Perseverance


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One can draw upon many sources for inspiration. I was 4 years old when the film Cool Hand Luke was released and until I discovered it years later, I found an affinity to the material that continues to stay with me to this day. The single most identifying character trait that strikes me as most redeeming in the Luke character played by Paul Newman is in his determination and volition. The value of such a trait can be clearly understood if one considers that the principles behind this powerful drive are just and not acted out in vain with the mind of a non-reflective zealot.

Life can be a struggle, and a challenge, that does not just simply give us easy answers. It takes work to sift out a higher understanding, it takes patience to better understand our role in a world whose framework consists of many layers, and to progress through this world, we often meet disappointment, conflict and tension between ideals and/or others that stand in our way. The universe can provide us with a multitude of exhibitions that champion the human soul over a chaotic experience. I’m not sure just how many times in my life when I could recount examples that would somehow help me dissipate anxiety and slowly aid me in dissolving the plights I was facing. Sometimes the simplest of inspirations come from sources you wouldn’t typically consider.

Quite possibly the best prison drama ever made, Cool Hand Luke (1967) follows a man, incarcerated for drunken petty vandalism, who has so much fight in him that he continuously finds a way to beat the odds. That tenacity is dramatized in an early scene during which Luke manages to win a poker game despite having been dealt some terrible cards. (“Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand,” Luke says, thereby giving the character his nickname and the movie its title.) Luke triumphs, often, because he perseveres. Even in the corrupt place where he’s imprisoned, he carries himself with dignity. Sure, he engages in the not especially dignified stunt of eating 50 eggs to win a bet—but more significant than that, he refuses to ingratiate himself with either the guards or the intimidating inmate Dragline, who calls the shots among the prisoners. In the process, Luke becomes something of a spiritual beacon for the other inmates. At various points in the movie, it’s even hinted that he’s a Christ-like figure.

Luke, who rebels without harming others, is worthy of our attention. But people who hold civilization hostage, harm others, and manage to grab publicity in the process aren’t—or at least shouldn’t be.

Getting his peers to worship him isn’t Luke’s goal, however. He rebels against the unjust world he’s trapped in not to impress anyone but because he has to answer to his inner god. In fact, his celebrity status in prison can feel like an unbearable responsibility; his awareness of how much he embodies hope for the other men weighs on him, suffocatingly so at times. At a certain point in the film—shortly after he’s recaptured following his second escape from prison—Luke is sprawled out on his back, physically bloodied and spiritually bowed, shackled hand and foot, as his fellow prisoners are gathered around him, clamoring for the next show of his incredible will. Unable to muster it, he shouts, “Stop feedin’ off me! … I can’t breathe! Give me some air!”

You could say that Luke has a “self-destructive” streak (and that Christ had one too). But it is inextricable from his self-respect; he’d rather live—and die—on his own terms than accept an eviscerated existence. Luke is engaged in a daily existential battle for his soul—and as the boxing scene helps to demonstrate, he’s one hell of a heroic anti-hero.

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Luke: [Discussing God and the rain] Let him go. Bam, Bam.
Dragline: Knock it off, Luke. You can’t talk about Him that way.
Luke: Are you still believin’ in that big bearded Boss up there? You think he’s watchin’ us?
Dragline: Get in here. Ain’t ya scared? Ain’t ya scared of dyin’?
Luke: Dyin’? Boy, he can have this little life any time he wants to. Do ya hear that? Are ya hearin’ it? Come on. You’re welcome to it, ol’ timer. Let me know you’re up there. Come on. Love me, hate me, kill me, anything. Just let me know it.
[He looks around]
Luke: I’m just standin’ in the rain talkin’ to myself.

