Down With PC!

PC, political correctness, the dictionary defines it as:

The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

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This is a noble statement. It offers balm to the sensitivities of people. But I believe, that PC has become a censorship movement that shuts down debate and people’s opinions. It makes people censor themselves, the thoughts they have and their right to think what they want and to say what they think.

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This noble statement in the definition, has many times been carried to extremes where it pressures people to avoid talking about sensitive issues and proposing solutions that are different from the usual agenda.

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PC is the method of controlling and dumbing down of the people’s right to their opinions. Liberty in speech means the right to tell people what they don’t want to hear. But then, those people have the right to counter what has been said.

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Did you ever wonder why voter turnout is usually low? It’s because the electorate feel it’s pointless to bother when all the main parties occupy the center ground. There is a sameness no matter who wins. No party wants to suggest any policy that is not PC, for fear of being called, “The Nasty Party.”

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There is a creeping movement for Thought Conformism and Speech Conformism in the guise of PC. Sounds like something out of Orwell’s 1984 doesn’t it? It has become fashionable for people to be offended by almost anything they don’t believe in and to demand the perpetrator be prevented from saying it.

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PC is an open attack on Free Speech and an attempt to bypass debate. The elite by trying to drive powerful sentiments underground does NOT get rid of them! The recent political earthquakes in the UK and US have proved that!

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One of the reasons Donald Trump won the presidency is because he promised to get rid of PC. He realized that the ordinary Joe in America was sick to death of the smug elite telling him what to think. The elite by trying to force people not to speak their minds led to a revolution of the common man and their votes went to a guy who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.

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We must realize we have been manipulated by PC through saturation and suppression. Repeating something often enough and low and behold, it becomes accepted! Our ideas and opinions have been squashed if they go against the PC message.

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So, lets get rid of this self-censor. Hyper-sensitivity cripples a person to the point that they can’t deal with the harsh realities of life. We must speak our minds and confront others in the arena of ideas. Can’t we question what is and what is not insulting, marginalizing and discriminatory?

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The worst aspect of PC is its success in stifling opposing beliefs. The basic tendency of PC is to censor yourself from saying something in opposition to PC. PC wages war against Freedom of Speech. It gives itself a sense of moral superiority over any opposition. It gives a sense of shame and guilt to opposing beliefs. This then, becomes internalized so people censor themselves from saying things that that they strongly believe in. Don’t feel guilty for something you’re not responsible for: if you are not responsible for it, you can’t be guilty. Don’t feel emotional discomfort over voicing your opinions. We need debate. It has been closed down by the dominance of the moralistic ideology of PC.

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Remember what Voltaire said: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

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We have to communicate our ideas and opinions, and to do that we have to engage with people. Calling them “racist” doesn’t defeat an argument and It won’t help change their mind. Only debate, out of the realm of PC, might do that.

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The 1st Amendment to the US Constitution was established to help promote free speech, a free exchange of ideas, and to provide a form of redress to citizens against their government, with this restriction:

The government prohibits the use of speech used to incite violence and lawlessness.

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So in conclusion, we must motivate ourselves and others to overcome the barrier to speak our minds. If enough people stop being isolated and shed the fear of PC, we will put down PC for good!

 

Two Political Earthquakes

In 2016, two earth-shaking events happened:

The June referendum, when 17.4 million people in the UK voted to LEAVE the EU.

It was a 52% majority.

And the November election of Donald Trump for President of the US, when 62 million people voted for Trump which won a majority of the Electoral College votes.

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These millions of voters in the UK and US felt they were NOT being listened to by their leaders. They felt marginalized and disenfranchised. They felt their leaders thought their concerns were insignificant and so they were put on the back burner.

Yet, they had LEGITIMATE concerns about their country!

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All the bile and criticism thrown at the majorities in these two countries is a sign that the insulated political class wants to take the people out of democracy. Now, democracy means giving the people a voice so they can speak for themselves. The word democracy implies power and control to the people.

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So, what happened in the aftermath of these two earthquakes?

People of the masses got bashed! This was the response to the events. Constant complaining and attempts to block the people’s decision.

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Lets look at some of the LEGITIMATE concerns of the majority of the voters.

