New Rules For Globalisation

Why doesn’t the world cooperate better on SHARED problems?

Because the global thinking is on Trade and Economics NOT on other priorities such as Public Health and Climate Change.

We need to reconfigure Globalisation with more emphasis on Public Health and Climate and a more relaxed approach to economics, trade and finance.

Define Globalisation–the process by which businesses and organisations develop international connection and start operating on an International scale.

What about the World Health Organisation?

It could become the central instrument of a refigured Globalisation.

But right now people are critizing the WHO for not jumping on China right away(shutting down air travel etc.)

It underestimated the magnitude of the China contagion.

Not much global harmony when the blame game starts!

We need to build a globalisation for Public Health, aimed at preventing and stopping pandemics.

The WHO could create an early warning system, a common info base, and large medical research and vaccine development budgets.

Another priority for Globalisation could be to focus on our environmental challenges.

It could create worldwide binding emissions quotas maybe even carbon taxes.

Covid 19 has exposed the need for new priorities in Globalisation.

The virus defies national borders and just spills over from country to country.

The effort made recently to secure trade agreements between countries have yielded only modest to no success.

What if that effort was made to preparing for pandemics and limiting green house gases?

We would have been better prepared and maybe the fall in global income wouldn’t have been so bad.

So the pandemic had uncovered the frailty of all human beings and the arrangements we have devised to co-exist on this Earth.

So we have to change our global thinking to take something of value from this dark time.

We need to forge a different and better world out of this crisis.

Examine Your Life

What made me write this blog is that I was asked:

“How would you approach the coronavirus pandemic, ATTITUDE WISE, if you had to go through it all over AGAIN?”

Now there’s a horrible thought for you!

So, lets set the scene: Bear with me on this, there is a point.

A wicked witch whispers in your ear when you are just falling off to sleep:

“This life you are living and have lived it, you will have to live it ONCE MORE and there will be nothing new in it, every pain and every joy, every sigh and sadness, everything small of great in your life will return to you, all in the same succession and sequence.

In other words, the hourglass of your life will be turned over AGAIN!

So the events stay the same.

The ONLY thing you could CHANGE would be your ATTITUDE toward them.You could change the way you thought or felt about something.”

 

“What is the purpose of this, I asked.”

“It is a THOUGHT EXPERIMENT to test your relationship to your life.”

 

Consider these questions:

Do you celebrate being ALIVE?

Do you savour your moments, even the painful or challenging ones?

Would it be wonderful to savour them AGAIN? Why?

 

If you feel horrified by this experiment, this suggests that you are NOT making the most of your time on this earth.

But if you wouldn’t mind going through it all again, that means you LOVE your fate and you accepted it OR you are content with the meaning you have created in your life.

There are some memories a person has that they wish they didn’t have to re-live.

On the other hand, it would be great to re-live memories of family and friends.

So there would probably be an INTENSIFICATION of one’s feelings, both good or bad about the past.

The knowledge that you would have to live all past events over again, would change the way you feel about them and regard them. So, your attitude toward them would change even though the events themselves are NOT changing.

Looking back over your life would you have a more positive attitude towards events, good or bad?

Yes, because if you have to live them over again, your good attitude would help you go through the bad ones and it would help you to REALLY enjoy the good ones.

Something to think about in the Present!

Living your life over again with no changes but attitude would probably make you attend to your experiences more and live a more vivid life.

Can you think of all the times in your past that would have been better if your attitude at the time was more positive?

So, by changing your ATTITUDE towards events in your life, you make sure it’s a life worth reliving and one you could love.

So here’s the trick: It makes sense to have a positive attitude towards your life, one that is worth loving, even if it only happens ONCE!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

Now back to the original question:

If I had to go through the pandemic all over again how would I change my attitude toward it?

At the beginning of the lockdown I was fearful and at the same time, angry that my life was being severely restricted. Fearful of the uncertainty and the impending dufficulty of obtaining food supplies. I was fearful for my future and my wife’s since we were elderly and this lockdown would take a CHUNK OF TIME OUT OF OUR LIVES.

