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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans

Satire, fact, truth, reality, gallows humor? 

Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.
The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.
More worryingly, Logsdon said, “As facts have multiplied, their defenses against those facts have only grown more powerful.”
 Read more ...

Friday, February 26, 2016

From David Pilcher

via email --

The 12 Laws Of Karma

THE GREAT LAW (Also known as the “Law of Cause and Effect”)
“As you sow, so shall you reap”.
Whatever we put out in the Universe is what comes back to us.
If what we want is Happiness, Peace, Love, Friendship… Then we should BE Happy, Peaceful, Loving and a True Friend.

Life doesn’t just HAPPEN, it requires our participation.
We are one with the Universe, both inside and out.
Whatever surrounds us gives us clues to our inner state.
BE yourself, and surround yourself with what you want to have present in your Life.

What you refuse to accept, will continue for you.
If what we see is an enemy, or someone with a character trait that we find to be negative, then we ourselves are not focused on a higher level of existence.

“Wherever you go, there you are”.
For us to GROW in Spirit, it is we who must change – and not the people, places or things around us.
The only given we have in our lives is OURSELVES and that is the only factor we have control over.
When we change who and what we are within our heart our life follows suit and changes too.

Whenever there is something wrong in my life, there is something wrong in me.
We mirror what surrounds us – and what surrounds us mirrors us; this is a Universal Truth.
We must take responsibility what is in our life.

Even if something we do seems inconsequential, it is very important that it gets done as everything in the Universe is connected.
Each step leads to the next step, and so forth and so on. – Someone must do the initial work to get a job done.
Neither the first step nor the last are of greater significance, – As they were both needed to accomplish the task.
Past-Present-Future they are all connected…

You can not think of two things at the same time.
When our focus is on Spiritual Values, it is impossible for us to have lower thoughts such as greed or anger.

If you believe something to be true,then sometime in your life you will be called upon to demonstrate that particular truth.
Here is where we put what we CLAIM that we have learned, into actual PRACTICE.

Looking backward to examine what was, prevents us from being totally in the HERE AND NOW.
Old thoughts, old patterns of behavior, old dreams…prevent us from having new ones.

History repeats itself until we learn the lessons that we need to change our path.

All Rewards require initial toil. – Rewards of lasting value require patient and persistent toil. – True joy follows doing what we’re suppose to be doing, and waiting for the reward to come in on its own time.

You get back from something whatever YOU have put into it.
The true value of something is a direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it.
Every personal contribution is also a contribution to the Whole.
Lack luster contributions have no impact on the Whole, nor do they work to diminish it.
Loving contributions bring life to, and inspire, the Whole.

From Lew Kelly

via email --

So sorry we missed you last Friday, but the group had an excellent discussion going. 
I personally went out on a limb in a couple of instances with personal provocations that I promised to share with the group. 
1.  On Absolute Truths:
I submitted the conjecture that "Everything you deserve is going to take everything you've got!"  NOTE: This does not guarantee anything; it simply conveys the idea that one ABSOLUTELY can't expect to get everything one deserves without investing everything we've got. 
And I believe the Laws of Thermodynamics are pretty close to Absolute ... at least on the planet Earth!
2.  On Personal Philosophy:
I mentioned that I have created a Personal Manifesto -- sort of my personal philosophy of life, which I'm happy to share, and it's attached to this message.
3.  In light of the most recent developments on the CentrePointe hole in the ground at Ground Zero Lexington -- with termination of the project due to the inability of the Urban Co. Council to come up with 2-3 times the funding necessary to incorporate new Urban Co. Gov't offices, I mentioned that I had just written a piece on CentrePointe and "Big Government" that I'd be happy to share.  That's also attached.

Finally, one of my recent Life Mastery Musings blogs included the first of many "Parables of Life" that I thought might be of interest to the group.  This one was "Life is Like a Bowl of Dirt".  It's also attached.

