We live life forwards, but examine backwards

We live life forwards, but examine it backwards. This is something the philosopher Kikergard pointed out long ago. It seems we’re likely to make many mistakes in basing our future, which is forward thinking, entirely on the past, which is looking backwards.

I disagree. We learn from our history, from our mistakes, from out triumphs, from everything we do. We benefit from looking back. The problem is we don’t know when to look back. What I mean by this is that we often look back when it’s too late…when the moment we could have acted up on that which we know has past and our fate sealed.

Today my fate is to be single again. Did I see it coming? Yes. Could I have prevented the pain and hurt by looking to my own past? Probably. I am a better person when there is just me. I knew that before but I had hope that this was someone worth fighting for. I will endeavor to learn from this time and apply it if similar circumstances arise again.

That is why history teaches us…to learn…to keep on learning…to never stop learning.


Who do you know that deseves a peace prize?

The 2011 Nobel peace prize was recently awarded to Tawakkul Karman, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, all leaders in their respective countries for promoting civil rights.

For today’s topic, consider a local peace prize for your workplace, town or your community. Who in your daily world deserves to be recognized for promoting peace and good will? If you can’t think of someone you know today, was there someone from your past who comes to mind?

As I started to think about today’s question, my first thought was that peace is unachievable…we nasty little human beings get in the way! But as I sat starting at the blank page, I began thinking about my religious studies, specifically Buddhism.

In Buddhism, peace, love, compassion and wisdom all start with the self. If we could just bring some of these things into our daily lives, and consider them when we interact with our “community” then true peace is obtainable. It all starts with you and me!

Today I did something I’ve never done before…I paid it forward. The young man in front of me at the lunch line only wanted to buy a packet of chips. He didn’t have enough cash and wanted to use his debit card, but since the transaction was less than $5 the clerk was going to charge him a 25c fee. The chips were only a buck twenty five and I had the cash, so I offered to pay for him. He was humble and gracious in accepting my offer and suggested that he too would “pay it forward” at the next opportunity. He said he worked at a local coffee shop and it would be easy to find someone he could help.

It wasn’t until now (that I’m thinking and writing about peace & Buddhist ideals) that it occurred to me that I did something wonderful for no other reason than it made me happy and it made the people around me happy. That happy feeling spread from me, to the man, to the clerk and to the other people in line. For the small price of $1.25 I helped my “community”.

What’s more important: electricity or the internet?

With the passing of Steve Jobs yesterday, the web is filled with remembrances of a pioneer and industry legend. It’s a sad day indeed. But it’s also a good day to look back and consider the history of innovation. And how all the inventions and creations of the last 100 years have impacted us. How would you compare the importance of electricity with the invention of the internet? or the cell phone? Can this kind of comparison be made? If you had to lose one of these inventions, which would you keep? And why?

The greatest thing about human beings (besides opposable thumbs) is out ability to think, be creative, solve problems and invent things.

Last year I wrote a paper about how the internet has impacted out ability to form social connections. I did not attempt to draw a positive or negative conclusion, I simply wanted to explore the notion that the internet has not impacted out social world, that it simply changed the dynamic.

Consider this question: how life changing was electricity in it’s first decade or two? I don’t think we’ll see the full impact of the internet for another generation. History is never written in the present. Our internet is a toddler, still trying to get a handle on walking. It’s not until age 5 that children really start looking around their world and ask the question Why? I believe my child will be part of the generation that asks Why and What-for? They will never know a world without the internet, without border-less communication, without a connected world.

Vintage cars

Image by macieklew via Flickr

I think a more interesting comparison could be drawn between the invention of the combustion engine (and the motorized vehicle) and the internet. Both have connected us with parts of the world that we might not have otherwise seen or known about. The have both expanded our horizons and I simply could not imagine life without either of them. Both of these inventions have provided a sense of freedom (something with goes back to yesterday’s topic) in the way we interact and move around within our world. What does that mean for those that lack either one or both of these items? I’m not sure I can answer that. Time will surely tell…

What is freedom?

What is freedom? When do you feel most free in your job? In your day? Least free? When is it better to not be free?

I can’t imagine what it means to be free. I don’t feel like I’m ever free from the responsibilities and constraints of life.

The only time I can think of when I’m released from “life” is when I’m lying back completely immersed in the bath. I can’t hear the outside world. I can only hear my breathing and the sound of my heart beating. Floating free! It’s even better if it’s almost dark. Removing as much outside sensation as possible — that’s freedom.

Maybe I should buy a sensory deprivation tank?

Do you agree with the death penalty?


Image via Wikipedia

Do you agree with the death penalty? Is it ever right to kill? And under what circumstances? Is it worth the risks of being wrong?
For an interesting and surprising history ready Wikipedia’s entry on Capital Punishment (Only 58 nations actively practice it anymore).

The trouble with any discussion of the death penalty is that it is a huge, controversial topic. My own thoughts on the matter are unclear. Justice and the legal system are not foolproof or 100% guaranteed. Errors in the system mean that guilty people sometimes go free and innocent people are sometimes convicted incorrectly. Added to this, is the question of whether the death penalty is an effective deterrent. Do people about to commit murder consider their own fate? Does the possibility of receiving the death penalty actively stop them from performing an act of violence?

Should everything be done in moderation?

What is moderation? Is it about doing things in small doses? Take life by little samples instead of eating the whole pie? Maybe I should just eat the whole pie and suffer the consequences later?

If I apply this theory to my own life then I’ve been suffering the consequences after the fact for a long time but not from over-indulging. I think it’s time I started taking life in moderation…taking life in small doses. Live each moment with a milder touch and not with so much excitement and enthusiasm. I’m 40 years old and it’s time I started to take it slower. Not a lot slower, just a little!

I’m Posting every day in 2011!

I’ve decided I want to blog more. Rather than just thinking about doing it, I’m starting right now.  I will be posting on this blog once a day / once a week for all of October 2011.

I know it won’t be easy, but it might be fun, inspiring, awesome and wonderful. Therefore I’m promising to make use of The DailyPost, and the community of other bloggers with similiar goals, to help me along the way, including asking for help when I need it and encouraging others when I can.

If you already read my blog, I hope you’ll encourage me with comments and likes, and good will along the way.