James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

19 more thoughts from 2019

The first 19.

20. If the headline says "New study finds..." or "Researchers discover..." then I might read the story. If the headline begins with "Science says..." or ends with "...., says science," then I skip it.

21. "Science says..." is passive-aggressive phrasing meant to imply that you're fool or a kook to disagree. Those you use it intend to shut down alternative interpretations through shaming.

22. You've heard it said, "You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts." It's kind of a moot statement. Very little of what I know as "fact" comes from reason and experience, most comes from what I'm told by others. And I am entitled to choose for myself who to trust for information.

23. You've heard it said that Einstein said: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." The first person who attributed the quote to Einstein was lying.

24. Attributing one's opinion to Einstein is to appeal to authority: "You may disagree with me, but how can you disagree with Einstein?" That's why so many memes are fake Einstein quotes. But wisdom is wisdom regardless of its origin. And this "insanity" definition isn't even wisdom.

25. It's simplistic at best to say "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Practice and persistence through repitition don't always deliver the results as soon as we want them. That's doesn't mean we should give up.

26. Often the insanity definition is adopted by an outsider. One may observe a friend having a series of troubled romantic relationships, and perceives the same toxic personality traits in those partners. But the poor soul having these relationships sees what's different from partner to partner. In retrospect, they may see how the same mistake was made, but that doesn't mean they were "insane" when it was made.

27. It may be irrational to persist in something expecting a different result, and it may be irrational to quit when things are seemingly going well. But "irrational" doesn't mean wrong, it could just mean intuitive: do you have a good or bad feeling about what you're doing?

28. This year I had the opportunity to ponder the quote from Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." I heard someone say that belief (conviction) is intellectual, hope is emotional, and that faith comes from the soul in that you feel it.

29. I believe in the infinite, and that individuation is but an expression of the infinite. Everything you perceive though the senses, and every thought you think, is infinite. No word really has "definition," because that implies limits. Words just have contextual meanings. Infinity is expressed in the one, just as the one is part of infinity. The limit is but a part of the limitless.

31. Permancance is a matter of context. So is completeness. So is the ideal. So is perfection. They're really expressions of a state of mind and don't exist in sense reality. In the world of sense, things just are.

32. Something is "perfect" if and when you're satisfied with it. It might not be perfect for someone else, but for you it's good enough for when you need it and then you move on. A "perfect" life is an oxymoron, because life is growth.

33. The purpose of financial wealth isn't retirement security, and the purpose of phsical health isn't long life; unforeseen disaster and acccidents can wipe out both at any moment. Their purpose is to make you feel good in the present as they are forms of energy that enable you to do what you want.

34. I'm of the opinion that "good" and "bad" are subjective and relative states of feeling that don't require a lot of philosophy and theory to explain. Those who are most vocal about promoting the "common good" seem most intent on making people feel bad through guilt-manipulation, fear, and involuntary sacrifice. It's no wonder the political class seems to have a disporportionate number of hypocrites, fanatics, and thieves. 

35. To have no hope in politics isn't the same as not having hope at all. Sometimes I'm asked, "What's the alternative?" Well, what do you think is the problem? Why do you think problems created by politics should be my problem, or yours? Perhaps seeing problems from another point of view will give us the means to solve them, perhaps even without directly addressing them.

36. Exploring and mapping every cave, and journeying as far as we can into the center of the earth, is more interesting to me than landing people on the moon or other planets, although I'm still unclear why moon visits aren't common and cheap after 50 years.

37. I believe journeying to the center of the mind will reveal some of the mysteries of the universe, and I don't believe that must require chemicals or exotic plants.

38. I can't estimate the number, but certainly more than half of all my favorite songs were composed by people born in 1940's, who are now all (or would be) in their 70's.

James Leroy Wilson writes from Nebraska. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. If you find value in his articles, your support through Paypal helps keep him going. Permission to reprint is granted with attribution.

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