Now that I've gotten all this out of my system, I'll look forward to our future discussions on OTHER topics!


The attachments --

Personal Manifesto


I am not into lost causes, losing propositions or meaningless pursuits.

The first person I don’t want to fool – or BE fooled – is myself.

I will not shy from the difficult or even imponderable as long as there is reason to hope that a better day or condition can result from applied effort.  

I am willing to risk significant investment for substantial gain and am willing to defer gratification toward greater ends, even to a point of sacrifice, where warranted or necessary.  


I believe life needs to be lived with Purpose.  
Definable goals are fine, but Purpose is a much more powerful driving force.  

I believe it is important to eliminate the largest possible number of things that might – if NOT eliminated – threaten my wellbeing, the wellbeing of the world around me and my ultimate trajectory to Truest Destiny.  

I believe life has to add up, and one has to keep adding for the duration.  
Each of us who inhabited the earth yesterday should have both learned and contributed something, as well as increased our capacity for future endeavor; and today we need to capacitize ourselves to contribute even more tomorrow.  There are no parking lots and no sanctionable allowances for “coasting” or “resting on one’s laurels”.  

I believe in the acceptance and due exercise of personal responsibility.  

I do not believe it advances one’s station in life to wear clothing emblazoned with someone else’s name or to “artfully” adorn oneself with tattoos, piercings and super-hero attire.  It’s important to be your own person and stand upright in your own shoes.

I believe we have many options to define our own Destiny if we will but apply ourselves to our full potential.  Waiving such options and deferring the application relegates us to the dictates of Fate, which is patently ungenerous.  

With regard to time, I believe there is no such thing as “Free Time”.  Unscheduled time not wisely invested is time wasted.    

With regard to finances, I believe in building equity from time-zero onward.   Investments in equity position and/or sustainability are warranted, even to a point of indebtedness, e.g., for education, “Tooling-Up” (for a business or vocation), long-term housing, reliable transportation, vestments of professional station, etc.  But indebtedness otherwise is a fool’s squandering.

I believe each of us should explore the fullest range of human experience possible within our respective allowances of time, talent and opportunity.   

I believe it is important to know how to “play” as well as how to generate and regenerate the driving forces of life.  Active pursuit of inspiration and engagement in positively affirming and “enlifening” activities are critical to overall wellbeing and should be liberally pursued and applied – but not to a fault!  The end-result of such pursuit should be increased, not decreased, capacitization.  

I believe in fostering creativity.  

I believe in being flexible and in being open to new possibilities.

I believe in developing translatable skills and aptitudes that can serve multiple purposes.  

I believe in Total Intentional Living.  

I understand that I do not have all the answers, and am committed to life-long learning, adapting and adjusting as necessary, within my ability, to best reflect the most reasonable principles and practicalities of life.   

I adamantly abhor dogmatism/tribalism for its own sake.  

With regard to social engagement:

The conservative in me wants the profanely poor and the deftly disabled to get off their butts and do something useful to justify the valuable resources and opportunities they’re wasting.  

The liberal in me wants to minister to all those in legitimate need.

The utilitarian in me wants to educate and equip the masses in real-time, real-life requirements and expectations, with leadership – to the grave if necessary – for progressive productive engagement.

The philosopher in me wants to provide enlightenment for all to revision their station in life as on a trajectory UP – not as some Fate-decreed spot in a parking lot – having an ultimate goal of Life- and Self-Mastery.   

I believe a person is “accomplished” when what he most prefers to read, he, himself, has written; when the music he most prefers to hear or perform is music he, himself, has composed; when the tools he finds most useful are tools he, himself, has devised; when the art he prefers to view, he, himself, has created.  


My life has been based on a fairly simple formula:

  1. Get meaningful work and make it your life.
  2. Work harder and more conscientiously than anyone else – it permits being counted at least as “worthy”; not infrequently as “special”.
NOTE: Some have “worked smarter” and been more savvy, but it is doubtful that any have received a greater measure of satisfaction or fulfillment.   
  1. Do all the good you can for all the people you can for ever as long as you can (John Wesley).