But now I’ve decided to approach it with a more positive and upbeat attitude.

Eventually we will be able to meet family and friends and maybe, just maybe, things might change for the better after it’s over.

The world might be better prepared for the next pandemic and maybe people will value their present moments more and enjoy them.

People might think about what’s really important in life such as, enjoying your family and friends more and being more content in your life. And maybe, there’s a lot of maybes, a more unified world would emerge.

So, if I had to live it all over again, I would try NOT to be so fearful and angry at the first and to think how it could be better when it’s over.

So, this story of living your life over again, gives you a good reason, attitude wise, to make the rest of your life a life worth living OR does it simply make everything meaningless?

In conclusion, I believe we have to find our OWN meaning in our lives.

Life Turned Upside Down!

When you’re living with an uncontrollable situation and/or illness strikes, life is turned upside down!

The Truths:

LIFE IS SUFFERING: In between suffering you have some pleasant experiences, some longer than others.

This truth describes the conditions of life that are shared by all humans.

Birth, aging, illness, sorrow, pain, grief and death. Plus losing what we cherish.

Notice none of the conditions are pleasant experiences, they are mentally and physically painful.

This is a honest assessment of the human condition.

When these conditions occur we need to learn how to respond wisely–Accept them and carry on.

It is the relentless effort to ESCAPE what we CANNOT ESCAPE and to CHANGE what we CANNOT CHANGE that leads us to dissatisfaction with life and suffering.

When we resist painful experiences we CREATE suffering.

ACCEPTANCE of “WHAT IS” is the way to contentment and less suffering.

 

WANT/DON’T WANT MIND–We want ONLY pleasant experiences and we don’t want unpleasant ones. This creates suffering. The human condition doesn’t operate this way.

The end of mental suffering is possible even when suffering in body.

The path to inner peace: Wise Understanding–knowing what to expect in life.

Wise Action–Enjoy the present moment, it’s the only life you have.

With the end of suffering comes enlightenment, liberation , freedom and peace of mind.

NOTHING IS PERMANENT–Anything can happen at any time.

With impermanence comes uncertainty and unpredictability.

This brings stress and anxiety because we crave security and assurance.

WE DON’T CONTROL MUCH OF OUR EXPERIENCE!

OH, HOW WE LONG FOR PEACE OF MIND!

So what’s the best way to get through the day?

Go through the motions one day at a time.

Stay calm and keep on keeping on.

Enjoy the present, it’s the ONLY life you have!

Reflect on Impermanance–the fact that every aspect of my life is uncertain, unpredictable and in constant flux.

Look after each moment, cherishing what you STILL CAN DO, and being aware that everything could change in an instant.

EQUANIMITY–is a sublime state, it is mental calmness in a difficult situation.

When you dwell in Equanimity, you are able to stand up to whatever is present in the moment, including unpleasant experiences, with a mind that is at peace.

When you’re ill, you can’t predict what symptoms will hit you on a particular day.

That’s why we have good days and bad days.

I am resigned to the fact that I might be ill for the rest of my life. If that’s the case, I know that I feel better the more I can ACCEPT that possibility without bitterness.

Try to accept the unexpected complications that arise in you life. Then you won’t suffer mentally.

Don’t Complain, complaining creates suffering!

When you’re old, there’s lots to complain about:

On going aches and pains, loss of the inclination and the ability to do things, and uncertainty about the future.

Most complaining centres around our desire to control what’s happening to us.

We don’t control much, but we can respond with acceptance and calmness.

Complaining makes you more stressed and unhappy.

MINDFULNESS is the practice of turning your attention “with care” to your experience at the moment.

With care means paying attention with kindness and compassion.

This can help you make peace with your life as it is at the moment.

You must keep your boat afloat!

You can go through the motions TODAY, one day at a time.

And ENJOY the day as much as possible because it’s the ONLY life you have.

CARRY ON!

Thoughts In Old Age

The older I get the more I think about life trying to understand it all.

Here are some thoughts to ponder:

We who are OLD know that AGE is more than a disability.

It is an intense and varied experience, almost beyond our ability to handle at times.

