Sacrifice

coffee

In a recent post on this blog I posed the thought that maybe the cost to society of the abuse of alcohol was no longer worth the ‘rewards’ it is claimed by consumers to bring to it/them. (a hard point to argue against with the many, many victims and families of those victims who have suffered a grievous alcohol-related loss).

I believe that humanity and each individual is capable of finding a better substitute than alcohol in their lives.

But then I got to thinking on an even wider level….

What would I ( you?) be prepared to give up completely if it could be shown that your ‘pleasure’ was resulting in a dramatic negative effect on a significant number of other individuals…? or on other creatures who had no say in the matter?

Say, for instance, your thirst for an early morning, mind opening coffee was resulting world wide in a massive deforestation of previously untouched natural vegetation and threatening one or multiple species of life’s existance? Could you willingly sacrifice that cup of Joe for the sake of an orangutan? Of ALL Orangutans? Would you if you could and it did indeed preserve a species?

Of course one individual giving up caffeine in a liquid hit may not stop extinction from happening, BUT the massive thirst world wide for the addiction ( we go through caffeine withdrawal if we stop drinking for a few days!) certainly results in the need to grow more and more of the stuff which does indeed mean removal of large chunks of some species required ecosystem.

Or how about the real root cause.. Having babies? It has been shown that the countries with the highest number of educated individuals generally have the lowest birth rates in terms of children per family. Largely the planet’s overpopulation problems are the result of those countries with the poorest (lowest attended) education systems. However the land area required in order to maintain the average Western family is massively more than the average undeveloped nation’s family even though the latter has more members on average.

Would you ever consider limiting your family to two children?

Would you find ways to improve education in a Third World nation to reduce our total population?

Do you do nothing and hope science comes up with answers to these problems in time?

Just what would you sacrifice/give up in order that our planet continue to find a safe equilibrium?

Or is it a case of: “As long as I am ok at the moment i’ll go on doing what I always did – why should I do anything different?”

Maybe it’s a matter of finding out?

Then believing that what each one of us does can affect others in either positive or negative ways – and that they will undoubtedly come back to us, later and perhaps seriously magnified.

That’s a good thing if we act towards a positive ultimate goal, but a bad thing if we do the opposite or keep on doing what most of us have been doing.

Can you sacrifice for the Greater Good?

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Apology

I apologise America – I got you all wrong!

It seems I have been guilty of a serious misplacing of fault upon the American Gun Owner for most of my adult life.

Until today I thought of them as innately fear-driven neanderthals unworthy of a place in a decent civilised society (assuming such a society does actually exist somewhere today) who were too blind to see the truth, that only criminals and the police ‘need’ guns and that by insisting on their ‘right’ and necessity of owning guns and ammunition (in a number of cases hoarding more firepower than your average US army soldier receives) they were aiding and abetting in the murder of 10,000 of their fellow citizens in America, not all of whom could be described as ‘innocent’, every single year.

 

What? Over the top? I just don't see it!

What? Over the top? I just don’t see it!

 

Today I learned better.

Up until today I was blissfully unaware. (Ingnorance can be bliss – I believe that’s why so many of us frequently adopt it ourselves)…

I was blissfully unaware that while 10,000 people are murdered who might otherwise not be by people with handguns and automatic assault weapons every single year TWENTY thousand – twice as many – people kill THEMSELVES with the damn things!

See? I was not aware of the bigger picture here – I only saw the evil in owning a gun and completely missed the upside!

Sure killing others is bad – even in so-called ‘self-defence’, like with Oscar Pistorius – but hey, gun owners actually take more of their kind out than the good guys!

Ok, so I know 20,000 a year out of 110 million ‘legitimate’ gun owners in total in the US is but a small fraction, but they are doing what they CAN to reduce the numbers of people with guns! And here i’ve been misjudging them all these years…

And the BEST part is, given the current trends in our society’s I am 100% positive that the proportion will keep growing rapidly until, maybe one day soon, there’ll be no-one left who thinks owning a gun is a really cool , or even a necessary idea!

Now, if only we could figure out a way to increase the trend most rapidly amongst the weapons manufacturing industry – wouldn’t that be nice boys and girls?

Sort of like having Tobacco company execs getting lung cancer before anyone else did…

 

Sigh…. If Only!

