Showing posts with label philosophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label philosophy. Show all posts

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Parenting Rules To Live By

My daughter is five. Here's a list of some of my parenting rules: (I try to stick to them as much as possible)

-If she gets dramatic/emotional to manipulate me into doing something, a) do not do it for her; b) call her out on it (with humour).
-No yelling or "spanking." There's no lesson that needs to be bullied into a kid in order to reach them.
-Say no but say it when it matters so it's not a pointless word that just starts battles.
-Think about her as a person. Empathize. Remember her age, remember her brain's limits. Don't just expect her not to be who she is because it's inconvenient or makes it hard for me to have control. Cut ego OUT as much as possible.
-Wrestle/playfight often. Don't go easy on her the whole time. Let her have some wins but mix in some moments of high challenge (build self confidence, teach her to overcome obstacles and stay persistent, increased physical strength and capabilities, exercise, bonding).
-Share jokes, and ask her opinion on things.
-Have fun
-Do things outside. Be in nature. Explore.
-Don't say no to things just because I, as an adult, no longer enjoy them. She's a kid, not an adult. If she wants to jump in a puddle, LET HER. Her shoes get wet, oh no! They'll dry, and she'll have a great childhood moment. Or, just have her take her shoes off. Think outside the box
-Like I said, think outside the box
-Question things, and have her do the same
-Try to show more than tell
-Share my love of learning and my awe of (and passion for knowing) the universe
-Engage her in things.
-Challenge her. Mentally and physically
-If she asks me to get her something for no reason other than laziness, decline. She can do it herself.
-If she tries to get something making sexy poses, point it out to her, and then ask her if perhaps there might be a better way. Never indulge it, but never shame her either. She did not choose her animal nature, so don't make her pay for it.
-If she falls, know the difference between real hurt and not so real. Attend to the first, handle the second with amusement and try to bring her into that frame. End result: hopefully she laughs off the not so bad ones instead of sits there vying for attention. (By the way, it worked. She "walks it off" and we talk/laugh about it or just keep playing. If she is really hurt I immediately know the difference and giver her the hugs and soothing that she needs.)
-TV isn't the end of the world, but don't have her in front of it for hours and hours either

That's good for now.

My goal is to have a confident, open minded, critical thinking daughter who isn't ashamed of her sexuality but doesn't wield it like a weapon. Ditto her emotions. It would be nice if she worked through problems, had some measure of self reliance and autonomy, and didn't just cry on facebook when something mild goes wrong. Nice, caring and empathetic but not a pushover and physically capable. Just an all around cool chick. Possible? I dunno. Signs are promising. She's a badass five year old. Then again she's only five. Grade one starts next month and along with it a year's worth of other kids and their influences. And those influences only grow with each passing year. For now I just do what I can.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I Attempt To Answer The Age Old Question "Why Am I Me?"

(If I wrote for some big site they would have made me title this "Why Are You You? Here's Why" but thankfully I do not (thankfully in this instance, not in general; let's not get crazy here) and as such it was titled something more appropriate/honest)

Have you ever asked yourself "why am I me?" "Why am I not someone else?" I certainly have. Many times in my youth and adolescence (and once or twice in adulthood) I have wondered to myself this very thing. At 32 years of age I found myelf pondering this once again but this time an anwer came, almost immediately actually. It's that immediacy that makes me think I might have it, but each time I get close to accepting that, I dunno.....it's like an eel escaping a predator's grasp- one second it's there and the next it's gone. I am just about to emotionally connect to the idea that I am right when suddenly I don't feel so sure and I start saying things like "wait, what?" and "No, wh- hmmmm....wait, what?"

Well, I am writing down my thoughts in the hopes that I can finally figure this out and maybe have a good discussion with somebody online.  I will do this as though I were responding to someone.

"Why am I me?"

