Andy Rooney on Atheism (Quote)

Read more

Mother Teresa's Faith ~ In Her Own Words

Mother Teresa expressed grave doubts about God's existence and pain over her lack of faith...

Read more

Stanley Kubrick on Life ~ Playboy Interview Excerpt

Self Portrait by Stanley Kubrick

Playboy: If life is so purposeless, do you feel its worth living?

Read more

Morality and Religion

Read more

It's All About the People - by Lynch & Worden

It's All About the People — This article by Doug Lynch and Jennifer M. Worden compares complex, "human-capital-intensive" services/businesses: teaching/education, luxury hotel, business consulting with the goal of taking what works in business and applying it to teachers/education. My take aways...

Read more

Atheists - Believe in One Less God

There's a logic here that I cannot deny.

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer gods than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all other other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
~ Stephen F. Roberts

Read more

Nassim Taleb Nature Debt And Redundancy

Read more

Missing Beauty

I received this from a dear friend by email...Enjoy!

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning. A man with a violin plays six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people passed through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule....

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again...

Read more

Calvin and Hobbes - Surest Sign of Intelligent Life

Brilliant comic from Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes comic...One of my favorites.

Read more

Why Religion Is Poor Guide to Morality

Defiling the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body and blood of Christ, is also considered a sin of extreme gravity and one which is on the increase, the high-ranking members of the tribunal said.

Such sins, which can only be dealt with by the Pope, acting through the tribunal, bring automatic excommunication from the Church. If the Pope decides to grant absolution, the excommunication is lifted.

~ Vatican reveals secrets of worst sins - Telegraph

This illustrates why religious values are a poor guide for human morality. Desecration of a symbol (though Catholic believe the Eucharist IS the body of Christ) is ranked as a worse sin than, say, a priest molesting a child or a man murdering his wife.

Read more

Gregory Bateson - Favorite Quotes & Ideas

Gregory Bateson (9 May 1904 – 4 July 1980) was a British anthropologist, social scientist, linguist, semiotician and cyberneticist whose work intersected that of many other fields. Some of his most noted writings are to be found in his books, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972) and Mind and Nature (1979). Angels Fear (published posthumously in 1987) was co-authored by his daughter Mary Catherine Bateson.
Gregory Bateson - Wikipedia

Read more

Value of a Library - In Its Read or Unread Books?

In his book The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb discusses the following question with Umberto Eco, who happens to possess a rather significant, personal library.

Is the value of a library in the books you've read or in the books you have not read?

Most people are disappointed to learn that Eco hasn't read most of the books it contains. Eco feels precisely the opposite. To him, the value of the library lies in the unread books--the books yet to be discovered.

Which is why he continues adding to his collection. So to Eco (and Taleb), the library's value lies in its undiscovered volumes, which echo's Shakespeare's line about the "undiscovered country."

But others answer the question differently...

Read more

Wade Davis TED Talk - Worldwide Web of Belief & Ritual - Video

Wade Davis TED Talk - Riveting talk by anthropologist Wade Davis about the "worldwide web of belief and ritual." Davis is such passionate advocate for all cultures, maintaining that no culture is a "failed attempt at modern life." Instead, each is a unique, creative expression that strives to answer life's questions of why? and how? If anything, Davis considers these ancient and ongoing cultures (Mayan, Inuit, etc.) as much richer and complex than the culture(s) of our modern industrial age. After hearing Davis' talk, he certainly has good reason to feel that way.

Read more

Fisherman Meets Harvard MBA - Who Finds More Meaning in Life?

Found this parable in various places. Nice story.

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

Read more

Tips for Christians Battling Evil Atheists

This appeared on a Google group Atheism vs. Christianity under the title: Christians: Tips To Doing Battle With Evil Atheists. I actually thought this was pretty compassionate advice...Am I whacked?

  1. Remember that they are people, just like you are. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, they are not some lower life form we share this planet with.
  2. More than likely, they are smarter than you are. This can be difficult to come to grips with, but it does appear to be true and is a claim that is actually supported by the Bible (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)
  3. Statistically, they are also as moral, if not more so than you are. While it is a good thing that they generally are highly moral, it is a shame that we, who often times claim the moral high ground, seem unable, or unwilling, to match our words with our lives.