This formula has never failed. 
While the road has been challenging – even difficult and lonely for significant stretches of time, opportunities have been plentiful, successes have been significant, associates have been both collegial and supportive, friends and family have been respectful, regrets have been few, many expectations have been exceeded, and satisfaction in the effort given and results attained has been more than ample.


Big Government Redux

The news of the latest CentrePointe deal collapsing … because the “Urban County Council did not want to pay ‘two or three times what it should’ to get a new city hall” … puts an interesting twist on Tea Party Conservative holdings about “Big Government” interfering with private business.  

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on whether you’re paying for it or reaping the benefit, “Big Government” is one of the largest drivers of private business in the US.  While I’m not privy to all the numbers, simply consider how many “private contractors” state, local and federal government agencies support … to build roads, to provide medical care for the elderly and indigent, to lease buildings for government offices, and, yes, to sell $500 hammers, screw drivers and toilet seats to the Pentagon!   It’s actually much bigger than that (consider who’s building the next generation fighter jets and aircraft carriers).   If you’re a private contractor, you might want to check out the following:

Top 20 Federal Opportunities
Uncover and get analysis on the top 20 high profile procurements totaling over $231 billion in business opportunities.

Or this one:

The US Army has officially announced the winner of the hotly contestedJoint Light Tactical Vehicle program, awarding the initial $6.7-billion contract to the Oshkosh Corporation. This deal only covers low-rate initial production and full-rate production, which would include some 17,000 vehicles. In reality, though, the total program will likely cost taxpayers some $30 billion over the next few decades. According toFoxtrot Alpha, 55,000 vehicles will eventually be built for the US Army and Marine Corps, although that figure is likely very conservative. After all, over 280,000 Humvees have hit battlefields and bases since 1984.  

The overall FY 2016 Budget for Armed Forces is $585 billion, much of it contracted out to private enterprise.  

The FY 2016 Budget request for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was $31.3 billion, an increase of $1 billion, or 3.3 percent, over FY 2015.  (Most of the NIH budget is contracted out to institutions of higher learning or private contractors.)  

In FY 2016, the Office of the Actuary has estimated that gross current law spending on Medicare benefits will total $672.6 billion.  (Both the pharmaceutical industry and private physician practices will accrue huge shares of expenditures here.  That’s HUGE!)  

So, here’s how the evolving deal seems to be shaping up:  The TPC would like to cut government support for all programs that do not involve the issuing of lucrative contracts for private contractors.  This would include, and may specifically target, programs that support education (including workforce development), housing and food supplements for persons with no or low income.  

We can “afford” to do this, since the poor will merely fend for themselves as they always have, and private contractors can bring in foreign national “mercenary” expertise (as they are already doing) to fill elite workforce needs.  In fact, one can take away subsistence support altogether and move more people into minimum wage jobs, thus increasing the competition for minimum wage jobs and even driving down the minimum wage.  (Immigrants seem to be managing quite well on this formulation, which is a kind of “litmus test”/proof of concept for the approach.)  What a defining win for Capitalism, the TPC and all of those interested in “Taking back America”!

So let’s find some business-unfriendly subsistence and supplement support we can cut so the Urban County Council can afford to pay “‘two or three times what it should’ [to private contractors] to get a new city hall” in the new CentrePointe hole.  It seems a “No-Brainer”!

Lewis A. Kelly


Over more than half a lifetime of fits and starts, I’ve found that life is rather more like a bowl of dirt than it is a bowl of cherries.  