–Being OLD I feel at odds with and different from the times, and it is confusing and frustrating. Almost like the current times are NOT for old people!

–When we are OLD we withdraw from the active world, BUT strangely, we are more ALERT to it than ever before.

–OLD people have so little personal life that the impact of the impersonal is huge.

Some of us feel like sounding boards, observing, reading; the outside world startles us and we ask: Where will it all lead? What effect will it have on people? How different will they become?

–At night when I lay on my back in bed I think about my problems and in doing so I endure many sleepless hours. The problems go deep into my solar plexus where I manifest my emotions.

–OLD people are NOT protected from life by engagements, pleasures or duties; we are open to our own feelings and perceptions. Our one safety is to draw in and enjoy the present, the simple and the immediate. It may be dull and restricted, but it can be satisfying within our own world.

–Being OLD I do more observing of others, but I only EXPERIENCE MYSELF.

–Disabilities crowd in on the OLD; real pain is there, and if we have to be falsely cheerful, it is part of our ISOLATION.

–We OLD people are short tempered because we suffer so. Little things become big, nothing works well, our bodies have become unreliable. We keep one eye on death, is it a return to nothingness? We’re uncertain, so Enjoy the Day.

–When a new ache and pain arrives I look about to see if death has come and I say: “Death is that you? Are you there?” So far the pain has answered, “Don’t be silly, it’s only ME,”

–Our task is BALANCE, keeping just well enough, just brave enough, just gay and interested enough to remain a sentient person. Sentient means able to perceive and feel things and think straight.

–This morning when I woke, I knew I had a fair night, that my pains were NOT too bad. I pulled back the curtain and see the sky and I say: “My dear, dear day, it’s great to be ALIVE.”

–Age is a desert of time–hours, days, weeks, perhaps years–with little to do! So I have ample time to face everything I have had, been and done. Gather them all in, the things that came from outside and those from inside. We have time, at last, to make them truly ours by reflecting on them.

–Loved ones lost opens the gates on suffering. The pain of losing a loved one is terrible! In parting you feel impoverishment. Then suffer–it is all one can do. How can I carry it? But I must. But I cannot just suffer, so I grope for a way of dealing with it, how to grasp it, searching for any insight that might help.

–Our sorrows are a burden for us and others. If it were possible, it might be better to show nothing, but this is unreal and inhuman. You express sorrow to get rid of a little of it. After a while others say: “Better today? Good, alright now?” You must answer, ” Alright, thank you.” You must accept your burden and be pleasant.

–Hardihood is a quality created by hardship and difficulty. It’s a stimulating virtue. Some people are disciplined by hardship. I admire people who can take what comes to them.

–Sometimes I tell people: “You have neat, tight expectations of what life ought to give you, but you won’t get it!” Life doesn’t accommodate you, it shatters you! Every seed destroys its container or else there would be no fruition. But some don’t pay attention so they shatter themselves by their ignorance of life.

–Sometimes I think badly of life and this mortifies me. What do I know? How dare I judge? Life is cruel and kind. I didn’t like the bad things that have happened to me but I know I needed them to make me STRONG! So, is hardship justified if you learn from it? NO! There is too much of it in life, hardship that is. But life has to be hard at times to have any effect on us; even now we hardly notice it. We take it for granted!

–When we get sick we don’t want to die, but on second thought, I’ve had good innings. Now each day is a gift. An extra day in which I may gain some understanding of life, see beauty, feel love. But all this is the perception and feeling by which I SURVIVE.

–When OLD you live like a watchful ghost. You need NOT plan holidays because you can’t take them. You are past all action, all decision. The OLD are almost FREE, our lives are empty and sometimes this is elevating. We only have our thoughts for company. You wait in silence and listen to the emptiness.

–No matter what Old Age brings, you still want to travel on the ROCKY ROAD OF LIFE!

Older and Wiser or is it No Fool Like an Old Fool?

“Tom, before we answer the title question lets consider Courage and Wisdom.

“Fine by me, Dave.”

“Courage is the most important virtue because without it, no other virtue could be practiced consistently!”

“Dave, we need courage all our life but even more so in old age.”