Read more

Four Noble Truths - Essence of Buddhism

"" |

4 Noble Truths
Superb -- and BRIEF -- summary / outline of Four Noble Truths of Buddhism.

If link dies, see cached copy of most of the ideas below.

Read more

I Need Forgiveness

Forgiveness - As a former Catholic, I have experienced the sacrament of reconciliation. It begins with confessing your sins to a priest. After hearing your confession, the priest will usually offer some advice and penance. After that, the priest will declare you absolved or forgiven by God.

During my junior high and high school years, I was a fairly devout Catholic, and I found this reconciliation experience incredibly powerful. After confession, I had a clean slate and felt pure. What a marvelous feeling, especially for a guilty Catholic boy.

I remember a particularly powerful experience. During a high school retreat, we had the opportunity to ask forgiveness from any classmates we had sinned against. In essence, we asked forgiveness directly from those we'd wronged. WOW! I took this very seriously, and went up to a guy I had really hated...He was a big, strong, jock, and I really didn't like him...I can't remember why now...

Read more

George Carlin - Wisdom Stinks

George Carlin - Wisdom Stinks - I'm always entertained and provoked by George Carlin's words. He gets me thinking, which can be a dangerous thing. And as he gets older, he's sharing more wisdom. But even Carlin would agree, some of this wisdom...well, it stinks.

Read more

Simple Ways to Change the World

Simple Ways to Change the World - I love this list of 20 Ways to Change the World! Some are quite simple, but all have the potential in some way to change the world. Here are my favorites...

Be Nice - This is something EVERYONE can do--you don’t need any money or any talent. Simply smile, say "Hello!" or hold the door for someone. You never know the impact. It could change someone’s whole day, week...or life...or simply inspire others to continue the cycle. Before you know it, your smile will have impacted THOUSANDS of lives.

Read more

Torture and Collateral Damage - Jonathan Glover

In modern war, what is most shocking is a poor guide to what is most harmful.
~ Jonathan Glover

I read that quote by British philosopher Jonathan Glover in Sam Harris' book The End of Faith. Glover and Harris expose a moral oddity or failing. They argue that while our conscience is repelled by the torture of one person, that same conscience can somehow accept when a "precision bomb" causes "collateral damage." Yet the harm caused by the bomb is much greater than the harm caused by torture of one individual. How do we accept or discount that greater harm? Why do we focus on pain torture causes an individual? Surely, the pain, suffering (not to mention death) caused to the innocent by the anonymous bomb exceeds that of any torture chamber. Both acts are abhorrent. Why does our moral compass fail us?

Read more

What Love Means - Kids Explain The Mystery

My wonderful sister-in-law shared this. It gave me a big smile, especially at the end to be reminded of the USC "Professor of Love," Leo Buscaglia, who died a few years ago. I'm sure he would have "loved" this...


Read more

Prime Numbers Infinite - Euclid Proof

Euclid's Proof - Prime Numbers are Infinite - Found this on Burton MacKenzie's blog post Prime Motivation. I marveled at the simplicity of the Euclid's proof that there are an infinite number of prime numbers-- or more precisely, that there cannot be a largest prime number. The bonus is the Euclid proves this point by assuming there is a finite number of prime numbers. Actually, as I think about it, the only way to prove anything is to structure the hypothesis in such a way that it's antithesis can be disproved. Nassim Nicholas Taleb got into the in his book The Black Swan. Below is Burton's summary of the proof.

Read more

End of Faith - by Sam Harris

Mysticism is a rational enterprise, religion is not...The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil.
~ Sam Harris

End of Faith by Sam Harris ignites a firestorm of debate. Here are some choice reviews and comments:

Read more

"I Don't Believe in Happy Endings"

"I Don't Believe in Stories with Happy Endings"

I heard director Todd Field say this on AMC's Shoot Out program while promoting his film Little Children. The statement has stuck with me like an irritating thorn ever since. It certainly doesn't encourage me to see any of his films (I don't seek out stories with unhappy endings), but is he right? Or perhaps a better question: Is that perspective useful?

Read more

Absence of Evidence? - Or Evidence of Absence?

There's a difference between an absence of evidence, vs. evidence of absence.

