do.”

“I can’t eat my treats, I must lose weight.”  The issue – comfort with self.  How about:  “I enjoy everything I eat and everything I eat nourishes my healthy body.”

And, a big one:  “I can’t worry so much.”  The issue – worry makes me feel badly about something I can’t control.  How about:  “Life is Good.  There is Good for all.  I enjoy thinking about Goodness.”

The bottom line is that you select the words you use to speak with yourself.  Are you clearly communicating what you desire?  Or, the tricky part, are you giving more attention to what you don’t want?  Law of Attraction means “ask and you will receive.”  Whatever you’re giving attention is asking.  You have a lot of control over your life experience, after all.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

HERO of the Environment Earth Day 2015 - Interview with Gaia.



It seemed appropriate for Earth Day 2015 to post an interview with Earth herself, Gaia.  I didn't realize that such interviews are quite rare and was a bit surprised that I couldn't speak with her.  But, as it happens, the inscrutable Thomas Albert Snead spoke with Gaia only a few weeks ago.  Snead has provided excerpts from his conversation for posting.  Once again Snead pops up where others simply cannot go.  Thus, thanks to T.A. Snead and Gaia.

***

Snead: It is indeed a pleasure to meet with you, Mother Earth.

Gaia:    Gaia.  You may call me Gaia.

Snead: A first name basis with the planet, that's something extraordinary.

Gaia:    Not at all.  We're very intimate.  I love you.

Snead: I love you too.  Every day I proclaim my love for Earth and Life.

Gaia:    I am Life, yes.  You wanted to ask me some questions?

Snead: I've read several times in various publications, and have heard knowledgeable people state, that you are dying.  Are you dying?

Gaia:    What?  Do I look ill?

Snead: No, you're radiant. 

Gaia:    The people who make these proclamations do not see the whole, they see only what they don't like.  I always make sure that they see more of what they give their attention.

Snead:  I think they mean that the climate is changing for the worse because of what people are doing to you.

Gaia:    I, who create worlds, bullied by people?  Nonsense.

Snead: So, climate change, global warming or cooling, isn't real?

Gaia:    Of course it's real.  It's called weather.  I am always in motion, nothing is still or stagnant.

Snead: Are you upset that humans are putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere?  That's  the big cause of global warming, which is melting the glaciers and ice caps.

Gaia:    Plants must have carbon dioxide to thrive.  Why starve plants?  Plants are a source of oxygen that you must have to live.  Not a problem.  I store any surplus.

Snead:  Fossil fuels - oil, coal, gas - our use of these foul substances is killing you.  I'm told.

Gaia:    You are fueled by the sun, which for your purposes, is infinite.  In order for you to participate with me, you have to have a certain form.  It took a while for me to get you right, but you are designed to thrive.  Yet using direct energy from the sun would make you a different Life expression.  So I had the plants and minerals store the sun's energy for your use.  It's all the same energy, just in different storage forms.  You are welcome to it.  I want you to be happy.

Snead:  It's difficult for some people to be happy when they see the glaciers melting.

Gaia:  I thought humans said they needed more fresh water.  I could, I suppose, bring in another comet, but I don't think that's what you want.

Snead:  But the melting means that the temperature is going up and that has a bad effect on the eco system.

Gaia:  I am eco system.   Glaciers melting is a good thing.  Can you say Great Lakes?

Snead:  Can we discuss evolution?

Gaia:  We already have.  Everything is in motion, nothing is static.

Gaia
Snead:  I mean, how species develop.

Gaia:  Every thought, ever thought, still exists.  Life is constantly adding to itself.  This is how any form evolves.

Snead:  That's a different way of thinking about it.

Gaia:  Thinking is what humans do best, even when they aren't aware of it.

Snead:  Are we hurting other species with our technology and actions?

Gaia:  How many swallows and bats thrive beneath your bridges?  Ever try to count the number of birds perched on your power lines?

Snead:  Okay, they adapt.  As do we.  Constant motion, change, evolution.  So, over all, you're not angry with us?

Gaia:  I love you.

Snead:  That's good to know.

Gaia:  One last question.

Snead:  What's the deal with squirrels?

Gaia:  Even humans have their jesters.

***

That's all that Snead provided.  Happy Earth Day!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Apollo 13 - live!

History live.  The actual radio transmissions just prior and following the accident that cancelled the mission and endangered the crew.  Long, but real.