Challenge Your Thinking

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I read a disturbing article weeks ago about how Intolerant Liberals on Medium. As a Christian myself, this article has forced me to think hard about a lot of things. I had to set this aside for a while.

Every single president of this country has been a Christian. Every. Single. President. Barack Obama’s presidency now means that it’s about 20 times easier to become president if you’re white than black. But it’s still infinitely easier to be president of the United States if you’re a Christian. 92% of the House and Senate are Christians. Try throwing a rock in either building and not hitting a Christian.

When your religion is represented by every President in history, and 92% of the governing body that rules your land, I’d say you’re doing okay in the whole representation thing. When conservative politicians have control of the White House, Senate, House, of the country with the most economic and military power in the history of our planet, I think crying ‘persecution’ of conservatives might be suspect.

and

Furthermore, conservative Christians have allied themselves with racism, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, mass incarceration, war crimes, death sentences, and gun culture. These Christians work actively to undermine scientific thinking. Anti-evolution, anti-global warming, anti-intellectual, and anti-factual. None of these line up with the values most universities share.

Yes, it’s important to intellectual growth to have variety. It’s important that unpopular ideas get a hearing. It’s important for there to be debate, and changes of heart, and to allow sincere disagreements to continue to wrestle with one another for clarification. I have no interest in our universities being populated by people who think like me. But I do have an interest in them being populated with people who think.

All world views are not inherently equal.

I encourage you to read this article and think about it.

And, today I read an article called, What Does It Profit …? The Faustian Bargain in Full Display at Trump’s Evangelical Dinner which is so true. Trump does not represent my values and although some of the policy things he does I agree with, he is not worthy of leadership or followership. I would impeach him today. He is not a person of character.

I did not vote for him or the other one because I thought both were terribly flawed. Our two party system is failing us.

Related, I’m reading the book, We Should All Be Feminists by Adichie which also challenged my thinking. Haven’t finished it yet, but this relates to my prior post on my old blog.

Challenge your thinking. Listen to those who think differently. Read widely. Think. And VOTE.

pablo (19)

 

Trust with my life…

pablo (15)I am watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story tonight and there is a line in the movie that goes like:

You’ll need someone you can trust.

I would trust her with my life.

Here is the question. Who around you would you trust with your life?

In my case, there are more people around me that I would trust with my life than probably reasonable. Is that reasonable?

What about you?

Something to think about.

Several Updates, Books, Audible, Blogs and Sci-Fi

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I’ve read two interesting books lately which I wanted to highlight here.

First, The Power by Alderman which is an amazing fictional story about a shift happening in girls and spreading to adult women where they have a power or capability to physically overpower boys and men. Without going into the detail or revealing more, it is about what happens in society when ‘power’ shifts from men to women. It is a very thought-provoking story as it touches on many different ideas and thoughts.

The second is Death with Interruptions by Saramago which is a tale about ‘death’ deciding to stop at the beginning of the year and those who should die, don’t. Day after day, in this one country the dying do not die. It is a story about what happens in society when those who really should reach the end, no longer die. The aged and hurt simply don’t die and the hospitals and homes fill up with people who are still alive.  Aging still happens. There is much social upheaval and implications as a result and it is a fascinating story. Eventually, the person ‘death’ is introduced in the story and we start hearing ‘her’ story as she interacts with people in this country. Fascinating.

I listened to both on Audible. Recommended.

And here are some interesting things I’ve read in the past few weeks. These 1st two have really caused me to pause and think.

Why Everyone Should Lift Weights is the most thought-provoking post I’ve read in a while. Don’t let the weightlifting put you off, the post is about being stronger and revealing yourself to yourself and gaining self-confidence. The following gets to the heart of it:

Challenging your own body is the greatest method for discovering the strength of your mind. Nowhere is this more true than with strength training. There will be days when you don’t feel like coming into the gym. There will be sets that you don’t feel like finishing. There will be times when everyone else in the gym will see you fail.

And if you keep showing up anyway, then you’ll develop the mental fortitude to get past failure, work when you don’t feel like it, and discover what you’re really made of mentally and physically

Related, the article called The Equation That Will Make You Better At Everything I posted on Twitter a while back and it has been getting reposted afterward as people read it.

Stress + Rest = Growth. It’s as simple and as hard as that.

And let me throw in one more bonus article on relationships that struck me. In The Subtle Art of Connecting with Anyone we find the following:

If you dig deep enough into questions about what it means to live a good life and how to create happiness and fulfillment, you’ll likely find yourself between a few different schools of thought, each with their own approach.

That said, in pretty much all schools, the idea that a complete life tends to be one filled with a number of high-quality relationships is pretty consistent.

In a way, happiness is other people. It’s the connections we build and the relationships we foster. They create us, and they continue to shape us.

If you are into Science Fiction, then I highly recommend the Audible series The Expeditionary Force by Craig Alderson. You need to listen on Audible. Trust me. Hilarious and fantastic. Did I say ‘trust me’ on this?

Factfulness

Recently worked through the book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think which was co-written by Hans Rosling. He is famous for several TED talks where he talks about many of the ideas in this book.

The book does a great job at making the very point of the title. Things are better than we think. In most metrics about health, poverty, violence, etc. the world is getting better. Yes, there are places and events and people that are worse off, but on the whole, the world is getting better.

The book further points out that media points out the negative, but says nothing about the positive, which we all know but don’t really think about very much. He does argue that this is our fault because we choose to focus on the negative and thus the media follows that direction.

