27 September 2019

Have Faith

Young people expect a lot and they are angry and vengeful toward previous generations and often toward God for not meeting their expectations.

Some of my kids find me to be a poor father. I am actually quite a lot like my own father and I think he has been pretty good in the main. Mom was a fine mother as well despite the usual imperfections. My wife and I worked to make sure that we had a better relationship than any of our parents could manage - my parents divorced when I was just entering adolescence and I was determined that I wouldn't do that when it was my turn.  I haven't divorced and my children didn't have to deal with that damaging situation. We generated better circumstances than the previous generation but that just wasn't good enough as far as some of my children were concerned.

It is like climate change.  Children lack any sense of history, especially if their parents never read them Grimm's fairy tales, so they don't understand that things like nasty witches, expanding deserts, damsels in distress, broken world records, simpletons, trends toward heating or cooling, and the powerful preying on the weak have always been with us.  These things are no one person's particular fault and no one person is actually responsible for solving things globally. Individually, we need to be and do good and better, but "the collective" will always tend toward evil a la the Tower of Babel from that unfashionable Bible.  God typically works on the individual scale, but he will ultimately correct things but do so in a way that might not suit the preferences of short-sighted children.

It's funny - young hellions like Miss Thunberg screech about how terrible adults are, but we know a few things that she can't seem to grasp:  Things work out and Good (actually God) will triumph.  The young have a decided lack of faith on every level. Sadly, they will find themselves with bad results if they continue to ignore the absolute centrality of faith in and action resulting from the goodness of God.

I know I am a pretty bad father who didn't divorce the way I should have and I am not the endless well of resources that every child demands so that they can have a blissful life of ease. However I did learn the lessons my parents and their parents tried to teach me:  God is there and those who stay by Him will enjoy the inevitable victory that He will win.  For my children and their contemporaries, I and my generation falteringly pass this knowledge on to you and you would do well to live your life by it.

06 September 2019

Socialism and Liberty: A Fantasy Union

Socialism is an imaginary human management system that will not work until every human is under its management. In no case will *every* human submit to such a system without some external and absolute tyranny, which also won't work.

Liberty is the state of mortal being that is ordained by God. Every human enjoys liberty insofar as they exercise it. Everyone exercises some liberty even if they have no intention of doing so. You cannot fully abdicate your liberty to others, no matter how much they or you desire it.

Sometimes, people are tricked into the idea that Socialism can create Liberty, but this is not so.  Socialism only spreads responsibility among the group and allows others to attempt to regulate an individual's actions. Liberty insists on full individual responsibility and full consequences for individual choices. Liberty sounds good but few actually desire it fully - most people are allured by the fiction that one can do as they please and a family, community, or nation will bear the costs of consequences and responsibility. One can only ignore such costs for a while and others rarely indulge long-term.

Socialism teaches people to be as irresponsible as they can for as long as they can and to "skip out" on consequences. Socialists coddle the childish in us in exchange for our allegiance, which proves to be short-term at best - children (literally or figuratively) are rarely loyal through the lean times that socialism eventually demands of its disciples.

We are living in a time where we begin to see that no significant amount of irresponsibility can be born by the collective "others" indefinitely. There is no place where more than a handful of people can act without consequence and society can actually bear the full cost of it.

We sometimes get a gentle hand and a soft shoulder in our troubles, but we cannot rely on an eternal supply of these. We have our liberty, for better or worse, and each of us must learn to use it responsibly and with full understanding and acceptance of its consequences. Socialism, in spite of promises and "good intentions", cannot sufficiently fill the role that each of us should take upon ourselves.

15 August 2019

Family Sovereignty: Voting Together

My wife and I vote the same way these days.  We have decided to work together as a couple in political matters. The same philosophy holds for families as well - only as we work together can the family have any power.  It is a bit tricky with me being a classical liberal of the Jefferson flavor and Lisa being a Reagan conservative, but I typically give in and vote her way because I love her more than I love my personal politics.  Besides, my candidates always lose anyway.