The 17.4 million people who voted to LEAVE the EU:

  1. They wanted to make their own laws and decisions. Take control back from the EU.
  2. Close the open borders by vetting incoming people for safety and population reasons.
  3. Protect our institutions which are feeling the strain from over population.
  4. Do our own trade deals with the rest of the world.
  5. The people want their country back. For too long the elite have put the needs of other countries ahead of the UK’s.

What the 62 million voters wanted Trump to do:

  1. Have the government start listening to the people’s concerns.
  2. Bring jobs back to the US.
  3. Manufacture our own goods at home, NOT abroad.
  4. Re-build infrastructure and create many jobs.
  5. Need affordable health care for the ordinary person.
  6. Strengthen the borders by close vetting of incoming people.
  7. Stop cheap foreign goods from entering the country.
  8. Stop illegal immigration, if you’re in the country illegally, you are a criminal.

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These are all LEGITIMATE concerns.

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Now, lets look at the attempts in both countries to delegitimize the results of the vote and the voters who produced them. The power elite tried to force their views on the voters by FEAR and INSULT.

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In the UK a fear campaign was launched. The Prime Minister and his cronies, the Governor of the Bank of England, The Chancellor of Germany and even the President of the US plus many celebrities said leaving the EU would mean economic catastrophe for the country.

Yet, still a majority didn’t do as they were told and voted to leave the EU!

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In America, Clinton talked about “the deplorables” who supported Trump and the elite found the idea of such deplorable people exercising power frankly distasteful.

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Some things stand out in the people bashing responses to Brexit and Trump’s election:

  1. It has been said that those voting for Brexit in the UK and Trump in the US must have been uninformed, emotionally gullible people. Some say we entrust too much influence to the ignorant and easily misled people who don’t listen to the wise and enlightened elite. This is a clear insult to the voters.

The fear campaign of the elite tried to scare the “simple-minded” voters into obedience to their views. But the electorate resisted this ploy.

  1. It has also been said that people who voted for Brexit and Trump must be racists. Ridiculous! You can’t write off millions of voters by using the over-used race card. Look again at the legitimate concerns of the people, there is nothing racist about them.
  2. The elite political class want to redefine the meaning of democracy by excluding or downplaying the people by trying to represent them as it sees fit. They seek to separate the power from the people.

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And this is why the elites of the UK and US and the rest of the West could not and can not accept the results of the two political earthquakes.

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I always thought that majority rule was the main stay of democracy. Apparently not, when millions vote against the ideas of a small political elite.

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So, what now? We need to reaffirm the democratic principles. We need to open up a political debate on how to engage the many who have been excluded from public life, and put all the people back in Democracy.

Maybe we could have more public debates on national issues via the internet. Instead of being just spectators, the people should have more of a say in where the world goes, NOT JUST THE ELITE!

 

Society In Microcosm

After reading the novel and watching the film of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” I realized how much this story tells us about ourselves and our society.

For those who haven’t been exposed to the story, here’s a short summary:

Randle McMurphy gets admitted to the hospital/asylum, pretending to be insane to get out of the prison work farm punishment for rape.

The other main character is a half Indian named Chief Bromden, an inmate who pretends to be deaf and dumb so no one will bother him. He is a mountain of a man, 6 feet, 8 inches tall.

McMurphy is a larger than life character who stirs up the inmates so as to challenge the head nurse Ratched’s authority. He does this by upsetting the routine that the nurse enforces. Nurse Ratched takes away the men’s individuality and will by her strict rules. She punishes them by electro shock treatment and lobotomy.

In the end, McMurphy gets so aggravated with Ratched’s controlling tactics, that he starts choking her. For this he is sent for a lobotomy and returns as a vegtable. The Chief, who McMurphy has instilled with self-confidence, smothers him to death, knowing he wouldn’t want to be a prisoner in his body. Then the Chief escapes out into the world.

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The conflict between the authoritarian nurse and the free spirit McMurphy, investigates the theme of individuality and rebellion against conformity.

McMurphy symbolizes individuality, free expression and self-determination. These attributes are everything an oppressive society wants to stifle. McMurphy wants to bring individuality and self-worth to the other inmates. In the case of Chiet Bromden and a few others, he succeeds.

Throughout the story, you wonder if McMurphy is really insane or is he completely sane and just has a problem with authority. The hospital has complete control through nurse Ratched just like society has social control over the people.

What is the difference between sanity and insanity?

Sanity is about being aware of yourself, your surroundings and circumstances and coping with reality.

Insanity is the distorting of reality and being out of touch with reality.

