12 August 2018

Moving to the Owned Server

There have been a lot of changes to the online world and the security and privacy requirements for public vendors of content are getting more and more difficult to meet. Some services have chosen to be shuttered rather than take the risk of losing money in the new environment.

I have run my own web server for many years and put essay collections there among other things, but usually put newer essays meant for general consumption on Blogger and lately advertised each through Facebook.  It has worked well, but I have been feeling the need (call it inspiration) to publish upcoming essays alongside the collections on a server that I control and maintain. If a vendor like Blogger or Facebook chose to walk away from the services that I use right now, I may lose the ability to get essays to you fine readers.

I suppose I could move to other vendors when my present circumstances fall apart, but I would rather take control of the situation now before I get pushed against some wall.  In the future, my new content will be available at http://ruach.quix.us and still be advertised through Facebook and other venues.
 
My server has some interesting abilities that Blogger lacks, so I intend to take better advantage of those, especially ones that keep you reading! I hope you spend more time reading even if you aren't responding to a Facebook post.

As always, I thank all of you for being such loyal readers!

10 August 2018

The Deserved Death of the Child-Centered Life

Parents let their kids run the family. Education panders to the desires of students and their despised and dismissed parent-lackeys. Governments coddle childishness for their own political ends. The immature majority lust for the irresponsibility of socialism and the lure of "free stuff" stolen from others through police-state democracy.

Disclosure:  I work for a college and make a living from tuition and state education funding.

Let's see an example that I know something about:  college education.

College tends to care too much about the student and too little about their actual training. How a person feels about their educational experience isn't germane to what college should be doing, which is inculcating a body of knowledge and practice that produces success along a specific professional path. Your professors should know more than you do about the proper way to shape you for a chosen path and a student should submit to their training. That is the relationship and the student's attitude about it is irrelevant - either conform to the training path or leave it.

The original and proper role of the college has always been training toward specialized professions. There was a need for proper physicians, lawyers, clerics, scribes, courtiers, captains, and so forth. Colleges of various stripes were conceived to train up such people. A promising person entered college, submitted to the training of professors, and (if they survived) exited as a trained professional, ready to practice. Once upon a time, if you went to the Harvard Law School with its rigorous training, you were heavily sought-after because it had a reputation for graduating excellent lawyers. That was how the institution of college was meant to function.

Sadly, college are transitioning from making students competent into encouraging incompetent and unthinking behavior for institutional profit.
Children and other immature people often make very foolish choices, typically because they ignore the counsel of wiser and more experienced people or blindly put their trust in silly, pandering, and greedy societies. Consequently, there are many, many people who really have no business being in college, yet they do it anyway with the full encouragement of everyone.  The sad fact is that colleges keep recruiting such naive people and twisting the institution into irrelevancy to try and keep such people attending, mostly for the money.

The greatest travesty is giving students a large voice in their training when they have no legitimate feedback to give other than their childish "feelings". The only useful feedback comes from successful practitioners further along the professional path that consumed the training and know if it is useful or not. The only input from a student should be which path to take, knowing that even if they only get that one choice, they will still sometimes choose the wrong path for silly reasons. Most colleges are perfectly willing to let a person make the wrong choice because it is far more interesting to extract the money that comes with a student than to help them make wise choices, often away from college attendance.  Pandering to the silly dreams and desires of children is just too profitable to be ignored (though it should be)!

Adults are supposed to prepare children for their future life as adults.  What we see far more often are old children demanding the unlimited extension of childhood while parents and other former adults simply take the easy path of abdication.  It might be seen as some sinister plot toward easy domination, but more likely, just laziness and weakness in those of greater age (but not maturity).

We cannot let children and the childish run things. They are inherently irresponsible, waste precious resources like mad, and cannot be treated with reason.  Experienced and wise adults must be in charge of things and assert their earned authority, knowing better what children really need!

05 August 2018

The Perpetual Computer Buyer's Guide

The posts have been a little heavy-handed of late, probably because I am actually a very heavy-handed guy!  To lighten up things a bit, how about my perennial favorite, The Perpetual Computer Buyer's Guide?  I haven't changed a word in it in over ten years and it is still really good advice for getting your next computer, if I say so myself (which I do).  Enjoy!

30 July 2018

If You Hope to Better the World, Better Yourself

I have great respect for Harry Browne, who many you probably have never heard of. Here is a wonderful article about him and some of his ideas from the Misses Institute.

It has gotten fashionable for young people to try and change the world (again) for the better.  Of course, every generation has attempted this and a few (like the youth of the late 60s) were so narcissistic about it that we still see the mess they created. Our present crop looks poised to make the latest effort even more flamboyant and destructive.