Enough is Enough

drinkI defy anyone who saw last Monday’s Four Corners program on the increasing levels of violence related to alcohol abuse say that their ‘right’ to a quiet drink outweighs the victim’s and their families rights to be able to live a normal life – one where alcohol is not permitted to be the problem it has become.

Let me qualify that statement.

I can already hear the howls of outrage at even the hint that alcohol should be banned as a source of ‘entertainment’ in our society. That i’m sounding like a no-nothing do-gooder and that ‘they’ have never let alcohol control them to the point where they are unable to control themselves and so what possible reason could there be for banning their harmless enjoyment.

I’m heartily sick of that particular perspective and it makes no sense whatsoever.

I am fully aware that the latest research shows us there are three main types of people and the affects alcohol has on them and that not everyone who drinks or enjoys a drink will be in any way responsible for thuggish violence against a totally innocent party (like maybe your mother or brother).

There are those who can drink ‘responsibly’, ie consume alcohol and either do so in very limited quantities/sessions or who do not become aggressive, perhaps merely have slower reactions, when intoxicated. Of course should these individuals (around 40% or more, or the larger proportion of three basic drinker types, some might term ‘social drinkers’) then be involved in a risky or potentially dangerous situation requiring fast reflexes – like driving a car for example – they can still increase unnecessarily the chances to cause innocent people or themselves serious harm; Then there are those who will sometimes drink simply to get drunk – to lose control and inhibitions – who may or may not get involved in drunken brawls or feel like they have to exhibit macho behaviour which can typically result in serious injury to themselves or others, termed ‘problem drinkers’, and finally there are those who cannot control their need to drink – basically your alcoholics – who are doing serious injury to themselves and occasionally to others, and often their own families of course, not to mention taking up enormous amounts of resources in terms of health care workers, paramedics, police time and hospital beds. This type does not have the genetic ability or their environmental factors necessary for them to drink without drinking to excess.

So although not everyone who has a drink or enjoys one has a problem or causes one it is my point of view that the problems that are generated by the proportion of our society that does are of such a seriously horrific nature and quantity (and are showing signs of rapidly increasing, not simply remaining constant or shrinking) that these far outweigh society’s ‘right’ to have alcohol freely available to all.

Not all of us drink, not all of us drink irresponsibly (although the simple act of having any alcoholic beverage is designed solely to make you less responsible – to loosen your inbuilt inhibitions, make you ‘loosen up’ and let you be your real self, not the one you try to make others believe you are. And of course to make you spend more of your money buying more liquor so the massive industry can make so many billions in profits each year. Certainly not all of us maim or kill people they have never met before because they had a little too much to drink that night (day/week…)

BUT

Those who do, and their numbers ARE increasing, cost ALL of us, drinker and non-drinker alike, more than anyone gets back because they enjoy a ‘little’ drink.

I do not believe our society should be prepared to pay that cost any longer and that alcohol is an unnecessary ‘evil’ – regardless of the billions it ‘generates’ for (sucks out of) the economy.

Anyone who thinks otherwise, watch the Four Corners (ABC1 Australia, Mon 25/02/13, 8 30 pm) report, then go and argue your case with Mr and Mrs Ford and thank God that Ben is not your son.

Sometimes to stop a wrong WE have to do what is right.

He’s Us

I don’t really know why, because I am not in the strictest sense a religious person, but lately God seems to be a main topic in my thoughts when posting.

 

Maybe it’s in part because a while ago, when I first took up blogging ‘seriously’ (read: addicted), I found a really nice friendly group of almost normal seeming people who blogged regularly and who ,co-incidentally, were largely solid core, new wave Christians.

 

We had us some fine old chats before twitter came along and spoiled the party and the blog group gradually posted less and I gave blogging away – for a time….

 

But that’s besides the point…

 

The point is I am fascinated by the way words (even across different languages) can have unexpected, yet somehow seemingly meaningful, connections – i’m sure there will be a term for it and a deep psychological ‘reasoning’ for it but i’m too lazy to be bothered looking them up and just wanted to point one out so you can do with it whatsoever you will.

 

The particular word of the day is: Jesus.

 

The name Jesus is quite a common one in latino countries where local pronunciation tends to sound to us English speaking people as ‘Hey’s Uss’ From this it is a very small deviation to get ‘He’s Us’

 

Jesus – Hesus – He’s Us? Right? (Think 2000 years of chinese whispers and it seems plausible).