There is a gray area in between these extremes, it’s called, “losing the plot.” This means losing one’s ability to cope and understand what’s happening.

The risk-taking, self-reliant individual was once celebrated, not now, society keeps individualism down. The government and society (the hospital in the film) wants to exercise willpower on our behalf and make choices for us. Horrors!

The individual according to Sartre and Nietzsche, has to create their own values and meaning in life, rather than rely on external socially imposed codes.

But, in the end, we have to obey the rules of society to maintain some order.

So, society restricts individual actions and choices because it believes the individual will make the wrong choice, for themselves, for others, or both!

So, the hospital/asylum is society in microcosm. The inmates represent the problems of coping with the pressures that society puts on them to conform to the “norm.”

Some inmates are definitely not crazy, they are just having difficulty coping with society’s pressures!

There is a lot of existentialism in the story. This is the philosophy that says individual existence, freedom of choice is mandatory. Humans should define their own meaning in life and make rational decisions despite living in an absurd world.

McMurphy shows the inmates that living an authentic life is more important than being accepted by society. He teaches them that their lives are in their control, not society’s.

Nurse Ratched symbolizes the methodical, oppressive, and indifferent nature of modern society.

McMurphy represents individualism.

The inmates represent the majority of people that conform to society and it’s “normal” rules.

McMurphy tries to teach the men to live an authentic life, which is wearing no masks and being true to yourself. You make choices and you take responsibility for them. He tells them to have courage and challenge society(nurse Ratched). He makes the men feel unique and important.

Chief Bromden pretended to be deaf and dumb because society acted that way toward him.

Authentic living is the essence of life and if you are forced to conform entirely, than authentic living is impossible and life isn’t worth living.

So, to sum up existentialism: Be an individual and think for yourself. Society wants to guide you through life, the “must” follow path, but your life will only be meaningful if you strive to create your own meaning in life.

I will conclude this article by a comparison of the book to the movie.

It’s all down to character and mood development. Here the book and the movie differ.

The book gives you more feeling and moods than the film because of deeper character development in the novel.

When a movie is made from a book, the makers have to please the audience’s need for fast pace. What gets lost can sometimes be the real deep meaning behind the story.

So, as far as “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is concerned, the film is good but the book is excellent!

 

Unstable Personality–An Internal Dialogue

“I think I have an unstable, inconsistent personality.”

“What do you mean? How unstable and inconsistent?

“Well, many times I have doubts about whether or not I’ve made the right decision or done the right thing. Also, at times I’m sociable and other times I’m hard work or I like to keep to myself. I have a weak ego. I feel different from everybody and sort of inferior”

“Why do you feel that way?”

“Because I feel off balance and awkward in my relationships with other people.”

“What do you think causes this?”

“I don’t know. All I do know is that I feel like a NON-PERSON!”

“Wow! That’s quite a powerful statement.”

“Yes, it is. I feel like I’m invisible, non-existent.”

“Lets see just what makes a PERSON. What are the ingredients?

Brain, mind, emotions, perceptions, dreams, fears and personality.

Now, what is the purpose, the function of a PERSON?

It’s to perpetuate the “HOW” of life.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s the behavior and mental processes of being alive, staying alive and perpetuating life.”

“So, we’ve got the ingredients and function of a PERSON, now what?”

“Now, we need a PARTS list. Body, mind personality, social skills, the ability to learn lessons from the environment, the ability to grow and develop and finally the ability to cope with change and stress.”

“Holy Cow! This is like assembling a flat-pack from Ikea!”

“Well, now you can see you ARE a person, you have the ingredients and the parts.

You should now feel you are a unique being capable of meeting people on an equal footing”

“Now, how can we strengthen a weak ego? Usually ego is equated with one’s sense of self-importance.”

“I don’t feel very important.”

“The trouble with ego built on self-importance is if you lose that importance you collapse like a house of cards.”

“What then?”

“You need self-worth, which is built day by day. You have goals and when you achieve them, you feel good about yourself. But even if your goals fall through, you still have a good feeling about yourself.”

“Hold on, I get it! I must choose to like myself no matter what. Self-worth is the answer.”

“Right on! Now lets have a little fun. Ever heard of Rorschach Ink Blot tests?”

“Vaguely.”

“I’m going to drop a large blob of ink on the middle of this piece of paper and then fold it in half. When you look at the resultant pattern tell me your immediate thoughts, feelings and desires. This will help you understand your personality.

I will now unfold the paper. What do you see?”

“It looks like two clowns facing each other. It’s scary! What does it mean?”

“Well, you said you had trouble socializing, so this tells you that you have trouble relating to people.”

“What! But you told me that problem was solved!”

“Internal Dialogue Terminated!!!”

No Country For Old People!

While re-watching the film, No Country for Old Men, in which the old sheriff thinks that all his rules of life have disappeared and he no longer has the energy or inclination to put up with the wild and horrific times, the idea came to me that something similar occurs for old people generally these days.

The old people of today are led down the path of decrepitude with poor care provisions, with less recognition by society, with the feeling of being invisible, and the general feeling of being abandoned and isolated in this age of high tech.

The old feel lost and confused in today’s fast pace of life, which is geared to the young. Society seems to devote less and less time to the care of the old. All this leads up to feeling rejected by society.

So, the Older Generation becomes The Lost Generation!

Many elderly feel extreme loneliness as a result of feeling alien to the outside world. It’s like your SELF has no value and is less appreciated. Many of the old feel unable to adapt to new circumstances especially when they are vulnerable to illness and disease. They feel lost by the way aging is treated, it has come to mean loss of value and importance.

The last act of life takes everything we can muster to keep moving forward. We hope our will is strong so the circumstances of old age cannot destroy us.

The old have to say, “YES” to life even though we are scared of the unknown.

We are STILL here and we can still do some things that are noteworthy.

So, how do we fight being invisible?

You can circumvent invisibility by an outgoing personality. I’m not talking about being pushy, but you can make yourself heard. I do this by my writing, which is my hobby in retirement. I keep abreast of the news and offer my opinions.

Carry on with moving one foot in front of the other, mentally and physically, and you won’t feel this is NO COUNTRY FOR OLD PEOPLE!

Human Robots?

The recent development of advanced computers capable of performing tasks at the same level as their human makers has opened up a whole raft of questions and the making of many sci-fi films.

After having watched four artificial intelligence films, A.I., Bicentennial Man, Transcendence and 2001: A Space Odyssey, questions popped up in my mind:

Is it possible for something made of silicon, wire and metal to have a mind and be like a human? If it is possible should we fear this process?

In the film A.I., a robot named David, an adopted child to a human family, has the capacity to “love” and he displays analytic ability to figure out how to get his “mother’s” love.

In Bicentennial Man, Andrew, the slave robot, wants the freedom and equality of a human.

So, what distinguishes a robot from a human at this point in time?

Humans have emotions, feelings and consciousness.

Robots don’t.

Humans are organic, flesh and bone, robots are made of metal, chips and wire.

Humans think, robots are programed.

In the future will we let the A. I. genie out of the bottle? Maybe there was a time when nuclear weapons could have been avoided, but we let the genie out of the bottle and now they are here to stay. Now, we are at the same position with A.I. What are the consequences of the continued development of intelligent robots?

Humans are conscious. Can a robot be conscious?

Consciousness means awareness of what we are sensing and what we are doing. This is internal monitoring. Robots don’t have this consciousness.

Are human machines possible?

Humans are aware of their surroundings, senses and what they are doing, plus they are intelligent.

An intelligent but unconscious being is a “zombie”. If we made lots of intelligent machines we would be facing a world full of zombies!

A robot has no internal mental world, no consciousness. We probably will be able to build “thinking” computers, but they would still be a zombie, an unconscious thinker!

The other day I watched a film called, “Transcendence”, where a scientist uploads his mind, his consciousness, to a computer. This is an interesting concept, capturing a person’s mind on the software of a computer. But it’s scary in that you would be reduced to a long list of binary numbers! Not quite human is it?

Apparently, there’s no limit to how smart a computer can become. They could become smarter than humans and then how do we control these machines?

Can we duplicate the human brain, or consciousness? The brain isn’t just electrical. It has a deep structure, billions of neurons and trillions of connections (synapses). As far as consciousness goes, we don’t even have a theory of consciousness, so it is still a mystery.

I always thought the film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, was a marvelous sci-fi movie. But will it be science fact in the future? It certainly was very philosophical. The story follows Nietzsche’s magnum opus “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”. The story goes from apes to humans to the “overman”, a futuristic being who looks at humanity as humanity now looks at the apes. The film tells the same story beginning with ape-men, then going through humanity, and finishing up with the “Star Child”, a planet-sized super intelligent baby.

In the film there is a computer called “Hal”, a powerful form of artificial intelligence. Hal can sense things and he runs the space ship. He thinks he is superior to humans. Hal is evil!

Should we be frightened of these super intelligent robots? The astronauts were. Hal wanted to get rid of the crew and he does except for astronaut Bowman.

Nietzsche said, “God is dead.” So we have to find another meaning to life. The whole film leads us to the “Star Child”, which was designed and directed by a race of aliens. These aliens have designed humans to become intelligent through technology. They direct Bowman, the surviving astronaut, to be transformed into the “Star Child”, the new supreme intelligence.

In the end, the death of God is achieved through science.

Whatever happens in the future, and it could be very scary, these films are incredibly interesting and enlightening.

But for the moment lets enjoy the present.

As the adage says:

“Fear of the future is a waste of the present.”

Being Alone

He lived alone. I was his self-appointed part-time carer, sounding board and friend. But he needed none of these, as he often said. He was the most self-reliant man I ever knew, who loved his solitude for his thinking time. His mind was his companion and he was happy.

I lived in the same apartment building. I used to visit him ever so often, to give him some company and to do things for him. That was when he turned 78 years old and his legs were giving out on him. He hobbled around the apartment with a stick. At this time he had been living alone for 30 years.

He told me he was an only child, he used to play by himself and he got used to his own company and he enjoyed it. He liked being alone with his own thoughts.

He lost his parents early, his father when he was 15, his mother when he was 25. Then he was an orphan. His wife died when he was 48 years old. That’s when his real solitude started.

We had many good conversations, he had solid opinions on everything. He watched a lot of news on the TV and he read all the newspapers. His apartment was lined with bookshelves filled with non-fiction and fiction.

“You know all I hear and read is the media shouting at me. They try to inform you but all they do is leave you on the fence, undecided and confused.”

“What do you do to rectify that?” I said.

“Well, I don’t accept everything I hear and read, so I’m left with my own thinking. I often wonder, if I can trust my thinking. My intellect is limited but with a lot of things I use common sense and logic acquired over the years. But lately, the world seems to have gone crazy!”

“I know there is a lot of injustice and unfairness in the world.”

“That’s right, I’ve been disappointed so much through the years. I almost expect disappointment as a way of life. I cannot conceive of a world run the way it should be run.”

“Maybe you’re expecting too much from the world,” I countered.

“I get disgusted when the people I meet all think in terms of the accumulation of goods and power. If I have more than you, I am better than you. Think of the drunken bum, who never worked a day in his life. Then he wins the lottery. Now, he is an eccentric millionaire. No longer a drunken bum. He now, has power and recognition. Has he changed? Not really, but he’s accepted as a superior being now.”

“Well, I read a columnist in the paper the other day and he said…”

The old man interrupted me.

“See, this is another thing that aggravates me. My father lived through the first World War, Prohibition and the Depression. He had his ideas about life. What came out of his mouth, was my father speaking out. When I listen to people today, so much of what they say is from other mouths. I tell them, I’m looking for you in your conversation, but I can’t find you!”

I got up to leave.

“Well, I’ll see you in a couple of days, old fella, you’re a real thinker,” I said, patting him on the shoulder.

“Yes, okay, I’ve got some thinking to do and I think best when I’m alone. But thanks for dropping in and giving me more inspiration to think.”

I left him smiling.

A couple of days later, I popped in to see the old fella.

“How are you today?”

“Okay I guess, but I spent an hour looking for my glasses. Finally found them, memory isn’t what it used to be. The joys of getting old.”

He seemed to be losing his short-term memory lately.

“Don’t you get restless and bored being alone most of the time?”

“Not me, I’ve got my thoughts to keep me busy.”

I shook my head.

“Don’t you get lonely?”

“Not me, son, I like my own company and my thinking time. I find when I have “me time”, I feel good.”

“But don’t you get tired of thinking about concepts and conundrums?”

“Not in the least, periods of solitude teach me to live with me, the one person I’ll never be apart from.”

“It seems to me too much solitude would be difficult and painful.”

“No, I find I need solitude to think. Being alone forces me to come to terms with every corner of my mind.”

***

The weeks went into months with the old fella telling me how happy he was with his own thoughts, feeding and exercising his brain with whatever problem he came across.

Then I left town for two years to work at another branch of my company. I often thought about the old man with his thoughts on solitude.

When I returned, I dropped in on him. I found him in a chair staring at the TV. There was a far away look in his eyes. Lots of books were strewn across the floor.

“My brain is black,” he mumbled.

“What’s that mean?”

The old man’s hands were shaking.

“It means my brain is dying and I am dying! My thoughts are all jumbled up, I can’t think clearly. I’ve lost my companion.”

I left his apartment feeling very sad and I was determined to get him some professional help.

The next day I visited him again. I knocked on the door, it opened a crack by itself. I walked in and found the old man slumped in his chair. There was a smile on his face. On the table next to him was an empty glass, two empty bottles of pills and a half empty bottle of whiskey.

Our Inner Voice, Friend Or Foe? It’s Your Choice!

That inner voice is talking to us all the time. It’s our SELF, talking to us. Most of this inner talk is NEGATIVE, preventing us from enjoying life and creating our goals.

This negative self-talk comes from bad programming that we took to heart from childhood right through to adulthood. Word by word, year by year, our life scripts were formed. Self-images were etched into our brains.

We came to believe what we were being told by others, parents, teachers, friends, and what we were telling ourselves.

Repeatedly, the same words were told to us, what we could do, what we should do, and what we could not do. This wrong programming became a WALL which stood between us and our future. This programming became our FOE without us realizing it.

The negative conditioning we received for years has to be erased or replaced with different programming or it will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

So, what do we need to replace the bad conditioning? We need two things, positive self-talk and the desire to make good life choices.

We need positive SELF-TALK. A word for word set of directions, to repeat to our subconscious. This will be your new conditioning.

I will give you some examples of positive SELF-TALK which will be your FRIEND.

When you read these examples, SAVOUR the feeling you get.

Self-Talk:

“I am control of my mind.”

“I am living my life in a way which creates my strengths, my happiness, and my positive thoughts.”

“I am positive and confident. I like who I am and I’m glad to be me.”

“I begin each day with a plan to get the most from my time and effort. I follow my plan and I reach my goals.”

I’m sure you can come up with many more uplifting statements for yourself. Remember, when you state it, you create it! We make choices everyday and those choices create our success or failure in life, our happiness or misery.

Your good choices create powerful self-directed programs. Good choices can override past negative conditioning.

Each time you make a choice, you define what you want, what you hope for, what you believe about yourself, and what you believe about others around you.

Life Choice statements:

“I choose to give myself the time to do the things I want to do and to give myself the space to create.”

“I choose NOT to accept bad vibes from others and NOT to care how they feel about my response to their criticisms.”

There are two BIG choices to make:

Choices of Attitude and Choices of Action.

These two kinds of choices work together.

Choices of attitude have to do with how you feel about something.

How you look at things.

Lets create a scenario and ask some questions:

A colleague at work is always criticizing the way you go about doing your job.

How do you feel about this? Angry, you say.

How do I choose to feel about this? I shouldn’t let him get under my skin.

How do I feel now? I feel indifferent and I will ignore him.

So, you changed from anger to ignoring. You’ve changed your attitude.

Choices of action tell us what we will do about our change of attitude. In the above example you could go to the boss about your annoying colleague.

Now, how about the big choices that set our direction in life.

Love is a choice. You say: “ I choose to love and to be loved.”

This is the desire to make a relationship work. But of course, this is a two way street. It depends on the other person too, do they have the same desire?

To make love work, you have to admire and respect who the other person is.

Success is a choice. Start believing in what you can do, and stop believing in what you can’t do. The present doesn’t wait for the future!

Stand in front of your mirror and repeat: “I am successful. I deserve to be successful. I choose to be successful.” This would start your believing it in your subconscious and then it would work into your conscious.

Happiness is a choice. Some people live with unhappiness, the color has disappeared from their life. They don’t have the energy, or enthusiasm for living each day.

But, they can change, because happiness is an attitude and your attitudes are always up to you!

So, get in front of that mirror again and say: “I choose to be happy today.” Keep

repeating that at different times during the day. You will change your attitude to happiness.

A new day, a new life, and new things to learn!

We control everything. We decide what we do, where we go, how we react, and especially, what we focus on.

It’s your life. Do what you want to do!

Here’s a couple of departing thoughts on Choice:

When you need to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.

When life throws a knife at you, there are two ways of catching it, by the blade or by the handle.

Your Life, Short Or Long?

In the title of this article, I am talking about the FEELING of shortness or length when one thinks about his or her life. Between birth and death there is a span of life and it rushes by swiftly. Life is short, is the retort.

But, did you ever think why it feels so short? Maybe, it’s because we WASTE so much of it. You can make your life feel longer if you spend your time achieving constructive goals instead of frittering it away in hedonistic activities.

If we waste life, then the constraint of death makes us wonder where life has gone. Many people pursue no fixed goals, they are tossed about on a stormy sea and then death takes them when they least expect it.

So, most people live only a SMALL part of their life and all the rest is merely passing time. Sad, isn’t it?

So the feeling of a long life is all in how you USE it, life, that is.

Many live life as if they are going to live forever. Their mortality never occurs to them. They squander life as if they had a never ending supply.

Some people are weary of the present and troubled by a longing for the future. Before they know what has happened, their hair is white and wrinkles appear. They have NOT lived long, they have just existed for a long time.

People are always expecting something or waiting for something. This life of expectancy denies them TODAY by promising TOMORROW!

The present is extremely valuable and short, most people are unaware of this.

The present is always moving, flowing on in a rush.

So, if you are preoccupied with frivolous distractions, you will fail to grasp the present. But if you use it in productive endeavors, it will seem longer. So don’t neglect the present or fear the future.

How can we come to grips with using our life in an authentic manner? A manner in which you are free and responsible for making your own choices.

Yesterday is a memory and tomorrow never comes. TODAY is what we have to deal with. So, how is that done?

Sartre, my favorite philosopher, said: “Existence precedes essence”, which means that each person exists first, without meaning or purpose, but then strives, for the rest of their life, to give themselves meaning and purpose. You are continually inventing yourself, making choices and living authentically, hopefully.

Here’s a conflicting thought: For life to feel longer, you must fact up to your inevitable death. Because when you face up to the inescapable truths of the human condition, you make sure you live fully in your present, while you can.

And when you live fully in your TODAY, your life feels like it is long.

Abe Lincoln once said: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the LIFE in your years.”

As you now have probably figured out, I am an EXISTENTIALIST. I try to seize the day. CARPE DIEM.

I try to be true to myself and compassionate to others. I have my opinions but the OTHER, an existential term for “person”, they look at me and see me and they have opinions about me, which could or could not stroke my ego. I respect that.

I will end with: Life is like a bank. You can’t take OUT what you haven’t put IN!

Personhood?

Family Guy is an animated comedy about a dysfunctional family, the Griffins, and it spoofs current events and social taboo subjects, much like the Simpsons.

While watching several episodes, to get a few laughs, I was intrigued by the pet dog, Brian. Now Brian fancies himself a person because he has human characteristics. He walks on his hind legs and he talks. He is articulate, witty and urbane and he strives for person status.

Watching Brian’s antics, I started thinking about Personhood. It’s defined as the state of being an individual or having human characteristics and feelings.

Can Brian, the dog, be a person?

Reasoning tells us in order to be a person, one must be human. So, Brian lacks this necessary condition of personhood: humanity.

Another condition is you must think rationally. Brian is rational and he is a thinking being able to reason. Even Kant would agree that being a person does NOT include membership in a particular species, but must only be in possession of reason. So, you could call Brian a person that demands respect!

Now, our Brian is a cartoon, but it does lead us to the question of how to distinguish persons from pets.

Persons are the entity that has the moral right to make its own life choices, and to live its life without interference from others (self-determination). We don’t give animals the same kind of autonomy that we accord persons. We sell dogs and cats. Pets are property.

To be a person you need a modicum of intellect, and self-awareness and consciousness. I do have intelligence and I am self-aware.

Hold on! What does it mean to be self-aware?

It means you are aware of your existence and actions. You are conscious of your own self and ego.

You also need consciousness to be a person.

Hey! What’s that all about?

Well, to have consciousness requires “subjective experiences.” Which means you must possess an inner, mental life. You can put yourself in other situations through your imagination.

So, we are different from animals in that we try to understand where we came from. We look into our past and try to predict our future, and what other species thinks about their death?

So, we are a unique species.

Hooray! I am a unique person.

I conclude with:

No two people are alike—and both of them are glad of it!