A medical test is performed on a person and comes out positive for cancer. The doctor presents this diagnosis and prescribes medical treatment. After the treatment is completed, the test is run again. This time the test comes out negative, the test offers an absence of evidence for cancer.

However, after the test results the doctor will sometimes say: "You are cancer free!" That declaration suggests the test is evidence for an absence of cancer. It is not. The tests are an absence of evidence for cancer. What?

Read more

Nassim Nicholas Taleb - IBM Talk

Nassim Nicholas Taleb joined a discussion at IBM about his book The Black Swan. Here are my notes from the discussion. I've added my own comments and explanations (based on his books).

As an author, Taleb tries to be universal and not customize his message to the audience. (I think he's talking about the ideas he's espousing, not the method of communicating. Your communication style HAS to consider the audience or your won't be heard.)

Read more

Bill Maher on Religion

Bill Maher on Religion - I worry about this trend. In this video, Bill Maher calls himself a "Rationalist," and those who have religious beliefs he calls some pretty harsh names. I know it's Maher's shtick, and it's not that I'm religious myself. What raises red flags for me is when I hear a self-righteous voice -- whether "rationalist" or religious. Believe what you want; I don't care. But I think Maher's "rationalist" slam of all with religious beliefs is just as self-righteous as a fundamentalist Christian claiming those who don't believe in Jesus will got to hell. Arrogance, on whatever side, raises warning flags for me....

But we are attracted to confidence, aren't we? When we can't find faith in ourselves, we seek it out in the arrogant are rewarded with this attention, and thrive.

Read more

Perfect Happiness Requires Perfect Ignorance - Cartoon

Read more

Seven Blunders of the World - by Mahatma Gandhi

Seven Blunders of the World

  1. Wealth without work
  2. Pleasure without conscience
  3. Knowledge without character
  4. Commerce without morality
  5. Science without humanity
  6. Worship without sacrifice
  7. Politics without principle
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Read more

Nassim Nicholas Taleb - On Human Memory

Nassim Nicholas Taleb On Human Memory - Read a passage in Taleb's Fooled by Randomness that connects very will with the main thrust of Edward de Bono.

Read more

Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Investment Advice

In Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb teases us with the idea that we can take advantage of black swan events in our life and in our investments. I say tease because he's very short (pardon pun) on specifics in my reading. I want to try to flesh out the ideas as best I can.

Read more

Robert Pirsig - Last Interview

The interview: Robert Pirsig | By genre | Guardian Unlimited Books
"The Seventies bestseller Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was the biggest-selling philosophy book ever. But for the reclusive author life was bitter-sweet. Here, he talks frankly about anxiety, depression, the death of his son and the road trip that inspired a classic."

Read more

Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Interview by Russ Roberts

My notes from interview Russ Roberts had with Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Russ Roberts - Listened to a fascinating interview on EconTalk between Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Russ Roberts. Roberts (the interviewer) does a terrific job drawing out Taleb and clarifying the randomness expert's unconventional ideas and arguments.

Listening to Taleb is like watching a magician. His thought experiments and arguments seem like a slight of hand, and I'm often surprised by their conclusions. Makes for a wonderfully satisfying discussion. Roberts, again, doesn't let anything pass without getting clarity from Taleb.

Read more

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Had Nassim Taleb been born in any other period, he would have certainly been put to death.
~ Carine Chichereau, co-translator of TBS.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is one fascinating guy. His two books Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable have been sooooo thought provoking AND entertaining.

I read both in the span of a couple weeks (way too fast) and am now reading each again. The concepts are deceptively simple on the surface...and then so deep. Their counter-intuitive nature makes it hard to grasp their significance in a 30-second sound bite.

Read more

What the Buddha Did NOT Teach

What Buddha Did NOT Teach - This is a brilliant review by Geoff Hunt of "the difference between the right (simple) and wrong (complicated) view of the Buddha's teaching."

Geoff Hunt's words are lucid and grounded. Nothing superfluous, abstract or spiritual, really. It's all about the individual practice that relieves suffering. That's it.

Hunt emphasizes that Buddha didn't theorize or philosophize. Others did that later. Buddha simple taught a practice that helps set one free from pain and suffering.

This practice MUST be an individual journey and discovery. Buddha can teach a method, but the individual must experience and observe the practice and its effects for him or herself.

You can lead a person to the Buddha, but you can't make him practice.