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I don’t care if it rains or freezes
Long as I got my plastic Jesus
Sittin’ on the dashboard of my car

Comes in colors, pink and pleasant
Glows in the dark, it’s iridescent
Take it with you when you travel far

Get yourself a sweet madonna
Dressed in rhinestone, settin’ on a
Pedestal of Abalone Shells

Goin’ 90, I ain’t scary
Cause I got the Virgin Mary
Assuring me that I won’t go to hell

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Dragline: [After Luke wins a poker game by bluffing] Nothin’. A handful of nothin’. You stupid mullet head. He beat you with nothin’. Just like today when he kept comin’ back at me – with nothin’.
Luke: Yeah, well, sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand.
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Captain: You’re gonna get used to wearin’ them chains after a while, Luke, but you never stop listenin’ to them clinkin’. ‘Cause they’re gonna remind you of what I’ve been sayin’ – for your own good.
Luke: Wish you’d stop bein’ so good to me, Cap’n.
Captain: [lashing out with his stick] Don’t you ever talk that way to me. Never! Never! What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. And I don’t like it anymore than you men.
  • Note: bolded portion ranked #11 in the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie quotations in American cinema.
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Luke: Anybody here? Hey, Old Man. You home tonight? Can You spare a minute. It’s about time we had a little talk. I know I’m a pretty evil fellow… killed people in the war and got drunk… and chewed up municipal property and the like. I know I got no call to ask for much… but even so, You’ve got to admit You ain’t dealt me no cards in a long time. It’s beginning to look like You got things fixed so I can’t never win out. Inside, outside, all of them… rules and regulations and bosses. You made me like I am. Now just where am I supposed to fit in? Old Man, I gotta tell You. I started out pretty strong and fast. But it’s beginning to get to me. When does it end? What do You got in mind for me? What do I do now? Right. All right. [Gets on knees, closes eyes and begins to pray] On my knees, asking. [pause] Yeah, that’s what I thought. I guess I’m pretty tough to deal with, huh? A hard case. Yeah. I guess I gotta find my own way.
[Police cars arrive]
Dragline: Luke?
Luke: [Shakes head and smiles] Is that Your answer, Old Man? I guess You’re a hard case, too.
Dragline: Luke? You all right? They got us, boy. They’re out there, thicker than flies. Bosses, dogs, sheriffs, more guns than I’ve ever seen in my life. You ain’t got a chance. They caught up with me right after we split up. And they was aimin’ to kill ya. But I fixed it. I got ’em to promise if you give up peaceful, they won’t whip ya this time…Luke, you gotta listen to me. All ya got to do is give up nice and quiet. Just play cool.
Luke: [standing before an open window] What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.
[Luke is shot in the throat]

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Dragline: He was smiling… That’s right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end. Hell, if they didn’t know it ‘fore, they could tell right then that they weren’t a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke. Hell, he’s a natural-born world-shaker.

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  • Cool Hand Luke (thecinematicidiot.wordpress.com)
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    Cover of Cool Hand Luke (Deluxe Edition)

A Skaters Retrospection


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An American pastime that has seen many changes through out generations of participants and is still quite active with our youths is that activity that places wheels on our feet. The roller skate has been entertaining legions for over a century.

The first recorded use of roller skates, in a London stage performance was in 1743, but the inventor of this skate is lost to the obscurity of an undocumented history.

In 1876 William Brown in Birmingham, England patented a design for the wheels of roller skates. Brown’s design embodied his effort to keep the two bearing surfaces of an axle, fixed and moving, apart. Brown worked closely with Joseph Henry Hughes, who drew up the patent for a ball or roller bearing race for bicycle and carriage wheels in 1877. Hughes’ patent included all the elements of an adjustable system. These two men are thus responsible for modern-day roller skate and skateboard wheels, as well as the ball bearing race inclusion in velocipedes: later to become motorbikes and automobiles. This was arguably, the most important advance in the realistic use of roller skates as a pleasurable pastime.

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Massachusetts businessman James Plimpton’s 1863 invention of an improved roller skate led to a boom in popularity in the late 19th century, particularly in cities of the American East Coast. At first, people roller skated at home, but within twenty years businesses dedicated to the activity began to spring up. Plimpton himself is credited with opening the first roller skating rink in New York City. Patrons who enjoyed ice skating during the winter months participated in the similar activity, now year-round. Early roller rinks varied greatly in size and type, both indoor and outdoor. Many consisted of simple wooden platforms that sometimes doubled as dance floors or ballrooms. While primarily an activity of eastern cities, a few enterprising individuals toured the rural areas of the Midwest and South with wagon-loads of roller skates. These entrepreneurs went from town-to-town, often in conjunction with circuses or carnivals, renting out skates and using whatever locally available surface as an impromptu rink. The post–World War II baby boom also saw a boom in roller rinks across the United States. Having a roller skating birthday party became something of a rite of passage for American children in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Roller rinks in the United States underwent significant changes in the 1970s. New plastics led to improved skate wheels—ones providing a smoother, quieter ride—and easier-to-maintain skate floors.