The womens' rights movements was not really an attack on the notions of toxic masculinity or domineering patriarchy, it ended up being an attack on the family as a cohesive unit.  The best families of the past would come together and cast the one vote of the father after deciding what the husband and wife thought on the question.  Far more likely, the wife would tell her husband how to vote, threaten to deny him her bed if he didn't comply, and the man would say he voted as she demanded, no matter exactly how he had cast the ballot! For hundreds of years, this was how things worked as a matter of course. As women were given their own vote and encouraged to make choices independent of other family members, they can and do great harm to necessary family unity. Women and men going their own way (the trendy MGTOW) are basically self-defeating - the power is in unity in the relationship, not doing "your own thing".

Solution:  Make sure both votes cast by the adults in your family are agreed upon, therefore doubling your voting power rather than canceling it out.

08 August 2019

QuayLand Interchange Xenagogy

There has been a lot of downsizing going on in my world.  We are selling our Portales home after moving a portion of our stuff to our house in Tucumcari and dumping the rest.  Although physically tired (I really never want to move again, but I have a reputation for doing it anyway), I have been working diligently to move my stories and writing to a new server and got nutty about creating a lot more content.  You can see the beginnings of the results at https://twiki.quix.us/do/view.  I call it the QuayLand Interchange Xenagogy, because it is fun to play with words that contain Qu, I, and X in them (you know, the domain name is quix.us).  You will just want to click on the link and see what is happening over there rather than leaving comments that I will never read here.  My "signature" writing can now be found at https://twiki.quix.us/do/view/Jason/WebHome and I have even revealed some lost tomes of mine that have recently been uncovered, such as 1998's Godsend and The Storms of October among a bunch more.

The most cool thing about the Xenagogy is that YOU can become a contributor to it, either by making comments on topics already written, or by creating topics yourself that are written collaboratively among the group.  We (the mouse in my pocket and I) are most interested in getting interesting insight and stories related to the QuayLand region and its people, but we will see how things develop.

30 May 2019

Tools of Empowerment

[This essay is included as an addendum to a Mesalands Community College employment application.]

In any endeavor, one must put forth some effort to stand out from the crowd. There is always limited resources and limited time and both must be used to best effect to accomplish one’s goals. It is vital to gain experience and, ultimately, mastery of both resources and time in relation to yourself and others so that you may be in control of your life and influence others, rather than be controlled by others or simply by circumstances.

My first job was at a movie theater.  There were any number of fifteen-year-olds that could have vied for the position I won, but I put forth extra effort and took advantage of the social connections of my family. I started out as a doorman, basically cleaning the theater between movie showings.  The guy who ran the film projectors hated working the “midnight movies” on weekends and I offered to learn his job and be his backup and soon became a union projectionist at the ripe age of sixteen.  I was making the wages of a family man while still in high school, all because I saw some opportunities and went after them.

In the digital age, there are nearly limitless opportunities to create and profit from content. The internet has proven to be a highly effective content distribution system among other things, giving almost anyone with a computer and a connection the ability to be creative and build an audience for their creations.  Never before has there been such ready access to the tools that open up the power to be seen and heard by others and to affect others in powerful ways.

The most successful people of our times often started by taking up digital tools and grasping the opportunity to use them in creative ways.  Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, used computers and the early internet to initially sell books, perfecting his e-commerce model and applying it to other products until Amazon became the world’s dominant marketplace. He capitalized on the digital resources available to him and his customers’ desire to save time in finding desired products and is now a powerful and profitable influencer.

You can also take up the same tools, computers and connectivity, couple them with your own creativity and pursued opportunities, to expand your own influence and empowerment.  We offer the resources of experience and mentoring and the time for learning to help you to better grasp and use these powerful tools to command your own future and realize your goals. We invite you to join us as we chase your digital opportunities together and put ourselves at the front of the crowd!

10 April 2019

A Latter-day Saint's Imperative Duty: D&C 123

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I affirm my personal belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and this was how I learned it.

Joseph Smith was very poignant about what latter-day saints like me should do:
11 And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—

12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—

13 Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—

14 These should then be attended to with great earnestness. Doctrine and Covenants 123:11-14

This is how I read these verses:

  1. point out where to find the truth;
  2. bring to light things of darkness as God points it out to us; and
  3. we should be do this earnestly.