Read more

4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris

Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss - Status-quo shattering book. I read it through once, and am starting over. The concepts are simple. Deferred living (retirement) is the worst kind of insurance. Live now. Forget abstract goals. Go for what excites you. In fact, go for specific, unreasonable goals that excite you. There's too much competition for the mediocre goals. Less competition for the unreasonable goals (John Nash was wrong; in a pick-up bar, everyone is pursuing the 8's, not the 10's.)

Ferriss makes a four hour workweek seem attainable. It takes discipline. It takes a low information diet and focusing on two principles or laws...

Read more

Slow Dance - Poem of Terminally Ill Girl

A terminally ill girl wrote this poem...or so the story goes. I picked the poem up from the status-quo-shattering book The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. Whether a terminally ill girl wrote it or not, it does make you think...

Read more

Fooled by Randomness - by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb - Nassim Nicholas Taleb has written a mind-blowing book! Totally contrarian and terrifically clear in explaining the fallacies followed by journalist, investors, traders and, sadly, many scientists.

Example: Failing to notice the difference between probability and expectation, famous commodity trader/investor Jim Rogers made this astounding statement.

"I don't buy options....90 percent of all long options lost money." ~ Jim Rogers

Rogers confused probability with expectation.

Read more

Black Swan - by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Had Nassim Taleb been born in any other period, he would have certainly been put to death.
~ Carine Chichereau, co-translator of TBS.

Black Swan and Nassim Taleb - Listened to Nassim Taleb on KQED's Forum program, and the ideas about randomness and luck drove me to his recent book, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

A read it once, then started over, this time going a bit slower, trying to commune with his counter-intuitive ideas and wonderfully illustrative thought experiments. This books is such a colorful pallet of ideas that somehow connect without falling into a grand theory or trite advice. Indeed, that's part of the Taleb's message in The Black Swan. That theories are contrived and can lead us to a false sense of security or doom. Skeptical empiricism reigns over theory, narrative, and other often misguided simplifications.

Read more

The Happiness Purpose - by Edward de Bono

The Happiness Purpose: If I had to design a new religion this would be it
By Edward de Bono

I really love this book by Edward de Bono. It provides many challenging perspectives on what religion can and should do for a person, and dares to suggest an improved "meta-system."

And don't look for absolute truths here. De Bono scorns such statements. Instead he suggest we strive for "proto-truths," which may be no less true, but as the term implies they are also easily discarded when better truths are discovered.

And the ideal of love is replace with respect, a more achievable, if not useful goal.

As for God, such an entity/force is not denied but instead de Bono's religion focuses on the capacities of the human mind as god. Fascinating arguments. Surprisingly inspiring stuff--even in de Bono's usual dry prose. Sadly, the book is out-of-print. So here are some highlights.

Read more

Advice to Young Men from an Old Man

Classic piece off Craigslist. Some points are very insightful. Some angry. Some kind of...odd. But all worth reading. If link dies, read cached copy.

Read more

Me to We - Finding Meaning in a Material World

Me to We - Finding Meaning in a Material World. Just picked up this book by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger. Sound like two incredible people. Rhodes scholar and Nobel Peace Prize nominations (3), and they look to be barely 30 (need to find out). Eager to read about their philosophy of Me to We.

Read more

Buddist Centers In Fremont California

Padma Shedrup Ling
Box 117, Fairfax, CA 94978
Tel: (415) 485-1356
36054 Niles Blvd, Fremont, CA 94536
Tel: (510) 790-2294 or 2296, Fax: (510) 796-9043
Teacher: Phramaha Somchai
Contact: Phramaha Suchart
Tradition: Theravada (Thai)

Siddhartha's Intent Western Door
c/o Kathryn Meeske, President
P.O. Box 15566, Fremont, CA 94539
Tel: (213) 739-0246 or (415) 675-0337
Spiritual Head: Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
Tradition: Tibetan

Wat Buddhanusorn
36054 Niles Boulevard, Fremont, CA 94536-1563
Tel: (510) 790-2294, Fax: (510) 796-9043
Web site:
Tradition: Theravada, Thai

Read more

Happiness - A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard

Happiness by Matthieu Ricard - Started reading this a bit ago. Nice primer on Buddhism. Absolutely loved the book that traces a dialog with his father, The Monk and the Philosopher: A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life.