The Disco craze from popular 1970s culture led to another increase in the popularity of roller rinks-or roller discos, as some became. Gone were the classic lighting and old-fashioned organ music as a generally older clientele were replaced by adolescents and twenty-somethings skating under mirror balls and special lights to disco beats. The end of the Disco Era and the advent of inline roller skates hit the roller rink industry hard, with many rinks closing. However, as had happened throughout history, most rink owners adapted and survived the economic storm. Roller derby, a professional sport of the 1950s and 1960s once considered virtually dead, has seen a do-it-yourself, grassroots rebirth in popularity in the early 21st century with amateur and semi-pro teams forming leagues nationwide. Many rink owners support this activity, along with roller hockey, speed skating, and roller figure skating contests.

The roller rinks have diminished over the last 50 years probably peaking in the fifties following a lull in activity with a resurgence in the seventies in disco skating. The following decades witnessed the expansion of skates outside the rink’s with skate boarding parks outside the rink, and the advances in wheels, bearings, and safety protection for skaters to go beyond the rink, the parks, and just about anywhere they could roll. I remember the phrase “Skate or Die” which became a buzz word for skaters and gamers since it was taken from an Electronic Arts skateboarding game in 1988.

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Growing up in the sixties I never owned a pair of roller skates, even the kind that would strap onto your sneakers but I remember the kids in my neighborhood who would skate around the sidewalks and I would watch them wishing I too could someday skate like them. On occasion I had the opportunity to borrow another neighbor kids metal skates that would clamp onto my shoes, but I never really became a part of that activity and truly never really mastered that skating ability. Roller skates were coveted as I recall, but being a lower-income middle class kid from the sixties, we did with what we could. For me, the outdoors meant everything. It was not until later that I at least was able to get around without falling down or going very slowly as I skated and that was just due to the limited amount of practice I was able to get.

As far as skating goes, in the sixties roller skates were fairly a popular thing, in the seventies it was the skate boards, in the eighties skates went in-line, and in the nineties and now the long boards ruled the roads.

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The roller rink’s have had their share of people visiting the establishments. I recollect the few times when I did actually go to the rinks at a time when they drew some of my peers for a social venture. Palisade Gardens in North Park used to be a historic skating rink that was around from many years before it was redeveloped in later decades into apartments. It was one of the fewer places in town where boys and girls our age could meet and socialize. For me it was a great place to go, because I loved the colorful lights and music playing while everyone would skate at their own pace. They had a concession stand for snacks, and it was so fun since I very rarely had a chance to go to such a place. At that time I was by far a skater that was not as skilled as many of the other kids, heck, I could not even skate backwards. Still a shy kid, I relished the opportunity to go despite my angst since I loved the atmosphere. When you don’t have much opportunity to do something you enjoy, you find it a luxury and hold it closer to your heart than others who have greater access. If you have every been hungry, you find that your next meal tastes better than at times when you are full. I could not fully appreciate the skill of those really good skaters, but I still loved to get on that polished wooden floor and skate as best I could to the sounds and sights of that skate rink. Feeling the breeze pass around you as you skate and the large ceiling fans generate that freshly circulated air was very invigorating.