“Yes Tom, we need it to face the trials of old age: Facing our mortality plus aches and pains and illness.”

“We also need the moral strength to stand up for our convictions and inner strength to stand up to uncontrollable situations.”

“Dave, are you courageous?”

“Well Tom, I try to do what needs to be done in different situations, if that’s courage, then Yes I Am.”

“Good answer, Dave, you rise to the challenge.”

“We need courage to conquer fear. Courage is strengthened over a lifetime of handling difficult situations.”

“Dave, I’ve just had a pithy thought…When we shape our lives by our choices, we shape ourselves!”

“And also Tom, the choices we make are our own responsibility.”

We both powered that statement.

“Now about Wisdom, we need it to survive.

If we thought we knew all there was to know, we wouldn’t be open to learning new things.”

“What constitutes wisdom, Dave?”

“Wisdom involves the ability to make good decisions in uncertain situations.”

“Dave, I wonder if old people, like ourselves, have an advantage in wisdom.”

“Maybe Tom, because of their years of experience they can:

See events from multiple perspectives.

Use compromise to find solutions.

Deal well with uncertainty.

Recognise that changes are part of life.

Resolve conflicts.”

“Do you pay attention to life’s lessons, Dave?”

“I try Tom. One thing I’ve learned is NOT to expect too much from life and to do things that make me feel good, like helping others.”

“Oh Dave, you’re so WISE.”

“Well Tom, life is too short not to do things that feel good.”

“Now, about the title of this blog’s question:

Older and Wiser or is it No Fool Like an Old Fool?”

Ponder! Ponder!

I’d say it’s 50/50!!!

What say you?”

The Golden (character and virtue) Years

Questions that haunt your old age:

Am I still the person I have spent a lifetime becoming?

How do I grow older and remain myself?

“Hey Tom, do you realise in old age there is still a “ME” that continues changing and growing?

“Well Dave, I certainly hope I’m still “ME.”

“You are Tom, BUT what is this ME?

I’ll answer my own question.

Well at it’s core is CHARACTER, a stable and developing part of you.

Your ME grows over the years as your circumstances change. ME’NESS is the AGELESS SELF.”

“Well Dave, I try to keep my mind busy and ticking over by staying abreast of current events.”

“Same here, Tom. We try to balance our older identity by defining ourselves differently–for example, You are still You, just a different version that gets winded on the stairs.

Old Age causes changes BUT there still is a core identity underlying those changes.”

“I know one thing, Dave, I have a LONG past to look back on. But I wonder about the future.”

“We wonder about our health and how long we will be able to be independent.

But in our old age we must make peace with our lives.”

“Hey Tom, do you know how to handle the thought all of us oldies have, namely, that the end is in sight?”

“You sure know how to SCARE a fellow, Dave.

But I imagine you live for the moment.”

“One thing I know is that I’ve had a lot more years to make mistakes and a lot more chances to learn from them.”

“I have many fears in old age.”

“Well Tom, lets look at Character Strengths and Virtues that might help stop those fears so we can enjoy the present much more.”

We both pondered our discussion so far.

“Tom, do you know what we are referring to when we talk about Character?”

“Are we referring to strengths that will help us cope with old age and help us to feel like we are living meaningful lives?”

“Right on, Tom, you’re getting with the program now.

Some people think survival is a matter of LUCK.

But really it is a matter of cultivating qualities that help us survive.”

“One thing we oldies have learnt through our lifetimes is that we don’t control much in life.”

Tom looked quizzical.

“But, the one thing you can Control is YOURSELF.

How you use your strengths wisely.”

“Dave, how do character strengths and virtues come about?”

“Well, my friend, they grow out of life crises and how they sustained us through them.”

“I get it, Dave, through old age and adversity we learn our limitations and our strengths.”

“Right, you are, Tom.Our virtues and strengths are:

Transcendence, Humor, Humanity, Courage, Wisdom, Temperance, Pass wisdom to the young and appreciating the cycle of life, including the END.”

“That’s quite a list!”

“We will discuss these in future blogs.

I know you will look forward to these posts.”

PONDER.