Happiness does not come automatically. It is not a gift that good fortune bestows upon us and a reversal of fortune takes back. It depends on us alone. One does not become happy overnight, but with patient labor, day after day. Happiness is constructed, and that requires effort and time. In order to become happy, we have to learn how to change ourselves.

~ Luca and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza

Read more

25 Things You Should Have Learned by Middle Age

Rec'd by email...VERY funny...even wise.

1. If you're too open-minded, your brains will fall out.

2. Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often.

3. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

4. It ain't the jeans that make your butt look fat.

5. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

Read more

7 Laws of Emmet Fox

Read more

Dalai Lama's Instructions for Life

Can't vouch that this really came from the Dalai Lama, but it's good advice.

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

3. Follow the three Rs:

  • Respect for self
  • Respect for others and
  • Responsibility for all your actions.

Read more

Biomimicry - Innovation Inspired by Nature - by Janine Benyus

Biomimicry by Janine Benyus - Fascinating idea--philosophy, really--that we should look to the existing designs of nature for "innovation."

Not that such an approach isn't being used. Look at how pharmaceutical companies develop compounds found in rainforests into new drugs.

But biomimicry as Benyus describes it is something deeper. It's about changing how we view ourselves in the world as much as how we seek out nature-inspired design.

Read more

New Think - by Edward de Bono

New Think by Edward de Bono

New Think - In this classic, Edward de Bono presents an accessible, practical handbook on how to generate new ideas or lateral thinking. His original book Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step is excellent, but a bit difficult to get through. New Think is quite the opposite. It's an easy, informative read. Below are my notes.
New Think by Edward de Bono

Below are notes from Edward de Bono's book New Think.


Hallucinogenic drugs alter our perceptions, the direction of our gaze, our focus. Many drugs alter perceptions. Funny. Altering perceptions is the goal of lateral thinking, too. Techniques of lateral thinking are like hallucinogenic drugs. And this, the 100th birthday of LSD's creator, Albert Hofmann.

Is the way we try to solve a problem, part of what makes the problem difficult to solve?

Read more

What Everyone Should Know About Science

Read more

A Peaceful Marriage is Not Always 50/50

Absolutely brilliant!!! This woman nails the situation on the head:

If it bothers you, do something about it.

DO READ her original post: A Peaceful Marriage is Not Always 50/50

In fact, subscribe to her blog Violent Acres - it's hilarious and insightful.

Read more

One Sentence Challenge

Brilliant stuff! In case the link goes bad, here's a copy of what's posted as of 12/27/2006...More contributions sure to arrive so visit the orginal...

The One Sentence Challenge...

Read more

Happiness Helps Creativity

This looks very interesting. It starts out acknowledging the conventional belief that depression is the soil of creativity. Not so say scientists. Happy people are the most creative. That is a "happy thought."

Read more

Why Understanding Economics Is Hard

Why understanding economics is hard: This is a wonderful, thought-provoking article that has implications for all relationships, economic and otherwise.

Link is dead, so read cached copy below.

Read more

Seven Lessons Taught in School - by John Taylor Gatto

This looks very interesting. Plan to summarize...As I read it, I'm not sure it can be summarized. His words confuse me, which I think is by design, given Lesson #1...As I read more I realize this is a devastating indictment of the school system. How brave.

The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher
by John Taylor Gatto
1991 New York State Teacher of the Year

Call me Mr. Gatto, please. Twenty-six years ago, having nothing better to do at the time, I tried my hand at schoolteaching. The license I hold certifies that I am an instructor of English language and English literature, but that isn't what I do at all. I don't teach English, I teach school -- and I win awards doing it.

Read more

Celebrity Quotes on Philosophy of Sex

Keira Knightley

"You know that look women get when they want sex?....Me neither."
~ Steve Martin

I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy."
~ Tom Clancy

"Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand."
~ Woody Allen

"See, the problem is that God gives men a brain and a penis, and only enough blood to run one at a time."
~ Robin Williams

Read more

There Is No God - by Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette and God - If you are devoted to any religion, even in a small way, you will surely be provoked by Penn Jillette's (of Penn and Teller) essay for the NPR program, This I believe.