In the seventies I spent some of my time learning to skate board in the traditional ways. Being able to do tricks was an essential trademark of a skater when skating in front of others.  As the years progressed, the tricks became more developed and extreme. There were times when our ingenuity to skate over different surfaces took us to the cities flood control rain gutters in the canyons.  It was a poor boys way to skate as near a bowl or pool surface incline as we could find before the skate parks started opening up.  I remember the Movin’ On skate park opened up literally just blocks away from my home at the latter end of the decade. That was truly a cool thing to happen despite my lack of having a decent board to use in the park, and thus not using the park as much as I would have liked. I still vividly remember hearing Boston’s More than A Feeling or Foreigners Hot Blooded when I skated at the park. To me they were skater songs since I have attached those memories to those particular songs and for that matter those particular albums. It’s funny how you set goals to the events that happen around you in your life. At that time, a goal of acquiring a better board, with better wheels and bearings was very high on my list. I wish I could remember the board that I finally purchased during that time. It was a very cool wooden board with all of the non slip surface stuck on top and a flip-up kick tail. The wheels were kryptonic’s with very fast German bearings. I believe I had tracker trucks as well. The best board I have ever owned, purchased second-hand.

Prior to those days before I had some decent equipment I especially remember the games we would invent as preteens.

One of them was the Rollerball game. A game that was inspired by the 1975 movie Rollerball with James Caan. All that would be required was a dead-end street with a fairly steep hill, (the steeper the better), a rain gutter at the bottom, (the smaller the better), two people with skate boards, and a large round rock. We would sit on our boards at the top of the hill on opposite sides waiting for the cue to rush down the hill and fight for the previously placed rock in the center of the hill. The goal would then be to battle downhill for possession of the rock on our fast paced ride and to see who could score the rock inside the rain gutter. Mind you, we had to be seated the entire trip, and our battle was truly just that, a battle of possession, sometimes getting pretty nasty with us sustaining injuries from the concrete created scabs and rough-housing bruises attained by boys in preadolescence competing like the Jonathan character from the movie. Man that was pretty brutal at times, thinking back.

Another was adjoining skateboards sitting down in a catamaran fashion flying down a steep hill. Once a friend and I were sailing downhill only for me to lose control and not stop in time as I ran myself headfirst into the curb at the bottom of the hill. Had I not worn a helmet that day, I would not be posting this today.

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    • Rollerball Original 1975 US One Sheet Movie Poster – Bob Peak Artwork By Vintage Movie Posters
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I remember a girl I liked used to skate as well. When I visited her I remember she would place a bike tire tube underneath her board and lift up creating a huge jumping lift as she rode. I was impressed because I had never seen that before. I thought it was very clever.

Different decades with different memories around that very old American pastime of skating. It actually wasn’t until the nineteen-eighties that I actually became a fairly decent roller skater on the boardwalk at the beaches. I would like to take dates outside and skating was a refreshing alternative to other activities.

When I became a parent I would take the kids to the few remaining rinks in town. I still would like to put on skates and skate with them. I am amazed at how the kids today seem to have more experience with these things that once challenged me at that age. I think access to these things probably could be the answer to that question.

Which ever past decade one discusses, skating was in some small way apart of my life as it has for many others in generations past. The associations, memories, and passions we form in these pursuits leads us to reflect on a life lived. Whether skating, surfing, cycling, or some other pastime has its reflection calling out to you, enjoy those memories.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
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“The little house is not too small
To shelter friends who come to call.
Though low the roof and small its space
It holds the Lord’s abounding grace,
And every simple room may be
Endowed with happy memory.
The little house, severly plain,
A wealth of beauty may contain.
Within it those who dwell may find
High faith which makes for peace of mind,
And that sweet understanding which
Can make the poorest cottage rich.
The little house can hold all things
From which the soul’s contentment springs.
‘Tis not too small for love to grow,
For all the joys that mortals know,
For mirth and song and that delight
Which make the humblest dwelling bright.”
― Edgar A. Guest
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The Testimony for Conviction


journey

Its not every day we become inspired about something we have seen, heard, or read about and decided to act on that illumination. An inspiration that leads us to new discoveries and direction in our lives is a moment when we can embrace our values and challenge our spirit. Inspiration to take part in an activity or a personal decision on how we shall live our lives by a newly acknowledged creed is a rarity when it is carried out in practice. I can remember distinct times when I have become motivated by something that sparked my attention and the resulting effect has remained with me for years to come. Why these single moments of attention direct us to connect to something that enliven our experience of the world is essentially a wonderful and mysterious event, yet it is also sometimes a puzzling one since we do not always know the exact reasons for our interest in them.

