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Friday, March 7, 2014

THE LIBERTY OF FREEDOM










What is freedom?
Is it a state  or just a state of mind?
The state and the state of mind define each other.
For to be free or enslaved you have to  know it first.
And to know it, first you have to be in one state or the other.

Are you free?
We all think we are free.
To think otherwise would be insanity.
Nobody accepts willingly to live a life of enslavement.
Therefore, we lie to ourselves and think of us as free.

You are as free as your means to overcome your limitations allow you to be.
May those limitations be physical or mental.
It is easy to see how that applies to the physical world.
Your freedom of movement, of having and doing things, is determined by your means.
What about your mental freedom? Your freedom of thinking?

You think your thoughts are free. Right?
Please stop reading this and pick up a piece of paper.
Write on it how cold fusion can be achieved or how cancer can be cured.
How about this: Can you write a novel or compose a symphony at will?
Nope. I didn’t think so. Neither can I.

Our minds are locked in the prison of reason.
Limited to a continuous internal mumbling and rambling.
Locked into a never ending loop of repetitions.
Fragments of songs, incoherent bits of thought and ideas.
We only rarely break out of that prison.

You might think your mind and thoughts are free but you are wrong.
Freedom is just an illusion created by the “what” and the “who” that are enslaving you.
You will not know your prison until you push for the boundaries of your freedom.
You will not know your freedom until you break those walls.

 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

THE TAO OF HOLLYWOOD III

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And here are some pearls of wisdom from “THE TRUMAN SHOW”
 
“Christof: Truman! You can speak. I can hear you.
Truman: Who are you?
Christof: I’m the creator.
Truman: The creator of what?
Christof: A show - that gives hope and joy and inspiration to millions.
Truman: A show.  Then who am I?
Christof: You're the star.
Truman: Nothing was real.
Christof: You were real.  That's what made you so good to watch.”
 
“Christof: We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented.”
 
“Young Truman: I want to be an explorer, like the Great Magellan.
Teacher: [indicating a map of the world] Oh, you're too late! There's nothing left to explore! "
 
"Christof: If his was more than just a vague ambition, if he was absolutely determined to discover the truth, there's no way we could prevent him.”
 
“Sylvia: Look at what you've done to him!
Christof: I have given Truman the chance to lead a normal life. The world, the place you live in, is the sick place. “
 
“Christof: Truman, there's no more truth out there than in the world I created for you - the same lies and deceit.  But in my world you have nothing to fear. (suddenly angry) Say something, damn it!  You're still on camera, live to the world...!
Truman: In case I don't see you--good afternoon, good evening and good night.”
 
 
There are so many themes so many questions you can draw from this movie but I would like to pick just one question for today:
What is freedom?
 
Is Truman a free man or not?
Are you, WE, free or not, and if yes, then why?
Obviously first response would be “Truman is not a free man because he lives in a cage.”
But is that really true? Is it the cage that defines our freedom or something else?
 
A couple of years back I took my kids to Yellowstone Park.
One day we meet a very nice family from Luxemburg
We struck out a conversation and among other things they confess they were completely overwhelmed by Yellowstone in particular and United States in general.
It was easy to understand their astonishment considering that the Yellowstone Park was larger than their country.
(For the American readers Luxemburg is a small European country, it has a population of 524,853 (as of October 2012) and an area of 2,586 square kilometers (998 sq mi), making it one of the smallest sovereign nations in Europe)
Imagine how would a citizen of Vatican feel J
 
We all live in a cage, we just don’t see it that way, because we never test the limits of our cages.
But try to push the limits and sooner or later you’ll find out that you are trapped.
In truth we all are bound to this rock floating in space that we call Earth.
Is a prison inmate less free than a person outside of the prison?
Is a citizen of Luxemburg less free than a US citizen?
How big, or small the cage have to be to determine if we are free or not?
 