Well, I think each "us" may ask why am I 'me' (as I have many times in my life) and I think the only real answer is you are "you" because when your parents procreated, your consciousness developed as a necessary result of that process. Each one of us is a 'me' and it's only after we came to be that we would even think to ask this question but the question itself is kind of pointless because rather than a consciousness being dropped into a body consciousness is the result of the biological entity processing information. If you weren't you there wouldn't be a you. In order for you to ask about yourself there must have been a you in the first place. If any conditions had changed, you would not have existed. Therefore, you are you because the conditions that made you were what they were. If your parents hadn't conceived you when they did you wouldn't be, well, you. So to say "why am I not someone else" is to essentially say "why am I, a thing that came to be as the result of my parents being together exactly when they were, not that other thing who is a result of totally different circumstances?"

I think the anthropic principle might be applicable here- the idea being that when one is examining the universe the universe MUST be congruent with that beings' existence and this congruence cannot be used as evidence for something in an argument as it would apply in ALL cases. So for example, if someone wants to point to the remarkable number of conditions that must have come to be exactly the way they are for life to be as we experience it now and use this as evidence for a god the only correct response to that is to point out that in order for life to be here things had to be a certain way, and would be so regardless of HOW it came to be, so you cannot point to this congruence between life and the universe and say "see, god!" If humans came to be 100% without any gods, things.....would be exactly the same, otherwise there wouldn't be an us.

This topic makes my head hurt.

Friday, April 25, 2014

On "Manning Up"

NOTE: This post has now been published (in a more fleshed out format of course) on the website A Voice For Men. The link is HERE is you wish to read it in its updated format.

-Social anxiety?
-Self confidence issues?
-Struggling with something?

"Just get out there and do it."
"Get over it"
"Just be you and start feeling confident."
"Suck it up."
"Deal with it."
"You're x age and still doing this/feeling this way? Come on/it's time to grow up."

Basically, "man up." 

I was just reading a forum post about anxiety written by someone with really bad social anxiety and of course the replies were full of those quotes above and others like them. Any time anyone ever says something to that effect (which includes me at some points in my life, either to others or to myself) I think to myself "okay, can you do the opposite?" When you say "man up" to someone, what you are basically saying is "be not like you."

Well, I have a question for you. Can you "man down?" If you are confident can you be anxious and insecure instead?

No?

So what makes you think someone else can "man up?" If you are who you are why aren't they afforded the same sort of leeway?

Now, I'm not at all saying that people can't get past things, but sometimes I think people (myself included at times) downplay how strongly other people are who they are in the exact same way they are who they are, but just in the opposite direction. Next time someone acts like "manning up" is the easiest thing in the world to do, ask them if they could just as easily "man down." When they invariably say no, ask what the difference is. I've done this before and people usually get totally stumped because they've never thought of it like that before.

The thing is, the part that everyone always misses with this stuff is that most of the time, the anxiety, lack of confidence, whatever, comes from past experience and past experience is instrumental in making us who we are. If you have good experiences with people, you'll be fine looking them in the eye/feeling adequate socially. If, however, you have had bad experiences with people that made you doubt your self worth, you won't. It's not as easy as "being confident" or "finding your balls." You being uncomfortable around them is as much a result of your genetics, psychology and experience as them being comfortable in those situations is a manifestation of their genetics, psychology and experience.

That being said, this isn't necessarily it forever. A series of positive experiences and some practise can change this for the person affected negatively by their past. I know about this from experience and man; it isn't easy to change but it can be done.

Just not by being told to "man up."

P.S. In some instances, people really DO need to 'man up.' I'm just arguing against it being used in situations in which it's really not at all applicable, helpful and most importantly, fair.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dichotomy Between People's Actions and Their Self Perceptions

What do you call a person that eats meat? A meat eater.
What do you call a person that kills? A killer.
What do you call a person that cheats? A cheater.
What do you call a person that loves? A lover.
What do you call a person that hates? A hater.
What do you call a person that rapes? A rapist (not a raper...I wonder why?)

etc.

Basically, the above examples were made to illustrate a simple point. Said point being that most, if not all, people define other people by their actions. So far we are all in agreement? Okay, so here is where things get interesting. The farther out from someone's social circle is the more likely they are to be defined, in that person's mind, by their actions. The closer they are to that person the less likely (or at least the less intensely)  they are defined by their actions. There seems to be an inverse relationship between the degree to which one is defined, in the minds of others, by one's own actions and their social proximity to the other person/people. The rate of adherence to the rules of defining people vary with this proximity.