 

According to the New Testament of the Christian Bible, Jesus came to ‘show us the way’ for us to be like him as he was supposed to be God made flesh – a living human, like us, but with the authority of the Divine. Able to be born and die like us, yet able to live always according to God’s Word and put God above himself and his own human desires/wants/needs.

 

The idea being to prove to us it was possible to live a good and holy life as outlined in the Old Testament/ Hebrew bible– even if we were all just a bunch of lost sinners (as the story goes).

 

He is Us! – Jesus. Cool? Or not?

 

In Latin (or is it all Greek?) The name Jesus was Iesu (I is You) and unfortunately my Aramaic was not good enough to know if there is a similar connection in Jesus’s own language.

 

(What ever did we do before Google??)

 

Aramaic for Jesus is Eashoa, or some pronounce it Yeshua (Yes You Are) which is kind of funny given the number of times the Bible mentions Jesus as being the great ‘I Am’.

 

And if He was – then we should be also. He’s Us!

 

You may want to think about that for a while and see if you are living up (or down) to your own standards? 🙂

What is our true life’s purpose?

In case you didn’t know…

I love Calvin and Hobbes….

The Natural Life's Purpose

The Natural Life’s Purpose

Who Said Christians Have No Sense Of Humour??

I”m indebted to Morning Story and Dilbert for my first reading of this post…

I Get the First Pancakes.

It should give you something to smile about.

God’s Triangle

Here’s a little something my brain came up with a few years back (woke up in the night with a partial idea and completed it in a few minutes) It combines word, numbers, colours and characteristics that all associate some way with my understanding of something many refer to as God. – But i claim copyright and reproduction rights! 😉

God Triangle

Anyone else know of a 9 (10!) word phrase where each word in it is exactly one letter longer than the one before and makes sense in English ( or any other language?)

I’d be interested to hear them 🙂

( For those finding it difficult to read it begins with ‘nothing’ followed by I Am Joy, Love, Peace, Wisdom, Perfect, Entirely Perfected. All numbers from 0 to 9 represented alpha-numerically).

Pardon me? Did you REALLY just say that??

Big Hoo-hah in the Media at the moment about some of Australia’s male Olympic swim team stars abusing a banned prescription only drug (Stilnox) in the week before their less than usually impressive performance at the one in four year events.

It has been ‘highlighted’ this week by a group mea culpa before the press in which 5 of the 6 people involved in the ‘bonding’ session’? admitted to taking one stilnox pill ( although it has been reported that more than 5 pills were taken on the night and that they were taken intentionally with high caffeine energy drinks in order to achieve a high). This was done in the pre-training camp that housed the Aussie Olympic Swim Team  after the team members had been relaxing with dinner and a movie and their antics are said to have disrupted the sleep and routine of other swimmers in the camp.

That their actions were, at best, childish and undoubtedly thoughtless and uncaring of their team mates is undisputed and they admit it was a stupid thing to do ( with the benefit of hindsight). But a comment by one of the senior members (James Magnussen) caught my attention and gave me cause for future concern about how society, particular the younger half of it, maybe ‘thinking’ today.

When explaining some of the reasons for his poor ‘choice’ in doing what he and the others did he stated that he had for over a year been feeling pressure  and that he “JUST WANTED TO FEEL NORMAL FOR A CHANGE…”. (as may reasonably be expected of a world’s number one athlete – although i am sure having held at some point the title of world’s fastest swimmer in his event that there could reasonably be said to be more pressure on the other swimmers to try and beat him…being number one does have some perks after all).

Normal? FEEL ‘normal’? By taking a drug prescribed by a doctor for someone else’s medical condition along with another drug-containing drink specifically to achieve an unnatural ‘high’ – After a relaxing evening’s dinner and movie with a bunch of your friends? Is that what normal people DO these days?

Maybe it is?

And, of course, now that it has achieved world wide media saturation and because of his comments even more people with an unsure idea about just what is and is not ‘normal’ will undoubtedly find it even easier to do the same dumb thing… no matter what the ultimate consequence.

In which case i can only thank God and myself that i am most definitely NOT ‘normal’.

This One Is For Me

Truly – this post is just a way of gathering my thoughts on a topic i find fascinating but which usually has everyone else’s eyes glazing over within seconds. If, by some miracle you find them interesting also – so be it. Read on at your peril.

Absolutism Vs Relativity and a guide to some kind of Perspective.