I do recommend this book. I’ve thought about it a lot since reading it.

Here is a similar article that I came across today which prompted me to post this recommendation and here is a site with some interesting related ideas.

Simplify & Purge

Been talking with parents about end of life matters. Shared several interesting articles like this one about one’s digital legacy.  And I found another one today about cleaning out prior to dying.

pablo (15)My wife and I watched a show years ago where a crew came into a house and helped the owners clean out and remove things that were no longer needed. They brought things outside the house from three rooms and put them in a keep, sell or trash groups. It inspired us to do a MAJOR purge at our prior house. Before we moved to our current house, we did another purge.

A few weeks ago, I did a major purge or my cables, adapters, software, plugs, etc. equipment that has been saved over the years. I threw away multiple trash cans full of cables and the like. Interestingly, the VERY NEXT DAY, a friend pinged me looking for a prior Mac video adapter which likely was outside in my trash can.

Today, I went to my closet and started purging clothes (again).  It is SO HARD to part with clothes that are great clothes but you never wear. It is nearly an intractable problem. One almost needs to force oneself to keep one and purge one. Even that is hard. Not sure how to best do this. Certainly, I don’t need any new clothes for a while. (Those of you who see me regularly please be ok with this).

Next week I’m going through suits, slacks, and sports coats. After that, I’m going through old software CDs, etc. I just want to trim back. Purge. Reduce.

Related, I’ve tried to wait to order from Amazon until I had multiple things I wanted/needed/desired and when I’ve had 4 or 5 or more items, I’ve placed the order. I’ve noticed that Amazon still ships them in multiple boxes! I guess things are coming from different warehouses, but it is so frustrating. I try to reduce my ‘carbon footprint’ and still can’t with Amazon. Argh……..

Stop buying things…

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Broken

I find myself moving more and more towards the perspective that aspects of capitalism are broken. Pushing stock prices up no matter what the cost, the huge gap in compensation between the highest and lowest paid workers in an organization, the slanting of financial laws towards the rich, and the increasing fraction of our economy that is based on businesses that make nothing (Financial, Legal, etc.).

Three books that are worth a read about how this happens on a day-to-day basis in corporations and how people are quickly or slowly corrupted, or how their decisions slip down a very dark path.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by Carreyrou is the latest about the fall of Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes which is in the current news. I saw her speak once at a conference to a small group of IT CIOs. She was being interviewed by Meg Whitman who was running HP at the time. I’m not quite done with this book, but I can already highly recommend it. It is absolutely captivating in how morally bankrupt some people can be.

Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Holiday which is the story of Gawker and its business model and the work done to take it down.

And no such list would be complete without The Smartest Guys in the Room by McLean and Elkind about Enron and how that model worked. I lived through part of that story where the company I worked and friends in California lived through rolling power outages one summer that Enron employees were causing to happen.

I don’t know the answers (or probably some of the right questions) here. It just seems that aspects of our model and way of doing things are breaking down. Broken.

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Reading vs Listening

I’ve found myself reading much less lately and instead, listening to books and podcasts. The shift for me has been dramatic.

I listen while driving all the time and while running and working in the yard.

I don’t listen much when I’m at home, however. And I don’t read that much anymore. I don’t follow as many sites online these days either.

My first choice for books is now Audible. If not on Audible, then I’m unlikely to buy it. And, I always play the book at faster than normal, like 125% of real time.

I’m wondering if this is more of the Shallows effect.

What are you doing these days?

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Being Wrong

From the book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Schultz, the following quote to think about:

A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient.

book

A Few Interesting Items

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A really great article about connecting with others can be found at How to Become Insanely Well-Connected. Consider:

  • Being a good listener is about two things: 1) Demonstrating that you’ve heard exactly what was said by the other person, and 2) encouraging them to continue.

  • I’ll often start that conversation saying, ‘I’m wrong all the time and I very well may be here.’ Acknowledging your own fallibility and human imperfection can go a long way toward making yourself relatable.

  • End every meeting or conversation with the feeling and optimism you’d like to have at the start of your next conversation with the person. “Assume you’re going to run into everyone again — it usually happens either by plan or happenstance,” says Fralic. “There are no closed connections. The world is too small.” When you do meet again, you want the person to think, ‘Oh great, it’s so-and-so!’

The Brightest People Do 9 Things That Really Stand Out, Says a Harvard Prof has a few brilliant, summarized things to consider. I love these points from the list:

  • When confronted with a new situation they ask questions that efficiently get to the heart of the unaddressed issues.

  • It is not uncommon for a very smart person to see deeply into a problem and say things that indicate such depth, even when they are not widely understood, and their insight only becomes apparent long after the fact.

  • Smart people are a constant source of surprises — in their ideas, in their wordplay, in their questions, or in some other way. Whatever fuels their smarts cannot be corralled, and leads to unpredictable moments (at least to mere mortals).

  • There is always something about an intelligent person that you cannot quite put your finger on. It is just out of reach, and it makes them inscrutable.

An interesting article about averages and how we are always comparing ourselves to others. Read “What Are You Hiding?” which has this wonderful line which we’d be good to embrace,

If you are lucky, you figure out you are not average, love that part of yourself and find people who will also love you for it.

I’ve read three other posts this past week that have caused me to really pause and think, but I’m not ready to post them yet. Perhaps sometime later. Maybe. One was about intolerance and anti-intellectual thinking and two were about male dominance over females in society and the effects and issues. Both need further processing by me.

Please share back with me if you find a thought-provoking article that meant something to you.