Obviously the size of the physical space we live in is not a measure of our freedom.
The Luxembourg family visiting Yellowstone were enjoying the same freedom as my family.
They were not limited to the physical space of their country.
So Truman was in fact a free man – He got out afterwards – He was not limited to the confines of his space.
 
I would like to go to Luxemburg.  The question is; am I free to go to Luxemburg?
Obviously you would say "yes", but I would say "no".
I do not have the money to buy plane tickets or to pay for a hotel room and the other trip expenses.
And even if I had the money I wouldn’t have the time. I’ll still have to go to work to pay the bills. – I guess more money would solve that too.
 
So it looks like freedom is actually determined by the psychological and physical means one has to overcome his limitations.
Even people in prison at the present time, If they are connected to high enough people in power can be pardoned and set scot free.
It happens all the time when State Governors and even the US Presidents pardon hard core criminals and crooks, although we don’t hear much about it in the press.
 
That means that actually some people in prison at the present time are more free than you and I, since they have more means to overcome their limitations than you and I.
And I know that, that, might hurt your ego and your sense of self worth and I should keep quiet about it and not rock the boat, but like Truman would say:
 
“Somebody help me, I'm being spontaneous!”
 
 

Monday, February 24, 2014

A VALUABLE LESSON II

What is value?
Is value a quality intrinsic to the object, action or person, or is it a quality dictated by outside factors?
Is it your personal worth determine by who you are or determined by who people think you are?
Is value a universal constant or is it a variable that fits our needs?
What is your worth? How do you quantize that value?
 
Have you ever look at a child’s treasure trove?
It is the most worthless pile of junk you’ll ever see in one place. It is a total random collection of, pebbles, bits of colored glass, bits of cloth, strings, marbles of all size and color, dried leaves and flowers, miniature toys or parts and pieces of toys, beads, pieces of jewelry, trinkets that should belong in the trash can and anything else you would love to throw away.
What value would you put on a child treasure chest?
So when did you threw away your childhood treasure trove?
When did you lost the sense of wonder and joy?
 
We are born without our wants but certainly we are born with our needs.
A study done a long time ago on child development discovered that without love, affection and human contact a new born will wither and die. I don’t understand why as human being we had to do research on that, I thought everybody knew it, everybody was born with it, but then again I am not a scientist I don’t need an explanation for the way I feel.
I look at my little one cuddled up in her bed with her “blankie” a torn piece of her old blanket.
It doesn’t do anything to protect her but it gives her what she needs. The feeling of safety and security.
 
When did we lose the need for love and affection, for the comfort and warm of the human touch?
When did we exchange it for Face book and Twitter?
When did success became more important than our needs?
When did we exchange joy and wonder for the rat race?
When did we abandon the little child inside in exchange for the career professional?
When did we exchange our “blankies” for check books and credit cards?
 
But most important why?
What is value?
How do you measure it?
Have you more riches than the child’s treasure trove?
What’s your worth?

Friday, February 21, 2014

ON SUFFERING V

Student: What is enlightenment?
Buddha: The end of suffering.”


If there is a place in this universe that can be called hell that would be right here and right now.All of imaginable tortures possible, physical and mental, all the cruelty and injustice possible are here.I could give you a thousand examples, wars, genocide, famine, plagues you name it, but today we will keep close to home, we will talk about divorce, a seemingly benign affliction  until you get to know it firsthand. No I have never been divorced and I hope I’ll never be.






So this is the story of a guy named Joe.On the surface Joe was a happily married man but things aren’t always as they appear. One day a small quarrel with his wife ended up in a big fight and Joe moved out of the house. I was caught in the middle of this family drama and trying to patch things up and I was close to find a compromise when the devil (read lawyer) came into the scene and she promise to take Joe to the cleaners. After that all hell broke loose.

