04 November 2018

Dallin Oaks: A Better Use of Time


As I prepare for Sunday School lessons at the local congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I read this from Dallin Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from the October 2007 General Conference:
But here is a caution for families. Suppose Church leaders reduce the time required by Church meetings and activities in order to increase the time available for families to be together. This will not achieve its intended purpose unless individual family members—especially parents—vigorously act to increase family togetherness and one-on-one time. Team sports and technology toys like video games and the Internet are already winning away the time of our children and youth. Surfing the Internet is not better than serving the Lord or strengthening the family. Some young men and women are skipping Church youth activities or cutting family time in order to participate in soccer leagues or to pursue various entertainments. Some young people are amusing themselves to death—spiritual death.
Obviously, church leadership was pondering the recent and sweeping changes to Sunday meetings and other activities at least eleven years ago.  If you have wondered why they might be doing this, the quotation above seems to provide a good reason!  The entire talk is an excellent lecture on spending one's time better; counsel that we could all do well to follow.

21 August 2018

Voting for Liberty and for Gary Johnson in the Senate

I have often been hard to pin down politically over the years.  My family is stuffed full of conservative-leaning folk and, on a personal level, I also hold many fiscally and socially conservative views. If you have read any of my writings at all, that should be clear enough to see. I often have a unique take on things, but I end up coming to a pretty conservative stance, usually because our founding fathers chose to enshrine some very important ideals long ago that I find wise.

I am a priest of God twice over and I work to espouse his aims as I see them. I also don't want some theocracy where people are forced to do God's will. God wants you to be free to act in your own way and, as one of his servants, I want the same thing for each of us.  When I tell you what I think a good person should do, I want your behavior to be exercised in an environment where you don't have to do what God and his servants say.

I am an enemy of big government. The deep state is evil and I applaud Donald Trump in his efforts to "drain the swamp". Our constitution was designed to limit the power of government in our lives and I stand four-square for a Bill of Rights that gives everyone liberty from coercion, even coercion that may seem to lead to a good end. I want to stop government from dictating what toilet I can sit on, what light bulbs I am permitted to use, what words I can say, or who I can associate with.  I want real liberty!

I am a registered libertarian and I typically vote that way when I am given the option. I don't want you to become a slave to deviancy or drugs or to make other silly choices, but the principles of liberty are more important than legislating to command obedience through an intrusive government. I prefer to preach freedom toward better choices rather than to demand that you do what I say through force!

I chose not to vote for Gary Johnson in the last presidential election to magnify my wife's more conservative pick, but I think Gary would be an excellent voice in the Senate.  As a New Mexican, I put my support behind Gary in his run for the Senate against tyrannical government and for liberty!

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.