We are often attracted to the charisma of people we are inspired by, or possibly the skill they have in their performance of some gifted ability that takes our interest. It could be a special circumstance that one has endured which led them to discover something about their character that brings out our piety. Whichever the case, the world has many illustrations of people, groups of people, and even cultures that stirs the emotive fabric within us.

An instance in my life is the connection I felt when I first listened to the blues. It was the first music that really “spoke to me” on a more meaningful level than other types of music that I had been exposed to. Initially I became influenced through my interest in other forms of music that also took their roots in the blues, before I actually recognized some of the earlier American pioneers. These influences also were previously revealed by my favorite guitar players thereby discovering the link of that influence. A specific interpretation of the blues through Great Britain with bands from the British Invasion reignited the interest in the blues for newer generations of youths as it had done so for me. My earlier influences of country, pop, and rock music, my interest in the guitar, my ability for empathy, and my personal outlook became the amalgam for a passion and inspiration that directly fed this stimulus. Understandably a process usually develops in this relationship such as; learning more about the topic, expanding your influences and further researching your subject, an increasing amount of participation, creating and building your own style or ability, and practicing and developing your craft are all personifications demonstrating that you have channeled this inspiration.

The simplest of games sometimes becomes the springboard for a dynamic passion that becomes a lifetime resolution. The factors that determine such innovations must meet more than just any ordinary arbitration’s of the mind and must have a certain resolve of purpose. These must somehow take grasp within our minds and spark something that awakens a passion for it to take hold and develop. Those passions that cannot truly be traceable to their origins because they capture the person from a surprise vantage point and tend to be mysterious to the observer often go unreflected. A viewpoint that has no expectation of their interest from first glance may just be the starting point for a spark to ignite something else unknown inside a person’s mind.

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Unfortunately my thought is that many of us do not become inspired or do not hold the formula to launch their inspirations into action. The human spirit can also be hindered if certain conditions are not met for the individual. I see inestimable accounts of people not actuating their potentials due to the limitations of resources or simply just due to the impoverished states of their being. It may be that the psychological dispositions of many will impede any real progress within themselves. The levels of disintegration within our culture alone is worrisome when the topic of personal development comes to mind. The ramifications for misplaced civil atonement’s may also be the distraction some people are challenged by. The world is full of people who do not achieve their passion due to the limitations they place upon their ability for whatever the reasons. For a large part of the population, I trust that we as individuals are responsible for the psychological blockades we place on ourselves if we are fortunate enough to live in an environment that provides us with basic human rights. But the tenacity and fortitude of our determination and spirit still exists no matter what the circumstances of our condition and surroundings.

There are many examples of stories worldwide with many backdrops of social constructs and socioeconomic backgrounds that give precedent to show just how powerful the human spirit is. A case in point is to return to the origins of the blues.

The social and economic reasons for the appearance of the blues are not fully known. Blues has evolved from an unaccompanied vocal music of poor black laborers into a variety of styles and sub-genres, with regional variations across the United States. The first appearance of the blues is not well-defined and is often dated between 1870 and 1900, a period that coincides with the emancipation of the African-American slaves and the transition from slavery to sharecropping and small-scale agricultural production in the southern United States.

The generations of abuse and mistreatment, the limitations of education, and the forced subjugation to social stigmas and ignorance has resulted in the emotive distillation of a human spirit that’s outcry was later heard all over the world. The magnitude of this voice heard in blues music by a people who had tolerated so much for so long has ironically descended upon and affected the world at large, and inspired many of us for many reasons along the way. I find it especially interesting that even under such pernicious circumstances, the emergence of the human spirit still emote a voice with echos of vindication, even after the repression and suppression on such a massive scale. You can impose and enslave a people, but it is extremely difficult to enslave the mind.

Henry David Thoreau pointed out in Walden that…“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers, from excessive toil, are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually, the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day; he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men; his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine. How can he remember well his ignorance — which his growth requires — who has so often to use his knowledge? We should feed and clothe him gratuitously sometimes, and recruit him with our cordials, before we judge of him. The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly.”