“Remember, Tom, we oldies are survivors of life.”

PONDER.

“I will leave you with this profundity:

Somebody once asked me what time of life did I like best, I said,

“NOW.”

Facing Challenging Circumstances

“Hey Tom, welcome to my second blog on How To Become a Stoic.”

“Great Dave, I can’t wait to delve further into the Stoic philosophy.”

“This is what we will focus on today:

Stoicism helps not only those who face challenging situations, but also for those who face PERMANENTLY challenging situations.”

“Dave, do we face permanently challenging situations?”

“Of course we do, Tom, we face permanent discomfort and illnesses of aging.

This is a daily struggle of ours. We are a victim of our aches and pains and depression of aging.”

“So, what do we do, Dave?”

“Well Tom, Stoicism will help us develop a personal philosophy about life in old age.

We need to feel like an agent in the world. Agency is very important.”

“Agency? What’s that?”

“Agency is the human capability to influence one’s functioning and the course of events by one’s actions.”

“Oh, I get it, Dave, agency is taking charge of our lives.”

“Yes Tom, old age discomfort and disability take away some of our agency.

So to live with old age we need to Reclaim Our Agency.”

“Sounds like a tough call, Dave.”

“It is my friend, BUT we have to do it for our peace of mind.

We need to maintain agency under permanent challenging circumstances.”

“I think I know what to do next, Dave.

We need to focus on our abilities, NOT our disabilities.

Focus on what Can we do, NOT what we cannot do.”

“Right on, Tom, I’m proud of you!”

“The next thing is to “Know Thyself.”

You have to know your limits as you age. Also, we need an alarm system to tell us when To Stop Suffering and begin taking charge.”

“How about our life plan, Dave, we probably have to keep revising that.”

“Right, we need to figure out what we want to do with what life is left.”

We both stopped to digest our discussion so far.

“One goal of Stoicism is to achieve tranquility. We need to accumulate positive thoughts and  reject negative ones. We have to learn equanimity in the face of Adversity.”

“That’s also a tough call.”

“Our problem, Tom, is that we are too self-aware.

We fix on problems and negative thinking.

We keep forgetting Epictetus’s dichotomy of control.

Things under our control are: our responses to problems and our behaviours.

Not the situations we find ourselves in.”

We chewed on that for a while.

“We need to reflect on our condition and make an effort to see things in a different light, one that is more rational and compassionate.

This change of perspective will help us to cope better with our situation.”

“I get it, Dave, what we are aiming for is Peace of Mind and Inner Tranquillity!”

We chewed on that also.

“Dave, do you think we can change our future?”

“You can change how you will feel in the future by how you respond to your situation.

The choice is yours, Resist or Accept the situation.

Acceptance means a reduction in your suffering!”

“Lets talk about the road to Serenity.

In the morning remind yourself that the only thing you truly possess are your choices.

In the evening remind yourself how much is out of your control and accept it.

At bedtime remember sleep is a form of surrender and this calms you.”

We both tried to digest all these points.

“The cards were dealt and we played them the best we could.

Think of the life you have lived as OVER.

See what’s left as a bonus and live it as fully as possible.

Once you pass 80 you’re living on borrowed time!

Let us be the best people we can be–TODAY!”

“Anything else, Dave?”

“One last thing:

Don’t mind me, I’m only dying slow!!!

What if you found out you only had a year to live?

This question is designed to make you consider how different your perspective of life would be if you had a year to live.

Nothing like a terminal prognosis to wake people up!

But here’s the rub–You already have a Terminal Diagnosis.

We All Do!!!

Every person is born with a death sentence!!!

EACH MINUTE THAT PASSES IS ONE YOU’LL NEVER GET  BACK!

Once you realise this, it will have a profound impact on what you do, say, and think.

Remember you are a dying person.

WE ALL ARE!!!

So, live your present moments as enjoyably as possible and be kind to yourself and others.

THE PRESENT IS THE ONLY LIFE YOU HAVE!”

With that, Tom and I waked out into the sunshine,,,

TWO STOICS FACING THE ROCKY ROAD OF LIFE!