Fortunately ___ but, for some purposes, unfortunately ___ the bowl of dirt we are given to get us started in life is usually provided to us already cultivated and fertilized and containing a good assortment of seeds of possibility.  All it needs from us – eventually, as we are able – is proper tending:  Like watering, applications of fertilizer, weeding, sunshine, cultivation, pest control, more weeding, and, in due season, harvesting.  Then we repeat the process – in addition to growing our bowl, adding more dirt, gathering and planting more seeds, etc., so that, eventually, we might even be able to share some of the harvest.  

Since our bowl of dirt comes to us with most of the ingredients already in place, and since it has already received ample tending by others helping us on our way, we don’t always appreciate, internalize and visualize the full extent of tending needed for a sustainable future.  Of course, we love the sunshine part, and the harvesting part is pretty neat.  It’s the fertilizer thing, the weeding, the cultivation, the pest control and building a bigger bowl and adding more dirt that bum us out and often seem, for all practical purposes, unnecessary.  

Not surprisingly, the more fertilizer we get heaped upon us, the more abhorrent the whole affair becomes, though, in fact, the faster we can work it into the soil, the more palatable it becomes and the faster and more robustly the crops grow.  Experience shows that the longer we let it sit untended, the more stench it creates.  

On many byways, one can encounter colorful and seemingly “divinely inspiring” virtual fruits available for the taking.  Unfortunately, these are without substantive nutrition; i.e., they are only virtually fulfilling, they last only for the moment, and they take us a good distance away from a more tangibly rewarding harvest.

Each person’s bowl of dirt is different.  We’d like them all to be the same.  (We live in a land of “equal opportunity”, don’t we?)  More specifically, we’d like ours to be like the ones we notice so richly blooming in our neighbor’s plot, or as advertised in the media.  Here, again, we rarely look for or have the opportunity to see the extra care, attention and tending these bowls of dirt are getting and we can’t, therefore, totally appreciate what it takes to produce such results.   

Some of the weeds that encroach opportunistically in our Bowl of Dirt are even more attractive and a lot more scentuous than the real fruit & fiber stuff, and we really can’t bring ourselves to pull out such bounty.  Unfortunately, the most attractive weeds draw the most nutrients, light and air from the really nutritious produce and can seriously stunt their growth or choke them out altogether, ultimately draining and poisoning the soil beyond repair. The result in the extreme is barren soil, often requiring one to start over completely from scratch with extraordinary effort to reclaim some remnant of initial possibilities.   

It is tempting in such circumstances to seek to extract nutrients from a richly blossoming bowl of dirt tended by someone else, preferably someone in shining armor on a white horse!

Finally, some of the seeds are like bamboo, which requires up to five years of tending before it begins to sprout, and then it may grow as much as 90 feet in one year!  Taking a long view and having tremendously patient persistence are necessary if one is to bring these spectacular “overnight accomplishments” to fruition.  


THE PESSIMIST:  Expecting life to be a “Bowl of Cherries”, the pessimist grumpily points out the fact that it is NOT.  True to prediction, the pessimist’s bowl of dirt merely turns to mud in the rain, and bakes to a mud-cake in the sun … and the only thing he/she is psychically equipped to do is eat the weeds and residual seeds that may have come with the bowl of dirt.  

THE OPTIMIST:  The optimist expects nothing beyond the opportunity to make something beautiful out of her bowl of dirt and sees opportunities around every corner and under every clump of soil.  She gladly takes her bowl of dirt and throws seeds and fertilizer (manure, would you believe!) in it, weeds, waters and feeds it, and collects a glorious bounty for her efforts.  

THE OPPORTUNIST:  The opportunist buys extra production from the optimist to sell to the pessimist, charges a nominal fee to dispose of the pessimist’s bowl of dirt, and then sells the pessimist’s dirt back to the optimist to expand and enhance his enterprise.  (The opportunist may also deal in seeds and fertilizer.)  

Get bullish on DIRT and seeds of possibility!  Choose your attitude, inclination and orientation carefully … and don’t shy from the ardor of cultivation, which will include digging a whole lot of dirt and shoveling a whole lot of manure.  The reward will be well worth all the effort!  