“Some of you, we all know, are poor, find it hard to live, are sometimes, as it were, gasping for breath. I have no doubt that some of you who read this book are unable to pay for all the dinners which you have actually eaten, or for the coats and shoes which are fast wearing or are already worn out, and have come to this page to spend borrowed or stolen time, robbing your creditors of an hour. It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live, for my sight has been whetted by experience; always on the limits, trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt, a very ancient slough, called by the Latins æs alienum, another’s brass, for some of their coins were made of brass; still living, and dying, and buried by this other’s brass; always promising to pay, promising to pay, tomorrow, and dying today, insolvent; seeking to curry favor, to get custom, by how many modes, only not state-prison offenses; lying, flattering, voting, contracting yourselves into a nutshell of civility or dilating into an atmosphere of thin and vaporous generosity, that you may persuade your neighbor to let you make his shoes, or his hat, or his coat, or his carriage, or import his groceries for him; making yourselves sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day, something to be tucked away in an old chest, or in a stocking behind the plastering, or, more safely, in the brick bank; no matter where, no matter how much or how little.”

Henry David Thoreau famously stated in Walden that “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” He thinks misplaced value is the cause: We feel a void in our lives, and we attempt to fill it with things like money, possessions, and accolades. We think these things will make us happy. When they don’t, we just seek more of them.

Thoreau argues that the value we attach to possessions and status is misplaced. They aren’t the key to happiness, and they may hurt more than they help. To him, happiness lies instead in a simple life stripped to the essentials. To find it, we must shed our false values and live austerely, with no luxury and only meager comforts. Thoreau attempted to do just that in his minimalist excursion at Walden Pond.

Thoreau’s basically right: Misplaced value contributes to “quiet desperation.” But it’s not the end of the story: it’s possible to value all the right things and still lead a quietly desperate life. What Thoreau’s missing is resignation. We lead lives of quiet desperation when we resign ourselves to dissatisfaction. Quiet desperation is acceptance of–and surrendering to–circumstances. Quietly desperate lives are frustrated, passive, and apathetic. They’re unfulfilled and unrealized.

So Thoreau saw most of the society of Concord as being unjust and burdensome. However, he also makes the case in Walden, correctly or not, that most people are creating their own problems, by subscribing to society’s burdensome rules when they don’t have to.

I think that most parents would want their children to be inspired and enrich their lives by following a dream. Following a passion that sustains goals and in turn inspires others in their lives is essential for growth and fulfillment. There is a fundamental human desire that compels us to aspire. I ask you, what do you dream about? What inspires you? Think about this from time to time. Many of us sometimes forget just what an impact it may have on us, our families and our children.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Albert Schweitzer

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
Albert Schweitzer

Rabindranath Tagore

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.”
Rabindranath Tagore

Confucius

“What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.”
Confucius

Marcus Aurelius

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Ayn Rand

“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need discipline to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world–to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.”
Ayn Rand

Leo Buscaglia

“Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”
Leo Buscaglia

Walt Disney Company

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.”
Walt Disney Company, Mulan (Pictureback

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“He who loves 50 people has 50 woes; he who loves no one has no woes.” – The Buddha –

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – The Buddha –

“Just as a solid rock is not shaken by the storm, even so the wise are not affected by praise or blame.”- The Buddha –

“Let none find fault with others; let none see the omissions and commissions of others. But let one see one’s own acts, done and undone.”

– The Buddha –

NOTE: This post was reissued due to the disruption of a WordPress server error. I have rewritten from memory the basics previously published from 5 days prior to this posting. It is unfortunate that I lost that post, my apologies to the reader, I tried to do justice in this post.

Epistemology – Inspire Me


illusion of knowledge

Have you believed something to be true for years, and then suddenly received information that led you to conclude that your belief turned out to be false?  Did it change the perspective of the world you live in and disrupted similar beliefs you once held to be true and valued?  Such questions have prompted philosophers to ask and examine since the days of antiquity, and more recently others in psychology, behavioral neuroscience, linguistics, education, cultural anthropology, sociology, and neurology have also made inquiries about the nature of just what indeed constitutes “knowledge” and exactly how do we acquire these “matters-of-fact?”

