Addicted, Obsessed Or Dependent On Digital Gadgets, Is This The Future?

The other day I was walking on a crowded pavement and I noticed everybody was glued to their phones except me.

There was one zombie headed straight for me, so I bumped into him.

He looked up with a blank expression and continued on.

I bumped into another one, he gave me an angry look like I was interrupting his obsession.

Other zombies just look at you with a bored look and don’t even say they are sorry.

What’s the world coming to???


The world is feeling the effects of the intense environment of instant communication.

Are you unable to do without your smartphone for even a few hours?

That’s an ADDICTION!

Screen culture is a world of sound bites, gossip tidbits and news headlines–ideas that don’t stand alone, they are interlinked to everything else.

What is this doing to people’s minds?

The addicted have to stay plugged in for fear of missing something!

This is the life of being constantly connected which is the norm today.


It’s NOT all bad. The internet carries and distributes a lot of information. It can bring us data on anything.

It is the basis of our financial, health and education systems.

This is a dream world our ancestors never experienced.

But humanity still seems in a state of pain, injustice, prejudice, abuse and general unhappiness!


The state if being withdrawn or isolated from the objective world is having a bad effect on our mental health!

We shouldn’t moan about technology, but develop self-control, like we do with other temptations in life.

The public is addicted to their smartphones and this makes some people depressed and anxious.

The need for instant connection to others is a need we can’t control.

We spend more time on social media trying to connect with others digitally but we spend less time interacting face-to-face.


So, people have to learn how to self-regulate this device in their hands.

Lets talk a bit about the importance of face-to-face communication.

Some people can go an entire day without actually interacting with others!

They rely on emails, texting and social media.

Digital communication tends to be impersonal.


Advantages of face-to-face communication:

First is Non-Verbal Clues.

You can read a person’s body language to see if they’re interested or not in what you are saying.

Next is Effectiveness–emailing and texting back and forth is less effective than getting your ideas over to someone in one go–face-to-face.

Face-to-face creates a personal touch to your communication.

It also builds relationships, it builds a bond between people.

And lastly, your information retains confidentiality through face-to-face in a private setting.


Face-to-face is still the most efficient way of communicating between people because it’s personal and you can get a direct response from the other person.

It’s not enough to just say the words, we need eye contact, body language and facial expressions to communicate our feelings.

Face-to-face is the best way of communicating because you can avoid misunderstandings that may occur in writing.

Too much digital attention is the cause of a shallow, scattered mindset especially in the young.

So lets learn some self-control over our digital world.


In the meantime…here comes another glassy-eyed zombie headed straight for me.



The Ethics of Vegetarianism and Entertainment

While checking out the philosophy in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, I uncovered two philosophical questions that are brought up in the novel.

They are:

Is it alright to eat animals?

What is acceptable as entertainment?

We will look at Vegetarianism first:

Arthur, the main character in the novel, questions the ethics of animal eating when he is confronted by a cow!

He is an omnivore and he never before contemplated the case for vegetarianism.

We don’t usually think about our modes of behaviour, whether they are morally right or wrong.

Do we wear clothes that are made in a sweet shop in a third world country?

Is that wrong?

Well, eating meat is another behaviour that not many of us consider.

If we thought about the morality of our actions constantly we wouldn’t have time to enjoy our own lives!!!

Some people feel animals exist for eating, for human sustenance.

Vegetarians object to the slaughtering of animals for human consumption.

Some have a humorous outlook that killing an animal deprives it of its long term pleasant existence.

Do you know any animals that have long term plans or projects?

No. Well then, their deaths aren’t like human deaths, are they?

The vegetarians abhor the pain and suffering animals are put through before they end up on our plates.

Are animals devoid of mental life?

Of course, you say. Animals don’t think about death like we do.

But we know they do feel pain because most have a central nervous system.

What are your thoughts on vegetarianism?

Myself, I enjoy a juicy T-bone steak!


Now, lets turn to entertainment:

What is acceptable entertainment? No violence. Mild violence or extreme violence.

There are several passages of violent entertainment in the Galaxy of the Hitchhiker’s.

What is violent entertainment?

Tarantino movies? The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

This is fictional violence.

Violence is defined as the physical force that causes injury or damage to a person or property.

Is it acceptable to read or watch moderate to severe fictional violence as “Mere Entertainment”?


Let us now turn to the objections to violent entertainment.

The first objection is the idea of Character Corruption.

Does a diet of violent entertainment desensitise a person?

Does violent entertainment cause violent, aggressive behaviour?

The second objection is that real people suffer from violence, so then is enjoyment of violent entertainment decadent?

Does it contribute to moral and cultural decline?

The third objection is the “Viciousness Objection”.

If a person reads or watches about a vicious violent act, should this feel repugnant to the person or is it entertainment?

Why should the person who enjoys fictional violence be said to lack sensitivity or compassion?

Maybe such enjoyment requires the person to suspend his compassionate attitudes.

Or does one’s enjoyment of fictional violence make one desensitised to actual violence?

That would mean that it would corrupt the person.


There is another objection and it is called the “Cognitive Failure Objection.

This entails a moral failing, a failure to realise the nature of violence, for example, that violence hurts and causes damage.


The last point to make is the violence in comedy.

Remember the old cartoons? They used slapstick violence, poking each other in the eye, or hitting someone over the head with a frying. pan–this trivialised violence.

I enjoyed:

The Three Stooges

Laurel and Hardy

The Marx Brothers

This is slapstick comedy violence at its best!

Let me know your thoughts.


Mortality or Immortality

Which has the most meaning in life, considering the absurdity of it all?

Lets take a close look at this before your mind gets boggled!

We know religion promises eternal life but lets leave that aside, especially if you’re a non-believer.

But, we mere mortals, who have a finite life, and who try to create meaning for ourselves, and who don’t believe in religion, we ask the question, “What’s the meaning of life?’, over and over again!!!

Us mortals endeavour to be part of something that transcends our biological existence, such as having children or creating works that last past our demise.

This makes us feel MORE than mortal!

There is another question floating around:

“Would you be BORED if you were immortal?”

Some future-minded scientists predict that in a 100 years or so medical science will be able to STOP the aging process!

Would humans be bored with a radical life extension, or indeed, living forever?

Would there be meaning in immortality?

Note that life extension does not imply COMPLETE immortality.

There still would be some traumatic deaths and accidents.

So there would always be some uncertainty about death!

With future technology advancing at break neck speed we probably would never get bored. Our engagement with life would go to new heights!


I am in the midst of analysing the philosophy found in the novel:

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

In the novel the character called, “Wowbagger” has immortality given to him.

To begin with it was wonderful, taking risks and having non-stop fun.

Then things got a little boring for him. He got tired of going to other people’s funerals and smiling!

So, he conceived the purpose of insulting everyone in the universe and that would keep him busy and never be bored.

So, Wowbagger found meaning in immortality.


What about the finite human life? Can we find meaning or is there always the threat of meaninglessness?

We all have things we want to do, projects to finish. The problem is death. The fact is we have many things we want to do and only a finite amount of time to do them before we die.

If we were immortal we would be free from time pressure.

We would have all kinds of time for many, many projects.

But, being mortal, all our good works tend to be wiped out after our death.

Hence, what’s the point?

We struggle with the question of a meaningful life but is this struggle absurd because of our insignificance in the whole scheme of things?

The human condition is absurd because we seek inherent value and meaning in life but we fail to find any in a chaotic, meaningless world.

We can only embrace our existence and meet absurdity with defiance.


Example of absurdity in everyday life:

Get up in the morning, take train to work, four hours work then lunch then four more hours work, take train home, have dinner and go to bed. Monday through Friday- all at the same rhythm. One day, the “WHY” of it all overcomes us and we see the absurdity of life.

Do our lives serve some real purpose?

Or are we just inconsequential specks in the world?

But we still seek some sort of meaning because we cannot stop wanting CLARITY AND COMPASSION AND MEANING from the world, it’s built into our nature.

Why let the question of meaning torture us? Maybe we should ignore the question.

Maybe life itself can restore the balance that has been made chaotic by our continuing questioning.

I will sum up my 81 year old thoughts now:

“I’m old and tired and I’ll probably never find out what is really going on. So the only thing to do is to say the “hell with it” and just keep writing blogs.”

Science–Interesting Things To Ponder

We are lucky to be living in a time when science is finding out so much about the world and universe around us.

It boggles the mind!

We are flying through space at 65,000 miles per hour around the Sun.

Faster than jet planes.

We are so small in comparison to the universe.

In our galaxy, The Milky Way”, there are billions of stars.


Time is very interesting to think about also.

We know about the “Big Bang” that created our universe is 13.7 billion years old.

The Earth is around 4.5 billion years old

Humans are about 130,000 years old–mere babies!

I don’t know about you, but I get very excited just thinking how lucky we are to belong to a species that is very intelligent to figure this stuff out BUT also to appreciate the fact that we are part of it all albeit a very small part.

Human history and prehistory is also very interesting.

Archaeology tells us about the tools and art of everyday people long ago.

History is the greatest story of all!

With all this science going on who needs silly conspiracy theories.

The rate of scientific progress is accelerating.

Technology is close to many breakthroughs that could change our lives overnight.


Either way, it’s going to be interesting.


Coming up is a golden age of discovery, a leap forward.

This might not feel like such a wonderful time because of wars, poverty, crime, and political nonsense.

But that’s not the whole story.

I hope we can raise humankind to a higher plane–someday.

In conclusion:

Be thankful for the magnificent brain you have.

Question everything and think like a scientist.

Don’t throw your life away on dead-end beliefs.



The End of the World is Nigh!

“The end of the World is Near,” said the man that just had a near-death experience.

I remember as a kid seeing men with sandwich boards marching up and down with the message on the board, ” The end of the World is Near.”

People always had an interest in the final day of judgement.

The end of the World is an interesting subject because the World really could end.

It’s NOT a crazy topic at all!

Space rocks called asteroids are floating around and could someday devastate us.

Nuclear war is scary.

Also the Sun, our star, will die and ruin the planet.

The Sun’s dying act would fry the earth in 4 billion years, but that’s a long time away.

Maybe we will inhabit another galaxy by then.

For generations, millions of people have believed in doomsday claims.

We know it is sensible to assume there will be a tomorrow.

Skeptical thinking defies doomsday scenarios.


Now, this man who was babbling about the day of judgement said he saw the end of the World in his near-death experience.

He was in the hospital on the operating table and saw the earth explode.

This must have been his light at the end of the tunnel!

I told him it was probably a dream induced by a lack of oxygen in the brain during the operation. His brain was highly stressed at that time.

The brain can conjure up some very weird things.

We can all be fooled by our brains as far as what we see, hear, and feel.

We remember things that aren’t real.

So, shouldn’t we be skeptical?

I think the human brain, under stress, is very unreliable.

But some people are comforted by weird stories and near-death experiences make great stories!


Question Everything

Are you a SKEPTIC? If not, maybe you should be.

Some people say:

“Skepticism kills innovation and creativity. It creates static beings.

We are made to grow, learn, and seek TRUTH. Not to tear it down.”

But some “TRUTH” isn’t true!

How can we know what is and what isn’t TRUE?

Scientists are skeptics, they question everything until it is proved with EVIDENCE, the available body of facts or info indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Thinking like a scientist leads to MORE intuition and creativity.


So, what does being a skeptic entail?

It means withholding your opinion until SOLID EVIDENCE has been presented.

Skepticism stimulates creative thinking by encouraging questions rather than settling for absolute answers.

What do you know?

We think we know all sorts of things, but how and on what grounds can we defend those claims?

Our supposed knowledge of the world is based on perceptions gained through our senses, but aren’t perceptions prone to error?


5th century BC Greeks originated skepticism to fight dogmatism, which is inflexible principles laid down by “authorities”.

Skepticism got going in the 15th and 16th centuries when the first stirrings of the scientific revolution led people to question the basis of existing knowledge and the validity of theological truth.

So, lets get down to the nitty gritty.

You say you don’t want to be a skeptic!

So, that means, you want to trust everything people tell you.

Who needs facts when your gut speaks the truth!

You are ready to live the dream!


Now, who wants to Think Like A Scientist?

“I do,” you scream!

Okay you are ready to THINK!

What does it mean to think like a scientist?

It means that you want to maintain a healthy level of curiosity and doubt.

You ask questions and strive for evidence.

You don’t draw conclusions until you have good reason to do so.

You must also be ready to change your mind if your conclusions turn out to be incorrect.


Why should we question everything?

Well, the human brain does a poor job of separating truth from fiction!


What is conformation bias?

Our brain does this well, this bias prevents us from thinking clearly about our beliefs.

We remember info that supports our beliefs.

But tend to discount info that challenges our beliefs.

You need to resist this bias and keep an open mind and really consider other ideas.


Why our memories are unreliable:

The brain constructs our memories from bits of info, things are left out and things are added.

Don’t trust your memory!

Your brain constructs and interprets what you see.

What you see is something the brain has interpreted for us, based on what comes through our eyes.

It can be deceiving.


To be a skeptic you might have to give up some of your beliefs and that scares a lot of people.

They claim that their treasured beliefs are necessary to find joy, comfort and meaning in life.

But if you are a skeptic you will always ask:

“Where’s the evidence?”

In conclusion:

Always try to think like a scientist, so that you can distinguish truth from fiction.

Question Everything.

Don’t pretend to know things you don’t know.



Keep On Keeping On

When you’re old and full of aches and pains, why do you keep pushing yourself to “Keep Going?”

This question is on the lips of many pensioners.

There is a theory that finding a meaning to life is man’s primary motivation in life and the reason to keep going.

The answers to the question:

First: the love for one’s loved ones to tie to.

Second: a talent to be used.

Third: Memories worth preserving plus to care for a loved one.

To be there for them, your presence is important.


This is the challenge of the meaning theory to weave these threads into a pattern of meaning.

The central theme of existentialism is:

To live is to suffer.

To survive is to find meaning in spite of the suffering.

If there is a purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering.

But nobody can tell another what this purpose is. Each must find out for themselves.

If the person succeeds in finding the meaning, they will continue to grow.




Even in the worst circumstances, the human freedom of the ability to choose one’s attitude toward those circumstances remains.


We have to awaken to the fact that we are RESPONSIBLE TO LIFE FOR SOMETHING, however grim the circumstances may be.

People can find meaning in creative work.

A passive life of enjoyment gives you fulfilment in art or nature.

But there is also purpose in a life barren of both creation and enjoyment, namely, a person’s attitude to his existence, an existence restricted and limited by external forces.

There also is meaning in suffering!

Hard to believe but true!

The way in which a person ACCEPTS their dire circumstances, and all the suffering it entails, the way they take up their cross, gives them an opportunity to add deeper meaning to their life.

This ACCEPTANCE is proof that man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.

Life means taking responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfil the tasks necessary to fulfil it.

When a person finds themselves in a bad situation that can’t be changed, they know they are going to suffer, so they will have to accept their suffering as their task.

No one can relieve them of their suffering or suffer in their place.

Their unique opportunity lies in the way in which they bear their burden.


When you are facing an uncontrollable situation, you start to despair and think to yourself that you have nothing more to expect from life.

But you have to realise that life is still expecting something from you; something in the future is expected of you.

When you become conscious of the responsibility you bear toward a loved one who needs your caring presence, or to your unfinished work, you will never be able to throw away your life.

Because you now know the WHY for your existence and you will be able to bear any HOW.




You cannot lose hope and give up on life.

For no person knows what the future will bring.

Human life under any circumstances still has meaning!

The meaning of life differs from person to person, day to day, hour to hour.

What matters is NOT the meaning in general BUT the specific meaning of a person’s life at any given moment.

Every situation in life represents a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve.

Your meaning in life always CHANGES, but never ceases to be.


We discover our meaning in life in 3 different ways:

By creating a work or doing a deed, achievement and accomplishment.

By experiencing something or encountering someone.

By the attitude we take toward “unavoidable suffering”.

When we can’t change a situation, we are challenged to CHANGE OURSELVES, to change our thinking about the situation.


By accepting your circumstances completely.

You have to make the BEST of any given situation.

You can cope with suffering!




Is it possible to find meaning in old age?

Yes, it is.

Through helping others to cope by caring for a loved one for example.

Being there for them.Your presence is needed.


Informing and entertaining others through blogs.




After The Moon: Mars?

We’ve been to the Moon, now what?

The Moon never did become a holiday destination, or a stepping stone to the Universe beyond.

Just eight years after Kennedy”s speech, Apollo launched carrying Armstrong and Aldrin into history. Collins manned the spaceship.

Now, entrepreneur Elon Musk is preparing for a Mars landing!

But we have NOT returned to the Moon in 50 years and any Mars project planner should consider to revisit it first.

Travel between Mars and Earth requires them to be suitably positioned in their orbits.

This would mean the Mars astronauts would have to stay on Mars for 6 months before a return trip could begin.

Could the spacemen sustain themselves for half a year? No one knows.

The longest that humans have remained on the lunar surface is 75 hours!

It seems you would have to use the Moon as a jumping off point.

So, we have never returned to the Moon and it would be a must to return if Mars is to be realised.


If we are going to put a footprint on Mars we need to address 3 challenges:

Rockets, Restlessness and Radiation.

Rockets: Going to Mars will be very expensive–100 to 500 billion dollars!

To keep costs down you would need to build reusable rockets.

Restlessness: You would need to put astronauts in isolation for 6 months to see how they would react.

But Musk said he would keep people busy doing tasks.

Radiation: The astronauts and the spaceship would be exposed to solar radiation.

Some say extra spaceship shielding is the answer but this increases weight so fuel consumption goes up and so do costs.

The best solution may be to get to Mars faster! So to minimise radiation exposure–this would mean faster rockets.


Lets return to Elon Musk and his Space X technology company which has the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonisation of Mars.

Elon Musk is a 48 year old billionaire who wants to reduce the risk of human extinction through over population and climate change by establishing a human colony on Mars by 2050!

By 2022, Musk wants to reach Mars and place power and life support infrastructure for future manned flights. He believes there is water under Mars’ South Pole.

The next step would be a manned mission by 2024.

The plan is to send two cargo ships alongside two crew ships taking the first people to Mars.

The people would set up a propellent plant to make fuel for a return trip.

They also would use solar powered hydroponics to grow food without soil.

Musk wants to visit his Mars colony in his lifetime to check on the project.

He said with this project people will die but ultimately it will be made safe and comfortable!

Is this all a Pipe Dream of Musk’s?


The Eagle Has Landed, Or Has It?

Its been 50 years since I watched amazed at the moon landing”s grainy TV pictures on July, 20th, 1969.

Big things were happening, not only the moon landing, but I was leaving in 2 days for England to get married to my first wife.

By 1969 there had been 8 years of Space Race with the Russians. The Apollo project was launched in 1961 by President Kennedy.

If you were within 3 miles of the launch pad your entire body would have shook!

It took millions of parts to build the Saturn rocket. 400,00 people worked on it from 2500 companies, costing 30 billion dollars.

I remember when it was uttered by Armstrong, “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”

People ask, why did we go to the moon?

We probably gained some technological  knowledge.

The Russians were beating us in the Space Race and we had to prove our superiority.

Can you imagine, 3 men of identical stature, all were 5ft. 11 inches tall and weighed about 160 pounds, squeezing themselves inside the command Module onto couches built to fit them, facing a large instrument panel.

I don’t know whether we will ever go where no one has gone before again. There’s no political will and the money is required elsewhere.

But the Chinese have money to splurge on a trip maybe to Mars, to gain international political prestige.

Now, the reason this post is titled with a question mark is:

I ran into a guy, named Charlie, at a University of the Third Age meeting who is convinced the moon landing was faked!

He said, the Soviets had been first to get satellites into space and live animals into space and back, and a man and woman into space–so the USA had to do something to counter this.

The reasons he believes the moon landing was a hoax are:

None of the photos from the moon shows any stars in the sky.

This can be explained by the fact that the camera settings weren’t adjusted to capture them.

How come the landing vehicle’s thrusters didn’t create a large hole on landing?

This can be explained by the fact that the pressure was too low to blast a hole.

How come the flag was waving when there’s no wind on the moon?

The flag appears to be waving because when it was placed there the inertia from when they let go of it kept it moving.

These explanations didn’t convince Charlie. He still believes the government faked the landing on a large mock-up of the lunar surface in the Nevada desert.

When the Apollo craft was supposed to return to Earth, the astronauts got into a space pod and were transported over the ocean and pushed out.

So, according to Charlie, NASA was technically incapable of reaching the moon, but the race with the Russians forced them to fake it. Also, the government needed a distraction from the unpopular Vietnam War.

I left Charlie, the conspiracy nut, shaking my head.

I still think the mission was a remarkable technical feat and I am proud that we made it first to the moon.

Mindfulness Two


I hope to acquire the capacity to be mindful of the present moment and to Accept “What Is” plus ridding myself of unhelpful habits that cause needless suffering.


Your thoughts are chaotic, so what to do?

To get the mind to settle you need to focus on an ANCHOR.

A place to put your attention as the mind settles itself.

We use the breath as an anchor.

Your breath is always present.

Put your attention on the rhythms of your breathing-inhale, exhale, in and out, this brings calmness to the body and focuses our Awareness.

Your mind will probably wander but keep going anyway.

Focus on your breath for at least 5 minutes at the start.

You will notice a pleasant sensation that relaxed breathing brings.

Watching and attending to your breath is a basic mindfulness practice.


Why do we always try to AVOID life’s difficulties?

We don’t want to confront our fears so we evade them!

The motivation to avoid conflicts and difficulties drives us right into SUFFERING!

Resistance to bad situations just increases our suffering.

Only the COMPLETE ACCEPTANCE of a bad situation leads to the end of suffering.


What is the difference between pain and suffering?

Because we live in a physical body pain is inevitable.

Suffering is NOT the same as pain.

Suffering is the mental and emotional RESPONSE to pain.

Suffering occurs when we RESIST the way things are.

To end suffering you must ACCEPT “What Is”.



The technique of Meditation is called INSIGHT and it is a set of mental activities aimed at experiencing a state of uninterrupted mindfulness.

It is the conscious awareness of the Present Moment.


What is a state of AWARENESS?

When you first become aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of Pure Awareness just BEFORE you identify the something, just before you objectify it.

This moment of Pure Awareness is passed over, but the purpose of Meditation is to train us to prolong that moment of Awareness.

When it is prolonged it changes your entire view of your world.


What is Mirror Thought?

It is thought that reflects only what is presently happening in exactly the way it is happening.


Whatever experience we may be having, mindfulness just ACCEPTS it.

It is simply another of life’s occurrences—what is there—is there!


Mindfulness is Impartial Watchfulness.

It treats all experiences equally.

Nothing is suppressed and nothing is repressed.


Mindfulness is Present Moment awareness.

It takes place in the Here and Now.

It is the observance of what is happening NOW.


To sum up:

Fully developed mindfulness is a state of total non-attachment.

If we can maintain this state we can achieve liberation from our weaknesses.

Meditation holds mental hindrances at bay.


And to get this result you need to ACCEPT the ups and downs.

Resolve to do this and commit to it completely.

Ease physical discomfort by easing mental suffering.

To ease mental suffering pay attention to you aches and pains and to your mental stress by ACCEPTANCE of your life as it is at the moment.

The three components of physical discomfort:

The unpleasant sensation itself, pain, aching muscles, etc.

Your emotional reaction to the discomfort, fear frustration, irritation, etc.

The thoughts that are related to the first two components.

Stress stories you tell yourself, “This pain will never cease!”

Mindfulness helps you to respond skilfully to those emotions.

There are two ways to respond with aversion and fear or with acceptance.

When you resist and tell the discomfort to go away you increase your mental suffering.

The alternative is to respond with ACCEPTANCE.

Nothing in life is to be feared only to be understood and accepted.

So what to do?

Understand and accept whats going on in your mind and gently acknowledge that irritation is present and then incline you mind toward compassion for yourself.