Can anything ( such as that intangible word ‘Truth’) ever be Absolute ( final and unable to be modified – Fixed for all cases)? Or is everything merely relative to some or all other things ( a reference frame); is there such a thing as an absolute frame of reference which stays constant as compared to ‘lesser’, variable frames of reference.

Simple case: is a kilometer always and exactly the same thing – 1000 metres with a metre never being able to be of two differing distances in space-time. Initial answer is: Yes. However , as velocity is simply distance ( in km’s say) divided by time ( seconds) and as far as most of us know a second is likewise unchangeable then velocity ( km’s per second) must also be absolute – right?

Wrong! If you are standing by a train track and you see a bird traveling parallel to the track at say 5 km/s it’s velocity is 5 km/s (relative to you). But if you were on board a train on that track that was also travelling at 5km/s in the same direction as the bird the bird would appear to be stationary ( 5 – 5 =0 km/s).

You could well say that actually both of you are travelling relative to the ground ( a stationary ‘absolute’ frame of reference to you and the bird) at 5km/s but of course even the ground is not actually ‘stationary’ relative to say, the moon or to a star.

So while in this case both time in seconds and distance in km’s are both ‘absolutes’ velocity can be, and is, a ‘relative’ thing.

That is of course ‘in this case’, because as Einstein showed with the help of his predecessor Lorentz, both time and distance (and indeed even mass) is a relative thing…. a metre does not measure exactly the same thing in all possible cases. As things approach a velocity close to the speed of light (c) time appears to lengthen and distance shorten ( in the direction of travel) relative to a ‘stationary’ observer. This has the somewhat curious property of making the resultant calculated velocity be the same for both the traveller ( at almost c speed) and the observer ( speed = 0) to be exactly the same!?

In case you missed it …  to the observer dist x ( where the traveller now appears to be)  may appear to be a fraction, lets say 10%, of what it was when it was standing still or X ( X = 1 metre; x = 0.1m) while at the same time ‘time’, say 10 of our seconds, now appears to be only One second on board the travellers vessel.. so we see the traveller moving at Xm in 10 seconds or 0.1X m/s while the traveller moving close to the speed of light we calculate as travelling at x/s or 1/10thX m/s which is the same as 0.1X m/s

Sounds weird but as far back as the 1960’s scientists proved Einstein had it right when a clock on board the Apollo space flight was shown to have run more slowly while travelling at a mere 24,000mph than an identical ‘stationary’ clock on earth ( albeit not by very much as 24000 mph is nothing compared to relativistic, near light speed velocities ( ~700 million mph))

According to Einstein the speed of light was an Absolute – in all reference frames, no matter what the relative speed of any observer.

Unlike in the bird and train case where the moving bird can appear to be standing still or even going backwards to one observer, the speed of light is the SAME to all observers so if someone travelling at near light speed shines a torch he sees the light beam ‘move’ at speed c while a stationary observer sees the same beam also travel at speed c even though the two observers are separating from each other at about the speed of light ( c). This seemingly defies logic – or better put ‘common sense’ – but the maths and experimentation have both proven it to be true ( absolutely true in fact 😉 )

So – it seems there can be some(one?) thing that IS absolute – for everyone, anywhere, anytime. ( As for absolute Truth – that’s a future post)

Most things – especially in this – our common everyday world – are relative and usually most relative to us personally, whatever our particular frame of reference ( state of mind) is at the time. We may, from time to time, find a common ( Absolute) frame of reference with another like-minded individual but these moments are usually somewhat transitory in nature and so are not ( however appealing they may seem) truly Absolute. Most of the time things are not the way they are – they are just the way we happen to be looking at them from the point in space-time we are looking at them from. This can does will and must change with time. – Anything that does not is simply a form of stagnation.

OK… a few simple facts to help achieve some proper sense of perspective.

These days we measure distance with standards that have some meaning relative to our ‘common’ or shared relatable scale ( eg. metre’s or feet) and time pretty much universally in seconds or fixed multiples thereof.

A foot, metre or second which copes quite well for earthbound measuring soon becomes unmanagable when we look at our wider universe. They are difficult enough for simple travel around our own local solar system, the Sun and planets, but if we begin to think further away, still constrained by only our own galaxy ( out of the billions upon billions that co-exist with ours) we find we need something far greater in scale to be able to quantify things like distance or speed.

Nothing we currently have control of can travel faster than the speed of light, c. Yet scientists have a standard measure in space for  distance which is a light year ( time itself becomes a part of distance) A light year is how far a particle of light travels uninterrupted in space over one entire year or roughly 10 trillion (10,000,000,000,000) km or 6 trillion miles.