A fundamental starting point for all of our beliefs and what we hold to be true begins with how we attain the information, what we do with that information when we process and analyze it, (or lack of processing and analyzing),  and the resulting effects these beliefs have upon our world-perspectives and perceptions of incoming events, existing ideas, and thoughts or feelings that populate our minds.

Do we live in a world of our own creations, where our constructs of reality are determined largely by our abilities of intellect, perception, intuition, and logical analysis?  Ask any law enforcement detective about the reliability of eye-witness testimonies and you’ll probably find the error rate is a good indication that we are not as accurate as we would like to be.  Are we sure that the information we receive from the world around us is authentic and true, or can it be that much of this information is interpreted by the limitations of our minds and therefore susceptible to errors of judgement?   Think also about how reliable our information actually is after we screen for biases from the originating sources themselves; such as corporate owned media conglomerates that have proven to fail to give an accurate account due to editorial pressures, political alignments, skill set deficits from journalists and other news team personnel, as well as budgetary concerns that all impede the conditions for a truthful contingency.  If we are ultimately responsible for comprehending the beliefs that we hold to be true, why do we not then challenge more of the information that we perceive from a constant duplicity of sources?

pause

Instead of going off in the direction I think I once wanted to say something about, I find a compelling diversion with this topic.  The author had the intention to connect to some of the readers with an illustration and an examination of the basic human desire for a deeper need for meaning in their lives.  Since only a select population would have any interest in this subject, then this sample population becomes even more specialized.  I have no utopian aspirations so I do not partake in the notions of posting something I believe everyone would like, but simply realize that I may only capture a fragment of this reading population that has any interest in such matters.

A closer inspection of what we may know, and how we acquire this knowledge of the world raises questions about the validity of these fundamental beliefs if we proceed down that path of reasoning.  Despite all information that one can write on the topic of epistemology, much has been covered through-out the ages and this author has decided that a stale treatment of its history should not be read here.  A conclusion that many have come to hold is the truth that most people cannot “be reached” through ordinary means or measures.  Unfortunately logic alone, will not change a great deal of the population, largely due to their own limitations, awareness and comprehensive skills including the abilities of the author of this post.  When I speak of “being reached”, the author intends to suggest that people often do not rethink their positions and thus continually fail to challenge the status quo in their thinking.  I envision that one must have something more, something with more tenacity, and fortitude in the language of the communicator when considering this goal.  One must have something that can connect to people on a deeper level, and possibly more than just one level; but rather on a multiplicity of levels which just might optimize this communication.  ERGO: One must be able to INSPIRE!

The dangers of the fragility of the human mind have been demonstrated over countless ages that we have broadcasted our dominion.  In the infancy of our intellects, for some of us we often imposed quasi-truths to make sense out of the world that fills in the gaps of our reckoning.  As for others, many have often used alternative mechanisms to decide just how they should encode the world around them including illusion, myths, pseudo-sciences, and quite possibly the most prominent offender; misinterpretation.

Historically, whichever of the tolerant dictates of the current cultural paradigm are employed, there often leaves a byproduct of consciousness that has not yet been tapped.  The courage to discard useless mythologies, and baseless or senseless philosophies has left an indelible mark in these societies that take special notice of some of it’s distinguished persecuted or heretical members.  Whichever school of thought one imparted their beliefs to, it was either fear, or misunderstanding that would take precedence in past evaluations when these members have surfaced in the musings of the denizens over the years.  The examples that come to mind are people such as Socrates, Copernicus, Mahatma Gandhi, Nikola Tesla, Galileo Galilei,  Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Jesus Christ, Siddhartha Gautama, Confucius, Plato, Lao Tzu, Immanuel Kant, Robert Bauval, John Anthony West, Robert Schock, David Hume, Søren Kierkegaard, and the list goes on.

The mass appeal to the misguided is only a reflection of the work we have to overcome as a people if we are to evolve our thinking processes.  It begins by thinking for ourselves.  Attend not to the spells cast out from the sycophant’s and the sophists.

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“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
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“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” – Albert Einstein
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“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Helen Keller
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“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
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“If not us, who? If not now, when?” – John F. Kennedy
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”Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer