Philosophy | Politics | Religion

Category: Critical Thinking

Beware The Gatekeeper

Beware the gatekeeper

www.HelloFred.com

America is a divided nation that flourishes when united.  What’s stopping us?  Our individual gatekeepers.

A part of our mind protects the status quo of our beliefs. Let’s call it the gatekeeper.  Our gatekeeper checks to see if a concept is in agreement with our existing beliefs. If it is, the gate is opened, if it isn’t, the gate stays closed and information is rejected.

For us to accept new concepts we have to wholeheartedly want to explore and be willing to change or learn.  A person realizing they need to change is not enough for the gatekeeper to open the gate.

Authority figures can also bypass our gatekeeper. For example, we tend to believe people we think know more than we do. This includes doctors, schoolteachers, preachers, and motivational speakers. All kinds of people bypass our gatekeeper. Anytime we are feeling a strong emotion such as love or fear, anger or grief, we are more suggestible. Things said to us, or things we say to ourselves, will bypass our gatekeeper and become part of our subconscious programming.  Normally nobody wants to be gullible but most people are at times when feeling angry or fearful especially when we are not recognizing within ourselves anger or fear.  Be aware, some people are good at manipulating the gatekeeper in us.

Nourishing our minds requires getting beyond the status quo, recognizing when our gatekeeper is restricting us and finding time to grow as a person by observing all that comes in front of us, finding truths, searching for love within our souls and in other souls.  Nourishing exercises the more evolved parts of our brains and rests the more primitive parts of our brains.  Nourishing has a lot to do with the company we keep and don’t keep.  Nourishing requires a decision.

It has become clearer and more obvious to me that our purpose in life is to gain spiritual knowledge, self-awareness, understanding, and a loving and serving nature.  I think we evolve through use of new perspectives, introspection, and meditation.  We either view nature and people as souls or we don’t.  If we don’t, we see from fear, impatience, and intolerance and if we do we see from love and we live and die with grace.

It has also become clear to me that we have  two personalities and one wants to act, think or make decisions one way and the other personality wants to act, think or make decisions another way.  It is like there were a force pulling and pushing us in two directions.  Some feel this much more than others do.  Why?

Often heard is that some of us only accept what we can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste.  For those people their world is a material one.  Others of us add to this material world an acceptance of a spiritual world full of mystery and magic.  Those that accept the spiritual world gain perhaps a greater understanding of the meaning of life.

When we feel pulled in two directions it is because there is a gap between our spiritual and material consciousness.  Gaps result in restlessness, lack of focus, and a sense of unbalance.  This causes stress which leads to health issues and depression.

Our potentials are blocked by stress, anxiety, doubt, and limited introspection.  Sometimes we seem to be tightly locked-in to the world as we are experiencing it.  When we see and feel from this small world we limit ourselves to the small picture.  Relaxing allows our body and mind to surrender.   When we surrender, stop the hunt, we tend to find answers and observe from a new perspective and we begin to see the big picture.  When we see the big picture we feel lighter, laugh more, walk more fluidly, and have more energy.  Seeing the big picture expands us and seeing only the small picture shrinks us.

Great leaders use introspection not only within themselves but within their own tradition and heritage.  Leaders can become great leaders if introspection leads to new perspective and a more global pluralist worldview.  There should not be two sets of rules.  When we find ourselves becoming annoyed or irritated with another’s heritage, behavior, or tradition we need to look inward for that irritation is reflecting back to us some aspect of our own heritage, behavior, or tradition that we can examine.

If we were to grasp a ring as a symbol of possession and squeeze it in our hand, the ring is captured and so is the use of our hand. Imagine holding this ring out in front of you with your palm either up or down.

If our palm is facing down and we sense the ring getting loose, our tendency is to quickly squeeze our hand.  This is natural, we all do this.  But some of us will feel threatened when that ring begins to fall and we find ourselves wanting that ring more and begin to squeeze tighter.  Grasping and squeezing something is an attempt to own it and graspers and squeezers do this because they like to keep things, even if they don’t like them. Giving up the freedom of one of our hands to squeeze something is annoying and it follows that graspers and squeezers would become annoying as well. Graspers and squeezers tend to have lapses in ethics.

But if our palm is facing upward we tend to feel the ring less as a possession and more as a symbol of our own freedom.   Open your hand and the ring is still there.  Now with your imagination allow this ring to become a beautiful butterfly resting peacefully and gently on the palm of your hand.   Enjoy the moment and then with awe watch the butterfly float into the sky taking with it nourishment it received from you and sharing it wherever it goes.

Love with attachment is nothing more than fear emotionally.  To finish this thought I give you this by William Blake:

He who binds to himself a joy,

Does the winged life destroy;

He who kisses the Joy as it flies,

Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.

Ask yourself, what ring am I squeezing?  Is it a lifestyle, a title, a person, a job, a house, a car, old perspective, fame, fortune, victory, domination, ego, poverty, anger, hostility, revenge, resentment, jealously, greed, hatred, unworthiness, pain, disease, beliefs, prejudice, restlessness, Trump, materialism, inferiority, failure, phobias, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs?  The list seems to go on and on doesn’t it?

Learning to live is learning to release.  When we release change is possible.  Change involves releasing a bad and acquiring a good.  If we are full we might not be able to crowd in a good until we release a bad.  If we release a bad without having a good to replace it the void will be filled by whatever has been waiting in line to join us.

Unwritten Republican Party Platform

The Republican Party held its convention without creating a platform but it’s not like they don’t have an unwritten platform because they do.  It has been orally presented over and over again piece by piece, tweet by tweet, interview by interview, rally by rally.  It is a Trump platform and elected Republicans have gone along with it and Trump voters have cheered it on because they cheer most things Trump.

The platform is contained here.

It was written on August 25, 2020 by David Frum, Staff writer at The Atlantic.

He says the question is not why Republicans lack a coherent platform; it’s why they’re so reluctant to publish the one on which they’re running.

I have argued in previous posts that for change to happen smoothly and more quickly we can’t start with the answer and instead have to start with an hypothesis.  The hypothesis could be a problem or an opportunity but in either case it has to be defined and measured as the first step followed closely by getting consensus that the problem or opportunity actually exists.  Only then can we search for alternative answers, evaluate their pros and cons and then choose the most acceptable alternative.

Bill Clinton believes that “politics and governing are one long conversation where you have to explain to people what went wrong and why, explain your plan to fix it, persuade them your idea is better than the other side’s,” this Democrat noted. “Today, politics tends to be heavy on assertion, light on explanation, and bereft of persuasion.”

The above paragraph comes from a short article from Politico and does a good job of indirectly describing the differences between Trump and Clinton. Like I said it is short and likeable.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/08/18/bill-clinton-comeback-altitude-397492

All of us can be gullible at times and sometimes after we realize we were guilty of it we have to laugh at ourselves.  Where our emotions are high we are prone to gullibility more than when we are less interested in a subject.  We seem to now be most gullible regarding politics.  It is shameful but interesting that we are so divided that we don’t trust anything and yet conversely aren’t willing to disbelieve anything.

We spend a lot of time worrying about interference from Russia, China or Iran. But disinformation needs to have a receptive audience to work. If Americans weren’t so divided and all news media shared set of facts before offering wildly conflicting worldviews, it would be harder for a foreign power to meddle.

I’ll close with a quote about racism and while the quote mentions people of color it applies to all prejudices that maintains the status quo that keeps America from being what we say we are regarding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What’s most important is the outcomes and experiences of people of color. When we know that those inequities exist and we refuse or fail to address them, that is racism. It is allowing the system to perpetuate itself because the status quo is racist.

— Melissa Williams, director of student equity and inclusion at Clark College

Learned Awareness

Fun and Collaborative Is Better

I know that the best exercise is fun and collaborative which is more beneficial than going to a gym where we interact as if we were in an elevator. The goal of exercise, whether it is fun or not, is to fend off heart disease and diabetes, reduce our weight, improve our strength, fight depression, and boost our mood.

I am aware that singing in groups calms heart rates and boosts endorphin levels and the long list of other benefits might make group singing more valuable than exercise.

I am aware that dancing increases the area of the brain that declines with age, improves balance fights off diseases like Alzheimer’s while improving memory and learning. I am aware that the best dancing for health routines are ones that make us change every two weeks from jazz to square to Latin to line that keeps us in constant learning.

I am aware that children who play rhythmic, synchronized clap-and-tap games are more likely to do good and will more often mix with others not in their original group than do children who played nonsynchronous games. I am aware that even swinging in time with other kids on a swing creates cooperative and collaborative skills.

 Self-Observation Is Powerful.

I am aware that our behaviors, habits, tendencies, first reactions, biases, prejudices, etc. can be changed if we observe them, look for their roots, and are open to new ideas that help us evolve and not stagnate.  If we want to consistently make ethical decisions that are global in nature we need to dig deep within our unconscious selves and replace the roots of our thinking, behavior, tendencies, and habits.

Attractiveness Can Be Increased

I have become aware that I can become more attractive; that enthusiasm, energy, passion are as important, if not more so, than physical attractiveness

Time Only Moves Forward

I am aware that while I have enjoyed much of my life to date, learned from my experiences, and still squirm when thoughts recall blunders, I have learned that time will move on without me if I don’t keep up. It’s easier to keep up if I pull up the anchor.

Imagining The Future

I am aware that nostalgia is a good thing and is a window into which I have been gives meaning to my present.  I am aware that how well I can imagine myself in the future affects what I do in the present.  Together, nostalgia and my vision of the future work to enhance the significance of the present.

Awe Moments

I am aware that time can briefly move forward without us and those times are when we are experiencing something awe inspiring.  It could be as simple as lightning and thunder storm or feeling the power of nature.  That short period time stops is like stretching a rubber band, one that always snaps back and puts us back on the clock in real time.