Troubles? Problems? Be a Stoic!

“Hey Tom, I’ve decided to become a Stoic!”

“Why Dave?” said Tom, with a perplexed look.

“Because to cope with aging you need the teachings of Stoicism.”

Tom had a quizzical look on his face.

“Here’s a definition of a Stoic: a person who can ENDURE pain and hard times without showing their feelings or complaining plus the ability to ACCEPT the hard times of aging. You can’t fight or resist the uncontrollable or the unchangeable, if you try, you SUFFER!”

“What are some of the teachings of Stoicism?”

“The basic teachings are: That we don’t control external events or nature. All we can rely on is ourselves and our responses.

It seeks to remind us that we live in an unpredictable world and how brief our life is.

How to be strong in the face of life’s problems.”

“Sounds good, Dave, tell me more.”

“Well Tom, here’s something to lighten your day.

Think of a marble bust of Writer Dave right alongside the busts of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus and Seneca!

They were the Big Three of Stoicism.”

“Sounds great, Dave. I suggest you get a bunch made up so you can sell them at the car boot sale!”

We both laughed uncontrollably.

“Now lets get serious, Dave. What led you to Stoicism?”

“Well Tom, I came across an article on “Changes in the Body and Mind with Aging.”

The article was twenty pages long!

It read like a horror story, everything was going to pot!

I then realised I would need come powerful philosophy, such as Stoicism, to cope.”

“Anything else, Dave?”

“Next to the article on Aging were some existential questions for the Elderly:

How will you deal with mortality?

How will you deal with transitoriness?

Do you feel the senselessness of being old?

These questions shook me up even more.”

“Wow! That’s scary, Dave.”

“Right! So I propose we have a few discussions on how to be a Stoic.”

“Okay by me, Dave. Where do we start?”

“Well, lets start with the Stoic idea of turning an obstacle upside down.

If you turn a problem upside down, every bad situation or experience becomes a new source of good.”

“Hey Dave, run that by me again!”

“To a Stoic, everything is an opportunity.

Lets say you’re living with a bad situation which is unchangeable. You endure it by accepting it completely, which in turn makes you strong and resilient.

This eases your suffering.”

“Dave, I read somewhere that everything is Ephemeral, lasting only a short time. Is that a teaching?”

“Right Tom, you just had a philosophical moment!!!

If everything is ephemeral, the present is all that matters, it’s the only life you have.

Being a good person and doing the right thing, right now, that’s what matters to a Stoic.”

“One of the most important stoic exercises is: Amor Fati, a love of fate. In other words, bear what is necessary and embrace it. By accepting your fate, your situation, you ease the mental suffering.

This is the stoic mindset that you take on for making the BEST out of anything that happens, no matter how challenging.”

We both pondered our discussion so far.

“Well Tom, what do you think?

Will Stoicism give you peace of mind?”

“Yes Dave, but I think we have to delve into it further and practice it on a daily basis.”

“We will, Buddy, in further blogs.

In conclusion I will say:

Stoicism is for us who live our lives in the Real World.

That’s good for us because you and I are Realists!!!”

Creating a Cultural Ape (Human)

This cultural ape would live in a collective organisational system (industrialised society).

One day when my buddy Tom and I were in the End of the Line Tavern sitting on our green-padded stools, I posed this question.

Could you redesign a chimpanzee to be a human, in other words a cultural ape?

“Well Dave, this would be a good question to ponder on our stools and it would be fun.”

“Okay Tom, what’s the first trait you would build into your cultural animal?”

Tom’s eyes lit up, I knew the stools (green-padded) would work their magic.

“Well Dave, the chimpanzee would need a very strong urge to form social connections with others.”

“That’s right, Tom, our creation would need a strong need to BELONG.”

We both sipped our soft drinks. Tom had got me onto less alcohol.

“Second, it would need to identify with large groups such as a Nation.

Tom spoke up, “Third, our creation would need a MIND that recognises that others have inner states similar to his,, which makes communication and empathy and understanding possible.”

“Bang on, Tom, our creation would need to belong to a commune of others so they could shape knowledge and work together.”