Harry revoiced the answer to this in the 1970s.  This is a concept that actually features in the Bible, so it has the cache of being tried a few times before.  If you want to make the world a better place, be a better person!

Isn't it simple?  If the world is crashing down (it always is) and everything good is coming to an end (yet again), the best thing you can do to make a positive change is make yourself into the change you want to see.  That should take your whole life and then some, so you should never get too weird about changing anyone or anything else - you have plenty of work on your hands already!

I know - everyone else is the problem and if you can just pass the right legislation or shame the right people, everyone will fall into line and your life will work better.  I didn't mistype that - most of the screaming and violence is all about making life work better for the people who are screaming and breaking things (usually at the expense of the very people they swear they are helping)!  It has nothing to do with anyone else (in a positive way), no matter how loudly they say that it does.  This is a manifestation of the concept that all of a person's problems are someone else's fault. My kids tried this stunt (typically when they were young) and I will give you the answer that I gave them:  So What?

No matter how or by whom you think your life fell apart, no one can really fix that at this point except you. The first part of any solution is (of course) to stop blaming other people or circumstances and just get busy improving things.  You will usually get a lot of help from nice people unless you choose to drive most of them away by getting indignant and angry about things. (I have lots of personal knowledge about this.)

Do you think the world needs improvement?  Improve yourself and you will develop more influence to change others, mostly by inspiring them to make similar improvements to themselves.  So, quit complaining and get to work on the one thing you can influence today:  yourself.

26 July 2018

A Priestly Life in the Trenches

I am a descendant of the Biblical Aaron which makes me a kohen or priest by tradition, and I work to honor this with service in God's temples and other situations that are available to me. Although I am not a Jew in the rabbinical sense and I am not a particular aficionado of rabbis and their lawyerly aspect, I access and serve God in my own way, as he guides me, similar to my fore-bearers.

Before I was born, my parents embraced the spiritual thought and practice taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). I have been tasked with responsibilities and labors as a holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood that Abraham and Moses also held and as interpreted by the LDS faith.

My obligation is to God before it is to any family or religious tradition.

Mormonism, like some other faiths such as Judaism, do not make a particular profession of priests. There is no paid clergy in the LDS tradition and most men are holders of the priesthood and do priestly service regardless of lineage alongside the labors done to support themselves and their families. It becomes easy to put God's service to the sidelines of life under these conditions and let other matters take precedence. I have lately been trying to better co-mingle God's service and my paid work and this manifests in personally interesting and instructive ways.

For example, I approach most things with "new eyes". I am not an inherently technical person, but I have been blessed with inspiration in relation to technical and professional matters. I end up looking like a rebel among the Information Technology and business orthodoxy. The official term for this is a maverick. As a result, I have never been particularly obedient to prevailing wisdom (which has been personally catastrophic to climbing the business career ladder) and I often approach reoccurring situations from different angles each time they come around in my role as "a curious instrument". God inspires me with what to do in the moment and I strive to follow those promptings as they come and things tend to work out rather well. I end up also being incredibly inconsistent and disorganized, probably due to my poor obedience to inspiration!

I doubt I will ever be a significant figure in such orthodoxical professions as management, education, or information technology, where the bulk of my present income is made at the moment. My method of being led most by inspiration in the moment is quite incompatible with the heavily analysed and procedure-oriented world that dominates everything modern and civilized. At best, I will typically be on the heretical fringes of an otherwise orderly society, laboring in the trenches alongside the kindly common folk, hopefully injecting God into our everyday struggles. I am pleasantly surprised that life and job work themselves out in spite of my unorthodox methodology! It seems to be the fate of a curiously priestly man who acts out his "religion" through a seemingly secular labor for money.

11 July 2018

Who Is Driving Your Car?

In a previous post, we talked about the proclivity of some to surrender control of their lives. As mentioned in the Psychic Proximity Principle, there is something I like to call "weak magnetism" provided by God that gently guides you toward your best potential. The interesting part is that you always have to make a conscious choice to follow that slight intuition - it isn't of sufficient strength to actually run your life. The spirit of God cannot force you to do anything - it can only gently point out the next step forward when we are paying it some attention.

Let's explore an analogy...

It was both a scary and exhilarating day when I got behind the steering wheel of a car.  What a powerful thing. I could now go faster and farther than ever before!  My range was greatly extended from what I could realistically travel on foot or on a bike on any given day.  On the flip side, my ability to do great harm to others (and myself) and damage to trees and buildings among other things was also broadly enhanced. "With great power comes great responsibility" someone like Spiderman's uncle would say about those who operate motor vehicles!