In the examples given above, one would assume that the people in question are people on the periphery of one's social group. Most people would refer to someone they read about in a magazine cheating on their significant other as a cheater. However, in the event that their best friend had an affair, would they be as likely to apply the cheater label? Taking this to the furthest point on the inverse end of this relationship is the judgement passers  themselves. What do most people call themselves when they do x or y?

I posit that they are quite unlikely to define themselves by these specific actions and instead are more likely to grant themselves psychological/moralistic leeway in the form of a statement such as "I'm not that kind of person," "I don't know what I was thinking- I don't do things like that" or "that's not me; I'm not really like that." Furthermore, I contend that you the reader have yourself done this, as, I will readily admit, have I, your gracious host and sexually proficient blog author.

So why the dichotomy?

Well, for the same reason that (in my opinion) most negative aspects of humanity exist: Ego.

Ego is a motherfucker. Ego is an incredibly strong motivator for much of the world's population; one that can be bested (or at least mitigated to a certain degree) but in order to learn to do so one must undertake a measure of study and practise. For most people, this process is unknown to them, and therefore out of their reach, regardless of their readiness to partake in it. This unreadiness/unwillingness to tackle the inhibiting effects of the ego (and the maintenance thereof) keep people in the default state in which they are prone to bending the truth (or at the very least use whatever techniques/tricks that are available to them in order to  maintain a certain narrative in their minds-a narrative regarding themselves and who they are as a person).

It is this psychological phenomenon that is responsible for the shift from actions being held to be the defining characteristic of a person's character to there being an essential "self" that exists outside of one's actions. The logical question is thusly evident, although the answer to it is not:

What are the criteria by which this essential self is judged? 

The answer, it seems to me, is partly past actions, partly the moral code that the person assimilated throughout their upbringing (a code that nearly no one follows at all times) and partly an idealized version of the self that is congruent with both a person's culture and the attributes they ascribe to a self actualized, idealized 'hero' character. Basically, we define ourselves by who who want to be, not who we are as would be judged if we were to be judged as we judge others; that is, solely by our actions.

The problem with this is that it can't be both. People either are the sum total of their actions or they are not. So which is it? Just remember that whichever choice you make applies to both you and everyone else. One interesting aspect of this fact that just struck me as I am writing this is that this choice basically comes down to either being harder on yourself or easier on everyone else. I'm not sure what people would rather do but I do know that either one comes down to the same unavoidable implication: You and everyone else will be held to the same standard. The exact thing that I believe sparks this problem in the first place.

I have a saying that applies here, and it as follows: You will be judged not by your actions but by the perceptions of your intent. Unless those doing the judging aren't you ;)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Is Having Kids Selfish?

Note: I posted a follow up of sorts to this article if you're interested (It pertains to the selfishness of romantic relationships).

Not having kids has been traditionally labelled a selfish decision by people who either have or want children. And while this accusation has been levied less and less as the numbers of childfree couples continues to rise around the world, it is not yet uncommon for someone who expresses their lack of a desire to have children to be chastised for even considering living such a selfish life.

When considering this one could easily think of some reasons one could possibly give for not wanting children that could actually be qualified as selfless rather than selfish. Not contributing to the ongoing overpopulation problem comes to mind. However, my my contention here is that one can take this a step further and actually claim that the desire to have kids is a selfish one, and quite possibly more so than desiring not to have them.

Think this to be a ridiculous notion? Well, read on and let's see.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Theism and Belief: Why is the Burden on Us?

An atheist and a theist engage in a friendly debate about the topic of god; specifically, whether or not one exists. The crux of the atheists' argument is essentially that the evidence for the existence of a god is lacking and has not led to the acceptance (on the part of said atheist) of the hypothesis that such a being exists. The theists' bottom line sentiment is that the evidence is sufficient for people all around the world (him or herself included) and it is up to the atheist to accept this evidence/open their heart/be open minded etc (there are many platitudes that are used in this situation).