Meeting of February 26

I'm not a great note-taker -- in fact, I'm not a note-taker at all -- but today's group discussion was noteworthy in many respects.  So I wanted to recapture some of the philosophical highlights:
  • Town or Country -- where are we the happiest?
  • Where have we lived?
  • Lexington in the 60s, Lexington now
  • A Journey of One Century -- our culture has gone from 90% (+/-) rural population to roughly that % urban, and what are the philosophical implications?
  • Technology's Impact
  • Individuality
  • Parenting
  • Bullying
  • Travel
  • The Internet and other social networking
  • The Imagination
  • "Reality" TV
  • Political TV
  • Apple vs the FBI -- This was a big one.  How big?
  • Freedom vs Security
  • Risk
  • Terrorism
  • Privacy vs Strong Government
  • How does the individual cooperate to provide and obtain general welfare
  • Which are Rights and which are Guarantees -- from where does each come?
Please let me know what I may have forgotten.  Please let me know if you would change any choice of wording.

We and They

One of our number brought in a pertinent last stanza of the poem by Rudyard Kipling, We and They (full poem here).

All good people agree,
  And all good people say,
All nice people, like Us, are We
  And every one else is They:
But if you cross over the sea,
  Instead of over the way,
You may end by (think of it!) looking on We
  As only a sort of They!
From there we went on to have a good discussion of adaptability

Monday, February 22, 2016

You've Reached the Farm -- The Nest

I'm thinking of the life of Robert Penn Warren, whose mind roamed the Universe.  Wonderfully for us, he brought much of that expansive view back to his nest and condensed it so artfully.  I see Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, and Jack London in much the same way.

Warren found a workshop for his art,  wherever he hung his writer's hat.  He could look out his window, seeing what there was to behold in the physical world, but he could look far beyond in the imaginary world where he saw a life and career of Huey P. Long and a fatal crisis for Floyd Collins and the Black Patch Wars of his birthplace.

Although I do not claim the ability of Robert Penn Warren, I at least have vision into the imaginary world.  Imaginary and fictional are not synonyms. All fictions are imaginary, but all imaginations are not fictions.  I can sit in my nest, looking at the woods going down the hill and through the wintry trees to the snow covered hill beyond.  But I can also see the ponga forest near Whangerei Falls on the North Island of New Zealand, where Lin and I tred the boardwalks among the tops of the tree ferns.  I can see the sea cliffs of Molokai from a helicopter.  I can see the tomb of Charles Darwin in Westminster Abbey.  I can see what that hillside at home will look like when the dogwoods will bloom.

Last spring, Lin and I visited Mark Twain's estate in Hartford, Connecticut.  It was grand, sitting on a hill looking across the countryside, but it was meager compared to that which Samuel Langhorn Clemens saw from that apex.  His mind would impoverish any nesting place.  If he were resting on the shore of Marin, west of Tamalpais, overlooking the Farallons, he could, and would see, much farther than that.

The mind never rests, but as the body rests, the mind expands throughout the foreign and domestic, the true and the could be true, the near and far lands.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Great Ideas of Philosophy II -- Individualism

Great Ideas of Philosophy -- Society

I love this idea.
PoetryHome | Contents

'No Man is an Island'

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

Olde English Version
No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne 


My deepest apologies are offered for my failing to be with you this morning. I have learned again that the most unavoidable philosopher is Murphy, whose law states, if it can go wrong, it will!

I look forward to hearing from any of you how the meeting went.

In the meantime, I encourage you to explore this web site.

In particular, I recommend that you check the links on the right hand side of the page. Exploring those, you will surely arrive at some of your own answers to the questions on which we are focusing.

Last night I posted an item on the website that shows screenshots of several of the links. If you click, or tap, directly on any of those images, that will take you to a live web page at the related site. Happy browsing.

The next meeting will be on February 26, same place, same time.