Faith is the essential fuel but we need to provide the engine and steering to make it effectual. It isn't enough to believe that you can get to exaltation, you must begin and proceed on the journey yourself. God gave you a body, a mind, and the freedom to make choices - he judges our use of these and the progress we make with what we were given.  As we use our gifts to learn the truth and expose error, we are duty-bound to share what we learn with others.

This blog and my home server are my efforts to do these things, fulfilling my imperative duty!

14 March 2019

My "Teaching" Style - Learning by Doing It Yourself

For the last few years, I have been given the lofty title of "professor" at Eastern New Mexico University and led a college-level course in Information Technology Management. You might find my choice of wording strange, but it more accurately reflects how I tend to approach the learning process and what it is meant to accomplish.

Some guiding principles in teaching and learning that I find universally applicable:

Being Productive rather than Consumptive

When you see a need (market opportunity), your tendency should be to create a new solution to address that need, rather than only complaining and waiting for someone else to address it for you.  This applies to curriculum creation, learning opportunities, entrepreneurship, parenting - basically any facet of life.

I encourage those taking my courses to produce work that is worthy of publication in a professional journal or blog.  There is little sense in spending time writing a paper that only one person will ever read - publish it!

Learning rather than Being Taught

This puts the focus of action on the seeker of learning (student) rather than a teacher. Too often, students get frustrated that I am not up in front of the class (metaphorically - I lead a web-based course) and doing the heavy-lifting of education for them. I end up simply facilitating and evaluating their efforts to gain their own learning through a textbook and explorations from a variety of sources.  I rarely present myself as an authority in the course subject - I hope to behave more like a fellow seeker of learning who has gone further in the journey and can share the wisdom gained from a greater experience and a longer study.  This is where I get the term "leader" rather than teacher.

Learners Prioritize the Things that are Important to Them in a Larger World

The "student" is in control of priorities in their lives. Although I supervise a course, the learner determines how much effort they put into it, which reflects in their grade, and when/whether to take a course. Too often, students expect me, as the course-runner, to alter the conditions of course for them so as to work around family or health needs, essentially requiring me to change requirements to suit them and their circumstances and desires. I rarely comply with this sort of request - one cannot change the sea, only the way one approaches it. It does a student no good to have every course "requirement" shift about at their pleasure when reality, to which education is meant to be a preparation, is rarely so accommodating.

Too often, expectations are that a teacher is responsible for the grades of students, as seen by making adjustments for poor student progress, rounding up scores, or trying to ascertain a student's optimal learning modality (visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) and using a variety of techniques that "reach" each learner where they are. As I teach those who should be adults, I prefer to put the responsibility on the student to rise to the stated course standard, to seek out sources and modalities that they best comprehend, and to approach competence under their own power.  Responsibility for learning must be placed on the learner, especially in the expanding marketplace of knowledge and experience, of which "college" is a increasingly small player.

Do rather than Watch; Stand rather than Sit

I come from the world of home economics, which is built on the concept of the skilled demonstration. A student watches with the understanding that they will then practice and ultimately demonstrate themselves, first to a "teacher" to certify proficiency, and then to others as a demonstrator in their own right. I am a firm believer in the value of demonstrated competence beyond book-work.  One learns best by doing, first under tutelage in controlled circumstances, later with fewer restraints.

Portfolios of work already done, showing a progression in complexity or refinement, are excellent indicators to ourselves and others that we can accomplish what we propose to do.  Be it a collection of art or a resume of positions held and projects completed, we show our demonstrated competence that should grow over time. Though we may list the names of people we originally studied under, few can successfully just ride coattails - we will ultimately have to show our independent worth beyond our degrees and mentors.

I will readily admit that having a teacher take responsibility for the "success" of their students is more profitable to the institution and less stressful to consumers in the short term of a college "career". Sadly, if that is all a learner puts into their own development, being steered about by employed servants and getting a certification to which instructors put the bulk of effort, college does society and each student a great disservice. Better for a professor to point out resources, provide initial demonstration, stand back to let students take the lead, and certify the show of learning and the student's successful products. Ultimately, it is through products that we create that will define our worth to ourselves, those who employ us, the family to which we contribute, and to society. The bulk of college coursework should reflect the need for everyone so certified to meet these demands.