Less as a straight Line and More as a Circle

Einstein’s space-time continuum states that the apparent linearity of events depends on the observer.  And since all experience is interconnected, and if we become aware of this interconnectedness and allow that interconnectedness into our cognitive processes, we can be aware of all events independent of all time.

I am not sure what that means but I like it.  It makes me think of life’s time line less as a straight line and more as a circle.

Anger

I am aware that anger can be addictive and unlike anxiety, shame or depression, it drives us towards the object of our arousal. Our brains become out of balance when we get angry as our left hemisphere is strongly activated. That causes us to use simple logic because the context processing right hemisphere didn’t keep up.

The angrier we get, the more we lose our ability to process subtlety and nuance. Reality comes to be seen in simplistic, good-or-bad, all-or-nothing perspectives. Other people come to be seen as ‘stupid’ or ‘evil’ for having differing opinions. All kinds of neutral events are seen with paranoia, as intentional threats.

Seeing Goodness and Beauty

Every thought we have either strengthens or weakens our ability to reconnect to the higher and fastest energy in the universe.  If we ask why we are not as happy as are others the answer might be that others have learned to see goodness and beauty everywhere and we perhaps do not because we cannot see outside what we fail to see inside.  (Thanks to Dr. David Hawkins and Anthony de Mello)

Happiness and Money

I have found additional peace from learning that lots of money doesn’t increase happiness after reading a 2010 Princeton study that found that happiness plateaus at a household income of $75,000 a year on average in America with some states higher like California ($90,000) and some lower according to a followup study by the Huffington Post.

Science and Warnings

Warnings from scientists are nothing new.  They are ignored all the time though. They should not be confused with REPENT–The World Is Coming To An End statements made by non-scientists.  Covid 19 warnings were initially ignored and we saw the results.

Are we more ready to heed warnings from scientists?  We will know soon by what the world does with the root cause of many of the viruses that spread everywhere and the root cause of global warming.

According to the YouTube video below, China is the main source of exotic animals and bats that end up in wet markets that are the root source of the viruses that are killing us.  It is clear that Covid 19 and its handling will be at the heart of the elections in November and Republicans want to get voters mad at China instead of mad at the handling of the pandemic.  That said, we should be able to do both.  It is not so much that we should blame China for the pandemic as much as it is to encourage them to eliminate the wet markets.

A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.

JOHN BURROUGHS

Bill Maher in his unique and colorful style nails the need for China to eliminate the wet markets extremely well here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEfDwc2G2_8&feature=youtu.be

Bill Maher follows up on China’s wet markets with this about America’s industrial farming:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OoT2OZWCOI

Hopefully there are many more people in this world and who will allow Covid 19 make them more adamant about listening and heeding to warnings from scientists and take action.  Maybe global warning concerns will gain traction.  Both are invisible threats.

Outer space is cold because it lacks air and the particulates that would be suspended in it if air existed there.  The more particulates that are suspended in air the warmer the air. Doesn’t it make sense that as populations rise that particultates would also rise?  Is it hard to believe that there is all of a sudden a problem when one didn’t exist before?

Well, at the dawn of agriculture, about 8000 B.C., the population of the world was approximately 5 million. Over the 8,000-year period up to 1 A.D. it grew to 200 million to 300 million.  It’s not like we have precise numbers for that period of time. 

A tremendous change occurred with the industrial revolution: whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in 30 years (1960), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987).

During the 20th century alone, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion.  In 1970, there were roughly half as many people in the world as there are now.

“Only by changing education can our children compete with machines”

Only by changing education can our children compete with machines.

Jack Ma says only by changing education can our children compete with machines

With just 4 days to go until our Annual Meeting, here's Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma discussing how education must change to empower future generations."Everything we teach should be different from machines". Read more: http://wef.ch/2E6fH2p

Posted by World Economic Forum on Thursday, January 17, 2019

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma discussing how education must change to empower future generations.

Political Parties and Group Think, ugh

Looking back to the time the United States decided to invade Iraq we seemed to come together as a nation.  France, Germany, and Russia pleaded with us to not do it.  We, as a result, stopped eating at French restaurants and started calling French fries American fries.  Most of us will now agree that that invasion of Iraq was an expensive mistake.

If we are Red Sox fans we dislike anything Yankees, same with Dodgers and Giants.  We either like Fords or we like Chevys.  We don’t need facts to make these decisions.

It seems that it is human instinct to become emotionally attached and we don’t need reasons to do so, we will make those up as we go or accept what we hear that is in line with our emotionally based decisions.  This causes us to be susceptible to group think.

Timing Timing Timing

I wanted to give a shout out to this Face the Nation interview with Daniel Pink.

https://www.cbsnews.com/videos/author-daniel-pink-shares-scientific-secrets-of-perfect-timing/

There Is A Difference Between News and Editorials

Newspapers provide news and editorials.  It is the editorials that slant the truth to the opinions of the owners.  The same is true of television where there are news shows and there are opinion shows. 

When we watch these shows we need to remember which ones we are watching.  We can be very gullible and opinion shows take advantage of the gullible person.  

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