This discussion has taken place innumerable amounts of times throughout history, and I don't see any reason to believe that it will not continue to do so for at least the foreseeable future. What I find particularly striking about this fact is that the existence of god is one of the few topics for which it is acceptable to claim that the burden of belief/being convinced lies not on the strength of the evidence put forth to bolster the claim but rather on the target(s) of said claims. A few other topics for which this is true are UFO's, bigfoot and the Illuminati/New World Order. Would anyone care to venture a guess as to what it is that these topics have in common? 

There is no proof that any of them exist (none of them do in my not so humble opinion). 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Internal hard drive defragmentation checklist


Internal hard drive defragmentation checklist:

1) 8 obligation free hours
2) notepad
3) pen
4) quiet room and/or a hilltop under the night sky
5) 5g (go deep or go home) of psilocybin mushrooms

Optional:

6) introspective, open minded friends with whom you can share the experience and know that they will respect it rather than try to morph it to fit their preconceived notions of what the experience should be like
7) an escape hatch just in case the light at the top of the rabbit hole becomes so dim and seemingly so far away that it detracts from the experience
8) skis. The outer reaches of the multiverse are snow covered this time of year

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Self Interest

Here are some questions that I sometimes ask myself: Are all actions driven entirely by self interest? Even altruistic ones? What about on a non individual level, like the actions of entire countries with respect to other existing nations, aka foreign policy? Is literally everything we do selfish?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christopher Hitchens is Dead :(

"R.I.P." Christopher Hitchens :(

December 16th, 2011: The day the world lost one of its most prolific social, cultural and political analysts, and a voice of reason that, if the tides of time are fair and true, shall echo down throughout the ages and resonate with all who hear it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Words to Live By

Every so often in our lives, we experience discouragement. No one is immune to it, although of course, life being the way it is, some of us experience it more than others. Quantitative assessments aside, we all experience it at some point in our lives.

It is during these times that many of us look to others for inspiration. I know I do on occasion. One of the people to whom I turn is Carl Satan. Although he is no longer with us, his words live on forever, powered by their ability to challenge, to probe, and most of all, to inspire.

Who do you look to, and what is it that they said that inspires you? Let me know in the comment section.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Work to Live, or Live to Work

A story I read on a message board (of course this is either embellished or straight up b.s., but I like the message):

An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The tourist then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The tourist then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The tourist scoffed, " I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

The tourist replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The tourist laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Own Religion- An Atheist Creates His Own Religion

My Own Religion- An Atheist Creates His Own Religion

So, if an atheist were to start a religion, what would this religion be like?

This is a question I have been thinking about on and off for some time. Sure, this wouldn't ever really happen, as a religion without a god is not a religion, but it's an interesting thought experiment that I think brings up some valid points and demonstrates how lacking the existing religions really are (not that there are not good ideas contained within; there are). So, what would my religion be like, exactly, if I were to create one?

Let's find out!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Questions Regarding Law: Exemptions Or Discretion As Applied to Laws

Questions Regarding Law: Exemptions Or Discretion As Applied to Laws

We all know that the law allows for exemptions/discretionary treatment. The most obvious example of course being self defense laws. Murder is illegal. Assault is illegal. Assault and/or murder enacted in an effort to defend oneself from an attack is allowed. However, my question here is should this discretion be extended to other laws?

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Views (more like ramblings) on Abortion

Here are my thoughts on abortion. As you will see, my position is not solidifed (the general slant of it is, the details are not) and the issue is, for me, a difficult one, but not for the usual reasons. The difficulty for me lies in the fact that formulating an opinion which is not borne (pun intended?) of assertions based on arbitrary delineations is rather difficult.

~

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sister Wives: What's the Big Fucking Deal? I Issue a Challenge to those against polygamy:

Sister Wives: What's the Big Fucking Deal?

So there's this show on TLC called Sister Wives, which I was not aware of until about 10 minutes ago. For those who do not know, it is a 'reality' show documenting/fictionalizing (you know how 'reality' shows go....) the lives of 5 adults and 13 children. The 5 adults are a man named Kody, and his four wives, and the thirteen children are, well, their children.

Yes, the show is about polygamists. How this is possible when polygamy is illegal in the U.S., I don't know, but it's happening (happened?) (not sure if it's still on or not). The guy is married to four women and the four marriages have thus far produced 13 children.