Joe was not a very health conscious person. He was a meat and potato kind of guy. He drink and smoke a lot, he never exercised and he worked way, way, to many hours at the office. I am telling you all this because as the divorce progressed and things got more and more nasty, the stress and anxiety started affecting his health. At the worst point he got hives the size of dollar coins all over his body. His doctor told him that he will die if he continued on that path and put him on disability, medication, a regiment of exercise and a strict diet.

With his salary slashed to a quarter of what he was making, Joe had to move into a small guest house a friend offer him at a discount price. He had to return his expensive car lease, let his expensive lawyer go and basically give up his life in the fast lane for a very modest existence. The final day of the trial (did I mention the judge was a woman too?) I couldn’t be in court. So as soon I got out of work I rushed to his place. I was very concern, many times I thought he is going to commit suicide or do something stupid like OD himself to death, so I rushed to him ASASP.

I found Joe in the backyard, barbequing, spatula on one hand, cold beer on the other, cigarette hanging from his lip. He saw me and gave me the largest most genuine smile I ever seen. He hugged me like I was lost at sea for twenty years “How are you my friend?” he greeted me.“How am I? How are you? How did it go?”“Fine – he replied – she took everything but I don’t have to pay her alimony or anything.”And then he said to me “This is the happiest day of my life. It is over”

I realized at that moment that all that pain and suffering he went trough was a product of his mind of his imagination. He was not suffering for losing his once loved woman, or his house, money or material things. He was suffering because he didn’t have control over his life, his destiny, anymore, he was suffering because he didn’t know what the outcome would be. Once the drama was over and an outcome established, the suffering was gone.Although he had lost everything he was the happiest man in the world. He was free from the uncertainty, from the fear of an uncontrollable future. He was back in control, at least for the moment.

It is this capacity of the human mind to imagine the future, of anticipating thing that are yet to happen, that creates the imaginary hell of our suffering. And that hell exist only because our uncertainty.I found myself many time in that place where my destiny seemed like a ran away train ready to derail at any moment and always, no matter how bad the outcome was, in the moment of the coming to a final conclusion, the pain was gone.

So I realized that the way to deal with this kind of problem is to imagine the worst possible outcome and fully accept it as an already fact. It is in this acceptance that you let go of your suffering.
I
t is in the acceptance of your uncertainty that you find inner peace. It is in the acceptance that you are not in control of the things happening to you, or the people around you but only of the way you react to these things or these people.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

THE TAO OF HOLLYWOOD II

Here’s a good one:
 
I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here.
It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals.
Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area.
There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.”
 
Agent Smith – The Matrix
 
As much as I love Agent Smith (The Wachowski brothers that wrote the script) I have to be a prick and burst his bubble – Mammals are defined as bearing live offspring milk feeding animals - if I remember correctly from my years of schooling. So No Mr. Smith, we are mammals, period.
But you have a good point; the way we treat our environment, and for that matter the way we treat other human beings as well is absolutely appalling and  totally objectionable by any intelligent being.
 
I wander myself all my life why we do the things we do. Why do we hurt other people, especially the people we love. I couldn’t find a reasonable explanation for it so I just went on with my life, which paraphrasing the great philosopher Homer came out like this:
Mistake… doh! …Mistake… doh! …New Mistake… doh! …Other mistake… doh! …And so on.
(That is Homer Simpson in case you are not the TV watching type)
After years of maturing and meditation I came to the only logical explanation to this behavior.
We are not as smart as we think we are. As species we are just smart enough to create problems but not to avoid them.
 
So trying not to make any more mistakes was doomed to failure from the get going.
Creating problems, getting into trouble is not accidental, it is endemic to who we are as species.
As the great philosopher Forest Gump put it “stupid is as stupid does”
The question is not if or not we are going to make more mistakes in the future. And by we I don’t mean you and I but the politicians, the scientist and the leaders that we look up.
We will continue our path of blunders no matter how hard we will try to avoid them.
The only remaining question is how many more mistakes are we going to make.
And by we I mean you and I. And the answer is:
AS MANY ASPOSSIBLE