Life is a pretty important thing, best not left to chance. There are plenty of forces that are very willing to push or pull you in any number of directions and if you don't exercise your own will in your own life, there is no telling where you will end up but it will probably involve a "gutter". The great test of this life is how you choose (or choose not) to control it. Imagine if you just let go of the steering wheel of a car and step on the accelerator...

Sometimes, it might be better if you let someone else drive for a while, especially if you are steering toward a cliff. You don't want someone else to be in the driver's seat forever (it is YOUR life), but if the road is particularly dangerous or unknown to you, or it is late at night and you are very tired, it is great to have a fresh and experienced "relief" driver so you don't get yourself killed.

We are mostly weak by nature. It is a practical necessity to attach ourselves to others as guides and sounding boards for our ideas, plans and actions. That is why family is so important, where we have parents, grandparents, and others who have our best interest at heart and provide us with some of the maturity and experience that we lack. We might choose for a time to let the advice of others rule our actions through rocky times, but no one else besides you bears responsibility for what happens to you.

More important, we should not live life alone. We need the deep partnership that marriage was intended to be. In things of such importance, you should accept no cheap substitutes.

Of course, the greatest guide in the meaningful life is God. My advice is always to find more effective means to approach him and get his quiet advice.  I suggest an exploration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which God established to help us along life's path.

Who do you take advice from?  As a "driver", who would be the best "GPS" system to rely upon? The choice could spell the difference between a rather pointless existence or a life full of meaning and happiness!

24 June 2018

Yearning to Lose Power

Recent shootings and fearful yet angry pushes to eliminate the tools of power (aka guns) will force everyone give up what little power they may have over their lives.

I don't know the deeper purposes of institutional agents. I know a high school football coach gets to keep his job if his teams wins. I know a corporate leader gets to keep her position if profits rise. I know many people want to be influential or wealthy and usually both, and our society is quite willing to exempt such people from higher standards of behavior in hopes that you or I might also enjoy the by-product "perks" of being rich and famous. Many activities speak more to the power and money desired by the individual actors, no matter the rhetoric being employed or some altruistic-sounding cause being espoused. I don't know the deeper motivations of these people, but that may not really matter in the end. It will likely become a simple grab for money and acclaim and the realization that our society has grown to be more accommodating of these motives. People who desire wealth and fame are helped by those who legislatively emasculate everyone in a silly play of hoping to make the world more "safe".

I wrote an essay on using the pain of school shootings to curiously implore parents to pull their kids out of dangerous schools and educate them in homes where mass shootings don't tend to happen. This is an act that will help parents and children be more powerful, not only taking the reins of education, but in responding in a real way to preventing the effects of school shootings.  If most parents took their children out of the large holding pens of schools, there would be less incentive and ability for some crackpot to kill a bunch of unprotected and powerless children. If children are not rendered defenseless through parental inaction and societal traditions, they are in a much better position to avoid or defend against such attacks.

Some people think it virtuous to be weak as if it were the same as being humble or innocent. I disagree vehemently with this strange doctrine. If you are an adherent of Christ, you know that Jesus surrendered himself to the authorities and was ultimately killed. The great virtue in this was that Christ had every ability to escape this fate, as he was obviously very powerful and therefore threatening to the leadership of his day, but he chose to give himself up, powerful though he was, to fulfill the larger purpose of God and to do it of his own free will.  Weak people who are rounded up like cattle and then slaughtered have no power at all and have nothing in common with Christ in this respect. It pains me when I hear about the suffering of the weak and powerless and its portrayal as a example of being like Christ - it is most definitely not! The adult Christ was never weak and we should all follow his example in this by gathering whatever strength we can get and wielding it virtuously.

Instead of avoiding the tools of power, such as guns, we should be learning how to use such tools properly and being in control of ourselves around them. Increasingly more shrill calls to eliminate weapons are politically motivated calls to weaken innocent people and those who would be strong enough to protect them while also emboldening sick and evil people who can then act with greater impunity and to more damaging effect. I and my family and others encouraged my sons to join the military and hopefully find paths that include becoming powerful and using that power for good. If they lose their lives in the service of their country, they stand a better chance of doing so as powerful men who sacrificed for a greater cause, like Christ did.

Pathetic demands to limit or eliminate weapons are calls to weakness and more pointless deaths. If others want to be powerless, that is their choice, but I hope to encourage everyone to the higher road of accepting the responsibilities of becoming both powerful and virtuous