“Fourth, so our creation could work with others, it would need the ability to make themselves act appropriately and according to the norms of society.”

“To do this our creation would need self-awareness.”

“Dave, I just thought of the Fifth trait.

The creation would need to be able to PROCESS a large amount of information.

His brain would need an extremely large storage capacity to hold the info.”

“Sixth, to be cultural would require a Socialization Process to learn the Rules for behaviour in society.”

“Seventh, our creation would need a decision-making apparatus. It would need to make Choices as to what to do that’s best.”

“Dave, I’ve got the last trait.

It would need SELF-CONTROL to override bad responses and regulate itself.”

“That’s right, Tom, it would need to be able to handle ever changing social circumstances and control its own inner states and action tendencies.”

“Well Tom, we have created a human being from a chimpanzee.

HOW ABOUT THAT!”

We both smiled and finished our drinks.

THE GREEN-PADDED STOOLS HAVE DONE IT AGAIN: pondered life’s great questions!!!

 

Green-Padded Stool Psychology

I entered the End of the Line Tavern through a revolving door.

There was a mist inside, it was like walking through a fog.

I climbed up on a stool, it was green-padded and very comfy.

Then I noticed I had sat next to a big chap, looked to be in his eighties just like me.

I ordered a beer and said:

“What are you drinking, I’m buying?”

“A soft drink”, he replied.

“Barkeep get this fella a soft drink.”

“Thank you sir”, said the big old fella.

“My name is Dave”, I said, holding out my hand.

“Mine is Tom”, he said, shaking my hand.

“Tom, I just turned 81 and I’m trying to figure myself out, sort of old age self-understanding.”

“I’ve been trying to do that all my life.”

A friend told me:

“Self-understanding, oh that’s just common sense.”

“So, what’s common sense?”, said Tom.

“That’s a good question, Tom, because common sense isn’t so common.”

I took a long gulp of my beer.

“These comfy stools seem to give me energy that I didn’t have before I sat on them.”

“Yeh Dave, it’s like a small electric shock.”

“I’ll have to buy one of these stools.”

We both took a sip of our drinks.

“Common sense is defined as collective wisdom.

So, lets turn to the proverbs:

Opposites attract, would tell us about relationships.

Many hands make light work, gives us insight into group behaviour.

But…

Birds of a feather flock together, contradicts the first one.

Too many cooks spoil the broth, contradicts the second one.

The point is:

Common sense can be contradictory at times and may simply be one person’s point of view.”

“Wow! That’s interesting, Dave. So, what are the ways to get self-understanding?”

“Two ways, Tom, Introspection and Self-Perception.

Lets take Introspection first.

It’s the process of looking inwards at your internal states, such as thoughts and feelings.”

“I always have problems being introspective.”

“No wonder, Tom, there’s three big problems with introspection.

First, we are constantly processing so much into at the same time that we really don’t know which into is causing our thoughts and behaviours.

Second, we overestimate our positive attributes.

The other day I was asked to rate my looks, I said:

“Oh, I am definitely “over average.”

Now that doesn’t really mean much, what’s average?

Three, for self-protective reasons we drive bad thoughts and experiences out of our heads.

So, how can we learn from our bad experiences?”

Self-Perception, what’s that all about, Dave?”

Tom was eager for education. The stools were working their MAGIC!

“It has to do with one’s observation of one’s actions from this we could deduce how we feel and what we are thinking and who we are.”

“Is there any problem with self-perception?”

“Yes, the problem is “CONTEXT”, the circumstances under which the action occurs.”

“Can you give me an example?”

“If you went to the theatre because your wife wanted you to, you wouldn’t say you were a theatre lover.

But…if you went on your own volition or by yourself, then you could call yourself a theatre lover.

It’s the CONTEXT that matters.”

We both finished our drinks.

“Well Tom, I’ve got to be going now.”

“I’m going as well, Dave.”

As we left the tavern, I said:

“Talking to you Tom I feel like I’ve known you all my life.”

“Ditto for me, Dave, hope to see you again.”

Out into the sunshine we went–two old men facing life with a SMILE!!!