But even if you have agnostic or atheistic tendencies, you will probably still be provoked. Let's face it. Penn Jillette is a provoking guy with a lot to say. Here are some excerpts from his essay There Is No God...

Read more

Such Sweet Sorrows

A Father's parting words to his son, about to leave for college. Beautiful sentiment...I know these will be my feelings on the day my son leaves for college.

Sweet Sorrows
by Jerry B Jenkins

If link dies, read cached copy below.

And so it has come down to this: You're going. Really going.

Oh, you'll be back. It isn't as if I will never see you again. But when you return, you will come as a guest. For all practical purposes, you are gone for good.

Though you'll always remain in my heart and remain a member of our family, nothing will be the same. You are now your own person, making your own decisions, disciplining or not disciplining yourself.

Read more

Patrick Cassidy Sensei

Read more

Dear God, I have a question

Dear God, I have a question - Here's a charming collection of letters kids have written to God, letters with their questions of the creator. Here are a few samples...

Dear God, Are you really invisible or is that just a trick?

Dear God, Did you mean for giraffe to look like that or was it an accident.

Dear God, Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't you keep the ones you got now?

Read more

The God Delusion By Richard Dawkins

The God Delusion

Also see Main/WhatUseIsReligionByRichardDawkins.

The God Delusion
In The God Delusion, the scientist Richard Dawkins sets out to attack God "in all his forms".
He believes that the rise of religious fundamentalism is dividing people around the world, while the dispute between "intelligent design" and Darwinism "is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science".

The God Delusion

Read more

Fritjof Capra's Management Lessons

Lesson #1

A living social system is a self-generating network of communications. The aliveness of an organization resides in its informal networks, or communities of practice. Bringing life into human organizations means empowering their communities of practice.

Lesson #2

You can never direct a social system; you can only disturb it. A living network chooses which disturbances to notice and how to respond. A message will get through to people in a community of practice when it is meaningful to them.

Lesson #3

The creativity and adaptability of life expresses itself through the spontaneous emergence of novelty at critical points of instability. Every human organization contains both designed and emergent structures. The challenge is to find the right balance between the creativity of emergence and the stability of design.

Lesson #4

In addition to holding a clear vision, leadership involves facilitating the emergence of novelty by building and nurturing networks of communications; creating a learning culture in which questioning is encouraged and innovation is rewarded; creating a climate of trust and mutual support; and recognizing viable novelty when it emerges, while allowing the freedom to make mistakes.

Read more

Happiness Is Not Normal

According to psychologist Steven Hayes, happiness is not normal. He came to this conclusion sometime after his first panic attack.

Hayes experienced the panic attack during a heated psychology department meeting at the University of North Carolina, where he was an assistant professor. This first attack led to others, and soon Steven Hayes felt panic attacks coming on at the slightest provocation: eating in a restaurant or even going grocery shopping could set off an episode. During lectures, he was often physically unable to speak to his class, so he frequently showed documentary and research films--though his hands shook so badly, he was barely able to thread the projector (this was pre-video days).

To remedy his condition, he turned to the most popular therapy approach he knew of, cognitive therapy. As a therapist, he had access to most recent research and tried a variety of approached within the cognitive therapy umbrella. However, no matter what technique he tried, they all made this symptoms worse, not better.

Read more

Disrupting My Comfort Zone

Brian Grazer

"The discomfort, the uncertainty, the physical and mental challenge that I get from this -- all the things that too many of us spend our time and energy trying to avoid -- they are precisely the things that keep me in the game." ~ Brian Grazer

I just listened to an essay Brian Grazer contributed to the NPR series, This I Believe (a revival of the Edward R. Murrow series of the same name). Brian Grazer produces feature films and television shows. Some years back, he and director Ron Howard, started Imagine Entertainment. His essay for NPR, titled Disrupting My Comfort Zone, speaks of how he is always striving to break out or disrupt his comfort zone. That's how or why he has grown and evolved.

That's his driving philosophy of life.

Read more

Godel Escher Blog

Very interesting blog entry, focusing on Godel, Escher, Bach

Gödel, Escher, Blog

Read more

The Soul's Code - by James Hillman

I was reading The Soul's Code: In search of Character and Calling by James Hillman. In lieu of a preface, he presents a small collection of quotations. Here are my favorites.