On earth our closest neighbour in a city is generally only 20 metres (0.020km) away, in the country maybe as much as a couple of hundred kms away. In Space our nearest neighbour is more than 40 trillion kms away – an eight year round trip if you could travel at the speed of light itself! To even leave our own galaxy we would need ( via the SHORTEST route) to travel over 10,000 light years (100,000,000,000,000,000 kms) to reach our nearest galactic neighbour (Andromeda) would take a 2,000,000 light year journey (or 200 times longer than human civilisation or 10 times as long as our species has lived on earth, if we could even reach the speed of light to make the journey).

Ballpoint tip

 

Every single one of you reading this is but one of 7 000 000 000 other nearly identical ”you’s” you share this solitary planet with. Our Entire planet is but one of the 100, 000,000,000 plus planets in our galaxy. Every one of those blobs above is a different galaxy to ours of which ours is but an average one and that entire picture would be blotted out from your line of vision if you held a ball-point pen at arms length, just by the ball alone – and the entire rest of the sky ( which we can only ever see less than half of at one time) holds a similar number of galaxies in the same miniscule area. So just how big are your problems really?

Getting some kind of perspective here?

So the latest science tells us our particular species of humanity first walked the earth around 200,000 years ago and that our planet first began to cool and orbit the Sun around 4.5 billion (4,500,000,000) yrs ago. Our Sun is a relatively young ‘New’ second or third generation star and that our local galaxy – the Milky Way – likely formed within the first billion years of the Universe’s current incarnation, which they believe began about 13.8 billion years prior to today. Makes our own little 100 year life span seem somewhat negligible huh?

So in the immensity of space and the enormity of time our little part of the Universe is practically insignificantly small and unremarkable… so why does everything we do or attempt or become take on such seemingly gigantic and hard to overcome proportions??

Simple really, because we are conditioned to view EVERYTHING from our own perspective as being ‘the centre’ of the universe and originator of all thought and hence everything we see or experience. ( Yes folks, we are all just a bunch of little GODS).

This is such a tremendously horrifying, and even paralysing, thought (some may even call it a blasphemy and you just know that’s gotta be a bad thing!) that the vast majority of us run screaming and waving our metaphorical hands in the air looking for a safe place to escape from the enormous responsibility of it all. We do everything possible to give our Godliness away and let someone else take all the weight and burden of responsibility. We look (often with the assistance of our parents, teachers, friends, enemies, workmates, bosses, politicians and anyone else who we look up to orwho feels the need to grab a little of our power to feed their own hungry ego’s) for ways of ridding ourselves of our true nature – of the wondrous ability we are all potentially capable of – of living a truly Inspired Life. Of giving of ourselves instead of taking from others and of proving to ourselves just how much power we have been given by being born with a brain, a heart, a mind and a body – in whatever shape they might currently have been bashed.

How’s THAT for a Unique Absolute Perspective?

Could you possibly consider your life from that particular vantage point? ( Then proceed to actually Live for the rest of your powerful, God-like, life with it intact?)

well…. you could always give it a shot; see where it might lead – no?

Scary!

I am frequently amazed by current trends and i find the following two examples, when considered together, to be a little disconcerting.

woofbix_beef_or_chicken_pup_stick_10_pack_or_woofbix_liver_treats_150g_0061c6a0_POP

kmart img05890122

With the one on the right i see this as yet another step towards the disaster that is the anthropomorphism of our pets into human substitutes – Humans have Weetbix, now your playful pal can have his own Woofbix when he sits down at the table for his morning brekky and mug of coffee!

Coupled with the almost as baffling desire to make our children* out to be a dog or a  cute wittle pink…whatever the hell that is supposed to be on the left, it does not bode well with me for the future of modern ‘man’kind.

* THE MOST disturbing aspect to this particular ‘trend’ i have seen in recent times is the tres amuse gift bowl shaped like a dog’s bowl with the word ‘MAN’ emblazoned upon it in a Thingz store catalogue  which is presumably given to the one she loves as a deep and abiding sign of the respect she holds her ‘Man’ to be held in – and so that said ‘Man’ can remember both his descriptor and his proper place in life at one and the same time.

The Ultimate insult? Thingz were charging the sum of $35 for this wondrous gift.

In my more cynical moments i imagine them lining up round the block to purchase one.