Adolescents sense a secret, unique greatness in themselves that seeks expression. They gesture toward the heart when trying to express any of this, a significant clue to the whole affair.
~ Joseph Chilton Pearce, Evolution's End
I don't develop; I am.
~ Pablo Picasso
One always learns one's mystery at the price of one's innocence.
~ Robertson Davies, Fifth Business
In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted.
~ C. G. Jung

And this by Nabokov is...beautiful

Neither in environment nor in heredity can I find the exact instrument that fashioned me, the anonymous roller that passed upon my life a certain intricate watermark whose unique design becomes visible when the lamp of art is made to shine through life's foolscap.
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

Read more

Memory and Forgiveness in Humans and Computers

Memory and Forgiveness - I'm reminded of the book The Singularity Is Near, where author Ray Kurzweil forecasts that computers will match the processing power of the human brain by mid-century or 2050.

Kurzweil predicts we will be able to "download" skills, as represented in The Matrix. Think of that. But will it be any better than our current approach? Will we forget the skill as we do now and require multiple "downloads" to keep it up? Or is one download enough? I suppose it depends on the process of forgetting...and our process of storing information...So many questions.

Read more

The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

Read more

Hidden Connections - by Fritjof Capra

Fritjof Capra

Hidden Connections - I read The Turning Point and The Tao of Physics by Capra many years ago. And his Uncommon Wisdom which is excellent. But I sort of lost track of him. Then I happened upon this Hidden Connections in a used bookstore. It's not very old (2002). Focuses on sustainability. I guess it's a followup to his The Web of Life, which I haven't read. Plan to read this one. Looks right up my alley. Capra is an interesting writer to me, though his strength is in dialogue, starting and sustaining a conversation (something more than an interview). Uncommon Wisdom was so fascinating in that respect, filled with his dialogues with brilliant minds from a broad spectrum of disciplines.

Read more

So You Want To Convert To Buddhism

Buddism Introduction - Here's a nice summary or primer to Buddhism. Very friendly, accessible presentation; not advanced in any way, but I just found it pleasing and informative to read.

BTW, my favorite book introducing Buddism is Walpola Rahula's What the Buddha Taught.

So you want to convert to Buddhism

What the Buddha Taught

Read more

What Use Is Religion? by Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins and Religion - In this thought provoking article, Richard Dawkins, a Darwinian evangelist who wrote the controversial classic The Selfish Gene, offers an unflinching reductionist view on the origins and value of human religion.

I currently believe that we, as humans, need hope, faith, love, mystery, and a belief in God. Is there really a God or not? We cannot know for sure, so in a way, the answer doesn't matter. What matters is: Do you live a better life believing in God? Does it hurt to believe in God?

Read more

Great Photography Means Going To The Edge

While watching Creative Outdoor Photography (a photography workshop DVD by outdoor photography masters Galen Rowell and Frans Lanting), I was reminded where images for great photography are found.

Galen Rowell only touched on it in the workshop, but I think it was actually a strong part of his life philosophy (Rowell died in a plane crash in August 2002). If you want to create great photographs, you have to go to the edge.

Read more

The Judoka by W.D. Norwood

The Judoka by W.D. Norwood is a very special book in my life. I first read it many years ago, and find myself returning to it often. As a teen, I trained in Judo for a short while, but with the focus on "Judo" as sport. The practices were physical and focused on technique and competition. So I never considered that Judo was a "Way," in the Eastern sense. Reading The Judoka taught me different.

Read more

Norman O. Brown

Norman O. BrownNorman O. Brown was considered by the NY Times as a "playful philosopher."

I found his name while reading The Judoka, by W.D. (William) Norwood. On page 85 he paraphrases a quote from Norman O. Brown:

"Death is an enemy because we have too much unlived life within us."
- W.D. Norwood paraphrase of Norman O. Brown sentiment

From what I've learned, Norman O. Brown was a respected philosopher who lived a long life, though he did have Alzheimer's disease.

I wonder if W.D. Norwood is still alive. The literati / Judoka wrote a wonderful book and shared a bit of wisdom.

Life is accelerating by me. The NY Times quote:

In his Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (Wesleyan University Press, 1959), he said individuals and society were imprisoned by an essentially Freudian ill: repression. He argued that the only escape was to face death head-on and affirm life.

How the hell do you do that?

Read more